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'You can't have a female character in games'
'You can't have a female character in games'
March 19, 2013 | By Mike Rose

March 19, 2013 | By Mike Rose
Comments
    120 comments
More: Console/PC, Design, Business/Marketing



"We had some [publishers] that said, 'Well, we don't want to publish it because that's not going to succeed. You can't have a female character in games. It has to be a male character, simple as that."
- Jean-Max Morris, creative director on upcoming Capcom adventure game Remember Me, discusses the problems that come with having a female protagonist in your game.

The plan was always to have a female protagonist from the beginning, says the Dontnod Entertainment director, and the team never even considered that using Nilin as the main player character would cause problem from a marketing perspective.

But by the time Dontnod began showing the game to publishers and receiving rejections based on the fact that the main character is a woman, it was too late to alter the game to have a male protagonist instead.

"We wanted to be able to tease on Nilin's private life, and that means for instance, at one point, we wanted a scene where she was kissing a guy," Morris noted. "We had people tell us, 'You can't make a dude like the player kiss another dude in the game, that's going to feel awkward.'"

Morris adds that "there's no way the medium's going to mature" with attitudes like these, both from publishers and players. "There's a level of immersion that you need to be at, but it's not like your sexual orientation is being questioned by playing a game," he said. "I don't know, that's extremely weird to me."


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Comments


Sarah Johnson-Bliss
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Apparently, those publishers haven't heard of female gamers. I mean, we only make up half the population, and something like 40% of the gaming public. And what does this have to do with sexual orientation anyway?

Christopher Casey
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@dario, there are a number of assumptions you are making here that you probably shouldn't. Just to scratch the surface, using the relative "loudness" of males within an audience to make assumptions about the gender of the whole group doesn't quite work. There are a lot of reasons why females may choose not to be quite as vocal within communities such as youtube and gaming sites -- just consider what happens when a female speaks up on voice chat in a multiplayer lobby and exrapolate.

I think the ratio is probably much closer to even than you believe.

Kelly A
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Ha ha, @Christopher said it before I could.
You could be the best female LPer on YouTube, and you'd STILL get bombarded with "ur a effin slut," "tits or gtfo," and a whole slew of crap that I won't validate on this site.
So yeah. They do exist, but we have our reasons why we just don't bother.
So @Dario, maybe think for a second before making such blanket statements. We buy and play ALL the same games you and your bro friends do - we're just not loud about it.

Sven Uilhoorn
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I think female players play very different games in general. You don't see that many girls playing games like Battlefield or Forza Motorsport, just the same as there's not too many guys playing The Sims or Just Dance.

I'm not being offensive (I play The Sims as well.. :) ), but it's just that different games attract (sometimes) different sexes. The girls I've heard about playing games played mostly games like The Sims, Guitar Hero and some Minecraft.

I haven't heard a single one playing racing games or shooters, just as I haven't heard a single guy about Just Dance, occasionally The Sims (for removing pool stairs..?).

(Action) Adventure games like the one mentioned in the article have a more even distribution I think; I've heard of a good amount of girls playing Tomb Raider, Heavy Rain, Uncharted and older GTA's.

I know there's logical fallacy in my sample size and the "methods" chosen, I'm only saying it depends more on the type of game than gamers as a whole, just like most other markets.

Katie Chironis
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@Sven: "I haven't heard a single one playing racing games or shooters..."

Hi, nice to meet you. I'm the counterexample to your overly-broad argument. The first time I picked up a shooter, I was ten, it was Halo, and I was playing with my best friend (female) and my little sister. I moved into other shooters, racing games and action games from there.

I don't feel a need to shout from the hilltops that I play these games. I just buy them and play.

Maybe we're just not as loud as our male counterparts, but we're certainly here. And now you've heard of at least one.

Adam Bishop
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I know a number of women who play action games. I also know men who play games like Just Dance. This isn't to say that I'm right and Sven is wrong, it's that we shouldn't be trying to draw broad conclusions from our small personal circles.

Mark Slabinski
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Oh, there are huge numbers of female gamers out there. And they play every genre on every system. I just feel like they're invisible. Think about it for a sec. I could use my fingers to count all the gaming websites that are AT THE VERY LEAST friendly to women gamers. And I don't just mean that the sites don't post a "Top 20 hottest gaming babes" list every other week, I mean places where the community is cool with women and where women can talk about things without it descending into a storm of "tits or gtfo" or condescension to an insulting degree, which seems to be how it normally goes. What's most sad about this is that, if anything, women gamers might in fact be MORE dedicated to gaming than their male counterparts, especially if you consider that they are willing to deal with a largely toxic environment just for the love of the hobby.

Neil Sorens
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Sarah, so we need to make games with female leads because they will appeal more to females? That implies that yes, male leads will appeal more to male gamers. And if your primary concern is appealing to as many people as you can (or at least, appealing to as many people who have the means and desire to purchase games), you'll want to take as many measures as possible to build that appeal, including choosing an appropriate lead character.

Few publishers are willing to try to advance the industry on the backs of their shareholders.

I know the ESA puts out these stats on % of gamers that are female, but that is meaningless and even misleading data. A breakdown by platform (females are far less common on consoles) and genre, as well as data on $ per capita spent on games, would be useful. But because that data doesn't fit with the "games are universal" message that the ESA promotes, they don't publish those stats.

Kaitlyn Kincaid
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@sven, I know that one of my co-workers is a counter-strike womens world champ.

so yeah, there are a few of us.

Elisabeth Beinke-Schwartz
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@Sven I can't tell if you are trolling or if you actually believe what you are saying. I know a lot of women (myself included) who play a variety of games (including shooters), but choose to not use voice chat due to harassment (which in turn, makes it feel like there are less women in online shooters than there actually are).

Ken Kinnison
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There's surveys on this site that back up 'core gamers' still being extremely male dominated... I just think its wrong headed to use this in this manner and come to the conclusion that female leads aren't viable. If anything this backward thinking may actually be worse for the game financially since a female lead would be differentiating and attract a new audience. In any case is there any reason to alienate an entire class of gamers purely for a few people who can't empathize with someone different than them?
I don't buy that guys are 'that' opposed to playing a fem character either. We have plenty of counterpoints and only a few overly vocal idiots as counter. Regardless, focusing on what 'is' and what should be are two drastically different goals.

Ken Kinnison
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@Elisabeth any thoughts on how the voice chat issue can be addressed? I personally avoid non-party chat because even as a 'dude' I don't like dealing with other people on LIVE for example. I wonder if a reporting system that actually mattered could make a difference.

