An outspoken figure in the gaming industry, former Mass Effect series developer Manveer Heir, has periodically been the subject of controversy due to his comments on sensitive issues. Having left BioWare earlier this year, Heir has since gone out on his own and set up an independent gaming studio. Speaking on a recent Waypoint podcast, Heir reflected about his time working on Mass Effect: Andromeda, also talking about how the lack of BioWare diversity made for a problematic work environment.
While the characters of Mass Effect have been relatively inclusive of race, gender, and even alien species, behind the scenes is quite another story, according to Heir. Recalling the “homogeneous leadership” of BioWare, Heir spoke about how his attempts at raising the issue of diversity ultimately fell on deaf ears.
I wasn’t the only one. There were other people, there were other white people, white men, who spoke up. There’s a lot of really good people inside of BioWare who spoke up on this stuff. This is what happens when, I think, you have a homogeneous leadership. The leadership of Mass Effect: Andromeda was all white men.”
Acknowledging his reputation as a “loud” and “angry guy,” Heir maintained that “speaking up” about issues remains extremely important to him. It was this controversial stance on BioWare diversity that eventually contributed to his leaving the company.
As somebody’s who’s public, you become the loud guy, you become the angry guy, and you become the person who’s just trying to get all the press for yourself. That’s how it’s read, and then there becomes internal strife.
It is our job to speak up and do that thing. I’m not gonna quiet down and I’m not gonna not fight. So to me, when I realized I was in an environment that did not accept that and want that, and that was telling me I was being too angry or I was speaking up too much, and basically tried to tell me to sit down and be humble, I was like…peace out.”
While diversity in gaming is still widely considered a hot-button issue, it’s not difficult to find someone with an opinion on the matter. One side of the argument believes more inclusiveness is essential in modern society, while others see the practice as nothing more than pandering. Wherever one falls on the subject, it seems reasonable to agree that diversity will continue to be a controversial discussion for the foreseeable future.
What do you think? Does Manveer Heir make a good point speaking out for BioWare diversity, or did Mass Effect: Andromeda have more important issues worth exploring? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter to be informed of the latest gaming and entertainment news 24 hours a day! For more controversial subjects from recent weeks, check out these next few news stories:
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