Fear of a Woman Warrior

The development of Aliens: Colonial Marines and comments from Epic Games' art director reveal a troubling attitude about strong women in games among some major developers.

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Last week, not one but two news stories served as reminders of just how problematic the thinking of some huge, powerful developers remains when it comes to putting women in their games. Why does this matter? Because these developers have the power, through their games, to shift the way people think about women in games (and media in general) in a positive direction. Instead, they choose to reinforce the status quo by continuing to relegate women to second-tier roles--when they even acknowledge women exist at all.

First, there's the ill-fated Aliens: Colonial Marines. A Reddit post, picked up and reported on by Kotaku, indicated that female marines, rather than being part of the game from the earliest stages of development, were a last-minute feature request. Let that sink in for a second. Female marines were a feature request, a special addition, a change made to the game at the last minute. This is difficult for me to wrap my head around. During Colonial Marines' development, people working on the game declared their abiding reverence for the film Aliens. It's hard for me to believe in this reverence, not just because the game ultimately failed to deliver an experience worthy of the Aliens name on any level, but because any reasonable understanding and appreciation of what made Aliens a great film acknowledges the important role of women in it. Women are not hard to come by in the film. In fact, they're pretty damn important. One might even say that they're the equals of their male counterparts. Crazy, I know! The notion of a vision of the Aliens universe without women in it seems like about as major a betrayal of the source material as I can imagine.

Any reasonable understanding and appreciation of what made Aliens a great film acknowledges the important role of women in it.
And yet, somehow, for years and years, development on Aliens: Colonial Marines progressed, apparently without anyone stopping to say, "Hey. You know how there are women in Aliens? Remember Vasquez, the tough-as-nails marine? Remember Ferro, the dropship pilot who says, 'We're in the pipe, five by five'? Remember how Sigourney Weaver was the star of all the Alien movies? Well, I just had this crazy thought. What if we put some women…in the game?!"

Women should not be an afterthought in an Aliens game. In fact, women should not be an afterthought in most games. Women are human beings; it's weird and wrong that people making a game about human beings would not start from scratch operating under the assumption that women, like men, will be part of their game. But they do; men are so often regarded as the "default" gender, the necessary gender, and women are secondary, optional, disposable. The notion that a whole gender can be left out when a big-name developer is creating an Aliens game isn't just a discouraging reality about that particular game; it speaks to the larger problem of games often shying away from opportunities to present women as strong individuals, on equal footing with men.

Demonstrating that this is not an isolated problem, Chris Perna, art director at Epic Games, told OXM last week, "If you look at what sells, it's tough to justify [a female Gears of War protagonist]." My feeling is that he's looking at this issue all wrong. Did players steer clear of 1994's Super Metroid or 2002's Metroid Prime because of their female protagonist? (One may as well ask, "Did moviegoers avoid 1986's Aliens because the film's hero was a woman?") What about the Portal games? What about Lara Croft, one of the most iconic video game characters of all time? And of course, who could forget Ms. Pac-Man?

Of course, in games like Super Metroid and Portal, you can ignore that the protagonists are women; the stories rarely call attention to this fact. (It's an approach I actually find refreshing in Portal; Chell is human, first and foremost. Like so many male protagonists of first-person games, she is essentially you, whoever you are.) Nonetheless, I think the success of these games supports the idea that if you make a great game that has broad appeal and is properly marketed, people will flock to it, regardless of whether the protagonist is a man or a woman. Perhaps that's just wishful thinking on my part, but in any case, I don't think this issue has been properly put to the test enough to support the idea that such games simply won't sell. In a Penny Arcade Report article last November, Ben Kuchera wrote, "There are so few games with exclusively female heroes, and those few games are given such a small marketing budget, do we even know how well a large-budget, marketed game with a female hero would perform?" I don't think we do. I like to think that all it would take to disprove the notion that a Gears of War game with a female protagonist wouldn't sell is, well, a great, aggressively marketed Gears of War game with a female protagonist.

