After Kotaku absolutely blew the lid off of a culture of Riot Games sexism, sourcing 28 first-hand accounts from current and former employees, Riot Games has officially responded with an action plan and a number of steps meant to make the company a safer work environment for women.
After opening with several apologies and statements to fans, employees and partners, the company post outlines a number of new positions and initiatives that are being put in place to address sexism in both the game’s office itself and in its hiring processes.
These steps include the hiring of a new Chief Human Resources Officer and a Chief Diversity Officer; opening up an anonymous hotline for people to report issues as well as evaluating claim investigation processes; hiring two third-party consultants to evaluate the company; and overhauling recruitment practices and training.
In addition, the post mentioned that more direct action would be taken on specific employees including firings, though details weren’t provided for legal and privacy reasons.
“We’ve always believed that Riot should be the home for the very best talent in gaming. It’s clear we’ve fallen short of that goal,” closes the post. “But we’ve never backed down from a challenge before and we don’t plan to start now.”
Those are a whole lot of pretty words, to be sure, but those will still ring hollow until there’s some honest and noticeable action taken at Riot Games. We suspect that there will be a follow-up at some time later down the line to see if these initiatives have actually made an appreciable difference.
Today is either an interesting day for Paragon fans or is possibly picking a scab. A new Unreal Engine 4 store offering for game devs using the engine will have access to over $12 million worth of assets from the soon-to-sunset MOBA for absolutely no cost.
The assets include 20 of Paragon’s heroes with their skin variants and base meshes, along with vocal cues, visual effects, textures, and animation cycles. The asset package also brings 1500 different environmental assets from the game’s Agora and Monolith maps.
Epic has suggested to those who want to import Paragon characters into their game projects start with the character Shinbi first, as she has comes with an animation Blueprint that can be used as a framework to help bring other roster characters to life.
The new UE4 bundle isn’t stopping at just these initial offerings. Additional packages are planned to be released to the UE4 store through the Spring and Summer, once again touting “AAA-quality” work and millions of dollars’ worth of assets. Whether these new packages will also be free or require payment wasn’t made clear in the initial announcement.
That is remarkably generous of Epic Games to release the Paragon assets for no cost whatsoever, but also does seem to ultimately extinguish any hope that fans may have had of keeping Paragon online. That said, who’s to say someone won’t take those assets and attempt to do something with them entirely? Time will tell, ultimately, but we do hope that the pieces from Paragon are beneficial in the creation of new titles at least.