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BioWare’s Heir wants to see more diversity in games with good writing

Saturday, 6 August 2011 18:47 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Manveer Heir, senior designer at Bioware Montreal has said he would like to see more diversity in videogames as it would not only make things more interesting for players, but more demonstrative as well.

Speaking in an excellent interview with Gamasutra, Heir said his opinion has nothing to do with “videogame affirmative action,” but using diversity to push the medium in order to create better games and to “tell better stories.”

“I hope that in 20 years I personally would have been able to do something on my own by then, to at least help advance things, but who knows where the world will go in the future.,” he said.

“First off, I don’t think [a] game having a black character should be the selling point of the game. It needs to be an interesting game regardless of the protagonist, but that potentially when if someone plays that game, they discover the background of our protagonist has a better-defined character or something, or the race of the character actually affects the way characters talk to the player.

“Things along those lines, so that when you’re playing the game, you discover something new that maybe is happening in the game that you aren’t used to, because you’re being treated differently, or you’re understanding the other side that maybe you don’t belong to, depending on your background.

“So, I think that if you market your game as ‘a game for black people’ or ‘a game for Asian people’, it’s going to flop the same way most of the games for women flop. I don’t think that’s the good way to position that. For me, it’s less about selling your game based on those merits, and rather having those merits be in there and be discovered by players.”

Heir said he doesn’t want to see the medium “get ghettoized, like what happened with comics,” as the game structure can change when writing a character’s sexual orientation, gender, or race.

“Even the age of a character — that can change the way your game is structured, what your game is about, the things a game can comment on, the mechanics of a game,” he said. “They can bleed into several areas.

“There are many ways to add to games. This is just the one that I’m interested in. This is the one that I’m pursuing as best as I can while working in the industry. And I just hope that other people will think about it and hopefully join the cause.

“Next comes the courage, or the ability to be able to stand up and say, ‘I’m going to try this. And, no, I’m not going to worry about what other people think about if I’ve written for a different race or a homosexual character or a female character, and if it feels out of tone.’

“I think we just need to have more writers in the industry in terms of more mature writers. This is not everyone in the industry. I do not want to diminish writers. There are a lot of amazing writers. I’ve worked with a lot of really amazing writers. But I’ve also come across bad writers unfortunately, like you would everywhere.

“So, if we make sure that we try to promote and push with our good writers… we give them the backing that they need, the support so that they don’t feel like they’re left on an island. And that we also challenge them. We challenge each other as an industry.

“The reason I speak up on this all the time isn’t because I want to be the only guy doing it. It’s because I feel the need to challenge the rest of the industry, including myself, to try to think about these things and do better. And I think if we start challenging each other, we’re going to improve as a medium.”

Those are just a few quotes from the full interview, which again, is excellent, and can be read through the link.

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10 Comments

  1. TerraZet

    Bioware has gone to shit to be honest. I’m actually skipping Mass Effect 3 because of all this DLC/multiplayer/origin crap they’re pulling, its like EA doesn’t want us to buy their games

    #1 4 years ago
  2. sasanjfr

    look who is talking!BioWare!!!the guys behind Mass Effect 2 with a story simple enough for a 7 years old kid to understand;go there,find someone and recruit him/her on your team.A studio once capable of creating adventures that sucks you in their worlds such as Baldur’s Gate,Neverwinter Nights and even Mass Effect, probably will be Activision’s biggest rival in making mindless shooters in the future.
    just sorry for the RPG genre that games such as Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 calling themselves RPGs.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Giskard

    That is rich, you guys.

    I’m sure you’ll be buying it on day one just as any other reasonable gamer.

    Complain all you like though.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Stephany Nunneley

    @2 Well, Heir just started working there last year in September. Before that he was at Raven and before that a programmer at Big Huge Games. Give him some time. You can’t just waltz in at a new job and start a revolution. It has to be a gradual change. Plus, at least BW games give you the option of being male/female, gay/straight, black/white/purple. ;)

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Noodlemanny

    … What game has ever used a black man being the protagonist as a selling point? I can’t think of any…
    maybe its cos I never notice cos I’m so un-racist.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. DSB

    50 Cent – Blood on the Sand? :P

    The way I read that, he isn’t speaking out against making race a factor. He’s saying he thinks there should be more diversity, more room for things like ethnicity being handled in a mature and deliberate way, rather than simply as archetypes.