Right now, the fear that big-budget games about women won't sell is self-fulfilling.

Unfortunately, when women are the stars of big action games, their femaleness is more often capitalized on purely for sex appeal than simply treated as one facet of their humanity. The Lara Croft of the classic Tomb Raider games was at least as much a pinup girl as a heroic figure, and in some Metroid games, your reward for completing the game quickly is a sexier glimpse of Samus at the end. There are numerous rich portrayals of women as people in games, from The Longest Journey's April Ryan to Cart Life's coffee cart proprietor Melanie, but such portrayals are all but nonexistent in action games, where you're more likely to see sex objects like Lollipop Chainsaw's Juliet than the sorts of non-objectified human women that inhabit the world of the film Aliens and that you might expect to find in the Gears of War universe.

And maybe this is where the anxiety many developers feel really comes from. Maybe they're comfortable putting women in their games as long as those women are either relegated to supporting characters (like Sam in Gears of War 3) or the creators can treat them as objects to be ogled and don't have to bother making them actual characters with the same degree of complexity and humanity that is afforded to their male counterparts. In a blog entry posted on Gamasutra last month, Ryan Creighton, a designer on Spellirium, confessed that his game is dominated by white male characters "for fear of someone calling me out for my non-white or non-male character being stereotypical, offensive, or - at the absolute worst - outright racist or sexist."

The world of writing and designing games is tremendously male-dominated; sadly, this absurd fear of creating complex, human women who star in games is not limited to Creighton, but is a widespread problem. If you are a man in this position, paralyzed with fear about creating female characters who fit into the human mold rather than the sex object mold, I have some information that may help you. Women have hopes, dreams, and fears. Women experience joy and sorrow and anger. Women can be strong. Women can do what needs to be done. In short, women are people. Watch films like Trucker and Red Road and A Separation if you need to see some portrayals of women as people to help you understand what that looks like. As long as you conceive of women as human beings first and foremost (which you should), it really shouldn't be much harder to write women than it is to write men, even if you're a man yourself.

Right now, the fear that big-budget games about women won't sell is self-fulfilling. Developers are afraid to make and properly market big games with female protagonists out of a fear that they don't sell, but if developers don't make and properly market those games, they don't have a chance to sell. It's time for industry leaders to abandon the antiquated notions and tired excuses they sometimes trot out when talk turns to female protagonists, stop being cowards about this, and take the bold step of treating women as (gasp!) just as human and essential as men.

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1690 comments
sdcazares1980
sdcazares1980

Sorry if I'm a bit late to the party, but I find this commentary a bit troubling (and still relevant for a rebuttal). 


It's not the fact that we object to female warriors, but the fact still remains, even with all the progressive characters such as Samus and Lara Croft (despite her noticeable, ahem, assets), men are still the target audience, so of course most male gamers will want to play as characters they can to relate to. This isn't to say that men cannot play as female characters while having a strong story at the same time, but this is the flip side of "playing as the actual gender to have a more immerse experience" (or what ever that argument is). Case in point: I have no interest in playing as FemShep, nor do I have an interest in having a gay relationship. Sorry, but that is just me.


But most troubling is her dismissal of Ryan Creighton's point about appearing as racist or sexist if he writes anything outside his status. Carolyn, do you know how many people often get criticized for this? Do you know how many people like him are often told that he can't write stories like this authentically because he's not black/Latino/gay/poor/(insert any other minority status here)? No matter what Ryan does or says, he can't win. 


I do agree with you though that it is a Catch-22: female gamers are not buying games because it is too "male-centric", but developers are not making games for females because they're not buying them. It has to be taken slowly to the point that they're just there without making a big fanfare about. I think that's biggest problem we have as a society: we're so obsessed with fanfares about being the first (insert minority status), that we often forget it is not the most important sign of progress. This of course isn't to say we can't celebrate those fanfares, but let's not lose sight of the big picture in the process. 

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

So, Playboy Mansion anyone? Girls could come to my house and play with me!

