Author Topic: Colorblind: On Witcher 3, Rust, and gaming's race problem  (Read 682 times)

MunkiLord

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Survival indie MMO Rust recently changed how players were assigned characteristics for their avatar.

Everyone used to start as a bald white man, then the developers decided to alter avatarsí race and face.

Hereís the catch: You donít get to choose.

As lead developer and studio owner Garry Newman wrote: "Everyone now has a pseudo unique skin tone and face. Just like in real life, you are who you are Ė you canít change your skin colour or your face. Itís actually tied to your SteamID [how the game recognises you]."

Thus player choice of skin color was removed. It should be noted that you donít see your character, as itís first person. Other players, of course, can. Newman continues:

"Thereís a lot of skin colors in the world, and itís really easy to appear racially insensitive when doing this. This is compounded by the fact that everyone is really used to seeing [the player avatar] as a white guy, so when you see him as a black guy it feels like heís just Ďblacked up.í So weíre spending a lot of time trying to lessen that effect."

Many white gamers expressed concern, as Megan Condis documents, disliking being forced to think about race and having to play someone who didnít match their own race. "The problem is lack of freedom of choice," one claimed.

Writing on Steam, another user said: "I was going to buy RUST today! But I am a white guy and dont [sic] want to take the chance [!] of playing a black character." Another said this was "forced politics."


Article continues in the link.


An excellent piece of writing in my opinion. This has caused me to look at Witcher 3 from a different perspective. I think the criticism of the game is fair. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving it and will continue to play it for probably another 75-125 hours. But this is a knock against the game. I had noticed everyone seemed to be white, but I didn't give it any thought beyond a possible slight recognition. I guess that is one of the things the author is stating, people not paying attention. I'm guilty of this.

Fyndhal

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Re: Colorblind: On Witcher 3, Rust, and gaming's race problem
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2015, 08:48:44 PM »
The Witcher is made by a Polish game developer. Polands demographics don't include a high percentage of non-whites. The wrote what they know/are familiar with. Could they have had more diversity? Yes. Should they have? Probably. Do I fault them for failing to do so? Not in the least.

MunkiLord

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Re: Colorblind: On Witcher 3, Rust, and gaming's race problem
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2015, 09:11:28 PM »
For any specific game taken in a vacuum that may be fair. But being all(or overwhelmingly) white is the typical industry standard. The Witcher is being written about now because it is the flavor of the month. Next month Batman Arkham Knight could be the target, Mad Max in September, or whatever game is most popular at the time. Many games might have good reasons to be so white. But when taken as an industry, that is when it becomes a problem is what I'm gathering. If the Witcher was the exception and not the rule it wouldn't be an issue.

There is an interesting comment discussion in that article about what was going on in 1275 Poland with trade routes and the Golden Horde and race mixing that I think is worth checking out.

Fyndhal

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Re: Colorblind: On Witcher 3, Rust, and gaming's race problem
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2015, 10:19:08 AM »
If the Witcher was the exception and not the rule it wouldn't be an issue.

This I can agree with.

Doctor Forums

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Re: Colorblind: On Witcher 3, Rust, and gaming's race problem
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2015, 11:45:00 AM »
What are the demographics of elves and dwarves in Poland?