…and his name is Jeff Vogel.
Not only because Avadon: The Black Fortress is a game – THE game – I didn’t know I had been looking for. Not only because I love birds and “Vogel” means “bird” in German. Not only because he has published all those thoughtful blog posts.
Not only. But because of it all. And especially this… something I never expected to see. I’ll quote it: it’s from the analysis of TW3 I’m linking to above:
There was some vigorous critical debate about The Witcher 3 when it came out, but it primarily centered around whether this Polish game, made by Poles and set in a fantasy Poland based on Polish books, had too many white people.
(Side note: Did you know that many Eastern Europeans, who occupy a large, diverse region with a long and rich history, severe poverty, and recent history of vicious oppression, find it intensely irritating to be thoughtlessly lumped into the huge, vague category of “white people”?)
The question of whether the Polish people deserve the right to make their own representations of themselves without getting permission from affluent North American academics is one I plan to leave entirely alone.
There are no words to describe how grateful I am for this.
Skin colour probably matters a lot over there in the huge portion of the English-speaking world. But here, in the Eastern Europe, waaaaaaaaaay subtler clues will feed our local Nazi leanings. Hutu vs Tutsi, “white” version.
It’s why I will never do a Ursula le Guin and consciously write “people of colour” into my stuff. It’s why I don’t have any “drow”- or “Dunmeri”-type of dark-skinned elves in my settings.
Because I am an outsider writing in English, and I don’t want to pretend this skin colour prejudice is as prevalent in the culture I come from as it is in the English-speaking one; I want my stuff to have real-world echoes, and the real world I know (but most of my readers do not know) cloaks its issues in different vestments.
Hell. Yes there do exist some Russians who will dislike “people of colour”.
But our biggest-known poet and writer, the person who single-handedly revolutionarised Russian literature – Alexander Pushkin – was of African descent.
And not only him, actually.
And BTW, this TW3 analysis would have been great even without that paragraph. It points out a lot of things generally overlooked. Comments are worth skimming, too.