    Which I think is kinda utopian. A lot of people make themselves into stereotypes, and even you’re looking for a minority type, there’s only so much you can do to flesh them out in a videogame. Ultimately you just have to tell the story as cleverly as you can, rather than making sure certain boxes are checked.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. LOLshock94

    one thing that im not impressed with ME3 is the comabt its just the same as ME2s nothing changed.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Phoenixblight

    @7 Stealth take downs and kills, actual grenades and not the ME version. weapons and armor are customizable and not the Me2 version. Each class has their own melee attack. You are also able to roll and dodge with able to shoot from cover.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Noodlemanny

    Hmm… But what about some REAL weapons and armour customisation? A actual decent level system would be nice too.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Phoenixblight

    @9

    Its going to be like ME 1 with the customization only not as superficial and you actually see the customization with weapons and armors.

    #10 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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  • 3D Realms’ Bombshell returns with the first gameplay trailer

    Remember 3D Realms’ Bombshell? The isometric ARPG that was announced last year? Well, it’s back, and we get to see gameplay footage. The game stars Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison, a bomb technician turned mercenary with a mechanical arm. She will embark on a quest to rescue the president and save Earth, all while shooting aliens. The […]

  • Unreal Engine 4 is now free for everyone to use

    Epic Games has made Unreal Engine 4 available for anyone to download and use, for free. Unreal Engine 4 is now free. Anyone can download it and start using it, the developer announced today in a blog post. The download features the the full set of tools used by Epic, and includes 100% of the […]

  • Call of Duty European Championship winner announced

    The winner of the European round of the Call of Duty Championship has been announced. This past weekend, 28 teams representing UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, the rest of Europe and Middle East attended the final of the European round of the Call of Duty Championship. UK team Epsilon eSports was crowned […]

  • GOG brings back Insomnia sale with discounts up to 90% off

    GOG.com is bringing back its Insomnia sale event with even more games. GOG’s Insomnia sale is back with double the amount of games. This year, there will be two sets of games available at once. The sets are seasoned classics and fresh new titles. Each set will feature games with discounts up to 90% off, […]

  • 2K is shutting down NBA 2K14 online servers, won’t affect career save files

    2K will be shutting down the servers for NBA 2K14 this month. The publisher revealed yesterday that online servers for NBA 2K14 will be turned offline on March 31. “You will no longer be able to play ranked games/online association,” reads the announcement. NBA 2K14 relied on online servers to store save files for MyCareer […]

  • One Dead or Alive tournament organiser is proposing ban of “over-sexualised” costumes

    A Dead or Alive tournament organiser has suggested a soft ban on some of the game’s “over-sexualised” costumes, and not everyone is happy. Tournament organiser “The HuBBs” took to the FreeStepDodge forums to suggest a list of rules that other offline tournaments can follow. The list goes over stages, characters, moves, which is certainly in […]

  • Destiny: all the news from Bungie’s open house Q&A

    Bungie hosted an open house Q&A session with the community last week and lots of exciting news have come out of it. Arekkz Gaming has gathered all the information that came out of Bungie’s open house Q&A in one handy video. The list is massive, going over Exotic weapon balance, upcoming events, PVE, Crucible rewards, […]

  • Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen to honour Nimoy with in-game memorials

    Developers behind space exploration games Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen will honour the memory of Leonard Nimoy through in-game memorials. The develops of both games have confirmed separately that in-game memorials will be established to honour the memory of the late Star Trek actor, Leonard Nimoy, famous for playing Spock. Elite: Dangerous executive producer Michael […]

  • Deal: get a PlayStation 4 + three exclusives for $399

    Amazon’s latest PlayStation 4 deal is not one to miss. With purchase of a PlayStation 4 console from Amazon in the US, the online retailer will throw in digital codes for Infamous Second Son, Killzone Shadow Fall and The Last of Us: Remastered, all for the same MSRP of $399. The Last of Us Remastered […]

  • Destiny: this is how one player predicted House of Wolves details and Xur’s inventory

