May 20, 2021 - Technology

Meet the Black developers making your new favorite games

Image via The MIX
Image via The MIX

The Media Indie Exchange is putting Black developers at the forefront with its Black Voices in Gaming Freshman Class, an initiative to highlight developers with games coming out through 2022.

Why it matters: The game industry grapples with diversity across the board, leaving developers who are not cis-gender white men isolated or even alienated from the broader community.

  • That makes it difficult for new voices to rise because they lack the same resources.
  • This is especially true for Black developers, who account for only 2% of the industry, according to a 2020 IGDA survey.

The MIX's Freshman Class initiative is a way to highlight Black creators and create a space for those developers to support each other. This year's class includes 14 games, including titles such as:

  • "Treachery in Beatdown City"
  • "She Dreams Elsewhere"
  • "Super Space Club"
  • "Kena"
  • "KindFolx"
  • "Nour"
  • "Protodroid Delta"

What they're saying: Neil Jones, creator of "Aerial_Knight's Never Yield," says building a community for Black developers specifically is important. Jones teamed up with The MIX co-founder Justin Woodward to help organize the effort and is included for his game.

  • "It's much like other communities, like you see women in games, they often reach out to each other because they have this deeper understanding and the same struggles that they face."
  • "My process that I've gone through with this whole game, it will be very different from, you know, a white woman from Nebraska."
  • "If they're not going to give me an opportunity, I'm just gonna make my own type of space where I can do whatever I want," he told Axios in a previous interview earlier this month.

Woodward also sees it as a growth opportunity and a way for Black developers to share their resources. "I think it's really important within our community that we're able to help each other grow," he said.

  • "A lot of times we're pitted against each other," he said. "This is something that says, hey, you know, we can all exist at the same time."

What's next: Although there are no concrete plans for the next class just yet, the goal is to create one yearly.

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