Backed by research papers and first-hand experience as a User Experience Researcher for Volition, Elizabeth Zelle’s talk on diversity and inclusivity at the studio known for the Saints Row series kept attendees engaged throughout the 2 hour session. With her extensive experience in user research, Zelle also shed light on the current state of inclusivity in games, the pros and cons of the different ways to include underrpresented groups, and the benefits to increasing the representation of minorities.
While the presentation had a light-hearted tone to it, it was kept at a well-balanced pace, and was grounded in easy to digest facts and statistics. Using recent fan art of player-made characters in Saints Row throughout her slides, Zelle closed the talk with the point that giving players from all walks of life the ability to represent themselves can indeed have a powerful impact on them. During the Q&A section that followed, Zelle gave further insight into the topic by providing tips and advice on dealing with issues of diversity both in the workplace and in the games we develop.
The talk was hosted by Columbia College Chicago, who was gracious enough to record and upload the entire talk. If you missed the event, worry not – the recording may be viewed here: https://youtu.be/VyK88RTnfX8
In closing, we’d like to give a huge thank you to Elizabeth Zelle for traveling all the way from Champaign just to give the talk. We’d also like to thank Columbia College Chicago for hosting and recording the event.