'Wargroove' Dev Responds to Criticism for Casting White Actors to Portray Characters of Color

Wargroove, a pretty great Advance Wars-inspired strategy game from earlier this year, is getting some downloadable content soon. That downloadable content, dubbed Double Trouble, also includes some new characters to enter battle with. Part of Wargroove’s charm is that its characters are full of personality, fueled by the voice actors bringing them to life. That continues with Double Trouble, which is why the game’s developer, Chucklefish, published a tweet highlighting the folks joining the game’s roster recently:


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/vb55y8/wargroove-dev-responds-to-criticism-for-casting-white-actors-to-portray-characters-of-color

I really, really wish the story about not paying contributors came out before the release, because I just feel more and more sick about having given these assholes money.

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*removes Wargroove from Switch wishlist and walks away*

Oh gee I’m shocked the company that profited off the free labor of teens is saying things like this

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We have people voice acting characters that aren’t their gender or age group, an adult woman voicing Bart Simpson is a perfectly normal thing. Maybe these voice actors will do an amazing performance and because of that we’ll have more cool black characters to think of in video games?

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The reason adult women often voice boys (and teens/children in general) is because hiring children for long term voice work always comes with the risk of voices changing. This does not mean young men are not adequately represented in media.

Because of bias in hiring practices, this has resulted in a pool of voice actors that are predominantly white (in regards to western game development and shows). This means poc are losing the chance to represent themselves in media and also see themselves represented, often in positive ways. There are plenty of stories about actors of color pulled in to voice/play stereotypes, while white actors get a full range of roles.

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Patrick touches on this in the article also:

In casting these characters for Wargroove , Chucklefish said it reached out to an external casting agency to avoid having “unconscious biases impact who we hired to work on Wargroove , and to handle the auditions blindly.” In other words, they chose the actors based on the samples they submitted, without looking at who they are or their specific background.

Such an approach falls neatly in line with the common refrain and excuse given for a lack of diversity in all manners of employment: it’s about finding the “best person for the job.” Such approaches often incorporate biases in how they define “best” and conveniently ignore how difficult it is for marginalized groups to even be in a position to be considered to be the “best person for the job,” and so the cycle continues. In this case, the process determined that the best people to voice and help bring to life Black characters were white people.

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Thread by Wargrooves casting director.

this thing I don’t get is how, in November 2019, you would think this tweet with photos of your white voice actors alongside your poc characters would possibly go down well? like. obviously you don’t do that. right?

(to be clear, obviously: don’t cast white voice actors in the first place! but they did that and then decided to like, make incredibly clear that they had done that. which just seems like a really bad PR move, you know)

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If I’m being generous and try to think in good faith (which, on the internet especially, is hard to do) I can’t help but feel somewhat sympathetic to the liberal ideal of “the best person for the job”, but it will always be quite funny and infuriating how embarrassingly they seem to not understand the state of things. How could someone seriously live in this society and believe that a “the best person for the job” approach could actually result in anything else but reaffirming existing marginalization? I guess it fits perfectly into the all so common framework of individualism and personal moral failings as the core problem. One serious look at the history of the modern period (that is, the history of capitalist society and its continuing domination all around the globe) should tell you that this is laughably wrong. How could society be anything but what we see before us? Though history also shows us through it’s beautiful, yet short-lived and evidently, as of this moment still insufficient and/or crushed possibilities and periods of radical transformation, that it doesn’t have to be that way.

If we want to be free of these concerns, we have to first free ourselves of this society, where the seemingly simple act of navigating through it runs the risk of reaffirming divisions.
So what to do as someone that controls the lever of something so irrelevant to our social relations like a casting director for one particular entertainment commodity in one particular industry? Again, assuming in good faith that these people actually care about this, the answer should be clear: Do not twist the knife in the wound.
Emancipation and beyond will not come this way, cannot come this way. Neither is this activism, but real life and real people are always more important.

EDIT: Damn, I’ve just realized that this thread is from last year.

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Good timing for me personally because Wargroove is on the Nintendo store and I’m trying to whittle down what to buy. So thanQ.

It’s too bad they fumbled this because the actual cast of characters is pretty diverse and it seems like they were legitimately making an effort. Less so absolving them and more thinking lots of people want to be allies until it’s inconvenient.

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