While there has been clear progress in recent decades, it must be admitted that discrimination is still (too) numerous, in all areas and in all forms. The entertainment industry has therefore taken on the role of a white knight fighting for just causes for many years, but here too, everything is far from perfect. As proof, this testimony from a former video game developer Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and its white cisgender male hero
We may criticize Twitter for the many overflows it tends to generate, but the social network also has its share of advantages. In particular, it makes it possible to free speech on certain sensitive subjects, such as those related to discrimination against minorities. And if the entertainment industry plays a major role in combating this sad phenomenon by trying to highlight ever more varied characters, it is not always a success.
First, it can often be done poorly and serve a just cause, but also because it is considered simply not worth it. This is what the management of the Respawn studio, developer of the very good game, said to itself. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
Released at the end of 2019, the title has Cal Kestis (Cameron Monaghan), a white man, as its main protagonist. However, many developers wanted to take the opportunity to highlight minorities, as explained on Twitter Nora Shramek, former lighting artist of the studio.
When I worked on SW:JFO a LOT of devs wanted & advocated 4 the main character 2b black &/or a woman. ‘Reasons’ 4 NO: We already have 2 black people in the game. Rey is a woman & we can’t do that to’ guess what the demographic of the people making those decisions looked like?
When I worked on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, MANY developers wanted and campaigned for the main character to be black and/or a woman. Reasons for refusal: “We already have two black people in the game. Rey (from Star Wars postlogy to cinema, editor’s note) is a woman and we cannot do the same thing”. Guess where the people who made these decisions come from?
Between awareness of reality and excess?
We must be honest, the justification given by the management of Respawn to justify their choice of a white male character as the main hero is not necessarily very welcome. But on the other hand, and everyone will have their own opinion on the subject, does fighting for better representation of minorities mean that we should must be justified when favoring a character who does not represent any particular minority?
For her part, Nora Shramek denounces an industry “racist, misogine [et] homophobic”. She nevertheless qualifies her remarks afterwards, indicating that she “do NOT blame EA, Disney, etc.” She “di[t] just that people have power in the process [d’une meilleure représentation des minorités]”. It is therefore generally not a good image that Nora gives of the Respawn studio for which she worked, referring in particular to racist remarks heard in its premises.
The worst thing i heard was when someone (not gonna give any info here) said ‘I think all the black people need to have more glossy skin because black people have more oily skin than other people’ dead shock on everyone’s face. Looks at me. ‘Right Nora?’ Me ‘WTF is wrong w/u?’
The worst thing I’ve heard is when someone (I won’t elaborate) said “I think all black people need to have brighter skin because black people have fatter than the others”, shocking everyone. He looks at me: “Isn’t it Nora?”. I asked him, “What’s wrong with you?”
Be that as it may, we hope that if such cases of racism did indeed exist at the time of the development of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, they have since disappeared. In the meantime, do you think its sequel, currently in development, will be more inclusive and more representative of minorities? Give us your opinion in comments!