Jimquisition: The Creepy Cull of Female Protagonists

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Treblaine:

For example, I can say a lot about what Alyx Vance would or would not do.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-3gcVICiCs

about 4mins in he talks about Alyx......

also i wanted to spread more campster!

Windknight:

Gladys Knight:

People like Jim need to stop starting wars and putting the very people you want to support you at odds. We have to stop ignoring the roots and looking at things in vacuums, taking snapshots and going HEY! I don't call Hockey racist because it's predominantly white players nor would I walk into a bar that regularly plays hockey games on the television and say it's discriminating against other races based entirely on the fact that they are not patronizing that establishment because it doesn't appeal to them.

Except, you know, he's not starting a war. He's not declaring war. He's not trying to turn this into a war. And neither am I. We're just pointing out there is a problem that needs to be looked at, thought about, and dealt with. With dialogue.

The problem is when this is brought to light, there are people on both sides willing to start a fight, or turn this into a fight. And often, the first salvo is fired by people who reduce feminist leanings to strawmen they saw in a tv sitcom, or some stand-up comic made jokes about, or some right-wing radio jockey has told them want to castrate them and wear their balls as a trophy.

Geuss what? when he made his offer, he wasn't making it to you. Let me give a personal example - on xbox live I've had heckling asking me if I'm gay, or of I'm 'a fag', etc. My response - 'Why, do you want a boyfriend?'. That is what he is doing. His comment is aimed specifically at the small minded, raging types who would take offence to being asked that sort of thing because of their emotional insecurities. He's trolling the trolls, and if your not a troll, it shouldn't offend you.

How in the world is declaring that there is an industrywide problem targetting a small group?

Are you talking exclusively about "oh, if you make gay jokes you must be gay" stuff? What is there to defend? It's pop-psychology BS nonsense and doesn't actually help anything. Which is fine. Someone is a jerk be a jerk back. However i can be destructive when people begin to believe that there is a general truth to the assertion. Because that's what TV taught them.

As far as starting a war... Yes. He is starting one. And/or contributing to one. A lot of people love to dial it back and say "hey, we just want to talk about these things." But talking is just that. Talking. We can try to act as if this is all just talking and no discernible words are being said and no messages sent. Two guys yelling racial slurs at some guy across the street are "just talking." I find it very odd that when people call the message out many like to dial it back to "just talking." As if they want to posit opposition as a general opposition for their right to say things.

Why is it starting a war? Because it's putting people at odds with each other. Read through the first few posts in this topic. A general distaste for and lamentations over the preferences of "manchildren" and "dudebros" and the CoD/FPS crowd and whatnot. What elicited those reactions? Why are people concluding that their sensibilities are at odds with these guys?

The reality, of course, is that they are. But always in the way people think. If you are not a/an FPS fan then the sensibilities of those that are are at odds with you because the perception that they should be catered to the most means you are likely not seeing the types of games you enjoy. And I agree this is cause for concern. It concerns me as well.

Sticking to the far less volatile "FPS vs non FPS" example, there are many ways to address the issue.

1: Attack the dudebros who love the game.

2: Attack the people who make the game.

3: Tell people to stop making THOSE games and instead make THESE games.

4: Portray the fact that the games are popular as a coordinated conspiracy to keep you from getting the games YOU like.

or...

5: Proposition those who like your kind of games.

6: Proposition those who want to make your kinds of games.

7: Tell the people making THOSE games that there are people who would like to see THESE games AS WELL.

8: Push to EXPAND the market to include more of what you like and support it showing that the interest is there rather than constantly tell others to LIMIT how they appeal to other groups and instead focus on creating things that appeal more to you and your sensibilities 2 minutes after carrying on about how stupid and clueless they were about how to appeal to you.

The last 4 are different than the first 4 because the responsibility is placed on those who want to see change. Rather than tell others they need to figure out how to appeal to you you do exactly what they did before they put the market where it was at... You create an industry that reflects your areas of expertise built on the backs of those who have a taste for it.

That's the non-war version. What really is the point of all these attacks regarding sexism and whatnot? We saw a girl raise over 100K to TALK about video games. Where are the kickstarters to actually MAKE these progressive games with the values and progressive ideas? And I'm not trying to say "go out and make your own games" although that's what a lot of people, young, old, rich and poor, did. More that it's weird how much we talk about how the industry is growing as far as patrons but it shouldn't grow as far as who is contributing to the works within.

