You all remember Dungeons of Dredmor, right? And you remember how its developer, Gaslamp Games, was pretty awesome?
I’m happy to report that they seem to be at it again. In a recent blog post, they talk about their attitude towards featuring characters of different races in their upcoming game, Clockwork Empires. Here’s the money quote:
We feel it’s important to have people of all colours in the game, basically. I’m not going to get into the exceedingly grim history of 19th century colonialism here, but I assure you we’ve had a lot of internal discussions about how we can possibly approach making a game vaguely based on the Victorian era without being ridiculously offensive.
Honestly, I don’t envy them having to make those sorts of decisions, because they’re certainly not trivial to make. (I am reminded of how Failbetter Games approached the same issue for Echo Bazaar but seemingly reached different concusions.)
What I don’t expect is for Gaslamp to suddenly find a solution that will be perfect in every respect. I highly doubt such a solution even exists. What I do expect is for them to give it their best shot, and for it to be a whole lot better than if they didn’t even bother trying to address it.
It’s very gratifying to see at least one developer continue to take this sort of issue seriously.
I played quite a bit of indie roguelike, Dungeons of Dredmor, when it first came out in July. I enjoyed the game, but it annoyed me that I only had the option of playing a male hero. Eventually, I tire of the game and stop playing it.
Fast forward several months, and I’ve just recently picked the game up again. Now, when I play it, I’m faced with this:
"Also Choose Your Hero" -- Dungeons of Dredmor character select allows for a choice between a white man and a white woman
Hurrah! And what isn’t immediately obvious from the character select screen is that the female player character is done right. She isn’t just there for the male gaze, and has armour that is actually armour an not lingerie pretending to be armour, for instance.
Of course, this still isn’t perfect. It would have been even better if this had been in the game from the start, and it’s still the case that you only have the choice of playing a white hero. I don’t think things have to be perfect, though, for us to acknowledge change for the better. So good job, Gaslamp Games, and thank you. Now can we have some characters who aren’t white as well, please?
I find it gratifying that this is now the sort of thing that more game devs are willing to take seriously. That this sort of thing happens is indicative of the progress that we are making. It’s slow progress, for sure, but it is there.