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Activision Blizzard Brags About Diversity Tool, Dials Things Down After Backlash

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Activision Blizzard King recently boasted about using a diversity tool to create characters, referring specifically to Call of Duty: Vanguard and the upcoming Overwatch 2.

The tool seems to have been created to rate characters according to a series of guidelines including age and gender, establishing what many critics have been referring to as a diversity index.

The company has now been dialing things down. The tool was apparently created to avoid "token characters” in favor of “true representation." According to the company, the tool was able to uncover examples of unconscious bias like “why certain traits are seen as 'male' vs. 'female' or why characters from certain ethnic backgrounds are given similar personalities or behaviors.” RELATED: Report: How Women Navigate Crunch, Abuse, And Lack Of Opportunities In The Gaming Industry “Over the past few months, King has let developer teams at Activision and Blizzard ‘beta test’ the Diversity Space Tool and the results have been immediate,” the company said in a statement.

This went on to quote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager at Sledgehammer Games Alayna Cole who described how the tool was used to “figure out what ‘more diversity’ looks like across all of our characters in both campaign multiplayer and live seasons.” Cole added that “we’re going to use that data going forward into the next games that we’re working on.” The statement finally noted how the “Overwatch 2 team at Blizzard has also had a chance to experiment with the tool, with equally enthusiastic first impressions.” When the statement became known, the backlash quickly came from all sides, prompting Activision Blizzard King to walk back on many of its assertions.

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