Earlier this month, a blogger who goes by the name of “Starcunning” wrote an open letter to Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime. He criticized the studio’s move away from quality storytelling, and more specifically the lack of diversity among the characters in its games. Noting that recent comments from Rob Pardo and Dustin Browder seemed to reject the need for greater inclusiveness outright, he called on Blizzard to “makes the choice and commitment to reflect the diversity of their fans in the worlds and games they create.” And in a response posted on the blog with his permission, Morhaime said that’s exactly what the studio intends to do.
I don’t imagine Starcunning expected a response to his letter, but he wrote a good one anyway, expressing his enthusiasm for Blizzard games while at the same time explaining his decision to move away from them in calm, rational detail. It’s one of the more well-worded criticisms of the lack of diversity in gaming in general, and Blizzard games in particular, that I’ve seen, and maybe that’s what prompted Morhaime to reply.
“We are very conscious of the issues you raise and are discussing them more than ever, at every level of the company, in an effort to make sure our games and stories are as epic and inclusive as possible. Blizzard’s employees form a broad and diverse group that cares deeply about the experiences we are creating for our players,” he wrote. “And we know that actions speak louder than words, so we are challenging ourselves to draw from more diverse voices within and outside of the company and create more diverse heroes and content.”
Blizzard is “actively” examining its processes “to ensure that our values are fully represented,” he said, adding, “There is no reason why inclusivity should come at the expense of an amazing game experience.”
“I speak for everyone at Blizzard when I say that we will always remain open to feedback and discussions to help us improve. This will be an ongoing process for us—it’s likely that we will make mistakes again in the future, but we will continue to listen, learn, and grow,” he wrote. “We care very much about what you think and what you’re getting out of our games, and we’re committed to reflecting our core values in our words as well as our actions.”
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