A few weeks ago, I had an extremely animated chat with Streamline Studios CEO and cofounder Alex Fernandez. Obviously, we spoke about his company, which develops original games and assists on some major franchises (Street Fighter, BioShock, Saints Row, and more). The conversation became loaded when Alex Fernandez wanted to discuss politics. He released a video statement (embedded below) speaking out against United States President Donald Trump’s immigration policy. As Alex Fernandez is a Latino-American that operates a business with offices in America, Europe, and Asia (in Malaysia, a primarily Muslim country), he had strong opinions on the matter. Here’s some of what he had to say.
For background, my mom is from Nicaragua, my dad is from El Salvador, and I grew up in the United States. I’m hispanic and basically lived firsthand the immigrant experience — the illegal experience. I knew what it meant to grow up and not know what was going to happen in the outside world. All I knew what that I had to work my ass off and I had to work hard to try to survive. It’s been a shame watching what’s been happening with the entire immigration situation in the US. It’s an embarrassment and moreover it’s confusing because it goes against everything I was taught and everything I know to be true about the United States.
Our perspective on this as a company is that we cannot afford not to say something, because we do have people of 28 different nationalities, we are located in a Muslim country, we have Americans, I am an immigrant, and I’m hispanic for God’s sake. I have all the negatives going against me, but at the same time let’s not lose sight of what made the country great to begin with and what ultimately made the games industry great — the fact that it doesn’t matter where we’re from. The knowledge we have and the skill of our craft, the talent and innovation the comes from the four corners of the world all come together in products that touch millions. If we can focus on that and discuss that in a way that’s not childish, we’d have the voice we need to move forward. All of the organizations like the IGDA, GDC, and The Academy should be having these conversations, because we’re asking all these people to participate, but some of us aren’t even allowed into the country now. We have to do something.
He had a ton more to say and I encourage you to check out the full Alex Fernandez interview here. It’s great stuff.