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SAN FRANCISCO — The gaming industry has largely moved past the Gamergate tantrum, but one of the people most affected by those toxic reactionaries is not done trying to clean up after them.
Brianna Wu, the founder and lead developer at the Giant Spacekat studio, took the stage at GamesBeat 2015 to speak with lead writer Dean Takahashi about breaking through the limits of gaming. One of her first points is that she’s worried that her quest to fight against sexism might scare away some young girls from pursuing this career. She acknowledges that is a paradox, but she also points out that it is necessary to shine a light on some of the horrors if we are ever going to eliminate them for the next generation.
“We got to this point by the game industry ignoring the problem for 30 years,” said Wu.
The developer explained that the goal is always to make things better for girls who are thinking about tech and gaming as a career. But that doesn’t just mean more women for the sake of filling out a quota — she thinks that an influx of diverse people will lead to better output.
“When we’re talking about women in tech, this is about making better games,” she said. “Aren’t you frustrated with playing the same game? I feel like if we bring different people into the mix — with different perspectives — I think the future is going to be [much more] interesting.”
Of course, in her efforts to make gaming more inclusive, Wu has lived under constant assault from trolls and reactionaries. But she explained why she continues to put up with it.
“Courage is when you believe something is so important that you believe it’s more important than your fear,” she said. “So you stand up and push past it. For me, I don’t speak up on the things because I want to, it’s because I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t.”
Finally, Wu talked about the importance of tearing down the old to make way for something new and better. It’s why she is less interested in saving huge corporations, and she has instead focused on providing an environment where the next generation can come in and build inclusive companies to replace them.
“Why try to change these giant companies when we can build our own culture,” said Wu. “What I wonder is when is there going to be a woman in tech who is the next Steve Jobs?”
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