The Coalition studio head and director for Gears of War 5, Rod Fergusson, revealed during the Day 1 E3 Coliseum panel hosted by WWE superstar and YouTube channel operator of Up Up Down Down, Xavier Woods, that they actively strove to make Gears of War 5 as diverse as possible.
Half an hour into the hour long segment that took place on June 11th, 2019, Fergusson talked about how actor Rahul Kohli was casted to play as the disabled middle-eastern soldier, Fahz.
If you’re unable to see the clip, Fergusson states…
“Fahz was really, like… Fahz was inspired, you know… – one of the things I really believe in is that in order to get diverse characters you have to strive for diversity. Like diversity just doesn’t happen, especially from the creative mind of a middle-aged white guy. Like that just doesn’t happen, right?
“So you have to find – you have to focus on it, and one of the things we looked [for] across the Gears of War universe was that we didn’t really have this south Asian ethnicity in the cast. So we actually went – and Fahz was really created from that. We purposefully wanted to create a character that has this ethnicity. And then it was like what’s the right voice for this character? And that’s when we landed with the friend of a friend of Rahul [Kohli], and it was perfect. And he came in, we showed him what Fahz looked like and he began doing the voice that he’s doing and it was amazing, and it was a perfect fit, and I just love it so much. It was great.
“That’s one of the things I really love, is having this diverse cast and having these unique voices, and the thing is [is] that they’re all so talented and they all get along, and they’re all so crazy […] and they’re the best cast in video games as far as I’m concerned. I know I’m heavily biased but they’re all amazing, and Rahul is an amazing addition because he rounds out the cast so perfectly.”
So basically the character was made unique or interesting or diverse because the story demanded it, he was a “diverse” character embedded into the story because the team wanted to go out of their way to add a middle-eastern character to the game.
This is kind of the opposite of how most people are willing to accept these outside characters being shuffled into the mix. Usually people are okay if it fits the story, if there’s some requirement for them to be there, or if it thematically makes sense.
In this case, Fergursson and the crew wanted a middle-eastern character in the cast to score diversity points. And not only that but they wanted him to be disabled, too. So it’s a way to score double the virtue signal points with non-gaming activists who roam around ResetEra and Twitter.
What’s also funny is that an audience member asked about Kait Diaz’s sexual orientation, but John Dimaggio, the voice of Marcus Fenix, shot down the question and played it off as saying it was nobody’s business.
This obviously doesn’t bode well if the theme around these character traits are “diversity for diversity’s sake”. Not only is it insulting to the “diverse” member of the cast being added to the roster in order to be a token minority, but all it really does is piss off normal gamers looking to escape from all of the identity politics that have sullied real-life and social media discussions with the toxic culture of identitarianism and regressive sociopolitics used as agitprop by journalists.
Combine this with the fact that The Coalition teamed up with Facebook for their Women In Gaming social engineering program and it paints a less-than-thrilling picture for the upcoming release of Gears of War 5. Although, I’m sure there will be diehard fanboys willing to make excuses for this creative contrivance that does little more than tarnish the once respected brand name of the franchise.