    The method one Redditor possibly used to leak some details from Destiny’s House of Wolves was the same one he used to predict the inventory of Xur: Agent of the Nine. Last week, Reddit user Megamanexe4 leaked a few pieces of House of Wolves expansion content. The leaks included strikes, new Crucible mode, and a […]

  • Mortal Kombat X is coming to iOS… as a card-battler

    Mortal Kombat X will be releasing on mobile devices in some form, just not the one you except. Mortal Kombat X is coming to Android and iOS devices as an extension of the main game. It will launch in April alongside the console versions. The mobile game will be part card collecting and part fighting […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain announcement coming this Wednesday

    Kojima Productions will unveil something about Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain this Wednesday. Metal Gear Solid fans should standby for a Phantom Pain-related announcement on Wednesday, March 4. According to developer Kojima Productions’ Twitter, there’s going to be an announcement at 2pm GMT on Wednesday. The developer posted the following image. The image […]

  • Reader survey: time to let us get to know you better!

    We’d really appreciate it if you could fill in this survey about the websites you read and the games you buy. It massively helps! You can fill out the survey right here and obviously all the information you supply is confidential. It helps us build a better picture of the people who read our site […]

  • Battlefield Hardline Premium: here’s everything you get for $50

    Battlefield Hardline’s Premium membership will give players access to 4 new features, early access to expansion packs and more. EA detailed the offer today – it costs $50 in total (£40 in the UK) and gives players a whole bundle of new gear and content. Check it all out in handy list form below: Masks […]

  • Hayter’s gonna hate: the voice of Solid Snake wouldn’t answer my Metal Gear question

    Voice actor and Hollywood writer David Hayter discusses the differences between movies and games. And politely declines my leading question. “It might be fun to do a crazy, over-the-top film version of Saint’s Row.” Yeah, that headline is a bit cheap but you’re reading the work of a man who once asked the maker of […]

  • Xbox One bundle gets £100 price cut in UK

    Microsoft has knocked up to £100 off Xbox One bundles in the UK. The Xbox One with Kinect Assassin’s Creed bundle is now £100 cheaper and comes with a free £20 voucher to be spent on the official Microsoft online store. Over on the Xbox online store there’s a £70 price cut on the white […]

  • Pokemon Shuffle downloaded 1m times, free stuff given out to celebrate

    Free-to-play 3DS title Pokemon Shuffle has been downloaded over 1 million times. As a reward for playing the match-3 puzzle game Nintendo has gifted players a Complexity -1 item for free. The item reduces the difficulty of a level, according to Eurogamer. By all accounts Pokemon Shuffle is a cynical game with poorly implemented microtransactions. […]

  • Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power sure is pretty

    FrozenByte Games has revealed Trine 3, due for release in 2015 And what better way to reveal a new side-scrolling adventure than with a very pretty trailer full of gameplay? The latest in a series that has already sold 7 million copies is earmarked for PC and “other” formats. Trine 2 released on PS3, PS3, […]

  • Dying Light takes UK number one

    A month since it was released on digital platforms, Dying Light’s physical release has topped the UK charts. Techland and Warner’s zombie survival game has proven to be one of the big hits of the year so far. It was released on digital formats a month ago but has only just been released on good-old […]

  • GTA 5: that’s some seriously accurate grenade throwing

    Think you can take down a jet plane with a grenade throw? This guy can. In fact, he can do it twice. This is in a variation on the player-created deathmatch “Stunters Versus Snipers” which seem to be all the rage in GTA Online at the moment. One team has a sniper rifle (and grenades) […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: Mother Base turns pink in the morning sun

    The Phantom Pain looks nice even when Kojima just takes a quick pic with his phone. Look at that beauty. We get nice reflection in pink at the first gray of dawn. pic.twitter.com/aERTBoZT9z — HIDEO_KOJIMA (@HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN) March 2, 2015 The game doesn’t have a release date yet, which makes us a bit nervous for it […]

  • Dying Light: Underpant Gnomes and 9 other secrets you missed

    Dying Light still has legs – maybe because it’s crammed full of secret things to discover. Ten of those have been highlighted by TerraMantis’ latest YouTube video, including reference to the Underpant Gnomes, guitar lessons, farting zombies and well, we don’t want to spoil it for you. Even if you think you’ve seen everything in […]