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A Diablo II: Resurrected developer has spoken out about the allegations of a "pervasive frat boy workplace culture" and ensuing lawsuit against Activision, as well as the boycott of games to be released by the publisher.
In response to the legal tussle between itself and the state of California in the United States, CEO Bobby Kotick said that he has an "unwavering commitment" to improve the situation inside its offices to become "the most inspiring, inclusive entertainment company in the world."
Now, Kotick and a number of other managers have been subpoenaed for the personnel files of six past employees and communications regarding cases of sexual harassment and discrimination by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. While these events progress, teams within the publisher have responded to the allegations, like World Of Warcraft's recent changes to remove sexual imagery in the game.
"It was definitely very troubling to hear these types of things," said Rob Gallerani, design director on the upcoming Diablo II: Resurrected, in an interview with Axios. Fans of the game are torn over supporting the remake, either fiscally or through social media, as it might be viewed as minimising the discrimination that employees faced during their time at Activision.
In that regard, Gallerani advised that players should "do what they feel is right." Vicarious Visions is the studio working on Diablo II: Resurrected - you might recognise the name from the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 remake and the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. "We really wanted to support our colleagues and our co-workers," continued the design director.
Though Vicarious Visions is not implicated in the lawsuit, studio leads spoke to their teams to understand what aspects of the work culture could be improved. "We heard a lot of really positive things, but I don't think that we ever get a pass on that," said Gallerani. "We always need to keep asking."
Diablo II: Resurrected has been altered to distance itself from the historic problematic perspectives that bled into Blizzard's games over the years. For example, the Amazon now wears leather armor that covers her chest and the tops of her thighs as well as providing adequate protection on her torso with a corset-style layer.
"A lot of those points of view weigh very heavily on us," he concluded, and added that the characters in the remasters should look realistic to their roles rather than people who have "rolled out of a nightclub."
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