I'm just kidding! If only Playboy Mansion has online play, that would be cool. If not, Rumble Roses might suit you nicely.

originmsd
originmsd

StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm's Kerrigan = win.

Born2BWild44
Born2BWild44

I think this is where the Mass Effect, Skyrim, NHL 13 (just to name a few where you can create male/female characters) customization best comes into play. This argument backs up why the ability to choose the gender and create the character the player wants to play as is a strong asset in todays gaming market.

Warpspawn
Warpspawn

AAA games are aiming for mass audience appeal to try to rake in the $$$, so games currently been made seem to have big resources that have to get spread around building features and gimmicks, multiplayer and micro transactions. The Obvious choice seems going with a tried and winning formula. I don't believe there is an agenda against strong realistic female characters, its just that something is holding them back,  and along with many realistic male characters. Fantasies and cliches are easier to sell and market, they have mass market appeal and provide instant gratification.

willzihang
willzihang

Jesus, does this ever end? Didn't you just review Tomb Raider? Equality does not mean you have to have 50% of each sex represented.

Women aren't forbidden - AT ALL - from being in the game industry, if they so desire-- they can join it. Just like any other damn PERSON. Yes PERSON, as in human being: let's stop this women/men rubbish.

The fact that it seems more males join the gaming industry is NOT SEXIST, it just seems to be one of those things. Is it sexist that women tend to be more represented in communications because they tend to be better at communicating, NO!

The fact is women are just as equal and have the same opportunities as men to join games development if they so desire. Chaning this to help women would result in, yes, you have it: SEXISM torwards men because women have an advantage.

Difficult concept isn't it sir.

As far as game characters are concerned men are better at writing male characters; just as women are better at writing female characters-- I don't see how it's sexist that men tend to write in male characters more because they understand them better, just as a woman would more likely create a female character because she understands them better.

Simply having one sex in higher numbers does not mean the other sex is inferior. Plus it's gaming, not some huge anti-female industry.

Is the film "The Thing" sexist because there are no women in it? No, what it actually means is: there are no women in it.

If a film was made with only about a dozen women in it, would it be considered sexist? Hmmm... no. It would be considered: a film that has 12 women it it.


Do you think it's time we got over this?

electroban
electroban

Yes yes, and in action movies too buddy, lots of men and lots of big tits there too.

Soliloque123
Soliloque123

Gotta thank the console industry for concentrating all their marketing energy on young hardcore male gamers and shifting the game industry in the most chauvinistic direction.

Thank god I still have my old PC games, where gender didn't matter much when the character was a 100 pixels high.

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

As dumb as it sounds, developers and publishers perhaps don't have time to go to the Playboy Mansion. Well if they're a fan of Hugh Herner's cutest girls.

zenorf
zenorf

As a developer I never even thought of this problem until a couple of years ago when we pitched a game with a female lead. The design was praised, the styling was praised, the universe was praised, and everything was going well until the publishers marketing department had to sign off on the game. They deemed the project too risky, but one of the major reasons they gave was that they felt as well developed as the lead character was, games with female protagonists didn't sell. Since the character being female was actually integral to her role in the story due to the worlds culture, it would have required a huge amount to redo everything. The project ended up just going on the shelf.

GetafixOz
GetafixOz

Nice article CP and your spot on about Aliens. But sadly its a theme that goes well beyond this topic. The term "big fans" of something seems to mean in gaming development speak that basicaly they have heard of it at some stage. So if your a game dev and your friend once mentioned to you that there was a movie called Aliens, that translates to you being a huge fan and long time follower of the franchise. How else do you explain how routinely developers get franchises completely wrong ? Perhaps the classic was D&D online, basically one man's vision of D&D over rode a 20 yeardeep fanbase of opinion to deliver something that ultimately appealed to about 6 people. Its pretty typical.

