For a company with a core team of mainly white, cisgender, and straight people, we strive to be conscious of our decisions with the team we currently have and continue to work to hire more diverse voices as we grow. We discuss privilege, diversity, inclusion, equity, and choices with every art piece, every written section, and every direction we are moving.
How we manage our culture
It’s important we identify that Dark Veil Studios is a company about inclusivity. We want open conversations on subjects of inclusion, and we will happily and respectfully engage in discussion in a professional manner if asked.
As part of our onboarding process for new teammates and third-party contracts, we speak with each team member and contractor specifically about our culture at interviews, during meetings, and consistently throughout conversations during projects.
We discuss inclusiveness in all aspects of a project, art direction, marketing, production, writing, and design. It’s all part of the standard workflow. When we talk to a third-party vendor or partner, we research their history, ethics, culture, and even ask gamers and other designers we respect about that third-party company's culture. They might do great work and have valuable connections, but if their culture doesn’t align with our values, we will move on. We want our audience to have the best experience, and that means guiding our company's path to avoid cultures that don’t match our own.
We don’t work with anyone who is intentionally setting themselves in a position to harm someone else. That's it.
As a company, we want to engage in conversations that lead to resolutions or we walk away. We are too busy making fun games to deal with toxicity.
Being conscious of white centricity
White centricity is the assumption that everything you write is from the perspective of a white author. In the past, most written word was composed by white, and often cisgender, male authors. Characterization was only highlighted by an author when a character differed from a white perspective, meaning the author's perspective was white centric and they only identified characters different from themselves because they assumed (consciously or subconsciously) the reader was also white.
To avoid writing from a white-centric viewpoint, we must consciously challenge our written and artistic decisions. We are not always perfect. This is where, as a culture, it is vital to have the right team members working on decisions related to inclusiveness. It takes work to make high-quality art, designs, game mechanics, and text. It takes even more to run that work through a conscious, inclusive process. We hope, in the end, the extra time and energy will open our games to larger audiences that connect with them in meaningful ways.
Treat people like people
Things change quickly, and we must constantly learn to adapt. It can be exhausting and takes effort. Not all of us have the tools, knowledge, sources, or experiences to even know things have changed around us. This is why we strive to listen first. When we are confused, we ask questions. Then when the confusion is over, we keep listening.
The bully is never the hero in the story
We listen to all opinions and thoughts and engage with them with questions about why they feel the way they do. That means respecting people who may not feel the same way. Our business is about imagination, adventure, socialization, and, ultimately, fun. Conversations bring people together. Bullying splits them apart.
Nothing is perfect
At times, there is the possibility we may hire or work with a company that you as an audience member disapproves of. We do our best to choose our team members and third-party companies as best we can so our audience can have fun, enjoy our games in social settings, and treat others with respect.
Some choices we consciously make:
Pronouns for characters in our written work.
Gender inclusiveness in drawn characters.
Balanced diversity of represented races in our human-drawn characters.
Inclusive characters and content for individuals with disabilities.
We use the term “storyteller” instead of “game master.” The emphasis changes to performing a service for players as the narrative voice. We don’t believe a game runner should control player choices and freedoms by title or actions.
We provide suggestive tips and direction for storytellers to run fun and enjoyable adventures for their players.
We try our best to do the right thing whenever possible, but don’t try to force something we aren’t qualified to do. We are a very small but talented team, ready to make this company a powerhouse in gaming. We know we don’t currently have all the people we want or need to be fully diverse, and we want more voices challenging our choices from the inside. If you are passionate about what we do and interested in joining the Dark Veil Studios team, check out our Careers page.
We look forward to gaming with you!
~ Dark Veil Studios LLC