Wizards of the Coast dropped a couple of big announcements this past week that will change its gaming culture.
Inspired by Black Lives Matter, the game company searched internally in their game products for culturally insensitive and racist gaming materials. Additionally, the company announced to diversify their company staff and freelancers.
In today’s announcement, the company banned the 1994’s card “Invoke Prejudice,” in which the card showed figures in white robes and pointed hoods similar to the Ku Klux Klan. Also, all cards that carried labels saying “Jihad,” “Cleanse,” “Stone-Throwing Devils,” “Imprison,” “Crusade,” and “Pradesh Gypsies” went on the ban list.
In a statement, the company stated, “We have removed this card image from our database due to its racist depiction, text, or combination thereof. Racism in any form is unacceptable and has no place in our games, nor anywhere else.”
All of these cards are instantly banned from tournament play.
Over the weekend, Wizards of the Coast also made drastic changes to its signature role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.
“One of the explicit design goals of 5th edition D&D is to depict humanity in all its beautiful diversity by depicting characters who represent an array of ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, and beliefs,” wrote Wizards of the Coast on its site. “We want everyone to feel at home around the game table and see positive reflections of themselves within our product. ‘Human’ in D&D means everyone, not just the fantasy versions of northern Europeans, and the D&D community is now more diverse than it’s ever been.”
The company announced six bullet-point changes to the D&D campaigns and books. They are:
- Orcs and drow are morally and culturally sophisticated as other people. Future books will reflect that they can make human decisions and not necessarily play villainous stereotypes.
- With every D&D book reprinted, WotC will change the racially insensitive text. The company listed “Tomb of Annihilation” and “Curse of Strahd” as examples.
- A new product (not yet announced) will offer a way for players to customize their character’s origin, including the option to change the ability score increases that come from different races. This option emphasizes that each person in the game is an individual with their capabilities.
- “Curse of Strahd,” featured the Vistani culture and heroine Ezmerelda. However, the depictions were too similar to the real Romani people, thus being entirely offensive. The company is working with a Romani consultant to reduce the stereotypes in these Ravenloft setting books.
- The company will incorporate sensitivity readers into their creative process before publication. Some fans found insensitive materials in two of the recent D&D books.
- The company announced to strive for diversity in its staff and freelance writers in the future. By adding a new culture, it will change the way of D&D storytelling forever.
Corporate changes are easy to announce but harder to implement. It’s a hard pill to swallow after battling orcs and drow for fifty years—that players may have to think twice about stereotypes of evil races. Or to enact a Vistani tarot card event without mocking the gypsy culture. Then again, maybe it’s for the better.
One thing for sure, it’s no longer your father’s tabletop games anymore.
What do you think about eliminating all of the racially insensitive and stereotypes out of gaming?
Source: Wizards of the Coast