I feel pained to argue that dario and sven may be 'statistically' right, do the women posting here feel that they do exist in a 50/50 or even a 30/70 ratio as men in say battlefield or halo? If so, you've seen surveys I have not.
Further, if the ratios are unbalanced 'why', and how much difference will changing the lead characters make? Or is it the type of gameplay that matters? Or the d-bags on xbox LIVE?

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/187984/5_things_to_know_about_
core_game_players_in_the_United_States.php

I ask because personally- I want to be inclusive and I end up wondering what skews those stats... is it cultural bias? (Gaming nerds are just unsocial guys who live in mom's basement stereotype from one side and girls just don't like games from the other.) Lack of female designers as role models (Where are you Roberta W?), lack of compelling female characters? (What IS the male/female ratio on genre's and titles?) Is it game style? Are military games going to favor males because whether nurture or nature, men are generally 'on average' more drawn to it? On a different tack how much does it bother LGBT to (nearly) never having a choice?
I'd never thought of perhaps game sites are inadvertantly male focused. I'll have to keep an eye on that.

Ken Kinnison
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I don't know that I'd go with the controller as much of a barrier except for people coming to the hobby later in life. I do think its harder for someone without the strangely patient (in this case) nature of a child to get used to a multi axis 12 button controller- in general older console gamers had the more gentle curve of the various nintendo systems and didn't have to dive in 'the deep end'. I could see that would be an obstacle to introducing a 20-something to the hobby- especially on a game like Mirror's edge where control is everything. But from anecdotal observation of my daughters- it wouldn't stop them for a second. On the flip side my wife (an avid gamer and dev, but more pc centric) had issues initially with an xbox controller, although she was persistant enough to press thru. Would she have if she'd not already been a gamer and already know what was on the other side of that 'barrier'?
It would help explain why touch phone/facebook/motion games might have explosive growth in the female demographic- along with the fact they don't have the social stigma that hard core gamers typically have. (I cite hard core because the narrative in phone games tends to be non-existant vs triple A pc and console games). The social stigma wouldn't apply in my house since both my wife and I are dev's, video games are just something our family 'does'. My wife's viewpoint definitely has affected mine (due to the fem freq videos this has been a big topic lately for us.)
I think its also worth noting my oldest tacks closer to my favored genres (murder, death kill) than my wifes' (adventure games, rpgs, RTS), and she is definitely a stereotypical teen in general... casual observation tells me that her generation is not the same as my generation, which is all the more reason to consider her demographic.

Ken Kinnison
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Wow sorry for the text walls people, as said in the last post, been on my mind lately because of the femfreq stuff.

Jim Perry
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Who are these people that are saying you can't have a female character?!? Guess they've never heard of - http://www.ranker.com/list/list-of-female-video-game-characters/v
ideo-game-info

That's gotta be one of the stupidest things I've ever heard. :(

E Zachary Knight
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How many of those characters are the lead in their own game? In the Top Ten, only 4 are playable main characters. You could say 5 if you count Rikku, but she is a party member in a cast of about 8 people not the main character.

I would say that lest than 1/4 of the characters in that list really qualify as a primary character such as the one discusses in the article above. Also Epona? Seriously?

Patrick Miller
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I lost it at Epona.

Wylie Garvin
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Its true though, that its a big problem that we don't have enough female lead characters in mainstream games. There are tons of female players in the audience, and we always force them to play as male characters, why??

Thats why when I first saw this, I thought "most awesome Dad ever!" It literally brought tears to my eyes:
http://exple.tive.org/blarg/2012/11/07/flip-all-the-pronouns/

A gamer dad with a very young daughter, was playing Zelda games with her and was reading out the text in the game, but switching all the gender pronouns so his daughter could think of Link as a female lead character. He made a hex-edited version of the game with all of the gender references to Link as a girl, and "her" brother to rescue instead of sister, etc. It was the most awesome thing ever, to do that just so his daughter could enjoy the story from the perspective of a female lead character. It hilights the huge problem the industry has, where playable female characters are such a rarity, and most mainstream games have macho male lead characters and female love-interest side characters. Its even less diverse than television was a few decades ago.

As a player, I want more variety in the possible heroes I can play. And I'm sure there are a lot of female players out there who would also appreciate having a broader selection of playable female characters in the games they play.

Dan Jones
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You know what's worse than saying you can't have a female game character? Having a ranked list of female game characters with no mention of Vanessa Z. Schneider anywhere!

She's a *lead* character, kicks a lot of ass, and does it with style and flair.

Andy Lee Chaisiri
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What's deeply weird is CAPCOM actually has a fantastic record of female leads in Resident Evil, heck the movie adaptions are focused entirely around Jill Valentine!

Matthew Bockholt
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It's nice that there's a list of all the female characters that have been overly sexualized to appeal to a male audience. Unfortunately that isn't helping the argument, but reinforcing it. The problem isn't that there aren't female characters in video games, it's that they're the wrong types of female characters. In most cases their designs are based on appealing to men, not a general audience.

Kaitlyn Kincaid
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This reminds me of a story a friend of mine told me:

They lent a book to one of their friends (a hetero, white, male), the lead character was a woman, lower class (for the setting) and a minority skin tone (again, for the setting). Two days later they got the book back unread.

They asked their friend why they didn't finish it, "Because I can't relate to the lead character, so I put it down."

My friend pointed out that, as a hetero white male, their friend never once needed to relate to any main character that wasn't exactly like him. He never once had to break out of that mindset and find commonality with a character that was considerably different (gender, skin tone, economic status etc) because there was so much media that stared "him". He's never broke out because he's never had to, if the character is unrelateable to him, he can put it down and find something else. Hell, he would have to hunt to find something that DIDN'T star "him".

In many ways, I pity the guy. Some of the best novels I've ever read has had characters far removed from my life and I've learned so much from them that to simply skip those books because they are "hard to understand" makes me sad for the stories he will never hear. I will never be able to go to the theater and see a movie staring a girl like me, or pick up a game with a girl like me, hell I've yet to even find a novel with a girl like me, if I put down every media that wasn't "relateable" I would never get to enjoy anything.

Lewis Pulsipher
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This certainly implies that your friend's friend was extremely self-centered (if not narcissistic),

As people mature they tend to be better able to understand other points of view than their own. Perhaps that's not happening in the hard core side of the industry.

And we need to remember, publishers are risking their money, and naturally tend to be very conservative. Unfortunately.

Mike Jenkins
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This entire "movement" is based on people wanting to play protagonists more like themselves.

Michael Joseph
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@Kaitlyn Kincaid

And consider the reverse scenario where some minority child grows up with comparatively few positive characters that he could relate to.

