Sadly, It's Surprising That There Are Two Black Women In Apex Legends

Illustration: Apex Legends, Respawn Entertainment

Loading up Apex Legends for the first time, I saw two black women as playable characters. It was a strange and arresting feeling to see them. I’m still trying to understand my feelings about it.

I’m usually quite wary of falling into what my coworker Riley MacLeod calls “the diversity trap,” which is to say, giving a game a lot of credit simply for doing the bare minimum. I know that most companies are in the business of making money. While having diverse casts may meet some altruistic goals, it also could open up the appeal of that media product to more people who will spend money on it.

Apex Legends, the new battle royale game from development studio Respawn, is a free-to-play game, but it does have loot boxes and, if you want, you can use real money to buy more loot boxes. Because of that, I can understand why someone might be cynical about the game’s visibly diverse cast.

Still, the game has a diverse cast, and you can tell from the first glance. There’s a character who is a Pacific Islander, multiple women, men of varying races and body shapes, and—in an achievement that few games cannot boast—there are two black women.

In fact, you have to play as one of them in the tutorial mission, during which you go through the basic moves as the support character Lifeline. As soon as I completed that mission, I went and queued up for a game with my friend Julian and my other coworker Paul Tamayo; I then selected the other black woman, the rough and tumble soldier Bangalore.

Like Overwatch, the stated backstories of these characters don’t matter much when you’re actually in the fray. Bloodhound, who has been confirmed by the developers to be non-binary, doesn’t say “I don’t fit into the binary definition of gender” when they kill someone. Nor does Gibralter, whom the developers have said is gay, talk about how he is gay while you play as him.

Still, there’s something nice about a game where I can run into other players who have chosen a character who isn’t a white, straight, cis male. When I played with Julian and Paul last night, almost every single team had someone playing as Bangalore, since her air strike ability can be devastating and great for flushing out squads.

Just seeing those characters and knowing those small details actually makes a difference to me. It makes me want to explore more of the game and its systems, spend more time in the world, and figure out how to be even better at it. It reveals, and then invalidates, my innate fear of playing competitive games.

I was made fun of so much as a kid and a teenager for looking the way I do - being mixed race, being a girl, and liking the things I like. Seeing characters that look like me - not just one, but two—being played and embraced by the community makes me feel like I won’t be made fun of for my core identity.

I might just get made fun of for not being good at the game. But that’s something I can change, with practice.


    Jesus you people are never happy are you? Even when a game includes a diverse cast you still manage to twist it into a negative.

      The article is positive, though. The title just laments that such a thing is still noteworthy, is all.

        I don't know. I saw this bit:

        Bloodhound, who has been confirmed by the developers to be non-binary, doesn’t say “I don’t fit into the binary definition of gender” when they kill someone. Nor does Gibralter, whom the developers have said is gay, talk about how he is gay while you play as him.

        Still, there’s something nice about...

        She actually sounds disappointed that the gay or non-binary characters DON'T trumpet their identities during battle. I think my mind just boggled. Is that desire shared by many racial and sexual minorities? I'm honestly curious!

        Last edited 07/02/19 2:44 pm

          I'm completely certain Gita doesn't want characters trumpeting their identities during battle and isn't disappointed that they're not doing so; I think you may have misread the intent there. I read it as just saying that it's not in-your-face and it doesn't make much difference once the fighting starts, but is nevertheless nice to have.

            Yeah, there a ton of people here who have flipped out instantly and taken the intent 1000% the wrong way.

            *this is a positive article this is a positive article*

          That's precisely the point: Token attempts at diversity often use stereotypes and cliches. "Look, it's a gay character! He dresses in pastel tones, has a silk scarf and does the hand gesture, you know which!"

          Gita is actually reveling on the fact that the LGTB characters are not defined by it as a sort of try-hard caricature, but rather that they are just normal characters, who get to be liked or disliked by their actual capabilities.

          Like Overwatch, the stated backstories of these characters don’t matter much when you’re actually in the fray... A quality of conventional paragraph structure is how meaning is derived from all sentences within the paragraph, in addition to the contents of adjacent paragraphs.

          Of course a sole sentence will mean something different when removed from its environment.

            In the fray, sure. But from the article you'd have to believe that Gita would be perfectly happy with characters running about, shouting stuff like 'My identity as a gay person gave me the strength to prevail!' or some such drivel.

        It's only positive when contrasted with the other articles she's written lately, it still carries somewhat of an oppressive, negative feeling given the title and opening lines. It's almost like she wants something to complain about, but can't quite find something yet.