crush5104
crush5104

I enjoy being able to mentally picture myself as the character I am playing and fade from reality for a while. That becomes very hard for me to do when the character I am playing is female. Putting my head on a female body, though comical, isn't the way I wish to picture myself. I have not done research on what I am about to say, but from an educated guess standpoint I would bet that the ratio of male to female gamers is atleast 75 male for every 25 female gamers. I bet that is even being very genorous. At all the midnight video game releases I go to ratios are like 90-95% male populated. Video game makers know this and so making video games for the minority is just bad business and potentially bankrupting.  I wonder how many more games would have sold if from the begining the Tomb Raider protagonist had been male (ie Nathan Drake) and Lara Croft had been a secondary damsel in distress character. I know I am very likley the majority of the male gamer population who would choose any game be made with a male protagonist as the playable character over a female one. Showing this debate has very little to do with shovanistic ideas and everything to do with good business sense. It is the will to give the highest percentage of videogame players what they want and quite frankly that is: to be a big bad@$$ videogame male protagonist who saves the helpless, beautiful,sexy, female character from the clutches of evil.

meleekill989
meleekill989

Interesting and valid article. 

I find the Dead or Alive ad at the bottom ironic. 

Urlacher54
Urlacher54

One of the reasons that I love early Silent Hill is the very mature depiction of genders in the early games:

http://www.megabearsfan.net/post/2013/02/24/How-Team-Silent-created-relatable-and-memorable-characters-for-its-Silent-Hill-games.aspx

In SH1, Harry Mason i far from the stereotypical tough-guy. He's not a cop or a special agent or a badass. He's just a guy. But more than that, he's a sensitive and loving FATHER. Men in strong, supportive parental roles is the other area that gaming has yet to mature in.

When SH3 rolled around, the designers of that game treated Heather like a real person. She was cute, but she wasn't treated as a sex object. She was properly humanized and developed over the course of the game. She had real feelings, hope, dreams, and fears. She was strong and independent and perfectly capable of coping with the surreal nonsense that the horrific game world threw at her. Sure she broke down a cried a few times, but who wouldn't in that situation? James had a few psychological break-downs in Silent Hill 2 as well.

gohangeorge
gohangeorge

Ohh boy, double standards.

There's nothing wrong with making a strong female lead character, but a lot of AAA titles produced these days are... well, they're male power fantasies. The CoD/Gears formula is tried and true, and until it stops being so we'll continue to have male power fantasies front and center. Female protagonists just don't sell well in male power fantasies (since you're meant to identify with the main protagonist) unless she's sexed up a la Juliet Starling of Lollipop Chainsaw. Is it stupid and sexist? Yeah, but well... that's just how the MPF formula works.

By the same token though, men shouldn't be considered expendable, inherently unsympathetic, or irredeemably evil. Male characters can be killed off left and right without anyone really noticing or caring, are used as the default enemy type as well as the default hero type, and will rarely be given the same chance(s) to redeem themselves that female characters are.

I haven't played it myself, but quick question: of the countless mooks you (probably) kill in the new Tomb Raider, how many are women? Is it zero? I bet it is!

johnnyauau
johnnyauau

Well I'm sure in the future now, developers would not be as dismissive as having female protagonists and antagonists in a videogame. Tomb Raider's Lara Croft and Metroid's Samus Aran are great examples that you don't really have to focus on making them sex objects but instead shows that they're athletic enough to take down enemies, despite their consildated differences, it still works. Perhaps games like the Zelda series that Link is a star, is a good example that your just going through the ocarina motion in saving Zelda that's suppose to be the main star. Instead, you always control Link, you have to take down Ganondorf and you always, always have to go through dungeons with the limited inventory. You care about Zelda but you don't know what's happening to her which is the biggest problem in playing any Zelda game.

The same could be said like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty games that it's always focus on the male lead. Call of Duty in fact is totally straight forward, kill enemies, left, right, centre that's it. Grand Theft Auto focus is getting you things to do but only makes sense as a male lead in terms of killing, that's it. Anyway, I'm just a consumer and I can't force developers to change their mind but I do at least like them to break out of their mold. That's what I hope for.

