While the bulk of Rovio conversations in 2023 have concentrated around the context of their famous acquisition earlier this year and what games might they make together, that isn’t all that’s been happening with the famous Finnish developer.
In fact, playing second fiddle to that takeover, this year has seen a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion within the company, with a transparent playbook now released to reflect on these subject matters and encourage conversations in the industry.
Accessibility for all
Rovio’s new playbook looks at making inclusive games, addressing themes like accessibility, harmful stereotypes and gender. Rovio chief sustainability officer Heini Kaihu discussed this further with GamesBeat, stating:
"We in the games industry have enormous power and responsibility in defining what is normal and what is acceptable. There are no simple hacks or shortcuts to building diverse and inclusive games, it all starts with building diverse and inclusive game companies.
"At the time when we started putting together the first version of some of the guidelines, we also had projects that were more human-like characters. If we do have birds as characters, birds and pigs, we treat them oftentimes with backstories and how they come from different backgrounds. We borrow from the human world. And for that reason, I think that it’s also important to think about diversity and inclusion even though we are mostly working with the birds and pigs."
The playbook also highlights the importance of considering cultural differences, with Kaihu noting that something acceptable in Finland might not be somewhere else. "My advice for everybody is that it doesn’t have to be just about gender-based diversity. It could be about a language in a conversation. It may be completely OK in one culture but not inclusive in another," she said.