Stolen Pixels #258: Where the Boys Are

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lesterley:

HankMan:
Maybe splash damage is just likes dicking around.

lesterley:
So the idea of making a game with all FEMALE characters is completely incomprehensible?

They might have been jiggling with the idea, but I think that's been done

Ah yes. I game that completely objectifies the female body.

So you can only have a game with all-female characters if the main purpose of their existence is to appeal to the male gaze?

I guess that's just the way the ball
bounces

I for one would love to play a game that had no male population. Like "Y The Last Man"", except, you know, no dudes.

Zhukov:
Yeah, because every other online FPS has female characters.

...

Oh wait.

*shrug*

I kind of get why people are annoyed, but I fail to see why they are picking on Brink specifically.

It's because a key selling point of Brink is the level of customisation and variety available in your character; so for them to put so much effort into allowing players to design male characters, and disregard female ones entirely... it's a bit noticeable.

If the game only had a single, pre-designed protagonist, the designers ultimately have to pick one design for that character; there's only so much arguing you can make for why they almost always decide that this protagonist should be a white man.

Bethesda have opened themselves up to a lot of questions by simultaneously making Brink massively open with character customisation and incredibly narrow.

Yet no one mentions that this is one of the rare game with a decent multi-ethnic cast of characters. I just love the accents in this game. Much more than you get from CoD or whatever other shooters out there that only have British or American accents.

It screams more "incomplete" to me than something intentionally left out. Sure, voice acting and asset generation is expensive, but it would have boosted sales.

Anyways, it's not the only flaw that points to this being a rush job.

It'll probably be in the sequel, given all the complaints they got about it.

Also, there were no civilians in the game, either. No one behind glass, or closing a door they had been peeking out of just as the player rounds into view. You never see the noncombatant Founders or Guests. We know they exist, they're just not anywhere we can see them. Even in the container port level, which is supposed to be Resistance Grand Central.

o.O

Somehow this puts me off bothering with it.. oh well.

nekoali:
I kind of call into question the idea that it will take more resources to create female models than men. Yes, in a game where they have both male and female models, they have to do all the work twice... But you don't have to put in more work just because they are female... I could see that if it was some non-human race or something...

To be clear, I didn't say "women take more work than men". The point was that doing both is more work than doing just one or the other. The same would be true if the option was "guy" and "lizard". There's overhead to making them balanced against each other and inter-operate.

My opinion remains unchanged about this they should of added women,but they don't actually have to and I don't hate their game for not doing so.

Hristo Tzonkov:
Thing is there's beefy mofos,normal mofos and skinny mofos in Brink.How would that work with character models for women?The beefy mofos aren't just Gears of War beefy they are bloody huge walking waldrobes.Putting women in ~ 50-60% would pick them and then not even bother with 1/3 of the body types which are a bit essential to gameplay(they die the hardest and get the brickwall job).Leaving the other 40% a bit forced to play certain types.

They can also be ignored completely so they don't hamper gameplay for your avatar.I'd like it to be incorporated in a dlc but I don't know if it's doable because of before mentioned stuff.

So women can only play as characters for cosmetic style instead of tactical style?

Lucane:
So women can only play as characters for cosmetic style instead of tactical style?

The gender of your character is purely a cosmetic change however you look at it.Different genders can't be incorporated or are hard to in game mechanics without the game being sexist.I can actually imagine the Fox headline:
"Overweight women used as meatshields in Brink." or "Women must remain skinny to be good at parkour and running."
Heh that would make my day xD

cairocat:

lesterley:
So the idea of making a game with all FEMALE characters is completely incomprehensible?

From a statistical point of view, you want to try and appeal to your largest market share. With shooters women make up ≤33% of the potential buyers, probably significantly less. From a cultural-bias point of view, the public would, without a doubt, find the lack of male characters much more confusing unless it was specifically explained by the story. This is odd, since in a hopeless-future scenario female who could be engineered to clone themselves would be much more useful than males, but video games (specifically shooters) are obviously dominated by masculine themes, settings, and characters.

...I have no idea why it's this way, but it is. :I

...but if they did make a game with only female characters, would you be any less likely to buy it? I know that most of my gamer friends are usually not too bothered that they can't play a character of their own gender, why should it be any different for guys? Hmmz... As you too point out, in a future setting at least there shouldn't be a need for males to be the only ones fighting. Especially in a desperate struggle for survival, why couldn't more women (who are actually more numerous than men world-wide) also get a bit of the action? =3

As I said, I'm not really bothered. But I think some people may put too much weight on players identifying with a character. I don't really think that the average gamer would have any less fun if the big macho guy was swapped for a slightly skinnier macho girl!

