The portrayal of Muslims is video games is very stereotypical and it is something that needs to be changed. While most of the industry indulges in their assumptions about Muslims when creating video games, one dev is openly talking about the problem.
At Game Developers Conference, game designer Osama Dorias took to stage and shared his views about the image problem Muslims have, saying that it is dangerous to be a Muslim sometimes. He added that he worked on games that wrongly portrayed Muslims but there was nothing he could do about it. However, sometimes he did succeed in improving the content he is creating.
Muslims have a public image problem. And it’s sometimes dangerous to be Muslim. So we need help addressing the public image problem.
Solely portraying us as victims justifies the wars that make us victims.
A Muslim can look like anyone,” said Dorias. “And the more Muslims you meet, the more this is a no-brainer
He gave examples of positive representation by mentioning characters like pilot Faridah Malik from Deus Ex: Human Revolution and a new comic book superhero, Kamala Khan.
[Kamala Khan] comics speak to me, even though I’m not Pakistani, I’m not a woman, and I’m not a teenager. Why is that? It’s because her story is authentic.
Dorias encouraged developers to speak with their Muslim peers if they have questions about what is the correct portrayed of Muslims, if wish to know more about the culture and different aspects. It is better to ask than to put something offensive in your video games.
If you ask us an offensive question, you may offend us once but you’ll never offend us with that question again. If you don’t ask us and put that offense in your video game, you’ll offend us forever.
He also wishes that more game developers would include authentic voice actors for Muslim characters. He gave the example of Overwatch that used authentic voice acting.
I was told by some Egyptians that if you are Egyptian, you can tell exactly which part of Egypt she’s from. She’s even about the same age as her character. So when Ana speaks, you will never mistake her for another character. Isn’t that awesome?
He made some good points and it’s about time we represent Muslims as they are, not as people assume them to be. For more from GDC 2018, stay tuned!