The one-ring that is capitalism teaches us that it's common sense and ok to cater to the dominant consumer group because life is a business.

Bernardo Del Castillo
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You know ... I've sadly started thinking about similar things lately.. that there is nothing anyone can do to change this...
yeah.. we can criticise, we can feel sorry for them, but I tend to stay away from that sort of people... It's quite clear that I can't "show them the error of their ways" (nor is it my place).

Its not even just limited to sexism in games, its the generality of experiences that "are not catered to me", everything must be some sort of juvenile power trip for whoever seems to be the -biggest demographic-. I'd say that the Catering/Pandering, to an audience is probably doing a lot of harm, instead of allowing us to connect and understand, its teaching us we should enjoy everything as it is immediately.. never mind depth .... to be honest it's creating monsters.

Prejudice and lack of empathy are much stronger than we can imagine.. And everyone has their lines.. We'd require a break in the whole social system to actually change anything in this sense.

Kaitlyn Kincaid
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@Mike Jenkins

Yes, I would like to see more protagonists like me. I would also like to see more like my dad, more like my friend Jen, more like my old highschool friend Brian, and more like that silly kid who made me laugh in grade 3 whose name I've long forgotten.

In general: I would like to see a wider variety of protagonists beyond "military guy with a crew cut/shaved head and a gun", "everyman with a gun", "generic guy", "cartoon guy", and "huge chested female with little personality and even less clothing".

Luis Guimaraes
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Why do people even have to relate to the character to enjoy a book, film, or (sigh) a game?

Emppu Nurminen
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Luis; Because everyone doesn't eat up so easily the addictive mechanics or the pretty pictures how those games tend to offer. It's quite opposite reaction, when instead of playing nice game, you want to beat the character to his/hers death because you can't find them engaging enough to play the game further.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Luis Guimaraes - That's a good question! I myself am not worried about if the character is relatable in any form of media and just enjoy a media project due to it being fun, entertaining, etc.. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to enjoy watching classic Looney Tunes cartoons or playing a Kirby game and that's just for starters.

Kyle Redd
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@Luis

Well, ask yourself this: At what point in exploring the female player-character's personal relationships would you (I'm presuming you're a straight male) feel uncomfortable? Morris said that with Remember Me, there is a point in which the character kisses a guy. That'd probably be pretty benign for most guys to play through... but what if it were a passionate kiss? Or a make-out session? Or a full sex scene in first-person? I wouldn't be bothered by any of this, but I can see where the publishers are coming from.

Luis Guimaraes
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I think any first person scene would come of awkward for me, as that's not what I'm looking for in a game.

Andy Cahalan
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How do these people get to represent publishing houses to begin with? That's the rampant sexism at the heart of the industry. I'm willing to bet that in the grand scheme of things (in western games at least) games with female avatars average way higher review scores and sales than many games full of frogs and snails and puppy dog's tails. I do know that plenty of male gamers use female characters in games.

This week Tomb Raider is No. 1 in the UK. Granted, reboot, etc., but it did just as well 17 years ago without a franchise behind it.

Michael Joseph
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That's a good point Andy.

The "deciders" in various business positions may not know what the hell they are doing. They can be irrational idealogues with guts for brains. We must not let their titles fool us.

--
"That's where the truth lies, right down here in the gut. Do you know you have more nerve endings in your gut than you have in your head? You can look it up. Now, I know some of you are going to say, "I did look it up, and that's not true." That's 'cause you looked it up in a book. Next time, look it up in your gut. I did. My gut tells me that's how our nervous system works."
-Stephen Colbert

Saul Alexander
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Our next game has a female protagonist. Not for much more reason than I'm bored of male protagonists, and I think a lot of other people are too. It's called Particulars, and it's about particle physics. Check out our site for more: http://seethroughstudios.com

Saul Alexander
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Also, I'd like to invite people to tweet about games they are playing or making that feature female heros at the hashtag #FemaleProtagonist

Craig Stern
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Any publisher that rejects a game on the basis of starring a woman deserves to go bankrupt.

Joe Saputo
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First off I have to say, upcoming Capcom adventure game Keyword here is CAPCOM,Publish it yourself.
Secondly I certain there is a few male on male kissing sense in a few games.
Really not going to publish a Game b.c the lead is a Female, well then say good by to the money you'd be making,b.c a lot of people now a days want to see females as leads or key chars. in games, just as much as they want that gamer girl friend. So these publisher need to get off there high horse and let the games be made the way they were meant to be,and the ESRB needs to go,case and point b.c if we used the Pegi System we wouldn't have these problems,go ahead take that game over to Japan I know it would get published, with a girl lead or with 2 guys kissing they,that's why there 13 year old kids r way more mature then some of / most of the 18-20 year old's today in America. Even the game iv been building as a New comer Indie has a female lead and I will NOT CHANGE IT no matter what.

Brian Kehrer
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We were once told by a publisher that we needed tribes of different races in our game. Well, okay, our artists found a way to make that cool, if not a bit ethnographically heavy handed.

The publisher followed that up by stating on a call that our Kenyan tribe wasn't believable, because Africans don't wear clothes.

At which point one of our senior artists started shouting about how racist they were. Which was awesome, but barely softened the blow that these people were about to sink our title based on their narrow-minded view, which, in addition to being offensive and ignorant, wasn't even backed by any data showing why this mattered to their audience. I think most people love learning about other cultures and ideas ( and to be honest, we were only talking about some costumes, it wasn't even core gameplay... ), but no - they heard none of it.

Lesson learned.

I've found most of the publishers who throw claims like this around, couldn't understand a high-school level statistics book. I'd love to be disproven someday by an awesome publisher who really understands the market.


EDIT: Just so you don't think we were working with a few backwards idiots, this was a company with 3 billion in revenue, with over 1000 employees.

Rob Graeber
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Might have been a bit racist, but games are suppose to be larger than life. People like caricatures, whether they're realistic or not.

Gary LaRochelle
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All it takes is one idiot in a suit to ruin everything.

Brian Kehrer
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@Rob - true enough, and I'm a big proponent of artistic liberty and pushing boundaries - but in this instance, they actively were arguing for exactly matching the perception their audience already had of 'Africans' because they thought it would sell better.

In addition to being pretty racist, it was offensive because they didn't actually know their audience (or at least they had no data), and they couldn't justify why it would sell better, either rationally, or with data. It also made no sense in the game world, and, frankly, was the art directors call, not the publishers.

Steven An
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Life is too short to work with nonsense like that.

Andy Lee Chaisiri
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Hahah, oh wow that's a great story.

