Even if you could improve your talent pool (and not distract them from their current roles), you are only likely to succeed in increasing the number of White Dudes working on a project. You might get a couple more women involved but again likely to be White Women which suffers the same diversity problem.
I was specifically addressing the question of writers working on characters other than themselves, I believe. (I think that when I came to post, someone else (Oluseyi, perhaps) had already provided at least one answer to directly changing the pool of applicants.)
However, I'm not sure that it wouldn't help, even if only a little: seeing more representations of people like them might encourage non-white/non-male people to enter the industry in greater numbers. The less the industry is perceived to be a bastion for white males, the more inviting it is likely to be to people of other demographics, it seems to me.
Changing the demographics of game development studios needn't be achieved through a single solution; multiple efforts can work together, I feel.
Very much agreed. And I'd go even further and say that artists and writers should create characters unlike themselves just to hone their craft. Besides any moral good you might be able to do, besides any underserved niches you might be able to profit from, improving as a creator includes pushing your comfort zones.
I'm a moral individual, but that doesn't prevent me from writing a psycopathic villain. I'm middle class, but I can write poor or rich. I can't claim any first hand knowledge of the female experience, but I listen to them, I read what they write, I imagine myself in their shoes and so I learn to create fictional versions of them. Then I see where it feels fake, and I improve.
It doesn't have to be a 'what it means to be Mexican memoir', just convincing, interesting characters of many backgrounds who are shaped but not defined by their culture. Even if they don't make it into any games, modelling a chubby woman instead of another 36-24-36 babe in a skimpy outfit is great practice: many classic artists found fat a far more interesting and challenging body type to hone their skills with. I don't think "I can't create that" is ever a good response by a creative type.
OTOH, there will be some that will say "oh look, a white dude made a movie/book/game with a strong black woman as protagonist and he gets showered with appreciation for doing so, while actual black women have trouble getting support/funding to tell their stories".
I've heard feminist women of color saying white male writers *should* write characters like that, and that "it's out of my experience" is not an excuse for someone that it's his job to create characters, and I've heard comments like the above too. Both have merit, and I'm kind of confused of what's "right", or maybe one should just go ahead and do what they think and accept the fact they're inevitably going to get flak by some people no matter what they choose.