WoW Shadowlands is “a step, not the destination” for diverse representation

We’re now in launch week of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands, and the developers have been talking about some of the ways the expansion improves the MMORPG game. One such area is diverse representation, introducing a new transgender character. The team’s proud of Shadowlands’ inclusivity, but acknowledges it’s work that’s never finished.

Speaking to VG247, assistant lead quest designer Johnny Cash talked about Pelagos, who is a World of Warcraft-version of trans, and designing him so he feels genuine and earnest. “It all started just as an idea among design of ‘hey, we’d really like to do a character that is kind of like a Shadowlands expression of trans,’ and asking what that looks like and we do that properly,” Cash said. “As the character grew, we got feedback from the community, feedback from the voice actor, and I’m really happy with where we ended up.”

Pelagos’ race allows members to appear as their “true selves”. As a mortal being, Pelagos was a woman, but in the Shadowlands he chose to appear as a man instead. In developing him, the team used they/them pronouns, but switched to he/him based on feedback, acknowledging his desire to be regarded as male. “I think Pelagos feels like a really genuine character. That’s really the hope, that we just continue to make characters that are interesting, and that feel like people you might meet in the real world, except maybe this one’s a sorcerer, or whatever right? Because it’s Azeroth,” Cash says. “We’re super happy, but I would definitely see Shadowlands as a step on this journey, not a destination.”

We spoke to Cash ourselves about why you don’t want to spend too long in new zone the Maw, a hellish portion of Shadowlands that sounds utterly dreadful, to be frank. You can check out the launch trailer here.

Here’s the exact time you can jump into World of Warcraft: Shadowlands when it launches – oh, tomorrow, November 23.