        Also I love how she mentions the 'diversity trap' but then goes on to say she doesn't generally like competitive games but is giving this a go because there's less 'straight white cis male' characters.

          Is it possible you're projecting that 'oppressive negative feeling' from your own expectations of what one of Gita's articles should sound like? Because I've read it three times through and I don't see what you're seeing, even with the title it has.

            Of course it is, I'm posting a comment that's biased by my own interpretation - but that interpretation comes from knowing Gita's angle from her other articles...

              Sure, fair enough. I guess my own view on Gita's writing doesn't produce that same result.

          It's almost as though people who have suffered discrimination and know it's still rampant in our society had reason to feel negatively most days!

            Yeah I get this, but at what point does it become nitpicking? Gita once wrote an article trying to change what players create and upload for The Sims to 'increase diversity.'

            I get your point but Gita revels in this stuff.

              I can get where you are coming from and how it may seem nitpicky. But I think that for people who see things from the other perspective, it's more like picking a scab? There's not a day where you don't hear of things that remind you that bigotry against what you are still exists. There's a lot of bitterness and anger and, honestly, I really cannot fault them.

      She will delete comments too. They always claim they want discussion but actively silence the other side.

        Your comment isn't deleted, you edited it and it got put in moderation. It happens to every comment.

        One comment already removed

          @zombiejesus is right - it's in the comments system where edited comments go into moderation. My understanding is that it's also partially a mechanism to guard against spam bots from getting comments through and then putting malware and all other sorts of shit in later, but I get that it's not the best experience for people.

            So there is someone that has to look at them?
            Surely the edit queue must be massively small, why the huge delay?

              I'm the main person responsible for overseeing all comments, as well as the local content, so hopefully that puts it into perspective a little.

                I'm not trying to be a dick, I just don't understand it.

                1. So all comments are free for all unless they are either edits or get reported over a certain threshold?

                2. You have to manually approve them at this point. Is there some delay in the system, or you just do it on a schedule a few times a day? I assume you are out of the office sometimes too?

                  3 - and now my normal comments automatically go into moderation for a week or 2. Great.

                  No no, it's fine. Comments go through automatically once an account has basically passed the "spam" threshold - they're not posting spam, they're not being reported to hell or having their comments removed for other reasons.

                  Other comments may require manual moderation. Sometimes this happens with accounts who have been downvoted heavily for a while - someone just starts abusing authors, shitposting too far, or it's a bot account that has flown under the radar and just become more overt - and then they go into a queue which I check intermittently throughout the day. I don't schedule times to go through the comment queue because I mostly work around this:

                  schedule initial content so people have stuff to read
                  write any early articles / finish off any features I was writing from the previous day, so between 0900-1200
                  do any mission critical emails before leaving the house

                  work on larger features / help with subediting / other face-to-face admin and meetings
                  eat at some point
                  comments some point during this time usually
                  midday shorter articles - scribbletaku, little things like a deals or short trailer announcement or sub-300 word stuff tend to fall into this
                  appointments - i usually schedule any previews, internal meetings and stuff around this time, so i can ensure content will still be going up on the site while i'm not physically monitoring things

                  (evening, usually from home)
                  articles for tomorrow / any refeed for tomorrow morning / working on content for games/pieces under embargo or longer stuff (lengthy interviews, what not)

                  On occasion I'll moderate some comments in an article out of hours if I happen to be in them myself, but I try not to go through all of it so I'm not just working 7 days a week.

              If I want to edit something, I just delete and re-post, unless people have already commented. Less work for everyone then.

            You're actually incorrect. I was the first person to reply to this article but my comment has mysteriously disappeared. Ask Gita where it went. It was not inflammatory or rude in any way.

              No you weren't, I replied to your comment before you edited it, which is why I know what happened to it. Your original comment is visible below, complete with the "edited" message on the bottom that proves what happened to it. Don't make up stories to try to score fake conspiracy points.

              As for Gita, the American authors don't moderate the Australian site, or even visit it. Gita didn't touch your comment, you just edited it.

                Once again. That is NOT my original comment. I had to re-write it as it was deleted.

                  Yeah, we both know that's not true. You posted it at 2:14pm, you edited it a minute later, freaked because it said it was in moderation, and complained about it two minutes after that above. You were mistaken mate, you just didn't realise your comment was in auto-moderation rather than removed. Quit trying to create a conspiracy to silence you that doesn't exist.

