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Sony Thought Female Lead for Killzone Dev's New IP Might Be "Risky"

Company even brought in a marketing team to do focus testing.


Killzone developer Guerrilla Games always wanted the lead in its new PlayStation 4 game Horizon: Zero Dawn to be a woman--but there was a lot of discussion internally about this decision. PlayStation Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida said in a new interview that Sony wondered if it would be "risky" to launch such a major project with a female protagonist.

"She's a female lead character," he said in an interview with Polygon. "That has always been the vision by the team, but we had a discussion. Is it risky to do a female character?"

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There was so much discussion inside of Sony about Horizon having a female lead that the company hired a marketing team to conduct focus testing for the character, along with the game's other standout features.

"The concern came after the game was in development," Yoshida explained. "We started to show it to many more people internally and they had questions about it. So we worked with our marketing groups to do this focus testing. We wanted to see how people would react to some of the things: open-world RPG, the set up of machine versus primitive weapons, and the female protagonist. All of those things."

Horizon is not the only AAA game in development with a female lead, as DICE's Mirror's Edge Catalyst casts players as the free-running hero Faith. In addition, Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Dishonored 2, and Call of Duty: Black Ops III give you the option of playing as a woman.

For lots more on Horizon, check out GameSpot's preview from E3 and some screenshots in the gallery below.

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