Gender diversity of one of the many forms of diversity that Nintendo has been steadily bringing to its workforce, according to the director of Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
"When I first got into the industry, into game development, it was at a time where overall, the ratio of men to women was very much in favor of men," Aya Kyogoku told US Gamer. "I definitely noticed I was the only woman developer here. But it wasn’t something shocking. It was something I had sort of expected.
"Looking at the Animal Crossing team today, the ratio of men to women is very balanced across all different positions involved in the development team.
The platform holder in May endured a torrent of criticism for omitting the option of same-sex relationships in recent 3DS release Tomodachi Life.
But while homosexuality remains far more of a taboo in Japan than it does in many Western regions, Kyogoku insists that broader diversity is a goal for the platform holder.
“I think that goes beyond just men and women,” she added. “We have a broad age range, a broad range of experiences. It helps different topics get brought up that might not have been on a team that isn’t as diverse. Even beyond development, daily interactions in the workplace are a little different with a diverse team. In that sense, I feel like the fact that the balance is evening out is a good thing.
"At the development level, we try to imagine and play out scenarios about how this type of people will play, or that type of people might play, to keep that at the forefront as we move forward on the development of each title. We obviously make games that cater toward a wide range of audience, but we also do games that cater to a specific audience.
“Those are just differences in genres of games. Not only do we want diversity within one game, but it’s also beneficial to have diversity across genres and the type of games we can make at Nintendo. Looking at it from that perspective, it’s beneficial to have development teams that are diverse in their life experience and backgrounds."