Xbox ANZ are celebrating the women responsible for creating some of the best Xbox Game Pass games, and the characters fans know and love, to life!
With more women in gaming than ever before – from animators and voice actors, to QA testers, creative leads and content marketers – they all play a major role in creating some of the best games that are available on Xbox Game Pass.
See below how Zoe Curnoe, Gears 5 Campaign Lead Producer, The Coalition, and Amanda Lui, Senior Business Planner for Xbox Game Pass Content are contributing to the game industry globally, as well as their favourite games on Xbox Game Pass.
Zoë Curnoe, Gears 5 Campaign Lead Producer, The Coalition
Zoë has been in the industry for 15+ years and has worked on a range of educational, console, PC and mobile games at several different studios including Backbone Entertainment, Pandemic Studios and Electronic Arts. She also spent time at Riot Games working on the Player Behaviour team for one of the most played games in the world, “League of Legends.” She was most recently the Lead Producer of the story Campaign for “Gears 5” at The Coalition in Vancouver, Canada. She joined the Coalition in 2014.
Zoë’s is incredibly passionate about teaching and mentoring future game developers, championing Accessibility awareness in the gaming industry and working to diversify game development teams. Zoe was the Co-Chair of Women in Games Vancouver (WIGeh) from 2009 to 2013 and in 2018 launched The Coalitions chapter of the Xbox Women in Gaming Employee Resource Group with Rose Gunson. Since 2018 WIG @ The Coalition has launched a few key programs in the areas of Attract, Retain and Grow.
“Women in Gaming brings together this amazing community of women committed to making compelling content for our audiences as well as working hard to encourage women into our industry and to help keep them there. We all know that more team diversity equals smarter teams, and smarter teams means more innovation and more interesting content which our audiences are chomping at the bit for. We still have a lot of work to do but I know with this community of incredible women and strong allies we will get there,” said Zoe Curnoe, Gears 5 Campaign Lead Producer, The Coalition.
Zoe’s top Xbox Game Pass picks
“I’m allowed to vote for my own game, right? Seeing Kait take centre stage in Gears 5 and to be able to play her story as a player was such an incredible experience for me. I always love playing the games I contribute to but this one was the icing on the cake. Seeing her story come to life and experiencing her struggle and triumph while listening to Laura Bailey’s incredible voice acting was a highlight of 2019.”
Rise of the Tomb Raider
“I was an avid Tomb Raider player on the PS1 and at that time Lara Croft was one of very few female protagonists in a video game. When the series was rebooted, I was optimistic, though it was Rise of the Tomb Raider which really gave me what I was craving from a Lara Croft game. The ability to explore and find out more of her backstory, solving the mysteries of the world around me and gaining player skills for combat contributed to incredibly engaging gameplay.”
Ori and the Blind Forest
“I’m always a sucker for a great puzzle platformer but Ori and the Blind Forest does it the best of them all, while also putting you in a beautiful world with a heart wrenching story. The difficulty does ramp quite steeply, but that just adds to the challenge and makes it incredibly rewarding when you figure them out.”
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
“Ninja Theory challenged so many norms with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice it was amazing to see it get so much commercial and critical success. Making a game which is centred around a badass Pictish warrior who’s dealing with psychosis and paranoia, while trying to retrieve her lover’s soul from the underworld was not an easy feat. They put an enormous amount of effort into researching mental illness so that they would represent these aspects of Senua honestly and with integrity, and it totally works. Not to mention the game is beautiful, the story is entirely engrossing, the gameplay fun and challenging and it’s the perfect length at around 6 hours.”
“I didn’t realize I could fall in love with a character in a video game until I played the original Mass Effect – and with an alien at that! When I first played Mass Effect it gave me everything, I had been wanting from a console game with fully fleshed out characters, the ability to play as “Fem Shep” and complex and involved story lines that changed with my choices. An epic space opera RPG will win my vote every time.”
Amanda Lui, Senior Business Planner for Xbox Game Pass Content, Microsoft
Amanda joined Team Xbox in 2016, and over the last four years has focused on services such as Xbox Live and Xbox Game Pass. In her current role, she works with publishers and developers around the world to bring their titles to Xbox Game Pass.
“I’ve personally experienced a strong sense of community and comradery amongst women in gaming. Throughout my career in gaming, I’ve always found strong women who wholeheartedly provided genuine perspective, support, and advocacy for me and my career. I am inspired by the intelligence and courage of the women in gaming and am excited to see how many more great female leaders we’ll have over the next 10 years,” said Amanda Lui, Senior Business Planner for Xbox Game Pass Content.
Amanda’s top Xbox Game Pass picks
Monster Hunter: World
“This game has one of the most visually beautiful environments I’ve ever seen. It’s exciting and challenging to hunt giant monsters and you get to do it with a kickass cat sidekick. It also holds an important life lesson: always remember to eat before embarking on a grand adventure.”
Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
“The most classic real-time strategy game. I love the rush of building up your resources and economy, balancing it against your investment into military, then finding out an hour later that – oops – I have way too much wood. If you grab a few friends, it’s super fun to play with a group. The Enhanced Graphics Pack is also so high-quality it makes you forget this game is 20 years old.”
Kingdom Hearts III
“Full disclosure: I love Disney and I love RPGs. This game brings together the magic of Disney music and characters with core JRPG gameplay and the combination is breathtaking. This game sparks joy.”
What Remains of Edith Finch
“This game hit me in the feels more than I ever believed a video game could. The sad, tragic, yet tender approach to narrative completely draws you into Edith’s story and it’s one of my favorite games of all time.”
“One of my favorite couch co-op games because you find yourself shouting about needing lettuce, not tomato, or screaming at someone for hitting you in the head with a burrito, which caused you to fall off a cliff and die. It’s lighthearted and fun, and I promise you’ll be yelling about food almost immediately, too.”