I guess it bothers me a lot to see the origins of the industry completely repatriated and replaced with a sinister story about hate, intolerance and coordinated moves by Japan, USA and children all before the internet existed in order to attack certain groups and hold them down when what really happened is that some people wanted to make games and they made them based on ideas and principles they were familiar with. The White Male issue is even more perplexing due to Japan's dominance of the industry for all those years.

So yeah... To me it's declaring war. Because we don't have to be fighting. I don't feel like I have to go to battle with XBox live idiots and their "organized" campaign of intolerance of certain groups in order for me to have a good time with people who I know or who have been proven to not suck.

Okay, so I'm confused here.
Some people are saying that female characters shouldn't be prevented from having the same traits as male characters and that traits aren't necessarily gender-specific. Okay, yeah, I get that, makes sense. One guy put it very well, I won't bother paraphrasing him to the word, but basically he said that there isn't any significant difference in how you write a male or a female character.
But then I see someone saying that there are ways of writing women that are 'incorrect', and basically serve only to make a man with tits. Now hang on a second, what?
What the hell kind of sense does that make? And how did we get this split and self-contradictory? Why do these kinds of threads always spiral off into batshit insanity?
Please, answers are appreciated.

Gladys Knight:

That's the non-war version. What really is the point of all these attacks regarding sexism and whatnot? We saw a girl raise over 100K to TALK about video games. Where are the kickstarters to actually MAKE these progressive games with the values and progressive ideas? And I'm not trying to say "go out and make your own games" although that's what a lot of people, young, old, rich and poor, did. More that it's weird how much we talk about how the industry is growing as far as patrons but it shouldn't grow as far as who is contributing to the works within.

So yeah... To me it's declaring war. Because we don't have to be fighting. I don't feel like I have to go to battle with XBox live idiots and their "organized" campaign of intolerance of certain groups in order for me to have a good time with people who I know or who have been proven to not suck.

Why should it be on us to make the games? Why should the industry ignore every element of its potential market, and focus instead on pleasing male teenagers alone? And why is pointing this out 'declaring war'? Why is saying 'this is not ok mr game maker, could we get some representation too please?'' being aggressive?

As far as starting a war... Yes. He is starting one. And/or contributing to one. A lot of people love to dial it back and say "hey, we just want to talk about these things." But talking is just that. Talking. We can try to act as if this is all just talking and no discernible words are being said and no messages sent. Two guys yelling racial slurs at some guy across the street are "just talking." I find it very odd that when people call the message out many like to dial it back to "just talking." As if they want to posit opposition as a general opposition for their right to say things.

I'm really not seeing your reasoning here. Honestly, it looks more like you want to see it as an attack, you want to see it as aggression when it just is not. and to put it simply, if you see raising awareness of a problem as someone declaring war, then you have to ask yourself why you are seeing it as such.

We want to make our voices heard. we want the publishers to listen and understand that we want female heroines, that telling a creator they cant have a female heroine, or if they do have a female heroine they can't have her on the front cover and be a major part of the marketing, is wrong, and it sends an uncomfortable, unpleasant and sexist message. I am 35 years old. I started gaming when my age was in single digits, and I want to see games grow. When publishers want to send the message 'we don't want cooties on us' it rubs me up the wrong way.

The big thing I did not see mentioned was if the gang behind Mass Effect ever bothered to track the trend of people choosing to play the female Shephard?

I think that's data the industry could use.

Treblaine:

I don't think the under-representation of females in gaming is helped by attacking developers for struggling to overcome the problems with AI.

I also think the criticisms of female representation has left the message of "next time, don't even bother" as it's not really criticism in the sense of "we want more of this, and less of that" or "why can't we have more characters like these".

Agreed. However, neither AI programming issues nor model development issues are inexhaustible excuses. As programming becomes more sophisticated more will be possible. Over time criticisms or this kind will become fairer.

Treblaine:

When was the last time you heard PRAISE for a female character in video games? Even looking at a small aspect, any "criticism" fails to be constructive with the agenda of "is this character good or bad". More often bad. We can't talk about how awesome a female character is without a load of people coming in with how awful that female character is.

A review of Tomb Raider from Good Game at the beginning of this month stands out:

With this brilliant re-imagining of Lara, she really is one of the most powerful, relatable, and truly human heroes, irrespective of gender, that I've encountered in a game. This experience manages to be exciting, mature, gritty and well paced. All while showcasing a host of fluid mechanics and animations that bring this gripping story to life almost flawlessly. It's 10 out of 10 from me.
- Stephanie "Hex" Bendixsen. http://www.abc.net.au/tv/goodgame/stories/s3703900.htm

Treblaine:

Males in games frequently have more intricate and complex personalities than their female counterparts.

