Female game leads – Whats the big deal?

"How in 2015, is it considered to be progressive or controversial to have a female co-lead character in Assassins Creed or female footballers in a FIFA football game?"

The Marb dicusses the issue of gender politics in gaming.

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1135d ago Replies(2)
Septic1135d ago

It was never an issue for me. I don't think I have ever, once in my life, thought, dammit, a female lead. If anything, a female lead can actually add some change to the mix.

I think developers could be even bolder and explore femininity in games more thoroughly (if the context supports it) to create a more interesting narrative or gaming scenarios. I'm not talking about having a 'time of the month' debuff or something (although why not- its perfectly natural) but I don't know...explore women's more natural vulnerability as well as their struggles.

For e.g, in Tomb Raider; it felt kinda wicked that Lara Croft is viewed as a weedy little kid by her enemies but lays the smack down and surprises her antagonists.

Brilliant article (obviously biased here) and the ending left me with a somber feeling. :'( Hold me

Halo2ODST21135d ago

Many games have female leads, it's not an issue.


I’ve got no problem with the idea as playing as a female in a video game. In fact I have enjoyed several games where a female was the main character/s.

Just off the top of my head Resident Evil 0/1/2/3/CV, Tomb Raider, Wet, Perfect Dark, Metroid, Syberia, Eternal Darkness, Beyond Good & Evil, Dino Crisis, Kameo, The Last Us, Mirrors Edge, No One Lives Forever, Primal, Remember Me, Silent Hill 3.

Personally I think there should be more of them and I don’t see the issue?

Septic1135d ago

Ah No One Lives Forever. What a gem!

Volkama1135d ago

"If you can imagine having the ability to blow up someones brain by thinking really hard, you should be able to imagine having tits."

That's a big "if". I think I might lack imagination :(

Septic1135d ago

You're closer to it than you think. :P


Volkama1135d ago

Thanks. I've been working on blowing up people's brains in my spare time, but so far the closest I've come is giving myself a nose bleed. I appreciate your support though.

DragonKnight1135d ago

Maybe it's just me, but I personally don't give a damn what gender a character is. I don't think the gender of a fake person has any bearing on the game, the story, or the experience you can have. Why? Because said fake person is written, most likely by an individual who is in no way, shape or form, like that fake person.

Article mentions "I think the female should have been the lead in the AC game." Ok. But why? Would having the female lead truly BE different? The female lead is only as good as she's written, otherwise the only difference is the model. This is my issue with inclusion.

So many people, and I'm not getting that impression from the author mind you, believe that simply having a black lesbian that weighs 400lbs and wears a v-neck sweater and jeans will mean a different game. Yeah, but that doesn't mean it will be better. That character's gender, orientation, physical appearance or clothing has no bearing on whether or not it is a good character.

What we should be asking for isn't tokenism. The idea of having something different for the sake of having something different. We should be wanting only to have good characters. REGARDLESS of their fake gender, fake race, or fake orientation.

Because let's remember folks. These characters are not real people, save and except if they were modeled after real people (as in Fifa). So you can have your female lead in AC, and the fact that she's female will do nothing to prevent her from being a terrible character, or a good one.

Gender politics has no place in gaming because gender isn't real in gaming. A character's perspective is written, given to them by someone else. Perhaps gender politics MAY have a place in game development, but that's going off into a tangent about whether or not good ideas necessarily arise from identity, or simply from people with a creative mind.

To finalize: I generally play as a woman in Skyrim. I prefer the character model of the women than the men because the men either look anorexic, or on steroids, while the women actually seem more realistic. Realism typically doesn't bother me, but if given the option to make it happen in terms of character design, I'll tend to go for that unless I'm feeling like making an insane character.

I really place no part of my enjoyment on the identity of a fake person. But what's interesting is that this article seems to take the position that the SJWs should like, but in reality they'd actually hate it for several reasons.