Yuri Oyoko
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Choked on my coffee when I read the title before reading the rest of the article -_-

Jarod Simpson
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Perhaps about six months after Mass Effect 3 was released, I remember reading an article either here or on IGN in which EA/BioWare compiled some of statistics based upon player's choices throughout the game. In that report, the difference between male to female protagonists was horribly skewed, to a degree of maybe an 80/20 split. Now bear in mind, the performance of Jennifer Hale in all the Mass Effect games is very very publicly regarded as superb. When given a choice, a male protagonist is still selected.

I hate to sound misogynistic, but the sad reality is that games with female leads simply do not lead to sales, and rarely profit. Tomb Raider being an obvious exception.

On a side note, go ask a "gamer" what their LEAST favorite Final Fantasy game is. I'd be shocked if anything other than X-2 was mentioned.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Jarod Simpson - Then, get ready to be shocked! From all the Final Fantasy games that I played, Final Fantasy XII is my least favorite. I don't dislike the game, but it is not my cup of tea, either (especially when I compare that game to Xenoblade Chronicles). Although, I did hear a lot of criticisms in the past about Final Fantasy XIII, but from what I noticed, none of them have anything to with the game having a female lead. Final Fantasy VI also has a female lead and it is a very popular game.

Justin Speer
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If you go ask a "gamer" what their MOST favorite Final Fantasy game is, I'd expect Final Fantasy VI (III US) to come up very often... and the main character, Terra, is female!

My least favorite is FFXIII.

Matthew Thomas
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"On a side note, go ask a "gamer" what their LEAST favorite Final Fantasy game is. I'd be shocked if anything other than X-2 was mentioned."

X2 was bad on it's own merits. Not because it had female leads (it didn't help though that those female characters had the combined depth of a desert pebble)

Andy Lee Chaisiri
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Final Fantasy XIII's sold over 4 million, it's sequel has sold about 3 million, and they've got another one in the works.

X-2 has sold around 5 million

That sounds profitable to me!
The internet is filled with haters, I'm sure if we were all online when FFIII came out there would be fury over horses being replaced with 'giant chickens' hahah.
In reality my friends who play FF have enjoyed pretty much all of them, and their little sisters think Lightning is a badass.

Square's got a long history of successful titles (and cult hits) with female leads, and now they're publishing Tomb Raider too.

Elisabeth Beinke-Schwartz
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Those statistics aren't as clear cut as they seem. First of all, the base default character is male. You actively have to change your character to make a female. In comparison, you don't have to "select" the male character, it's already there. I'd be interested to see how many players of that 80% male Mass Effect characters were just using the default template because they don't care enough to customize anything.

It would be interesting to see what the ratio of male/females would be like if the default character was female.

Also, regarding your assumption that "games with female leads simply do not lead to sales, and rarely profit" I would suggest you take a look at this article:
"Games with exclusively female heroes don’t sell (because publishers don’t support them)" http://tinyurl.com/c7xxf8t

Jarod Simpson
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All of you have very valid responses, and I appreciate them. Three points of contention though:
1. Final Fantasy 6 is known for not having a "main" protagonist. Terra is obviously the closest thing to it, but almost the entire game can be played without her.
2. I LOVE Perfect Dark, but that game is still vastly overshadowed by Goldeneye despite being superior in every possible way. And the 360 edition came out when there was no other choice of games.
3. Using only Final Fantasy games as the benchmark for this topic isn't totally fair, as those games inherently sell well anyway. Cutting FF (and Tomb Raider) out of the argument, what games from this generation are left? Heavenly Sword, Bayonetta, X-Blades/Blades of Time, Venetica, Mirror's Edge, Gravity Rush, Beyond Good & Evil, Hydrophobia, Wet? As much we love these games, the sad reality is that none of them generated revenue. If they had, we'd currently be playing their sequels.

Brian Tsukerman
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It's sad, but I would hardly say it's an inaccurate assessment. For most, success is determined by total profitability, and despite how much we want to believe we (the players) aren't as narrow-minded as these publishers you mention (Capcom), you can't deny that a good amount of potential 18-30 y.o male players will not pick up the game simply because they don't want to play as a female character. Then again, they also probably won't pick it up because it's not an FPS with online multiplayer.

I myself am working on a game that features a female lead. However, it's an entirely indie game, so our group is able to maintain that creative vision ourselves. On the other hand, without a publisher all aspects of marketing and distributing this little game falls on us as well.

So either you sacrifice some creative vision to mitigate business issues, or retain creative control and do everything else yourselves as well. Otherwise, you're praying for that diamond in the rough that somehow allows for both, which we all know is the exception and not the rule.

Kaitlyn Kincaid
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I don't think anyone would claim that there wouldn't be a hit in the 18-30yo male demographic, but what people like the above publisher are discounting is the utterly ignored 18-30yo *female* demographic.

Girl gamers are making up an ever increasing slice of the pie in every single genre, and are the majority in several.

Darren O'Connor
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Obvious advertising here, but we have a female lead in our up-and-coming game and everyone seems to love her... http://shipantics.com/

Adam Bishop
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It's funny, when women, LGBT people, visible minorities, etc. claim that they want to play as characters more like themselves they get heavily criticised for being left-wing propagandists and what's so hard about relating to a straight white male anyway? But when teenage males (supposedly) want the same thing it's just business.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Adam Bishop - What else is new?

Eryc Duhart
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I think that's because the issue isn't so much the players, but the industry. The lack of minority demographic representation (and admittedly the playerbase's attitude towards it) carries some strong implications about how we view them - as not very important. More representation of minority demographics isn't guaranteed to make a game better, but you do it because it's the right thing to do. It shows those demographics that society is finally beginning to see and treat them as the equals they are. There's NOTHING wrong with ANYONE wanting to see more people like them in a certain medium. There IS something wrong when the creative forces behind that medium continues to deem them, indirectly or directly, unworthy of this.

Chris Charla
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Tomb Raider on the PS1 says hi. So does Jill Valentine. So does Regina from Dino Crisis.

All games released last century. Not saying they were the best female characters, but I don't think "female character" is an automatic DQ for anyone who's ever actually played a video game before.

Ryan Samms
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This points out some of the key disconnects between developer and publishers that hopefully in years to follow will be rectified. I think trust might be at the heart of the issue when it comes to sceptical publishers (aside from the sexist/racist one in your story above). If a company like Bungie, Uibsoft, Blizzard or any other large reputable developer decided their antagonist was to be female, publishers wouldn't have such an obtuse mindset. Even if their final decision was still to turn a studio down. An unestablished studio might run into this and that does NOT justify any of the examples talked about.

@Jim Perry, that list not including Joanna Dark from the Perfect Dark series makes it extremely questionable at best.