Really?

The trend I see is of protagonist/player-characters being men and then being "blank slates" or as close to blank slates as possible, for various reasons. It's the supporting characters who very often end up being women and they have a lot to reveal about their character... even have a character arc.

Many shooters do have rather generic protagonists, but it is not quite as straight forward in other genres.
The following are lists of Role Playing and Action/Adventure games that have sold well over the last three years, derived from http://www.vgchartz.com/

Role-playing games:
Dark Souls
Diablo III
Dragon Quest Monsters: Terry's Wonderland 3D (released only in Japan)
Dragon Warrior VII
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, The
Fable III
Fantasy Life
Final Fantasy XIII-2
Guild Wars 2
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Mass Effect 3
Monster Hunter Tri
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch
Pokemon Black / White
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment
World of Warcraft: Musts of Pandaria

Action and Adventure games:
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Assassin's Creed III
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
Assassin's Creed: Revelations
Batman: Arkham City
Dead Island
DMC
Dragon's Dogma
Dynasty Warriors 8
God of War: Ascension
Grand Theft Auto IV
Hitman: Absolution
inFAMOUS 2
Kinect Star Wars
L.A. Noire
Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, The
Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, The
LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
New Super Mario Bros. U
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
One Piece Pirate Musou
Paper Mario: Sticker Star
Professor Layton and the Last Specter
Red Dead Redemption
Resident Evil 6
Saints Row: The Third
Senran Kagura Shinovi Verses: Shoujotachi no Shoumei
Skylanders Giants
Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure
Soul Sacrifice
Tomb Raider (2013)
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
Walking Dead: A Telltale Game Series, The

A trend toward "blank slates" need not prevent us from assessing the extent of female characterisation in games compared to the extent of male characterisation in games. Judging from these lists, my overall impression (for what it is worth) is what I said before. Males in games frequently have more intricate and complex personalities than their female counterparts. This includes supporting characters.

I've been bitching about this crap for years, though not nearly as eloquently as Jim of course. But then again this isn't bitching, he's pointing out a real legitimate problem.

Gotta love how the big guys are all "We can't do THIS to male gamers, that would be weird and wrong!!" all the while completely missing the follow up reply of "But you've been doing it to female gamers for years"

I feel like this is such an untapped market too, I mean... I love games that are all about experiencing new horizons and viewpoints, male oriented stories would be so much more potent if they weren't, for the most part, the only option.

Mr.Squishy:
Okay, so I'm confused here.
Some people are saying that female characters shouldn't be prevented from having the same traits as male characters and that traits aren't necessarily gender-specific. Okay, yeah, I get that, makes sense. One guy put it very well, I won't bother paraphrasing him to the word, but basically he said that there isn't any significant difference in how you write a male or a female character.
But then I see someone saying that there are ways of writing women that are 'incorrect', and basically serve only to make a man with tits. Now hang on a second, what?
What the hell kind of sense does that make? And how did we get this split and self-contradictory? Why do these kinds of threads always spiral off into batshit insanity?
Please, answers are appreciated.

I think it may have something to do with the need some people (and even societies themselves) have to put things in clearly defined boxes. They see men and women as two separate groups with established personality types limited to their respective gender and sexuality.

Hilariously enough, one of my best friends is a living breathing example which proves this whole stupid thing completely wrong.

Disgruntledgrrl:
The big thing I did not see mentioned was if the gang behind Mass Effect ever bothered to track the trend of people choosing to play the female Shephard?

I think that's data the industry could use.

I saw someone earlier with the quote that 20% of players chose female Shepard.

At least in the third game, I believe.

Because all the good data suggests there's no market for it.

These are businesses. They're not going to take a risk unless they feel their backs are to the wall.

Even if women make up ~45% of the demographic for gamers, most won't go for the "core" gaming scene. They play world of warcraft. They play farmville. They play angry birds.

There's no problem here that can't be addresses to the industry as a whole; why are they so afraid of their own shadows? Because they're businesses, that's why.

Easton Dark:

I saw someone earlier with the quote that 20% of players chose female Shepard.

At least in the third game, I believe.

The figure was 18%, and it was for the third game. However, it was only for first playthroughs, so its possible more played as femshep on a second play.

The answer to your compulsion question is: Your size.
You are our Big Daddy (although we just call you Mr. Bubbles).
:)

I can't say that I play a lot of games with romantic sub-plots that can't be outright ignored, but I know that some of my favorite games have entirely equivalent female protagonists, either playable or as the primary character of major storylines.