Freboy
Freboy

I think it's good that game developers know what weak, narrow-minded people we gamers are.

I mean, I presume most of us are white and male. And of course we have very fragile egos and are quite insecure about our sexuality. For that reason, it's very important that when we play games, we always basically represent James Bond. Unless our main character is muscular, good-looking, tough and has a way with ladies, we won't enjoy shooting down enemies with machine guns.

foxglove1313
foxglove1313

Wow, I can't believe the management of Gearbox is so incompetent.  They casually drop off 4 years worth of work with no instructions, since Timegate just threw it away.  Then Gearbox didn't leave anyone at Timegate, like the primary Timegate team, or even ONE GUY to keep an eye on things.  Then Gearbox didn't ask for any regular updates on this big, expensive, overdue project that has the name Gearbox on it?  This company deserves to go down, that's absolute negligence.

Anyway, the larger issue of women in games is just a reflection of the sexism in the industry as a whole (PC/console hardware/software, game developer, game publisher, marketing) and lack of women in top tier decision making positions.  Women aren't a demographic, they are more than half of the people on earth.  When more women make games, more women will play games.

T_Soprano1
T_Soprano1

I am sure many people won't share my views, but I don't really like playing video games with a female as the lead character. I don't  feel I am being sexist, because when I am playing a video game I kinda lose myself in it and during that time I am the lead character.  It's kinda hard to do that when I am a man and the main character is female.  Also I know that there are female gamers out there, but the majority of the females I know who play games do not play the same types of games as men. Even if they made more games with a female lead character my wife would not play them, she prefers( as with most women I have known to play games) puzzle type games to action games. So I  for one understand why most action video games are more geared toward male leads.

CWIICARMINE
CWIICARMINE

@willzihang fucking finally someone that has a brain. all these retards saying " the gaming industries sexist cos it only has some women in it, how about we make it so ALL the characters are female then we will finally have equality in videogames between males and females". Im just like shut the fuck up, if u like the videogames u play why would a developer change to a different formula of making games and potentially spending bajillions and then not getting the targetted sales and losing bajillions. and a hate when people say a game is sexist because shes a damsel in distress *erherm* *Anita shezateen or whatever her name is**cough*. Thats the point of some of the games, to rise up face ur fears and save someones life, whats so sexist about that?

super_voltron
super_voltron

@willzihang  here here, despite what sitcoms like to tell us, men and women tend to gravitate towards certain things. ask any average adult if they play hardcore games and most of the time an adult woman will tell you she never has and never will (apart from playing with their grandkids)

willzihang
willzihang

Additional: I do NOT mean by my statement "women are better at communications" that men are better at making games. I simply make an example of how higher one-sex representation is not in itself sexist.

super_voltron
super_voltron

@Soliloque123 The problem is that if they add more women game characters then we get the potential for more violence against women in games. now we all know that this wont cause people to act that way but the politicians do think that so they try to keep it to a minimum. Even when we do get woman game character they always have her fight male enemys. (Imagine the uproar if more games had female enemys, the press would have a field day. I don't think the game designers are being sexest they are just being Cautious .

super_voltron
super_voltron

@zenorf  there are at least a few strong woman characters in gamess

Chun li built strong yet still femanin shes tough but knows how to luugh, buff yet not over doing it.

jade (beyonde good an evil) skilled inteligent and friendly (you dont need to be angry to be tough)

Lara croft (underworld ) ignoring her chest (not that big a deal) take a look at the way she acts very agressive when she needs to be. never uses sex as a weapon.

could go on but then i would fill up the entire page.

ps at the same time i can list a few male characters that are shown in a weak negative way.

originmsd
originmsd

@zenorf Nice to see an actual developer join in, assuming you're telling the truth. A lot of people here have been debating whether or not this article's perspective is even valid. So I guess that's the end of that.

