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Activision Blizzard presents an algorithm to identify the diversity of its characters

Last Thursday, May 12, Activision Blizzard presented through its official blog Diversity Space Toola beta phase algorithm created by King (Candy Crush Saga) for rate numerically how diverse the characters are of games created by Activision, Blizzard Entertainment and King. The announcement caused not only discrepancies on the network, but negative feedback from the developers themselves of the company, who claimed not to have used the tool despite the fact that the statement specified that it has been used by the teams of Overwatch 2 Y Call of Duty: Vanguard. The company run by Bobby Kotick has updated the post removing all mention of those games.

The statement, titled King’s diversity space tool: a step forward in video game inclusionexplains what has been developed since 2016 together with the MIT Game Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the goal of “create and monitor guidelines for the conception and creation of characters”. Thus, a graph was displayed (rescued by pc gamersince it has been removed from the official website) where the heroine Ana de Overwatchqualifying it with a 7 out of 10 in culture, race and age; and with a zero for body complexion and sexual orientation.

Alayna Cole of Sledgehammer Gamesdevelopers of Call of Duty: Vanguardsays in the article in already deleted declarations that they are going to use “that data from now on in the next games” in which they are working. “The team of Overwatch 2 Blizzard have also had the opportunity to experiment with the tool, with equally enthusiastic first impressions.” That doesn’t seem to be the case. Dylan Snyder, Senior Game Designer of the hero shootersaid on Twitter this Saturday: “The portion about Overwatch 2 It was deleted mostly because we’re not using it and we didn’t know about its existence until yesterday.”

“God, I swear to you that our own company goes to great lengths to sacrifice any goodwill built by the actual developers who make the game,” says Melissa Kelly, character artist on the team at Overwatch, in the same social network. “Overwatch don’t even use this creepy dystopian graphic. Our writers have eyes. Artists have eyes. [Tambin los] producers, directors, etc. As far as I know they all have eyes too.

The company confirms that they will continue to use this tool

Activision Blizzard has addressed these contradictions in a update to the original article, ensure that the tool, “was designed as an optional add-on to the hard work and attention our teams already put into telling diverse stories with diverse characters, but the Decisions regarding game content have been and will always be team driven. of development”. They add that “several developers” of the company have made “valuable contributions”.

“The purpose of the tool is uncover unconscious biases, identifying existing representation norms and recognizing opportunities for growth in inclusion. It does not replace any other essential efforts of our teams in this regard, or alter diversity hiring goals of our company” continues the update of the statement, where they point out that the tool will continue to be used.

“The tool is not intended to be used in isolation; teams will sit down with company diversity and inclusion staff to identify existing norms and then discuss, educate, consult, and collaborate on how a character’s portrayal is expressed beyond those norms. This process aims to create a conversation in which our developers, aided by the tool, challenge assumptionsevaluate options and find opportunities to foster authentic representation in our games“.

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