Some examples:

--The Sirens from Borderlands 2. I mean, that's technically a game of gun bros being bros with guns, but one of them is female and her backstory is actually pretty well developed and not based on her gender (whereas the Soldier's backstory being as bland and generic as possible is something of a running joke). The Siren from Borderlands 1 and the AI are also probably the only two non-villain characters actually integral to the primary story-line, the vault-hunters being on the planet period is the result of a trap attempting to catch the (player) Siren. The romantic plot between the borderlands 1 characters is played straight in what is actually a surprisingly relatable fashion, with the woman usually taking the lead in the relationship and the man sort of unsure of himself due to the shortcomings of his generic backstory (like I said, running joke).

-- Tales series games, for a more straight RPGish example, usually have a bunch of story characters of various genders whose storylines depend on their individual character rather than their sex, with both males and females ranging form pretty reasonable people with adult relationships down to the standard single-digit-IQ gunblade toting types with the spiky hair.

-- I assume the new Tomb raider at least failed to suck, since it performed well at the box office, and people seem to think Croft was a reasonable human being in it for once, so there's that too.

-- Western RPGs have a tendency to make the blank-slate protagonist a complete Mary sue that the entire world revolves around, and you can just click a button to select a gender, so the discussion's not relevant. Of the exceptions, you're usually talking about a pure action RPG where gender never really comes up (deus ex). An amusing example that sort of goes the other way from what Jim's complaining about is Hunted: the Demon's Forge, which is sort of "Army of Two: fantasy edition", where there is a male and a female lead and both are decked out in the standard leather fetish "armor", but the man far more offensively, and instead of a romance subplot they have a father/daughter thing going on, with some confusion as to who is which (the woman being an elf and older than the man in real years, but far younger in portion of lifespan). The characters have distinctive personalities and rely on each other without one becoming useless.

-- Going back a few years to an older game, which I'm mostly mentioning because I don't get to talk about it very often, in the original Neverwinter Nights the game was basically the fall of Aribeth de Tylmarande from her position as a holy paladin into a very real and well-characterized darkness plus some other stupid plotlines no one remembers. It was the best-written part of the story, and the character so good, that I can't even tell you what the actual big bad enemy of the game was supposed to be. Most notably, she very firmly had her own plot, and while the story changed at the PC's interference (she was even a romance option, albeit reluctantly), she always got to the same place because the plot was based on her personality and not the player moving her around like a plot-doll like in a lot of bioware games.

Basically, I'm suspecting that this was more an incident with one or two publishers who'd had a bit too much coke and forgot it wasn't the 1950s for a few weeks than some giant conspiracy. It doesn't seem like an industry problem since I've run into well-done female protagonists in video games as frequently as I've run into a well-written anything (so, you know, not terribly often, but sometimes).

cyvaris:
The Samus fanservice pisses me off to no end. Really, if we have to take her out of her power-armour can we leave her in "normal" clothing? No. Why? Because bullshit reasons about "sexy".

She typically wears a coverall/suit-liner in most of the art and games I've seen her out of the Chozo armor. It's based in principle off of the lining of midaeval armor/flight suits, which is fairly form-fitting, yes, and in reality mostly on a mechanic's coverall. If you find that sexy, good for you, I guess, but that's not the association most people would make, I think. It's roughly the same as the male uniforms in Star Trek, for instance, albeit with some stylistic changes.

wolfwood_is_here:
If my posts are long, perhaps it is because I am putting more effort into thinking about what I am saying?

Brevity would be appreciated though.

Treblaine:

You are failing Hanlon's razor because you have assigned malice to that which can be adequately explained by stupidity. You are failing Occam's razor because the simpler explanation, that greed alone is at fault, is "better" than that they are both greedy and sexist. The burden of proof is on you to show that they are actually sexist and not just greedy.

Saying "they are" isn't sufficient evidence.

No I've assigned stupidity. Paranoia is stupidity, it's reacting of something that isn't there, and I don't have to follow Hanlon's Razor.

I certainly don't have to follow Occam's Razor as it's illogical that the simplest explanation is always true as things can so easily get complicated. There is some truth to Hanlon's Razor as people are far more likely to be stupid than deliberately malicious.

The burden of proof is on you to show that they are actually greedy and not just idiots.

I have proof they are clueless on game design (stupid) as they are not game designers, they background is in hedge fund managers and they are telling GAME DESIGNERS how to design games.

