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Update #2

Why does it matter who makes our games?

8 comments
Hey everyone, Dani here again. Thank you so much for the support so far! We are definitely moving in the right direction and really appreciate all the help in spreading the word. There is still a long way to go to reach our goal, but we have a good amount of time left; we can do it! :)

Anyhow, onto the update!

A couple days ago we were covered by “The Advocate” (click me), and as you might have guessed, that raised a bit of commotion from people about why personal information about me was relevant. Why does it matter who makes games? As long as they are made?

I figured this was a great subject and a good chance to show just how it impacts Bloom (and really, what we are trying to achieve making games at all).

It’s no secret that the games industry, by and large, lacks diversity. In this case, that is gender diversity. This is actually a huge shame as it limits the stories and points of views different types of people bring to the collective table of gaming.

Considering that Bloom is dealing so heavily with an extremely delicate issue rooted in fundamental biological gender differences (birth and maternal love), it is simply advantageous to have someone a bit more “tuned in” to the issue of gender at the helm.

Now, before I go on, I just want to be clear that being aware and sensitive to these issues doesn't mean we will be bonking people over the head about it. Instead, all of what I’m about to point out translates to extremely simple shifts in the storyline or treatment of characters. Being respectful of differences in games isn't difficult; it simply requires a little awareness.

So, let’s focus back on what this means for Bloom.

Representation of Female Characters -

Obviously the mother in Bloom is one of the central female characters, and it would be easy to have her role be nothing more than a vapid caregiver devoid of character.

Upon hearing this, here is what one person assumed –

“The most prominent female character doesn't actually do anything but give love and support. Mothers are consistently reduced to this throughout movies.”

Shockingly, the mother character throughout the story in Bloom is actually a developed PERSON. She sets out on her own agendas throughout the game and does far more than simply support the main character. That we have come to expect less from games in handling a subject like this is exactly my point in the sensitivities different types of people bring to projects.

But, let’s take a prime example of “the normal way” and “the Bloom way” of handling a driving story point. ~slight spoiler alert ~

While I was writing the story, I needed a drive for the main character (in the hero’s journey, this is the “call to adventure” early in the game).

The normal way” of handling this would have been to simply kidnap the mother character (a trope we see so often in games). If you analyze what message this sends, it isn't very good for women.

The Bloom way” is to give the mother a reason to travel back to the “bad guys”. This is her choice and something she “must do” of her own will.

As you can see, either one of these get you to the same situation of driving the main character to follow the mother to the enemy. Though, this small change completely reshapes the personalities of the character and the role they play in the game.

Pregnancy in Gaming –

Often time in games (and movies) pregnancy is treated with a rather inconsiderate way. Here is a great video on the issue that covers the subject pretty well (check out the rest of her videos if you have the time, some great insights to our industry).

In Bloom, while the game begins with the birth of the main character, we take great care to make sure the issue is handled with the respect it deserves.

The art –

This is the easiest one to talk about (since not much needs to be said). The differences in the way I create concept art and models is pretty self-explanatory. Basically, notice how the female characters aren't half naked with giant breasts? Yea, this is a pretty easy one to be aware of. ..I’m kind of surprised this is even “different” to treat them with that level of respect.

To see more artwork for Bloom, check out www.studiofawn.com

Summing Up -

Basically, because I’m the one in charge of the story, and the art, and the overall direction of the game; everything is tinted by my own experiences and sensitivities. It means I can make a more thoughtful game (I'm a thoughtful person :), something that represents the characters respectfully and pushes the game further in its storytelling. The characters aren't reduced to empty cliches and are instead given full personalities and drives making them seem even more alive and relatable.

This is a game that deals with some very delicate subjects. It is my experiences in life which equip me to be aware of these issues and treat them as they deserve to be handled. Everyone has their own voice they bring to a project, this is mine.

Comments

    1. Oldwoman-001.small

      Creator Studio Fawn on March 13, 2013

      Thanks so much :)

      Oh, I don't think she is trying to say love and support are bad (my mom is one of the most loving and supportive people in the world!). I think the problem pops up when that is ALL they are. It really applies to any character though, having anyone as just one note creates a flat character with no personality... the key is giving them a little bit more. That is why the best characters in books are fleshed out, they are deep, they are dynamic :)

    2. Missing_small

      Creator Laura Epstein on March 12, 2013

      “The most prominent female character doesn't actually do anything but give love and support. Mothers are consistently reduced to this throughout movies.”

      As if giving love and support is not difficult or vital! What is so reductionist about this?

      Anyway, thanks for all the work you're doing on this gorgeous game!

    3. Missing_small

      Creator Godewijn on March 10, 2013

      Nice update :)

    4. Oldwoman-001.small

      Creator Studio Fawn on March 9, 2013

      I'm glad what we are trying to do is coming across :)

      Kristen - I completely agree! Games which rely on tired cliches and stereotypes for their story / characters just don't really have that "connection". That is why really great literature always has such rich and dynamic characters.

      GuiOhm - It was kind of surprising to me too! I think sometimes people forget that there is a difference between companies who make games as "widgets" to sell...and those who make them for expressive purposes (such as the games Jenova Chen makes, his games are definitely trying to make a difference and make people think... which is why they are so refreshing).

      Basically, we feel people matter.... that they aren't interchangeable cogs. ((And that is coming from someone in LA!! I haven't been jaded yet :P haha)).

    5. Missing_small

      Creator kristen maksuta on March 9, 2013

      I personally appreciate having a world that more accurately reflects our own... Through character dress, demeanor, actions, etc.

      When a developer doesn't get caught up with trying to attract attention with the typical clichés, this actually gets noticed. The gamer can have a higher connection with the game world, which ultimately increases the play value and brings attention to the game in this way. So, we appreciate what you are trying to do here :)

    6. Librarian__discworld_.small

      Creator GuiOhm on March 9, 2013

      Have people really questioned the need to know the creative minds behind the project? Most of the successful gaming Kickstarters I've heard of have built exactly on that (although it's not always enough)... And a newborn indie studio would need that even more, since you can't showcase previous accomplishments.

      But that aside, it's good to see that these themes are going to be handled delicately! Not really surprising after seeing the pitch, but always worth expanding on :)

    7. Oldwoman-001.small

      Creator Studio Fawn on March 9, 2013

      Thanks! :)

      Yea, I think business in general tries to gloss over the PEOPLE behind projects too much. In larger business this is so they can replace people behind the scenes (and the reason a lot of things are whitewashed of personality, so the focus is on the Brand, not the people). That is one of the big differences with indies and smaller teams... there is more influence of each person over the different elements.

      But, in art, the human touch is important! A war game made by someone who has been to war is going to have some much greater insight and probably a different focus / story than someone who just really likes to watch war movies.

      Anyhow, just a subject I thought was pretty interesting to chat about :)

    8. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Thomas Riddell on March 9, 2013

      Great update! It's refreshing to see the authors presence brought to the front of the story being told. I'm glaad The Advocate was able to cover your story. It should bring in some needed traffic too. There aren't enough games, books, or movies out there that tackle these sorts of topics in a way that leaves us with a better understanding of one another without being overbearing. I'm sure Bloom will do this.

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