Chucklefish, the development team behind the 2019 tactical RPG Wargroove, has responded to critics who have decried the team for hiring white voice actors to voice non-white characters in an upcoming DLC expansion, stating that the studio “handled the auditions blindly” and selected the actors based solely on their performances.
On November 13th, the official Wargroove Twitter account revealed the identities of the voice actors who would be voicing the four new Commanders in the upcoming Wargroove: Double Trouble DLC.
They’ve got war cries, taunts and loads of grunt options; it’s the voice actors behind everybody’s favourite Outlaw faction!
— ⚔️ Wargroove (@WargrooveGame) November 13, 2019
However, following this announcement, Chucklefish faced backlash and accusations of racism for their decisions to cast white voice actors for the non-white characters Errol, Orla, and Vesper:
Damn y’all really couldn’t find any black people to voice the black characters
— jesse phipps (@jesseninjafrog) December 5, 2019
soooo you have 3 characters of color but you couldn’t find a single voice actor of color? the racism is jumping out here
— Rose @ BNHA spoilers (@hybrid_empress) December 5, 2019
Damn and I actually wanted this game. Big misstep.
You can’t write PoC characters and then not bother to cast us for your twitch show.
It’s like y’all don’t want our money.
— Swordsfall – The Summit Starts Soon. (@Swordsfall1) December 5, 2019
your casting director or whichever overworked person you are having do your voice casting needs to be replaced or educated. this kind of casting choice takes work from Black voice actors, there’s no way around that fact.
— 🌵 róan ✨ (@wodnesse) December 5, 2019
In response to their critics, Chucklefish responded with a statement noting that they had actually taken proactive steps during their casting process to avoid controversial casting, as they “didn’t want our own unconscious biases to impact who we hired to work on Wargroove,” and in doing so, “made a point of not looking at profiles, back catalogues, headshots etc.”
They report they made their decision solely on the quality of the performances sent to them, before ultimately apologizing for “the harm we have caused.”
It reads in full:
“Hi everybody, first of all we want to thank you for all the feedback in the last 24hours in regards to the voice actor casting in Wargroove. We appreciate everybody who took the time to share their concerns and educate us.
We want to be honest about what happened. During our casting process we knew that we didn’t want our own unconscious biases to impact who we hired to work on Wargroove. We took 2 steps to do this: the first was that we had an external casting management team who helped throughout development, and the second was that we handled the auditions blindly. That is to say we made a point of not looking at profiles, back catalogues, headshots etc. and made our decision only using audition audio files sent to us.
We also understand that posting photos of our voice actors beside characters of colour without acknowledgment of the systemic problem of representation in the industry was insensitive and poorly communicated.
We sincerely apologise for the harm we have caused. We will be more sensitive in our future casting decisions and will continue to support the work of all those pushing for better representation of people of colour in the industry.
Thank you for your feedback everybody. We have an update here: pic.twitter.com/qM4eY4HrL8
— ⚔️ Wargroove (@WargrooveGame) December 6, 2019
As of writing, it does not appear that any of the white voice actors will be replaced.