I think they are being sexist, but not maliciously sexist, but sexist out of stupidity.

Doing "art by the numbers", you mean like with statistics? Which is part of math? Which is a foundational concept to science?

You never heard of the phrase "painting by numbers" it's not science. Science it's numbers any more than card reading has predictive powers.

This isn't new. Any thorough study of industry would show that it has always been bumping up against the borders of legality and abuse. Ever heard of child labor? Chemical dumping? Smog?

What's new is justifying it as an imperative, before it was nothing but personal greed of those who collected the profits, now those who take home bonuses after reaching milestones still feel they must push further at all costs.

I don't disagree the publishers are stupid, but I have yet to see one major problem that another industry hasn't already gone through, or is not still struggling with. This snowflake syndrome can't pass soon enough.

Or perhaps you aren't aware that the automotive industry has, after almost 50 years, still not figured out how to advertise to women? When the majority of drivers are (as of 2010) women, and women play a role in the majority of car buying decisions?
http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/03/car_ads_for_women_does_the_industry_get_it_all_wrong.single.html

Hey, I didn't say they were exceptionally idiots, I'm just saying they are idiots.

Numbers are absolutes. Science itself relies on absolutes to work. With absolutes you have a "right" and "wrong". Without absolutes, there is no "right" or "wrong", and what becomes "right" and "wrong" is merely a matter of dates.

You aren't being scientific though, not on arbitrary dichotomies like you have made.

Then you're straw-manning. If their inclusion is not vital, their exclusion is also irrelevant.

No straw man, I was pointing out that preference in a loaded choice (like chose Mass Effect shepard gender) isn't the basis of exclusion.

Who is buying art for "artistic integrity"? Art is a form of entertainment. If there is no entertainment, nobody is going to care about the art. How could we change that? It should sound very familiar: education. Teach people how and why to appreciate the art.

Otherwise it's just oppression for the sake of beliefs, and we know how well everyone loves that.

Everyone is. Gears of War is a work of art, very low brow, but still art. Art and entertainment can be one and the same.

If greed is supposed to be the solution, how can greed also be the problem?

I never heard nor accepted that greed for money even was the solution. Games have to be made for money, but ultimately they have to be made also for the sake of making them. Steven Spielberg didn't just want money, he wanted to make Jurassic Park and he wanted to make Schindler's List.

It can't work if greed (greed for more and more money) is the only or even the overriding motivation.

Money matters... but money it's everything.

It's sad because we have the same goals, but you're so busy trying to wage an imaginary crusade

If you tell me again what I am and am not doing again I'll put your on my ignore list as a waste of my time. No replies. No nothing.

that you can't tell friend from foe. Despite using things like "I" and "I believe", somehow I am talking for everyone else? Is it so hard to believe that there can be more than "two sides" in an issue?

I claimed to speak for myself, something you then confirm one sentence later, so where are you wrong? Do I or don't I speak for myself?

I'm not going to reply to any more double-talk. This is either from being too clueless on how you are using words or are using a convenient double standard. I have no more time for either.
It's impossible to discuss this any further with you, you put PAGES into responses but not adequate consideration of what I have said and what you said before.

James Charles:

Treblaine:

For example, I can say a lot about what Alyx Vance would or would not do.....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-3gcVICiCs

about 4mins in he talks about Alyx......

also i wanted to spread more campster!

The fact that there is a character there to not like is something distinct from nothing there to Gordon Freeman's character to approve of nor reject.

Fiairflair:

Agreed. However, neither AI programming issues nor model development issues are inexhaustible excuses. As programming becomes more sophisticated more will be possible. Over time criticisms or this kind will become fairer.

The problem is how even gaming critics like Jim didn't take into account the inherent limitations of the medium in his rant.

A review of Tomb Raider from Good Game at the beginning of this month stands out:

With this brilliant re-imagining of Lara, she really is one of the most powerful, relatable, and truly human heroes, irrespective of gender, that I've encountered in a game. This experience manages to be exciting, mature, gritty and well paced. All while showcasing a host of fluid mechanics and animations that bring this gripping story to life almost flawlessly. It's 10 out of 10 from me.
- Stephanie "Hex" Bendixsen. http://www.abc.net.au/tv/goodgame/stories/s3703900.htm

The problem is this doesn't break down aspects of the character, it's just a relatively small piece of approval. Not like how it is in attack where aspects of the character are picked apart in the negative.

