The Last of Us creator opens up about the need for diversity in video games

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Jul 19, 2016, 9:50 AM EDT

It’s no big secret studios are still struggling to include a wide variety of diverse characters in most of their movies and TV series (yes, it’s getting better, but we still have a long road ahead). Video games -- a medium that can also make for a deep and rich storytelling experience -- also suffer from the same problems that plague Hollywood.

The man behind Naughty Dog’s mega hits The Last of Us and Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (two of the best video games I’ve ever played; with a strong focus on story and character development -- plus, the games feature some of the best gameplay, graphics, cinematics and voice acting in the business) has opened up about the issue.

For him, there’s a renewed importance in empowering women and people of color both in the industry and in the stories they are trying to tell. For example, The Last Us features a young LGBT girl named Ellie who is the game’s second main, playable protagonist. Here’s what Druckman had to say in a very lengthy and fascinating interview with The Frame:

“When you make a game, you have these different pillars that you're trying to balance. It's graphics, it's gameplay, it's story and you're trying not to let any one pillar overwhelm the other. You're trying to just keep all of this stuff in your mind like, how does it all work together? Recently, I realized that there's this other pillar of diversity. That's just as important as any one of these other pillars. I've kind of empowered people on the team that have made this their top priority, one of which is someone I have to give a lot of credit to, is Ashley Swidowski, our lead concept character artist, which in film terms would be our costume designer. She is constantly challenging me and pushing for diversity in our cast. Can this be a person of color? Can this be a woman? I see myself as a pretty progressive person and yet my default is a white, straight, christian male. That's interesting because I'm Jewish and yet that's the norm for me right now. It's a challenge and it requires energy to deviate from that. Therefore it's important to empower people on the team that are going to push for this pillar.”

What do you think of Druckman’s views?

(via The Frame)