Soliloque123
Soliloque123

@crush5104 Isnt it exactly the problem ? Because female players can sometime have a hard time too to picture themselves as the muscular brown hair brown eyes white male hero, they don't always play the game, so that's why the percentage of female gamers are lower then their male counterpart.

grow up

hazy33
hazy33

@crush5104 having run a game store for a few years and also having many friends who are gamers i've NEVER come across any male who would not play a game simply because the protagonist is female. In fact many prefer to play as a female as they are better looking than some 'roided up numbskull. I can only assume you're very young or trolling for attention.

gohangeorge
gohangeorge

@crush5104 You are everything that is wrong with the issue. Furthermore your statistics are ass-pulls.

Characters shouldn't be defined by how strong a "male" or "female" character they are. Just how strong a character they are. You, sir, indulge in the mindless male power fantasies that permeate the industry right now and are reducing everything to CoD/Gears clones.

Judge characters (and people) by what they do, not by what they are.

Urlacher54
Urlacher54

@gohangeorge I actually think that Juliet Starling was a very well-designed female character. She has all the best qualities that you would expect from a female protagonist: she's strong, independent, compassionate, loyal, and by no means a damsel in distress. She has a loving, supportive family life, and she actually spends the whole game carrying her useless, dead-weight boyfriend around! The over-sexualization of her character is also done ironically in order to poke fun at the stereotype. The way she answers her chainsaw-phone, drops everything to shop for upgrades and costumes, and performs her cheer moves are all tongue-in-cheek jabs at American pop culture. On top of that, she frequently complains about how lollipops are going to make her fat.

http://www.megabearsfan.net/post/2012/11/26/Lollipop-Chainsaw-review.aspx

gohangeorge
gohangeorge

In short... yes, making a strong female protagonist would be an excellent stride but it's not very likely in current AAA games unless the new Tomb Raider does well (not because I have anything against such characters, but most AAA games are male power fantasies these days) and there are sexist double standards against men that need to be remedied as well.

gamemaven
gamemaven

@Freboy First off, why do you have to be white to be male? LOL. There's plenty of games that don't have the type of character you describe. How is that an insult to your sexuality? I mean they're just making characters they think guys would like. That's beside the point, women want the same thing. The truth is though, there is plenty of games with female lead characters that I think are great. And why do they have to be a lead character? As long as they're fun to have around who cares. Should it be entirely equal, 50 50? I don't think so. It's male dominant for a reason, guys have been playing games hardcore and in much higher numbers for a lot longer than women. A little respect would be nice. Some rookies come in and play a few games and say they're gamers, lol. That goes for both men and women. The big problem with the argument that women pose is that a lot of them are starting to game after the fact that men have already gamed their whole life. And you want it to change for you? Self centered and selfish if you ask me.

originmsd
originmsd

@T_Soprano1 There's nothing wrong with that! Everyone has their own tastes and preferences when it comes to video games. I think the whole point of this article is that most video game companies are ignoring the tastes of another perfectly valid demographic of female gamers that happens to have the opposite view. After all, there are male gamers that prefer playing females and female gamers that prefer playing males. The latter can get their fix pretty much anywhere and the former always has rpgs and mmorpgs (which incidentally are some of the most popular games among women; I can tell you from experience after playing through quite a few mmos myself. You wouldn't believe how many girls played Perfect World, World of Warcraft, and City of Heroes in their haydays). And of course guys who want to play as guys get all the mainstream games. It's just that there is a niche of women who want to play games with a more mainstream style but also want characters that represent them which are being mostly ignored. The games which do deliver are mostly successful mainstream games, but they can be numbered on your fingers.


This discussion is starting to really pull me in for some reason. xD

super_voltron
super_voltron

@willzihang @willzihang The problem is that if they add more women game characters then we get the potential for more violence against women in games. now we all know that this wont cause people to act that way but the politicians do think that so they try to keep it to a minimum. Even when we do get woman game character they always have her fight male enemys. (Imagine the uproar if more games had female enemys, the press would have a field day. I don't think the game designers are being sexest they are just being Cautious .

super_voltron
super_voltron

@originmsd @zenorf  there are at least a few strong woman characters in gamess

Meryl (metal gear series) she grew up to be the traditional butche fighter girl .complete with buff arms.

