Creating a game is such a big task, it’s almost impossible to do it all by yourself. It’s not only a huge workload, but also a mash of so many different fields of work, so getting on top of all of them is quite a hassle. That’s why I need additional team members. But since the game is about a very distinct topic, this task turns out to be quite a challenge.
When I started the project, I was thinking about the possibilities the concept would bring. Who is the target audience? Is there a market for this kind of project? What can I do in terms of marketing? Is the game a good story for journalists? I came up with with the idea to only inlcude women in the team. This was way before #metoo, and there were almost no games with a female only team. It would have been a great story to tell: Hey, we’re doing a game which shows how it is to be a woman in tech, and it’s developed by a female only team! But then #metoo happened, and it not only changed the way I looked at my project, but also the possibilities for the marketing. Suddenly everybody was talking about sexism and misogyny. Which is great, but of course it greatly impacted the newsworthynes of my topic. I knew that I wasn’t able to release the game during the #metoo hype. So I needed to adapt.
In terms of story this meant that awareness wasn’t enough anymore. I started to think about what would come after #metoo, what we would have to do to take this momentum and use it to create positive change. In terms of marketing this meant that feminism probably will not be the biggest buzzword anymore.
This, mixed with the fact that several men asked me if they could work for the project, made me think. Was the women only credo really a good thing? What was I saying with it? I started to realize that I was going against the sentiment I originally trying to express. The issue with women in tech is, that they get treated differently solely because of their gender. By only allowing women in the team, I basically would be doing exactly the same. Of course you now could argument that it’s not the same because it is not enforcing harmful stereotypes, which is true, but “not as bad” is not good enough for me. Having women only projects or events is a great thing, but if I’d do this, I would like to have a specific goal. Like for example creating a safe space for female developers. But that’s not my goal. My goal is to create a project that makes gender problems in the tech industry more understandable and relateable in a entertaining way. But this doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be any male team members.
I would like to aim for the right mix, which probably is not the easiest solution, but will help the project the most in the end. It surely wouldn’t be good to have more men than women on the team, but excluding men isn’t the way to go either. In contrary. It’s well known that diverse teams are more productive and creative. And I’m sure this also applies for my own project. Putting your thoughts into words is key, as it helps you to reflect and to put it into a form which is comprehensible for others. So having to explain thoughts and feelings to team members that did not experience the same can be extremely benefitial. Furthermore, it also helps for finding the right form to communicate the message to the target audience. AVA’s target audience will not be women in tech only. Therefore it’s important, that others can relate to the project. Looking at the project from new angles, discussing different opinions and perspectives can only advance and improve the game.
So… what’s next?
I’m currently looking for a composer for the project! If you know anyone or would like to work on the project yourself, let me know! Also: Follow the project on Twitter and subscribe to the game’s newsletter to get more news.