While Electronic Arts has been in the sports game business for decades, the company's titles have historically focused almost exclusively on male athletes. Franchises like FIFA and NHL have long idolized the world's top male competitors, and haven't given female athletes much time in the spotlight.
But the company is now taking steps to remedy that oversight, and has announced that the upcoming NHL 13 will feature women's hockey stars Hayley Wickenheiser (pictured) and Angela Ruggiero. This marks the first time that real-world female athletes have secured a spot in the long-running franchise.
And it seems similar changes are coming to ever-popular FIFA series. Over the past few weeks, FIFA fan Fernanda Schabarum has been running an online petition to encourage EA to add female characters to the hit soccer series. In response, FIFA executive producer David Rutter recently met up with Schabarum and confirmed that the studio is now interested in adding real-world female athletes to the upcoming games.
Rutter told Kotaku that the change might take some time, however, as EA wants to make sure that it does justice to the sport's female stars.
"The key thing about delivering on it, is that it has to be of very good quality, very high value, rather than just an acknowledgment of women in football," Rutter said.
Up until this point, only a rare few EA Sports games -- such as the Tiger Woods PGA Tour titles and the Grand Slam Tennis games -- have included the names and likenesses of real-world female athletes. Other titles, like NHL 12, have allowed players to create their own custom female characters, but did not include any actual female stars.