Shamus Young:

nekoali:
I kind of call into question the idea that it will take more resources to create female models than men. Yes, in a game where they have both male and female models, they have to do all the work twice... But you don't have to put in more work just because they are female... I could see that if it was some non-human race or something...

To be clear, I didn't say "women take more work than men". The point was that doing both is more work than doing just one or the other. The same would be true if the option was "guy" and "lizard". There's overhead to making them balanced against each other and inter-operate.

True enough then. I misunderstood and I apologize.

I still would have rather seen half as many options and females in the game.. Which would have covered the other half the options. But cest la vie.

Well they know who they're marketing to...

Soylent Dave:

Because men don't usually shoot each other for sport in mine.

Go read IGN's article on boys and their guns.

lesterley:

So you can only have a game with all-female characters if the main purpose of their existence is to appeal to the male gaze?

The main purpose of most games (with the exception of the vast majority of casual titles), particularly ones that target the 'core' demographic will always include a way to either appeal to the "male gaze" or to pander to the fantasies of men. This could include sex appeal (Dead or Alive) or war simulation. (an environment that fosters competition and aggression, two key aspects of male-dominated culture). This is because the male audience is where the industry currently gets most of its revenue for titles appealing to the 'core' audience. In the end, it all comes down to economics, and what investors want to see - marketing towards the people that they know are going to generate profit. It's sad, but it's true. We don't live in a perfect world, unfortunately. I know members of the escapist are progressive, and contrarian, and say things like "sex appeal is old" and "i want to play as all female only even though i'm male", but we have to look at the bigger picture. We make up a fairly small minority of the global market. Joe Average doesn't care about feminism, or sexism, or the inclusion of females or not. He's going to be thinking how 'epic' that last match was when he headshot someone from a hundred yards away. He's going to be 'projecting' himself onto his male avatar, visualise it as him being in the game, kicking arse. Companies pay hundreds of thousands to gather market research data and employ advertising psychologists, so if this is what makes money, this is what they're going to sell to.

I thought the comic itself was a bit weak. Only two panels and really somewhat out of context. I don't think the characters or even the players themselves care about "picking up chicks" because it has nothing to do with the game. I get that it's satire, but as i said it felt grossly non-contextualised. It's a game about killing people and scoring points, not scoring with girls.

Edit:

Soylent Dave:

It's because a key selling point of Brink is the level of customisation and variety available in your character

To all the people who say "but they said X about customisation and we only got Y", when has anything ever matched up to the hype fully? When have companies not completely overblown what features may or may not be in the finished product? You need only look at the Fable franchise and Peter Molyneux's outlandish claims and promises that never came to pass to see a perfect example of this. I understand you feel they promised you something and didn't deliver (or only half delivered), but it's unrealistic to say that this isn't the case with many other titles and products.

This is bullshit. Loads of online shooters don't have females in em... Maybe as characters for filler in the Single Player on occasion, but never playable.

Why are people giving a shit?

I really don't want this to be the thing of the week, cause it's pathetic.

Soylent Dave:

poiumty:

lesterley:
So the idea of making a game with all FEMALE characters is completely incomprehensible?

No, just implausible. Women don't usually go shoot eachother for sport.

Which horrifying dystopia do you live in?

Because men don't usually shoot each other for sport in mine.

(not that it isn't still a horrifying dystopia of course...)

You know what I mean. War times, dystopian futures, conflict in general. Not many women.

It sucks, but there really shouldn't be this much of a uproar over this. This would be understandable if it were a RPG or something, but this is just a Action FPS.

By being a FPS you ideally would spend maybe at most 5-10% of your gametime actually seeing your Avatar. Heck its more about the weapon in your hand, the location, parkour, teamwork, and the objective of the current match.

Before we get the rage out; just play the game, enjoy the experience it has to offer, and hope it becomes a beloved franchise if you love the game.

Finally, someone who understands that you can't just take a couple clothing options out and then slap some boobs on the male model. Instead you have to do twice the work just to get both genders equal. Or cut both their content in half and let each gender have 4 options to change with 3 selections each.

lesterley:
So the idea of making a game with all FEMALE characters is completely incomprehensible?

