Rioters open up about diversity in latest Gaymer Guys episode

Employees staying despite diversity issues in effort to create change.

League of Legends's Icon Nicholas Ray · 14 Jul 2019

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Image via WOW Presents

On the latest episode of Gaymer Guys, a web series by WOW Presents, a group of Riot employees participated in a segment in which they discussed a variety of topics on diversity and inclusion within Riot Games.




The first portion of the panel dealt more specifically with diversity within League of Legends itself. To kick off the discussion, Riot creative producer Tyler "Wenceslaus" Eltringham detailed his experience working on the Varus: As We Fall cinematic in which Varus was revealed to be a gay man.


While some may have already associated slight risk with disclosing this detail about Varus' sexuality, halfway through the development of the piece, the Pulse nightclub tragedy occurred in Orlando, Florida. In the face of a time where many members of the LGBTQIA+ community felt vulnerable or unsafe, Tyler said that everyone on the team was given the option to drop out of the project, and they all declined. They agreed the recent events had only made them more committed to producing the video.


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Despite the recent strides League has made in their representation of sexuality within the game, production coordinator Mayanna Berrin and lead stats analyst Chloe Sevilla both agreed there's a long way to go in terms of the game's representation of people of color.


Associate program manager Mel "Swimbananas" Capperino-Garcia added there was a time when Riot released champions almost every two weeks. The demand likely didn't allow as much time to properly flesh out unique stories, which could've contributed to a lack of diverse champion concepts.


After the employees were finished sharing their stories about the game, the conversation transitioned to discuss the atmosphere within Riot Games as a company in terms of diversity. Last year, after a report from Kotaku exposed an environment of sexism and gender inequality within the company, tensions rose for Riot Games and many of its employees. Not only did the state of California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing launch an investigation into the company, but more than 150 workers also participated in a walkout to voice their concerns and show solidarity with those affected.


The biggest question host Evan Michael Lee had for the panel regarding the recent controversy at Riot was, "what is it that has kept all of you here?" The responses from the panel were nearly concordant in that they want to see the company change for the better, and believe they can help make that happen.


"Seeing women at all levels being lifted up for the great work that they are doing has been empowering," Sevilla said when asked about the strides Riot has made to improve upon its issues of sexism and inclusion.

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