Raymond Ortgiesen
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"If a company like Bungie, Uibsoft, Blizzard or any other large reputable developer decided their antagonist was to be female, publishers wouldn't have such an obtuse mindset."

Starcraft 2: Kerrigan. Portal 2: Chell and Glados. It HAS been done by big publishers. And those games do WELL. The fact is most publishers are dinosaurs in the industry or don't know what they're talking about. They do have the money, however.

Ryan Samms
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@Raymond Ortgiesen

I'm using big reputable companies as an example of when a publisher might listen or not think twice about a female star. I agree with the dinosaur comment.

Jim Perry
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I didn't say the list was exhaustive. It's obvious that there are characters that are missing. The fact that it exists at all should show publishers that there ARE female characters that are capable of being the lead in games. That they're rejecting games for such a flimsy reason is absurd.

Craig Dolphin
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Personally I'm all in favor of female protagonists, but I'm much more in favor of player choice.

As a straight white male I have to admit the publisher comments about 'my' protagonist kissing a guy would actually apply to me (sorry, I'm not proud that this is true, but I'm being honest). Now, it's not likely to be a deal breaker if the rest of the game is good, but I would /prefer/ to play as a straight male. So I would rather developers offered the player a choice of gender and orientation as a matter of course.

And for the record, yes, I agree that it isn't good that most games do not offer a female protagonist for female gamers to choose. There's a definite feel of 'justice' that the situation is reversed here. But isn't the goal for the game to do well so the devs can make more games? And if that goal is undermined by potential customers avoiding the product then it might just be a pyrrhic victory.

But having the female protagonist be the face of the game in marketing is just fine with me. I always thought Bioware screwed that up with ME and Dragon age.

Alex Jordan
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According to Morris, their ideal is also (or maybe even primarily) actualize an artistic vision without compromising it...

Kujel Selsuru
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I don't care if the protagonist is male or female, white or otherwise, I just care that the game has great gameplay. So when I bought prototype2 it was because of the gameplay, when I played saints row 3 as an asian female it was cause I felt like it and knew it didn't effect the gameplay at all. If a player can't play a game because the gender and race of the protagonist aren't the same as them then they have issues and we shouldn't pander to them.

Publishers really should judge games on their gameplay and not so much their setting (unless it really is offensive) as that is the core of video games and I'd wager if they did sales would start to pick up as we'd get more diversity in characters, settings, and gameplay.

Daneel Filimonov
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I think most publishers need to take the time to look beyond their office desks and maybe.. you know.. actually see for themselves the kinds of people playing games these days. Rather than assuming an outdated demographic prejudice. Then perhaps the game industry can mature, if not even a little bit.

Richard Carpenter
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They've got a point. When the market is predominantly heterosexual males (which it still is, despite growing numbers of female gamers), having the main character making out with a male is most definitely a concern, like it or not.

Wylie Garvin
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There's millions of women who play and enjoy games of all kinds. The industry does itself no favors when it ignores them and continues making the same tired stereotypes for macho male gamers instead.

I bet the first publisher to release a great AAA game with a tasteful female lead character that women can easily relate to, will sell a lot more copies than expected. We've already got a glut of titles aimed at those hetero 25-year-old aggressive white male players. It would be nice to see more titles aimed at everybody else.

Jacob Germany
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A heterosexual encounter puts males off? Since when?

And why must *every* game pander to the "predominant demographic"? Wouldn't it be far wiser to appeal to the demographic that receives little attention, since nearly every other competitor appeals to the other?

And where is the data that male gamers are put off by women, or women kissing men? And why is it assumed players assume the protagonist is always the player's real self? Why is this different than other media? Is it assumed males always get offended when protagonists are females in movies, television, and books?

Sara Casen
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I must say what the publisher claims feels a bit like bullshit since some studies show that people playing MMOs tend to choose female avatars over male versions in the same games.

I'm only guessing what the result would be if it was possible to choose your gender in the beginning of an action game or FPS. I don't have any numbers, but it seems to me like FemShep is a popular choice when people play Mass Effect?

Maria Jayne
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Actually when gamers aren't in a world with others, they tend to revert to their own gender. Something about the mmo space makes guys choose girl characters, perhaps because they spend so much time looking at them, perhaps because of the old stigma of getting free stuff for looking pretty or perhaps because gaming was at one point, so dominated by male characters people try to balance the population visually at least.

Fem Shep is popular but i seem to recall a percentage article about a past Mass Effect game suggesting it was closer to 25% female, 75% male Shepard completions. Although I'm afraid I have no source, it was a long time ago., either ME1 or 2.

Anyway, the statement is a load of crap. People buy good games, the characters develop from that foundation, gender is irrelevant when choosing what game to purchase. As we saw in Tomb Raider though, many people do have an issue with a female lead suffering or dying horribly...apparently nobody notices a male character moaning or grunting as they suffer and die. If a female does it though, it's being overly sexual.....because boobs.

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Brian Kehrer
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I was told to play FemShep by a diehard fan of Mass Effect, for the simple reason that the voice acting was, in his opinion, much better.

After a few hours playing as male, then female in ME1, I wholeheartedly agreed.

There wasn't really much more to it than that.

Full disclosure though, by ME3 my FemShep has hit on Liara once or twice, so I think there is an interesting tension there. Unlike most FPS titles or MMOs, Mass Effect actively encourages player projection at an emotional level, so my initial choice has had interesting consequences for my own perception of the game, and the relationships in the world. I try to respond emotionally to events, rather than logically, to fully immerse myself in the game. This has led my FemShep to making out with Liara instead of Garrus.

Back to the OP, I think at most, there might be a moment of hetero-male disconnect when my female avatar starts making out with a dude - especially if I didn't make that choice, and they've encouraged a high degree of emotional investment (most games don't). But,
1. it wouldn't cause me to stop playing a good game
2. it would be an interesting disconnect that probably caused some reflection, which is what art is supposed to do.
3. the obvious, this is the kind of disconnect we ask of female gamers all the time

Gary LaRochelle
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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Kate Archer: No One Lives Forever
Alice: American McGee's Alice
Samus Aran: Metroid Prime (imagine the shock of some guy playing through the game only to find out at the end of the game that they were playing a female lead.)

All had sequels.

and there are many more.
Feel free to add to the list.

Kujel Selsuru
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Jade: Beyond Good and Evil
Jonna Dark: Perfect Dark (both games)

Jeferson Soler
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Yuko: Valis
Bayonetta: Bayonetta
Annet: El Viento

That's not even including Ms. Pac-Man, Kangaroo and the female fighters from fighting games (like Street Fighter series and Tekken series). Also, two of the Valkyrie Profile games have female leads.

