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Blizzard working to make its characters more inclusive, says CEO

Blizzard is working to make the characters that populate its games and their stories more inclusive, according to a letter from CEO Mike Morhaime republished on the blog of one concerned fan.

"Starcunning" initially wrote to Morhaime to express dissatisfaction over when he feels is Blizzard's lack of attention to its storytelling and character creation. He cited a talk at the MIT Media Lab given by former chief creative office Rob Pardo, in which Pardo expressed that diversifying the company's games or creating different portrayals of women and non-male characters wasn't a Blizzard value.

Starcunning also cited an interview with Heroes of the Storm game director Dustin Browder, who responded to a question about some of the costuming for the game's female characters by saying Blizzard was "not sending a message. Nobody should look to our game for that." (Browder later apologized for his comments.)

"I want to start by saying that we're grateful to have such a diverse and passionate player base, and we want everyone to feel welcome, safe, and included in our games and communities," Morhaime wrote in his response letter. "We have made some mistakes in how we've communicated about this and how we've reflected it in other ways, but we are working to improve. As Dustin mentioned in his apology for the comments you called out, we take the topic of inclusiveness seriously, and we don't want any of our players to feel we are being insensitive in how we portray our characters."

Morhaime went on to say that Blizzard's core philosophies and values do include listening and incorporating player feedback, as well as striving to creative games that are inclusive with its character roster and tell meaningful stories that are "as epic and inclusive as possible." He added that Blizzard is currently challenging itself to "draw from more diverse voices within and outside of the company" as it creates more heroes and new stories, adding that there is "no reason why inclusivity should come at the expense of an amazing game experience."

"I speak for everyone at Blizzard when I say that we will always remain open to feedback and discussions to help us improve," Morhaime said. "This will be an ongoing process for us-it's likely that we will make mistakes again in the future, but we will continue to listen, learn, and grow. We care very much about what you think and what you're getting out of our games, and we're committed to reflecting our core values in our words as well as our actions."

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