Each year, the workshops and activities from Girls Make Games (GMG) leave me feeling more proud, surprised and excited about the gaming industry than the last. Last year, women accounted for 48% of gamers in the United States, and at every level of the industry, women are accounting for more and more of the gaming workforce. Whether in development, publishing, marketing, competitive esports, journalism, or any other area of the gaming sphere, women are making their collective presence known and their individual voices heard.
Girls Make Games was founded to help cultivate the voices of the next generation of women in games, giving them a platform and the resources to pursue their passions. For this year’s iteration, and in celebration of Women’s History Month, Sony Interactive Entertainment provided participants with an unprecedented opportunity to visit with one of three development studios—Sucker Punch Productions, Insomniac Games, and Bend Studio—to learn, listen and connect with other young creatives in a welcoming and instructive environment.
Let’s take a closer look at how each event went:
Sucker Punch Productions
This event invited attendees to participate in interactive workshops hosted by GMG instructors, allowing them to learn the nuts and bolts of game design, like art, sound and coding. Every GMG event is open to girls of all skill levels, but in this case, many attendees had already begun developing their craft.
“I was surprised by how many of our participants were so experienced already,” said Brian Fleming, founder of Sucker Punch Productions. “For [some], it was perhaps their second or third event with GMG, and they were pushing well beyond the curriculum for the day. It was awesome to see!”
At its core, GMG is about engagement at the grassroots level, as part of a wider push throughout the industry to challenge an outdated culture of homogeneity. “I see GMG and similar efforts as the most impactful solution to the profound gender imbalance in our business,” Fleming said. “It requires patience and a long-term view, but to my mind it’s [a] real solution.”
The workshops held at Sucker Punch’s studio in Bellevue, Washington were broken into two groups, accounting for the different experience levels of each participant. Within those groups, each attendee was able to practice their skills and make their own individual contributions to a collaborative project.
Joanna Wang, Production Art Director for Sucker Punch Productions, highlighted the importance of encouraging each girl’s specific interests. “They may like art, they may like coding—a little piece of how to make a game. And what we can do is give them the big picture view, explaining how those pieces fit together.”
She continued: “We’re showing them some of the tools needed to make a video game, and they can see what part of that process interests them. So hopefully, they can identify a personal strength, and start thinking about how they can apply that to their future.”
Sucker Punch is known for many hit PlayStation titles, like the beloved Sly Cooper series and their