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 Heavy Rain 's Portrayal Of Female Lead Just Fine, Says De Fondaumiere
Heavy Rain's Portrayal Of Female Lead Just Fine, Says De Fondaumiere Exclusive
November 21, 2011 | By Staff

November 21, 2011 | By Staff
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    6 comments
More: Console/PC, Exclusive, Design



Guillaume de Fondaumiere, co-CEO of French-based developer Quantic Dream, tells Gamasutra in a new feature interview that Heavy Rain's female lead Madison has "quite a nice role" despite drawing some flack for being depicted as a stereotypical woman in peril.

"She's a strong character, to me. The very first scene, she's fighting against, I think, three guys, if I remember well -- it's in her nightmare, of course. She's quite clever. She is athletic. I think it's quite a nice role," says de Fondaumiere, when questioned about the portrayal of Madison Paige, the female lead of Heavy Rain.

Though the game features four different lead characters, Madison is the only woman of the group, and is at times depicted naked, or in her underwear (another main character, Ethan Mars, gets the same treatment). She is also frequently attacked by NPCs -- including in her introduction, in which she fights off several assailants in her underwear.

In another scene, after altering her attire to appear more sexy, she was first propositioned and then threatened with a gun by a club owner. The scene is disturbing, says de Fondaumiere, "because we want the player to feel uncomfortable -- and if you feel uncomfortable, it means that you're a normal person. You see what I mean?"

"But is there something shocking in this scene at the end? I'm sorry, no, there's nothing shocking," says de Fondaumiere.

He does agree that the depiction of sexual violence against women is a delicate topic. "Totally. But we're absolutely not endorsing it in any way. Or it's not an invitation to do that. On the contrary, it ends badly for Paco [the club owner], and at the end you felt proud of Madison, the girl."

That said, none of the other characters are pursued in their underwear. "That's true. But there is a reason why she's in her underwear in that apartment. She can't find sleep. She was basically in bed -- you understanding me? She was basically in bed. We didn't want to show in a particular sexist way, just for the sake of showing a butt, or a breast. For instance, when she goes into the shower, there's also a reason for that."

"We wanted to show, at the same time, that the character was strong but also fragile. Not because she's a woman, but that's the characterization of her. And I think she's a central character. If I compare it to other games, I think it's an interesting role for a female character."

The full interview, in which de Fondaumiere speaks extensively about censorship affecting the game's PEGI rating, and his overall views on censorship and ratings systems, is live now on Gamasutra.


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Comments


Matthew Anderson
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The article is erroneous -- the game opens with the player controlling one of the male leads, Ethan Mars, in his underwear, and shortly thereafter he has a forced, nude shower scene.

Kris Graft
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That is erroneous, thanks for the reminder. Ethan does indeed drop his drawers. We've updated the story.

jo jobber
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Heavy Rain is bad writing. For an in depth article check out www.suckmypolygons.tk

Justin Keverne
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When the major scenes in which your female protagonist appears are, a home invasion with implied sexual violence, a shower scene (using camera angles very different to those used for the similar scene with a male protagonist), another scene of implied sexual violence, being strapped to a table about to be tortured to death, and bandaging and subsequently sleeping with a male character you've only just met, maybe, just maybe your portrayal is a little less than well rounded.

raigan burns
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Just in case anyone hasn't yet come across them, here are some amazing articles documenting all of the ways in which Heavy Rain makes no sense:

http://www.gamecritics.com/daniel-weissenberger/heavy-rain-is-in-
many-ways-not-well-written-part-1

http://www.gamecritics.com/daniel-weissenberger/somehow-heavy-rai
n-continues-to-worsen

http://www.gamecritics.com/daniel-weissenberger/hopefully-heavy-r
ain-gets-better-from-here-part-3

http://www.gamecritics.com/daniel-weissenberger/heavy-rain-to-the
-bitter-end-part-4

Jacob Germany
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I know I'm a bit late to this party, but reading at least the first two of those, I can't help but feel that the author is a bit overconfident in his deductive abilities.

His main premise seems to be that Ethan couldn't be the killer, despite copycats being a pretty mainstream concept in Hollywood serial killers. Much of the rest of this "analysis" is easily disputed by a rudimentary understanding of human psychology, or even just pretty big details Weissenberger seemed to miss, like "Bodega Dad" being guilt-ridden over choosing not to try to save his son, or the fact that marginalized people are hardly the type to have a tremendous amount of trust in the police. Etc etc.


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