Halo2ODST21135d ago

People like to get immersed in the atomsphere & the story of games, so gender does have an effect, just like if the main character is a protype super soldier in green power armour saying bad ass one liners ,(execpt in Halo 4) it has an effect. Though there are many great female leads, they're not in short supply.

DragonKnight1135d ago

I'm sorry but I disagree. They get immersed in the character, gender is irrelevant. People would not have a better experience playing as a good female character than they would as playing a good male character. And identity has little impact on people's enjoyment, if we're to believe DiGRA.

People become more immersed in the role than they do in the person filling it.

Somebody1135d ago

Agreed. I really don't care much what the gender of a game character as long he/she is interesting. Games before this generation have female main characters because the game devs wanted to add them. No one asked them to so and it felt somewhat refreshing. One moment I would be storming Omaha Beach on D-Day, watching my fellow digital brothers-in-arms getting torn to shred by Nazi machineguns and in another moment I would be playing as Kate Archer, sneaking around a village full of female ninjas. I didn't play the older Tomb Raider games not because the main character is a woman but simply because I wasn't into puzzle-solving back then(I was still in the shoot-slice-and-punch digital people stage).

Now, however, it felt as if game devs are pressured, forced, to have female main characters. That made their inclusion felt artificial and devoid of creative freedom. For example, I like the game Remember Me but the dev's constant use of the "publishers want us to use a male protagonist" victim card eroded my zeal to play it. In contrast I still keep a copy Oni, a game from 2001 with a kick ass female protagonist, around because it's a good game and as far as I know no one forced the dev to use her.

I'm all for female characters but their inclusion must be natural, NOT forced upon. Let the dev wake up one day and decided on their own volition to make a game about a woman kicking ass, NOT hound them day and night to squirt out a character out of pressure.

DragonKnight1135d ago

"Now, however, it felt as if game devs are pressured, forced, to have female main characters."

And it's happening with Fallout 4 now too. People are complaining because of a rumour that the game will only have a male protagonist. A Fallout game. From Bethesda. A company known for primarily making games with no central protagonist but instead a Character Creation scheme where you can even play as a non-human.

It's like, really?

rainslacker1135d ago

I don't think all those attributes have any bearing on game play itself. The general rule of thumb is that when giving players the choice of gender, or whatever, the actual abilities of the character remain the same.

Now in the real world, there are physical and psychological differences most of the time which can effect how a person might perform an action, but in games that difference isn't explored that I'm aware of. From a game play stand point it would be troublesome to make two difference versions of play, and I wouldn't even want to consider the sociopolitical fallout that would follow.

However, from a story point of view it can have an effect. It may make a story better or worse depending on how it's used. Gender, and many of those other things, are part of who people are, and as such those characteristics should have an effect on how the character act and interact with each other. For instance, taking tomb raider as an example. You could easily interchange Nathan Drake and Lara Croft into the scenario that the game story had. How the story played out from there could be entirely different because the point where Lara becomes a killing machine would likely be different for Drake. That difference could be a different kind of assault, or it could be that Drake is more testosterone driven so he just comes by it more naturally. Drake uses his sarcasm to cope, whereas Lara uses her drive for survival to cope.

I could sit here all day and list how stories could be different due to any number of criteria given, but I think I'd rather stress the point that game characters, like ourselves, do not(or should not) fall into easily defined properties where everything is black or white.

In addition, we, as a culture, are often conditioned to treat the different sexes, orientations, and races differently. Upbringing, cultural conditioning by the media, and our own interpersonal interactions do this, so a story often takes on a different connection to the player when you have a female character as opposed to a male character.

Lets say in Mass Effect for example. As a male character(if you're male), for our romantic interest, we may explore the person that we most wanted to have a relationship based on physical appearance and attraction...much like a man would do in real life. As a female character, we'd probably explore the person who we think would be best suited for her due to them having the most to offer in terms of compatibility and trust...much like we may do for our own daughters.

Otherwise, I think the issue of gender isn't really that important. If the devs want to create female characters there's no problem with that. So long as the story is good, gender is rather irrelevant, but that doesn't mean that gender is meaningless to the story itself.

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