EDIT: Forgot to include Regina from Dino Crisis. Credit goes to Chris Charla.

Ali Afshari
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All the other females mentioned so far in this comment thread are great examples. The only other one I could think of is Aveline de Grandpré from Assassin's Creed Liberation. The take away here is that since I'm only able to count these characters on two hands, we need more of them, along with more protagonists of different races and sexual orientation.

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Uzoma Okeke
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@Gary,

Hate to burst the bubble here, as I do support diversity in media (especially in games), but although the characters are female, they aren't necessarily displaying "female characteristics". With the exception to Lara Croft's walk, many female characters that are remembered are remembered for being the "female version of a male character." In regards to Samus, most players didn't even know she was a woman until several years after her debut, and she is void of any link to the player in regards to emotion or background story.

The main character in Remember Me, the little girl in the Last of Us, are two examples of a very rare depiction of a woman whose personality and character is so well designed around their gender that you couldn't easily replace them with a male variation.

Raymond Ortgiesen
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'You can't make a dude like the player kiss another dude in the game, that's going to feel awkward.'

I just want to point out that in the new Starcraft 2, where player's take the role of Kerrigan, early on she shares a kiss with Raynor. Not only are these publishers completely misunderstanding what makes a game popular, they're just not paying attention.

Oh, wait I guess I was supposed to feel icky about that. Or something.

Christopher Casey
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Well, the good news is that the audience to which this applies (people who are both sexist and homophobic enough to be made consciously uncomfortable by the situation described) is shrinking. I think already the perception of the problem with finding an audience for nontraditional characters far outweighs the problem itself.

Daniel Munoz
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When are they gonna stop publishing articles like this. This has been going on for too long already and I'm tired of seeing a new article every week about how games are sexist and why games don't have female leads. These articles are just taking up space.

Christopher Casey
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Is someone forcing you to read them?

Jeferson Soler
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@ Daniel Munoz - If you don't like the article, then don't read the article. The same is true for any article about politics and games.

Daniel Munoz
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No, however that doesn't change the fact that I can state my opinion. These articles keep this sexist stuff going in a loop, But I can't stop reading them either because one day something good will work and hopefully change the way mainstream games consider these things when creating games.

Christopher Casey
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Weird, it's almost like you're suggesting there could be some correlation between public attention being consistently brought to the issue and an improvement with the state of mainstream games. You are of course entitled to your opinion, but you may want to consider that it comes across as somewhat irrational and maybe not totally internally consistent with the outcome you seem to be hoping for.

Daniel Munoz
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Weird indeed. Well, with an article bearing a title like "You can't have a female character in games'' you could begin to wonder if this should be considered part of a process towards improvement. It is only hoping.

Joshua Cook
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Perfect Dark, anyone? This was an awesome game with a female protagonist and people have named quite a few others as. We know that games with female leads can do well.

Still, and I'm not saying it's right or that I condone it, games with a female protagonist will not sell as well as games with a male protagonist in male dominated game genres, in my opinion. For someone worried about the bottom line, I can see where this would be a deal breaker. Maybe they are/were being sexist but, then again, maybe they are worried about making as much money as possible. Again, I'm not saying I condone it but it might be less the publishers being sexist and more about them caring more about money than equality.

I don't think there is anything wrong with games that have a female protagonist and I've played, and enjoyed, many of them them thoroughly. That said, I'm not a huge fan of playing a female characters when intimate scenes with male characters are involved. I'm not saying that a kissing scene, or scenes, where the female protagonist I am controlling is kissing a male is a definite deal breaker for me it could possibly keep me from playing a game.

For me, a big part of the game play experience is identifying with the character I am playing. I like to feel as if I am actually playing that character. I won't actively choose to kiss a man in a game and if there are too many scenes where a character I am controlling is kissing a man I would be turned off to that game, to be honest. Right or wrong, I think there are quite a few other male gamers out there that feel the same way.

I think this issue is a little bigger than the publisher(s) being a bunch of sexists jerks.

Joshua Griffiths
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I get the feeling things will eventually change, but its going to get worse before it gets better, and I think we're seeing that taking place now.

Sharon Hoosein
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OH COME ON GUYS.
I've had to stare at countless topless or completely naked women with DDD breasts, impractical metal thong bikinis and play mini games involving fucking my gender for health/bonus points. And y'all are getting all squeally over a mere kiss? That's part of an actual story?

WTF.

Brian Kehrer
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I actually find the publisher demands for boob-plated, midriff armor to be universally upsetting.

Fine, you've given me a male character I can relate to, in a realistic fantasy setting, and then all the women in the world are cartoons.. Now you've made something that's vaguely offensive to a lot of people, and broken my immersion anyway... So I could look at what, low poly cartoon boobs? Great.

It's a problem with bad data collection and analysis.
Some MBA asked guys "Do you like boobs". Most said yes.
Developer says "the women would be killed by arrows immediately."
MBA says - "oh, so you don't want to give our target audience what they want"

Context matters.

Jeferson Soler
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@ Sharon Hoosein - Exactly! 'Nuff said!

Ken Kinnison
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Damn, I'm totally 'that guy' on the chainmail... Unfortunately I don't know if I can relate to the male character all that much, being unable to bench press a jelly donut much less toss a tank. :\
I'm being somewhat facetious, but I do like my men to be buff and my women to be beautiful, I just don't want them to be airheads. (And really can the armor at least make a pretense of protection while still being sexy?)

I'm still trying to figure out how a third person kiss to another 'doll' could possibly bother someone. For all of designer talk about immersion I don't think male on female or vice versa is going to really chaff many guys unless you do a first person view. Even if was male on male 'meh'

Val Reznitskaya
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I think there are actually several issues being confused here.

First of all, projection. There are many different games, their protagonists in various places along the avatar-vehicle spectrum. While many games are designed to help you project yourself onto the character you play, many others have characters with strongly-defined personalities and stories. These kinds of characters aren't all meant to be "you." You might not be able to decide everything for them, including who they kiss. And that's okay. Of course, if you are supposed to "be" the protagonist, it would be weird to shove any kind of relationship on you without your consent, regardless of anyone's gender. I don't know the nature of the scene in Remember Me, but it doesn't sound like Nilin was designed to be the perfect blank-slate avatar.

