The video game industry, much like the rest of society, is changing rapidly—and sometimes even for the better!
But that change doesn’t happen on its own. Behind every positive advancement, there’s a strong person leading the charge. And because it’s a fact that women don’t always get the credit they deserve, here are six who are affecting positive change in the video game industry right now.
6. TANYA D.
Self-described “spawn point” for the #INeedDiverseGames Twitter hashtag, Tanya D. has been working to promote diversity in the game industry. As she’s helping to amplify the voices of women, transgender people, and developers of all colors, creeds, and abilities, she is definitely someone to follow if you’re interested in seeing the video game industry mature and advance.
You can find her work on Twitter.
5. MERRITT KOPAS
Game developer, speaker, and writer, Merritt Kopas has concentrated on how games can explore the relationships between people. She also edited the book Videogames for Humans: Twine Authors in Conversation, an anthology concentrating on developers who use the online text-based (and often progressive) platform Twine.
It’s a development tool that enables anyone to make games: if you can write, you can use Twine. Because of this, Twine is known for experimental and diverse games, often from people who have traditionally been voiceless. The book is available in electronic format as well as paperback.
4. SOHA KAREEM
You might have heard about Soha Kareem through her variety of works, from being co-director of feminist development collective Dames Making Games in Toronto to her voice acting in the PC games The Charnel House Trilogy.
She’s also featured in Merritt Kopas’s Videogames for Humans, mentioned above, and appears regularly on the popular StreamFriends channel on game-streaming site Twitch. In her work with Dames Making Games, she also helps First Nations peoples create games and stories of their experiences and what matters to them via Indigicade.
3. BRIANNA WU
Brianna Wu is not only known for video game development and games like Revolution 60, but also for co-hosting the Isometric podcast, on which she and her co-hosts discuss game industry events from a variety of perspectives.
Revolution 60 is a futuristic action game for iOS made with Unreal Engine 3, utilizing the touch controls of the platform to great effect. She is known also for speaking out against sexism in the industry with her writing in Polygon, The Mary Sue and others.
2. ANNA MEGILL
Currently contracted with Brianna Wu’s Giant Spacekat studio to help with story, characters and more on a secret project only called “Project Untold,” Anna Megill has worked as a narrative designer in such games as Guild Wars 2 and even Playboy’s own Playboy: The Mansion game.
She switched from working with big-name studios like Square-Enix and Ubisoft to developing for Giant Spacekat, one of the only all-female game development studios, in order to concentrate on story-driven games. Full disclosure: Anna Megill contributed money to my Patreon page this month, after this article was written.
1. RHIANNA PRATCHETT
“Narrative paramedic” and storyteller, Rhianna Pratchett is an award-winning narrative designer who has worked for EA, Square Enix/Eidos, and other studios for their games and tie-in media.
Most recently, she is known for being the lead writer behind the reboot of Tomb Raider, as well as its tie-in comic Tomb Raider: The Beginning. She is constantly working on various projects, not all of which are game-related, but all relating back to her love of evocative stories.
Katriel Paige is a writer, editor, and even an indie game designer. She has been analyzing Japanese culture and media for years on the East Coast, where she also talks about intersecting fields like the transformative power of narrative and mythology.
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Editor’s note: This article was updated to reflect the fact that Anna Megill has contributed money to the author’s Patreon campaign and to correct one factual error.