LucasArts leader calls for better-balanced workplaces

Tuesday, 5 July 2011 23:48 GMT By Brenna Hillier

LucasArts creative director Clint Hocking has called on the games industry to promote a more civilised culture.

In an opinion piece published by EDGE, Hocking likened games development to Viking warfare – cooping groups of men up for long periods of time in unpleasant conditions, and then unleashing them on the world.

“Consequently, the culture is overflowing with beer and pent-up aggression, and a very significant portion of our overall cultural output is fart jokes. I think we can do better,” he wrote.

The former Ubisoft staffer and Splinter Cell lead continued his analogy by comparing the multi-billion dollar success of the games industry to the Viking expansion.

“It never became the Viking Empire because it never learned how to be sustainable instead of expansionist – and as a consequence was toppled in 1066 by a better-balanced culture,” he argued.

“I believe that developing a better-balanced culture is the most important near-term step we can take towards nurturing a stable and truly massmarket audience. This is necessary to see us make the transition from an exploitative, expansionist industry to a sustainable one.”

Hocking suggested greater gender equality in the workplace could help achieve a better-balanced culture, which in turn could lead to better games and a stronger industry.

“Like it or not, the culture onboard your ships is the culture you’re exporting. Fart jokes have their place in culture, but when fart jokes become your culture you have a problem,” Hocking wrote.

“I’m not suggesting that we stop making violent, fart-joke-infused, aggression-release-valve games for the aspirational Vikings among us. If we ever hope to make high-profile titles that are something besides that, however, we need to behave a little more each day as though we’re seated at the family dinner table, rather than rowing the longship.”