Second, there's an assumption that people don't like to play as characters they can't relate to. I'm not convinced that this is true. For example, I doubt that the 18-year-old college freshman can really empathize with the struggles of a hardened war veteran. Chances are, he just wants to shoot things. And when it comes to relating, how significant IS gender? Personally, I find it much easier to relate to, say, Phoenix Wright than Bayonetta. Really, it sounds like players are more interested in playing as characters they WANT to be. This makes sense, since many games try to empower the player. But here's what scares me: if men really don't want to play as female protagonists, does it mean they think of being female as dis-empowerment? Or do publishers think that they think this way? I'm not sure which is worse.

Third, the numbers. Yes, it's true that there aren't as many female players when it comes to action games. But has anyone thought that, perhaps, it's because there are so few realistic, unobjectified female protagonists? Or even just realistic, unobjectified female characters? The same elements that "empower" male players can make female players feel like crap at every turn. Publishers are so scared of offending the least common denominator with a female character, but have they ever considered the garbage constantly tolerated by 10-20% of their target audience?

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Jay Anne
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Good points brought up here. I agree with your first and second points. I don't think either one is worse than the other. Publishers make money by serving a market, and their products reflect their consumers. If male action gamers think of being female as dis-empowerment, then publishers will make products that don't star female characters. I personally don't think that is very classy of those male action gamers to be that closed-minded, but the concept of serving a market is a very basic principle of business.

On the third point, I've never heard an open honest discussion about the possibility that most women just don't like action games. What is wrong with that? That's not sexist. There's nothing wrong with women who like them, nor is there anything wrong with women who don't like them. The fact that most women don't buy action games is not an injustice that must be fixed, nor is it the publisher's responsibility to fix it. If you're a female action gamer who feels you are part of an underserved market, then that is unfortunate. But I don't think there is an ethical responsibility to serve that market, any more than there is an ethical responsibility for companies to localize their games for Belgians or publish old-school space sims that support Microsoft joysticks.

Val Reznitskaya
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@Jay
I'm not sure why everyone insists on seeing us as some separate market. Many of us already like action games. Many more of us would like them if they depicted us as human beings once in a while. If featuring a female protagonist is seen as catering to a different market, that's the problem right there.

Jay Anne
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@Val
I don't have an MBA, but when one customer does not want to buy a game starring a female protagonist, and the other wants to buy a game starring a female protagonist, I believe those two customers belong to two different markets? Sorry, my understanding of business ends at high school microeconomics.

Brandon S
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Hm well gotta separate your culture from the statement though , Which woman are you talking about and what culture of games ? since people are randomly mentioning games as if they don't have to originate from a kind of culture that has a symbiotic Relationship with the consumer demographic .I can say Female players in the North American Market who happen to like action game" Looking for Action games placed in a North American Realistic style"

. If your looking for that type of expensive realism and that for you make you feels human (Not satisfied with Asian games essentially for an Asian market). I'd stay far away from The Asian market as possible(Korean and Japan games ), because there culture prefer fantasy and hyper-stylized worlds that might offend taste of a North American /Generically Western "Too Asian for my taste or Too campy or Silly too over-top" or Quote Jonathan blow arrogant douche self "THEY SUCK!" .Anytime they make a game that remotely looks generically Western they paid a Western to make it, they bought a company to do the grunt work for them. So once again the division remains . Different market, different culture has little to do with gender(Most of there games are about fun escapism and hell fan-service.)For whatever reason there market doesn't like broody gritty realism , the grit which is fun past-time the way Western North American gaming Market and possibly the European Market. With Action games almost never realistic wither it star men or woman . Not even a gender thing in this case it a massive culture separation that won't be solved . They like there anime and manga culture and what appears to be weird social- culture to us (One piece games are top seller, Not metal gear solid , )and that simply not gonna change . Same thing I wouldn't go to India Bollywood films to look for an American action film based in Grit and dark realism it's illogical . Bollywood is far more popular in that part of the world than anything Hollywood produces ,as much might hurt the pride of Hollywood that they are not as universal as they like to believe. (There always possible "market cross over" but eh there still a clear division there not magically gonna vanish ,because Japan made one game that sold here )

Clarifying your talking about a North American Market ? Okay then North American Action games targeted in style that solely design to appeal to a North American Market regardless if it made in Ireland or Russia (Sleeping dogs ? GTA ? lesser extent mass effect ) Cinematic Realistic Action Game in North American Style .These games are praised for there cinematic life-like realism and set in usually violent setting . Here comes the problem . this game is the equivalent of Inglorious bastard or the GI-Joe Movie it the equivalent of a Woman starring inglorious bastards . Yeah you will probably alienate the guy who came to see his Macho fantasy , same way if I put a gruff kick ass action hero in the twilight I would alienate all the woman who came to see sparkly vampires . I just doesn't seem logical for a large scale business with the expense of these games (AAA) to go for a smaller audience that is 10 % of the consumer in this case . (Unless that 10 % will Pay Extremely high prices for a luxury item). I mean Hollywood never does that , and the Western AAA aspect of the gaming industry seek to emulate everything Hollywood does when it comes to action games . These entities are concerned solely with profit they can care less about morality or making people angry till you take them court and say they violated a law , the subjective nature of Morality in entertainment is what the PR double speak is design to take care of . The more the Western side of the gaming industry tries to emulate Hollywood , greater the cost , the greater the death of gaming variety . It not that surprising really ."That vaunted socially acceptable realism for North American adults comes at a very high price "People seem willing to pay it .

maya pedersen
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There recently was a poll on Bioware's social forum where a user asked: "Will you play as a female or male protagonist in Dragon Age 3?"

Now, to me, the answer is straight forward: A female. I'm female and like to put myself in the place of the PC and pretend I'm really prancing around Thedas, saving everybody.
This relates quite well to projecting yourself onto the character and feeling it really is you doing all the questing and adventuring. But then I realised this only really matters to me if there is romance involved as is the case with Bioware's range of RPGs. If not, I can't really see any issues with playing a male. The important thing to me seems to be this:

If I am to pretend a romance with someone and _really feel it_, it has to be 'me' - a female - as the protagonist.


This basically means I can still easily think of the PC as 'me' even if it's a guy. I still get engrossed in his backstory and feel we're one entity fighting the injustices of [insertNameOfRandomGameWorldHere]. I even enjoy a good romance playing as a male, it'll just feel more realistic to me if I play as a female.

Nathan Macher
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I enjoyed Mirror's Edge even though I am of the male gender and sex. As long as a game has fun mechanics and intriguing story, I don't insist on the main protagonist being male. When I played Mirror's Edge, I found the different perspective refreshing. Having to use the main character's speed, flexibility, and strength rather than just brute overwhelming force was a great experience. It is a shame that female perspectives aren't more utilized in games.

Rosstin Murphy
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Children will play what's available. If we create a generation of games where genders are represented equally and fairly, that generation will be more open-minded.

