Ahead of the release of Pride Run this October, Green Man Gaming’s managing director of publishing David Clark addressed the lack of LGBTQ+ representation in the games industry, speaking to MCV@gamescom.
“Green Man Gaming has always believed that gaming should be for everyone and we added this statement to our company values,” Clark said. “As a team we felt this statement was even more important for us to set in concrete after we experienced several cases of toxic feedback to a few of our inclusive campaigns including the changing of our logo colours to celebrate Pride month.”
When asked if the LGBTQ+ community and culture are represented enough in games, Clark replied: “The simple answer is no. To the best of our knowledge, Pride Run is the only LGBTQ+ game that is launching this year. Which, given the size of the audience and the commercial returns this audience can deliver, begs the question: why?”
Negative feedback from a fringe of the games community may explain the reticence of big publishers when it comes to supporting LGBTQ+ titles, despite the big commercial opportunity this audience represents.
Pride Run, which launches on PC on October 11th, is a rhythm game that puts players in charge of their own Pride parade, with Ivan Venturi, CEO and game director at developer IV Productions saying “it was about time someone took the passion that emanates from these celebrations of LGBTQ+ culture beyond attendees and out into the wider world.”
By publishing this game, Green Man Gaming is certainly making a step in the right direction.
“There has been loads of talk about diversity in the games industry and community. This is certainly beginning to change views on the industry side, but judging by the behaviour of some in the community, I think there is still a long way to go, unfortunately,” Clark said.
“There have certainly been games for the LGBTQ+ community and that have touched on LGBTQ+ issues, but the selection to choose from over the years has been limited. In part, the toxic reception from some elements of the gaming community towards such games and those that wish to buy them has put a number of developers and potential customers off. For IV Productions, this is nothing new and something they have been dealing with since day one of the project,” he continued.
Clark fully expects backlash, though he also sounded ready to deal with it: “I have no doubt that Green Man Gaming will have to deal with unsavoury posts from some in the community when Pride Run launches and we’ll support the game and developers by sticking to the values we believe in. If it’s not for some, it’s OK, our values may not be for everyone but we’ll keep them anyway.
“It is not exclusive to the video games community, it’s a social-wide issue that we all need to address collectively – as companies, as parents, as influencers, as a society. The only way to address this is to take responsibility and help raise awareness of the importance of inclusivity and diversity everywhere.”