A lighting artist on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order has claimed that racism and misogyny stopped the game from having a black or female main character.
In a series of tweets, Nora Shramek claimed that when she worked on the game, a “lot of devs wanted and advocated for the main character to be black and/or a woman”. According to Shramek, the reason for that not going ahead was that “we already have two black people in the game”. Also, that “Rey is a woman and we can’t do that too”, referencing the main protagonist of the Star Wars sequel trilogy.
Shramek added “guess what the demographic of the people making those decisions looked like?”. She also stated that “the worst thing I heard” was when someone said “I think all the black people need to have more glossy skin because black people have more oily skin than other people”. She refused to say who said the comment.
Following the comment, Shramek alleges that the person looked at her and said “right Nora?” with her reaction being “WTF is wrong w/u?”. Shramek worked as a lighting artist for Respawn Entertainment on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order between June 2018 and September 2019.
The claims have yet to be substantiated by other sources. NME has reached out to EA for further comment regarding the matter, but the company has declined to comment.
In recent times, video games companies such as Activision and Ubisoft have been accused of having toxic working environments, leading to numerous complaints. Most recently, New York City filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard alleging that it had rushed the Microsoft acquisition to diminish ongoing investigations into the company.
Gaming on the whole has been working on diversity and inclusivity with campaigns like Do I Look Like A Gamer aiming to rectify negative stereotypes.
In other gaming news, a new Nintendo Indie World Showcase will be live streamed later today (May 11).