Jay Anne
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All you commenters must not spend time on Xbox Live. A random cross-section view of action gamers shows them to be foul-mouthed horribly-mannered aggressive people with complete disdain for strangers. Sexism is just one of the myriad of ways in which they will insult a perfectly innocent person at the drop of a hat. And we dedicate our lives to entertaining them. Madness...madness.

Michael Josefsen
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A bit off-topic, but I remember noticing how player behaviour seemed to drastically vary from game to game. Example: Street Fighter and Soul Calibur 4/5 players were often rude, while BlazBlue, King of Fighters and Arcana Heart players were always nice when I encountered them.

Gil Salvado
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Wow ... that's deep. I guess, there are still people out there that missed the some important milestones in gaming history. Tomb Raider. Mirror's Edge. Super Metroid. It ain't like those games had a spectacular press because of their female protagonists.

On the other hand, this is getting the people to talk about Remember Me. That's good PR. But I doubt it's going to change the minds of those people in charge for greenlighting. There are chauvinistic mindsets in every generation.

Steven An
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If the AAA publishers don't do something about this, smaller studios and non-traditional publishers (mobile) will swallow up market share over time. Only a matter of time. Evolve or die.b

Jeferson Soler
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@ Steven An - In other words, the publishers have to "move with the cheese" or die of hunger.

Andy Lee Chaisiri
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Jean-Max Morris should have brought his game to Square-Enix, hahah.
Look at their best selling AAA titles with female protagonists:

Final Fantasy XIII: 4+ million sold
Final Fantasy XIII-2: 3+ million sold
Final Fantasy X-2: 5 million sold

Final Fantasy's their flagship franchise and they were totally fine with 'risking' a female lead, and their games still sold great.
And their other IP's with female leads:

Valkyrie Profile, cult hit
Parasite Eve, this game came out in 1998!
Tomb Raider (a more recent acquisition)

So there you go, one of the top 10 largest game publishers has AAA titles with female leads that sell millions, maybe the rest of the industry can learn from that because Square's been doing this for over a decade.

Jarod Simpson
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Just to play devil's advocate here, what are the lifetime sales of Final Fantasys 7, 8, and 10? Each a Final fantasy game with very obvious male protagonists.

Michael Josefsen
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This sort of idea is just silly and harmful to boot.
Quite honestly, while I'm a guy and straight and all that, I mostly play female characters whenever possible. I suspect Ripley from Alien was my first role model ever.

Michael Josefsen
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I should follow this up with why I think it matters:
I randomly got my hands on games, comics and movies with strong female leads when I was growing up and these helped shape my view of female characters in fiction. I have never even thought of it as being weird to select female characters.
That is, not until in recent years, when new friends would ask "why did you pick the chick?" and I didn't have an answer.
I never felt like I needed a special excuse, because to me, female characters are simply as much of a viable choice as the male characters.
But I think many males out there feel differently than me, and the publishers continuing to reinforce the male-centric trend doesn't help. It is more of a negative spiral.

Mike Murray
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Meanwhile, Supergiant Games recently announced a new game with a female lead.

Jeffrey Touchstone
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Just saying some of my favorite games have had female leads. Metroid, Beyond Good And Evil, NOLF, and Mass Effect, at least for my playthrough. All good quality games.

Uzoma Okeke
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This has to be ignorance at its greatest.

When I first saw trailers for this game, I immediately contemplated purchasing a PS3. The sex of the main character never once came into question; when I think about it now, it still seems like a good fix. In fact, all the feedback from what I have seen has been positive commentary in regards to this game, so I'm confused as to where these people get the idea that it doesn't work.

And in regards to arguments of how many female gamers there are: it's a pointless argument. They could make up 40%, 20% or 1%; their quantity should in no way limit or deny a developer or publisher's attempt to a) reach newer levels of creative gameplay and b) attempt to design a game that appeals to ALL gamers.

John Flush
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I'll be honest. I haven't played a tomb raider ever because of Laura Croft. This new one got me intrigued, but with all of the reviews saying the grunts and sounds from Laura sounding like a porn movie makes it a hard sell to have that sort of stuff in a house where me and my wife aren't swingers.

I want equality as much as the next person, but some things just don't work out. I wonder if games would be better if every character had a male / female equivalent with appropriate voice actors. Similar to Mass Effect. Which is Commander Shepard? Male or Female? Doesn't matter. That is how you know your character design wasn't sexist.

Ali Afshari
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People who would be turned on by Lara Croft's grunts and moans in this game would also masturbate to a Sears underwear catalog.

Play the game...it's awesome and the torture porn aspects were highly exaggerated before the game's release.

Arthur De Martino
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Really pathetic from publishers to think like that.

No wonder all we get is more of the same if even the freaking gender is a barrier to them! It's not like it changes -that- much.
I mean there is this huge back log of (funnily enough, none of them are triple A) games where not only females are the main character - All the characters are female. And they often have a huge male fanbase, sometimes bigger than the female one (Example: Skullgirls. Touhou. Almost every single "girl fighter" EVER).

I think this speaks volumes on how stupid publisher actually are than anything.

Greg Zapp
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I really see this as a "personal" problem for the publishers and not something to get too upset over. If this game turns out awesome and sells well, then it's their loss and if they are smart they won't pass up on games just because the lead is female in the future. If the game bombs, they dodged a bullet regardless of their reasoning. They very well may attribute it to the female lead, correctly or erroneously, but that's their issue.

As the lists above point out, there are a number of very good female lead games on offer. I've brought this up with my friends the consensus is that we will play the games we like regardless of the sex of the main character. And as was previously mentioned, males will quite frequently choose to play as female characters when given the choice; Both me and my flatmate actually chose female characters when trying out Path of The Exile because they seemed more interesting.

I believe that most male gamers would welcome more games with female leads. The variety of experiences and stories would certainly be increased just as in books and films. However I'm also pro letting developers develop what they want, and publishers publish what they want. Consumers get to consume what producers produce. If a consumer doesn't like what's on offer or wants something else it makes sense to voice that. It just doesn't make sense to me to get upset at the producer for not making a particular product.

mikko tahtinen
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I belive the big problem in this is, that we're trying to make a character that is "male" or "female".
I'll giv eyou some examples, that should make you think this a bit:

* Alien http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078748/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
* Terminator http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088247/?ref_=sr_2
* The Abyss http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096754/?ref_=sr_1

and there are more... These are movies that portrain women, but in a way that you don't think them as "strong women" characters. You see them as strong CHARACTERS and persons...

This is how we should treat also our videogame characters, not as videogame "women" or "men" - "male" or "female".



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