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Summer Game Fest featured no women onstage

Summer Game Fest featured no women onstage


For an industry that struggles with diversity, it’s a failure to not be inclusive of the women who also make games.

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Screenshot from Summer Game Fest featuring Geoff Keighley and Sam Lake from Remedy Entertainment
Image: Summer Game Fest

With the death of E3 nearly complete, Summer Game Fest has become the go-to summer event for gamers to get hyped about. But this year’s Summer Game Fest, while it featured games that included a wide range of genres and a great diversity of characters, did not feature a single woman onstage.

Throughout the almost two-hour showcase, host Geoff Keighley brought up a number of personalities to interview onstage. He had industry veteran Ed Boon up to talk about Mortal Kombat 1. Nic Cage made an appearance to talk more about his Dead by Daylight character. Bryan Intihar came on stage to reveal the release date for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. But not once was a woman given that opportunity.

The lack of inclusion is particularly jarring because a great many of the games included in the showcase itself featured female main characters. I’m particularly jazzed about Lysfangha The Time Shift Warrior, an action RPG featuring a woman of color who can make duplicates of herself to help her fight.

Immortals of Aveum stars Gina THEE Torres of Firefly and Suits fame. Alan Wake 2’s presentation had a woman prowling in the dark fending off supernatural threats. For an industry that struggles with diversity but has taken great steps to be inclusive in terms of who is both on the game screen and behind it, it doesn’t send the best message when one of the biggest events of the year fails to spotlight the women, trans, and non-binary people who make these games a possibility.

To be clear, this is not only on Mr. Keighley. While he does have a responsibility to ensure his show reflects the diversity of its audience, it’s also on the developers featured in these presentations to put their marginalized employees forward for opportunities like this.

Representation matters. It’s just that simple. We know games are being made by a wealth of people, and we need to see them because it signals to the people watching that they, too, have the capability to do what they love.

Mr. Keighley, you can feature women in your shows. You’ve done it before, and I’d even argue that it’s easy, too. Right after Summer Games Fest ended, the Day of the Devs showcase began, and I didn’t have to wait long at all to see someone who looked like me.