How The Team Behind 'The Surge' Developed Their Disabled Protagonist


In a game about beating up robots, the game opens by grounding the main character in a situation that's pretty unique to video games.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


you navigate the game from Warren’s wheelchair-bound perspective

I’m sure Patrick is just unaware, but “wheelchair-bound” is considered offensive by many people with disabilities; most prefer the less negative “wheelchair user/using”. Individual wheelchair users’ preferences may differ, of course, but it seems to be the consensus regarding “bound” (and similar forms like “confined to a”) that, for instance:

  • These terms perpetuate the myth that wheelchairs are all-or-nothing, whereas in fact many wheelchair users can and do stand or walk, just not for long, or not very far, or only with great difficulty or pain. This myth can lead to verbal, financial and physical abuse when people who stand up from their chairs for a few seconds are seen as “faking” their disability.
  • Wheelchairs and other mobility devices are literally for allowing people to do things they could not otherwise do - far from “binding” someone, they free their users from the physical restrictions of their bodies.
  • People often feel like their mobility aids are very personal - less like a vehicle and more like clothing or even a part of themselves. Nobody says someone is “leg-bound” or “confined to shoes”…

I realise this was likely just an oversight, but it’s a bit jarring when this site, which is usually so good on diversity issues around race, sexuality, and so on, drops a ball like this. It might be a good idea to run an article like this past a sensitivity reader (or even - quelle horreur! - have an actual disabled person write it!)


Thanks for pointing this out! I had no idea, so appreciate you widening my perspective on a topic that I’m keen to keep exploring.


There still a lot that needs to be done with disable characters and even more for ones that are playable. Still any step counts.