Earlier this October we started a Contribute to the Conversation thread in celebration of the start of Global Diversity Awareness Month! We asked fellow Xbox Ambassadors about times when they felt an appreciation for diversity and representation within a game on Xbox and why it was meaningful to them.
We absolutely loved reading through the many responses and— through a lot of difficulty— narrowed it down to eight.
And here they are:
I really appreciated the character Yusuf in Assassin’s Creed Revelations because he represented a Muslim and throughout his story, he was loyal and faithful to Ezio despite only meeting him momentarily. He was honest, prideful, and a great friend.
Even when the enemies had captured him to torture him into revealing Ezio’s location, he didn’t budge one bit. Any other man without morals would’ve easily betrayed Ezio to save his own skin but Yusuf never said a word.
When Ezio finally found him, you could see that Ezio was enraged at what the enemies had done to him and it affected him so deeply. Yusuf died honorably as a true martyr and thus this is what a Muslim represents, true honor even up until the very end.
I think for me the game that has a massive amount of diversity would be The Sims 4, as you can have partners of the same sex, different race and even different cultures.
There is no limitation to the game and that’s how it should be for games, no limitations.
Free for anyone to be who and what they want, living without judgment, or in fear.
Just life, love and happiness.
Tell Me Why was put on the front stage for transgender awareness with Xbox, Game Pass, and across multiple other platforms. Seeing a game dev like DONTNOD use their company to bring awareness to such a misunderstood topic in the mainstream area was very comforting. They used real world issues, situations and examples of what it’s like in real life to go through transition.
They packed a lot in a short game. For me, with real lived experience in this area, it was comforting to see it made visible to the mass audience. There are already a few games about transgender issues, lifestyle and all that comes with being different in identity.
But they get buried deep in game store pages or the companies lacks the resources to push the game into view. In the US and across the world, being transgender or different in any way can get you beaten, brutalized and even killed. The day I transitioned it hit me hard, that I had just removed my status in society, and became like the majority of the world.
A regular person living as who I was born.
Like others have mentioned, I think the Assassin’s Creed games show great diversity within their historical timelines and how different cultures are and what their customs are/were.
Along with Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect stands out to me as it too was the first game I played where your character could have a relationship with the same sex.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is a great example of female representation in video games which delivers a strong female protagonist. This was achieved because the character was written and designed specifically to be a female character. So it delivered a solid character played by a great actor.
Another great thing about this game is that it also covers mental health issues and other issues females have to deal with on a daily basis.
Many people wont ever experience mental health or knowingly be around anyone displaying signs of mental health so this game is also educational and gives an insight into what it’s like to live with mental health and the struggles/battles it presents while also delivering a great gaming experience that’s fun to play.
Night in the Woods is a game that I think deserves a lot of credit for representation, particularly with regard to LGBTQIA+ characters. The game features a main character in Mae who is queer, as well as two major supporting characters, Gregg and Angus, who are gay and in a relationship together.
I think part of what makes the relationship between Gregg and Angus so great in particular is that it feels authentic and relatable, with genuine sweetness and positivity, and with issues that many people can relate to in their own relationships. Additionally, the game never needs to take any extraordinary measures to emphasize that Gregg and Angus are accepted and loved for who they are, because its characters simply make that clear by treating Gregg and Angus the way they would want to be treated.
I think that while mainstream gaming has seen many positive trends in representation in recent years, including some wonderful games with LGBTQIA+ characters that tackle the theme of acceptance (Gone Home, Tell Me Why, etc.), it’s still exceedingly rare today to see games featuring clearly-defined LGBTQIA+ main characters with more universally relatable stories like those of Gregg and Angus and Mae.
On top of this, Night in the Woods touches heavily on mental illness, telling stories of characters dealing with issues like depression, anxiety, and disassociation in ways that are relatable, and demonstrating that dealing with these issues is an extremely normal part of life. For a game whose characters are all anthropomorphic animals, Night in the Woods has a lot of amazing things to say about humanity.
Just loaded up Forza Horizon 4 recently and was impressed with all the customization options of choosing race & gender for your driver avatar.
In addition I was pleased that my name was available from the extensive selection list, love that the game can speak my name.
Perfect example of diversity, no matter what your background.
For myself, Destiny 2 has been one of the best diverse games on multiple levels. As the game deals with characters from across the galaxy banding together to battle against a common enemy, it’s nice to see how well players come together to join forces and help one another during that game, so they can complete the missions together.
When you play in team events and fight battles together, you are able to help heal one another to allow the game to continue, so that everyone playing can reach the goal as one, allowing everyone to reap the benefits. It is also very pleasant to be able to fully customize your character and be able to speak for who you are and what you represent through your appearance, armor, and banners/flags as the character.
I have met many people while playing Destiny 2, who are different than me and have different points of view, that come from different cultures. It’s nice to be able to make friends with people across the world, while enjoying everyone’s company within a game that we all love to play.
Once again, we would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who shared their stories of diversity and representation within various video games!