During 2023’s Summer Game Fest, something really rather awkward became all too apparent as the gruelling hours of commercials wound on: there were no women on stage. At the time, Kotaku and others wondered of frontman Geoff Keighley why this happened, but answers weren’t forthcoming. Since, Keighley has spoken to Canadian radio station CBC, to explain that there would have been a woman, only she was busy.
While CBC is much more excited that Canadians appeared at the event (and, you know, one created and hosted it), the interview does eventually get around to the smaller matter that only men were allowed to grace the stage during the two-hour show. Keighley’s response is just…it’s something.
Keighley said Melanie Liburd, the actor who plays new character Saga Anderson in the upcoming Alan Wake II, was supposed to appear but couldn’t due to scheduling conflicts.
Well then, stand down everyone. There was meant to be a woman there, but she wasn’t able to make it, so if you think about it, that’s a lot like gender parity. It’s just absolutely none, when it was meant to be the one.
Geoff does concede that it could have been better, because they always are? I’m not sure how else to interpret the quote, really.
I think generally we do a pretty good job with diversity in our shows. That was something that’s a fair flag. We also want to be authentic to the games that are being presented on the show and the developers that are making them. So yeah, I think we’re conscious of it.
So a two-hour show with multiple guests on stage that fails to represent 51% of the people on the planet is authentic to the games being presented and the developers making them? Or isn’t, and they’re conscious of it, and they do a pretty good job with ol’ diversity, but… Yeah, no, I’ve got nothing.
I think the words Mr Keighley was looking for were, “God, we really fucked up, didn’t we? That was embarrassing. I promise I’ll never allow that to happen again.”
But before that could happen the article had moved on to Magic the Gathering, and how good the event is for journalists because they get to meet Phil Spencer.
A quick primer for readers unfamiliar with Kotaku who are reaching for their spittle guard as they begin to comment: When you see yourself on stage, you think what you’re seeing is fine, and that anyone complaining about it is a fool because you could plainly see it was fine. But most of the Earth aren’t you, and don’t look like you, so when they watch events like this, they don’t seem themselves. And that’s not fine.