Supporting Queerness in Game Dev All Year Round

Pride Month may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean our commitment to support the 2SLGBTQ+ community ends on July 1! This month has been an emotional one: full of love and solidarity, passion and enthusiasm, reflection and grief. Pride demands such a balance: we must both acknowledge and mourn the history of violent oppression the community has (and continues to) face and center queerness as an experience of immense joy, beauty and togetherness.


Throughout June, we emphasized queer joy, coming together for a Pride movie lunch, shouting out our favourite queer games and the people working on them, and spotlighting our Queer Collective and amazing team of queer game devs. We want to keep the energy built up around Pride going all year round! Here’s how we’re going to do it:


Supporting Queer People at the Studio

Nurturing a safe and inclusive workplace for our teams has always been our top priority. However, values are only as good on paper as they are in action. That’s where our commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion comes in.


At Archiact, equity, diversity and inclusion is more than a statement; it’s a core value we continually strive to uphold in everything we do. Our goal is simple: we seek to build a diverse team and nurture a safe, inclusive work environment where our teammates, especially those who are marginalized, can thrive, including our 2SLGBTQ+ team members. The Queer Collective, a group run by and for our queer employees, has been a great resource for this, and we will continue to support them in their efforts to build a warm and supportive community of queer people at the studio.


We do not see this commitment as a box to check off a list but as a constant, ever-evolving process to be actively pursued, reviewed, and improved upon. We acknowledge that queer people have historically been alienated and excluded in the games industry and we have a responsibility to do better. As allies, we promise to listen to and learn from our queer teammates, take the initiative to educate ourselves and ask questions, and confront our prejudices and unconscious biases.


Representing Queer People in Games

Video games allow us to explore immersive imaginary worlds, from magical kingdoms to deep space, distant futures to alternate histories. But video games also reflect our real lives: the emotions we feel, the relationships we form, the struggles we face, and the challenges we overcome. Sometimes they’re a form of escape, a way to transcend the limits imposed by material reality and experience lives we could only dream of before now, or a form of community-building.


For these reasons, 2SLGBTQ+ representation in video games is extremely important. It allows queer people a sort of virtual mirror. Seeing ourselves represented in the imaginary worlds and stories of games has a funny way of making us feel seen in the real world. Video games allow us to imagine that anything is possible, that just like the avatars we’re controlling, we can live the lives we want and make a difference in the world. When they include queer people, games remind us that when we dream of idyllic pastures, mystical realms, faraway planets and futuristic societies, queer people have a place there.


According to the 2020 Nielson Games 360 Report, 2SLGBTQ+ people make up around 10% of gamers, but the number of queer characters in video games is nowhere near proportionate to the number of queer people who play them.


At Archiact, we are determined not only to increase the representation of the 2SLGBTQ+ community in our games but to do so correctly. Queerness in games has often been marred by harmful tropes, limited to only certain identities, or dependent on players’ choices. We are lucky to have a plethora of queer voices represented at all levels of game development, including our writers, and this diversity is a great asset to representing queer people with care, nuance, and depth.

 

That’s all for Pride Month 2022! To 2SLGBTQ+ gamers, know that you are a valuable part of the community around our games. To 2SLGBTQ+ game devs, know that there is a safe space for you at Archiact. And to our 2SLGBTQ+ teammates, know that we appreciate you.