            This is a blatant lie. You deleted my original comment on this post.

              I can see every comment on a post, whether it's been deleted or approved, and the first comment hasn't been touched - so I honestly don't know what you're talking about here.

              Also, to clear it up: only Australian authors / editors have access to approve/remove/edit (but I avoid this at all costs, for reasons I've outlined in other comment threads before) comments. The US authors have access on the US site, which operates on Kinja. We don't use that system.

      For shits sake... I was teased and bullied as a kid for the way I look, and what I liked - and I am a straight skinny white guy. This is not unique to race / gender / sexual orientation. It’s a victim mentality.

      These kind of articles frustrate me, because of the hypocrisy. Its not exactly representative of society when the only white character is a micro transaction. This is not diversity - it’s affirmative action.

      Don’t get me wrong - I love the game and I don’t care what the avatar looks or sounds like, I just feel like these kind of things sow more division than anything.

        I was a straight skinny white guy at school too...and yeah, I got the odd teasing too. lol

        Are you saying the teasing you got as a kid for being skinny is comparable to the lifelong prejudices minority groups experience? Any bullying is wrong, but surely you can see there's a pretty big difference of scale and persistence here.

          Mate I am sick of people fucking gatekeeping. Going home crying after school for being teased is the same no matter what you are. Who exactly l is prejudicing minorities these days? It’s pretty much illegal. When do we say ok - let’s all live peacefully. I feel like it it will never be enough.

            I don't like gatekeeping either, but respectfully I don't agree with the rest of what you said. Going home crying after being teased is not the same no matter who you are. Bullying is like any other kind of harm, it comes in different forms - a punch isn't the same as a hundred knuckle raps on the same spot - the type and persistence of bullying makes a lot of difference.

            You ask who is prejudicing minorities? There are tons of them. Non-straight people still get assaulted at pubs. White supremacists are still alive and well. If you really don't know the kind of things that still happen to minorities, I urge you to find out - read up on it, talk to people, see what their experiences are like. It'll give you a great basis for understanding what others go through, and might even help shape your views on your own experiences.

              I hear what you’re saying, but the bullying I am talking about is not about the physical side, but the type that leaves you feeling emotional, helpless, angry with the injustice of it, cynical and bitter. I would bet those are the same feelings that minority’s experience, and I know it well.

              I don’t know How would you explain to a child with tears in their eyes that their pain is not equal to the pain of someone else. In fact I think that’s why we are haing this conversation - by inferring that one groups pain and suffering is less important than another’s.

              As I said there are assholes out there who discriminate and bully those that are different, and there always will be. I choose to try treat everyone with respect and kindness. Articles like this insinuate that people like me are somehow responsible for all that is wrong in the world.

                How does this article insinuate that you're guilty of anything?

                  How does a game without minority’s characters insinuate anything?

                Sure, I understand. I gave the punch/rap thing as just an example since physical harm is easy to visualise, I wasn't trying to suggest you were getting beaten up.

                I don't think you need to explain to anyone why their pain is less than someone else's, in most cases. If someone is hurt you look after them. I wasn't suggesting the pain you experienced in the past was 'less important', but rather that the experience you had isn't the same as the experience others have had.

                As a simple example, I'm sure you can appreciate that being bullied say once a week vs being bullied every day are very different experiences. Or the example I gave before, that being punched versus being rapped on the same spot over and over is very different. What worked for you doesn't necessarily work for others, and what you'd call a 'victim mentality' in the context of your own experience doesn't necessarily apply to the experiences of others.

                Racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. are all quite oppressive, persistent problems that people have to face every day of their life. Even if it's just little things like a shopkeeper being suspicious of them when they walk in, or a slur shouted by a drunk at the bar, when it happens all the time it causes unimaginable harm. That perpetual 'death by a thousand cuts' kind of pain may not be unique to minority groups, but they tend to experience it much more than anyone else.

                That's what I mean when I say the scale and persistence is different. It's not to diminish your own experience, but to maybe help you appreciate more what they go through. That there are kids in Africa who haven't eaten for a month is no comfort to a homeless man who hasn't eaten in a week, but we can still appreciate how genuinely awful it is for those African kids without the homeless guy feeling like he's being ignored.

                  You are a good man Zombie. Dare I say a better man than I am.

                  You make valid points, I think on a larger scale you are right. I think that, from what I have seen at least, that we are living in a time where inclusiveness and acceptance is at an all time high, the diversity in media is night and day compared to 10 years ago - so looking at it from that perspective, articles like this frustrate me because you would swear there have been no strides towards social equality.

