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Video game developers take part in organized scream for 'diversity' and 'marginalized people'
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Video game developers take part in organized scream for 'diversity' and 'marginalized people'

Video game developers and designers took part in an organized event in which they screamed in unison for upwards of 30 seconds to express discontent with criticisms from fans and the gaming industry as a whole.

Among the reasons for their screams, participants stated frustration with the industry, a priority of sales over passion, and the treatment of diverse and "marginalized individuals" who feel harassed.

The scream took place at the 2024 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, where the event was organized by Caryl Shaw from Epic Games and Fortnite Festival designer Scott Jon Siegel.

"The game industry is falling apart around us, and we're all flocking to San Francisco for a week to pretend like this is fine," the event page read. "Let's take a minute where we all stop pretending, and express just how it feels to be a game developer in 2024. Join us for a collective moment of catharsis, camaraderie, and caterwauling. Let's descend upon Yerba Buena and when the clock strikes noon, have ourselves a nice big GDScream."

Siegal revealed to PC Gamer that the event was organized in part in response to the controversy over gaming narrative developer Sweet Baby Inc., a company accused of incessantly injecting diversity into video games.

The event was covered by multiple gaming outlets, including IGN's Rebekah Valentine, who described it as a response to the growing discontent among game developers, who are facing mass layoffs and alleged coordinated harassment. Specifically, she noted that marginalized individuals were the ones being harassed.

Siegal told IGN that he is "always slightly screaming inside for a lot of personal reasons, but this is an industry that is built on passion."

"I loved games so much and I found that I had this passion for building them and building experiences that brought delight to other people. It's an industry that really feeds on that passion and takes advantage of that passion, and that's broken my heart over and over again ... and I just wanted to scream about it," he added.

"When you have this many people coming together in the game industry, going to all these events, having all these people attend presentations and awards ceremonies where not necessarily everyone is even mentioning the layoffs, even mentioning where the culture is currently, it all feels absurd," Siegel also told PC Gamer.

The event reportedly had around 50 people, with Siegal and others expressing that they feel forced to act like "everything is fine" in their industry.

An anonymous game developer, according to IGN, took part in the scream after talking "about diversity in games."

"We were all marginalized people, and we're all looking at each other going, 'Yeah it sucks, for some reason we have to do this, and we cannot not do this, and I don't know how to deal with the obligation of having to do this just because I'm the person that I am.'"

Another attendee and developer, Jimmy Chi, expressed that his reasons behind screaming were related to job losses, which caused colleagues to lose houses but also lose visas or be deported.

"Meanwhile, record profits, all the time," he noted.

Other employees at publisher Tender Claws spoke of feeling "hopeless" and "angry" and urged for unionization.

"We screamed because we're angry. But we're also here because we really want people to know that you don't just have to be angry. You don't just have to feel hopeless ... I think it's really, really urgent in this time that people use the leverage that we have, that we unionize," said programmer Robin LoBuglio.

Gamers have grown tired of forceful DEI injections into games, but it seems diversity-centric gaming employees are not aligned with their customers on this issue. Developers at an individual level appear to feel attacked by criticisms of forced DEI — as shown by their reactions online and at events like this — but their focus predominately is on their treatment from parent companies and employers.

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Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados

Andrew Chapados is a writer focusing on sports, culture, entertainment, gaming, and U.S. politics. The podcaster and former radio-broadcaster also served in the Canadian Armed Forces, which he confirms actually does exist.

@andrewsaystv →