Mike Morhaime has apologized for his company's previous dismissal of the importance of diversity in its games.
“We’re grateful to have such a diverse and passionate player base, and we want everyone to feel welcome, safe, and included in our games and communities,” the president and co-founder said in a letter to a fan who had written complaining of under-representation of females and ethnic minorities in Blizzard titles.
“We have made some mistakes in how we’ve communicated about this and how we’ve reflected it in other ways, but we are working to improve. We take the topic of inclusiveness seriously, and we don’t want any of our players to feel we are being insensitive in how we portray our characters.
“Blizzard’s employees form a broad and diverse group that cares deeply about the experiences we are creating for our players. 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.
“We are also actively looking at our story development and other processes to ensure that our values are fully represented. We’ve always believed that positive, lasting change comes from examination, discussion, and iteration, and this applies as much to story as to gameplay. There is no reason why inclusivity should come at the expense of an amazing game experience.”
Former chief creative officer Rob Pardo, who left the company earlier this month, had formerly stated that gameplay was the company's focus, with more emphasis on fun than diversity or social commentary.
In the original letter to Morhaime, the fan explained that they would not be partaking in the alpha for upcoming MOBA Heroes of the Storm, stating: “It’s easy to dismiss these concerns as unimportant or even to see them as a political or social issue.
“What you to recognize is that by not acknowledging these issues, they are in fact sending a message: that somehow, including a wider variety of portrayals of women or incorporating diversity in other aspects is politicizing their game. I don’t think that’s true. I certainly don’t believe it’s truer than the notion that excluding these groups doesn’t send a message.
“Women and people of color are present in Blizzard’s player base, and are underrepresented as the heroes of Blizzard’s games.”