"step our collective games up," in order to tackle race, gender and more.
To Heir these mature issues are "one of the biggest areas of growth" in the industry, and he recognises there'll be "a lot of missteps along the way". Gamers are 'smart enough'.
He also says more should be done to reject stereotypes because "not only is it lazy, but it's fairly boring." So many games end up blurring together because of these.
"If we want to start making games that tackle race, gender and sexual orientation and everything else in positive ways, instead of falling into stereotypical and problematic ways, then we have to step our collective games up," said Manveer Heir at a GDC talk, reports . "This, to me, is one of the biggest areas of growth in this industry. It's where I see so much promise. But I'll be honest - I think we're going to make a lot of missteps along the way but I don't think that means the path is wrong. It just means we need to watch where we're going and try harder."
"Why should we reject stereotypes? Not only is it lazy, but it's fairly boring. We play so many games that use the same stereotypes. I get fed up with the same old story and characters in every game. I know there are others like me, I talk to them all the time. For me, these stereotypes are contributing to the creative stagnation in our industry. But I also believe we need to reject stereotypes as a social responsibility to mankind," he continued.
"...we shouldn't use realism as an excuse... because most of our games aren't anywhere near realistic. The premise of the games we make is so fantastical that to call it realistic is beyond laughable... If we want to make meaningful games, if we want to avoid turning away a significant portion of our potential audience, if we want to be a successful medium that is grown-up and not stuck in adolescence, then we need to stop falling back on the realism excuse and use realism responsibly and not as a default."
A major argument against having a lead protagonist being from, say the LGBTQ community, is that it won't sell well. However this hasn't been widely tested and usually stems from socially conservative notions which then seeps into the marketing campaigns surrounding them, hampering their chances.
"I want us as an industry to stop being so scared... Let's create a game that changes the core experience for the player... let's find a way to challenge the majority and the minority perception of how we deal with race, gender, sexual orientation and all other sources of social injustices we have in our world. Let's not be scared to ruffle feathers and let's be open and honest about our intentions. Let's push and engage in a new discourse as a result of these dynamics. And let's do all of this because what we are currently doing is absolutely not working," Heir exclaimed.
"But this problem isn't solved with words, it's solved with action. It's solved not only with intent but convictions and a little bit of courage. It's solved by fighting, by challenging your team to do something a little deeper and making something that's important to you. It's solved by you here in this room. And that is our ability to change and impact the world. This is the way to push the art form. This is our way to challenge ourselves and others. Wherever we stand today as an industry, I am confident that we will stand somewhere far better tomorrow as long as you right here are willing to be an agent of change. I sincerely hope you are ready for that challenge because I sure as hell am!"