FILIPINO AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH – Highlighting our Filipino members!

I’m a Filipina-American born and raised in New York, currently residing in Montreal, Canada. Both of my parents are from the Philippines (Central Luzon, to be exact), which is north of Manila. 

I’ve been in the gaming space since 2016 as a twitch streamer, streaming Dark Souls, but have been gaming since I was very young- mostly on the Legend of Zelda franchise and Super Smash Bros. My first official PC game was League of Legends, where I was first introduced to the concept of esports!

In 2017 I mainly streamed For Honor when it came out and quickly got involved with the community by helping groups organize and promote community tournaments, while also competing in a few of them myself. I eventually ran my own tournaments on my stream- Mistressed’s Mayhem, a 2v2 tournament held once a month with a starting $100 prize pool, which became rather popular with the community. 

In 2018 I got exposed to the Fighting Game Community (FGC) in person through Combo Breaker. I was so drawn to the energy of the crowd, especially when I also attended EVO in the same year, that I decided to also compete in other fighting games outside of For Honor (mainly, Guilty Gear XRD Rev 2). 

I got invited to E3 2018 as a Ubisoft Star Player in recognition for the work I did for the For Honor competitive scene – still one of my most memorable experiences to this day! Eventually after that, I joined the For Honor team at Ubisoft Montreal to officially help establish their competitive program.

Since then, I’ve done multiple works – from supporting the For Honor competitive scene as much as possible to being a previous co-host of the Warrior’s Den livestream. Outside of work at Ubisoft, I continued to compete and do volunteer work as Tournament Organizer/Bracket Runner at offline FGC events such as East Coast Throwdown, Combo Breaker, Frosty Faustings, and Super TSB. (Though nowadays, my prior focus outside of work has mainly been on my other hobbies- roller skating, roller derby, working out, playing the piano, and embroidery!)

As of now, my interest in the gaming space is to be a positive force by contributing to make it more safer, inclusive and diverse in any way that I can, as well as share my knowledge of experience to those who are looking to break into the industry 😊

You can find Klarissa on Twitter!

I am a first-gen Filipina working in the video game industry. I was born and raised in the Philippines and moved to the US at the age of 11. 

Growing up, I spent most of my free time in my uncle's internet cafe playing various PC games. Gaming was been a huge part of my childhood but I never knew it was something I could pursue as a career until I moved to the States. The Philippines didn't provide a proper path towards working in games despite Filipinos making up a large audience of online gaming. It wasn't really seen as a viable career path, and the lack of accessibility to new tech or high speed internet was also a huge factor. 

In college, I pursued a degree in Computer Science and minored in Game Development. Right out of college, I landed a contract QA job at Square Enix for my first job in the industry. Since then, I have worked at Idea Factory International, Naughty Dog, and now Riot Games where I am hoping to connect to Filipino players even more since they make up such a large portion of our products' audience. At Riot, we have a diversity group called FAR (Filipinos at Riot) that's been amazing to be a part of. It's especially comforting to know that there are a lot of us in the industry, and I hope we can one day translate that representation towards the content in our games. 

You can find Gabby on Twitter!

"I grew up with a lifestyle as complicated as any other first-generation kid. My parents were both born in the Philippines, met by chance in the SF Bay Area, fell in love and had three kids -- of course, I was the middle child. Growing up, I was raised on lots of traditionally Filipino ideals: finish your food, get good grades, no boys, Catholic mass every Sunday. I will admit, when I was younger, I didn't appreciate the strictness of my parents and how their connection to their culture would influence me as a person. I just wanted to be able to stay over at friends' houses on Sunday mornings.

As an adult, I began to realize so many of my soul has been built by my culture, all thanks to my parents who were never shy about teaching us. In 2019, I wrote a short script called Cold Lunch, which was inspired by my mother and her dedication to creating a life for our family in America. It follows a young Filipina girl, Aurora, who brings her mother's homemade lunches to school and consistently gets ridiculed by her peers. Of course, an autobiographical piece that exposed how ungrateful I felt looking back on my adolescent years and not realizing how much my parents have given to me all that time. They built me, and I wouldn't be standing where I am now without them. That script went on to win Best Screenplay at my college's film awards show, and I made sure to point and thank them in the audience because that story wouldn't have existed without their sacrifices.

Flash forward one more time to 2021, I am applying to be a Narrative Designer at Sledgehammer Games and I am asked to provide samples of my writing. After researching Sledgehammer's published game history, I knew Cold Lunch wasn't the exact tone or genre they might be looking for. But despite my doubts, I decided to include it anyway. That script is me. That script encompasses why I want to write, who I want to write for, and everything that is important to me in my craft. It is family, it is love, it is respect. And if that wasn't going to be good enough, then I wouldn't be good enough.

It is eight months later since that day and I am a week away from launching Call of Duty: Vanguard, the first AAA game with my name in the writing credits. Last week, my boss mentioned the scripts from my application, saying that they were some for the best samples he's read. It reminds me that I'm in a great place that values not only my talents, but my culture and my ideals. I am so proud to be Filipina, proud that it reflects in every simple thing I do, and proud that it has been the guiding light that has made all my dreams come true."

You can find Belinda on Twitter!

Published by Project AWR

Promoting Asian women of the gaming industry and their representation in-game.

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