Acclaimed Game Dev Scott Jennings Explains Why Fellow Devs Should Take Female Gamers' Complaints Seriously
Iris Ophelia's excellent rant about sexist characters in an otherwise good game provoked a lot of nasty sexist comments (which only proved the importance of her point). It was a reaction that eminently sucks ass, but one that's sadly to be expected. The good news, however, is her post also provoked a supportive response there from game developer Scott "Lum the Mad" Jennings, one of the most respected voices in the industry. If you're a female gamer like Iris, you should read it and take heart; if you're a fellow developer like Scott, you should read it and take inspiration. And if you're someone who shares the nasty opinions expressed in the Comments of Iris' post, you should read it, and feel ashamed:
"Kudos to Iris to bringing up issues she had with the game. The lack of female perspective in game development is why these issues exist.
"Sheri Graner Ray, a long-time MMO/video game developer (she was one of the lead developers on Star Wars Galaxies), had as her signature on various message board postings, '...but what if the player is female?'"
"Much of her work addresses the issues raised from this simple fact - if the developers are in the main male (which, in most studios, is still the case), they will post from their own experiences. The vast majority of men, of course, have not been women. They can be sympathetic to women's issues (as I like to believe I am) but it's impossible to write from a perspective you simply don't have.
"Thus; inclusivity is important. It's important for women to point out when they feel marginalized by casual decisions, and it's important for developers to take that into account and not be dismissive of such feedback. Otherwise gaming will continue to be a boy's club. And as a professional game developer, from my perspective, turning down the money of 50% of the world's population off the bat seems like a bad idea.
"I think many people instinctively understand this, which is why topics such as this (and the abuse Anita Sarkeesian took for similar writing) attract such crude 'shut up and get back in the kitchen and make me a sammich' responses. It elicits a primal response because gender relationships are primal things, and when it is pointed out that there are issues involving them, it is easy for many to lash out rather than reflect.
"At any rate, consider this a public note of support. And to the developers reading this thread - I picked up the game based on this review - while flawed from a gender balance perspective, it seems fun! Take the feedback offered and iterate, and make the next one more inclusive.. and thus even better." - ScottTweet