The largest volume and passion is in the negative towards female characters but importantly disproportionately against female characters than against male characters. Characters like Nathan Drake are not broken down for pillory as negative force in the industry, in fact I saw a gametrailers bit where they broke down all the little things like liked about Nathan Drake, the half tuck, how he reacts to things... and they gloss over all the negative (and there is a lot to gloss over).

Many shooters do have rather generic protagonists, but it is not quite as straight forward in other genres.
The following are lists of Role Playing and Action/Adventure games that have sold well over the last three years, derived from http://www.vgchartz.com/

A trend toward "blank slates" need not prevent us from assessing the extent of female characterisation in games compared to the extent of male characterisation in games. Judging from these lists, my overall impression (for what it is worth) is what I said before. Males in games frequently have more intricate and complex personalities than their female counterparts. This includes supporting characters.

Hang on a minute, a lot of those are games where you have the option of playing as a woman and/or have very "blank slate" protagonists.

This includes ones where your lead role may have a detailed back story, but it's just the character by their self doesn't characterise. Almost all the characterisation of Shepard is user controlled... but how much of that is false choice to give the mere illusion of player agency and increase immersion.

See it's where both I want and feel there is the greatest need for female lead is in violent-action shooters, not for women but for both male and female gamers its something that must be explored more widely.

And I think it's most important from the attitude to violent-action games that it doesn't become the sole preserve of male machismo.

Tomb Raider is one but I'm torn as I love that you have a woman in an action-violent role but on the other hand Tomb Raider was more of a pure platformer with a low emphasis of violence. Plus it's a god awful cover based shooter.

acosn:
Because all the good data suggests there's no market for it.

Precisely what "good" data?

You honestly think they dont try to make Samus sexy?

image

And then theres Other M, which has a number of fan service shots of her in her zero suit.[/quote]

Aargh, my spine groans just from looking at that picture o.O

Back towards the topic: I'd say the complaints about yet another sexism thread come from the fact that Jim is preaching to the choir here - I haven't read ALL 19 pages of responses but I'm betting there aren't too many disagreeing posts.
We're all pretty much agreed that the "guys don't want to play a girl" argument is iffy. How about we send the log of this thread to whoever makes those silly statistics marketing departments swear by.

This is a sexism issue.. in part.
But more it's an organisational issue.
It's all because people let MARKETING have an influence over CREATIVE.
The marketing departments of most any business have slowly been taking a larger and larger role in the actual end product. This is an abomination because marketing is the place where people who WANT to be creative but AREN'T end up. This lack of power for the creative branches of an organisation causes all product to be bland, repetetive and most importantly selling for MARKETING reasons rather than QUALITY reasons. By extension it is the reason we havn't had a real major new creative hit. Most creativity in game development is concentrated at smaller developers who most likely are working on smaller projects and don't have the rigid production structures of a company like EA causing great storytelling and gameplay ideas to get stuck in mediocre games for phones. The result? An industry where all creativity is doomed to be used in inferior product while big budget games will seldom bring anything fresh to the table.

Marketing thinks they know, but they don't. They say "we know the demographic most likely to buy games are fratboys with latent homosexual desires and an agression problem". What they don't realise is that that FACT is due to most games having been marketed to exactly that demographic! If the pseudo-scientific bastards had spent the last 15 years selling games to housewives the steroid-addled freak on the box art would've been as out of place as a mom driving her minivan is right now. Not because there are no business oppertunities but because marketing would be too stupid and scared to tap into them.

It's kind of like how WoW was a stupid move by Blizzard because MMO's are costly to maintain and only attract a handful of basement dwellers. If only those critics had known that there is a basement dweller in each and every one of us just waiting to get his first quest.

Dollabillyall:
But more it's an organisational issue.
It's all because people let MARKETING have an influence over CREATIVE.

Well, yes and no. Marketing is the one influencing their decisions based on market research, statistics, and all those things. But the reason why it influences the developers is because they enjoy eating and having a stable job. There are some things you cannot do (or your game will be unsellable, such as if it gets a mature rating) and there are things you can do but will harm your bottom line.

So marketing's purpose, aside from informing consumers about your product is knowing what the environment is like for the product being made. Those of us who care about gaming enough to actually come in here and discuss it may be open enough to games from different perspectives but what if there really is a significant mass out there who would hate these kinds of things? Do we then expect producers to pump money into a game that won't make a return on investment?

