Bioware Designer Discusses Racism, Misogyny, and Homophobia In Video Games

Manveer Heir

Despite the increasing popularity and mainstreaming of video games as a pastime, the medium still has a problem dealing with anyone that isn't a straight, white male, be that in the characters represented in games themselves or in the attitudes of a not-insignificant percentage of gamers and developers. Managing editor of Sal Mattos interviewed Bioware's Manveer Heir at GDC (Game Developer's Conference) in San Francisco to talk about these very topics. Said Manveer during the interview,

We’ve got to start acknowledging that [gays, women, minorities] are underrepresented groups, and that we don’t really know if the sales are good or bad, and just be willing to try. I think to go like “oh women in games don’t sell well…” but we don’t even see budgets; it’s kind of a terrible argument. We as developers, and people in marketing, and people in the business side of things need to come together to understand the problem and work together to solve it.

The very thorough interview can be read over at GayGamer.


  1. luke says

    female characters that aren’t marketed as sex ploys. the tomb raider series got progressively worse as far as playability goes until the last game or so before the reboot which funnily enough toned down her sexuality.

  2. Pablo says

    Bioware has made amazingly successful games that are very inclusive. Their biggest one let’s your design your own character, whatever skin color, whichever gender, and then you can choose what kind of romance you want in game to boot. People loved it.

  3. Homo Genius says

    Being a gamer I have to say that there has been a shift the past few years and many games are very gay friendly now or more so than before.

    Now we always hear about the “women” and truth be told most games don’t actually appeal to women. Even if they removed all the misogyny and sexism, not many women are gonna play many titles. Its really no different than movies. Guys are not going want to watch Notebook over and over and chicks probably aren’t going to line up to see the next GI Joe. The last thing gaming needs is to be Disneyfied so like so many other things they only appeal to 13 year old girls

  4. Randy says

    Which characters are slaughtered most often in video games, by the way… men or women? Must be misogyny!

  5. Dback says

    As a guy who spent much of his high school and college years being “nerd/geek adjacent” (and was around during the early days of e-bulletin boards, UNIX, etc.), I can testify that being anti-woman or anti-gay was too often a form of socially acceptable “glue” binding together those at the lower end of the masculinity scale. (See: “The Big Bang Theory.”) Things have gotten much better, but a LOT of gamers, designers and engineers still have very two-dimensional ideas about “otherness.” (Women have been grousing about the casual, built-in sexism in comics for decades.) Things only change when “outsiders” (non-white, non-heterosexual, non-men) finally are able to infiltrate the power structure and then prove there’s an unserved market out there that’s not being addressed. You often see the same dynamic in Hollywood filmmaking, in who controls radio airplay, etc.