                  You are genuinely comparing the emotional pain of two individuals and claiming one is not as bad as the other. How the fuck are you to know that?

                  No one is claiming prejudice or racism isn't alive and well in some areas. Why are we not allowed to live our lives?

                  Cut the bullshit.

                  Last edited 08/02/19 8:55 am


                  You said:

                  You are genuinely comparing the emotional pain of two individuals and claiming one is not as bad as the other.

                  I said:

                  I wasn't suggesting the pain you experienced in the past was 'less important', but rather that the experience you had isn't the same as the experience others have had.

                  You said:

                  No one is claiming prejudice or racism isn't alive and well in some areas.

                  He said:

                  Who exactly l is prejudicing minorities these days?

                  Please read the comments you're replying to before you reply.

              Committing suicide because of teasing is less serious than being dealing with racism/sexism/etc because the person who killed themself is a white male?

              I keep forgetting that you can't be racist or sexist towards white males...

                Think you replied to the wrong comment there, none of that is related to what I said.

              Going home crying after being teased is not the same no matter who you are.
              Yeah, you're right... Especially since these days the moment the kid being teased is anything other than white someone jumps to insist it has to be racism and not 'just' bullying.

          Surely you don't have the gall to think that you can rate and categorise life experiences that impact individuals? If the person being teased at school was impacted by that experience, then that is a real thing to them personally, and could have felt like life wasn't worth living. It might also have continued for years, and may still be continuing for them. You can't impose your views and ideas of specific minorities having more or less importance or intensity to the individual. Ironically, behaving like that in itself is prejudice.

            I'm not rating, categorising or imposing. If you have a read of my later reply above, I think that should answer your questions.

              Except that you did.

              You directly compare the emotional pain of an individual to racism/sexism.

              You don't get to say that one is worse than the other. Just like I apparently don't get to say that this is an overly negative article because it contained one or two positive thoughts in it. Hey champ?

                That you think the article is negative seems to be the same problem as you thinking I was comparing emotional pain - you either don't read before you comment, or you don't understand what you read. Slow down, drop the assumptions, and ask for clarification instead. Ponyface managed it, and we worked out any potential misunderstandings. You're the only one trying to turn a conversation into a fight here.

                  I was ready to go off at you myself ZJ, until I stopped and re-read your comments more closely. They were a little hard to make sense of, so it took a couple of tries.

                  From my personal angle, my Oma had a Jewish heritage. She wasn't a practicing Jew, but others in her family were which was enough to be killed during the Holocaust. We don't know how badly, its impossible to rebuild that part of our family.

                  But that simple link was enough to get bullied as a kid, so talk even remotely suggesting white people cant be discriminated against is a trigger for me. I know that wasn't your intent, which was why I didn't rant at you yesterday, but when others think I cant relate to the day to day discrimination other minorities suffer through I tend to disagree.

                  I feel my families experience was that very thing, while others would disagree and dismiss it as being akin to the homeless guy versus the African kid. So the appearance of dismissal from that tends to be a trigger that's VERY hard to not react to.

                  I suspect most that have gone through bullying or similar experiences might feel the same, hence reacting. But, good clarification later with the hunger example. There ARE scales to discrimination, and its important for everyone to remember that.

        Piss off with that bullshit. I'm straight, white, cis and male - and, like every other kid that got picked last in a captains pick, I was bullied. But I sure as shit know that the names I was called had no where near the same impact on me as the time one of the black girls in my class overheard some of the people I was near yelling n____r as loud as they could because 'edgy'. I'm ashamed to say I didn't call them out on it, and the thing is it's very easy to put your head down when you're not one of the targeted groups, it's easy to dismiss it as just dickhead kids being dickhead kids. But it's more than that, and surely you know that.

        There's a massive difference between the bullying everyone gets and the targeted, hateful stuff minorities have to deal with. When I was called f____t I didn't go home thinking about how it was more than an insult, but also a label for who I was. I didn't see the longstanding connections between popular insults and labels for anyone that wasn't white, straight, cis or male. If stuff sucked it was 'pretty gay', and that was just what you said. I didn't mean anything. Not to me that is, but I couldn't see beyond my limited perspective. I didn't see or understand that when I was a dickhead in High School until just before I left, but by that time I'd already contributed to the shitty experiences at least one minority group had in high school, something I'm terribly ashamed of. If it's a victim mentality you perceive to be driving this article, perhaps you should listen to and try to understand the perspective of such a victim, and you may see it's more than a mentality, but also a reality for many people.

