The gaming industry has long had a problem with diversity, and there have been initiatives by different studios over the years to rectify the issue. But not all efforts, while well-intentioned, are good. In a blog post, Activision Blizzard detailed a decision to use a “character diversity tool that quantifies ethnicity, beauty, cognitive ability, and other things that indicate “you’re different,” is one such measure that feels particularly bizarre if not offensive.
Developed by King and MIT Game Labs, this diversity tool was meant to “create and monitor guidelines for character conception and creation.” King globalization project manager Jacqueline Chomatas further explained the tool’s mission, saying, “The Diversity Space Tool is a measurement device, to help identify how diverse a set of character traits are and in turn how diverse that character and cast are when compared to the ‘norm.'”
As you can see from the image below, categories like culture, socioeconomic background, cognitive ability, facial features/beauty, and more are all assigned a value depending on how far they are from the norm of “typical character traits.” This tool can then “weigh new character designs against [the established baseline] to measure their diversity.”
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Source: Game Spot Mashup