International Women’s Day is celebrated across the world on March 8th. The date is observed in many different ways, but at its core, it’s an occasion to show appreciation and respect to women, as well as honor their achievements.
To celebrate, we asked a few female BioWarians to share their favorite moments from 2013 and offer suggestions for women looking to break into the industry.
Happy International Women’s Day from all of us at BioWare!
[BW]: What was your personal highlight of 2013?
[Melanie Fleming, Development Manager]: My highlight was going on the Internet one night and seeing this article written by a teacher friend of mine. That was a surprise and pretty nice! I personally love business-to-school outreach programs like this, and one of the things I love most about BioWare is that our company also does a lot with local elementary schools, as well as the University of Alberta, Grant MacEwan, and the Telus World of Science computer summer camps.
[Melanie Faulknor, Associate Producer]: Attending Gamescom for Dragon Age: Inquisition to meet with press and fans. It was my first opportunity to be at a fan event, and it was such an overwhelmingly positive experience. Seeing firsthand how much our fans love our stories and characters is one of the highlights of my BioWare experience so far.
[Varden Schwake, Senior Tester]: In 2013, I attended my first comic expo/convention. The experience was amazing and very rewarding! It was an honour to meet and greet the multitude of fans, to interact with the people we do it all for, to hear their stories, and how our stories have changed their lives. Signing posters and books, giving away swag, and answering questions left me feeling somewhat like a celebrity. I was mesmerized by the fantastical cosplay. The level of craftsmanship, ingenuity, and talent was astounding!
[Karin Weekes, Lead Editor]: The thing I’ve been most proud of this past year is the work of our Editing team. With the help of our Design Department leaders, our small-but-mighty squad of editors reorganized into a centralized cross-studio group at the beginning of the year. Now, not only do we edit and organize in-game text and support our VO and Localization teams, we also formally support a variety of in-house, marketing, communications, and external partner teams.
BioWare editors have to be flexible, proactive, and able to keep a dozen plates spinning while working on multiple games and projects simultaneously. It’s such a gratifying honor to work with Ben Gelinas, Cameron Harris, and Cori May as they slay the evil comma splices and defend the complex halls of BioWare IP.
[BW]: What advice would you give to other women looking to work within the video game industry?
[Schwake]: I would advise any young woman who is passionate about a career in the gaming industry to be aware that there are a plethora of disciplines involved in the creation and distribution of a game, such as Art, Writing, Programming, Design, Audio, Production, and Quality Assurance. There are also many different paths that can be travelled to reach the goal of working in this exciting field, whether that be higher education, sheer determination, or the merits of raw talent. Chase your dreams and own your future!
[Weekes]: Constantly hone your skills and keep being really good at what you do—your craft is more important than anything else. Work to be a good communicator and listener. Connect with other women in the industry for support and problem solving. If game development is your passion, you deserve to be here, and there is a place for you. If someone tells you otherwise, they’re wrong.
[Fleming]: We live in times where corporations must be something more than a place for people to work or an entity that sells products. We have a responsibility to respond not only to how the world is now, but also show what we want the world to be like in the future.
This is especially true of women in STEM fields or the video game industry, where it is true we are a scarce resource, and only through education and connection with others will we overcome that.
[Faulknor]: I work with some of the most talented people in the industry, and that includes women who are Level Designers, Cinematic Designers, Directors, Editors, Writers, Programmers, and Producers. Tons of our fans are women too. Women in the industry provide a very valuable perspective, so don’t let anything stop you from pursuing a career in games if it’s something you love.