        Your experience doesn't deny reality. In fact, it is extraordinary to me, someone who also got teased and bullied back at HS that it didn't help you develop a compassionate attitude where you listen to people grievances instead that outright dismiss them as victimhood. Wouldn't you have wanted somebody to listen to you and do something about it when you were being bullied?

        Regardless, your anecdotal experience doesn't mean much in the face of a discussion at societal level. Yes, you--and many other white kids get discriminated by whatever reason cruel teens seeking self-validation by the destruction of others can come up with. However, statistically speaking, white kids don't get as discriminated as kids of other races or get discriminated because of their race that much, mainly because they are the majority.

        Does it bother you that the only white character is a footnote extra? Welcome to how PoC have been feeling through history. It may not be "representative of society" but at least take the opportunity to consider this rare opportunity at seeing things from the perspective of people other than you.

      Reading comprehension isn't really your strong suit is it?

      It's not a negative article - that's the point, and you might want to re-read the whole thing to pick up where Gita is coming from, because it's a complete 180 from your take.

    What would make you happy Gita? Honestly. I want to know. How many do they need to have so they aren't "filling a quota"? Do we need three black females, at least two gay people, multiple trans characters... I mean really?

    The game has a diverse cast and as per usual you twist it into a negative. Every. Single. Time.

    From a white straight "cis" male from Australia who reads Kotaku less and less everyday because of bullshit like this.

    Last edited 07/02/19 2:15 pm

      Did you read the article? She says what makes her happy - this.

      Just seeing those characters and knowing those small details actually makes a difference to me. It makes me want to explore more of the game and its systems, spend more time in the world, and figure out how to be even better at it. It reveals, and then invalidates, my innate fear of playing competitive games.

      This is a positive article; Gita's not asking for quotas. It's just another side of gaming - Respawn made a conscious choice to create characters from particular backgrounds and characters, and that means something to people from those backgrounds and characters.

      *this is a good thing and gita is pointing out that this is a good thing*

        Perhaps she should have chosen a less inflammatory headline then, because that has set the tone for the remainder of the article.

          How is it inflammatory to say that it's sad that 'game has black characters' is still a noteworthy thing? It's not wrong, there aren't a lot of games with a diverse ensemble cast, which is why Overwatch was mentioned - and one of the reasons Overwatch still gets a lot of talk.

          I would have gone with a different tack, but I'm a completely different writer. Different perspectives beget different styles, and it's important to appreciate that.

          But it's also good to adopt an attitude where people process the entirety of something rather than getting upset that seven or eight words act as a complete summary - that's a bad habit, it's bad for writing, and it only fosters an environment where people write in phrases, heds and tones that are as bland as batshit, because they're trying to avoid any sort of offence or miscommunication.

    It can be hard to take an article like this seriously when it conveys a sense of nitpicking that is so common in today's outrage culture. As much as I do feel I sympathize with the discussion of the article, I can't help shake the feeling that regardless of the roster of characters, something exactly similar would have been written in its place. "Too many white characters, too many black characters, not enough women, not enough minorities". It can go on and on to the point you begin to think, maybe the cast list should be frogs. Because everyone is clearly too immature to play as people.

      What about the frogs who don't identify as any gender tho?

    Who is it surprising to? Why is it surprising? As someone who just goes and picks the character which has the most appropriate play style for me, I just don't get it!

    In Borderlands 2, I picked Axton. Not because he's a white male, but because his turret was a great way for me to enjoy the single player to it's fullest and fulfilled my stand back and cover play style. If Axton and Maya swapped their special abilities, I would have picked Maya.

    In Horizon, I played as Aloy because...oh yeah, she was the character you played as. Swap her with a male, or someone of another race, and the game would have been just as enjoyable.

    Do game developers now have to make sure they have one character which represents every gender/sexuality/race etc? Or just more everything else than white males?

    I wonder who I am playing as in Beat Saber?

      Sure, you don't care about characterisation in Beat Saber - but the identity of characters there also has no value whatsoever. Different games place different emphasis on different things; identity matters to some games, whether it's for background lore or a larger emphasis in story.

      The simple line is this: Respawn made a choice to have a more diverse character set, which is something a) is relatively infrequent if you look across the entirety of the gaming industry and b) also rather cool to see, even though there is an implicit benefit from a business perspective to do so. That aside, it's a good thing! And Gita's point is that it's a great thing for people from those perspectives, including their own.

