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Gears criticised for stereotyping

Cole said to "reinforce casual racism".

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Morgan Gray, senior producer at Crystal Dynamics, has said he's fed up with all the stereotypical black characters appearing in games - singling out Gears of Wars' Cole Train as a prime example.

His comments came in an interview with MTV Multiplayer, currently running a series of features about black professionals working in the games industry.

"I am sick of playing the average white dude character. I’m just done with it. And I’m sick of playing a black stereotype," Gray stated.

"There's no reason that Marcus Fenix in Gears of War couldn't have been a black guy... Cole Train on his own, no harm no foul. But what is Cole Train? Cole Train is basically like every other effin’ black character in a video game. Like here comes the urban stereotype.

"Where is this 1990s - not even 2000 - black slang, where does this fit in this futuristic world that doesn’t even take place on Earth? They go really far to do a lot of fictional justifications for this culture that they’ve built, and they go right back to this urban stereotype for the black character."

Gray was keen to point out he was not attacking Epic Games, saying he thinks Gears of War is "fun and gorgeous". However, he added, "It’s just a lack of thought, right? All it does is reinforce dumb stereotypes and it sort of reinforces casual racism. It’s almost like, 'Cue the drum beat, here comes the black character.'"

He also had a few things to say about the work of Japanese developers: "Their take on black folks in games has generally been poor. It’s either been here’s this ’70s pimp, here’s ultra hip-hop dude, or here’s a straight-up thug.

"F***ing Barret in Final Fantasy VII - they put a gun on the guy’s arm. It’s just like, 'Yeah, black guy with built-in gun.' Okay, that’s really, really weird. So it’s generally been s*** characterisations that are way racist or way just hokey racist."

For more from Gray, including what he thinks about Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and the Resident Evil 5 trailer, read the full interview.

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