Game Informer‘s issue # 255, page 37, (their newest issue, I believe July 2014,) features an article entitled, “Pushing for Diversity,” which features Matt Helgeson’s interview with Bioware Montreal’s Manveer Heir, who delivered a keynote speech at the latest Game Developers Conference pushing for broader inclusiveness in games. (Called “inclusivity” in the actual magazine, but I don’t know if that’s a real word.) Bioware, of course, put Mass Effect together, and are what I would call one of the leaders in in-game character diversity.
Heir talks about his discussions of race, gender, and sexual orientation and their representations in video games. He also talks about feeling “alienated” in the game development industry, frequently being the “only non-white person in [the] room.” He makes claims that are what many might consider bold, given the current game industry and “culture of games” that is mentioned by the interviewer, mentioning the U.S. census, saying that “half of our game characters should be women. And women shouldn’t just be side characters that are annoying and shrewish, they should be main characters.”
This is a part of why I think Bioware and Mass Effect are exemplars that studios should be modeling their ideas of representation of both genders, as well as race and sexual orientation, off of.