Chun li built strong yet still femanin shes tough but knows how to laugh, buff yet not over doing it.

jade (beyonde good an evil) skilled inteligent and friendly (you dont need to be angry to be tough)

Lara croft (underworld ) ignoring her chest (not that big a deal) take a look at the way she acts very agressive when she needs to be. knows how to use her brains as well as her combat skills.

could go on but then i would fill up the entire page.

ps at the same time i can list a few male characters that are shown in a weak negative way.

super_voltron
super_voltron

@Soliloque123 @crush5104  when kojima asked the girls of japn why they don't want to play metal gear they said "we dont want to play as an old man" this was back before mgs 2 so nake was still young. how do they respond they made raiden and the ladys where happy. yet the male players where not. ask any player if you add the option to play as tough as nails meryle thye would have been happy with it. yet they did not like raiden...untill they turned him into a cyborg (but thats another topic entirely.)

gohangeorge
gohangeorge

@Urlacher54 Valid points, but I felt like the "ironic" over-sexualization of Juliet fell a bit flat, similar to how Matt Hazard poked fun at TPS games while falling prey to the same clichés.

She is still a stronger character than most female leads; Juliet is indeed all the things you listed. However, she is still treated as a sex object both in-universe and out.

Miceparade
Miceparade

@gamemaven "Guys have been playing games hard core and in much higher numbers for a lot longer than women". 

That was the crappiest argument I've ever heard as a reason not to argue for more female leads or more female characters in general.
Guys have been playing more and they deserve respect? Really? Those thousands of 12-16 year olds who play CoD and Battlefield have NOT been playing more games and more hardcore than I have. They have NOT been playing more games and more hard core than the women in the gaming industry have. They DO NOT deserve my respect just because OTHER guys have been playing for longer than I have. Playing hard core does not automatically give you the right to decide what the gaming industry should be doing with their resources and it does NOT make you deserve respect from ANYONE, other than maybe other 12-16 year olds that care about your high score.

Where do you get the notion that just because person A has spent more hours playing a game (usually only FPS games), has more rights to the gaming medium than person B who hasn't put that many hours into one game or has recently started playing? 
Who are you to decide that person B doesn't have a right to identify themselves as a gamer? 

The reason why this topic has become such a big deal lately is not because girls have just begun to play games. It's because more and more women who have been playing games their entire lives have jobs within the game industry, creating games. So many in fact, that when they say obvious things like "I'm tired of seeing only boobs in female video game characters, that's not what I want to identify myself with", it has an impact. It's not just a few voices anymore. 

Freboy
Freboy

@gamemaven

My point is, when a developer says 'I don't think a game will sell as well if we have a female protagonist', he's making an assumption about the gamer community. He makes the assumption that if we have to play a female character, then we won't enjoy the game as much. That is, to me at least, an insult. I don't mind playing someone with a different gender, race or whatever.

I wish developers would let these decisions be dictated by the creative process of game development. The identity of the protagonist, and all other characters, should be what makes the most sense for the game. THAT'S how great games are made. If that means that 90%, 50% or 1% of game protagonists are male, I don't care.

originmsd
originmsd

@super_voltron@originmsd@zenorf I agree and I came up with my own examples too. The author of the article is basically saying she wants to see more of those in depth and interesting female protagonists. The new Tomb Raider is a PERFECT example of what she wants to see more of, and I don't think there's anything wrong with having a point of view. It's not a conspiracy or anything.

 The examples prove that female leads can sell. So why should projects get turned down just because the gun-toting monster-killing action hero being happens to have a uterus?

 Actually, writing for females isn't all that hard. Lots of good male writers write good female characters, like John Greene with Looking for Alaska or... well, pretty much every romantic comedy scriptwriter on earth. After all, J.K. Rowling is a female who wrote Harry Potter. Think about how parents know what their kids are going through, how moms always seem to know what their sons are thinking, and how dads can develop amazing relationships with their daughters. It's called empathy, and everyone has it.


