We spoke with Avery* about working as a 3D artist at an indie game development studio.

* Avery's name and interview has been anonymised to protect their identity.

QRM: How long have you been involved in the game industry, and what projects have you worked on? What are you working on currently?

Avery: I’ve been in the industry for about five years with most of that time spent at my own company. My company has for the most part worked on our own commercial titles with interspersed contracting opportunities in between.

QRM: What inspired you to get started in the games industry?

Avery: I got introduced to games through my sister and have grown up with them in my life. They’ve helped me cope with hard times growing up and have impacted me in a way that no other medium has. This eventually led me to pursue a career in the industry.

QRM: In what ways do you feel your experiences as a queer person manifest in the games you work on, and influence the work you do?

Avery: I think it's made me more thoughtful and considerate about the groups I represent in the games that I create. Most of the characters we make for our games are gender ambiguous and I try to be considerate of what impact my work might have on the queer community.

I don’t have as much of an input in contracted projects and therefore influence on them. I often feel as though I can’t confidently express any problematic areas of a contracted project I am given due to the amount of creative control a contractor has and the vulnerable temporary nature of contracting work. I do try to change harmful representation where I am given the flexibility though.

QRM: Do you have a favourite queer character—in games or media more generally? If so, what is it about them that makes them your favourite?
Question asked by @kamienw.

Avery: I can’t really choose a favourite from the queer characters I like, there’s so many now it would be hard to pick! I think the ones that had the biggest impact on me were Josephine and Dorian from Dragon Age Inquisition. It was the first time that I saw queer poc represented in a AAA video game and it was exciting to see people like me in a game with well fleshed out personalities and backgrounds.

QRM: Have you ever encountered roadblocks in trying to include queer characters in games? What do you think is preventing greater diversity within games?
Question asked by @dustinalex91.

Avery: I think one thing that is preventing greater diversity within games is the negative backlash that comes from the online games community when queer characters are present in games and to a broader degree complacent and harmful cultural practices towards queer folks in general.

QRM: Why do you think it is important that queer audiences are able to see themselves represented in the games they play, and in the developers who make the games they see? What can we do to improve the industry for queer audiences and devs?

Avery: I think having queer people represented in media helps establish our own presence in society. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing someone like you represented in media. Queer characters in media help people explore their own identities in ways they would not have otherwise be exposed to and have helped many realise their own identities in a positive light.

QRM: Have you ever mentored somebody in your role in games, or been mentored? If so, what made these experiences worthwhile for you?
Question asked by @pepelanova.

Avery: I have never had a mentor in games nor have I mentored anyone in turn. I would like to mentor people in the future when I have more spare time. Mentorships can be extremely helpful and beneficial to otherwise struggling minorities.

QRM: In what ways can non-queer folk increase and support queer diversity present within games, as well as in the industry more broadly? How can we all work to support intersectional approaches to diversity, and why is this important?

Avery: You can buy games that support queer developers and/or games that have positive queer representation. I think hiring more queer devs on game development teams especially in leadership/director roles is a good first step. It's also important to create a safe working environment for diverse queer people. Intersectional approaches to diversity is important as it helps some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and helps amplify unique perspectives and ideas.

QRM: Is there a message that you would like to share with the queer game players, game studies researchers, and other interested folks who comprise the Queerly Represent Me community?

Avery: I think queer representation in games is going to improve and get better and create better change in our culture for the future. The landscape for queer games has changed and diversified so much already and it will continue to grow.