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Lucasarts' Hocking: Less 'Fart Jokes,' More Female Developers

Video game development is akin to viking expansion: it's crewed mostly by men, is interested only in conquest, and is full of pent-up aggression and fart jokes, according to Lucasarts creative director Clint Hocking.
Video game development is akin to viking expansion: it's crewed mostly by men, is interested only in conquest, and is full of pent-up aggression and fart jokes. That's according to Lucasarts creative director Clint Hocking, who said in a recent essay that hiring more female game developers will not only help sales, it will also sustain games as a viable medium. "I believe that developing a better-balanced culture is the most important near-term step we can take towards nurturing a stable and truly massmarket audience," he wrote. "This is necessary to see us make the transition from an exploitative, expansionist industry to a sustainable one." While the need for more female developers has certainly been expressed before, more often than not the argument has been made for the sake reaching a larger, untapped female market. According to Hocking, the need is much more important than that: we need to diversify not to appeal to female gamers, but to appeal to our universal culture at large. "It’s this overall culture that’s the giant untapped market we need to serve: a rich and diverse mass market that’s comprised of men and women, appreciating and consuming art and entertainment together," said Hocking. Hocking suggests that the first step toward this goal is to guarantee equal opportunity and pay for women: not on a legal level, but in a way that is audited internally by studios. The next step, he said, is promoting female recruitment. "The problem isn’t that we’re discriminating against female applicants in favor of hiring men; the problem is the lack of female applicants," he wrote. "This means that we need to better position the industry as a desirable workplace, one in which female artists, designers, programmers and project managers would want to be employed." Hocking's full essay is available here.

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