      Representation can be difficult to appreciate when it's something you've never missed. It's not calling the game shit or taking a dump on Respawn to point it out; Gita's praising it! And she's noting that Apex's small nod to diversity and the inclusions they've made is enough of an inclusion that she's likely to play the game a little more, because that's something that matters to her.

      It's no different to how I'm infinitely more likely to play Apex than PUBG because the ping system makes an immense difference to the moment-to-moment gameplay for me. I'm a very mechanical kind of guy; that's the sort of stuff I'm hugely into.

      People are into different things. And it doesn't take an awful lot to service a lot of different crowds, and you don't have to make a huge deal about it, which Apex and Respawn aren't doing.

      It's not a case of "there should be more" - it's more that the mix of the current cast is a welcome surprise. That's worth noting, and praising, which is ultimately the gist of what this article is about.

      (I'd note that part of this is also impacted by the fact that the headline is tonally not in the same place as the spirit of everything else, but I'm not the author here, and we also shouldn't be encouraging people to form complete conclusions off seven or eight words - society is fucked enough with short attention spans as is)

        While this is meant to be a positive article and supposedly welcome surprise, the headline and opening paragraph set it up and shroud it in negativity.

        You should have written the article, Alex. It's amazing the impact a title can have on the feel of an article. Even after reading the article and gathering the positive spin, sadly the title doesn't convey that.

        Given how sensitive people are these days and how easily 'outrage' is reached when it comes to minority groups, surely we need to start implementing these changes as part of the game rather than singling them out in their own article. I think that pointing out how Respawn has given the player choice in characters in a review/preview would allow it to become the norm rather than jumping up and down about it.

        But that's just my view on the matter, and it's probably easy for me to say as my bringing up has always been about equality and accepting people for who they are. Not everyone has been raised that way, or thinks that way.

        As for the Beat Saber comment, I really should have added [sarcasm] [/sarcasm]

          I don't have this kind of experience, though. It's something I know I can't appreciate because ... I never had that problem. Every piece of media I touched growing up - cartoons, shows, films, games - had someone that looked like me. I was never saddled with the issue of feeling like I didn't belong in a place because of what I looked like, or what my background was.

          I hear what you say too, but I'd also put this to you: it's to everyone's benefit to foster writing and a community where people can have a go. Creative industries can be rough - if you want people to make things, write things, create things that are interesting, or different, or just not bland, then you have to work with it a little bit.

          I don't want to go down the whole patience is a virtue schtick, but I think it's fair to say there's an intent and spirit of praise here that people are starting to appreciate maybe a little more. And that's OK! But people should focus on the gist of that, separate that from feelings about a particular phrase or hed (hey, would X have worked better instead of [insert more inflammatory response] ...) and then go from there.

          We all just end up having a better conversation at the end of the day.

            I just put it down to this. Some people write in a sensationalist manner and some people write in a more informative manner. Both get clicks from different crowds. Some like the controversial approach, some like the more factual approach.

            I mean for me? The title drew me in, seriously it did. At first I was like 'What the hell Gita?' But the more I read, the more enthralled I was with the article and found it highly interesting. I actually found it to be one of her potentially best articles I've read in a long time.

            That being said, I do understand a lot of people immediately being on the back foot, as Gita's been a controversial writer at times, but, at the end of the day, she's generating traffic too, so there's that?

      Maybe consider that the reason why racial representation is not important to you is that you get it the whole time? Or that you've never had /not/ get it? It may be hard to understand, it's a really alien experience to imagine when literally that's what you have been experiencing throughout your life. That's why when somebody who, by nature, has a very different experience of life from yours, it is important to listen to them, rather than dismiss them as whiny, controversial or whatever else just because it's so different from yours.

    I can understand why someone might be cynical about the game’s visibly diverse cast.

    You mean like yourself.

    giving a game a lot of credit simply for doing the bare minimum

    As opposed to what, bitching when a game doesn't, and how is it the bare minimum?

    The bare minimum would be doing nothing but they have given the characters that shouldn't have or need any personality sexual preference, gender fluidity.

      She isn't wrong in that their is an increasing push in business and marketing for the promotional value of diversity though; you see it pretty frequently if you read any trade press and discourse in the advertising/marketing spaces.

        How can you tell the difference between genuinely trying to be diverse or doing it purely for the promotional value though?