That doesn't really solve the problem. It'd still be a one gender game and people would complain about that.

Hristo Tzonkov:

Lucane:
So women can only play as characters for cosmetic style instead of tactical style?

The gender of your character is purely a cosmetic change however you look at it.Different genders can't be incorporated or are hard to in game mechanics without the game being sexist.I can actually imagine the Fox headline:
"Overweight women used as meatshields in Brink." or "Women must remain skinny to be good at parkour and running."
Heh that would make my day xD

Your point was that if they did make female avatars and someone did use them they would handicap themselves by not using one of the 3 size types available because you think they would think the large sized version wouldn't be pretty enough to use making it a cosmetic issue when they decide to pass up a size class because it's appearance,even though there isn't even a basis of a design of how they would/could have designed women let alone the large women* in the world of Brink.

*:Saying large women reminded me of Futurama.

Um... why? Does it matter? Since when did women become so damn sensitive? Just play as a guy. It doesn't matter if the avatar you kill has a digital vagina - they're still dead. Have fun.

Lucane:
Your point was that if they did make female avatars and someone did use them they would handicap themselves by not using one of the 3 size types available because you think they would think the large sized version wouldn't be pretty enough to use making it a cosmetic issue when they decide to pass up a size class because it's appearance,even though there isn't even a basis of a design of how they would/could have designed women let alone the large women* in the world of Brink.

If I understood you correctly (I didn't) well sort of.Adding female avatars would be a gimmick at best and it's likely to harm actual gameplay.I'm not saying it shouldn't be there,I'm saying it's not feasible in the current game.Let's hope it sells well and gets a sequel.

Irony's Acolyte:

lesterley:
So the idea of making a game with all FEMALE characters is completely incomprehensible?

That doesn't really solve the problem. It'd still be a one gender game and people would complain about that.

That isn't the point it's that if the gender of say Call of Duty Black Ops was switched to be an all female cast(or mostly if the original had a few women as NPCs) a decent number of men would object to it and/or refuse to buy/play it regardless of quality because they aren't represented.Any current FPS makers could easily make their next game in a series switch gender balance but they likely won't because they know it would hurt sales even with brand recognition.

DannibalG36:
Um... why? Does it matter? Since when did women become so damn sensitive? Just play as a guy. It doesn't matter if the avatar you kill has a digital vagina - they're still dead. Have fun.

Have you ever payed(Note: it's not missing a "L") for a game that let you customize your character's appearance but only had female designs to pick from?

pokepuke:
While it may be an interesting option, it often isn't a realistic one, either.

What are you talking about? Haven't you seen any movies? A 90 lb woman is more than a match for 20 well armed men once she learns Kung Fu. All that stuff about using upper body strength and size for winning a fight is nonsense.

Hristo Tzonkov:

Lucane:
Your point was that if they did make female avatars and someone did use them they would handicap themselves by not using one of the 3 size types available because you think they would think the large sized version wouldn't be pretty enough to use making it a cosmetic issue when they decide to pass up a size class because it's appearance,even though there isn't even a basis of a design of how they would/could have designed women let alone the large women* in the world of Brink.

If I understood you correctly (I didn't) well sort of.Adding female avatars would be a gimmick at best and it's likely to harm actual gameplay.I'm not saying it shouldn't be there,I'm saying it's not feasible in the current game.Let's hope it sells well and gets a sequel.

I'm not saying they need to fix Brinknow but I don't see why they couldn't just copy the hit box detection or make a gender neutral one for each size class allowing for a slight difference in builds though fighting/dying the same if a part of the issue was a gameplay balance with hit detection.

Lucane:

Irony's Acolyte:

lesterley:
So the idea of making a game with all FEMALE characters is completely incomprehensible?

That doesn't really solve the problem. It'd still be a one gender game and people would complain about that.

That isn't the point it's that if the gender of say Call of Duty Black Ops was switched to be an all female cast(or mostly if the original had a few women as NPCs) a decent number of men would object to it and/or refuse to buy/play it regardless of quality because they aren't represented.Any current FPS makers could easily make their next game in a series switch gender balance but they likely won't because they know it would hurt sales even with brand recognition.

I can't say if that's true or not, but I don't believe that was the point either. People are complaining not because females aren't being represented in this game (otherwise they would be complaining about so many games it wouldn't be funny), they're complaining because there's a customization option in the game but you can't choose to be female. Which would be a legitimate argument if this game focused on the characters and such. It doesn't though, you only choose what you're character looks like to feel unique. There'd be no difference between playing male or female other than cosmetic (which you won't see that much of anyway).

