IN a male-dominated sector, a mostly-female video game company is encouraging more women to get into the industry.

Oak Moon Games, based in Worcestershire but with staff members across the world, is hosting workshops and creating female characters to try to change the fact that women only make-up one in seven of employees in the UK industry.

Alice Winter, lead game designer, conceived the idea in 2016 after feeling there was little representation of women both in development and in the games themselves.

She said: “I started talking to some other women who were studying in games or working in games and they were kind of feeling the same thing that there weren’t many women around them in their environments

“I thought it would be interesting to approach development from that perspective and see what we can do with a mostly female team.”

The UK/world gaming industry is worth more than the film and music businesses combined, earning a total of £3.86 billion.

According to GamesIndustry figures, 69 per cent of big gaming businesses have gender pay gaps with women having an hourly average of 14.47 per cent lower than men.

Oak Moon Games has a small office in Hanley Swan but staff also work remotely across the UK and also in America, Canada and Indonesia.

Melinda Lack, lead 2D artist at Oak Moon Games, remembers her first look into the games industry: “I was watching the Valve office tour and it was really inspiring seeing all the offices.

“I remember not seeing a single female employee and the only female employee that they had on camera was the cleaner.

“I look back at that now and I’m still super inspired but I’m taken a back looking at it now and at least thinking that I feel things.”

The independent company is in the final stages of their first game Momo Ichigo where the player can play as the two female protagonists to fight evil and explore the fantastical, Japanese-inspired world of Touchi.

The player will be able to switch between Momo and Ichigo to overcome obstacles and destroy monsters with their strength and mystical powers.

The main characters start out as sheltered, clichéd women for their society but later evolve and develop, challenging the perception of gender and the role of being a woman.

Alice said: “With the two protagonists they’re two very different women but when you start playing they appear to be stereotypical characters for the roles that they are filling within the world.

“As you continue to play the game you see they are actually very complex human beings and they go beyond these gender stereotypes.”

Momo Ichigo will be released later this year and not only will Oak Moon develop more games with female protagonists such as the upcoming survival horror game, 183, but the firm will also hold gaming workshops for anyone who is passionate for diversity in gaming.

In the West Midlands and London area, team members will help anyone, regardless of gender, who is passionate for game development to work improve their skills on Unreal Engine 4 and strengthen their portfolio and CV.

Momo Ichigo will be shown at Insomnia gaming festival at the NEC, Birmingham, from April 19-22, when people can play and experience its world.