          That probably requires a really close look at the context those actions take place in. But broadly, it's about being mindful and sensitive to the cultural landscape that games exist in. And it's not a binary outcome either - it can be very grey.

          An example is Blizzard. The designs for Overwatch are great. But then they're also guilty of stuff like female armour in WoW, which can be a little problematic.

          For me though, it's when a company can demonstrate that they're not tone deaf in their messaging. Yes advertising will always be advertising, but an ad from the '50's is not the same as an ad now. Things change. And companies need to be mindful of that.

            That's a great way of putting it, and very neatly outlines the 'diversity trap' idea too.

            I mean if a game has a range of diversity isnt the whole idea to be inclusive and as a result get more people to play your game from those walks of life, like you said it can be very grey.

            "But then they're also guilty of stuff like female armour in WoW"

            Careful, the "skimpy" armour topic isn't as simple as it seems.
            A lot of women prefer this look on their avatars. It isn't wrong for them to enjoy this.

            These debates are ultimately pointless. In the end, marketing and sales will decide the content that ends up in our games. We're talking about billion dollar companies with thousands of employees.

        Why do you think they feel obliged to market it Alex? Because of sensationalist outrage writers like Gita? Please, enlighten us mere mortals.

          I'd hope that it's because they see a genuine push from society, especially the younger generations to be more inclusive.

      The 'bare minimum' she's referring to is the bare minimum to be able to fly the flag and say 'we did a diversity'.

        But when is 'we did a diversity' not 'we did a diversity'? It's kind of damned if you do, damned if you don't at this point in time.

          When a company is creating a diverse cast naturally, characters feel natural as well. When a company tacks it on as an afterthought, it tends to feel patronising. JK Rowling's seemingly tacked on sexuality changes in Harry Potter is an example.

          A well-written character is a person foremost; their sexuality or race (or anything else) is a part of them but not a defining thing and not a token. When a character isn't written well, their sexuality or race or whatever else stands out unnaturally, like a separate thing glued on instead of blending nicely across the character as a whole. When companies just try for point-scoring, you can often tell because their characters' diversity isn't part of the character, it's an unnatural-feeling extension.

          People want to see someone who is like them. And a character with a nominally similar trait tacked on isn't like them, it's just a poor attempt at ticking the same boxes. That's when people feel patronised and the attempt feels forced or artificial.

            I think that's a good take, so more originality when it comes to representation of different people, not retconning or tacking something on.

            I think it's more than that too. If something has low diversity (be it a film or a game or whatever), if the creators have an open conversation about why that is, that can be alright too. If they own that decision, and can show why they made it. So really what seems important (for me anyway) is trying to gauge the intention. If it's diverse as just lip service, that's stupid. But similarly, if it's not diverse and they own that decision, that's at least honest.

            But the only way we get to the point of being able to easily ask what their intentions are is if discussing diversity is normalised, like talking about all other parts of culture that intersect. I think we're still at that point where diversity is a bit of a dirty word in gaming, which makes talking about it harder than it needs to be.

              I'm of the view that the solution to a lack of diversity is to create, not to destroy. If there aren't enough games with diverse casts, then make more games with diverse casts, rather than take down games that don't. I'm fine with games that have no diversity, but I love seeing more games that have a lot. And when you create instead of destroy, everyone gets something they want.

            Then why does this article exist. Seriously. What is the point of this article?

              To compliment the game for making an effort on creating a diverse cast of characters. It's a positive article.

                Then why have such a negative clickbait title and have further negativity throughout the article. Why bring up buzzword terms like "straight white male" and "cis gender".

                To claim the point of this article is positivity is hilariously disingenuous.

                  The title isn't clickbait, it's accurate - there aren't many games with diverse ensemble casts, so it's still (sadly) newsworthy when a new one comes out. It'd be great if we were at a point where it wasn't, but we're not there yet.

                  'Straight', 'white', 'cis' and 'male' aren't buzzwords, they're descriptions. Just the same as 'gay', 'black', 'trans' and 'woman' are descriptions. The words only appeared once in the article, and weren't used in a context that a reasonable person would interpret as negative.

                  I stand by what I said: the article is positive.

    I came for the knee jerk responses, was not disappointed.

      What kneejerk response would that be? I just see thought-out commentary on a phenomenon.

      Came here for the 'came here for the....' comments. Not disappointed either!

        It's literally like someone commenting "LOL" or "First", or the comments on anything Joe Rogan related "yeah but have you tried DMT
        it's funny the first couple of times but then it gets old.