I personally think the sex of the avatar doesn't matter. I mean, it would detract from some games like God of War unless it's a particularly bulky female (I always giggle a little in movies when a 130 lb girl kicks a 250 lb man through a wall, complete suspension of disbelief), but nowadays games are often about stealth, agile blade use, guns and such so the need for a no-necked meat soldier isn't as necessary for plausible power-fantasy warrior scenarios. Do I feel like more of a badass in such games if my avatar is male? Perhaps, maybe subconsciously. But it doesn't ruin a game or make it unenjoyable if my characters not the beefiest person in the room.

So if marketing is coming back with this kind of research I'd like to see their numbers. If Tomb Raider has taught us nothing it's that female protagonists can be a real asset to the game because guys do like curves. My honest guess is that their numbers are moreso just based on how other games have handled the situation and a lack of good female-led games can really hurt such statistics in dumb ways.

Watching this video just shows how poorly publishers think of their target audience, and possibly men in general.

Do they honestly think that men everywhere will feel 'awkard' over a woman kissing a man?
Or is it that they cannot understand people are capable of seprating themselves from fictional characters?

Hallowed Lady:
Watching this video just shows how poorly publishers think of their target audience, and possibly men in general.

Do they honestly think that men everywhere will feel 'awkard' over a woman kissing a man?
Or is it that they cannot understand people are capable of seprating themselves from fictional characters?

Perfect question.

It's my hope that these marketing departments are actually doing some kind of research. If so, I'd love to see the numbers they're getting back that indicate that men watching a female kissing a man on screen screams homoerotic to them.

My guess is that they're drawing on conventional "wisdom" and basing numbers on female led games that already exist. The problem is that there's so few of them (especially if split up by genre) that there's no way they can arrive at a sample size large enough to make such a call. Especially not when any number of games significant enough to consider would have to span a decade or more (unless there are a lot more female-led games in each genre than I'm aware of). So the data wouldn't be relevant to today's gaming.

While we are quick to judge their results (I have an incredibly hard time believing them just like all of you), maybe there actually is a sea of biggoted guys out there who wouldn't buy a game with a female lead that does female things with men. I mean, maybe the lost city of Atlantis actually exists? All we need is data telling us otherwise, until then they're just dumb marketing departments who are scared to let innovation take plase.

I repeat that teenagers playing the original Tomb Raider back in the day would have paid money for code adding a sex scene with her in it. I seem to remember people getting scammed with all manner of viruses while searching for non-existent nude codes.

Strife2GFAQs:
Considering Square Enix wussed out with both X and XII's male protagonists, I guess I should say it's refreshing to see Lightning on ALL THREE XIII games. I would, but they still wussed out ten years too late.

I presume you also ALWAYS play as a human too? If not, you are not being consistent.
I play whatever I feel like - it is a ROLE playing game after all.

DVS BSTrD:
Okay, fuck it!
I always play as a male in character creation RPGs because I like projecting myself into a character.
Next time though, I'm gunna try playing as a woman. MY SENSE OF SELF CAN TAKE IT!

Jim, call me! <3

I presume you also ALWAYS play as a human too? If not, you are not being consistent.
I play whatever I feel like - it is a ROLE playing game after all.

nitrium oxide:

DVS BSTrD:
Okay, fuck it!
I always play as a male in character creation RPGs because I like projecting myself into a character.
Next time though, I'm gunna try playing as a woman. MY SENSE OF SELF CAN TAKE IT!

Jim, call me! <3

I presume you also ALWAYS play as a human too? If not, you are not being consistent.
I play whatever I feel like - it is a ROLE playing game after all.

Are those 2 things definitly equivalent though? I'm not convinced that they are, I know that they're not in my head.

He is also playing as what he feels like playing as(why else would he select what he does?), it's just that he feels like playing as a male character.

It's really ok. Nobody need judge him for it.

Unia:
You honestly think they dont try to make Samus sexy?

image

And then theres Other M, which has a number of fan service shots of her in her zero suit.

Aargh, my spine groans just from looking at that picture o.O[/quote]

Never see a contortionist or a ballet dancer. Your backbone may commit suicide. :)

Honestly, I don't care about the sexiness of a character, male or female, in an of itself. The fact that a character is going to be at least a little attractive by conventional standards is pretty much a given across all media (except literature, which can get away with it (but then gets hit in the adaptations)). As long as it's not absurdly blatant, at least.

What I want is for them to be characters on top of that.

Entitled:

saintdane05:
Oh, no. Not more gender. I thought we were done with this months ago!

We should have been done with this years ago, but apparently the industry isn't.

I KNOW, RIGHT?! This is still going on? Really? Are you frakking kidding me?! I might just the game, not just because it looks interesting, but out of spite of the guy that said that.

