Activision Blizzard today announced a tool that it plans to roll out to its teams in the coming months. called “Diversity Space Tool”, and unlike other game development tools, it is not used directly to create game content, but rather to assess the diversity of characters in the game and determine this diversity in number and in outlines of spiders.
The tool was apparently created by the team of candy Crush Developed by King and tested on games like Call of Duty: Vanguard, which featured an international team of diverse personalities fighting the Nazis during World War II. Also tested by Monitor 2 who expressed “optimistic impressions.
There is a lot of goodwill behind this new tool. Jacqueline Chomatas, director of the King Globalization Project, explained in an Activision Blizzard blog post that the purpose of the tool is to evaluate game characters as they iterate, to help show their creators that stereotypes may be expressed that reinforce conventional ideas of sexism, racism or other biases.
Dubbed the measuring device, Chomatas explained that the tool aims to “quantify the diversity of the set of personality traits and therefore the diversity of that personality and those stereotypes relative to the ‘norm’.”
King employees also seem to have taken the time to develop this tool in their spare time as a “voluntary” effort, which doesn’t bode well for a company that claims it’s an attempt. to prioritize diversity.
Again, there’s a lot of goodwill here. But game developers on social media are mostly expressing their negativity following Activision Blizzard’s announcement. If you research how the tool works, things get very uncomfortable very quickly.
Chomatas’ explanation of how the tool works highlights a basic complaint that many game developers have: all characters played through the tool are judged on a “rule”, and that “standard” seems to be a strong body, white and gender compatible. male. straight. Character diversity scores are increased when you deviate from this description.
screenshot of Note and observe Egyptian medical sniper Anna points out how disturbing this is. They are labeled on a number of axes which are grouped together in a spider diagram, and are labeled on them. Being Egyptian gives him a “cultural” score of 7, like an Arab. Her age (60) also makes her seven, and her physical ability (one eye) is rated at 4.
Her “cognitive ability” is rated as 0, indicating that whatever Anna’s cognitive ability is, she is part of the “baseline” against which other characters can be judged.
I cannot express enough how upset I am with the writing of this paragraph. i tried to write three paragraphs It highlights how Anna’s normative “cognitive capacity” shows the dangers of creating such a standard and omitting each one because of their appeal.
Why is Al-Qaeda so favored?
Michael Wechau, story designer at Phoenix Labs, Strictly called how It was strange to create such a system that judges characters against the norm. He noted, “This tool assumes that the white male is the basis upon which ‘scores’ are obtained through deviance, which in itself reinforces rather than reinvents patterns that are currently not complete.”
It doesn’t help that many of the scales chosen by King and Activision Blizzard uncomfortably reflect the realistic beliefs of racists and bigots. The eugenics movement of the early 20th century appreciated the study of physiognomy in the 19th century. A practice where a person’s intelligence (or cognitive ability) is believed to be tied to the size and shape of their skull.
By chance (not a coincidence) experts in phrenology It will be considered as deviants the skulls of non-white groups such as Native Americans or black Americans, which is often used to justify atrocities such as genocide or slavery against said groups.
It’s possible that the person who added “cognitive ability” to this list didn’t try to make the same connection. But treating people with cognitive impairment (or just different, different ranges of cognitive abilities) as deviants still has consequences for people today.
With so many game developers talking about the battles they’ve had with company executives to diversify their staff, this tool seems like an uncomfortable natural extension of the gaming industry’s toxic logic about non-white characters and not masculine.
This week only, Developed by Respawn Entertainment They talked about the reaction they would have received when they called to portray a black woman as a heroine Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. in 2020, A former BioWare writer described the complaints ffrom its creative director about adding another Asian character to the game’s cast.
Activision Blizzard says the diversity space tool can “clearly delineate between tokens and an actual representation,” but in fact, it could do the exact opposite.
The advertising of this tool also becomes seriously You’re uncomfortable comparing it to your Activision Blizzard account throughout the year With a slew of lawsuits alleging sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination against the company.