Project Atlas Hero diversity
Hey, so I just downloaded the game! I excitedly played the tutorial. I flipped through the Atlaspedia. And now I want to talk!
Here's my feedback in the requested format:
I felt sad and slightly left out when I clicked through all the heroes in the Atlaspedia.
You may say I'm being hasty. You may say I should play the game and immerse myself for several hours before providing commentary. But please hear me out regardless.
I'm a geeky, geeky person, and I cosplay at gaming and anime conventions. Frankly, it's hard for people like me and my friends to cosplay when game characters tend to look the same.
Me personally, I believe the MOBA and RTS industry leaders have done little to address diversity. I'll talk specifically about League of Legends -- because more often than not, I find that League of Legends perpetuates common gender, race, and LGBT stereotypes.
For every 1 Vi (fully-clothed and arguably butch-like), there's about 8 or more scantily-clad girls in miniskirts or bikini tops or skin-tight catsuits, like Miss Fortune, Caitlyn, Ashe, Katarina, Zyra, Ahri, Elise, Janna, etc. For every 1 Lucian and 1 Ekko (both darker-skinned), there's about 8 or more lighter-skinned dudes with straight hair, including Ezreal, Varus, Vladimir, Taric, Jayce, Garen, Graves, Draven, etc.
I mean, I'm grateful that Vi exists! I'm grateful Lucian and Ekko exist! Don't get me wrong. But I don't think it's the best that we as a nerd and gaming community can do.
We as human beings operate in a primarily visual culture. And video games definitely have a visual component. Even if we're talking about aliens or elves or dwarves, they're still generally humanoid. They still resemble us.
Now, in the real world, we often leave clues on our bodies that the eye can see. These clues tell others about our identity or values. Hairstyle, jewelry, hats, clothing style, piercings, tattoos, etc. often can be visual shortcuts to signify just who we are and what we're about. They aren't always visual shortcuts, but sometimes they are.
All it takes is one glance at a knit beanie, a bracelet, knee-length cargo shorts, low-profile sneakers with a waffle sole, bleach blond hair with dark roots, and you start to get an idea about a person.
What you don't know is that the "North American skater bro" in front of you is really a punter on a semi-pro football team who loves to play Cooking Mama on the 3DS and cuddle with his silver tabby cat named Waffles.
But you still took a visual inventory of him, didn't you?
This is why I'm going to argue that all I need to see is a tutorial and an Atlaspedia to be able to talk about diversity. Because it's quick and easy to see things like skin tones, hair textures, and body shapes. Playing the game for 20 more hours will not affect my first impression.
I'm hopeful though.
Artillery only has a handful of heroes - 8 heroes as of this writing - and there will only be more of them as we get further into the art and development process. I'm hopeful that there will be many, many inclusive and diverse heroes. I'm hopeful that I'll get to cosplay this "Project Atlas" along with my friends and tell the world about this awesome game, as soon as the Non Disclosure Act lifts.
Goodness knows all human beings are not the same height, the same gender, the same sexuality, the same skin color, the same body shape, etc.
But goodness knows all human beings have the same capacity to play a game, test a game, geek out about a game, and love a game, if we so choose.
That is why I believe we are gathered here, after all.