GDC roundtable calls for more opportunities for black developers

Discussion of stereotypes and workforce diversity urges studios: "Don't be scared of trying something new"
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GDC attendees and speakers have demanded more opportunities for black developers, particularly from platform holders like Microsoft and Sony.

During a roundtable discussion on blacks in gaming – both in terms of game characters and the diversity of the teams behind them – professor and game designer Derek Manns suggested the industry could be doing a lot more to address the issue of stereotyping, Polygon reports.

"Give us a deal for one game deal," Manns said. "I have plenty of friends in this industry who are black developers and very talented, but I don't have the money to pay them."

IGDA stats claim than only 2.5 per cent of all developers are black, despite the ongoing discussion of diversity in the industry.

Manns and his fellow speaker – Revelation Interactive's Dennis Matthews – kept the discussion open, encouraging audience participation. Attendees pointed to some positive depiction of black characters in recent years, including The Walking Dead's protagonist Lee, and Adewale of Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag expansion Freedom Cry.

The latter title was praised for not straying from the series' formula on account of its unusual lead character.

"It might have been the exact same game, but it was a completely different game for me," the audience member said. "I was a black guy saving other black guys from slavery."

One participant suggested that perhaps the fact that the majority of developers are white means they "don't trust themselves to create something about a type of person they're not familiar with".

Another audience member countered: "You have the ability to create something that's outside your culture. You just need to understand that it's not your culture. We spend too much time trying to analyse if you're authentic to an experience. Don't be scared of trying something new and getting rejected." 

For more GDC 2015 news, head to www.develop-onlinet.net/gdc

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