Gears of War boss Rod Fergusson has spoken about the importance of inclusive game design and diversity in the workplace. During his keynote address as PAX South, Fergusson said he was inspired by the Stephen Frost quote, “Unless you consciously include, you will unconsciously exclude.”
“We had to find a way to welcome new players and create an on-board for them. The way we really focused on doing that was through inclusive design,” Fergusson explained.
The veteran game developer said his perspective as a straight white man limits his ability to create games that appeal to people from all different walks of life and social circles.
“If you live within your own tower, and your own insular base–I’m a straight white old male–my social circles and my demographics and all the people I reach could potentially be limited, or if not limited, biased in some ways,” he said. “If I don’t consciously make the decision to break out of that idea and go and talk to other people and hire people who are diverse to bring new opinions and new ideas and grow–if you don’t do that intentionally, then you are going to accidentally leave people out.”
Over the years, Fergusson said the Gears of War franchise has done more to “lean in” to further inclusivity and diversity. He acknowledged that the franchise is known for being macho–it features giant men and huge guns, after all–though he said he is proud of the steps the studio has taken to make games that appeal to more people. The latest entry, Gears 5, features the Kait Diaz in the lead role; it’s the first female protagonist in the series.
The newest episode of GameSpot’s Audio Logs features Fergusson speaking about, among other things, inclusive game design. Check it out in the video embed above.
Fergusson’s talk at PAX South was wide-ranging. He also touched on his time working on BioShock Infinite, while he also recalled leaving 2K over “creative differences.”
The next Gears game coming up is Gears Tactics, which is a turn-based strategy game for Xbox One and PC made by Splash Damage. No new entries in the mainline series have been announced, but given Gears 5 was such a huge success, a sequel is likely in the works.
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