One of Blizzard's key developers has apologised for what he has admitted was a poor response to a question about "over-sexualised character designs" and vowed to listen to feedback.
In an interview at BlizzCon, Rock, Paper, Shotgun raised the issue of Blizzard's portrayal of female characters in the likes of real-time strategy game StarCraft 2 with Dustin Browder, game director of Heroes of the Storm. The question revolved around how Blizzard planned to approach character design for the upcoming multiplayer online battle arena game.
"Well, I mean, some of these characters, I would argue, are already hyper-sexualised in a sense,"Browder responded.
"I mean, Kerrigan is wearing heels, right? We're not sending a message to anybody. We're just making characters who look cool. Our sensibilities are more comic book than anything else. That's sort of where we're at. But I'll take the feedback. I think it's very fair feedback."
After RPS challenged Browder further, he added: "We're not running for President. We're not sending a message. No-one should look to our game for that."
The interview sparked debate on social networks and forums about Blizzard's character design, and yesterday, Sunday, 24th November, Browder addressed the controversy in a blog post on the Heroes of the Storm website, titled: "On character design."
It is republished in full, below.
In a recent interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I responded poorly to a statement the interviewer made about over-sexualised character designs in games, and I want to apologise for that. This is a serious topic and I don't want anyone to think that I, or anyone else at Blizzard, is insensitive about how we portray our characters.
It takes work to make compelling characters, but it's important to take a step back to ensure that we're not alienating our players. We have an amazing roster of heroes and we will always strive to make sure that everyone can have a hero that they identify with and feel powerful using. And at the end of the day, we all want the same thing. A great game where we can all have fun battling for glory and maybe some bragging rights.
On the stage at BlizzCon, I spoke about Heroes being a collaborative project, shaped by the passion, love, and support of gamers like you. We're building this game together, we're listening, and your thoughts are valued.
I would like to thank Rock, Paper, Shotgun as well as our players for their feedback on this important issue. We want to do better, so keep the feedback coming and thanks for the continued support. We've got some pretty amazing things in store for you and we're looking forward to seeing you in the Storm.
All eyes now turn to the next showing of Heroes of the Storm to see whether Blizzard makes any changes to its character design. The cinematic trailer, below, was released alongside the game's re-unveiling at BlizzCon this year.