Irony's Acolyte:
There'd be no difference between playing male or female other than cosmetic (which you won't see that much of anyway).

There are two good reasons(not including laws, rules and politics.) for buying cosmetics and clothes in real life are protection from the elements and/or deciding how you let the rest of the world see you (flashy, retro, formal, functional, etc.).Since Brink doesn't have stats on its gear it only follows the latter.

Global Agenda has male and female models for every class, and stats-wise the two genders play identically. So it can be done. It's not rocket science, developers. Put women and men in your games.

Also, the argument that "women don't play shooters (or are a small segment of the playerbase) so it is wasted dev time" is bunk. Lots of men enjoy playing female characters, for whatever reason. They are customers too.

STALKER had that problem too. Throughout the entire region there wasn't a single woman, picture of a woman, sound of a woman nor mention of a woman. The only logical explanation must have been that alternate-universe Ukraine is inhabited solely by armed gay misogynists.

Peggy Carpenter:

As far as the whole "only women can have babies" argument it's as silly now as it was before. We can't do it without a guy. :)

Lol, no. But taken from the point of view of a soulless bureaucrat whose only concern is the survival of the species, it's a lot more valid than it sounds.

A woman needs to devote about 9 months at the minimum to creating a baby, (A lot longer in practice, but for now we'll ignore actually raising a child).

A man... Needs to devote about 5 minutes to it.

That means, if you don't care about the feelings of anyone involved, you need maybe one man to every 100 women or so.
That's where the idea that men are disposable comes from; For every woman that dies, the loss to the species as a whole is greater (in theory) than it is if a man dies.

But that's all still rather silly in anything more than an abstract sense.

OT: I've tended to consider the technical argument a little silly somehow. If all the character models have to be created explicitly, then yes, creating a female character doubles the work.

But if you've spent much time with programs that have extensive character customisation (Cryptic studios MMOS), it becomes apparent that there's no way every character variant is designed explicitly.
And since each variation of character traits can be blended together, the first technical question that arises is why male and female are explicit categories, rather than just being extremes of some set of traits that can be blended together just like all the others.

Who cares if this leads to the ability to create 'male' characters that look ambiguous, or have a walking animation more suited to a female character?
Or, if it results in a 'female' character that struts around like a man?

The point is, if most of the customisation revolves around blending together various traits to create something which is a unique blend, why does 'male' and 'female' suddenly have to be a completely separate set with nothing in common.

One look at human beings shows that's not even true biologically. People's physical traits blend into one another to a large extent anyway, and what's considered 'male' and 'female', while having some definite things that don't tend to overlap, is otherwise mostly a statistical norm.

I don't get why people approach a character generator from that perspective unless every possible option has to be created explicitly. (Which I concede still appears to be the case for animation sequences. - and perhaps the skeletal systems those animations are keyed to.)

It seems like a waste of an opportunity because people can't spot a mental bias that doesn't have an underlying technical reason to be implemented that way.

beema:
Valid point.
To me it also seems silly that there are ten billion character "possibilities" in Brink, yet somehow they all look exactly the same: like neanderthals with cockney accents.
You have skinny neanderthal guy, giant neanderthal guy, and black neanderthal guy. But they all look like they are related or clones or inbred or something.

this
seriously...
(at least with the gurls we canz dress them up in pwetty dresses lol :p)

Zhukov:
Yeah, because every other online FPS has female characters.

...

Oh wait.

*shrug*

I kind of get why people are annoyed, but I fail to see why they are picking on Brink specifically.

My sentiments as well. Also, people still give a fuck? Get over it. I don't see the big deal at all.

Irony's Acolyte:
There'd be no difference between playing male or female other than cosmetic (which you won't see that much of anyway).

Cosmetic differences are basically the point of the appearance side of character customization.

Congratulations, Brink. I shall not pick up a sausage festival :(

Aptspire:
Congratulations, Brink. I shall not pick up a sausage festival :(

According to your profile, you play Halo and CoD. You've already picked up a few "sausage fests".

OT: Where were all these equality nuts during the 80s and 90s when nearly every game had a male protagonist, and most had a female playing the damsel in distress? Oh, right. Gaming is mainstream now.

Everyone will forget the whole "Brink has no females" thing within the next year anyway.

ha ha ha ha! pretty short but extremely funny

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