        Last edited 07/02/19 11:16 pm

      48 comments on the article. I knew it was going to be great.

      It seems like Alex writes more words in the comments section of Gita's articles than the actual article contains lol.

    I don't understand the negative responses to articles like this. Yes, perhaps the title of the article could be less inflammatory, yes perhaps Gita could be clearer in stating her feelings about all this. But the article is clearly a positive one that discusses the issue of diversity within the game in hopeful terms. I don't see what the issue is with that.

    I would imagine that most people would be happy for others to be able to talk about issues that are important to them, and then not have to engage in those conversations if they aren't interested. I don't understand why someone who isn't really interested in diversity would come to an article about diversity and say they don't like reading articles about diversity.

    I should be offended that the only two white males are locked characters.

    I should be extra offended that one of them is a toxic character, and one is labelled as a trickster and deceptive.

    Instead, I don't care. I literally didn't bat an eyelid when the characters came up. What I cared about was their skills, and which skills interested me, not the colour of their skin, or their made up sexual identity.

    The only thing that made me go and check to see if there were any white males was this article.

    Must just be my male privilege being compounded by my white privilege being again compounded by my straight privilege that allows me to care about the skills and not the colour/sexual orientation.

      Yeah, pretty much this. I don't care if the character was a bag of rainbow dildos that identified as a genderfluid disabled wakandan. It's an FPS game with zero story. If they have fun skills, I'll play them, if not I don't care.

        I would imagine the bag of rainbow dildos would have some pretty great skills.

      Well done. Indeed, it would have a bit pathetic if you or any other white people complained about it after literal decades of enjoying mostly majorly white-cast characters to the point it is a blind spot default. So good job not being an entitled whiny hypocrite! I seriously mean it.

    People are missing the point of the article - positivity, but the headline makes it seem like a negative.

    There's nothing wrong with this article and I'm happy this makes you happy as a mixed female - however I personally didn't even notice this whilst playing.
    I do think the title is somewhat misleading but oh well, you're a journo lol

    It's always these sorts of articles that bring out the massive amounts of comments compared to other articles. If you don't like these sorts of articles, go to the American site and complain there. Your complaints are falling on deaf ears, Gita and nearly all the staff that write these articles don't read the Australian comments. All you're doing is contributing to an echo chamber of whinging.

      The American site auto redirects to the Australian one and it is way more heavily moderated to the point where you either agree with the author or get silenced.

        It has to be. The volume they deal with is substantially higher; they get botted frequently, and the worst of the worst have no qualms brigading particular articles and authors on occasion. It's necessary if they want to keep a functioning, healthy community.

          I feel like the US version of kotaku is far worse than Aus. I appreciate that the Australian site contains more diverse views. The U.S site is an echo chamber.

          It has to be? So.. We have to agree with you or be silenced?


            Yeah... Um, wow. Don't think wrongly or get deleted I guess.

            Not agree, merely not use botting, brigading, trolling, etc. Everybody is allowed an opinion but common human decency is enforced, I'm afraid. Sorry if it's an inconvenience.

            It's no different to a 'management reserves the right to refuse entry for any reason' sign. And there's no right of free speech in relation to privately owned companies as far as I know.

    I don't think I will ever get over the if you aren't a minority you haven't suffered.
    I genuinely got bullied by two aboriginal kids my entire life. they were treated as
    They should be as God's and they got to torment me for most of my life, I told
    Someone the other day some of the things that happened at my school they said they
    Weren't legal, and I never really get over the fact that I'm white my parents weren't
    Divorced and that's why this happened. I love the you haven't suffered unless you are
    Black, it really cuts deep.

      Then you know what it feels like. Not nice is it? Then you’re keen to stop it happening to others yeah?

      You understand that you are a statistic outlier, right? And that it gave you a perspective that most white people never experience. I'm genuinely sorry that you went through it, the fact that you are an outlier doesn't diminish what you suffered but please understand how bad it is that there are folks who go through exactly the same as the default.

      Let your bad experiences make you more compassionate, not less.

    I will definitely not play this game and will be deleting it. not that anyone cares. What
    A white male is doing. This article would make a great satire piece. I'm glad there is
    No mention of TF2 the problems they had, nothing.
    This is not what gaming is about.

      So you are not going to play it in order to make a political statement? That's entirely fine. Hope that you, then, can understand if other people do play it as a political statement or talk about it to frame a political conversation.

      When will you humans learn? You are the disease thats ruins your planet

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