Character creation in games for Black people has always been a disaster! And after Elden Ring and Babylon’s Fall came out in 2022 with lackluster options in terms of hairstyles (and skin tone in Babylon’s case) we have to now accept the reality that most game developers do not care about some of the consumers’ base. If they can get away with not having to model Black hair, they will!
When you have games like Guild Wars 2 and recently Lost Ark & Horizon Forbidden West, demonstrating the possibility of modeling great diversity of Black hair in games, it’s high time we stop giving excuses and stop asking game devs why they’re not adding options for Black hair. We know why but don’t want to admit it! The reality is, they don’t care. They’ve never cared, and likely never will. Well, most of them anyway! To them Black gamers are not their majority demographic, so, therefore, they are not allocating any more resources that they feel won’t offer them a good return. It’s as simple as that! It’s either they want to do it, or they don’t! Wondering why gets you nowhere!
There is no technical limitation involved, no lack of experience or understanding, it’s quite simple, “Black people are not worth their time to model” and so that is why games like Elden Ring, a game that has been awarded 10/10 across the board, can get away with offering next to no hairstyles for Black people. So yeah, what do we do now? I am not asking them to add Black characters in their games or offer gazillion options like hairstyle in every game but my problem is that when they do “try”, it’s clearly a last-minute ditch effort to capitalize on Black people’s (and other races of course) pockets!
And, with Elden Ring, after many Black people complained about it online, they went on to create their Black characters with straight hair, gave From Software their money and praises, and moved on. From Software, after several games, will likely continue to make their game with abysmal Black hair options and people who are Black will continue to pay! The cycle continues. I don’t mean to sound negative but that’s the reality. Some game like Lost Ark, Guild Wars, and Horizon Forbidden West will try their best (and succeed) to create amazing Black (and other races) accurately and if they have character creation, give you an array of options, while other games don’t care!
If they try to give you technical excuses, they’re lying, if they say they’re not familiar with Black hair, they’re lazy! It’s just about what their priority is for making their games. I could say that Balck gamers should stop buying games that have bad customization options but that would be unrealistic, so the next best thing is to support the companies that are putting in the effort and hope for the best.
So yeah! Not every game has to be diverse, and creators certainly have a right to make games as they see fit. However, if you’re going to add the option or include a diverse cast, don’t half-ass it, otherwise, just keep it in the draft!