“Glass ceilings piled upon glass ceilings” Corey Brotherson discusses how place and race have impacted his career in the Games industry

Birmingham-born Corey Brotherson is a writer, editor and creative consultant in the video games industry. Corey has worked in the industry since 2001 as a journalist, critic and content producer for some of the industry’s biggest brands including Sony PlayStation, Yahoo! and the Eurogamer Network. More recently, Corey became the lead narrative designer for Silver Rain Games, and is co-writing the world’s first Windrush video game – the in-development narrative adventure, Windrush Tales. The game addresses the hostility, bigotry and lack of opportunities faced by Caribbean immigrants who were invited into Great Britain after World War II, but also highlights the courage, strength and determination they displayed to build a new life in challenging circumstances.

Corey discusses the difficulties associated with breaking into the games industry as a games journalist. With very few Black writers in the industry, there was no clear pathway, so making a breakthrough was tricky. As well as having to contend with racial stereotyping, Corey also found that regionality was an issue. As a native of Birmingham, Corey felt he had no option but to move to London, Bath or Bournemouth, the established hubs of the games industry, especially when it came to journalism.

Writing is not the only aspect of the games industry where change is required. Corey estimates that programming jobs are likely 95% fulfilled by straight White males, which can sometimes necessitate the use of ‘code shifting/switching’ by anyone on the outside looking to break in, as a bare minimum. The issues extend to content too, with some games featuring Black stereotypes, occasionally creating a ‘catch-22’ for some budding Black journalists, who may not be in the position to be as truthful about the poor representation as they wish, out of fear of irreparable, reputational and career damage.

Corey calls for senior executives to commit to changing the industry, not only in relation to the people working in the industry but also in games’ content. Whilst the industry is one that is trying to accept that the world is changing, more action is required to achieve much greater diversity.

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