- Role: Lead dev
- Company: Spider Lily Studios Limited
- Location: London, UK
An excellent chat with Els White.
QRM: Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do in the games industry?
Els: I'm an independent game dev running my own microstudio, and I also freelance as an interactive fiction writer and narrative designer.
QRM: What about the games industry excites and inspires you?
Els: Because of the relatively low barrier to entry (downloading something like Twine or Unity, in contrast with film or television that usually requires a degree), there's a really diverse indie community that's pushing the boundaries of the medium, and I think that's really cool!
QRM: What about the games industry frustrates or disappoints you? What are the challenges you’re currently facing in the industry?
Els: Talking to people working in AAA or even AA studios, there's still so much pushback on trying to include even the smallest amount of queer rep. Not to mention even trying to get a stable studio job is extremely competitive, so getting more queer people in there to make progress is an uphill battle. I don't know if there'll ever be a place for a disabled trans guy in a big studio...I can hope, though. Or make my own! Hahaha...
QRM: If you could make one roadblock magically disappear from the games industry, what would you choose and why?
Els: Removing the stigma around remote work. You'd get such a massive shift in how many diverse applicants would be able to apply for positions they'd never otherwise have access to. Looking at you, USA companies.
QRM: What message would you give to allies—both individuals and companies—who want to know how to support marginalised people better?
Els: Spread the word about our projects! The more queer games that get popular, the more that big companies will have to take notice and listen to their queer employees! Big companies: I know you think having too much queerness in your games will get pushback from the homophobes in the community, but I would encourage you to think really hard about the message it sends when you coddle their feelings over those of your queer fans. You can make a difference.
QRM: What message would you give to marginalised people who are working in games or would like to work in games?
Els: Working in games: solidarity, my friends. We're getting there. Want to work in games: Try to make friends with people already in games. The queer indie games community is one of the most supportive communities I've ever been in. Getting a studio job is really, really, really hard, but that doesn't mean you can't make games!
QRM: If people want to find and support you and your work, how can they do that?
Els: Retrace's Twitter, Steam, spiderlilystudios.itch.io, or Ko-fi! And my personal twitter is @elskwhite. I mostly post about my cat.