Besides, what makes a game really good in the end is the game play, which means there's no reason to intentionally avoid writing female leads. It's just one of those things which will change with each generation as more and more people start to notice.

gamemaven
gamemaven

@Miceparade@gamemaven

@Miceparade@gamemaven First off calm down. Second, you're a complete moron. Sigh, and you're also taking my statement you quoted out of context. I said it shouldn't be equal, 50 50. I didn't say there shouldn't be anymore games with lead females. You got a problem with that? Really? Is there an equal amount of game developers that are female or women that play the same games as guys just as often? If they did, developers couldn't care less which gender it is, they go where the money is.

"Guys have been playing more and they deserve respect? Really? Those thousands of 12-16 year olds who play CoD and Battlefield have NOT been playing more games and more hardcore than I have."

Are you DUMB??? I'm talking about guys that are at least in their 30s that have been playing every game that ever existed.

"Playing hard core does not automatically give you the right to decide what the gaming industry should be doing with their resources and it does NOT make you deserve respect from ANYONE"

Again I really think you should get your head examined.... I'm saying there's people that really play the hell out of the game, and there's others that don't really invest much time into it.

 You are without a doubt the DUMBEST person I've ever come across. Do yourself a favor, and actually THINK before you write something so asinine that it taints the gaming community in general. Good day.

super_voltron
super_voltron

@gamemaven  not true if it doesnt sell then it doesnt sell.  women are just as smart as the male developers .  if it doesnt sell then they wont make it.

Freboy
Freboy

@Miceparade  

Risk. Isn't that the keyword...? I mean, I want games to be an art form. Unrealistic perhaps, but one can always hope. 

I want developers to take risks. Sure, it may result in a couple of flops, but it may also result in a couple of surprising successes. No painting in an art gallery was produced to fit in with the consensus taste of the time. They were made by people who people who painted what they WANTED to paint.

Freboy
Freboy

@gamemaven  To me, this isn't about equality. It's about creativity. I'm not saying we should shoehorn female characters into games, no. What I'm saying is that sometimes, having characters that differ from the James Bond template could make games BETTER.

I just wish developers would take that risk, and above all stop saying that they can't, because gamers are too narrow-minded.

Miceparade
Miceparade

@gamemaven @shantd @Freboy Sorry but I think the biggest issues for the developers are getting MORE people to play their games. It's also about risk taking. Just because so many of you have a warped image of girls not playing games does not make it reality. 

The reality is that many developers simply don't care or think just the same as you do that girls don't play games. They get provoked, just as many other guys do, when a lot of people - developers and consumers alike - tell them that they're wrong in how they portray women and that maybe they should put more women in their games in general. That MAYBE this would get more people to play their games. 

Some of them listens of course. Some of them don't. That's why we're here, discussing it.

gamemaven
gamemaven

@shantd @Freboy @gamemaven Exactly. If they knew they would make more money if they made more games for women, they would do it in a heartbeat. There is simply not enough women complaining about it, just some are very verbose about it and make it look like they speak for all women. lol

shantd
shantd

@Freboy @gamemaven  I'm sure their belief that a female protagonist won't sell as well is based on more than a mere assumption. They've got marketing departments who go to school to make those sorts of determination. There's no doubt in my mind whatsoever that indeed making a GOW game with a female lead would adversely affect their bottom line. It may be wrong, it may be foolish, but it is what it is.

gamemaven
gamemaven

@Freboy @gamemaven Well it's a actually a group of developers, I'm sure if more women were in the group, it would have a bigger influence. I love The Longest Journey games, and I don't mind at all if it's a woman. However, it's the context it's used in. For these games it's appropriate to have women as lead characters. Even in the movie Aliens, Ripley is a cool character because of the context it's coming from. All the things she went through pushed her to that point. Should we just have random games with women and a blaze of glory??? Let's be a little realistic, and not make silly games because women are crying about inequality when there is none.