Independent developer Mike Bithell, creator of Thomas Was Alone, has suggested that gamers are growing tired of the typical gun-toting male lead in video games and urged developers to consider breaking away from the notion that males should, by default, play the lead role.
"People are getting tired of playing the same grizzled man carrying a variety of guns," Bithell told Polygon in a new interview. "The thing that's interesting with gender, and is exciting, is that the conversation has gotten to a point where I'd even be asked 'Why male?'. That's a big deal, and speaks a lot to the awareness that's brewing in the industry about gender depictions, and frankly, the boringness of the standard chiseled beefcake with the big gun."
Bithell revealed that he began developing his upcoming game, Volume, with a female character in the lead role. But as the game began to take shape, and Bithell decided upon a Robin Hood-style story, he realized the lead character needed to be male.
"To play with that story, to look at and challenge that particular form of rich masculine heroism, I felt I had to have a male hero," Bithell said.
"I [hope] that when people play the game, they'll realize why I chose to tell this story with a male protagonist," he added. "For me, that's the interesting shift in the thinking recently. Male heroes should no longer be the default; it's a choice, a choice that should be deployed when it works for the story being told."
Female avatars were recently added to the Call of Duty series through last year's Call of Duty: Ghosts and are also featured in Respawn Entertainment's much-hyped Xbox and PC shooter Titanfall. Speaking with The Guardian, Bithell pointed this out.
"I don't recall seeing anyone even mentioning that the Titanfall beta has female avatar options," Bithell said. "It has zero effect on the enjoyment of the game for players who don't care, and a massive effect for those who do. Everyone wins."