Halo Composer Talks DEI in Video Games

In a recent video on his Andrew Says YouTube channel, Andrew Chapados interviewed Marty O’Donnell, the former composer of the Halo video games who created the Halo theme. O’Donnell is running for Congress, where he hopes to represent Nevada’s third congressional district in the House of Representatives, and given his experience in the video game industry, Chapados asked him about the politicization of gaming, specifically the inundation of woke and DEI initiatives. O’Donnell’s response is refreshing to hear from an insider, if a former one, and what follows is an engaging discussion about DEI in gaming and the corporate world. You can see the relevant part of the interview below (via Bounding Into Comics):

The notion that the people at the top are “empty suits” doing whatever they think will make their product successful makes sense, especially if they’re surrounded by nutjob activists who insist on DEI. It brings to mind Sweet Baby Inc. CEO Melissa Belair telling video game company employees to “terrify” their marketing departments into implementing DEI (and, of course, hiring firms like Sweet Baby Inc. to show them the way). Apparently, it works, and the higher-ups are scared of alienating an audience they don’t understand. However, I do think there are exceptions where the suits really are true believers, like Bob Iger at Disney. And that’s part of O’Donnell’s point about the way forced DEI is antithetical to creativity; the people whose focus is identity politics are not artists because artists care first and foremost about the art. The result of the former will always be diminished returns on the latter. It’s not an accident, to take a recent example (which I haven’t seen, but I’ve watched so many YouTube clips and videos that I feel like I have), The Acolyte is breaking Star Wars lore because the people creating it don’t care about the story or the universe; they care about, in their own words, making Star Wars gay. It’s probably also why the gameplay in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is supposedly terrible; the developers and their consultants didn’t care about that nearly as much as having Harley Quinn girlboss all over Batman. Theoretically, one needn’t be sacrificed for the other, but in practice, the only people interested in this nonsense aren’t creative; thus, the art suffers. It’s interesting to hear from O’Donnell that this was something that had been brewing for a while, and he saw it fester and got out of the industry just as it was corroding everything. And who will be remembered more fondly: the guy who created the music for a beloved video game franchise or the people who destroyed another one after four hit games in the name of feminism?

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