Now, while I DO prefer to play male characters in RPGs to better project, I understand the problem. The fact that it is 'just wrong' for women to kiss 'dudes' is nothing short of disgusting. There are plenty of female gamers out there who find it hard to project on male characters the same way I do about projecting onto female characters.

Sort it out.

Not every game needs to have big burly men being big and burly and manly.

Krantos:
I has to be said that a lot of games with female protagonists don't sell well simply because they're not that good.

Lets take a look at the big games in recent years featuring female protagonists:

-Metroid: Other M
-Mirrors Edge
-Hydrophobia
-Tomb Raider
-Amy
-Final Fantasy XIII

...I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones off the top of my head. Notice anything about them? Aside from Tomb Raider, they panned by critics and audiences alike. Not because they had a female lead, but because the games themselves were of questionable quality at best.

If publishers and developers want female protagonists to sell well, for gods sake put them in good games.

Also, if someone is honestly wierded out when their character kisses a guy, grow up. How do you think women have felt all these years playing as big burly men saving the princess of the day?

You forgot a rather popular blockbuster game that had a really good female protagonist. And recieved universal critical acclaim from over a dozen major news outlets and was considered a great work of gaming art, and a great VA to boot.

image

Why does everyone forget the Commander? Don't deny the Commander her credit!

It is a rather sad state of affairs on the gaming community when a heterosexual couple kissing is considered homoerotic. That's what I took away from this. I truly hope it's a case of natural immaturity and nothing more.

I don't mind playing a female character. Take gears of war 3 for example. What i do mind is playing a character with a quadruple stacked chest and impossible ass. I mean, COME ON.

I despise games who overly sexualized characters. I barely talked to miranda from mass effect two becomes i CANT STAND the bloody close ups to her freaking ass. Im having a conversation and i have to look at ass? Fuck off.

Bhaalspawn:

Krantos:
I has to be said that a lot of games with female protagonists don't sell well simply because they're not that good.

Lets take a look at the big games in recent years featuring female protagonists:

-Metroid: Other M
-Mirrors Edge
-Hydrophobia
-Tomb Raider
-Amy
-Final Fantasy XIII

...I'm sure there are more, but those are the ones off the top of my head. Notice anything about them? Aside from Tomb Raider, they panned by critics and audiences alike. Not because they had a female lead, but because the games themselves were of questionable quality at best.

If publishers and developers want female protagonists to sell well, for gods sake put them in good games.

Also, if someone is honestly wierded out when their character kisses a guy, grow up. How do you think women have felt all these years playing as big burly men saving the princess of the day?

You forgot a rather popular blockbuster game that had a really good female protagonist. And recieved universal critical acclaim from over a dozen major news outlets and was considered a great work of gaming art, and a great VA to boot.

image

Why does everyone forget the Commander? Don't deny the Commander her credit!

because statistically only 18 percent of me3 playthroughs were female

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/122880-See-How-Your-Mass-Effect-Choices-Compare-to-Everyone-Elses

Technicka:
2. Marcus attractive? That's...debatable. Personal standards, and all. But none of the men were designed to draw in women/gay men. They're male power fantasies. Whereas Bayonetta, old school Lara Croft (and even new!Lara, to a much smaller degree) are designed to appeal to straight men (if a bi/lesbian woman likes it, that's a bonus, but not their intent).

When women/gays say they fancy Marcus, or any of the COG team, it's in spite of the design's intent. it's no different in how it works in comics. Very few male leads are created with the intention of appealing to non-straight men, or women. Especially in a game aiming for wide appeal. Raiden is one of the first ones that come to mind - and even that backfired to a degree. As Kojima once confessed that MGS2 was an attempt to appeal to women, and Raiden's look was based off of popular BL manga tropes. And while the focus groups loved it, when the game came out, most women were unimpressed and demanded Snake back. But it surprised him, and many in the industry as well. Raiden was everything they were told women wanted: nice hair, lean physique, just enough hip to toe the line of androgyny...and yet, women responded better to Snake's scruff and scratchy throat, and more pronounced muscles.

The comic industry is in the same boat. Though a lot of new blood in the artist side has jumped on that and is starting to use it to their benefit.

Yeah, personal standards. That was the point of his post.

For your Raiden example, I bet Kojima misunderstood what the Japanese culture wants, and the western culture. The Japanese culture does find the adrogynous male appealing. Obviously it's not something that western audience likes as much.

You Snake example seems like a contradiction. So you're admitting Snake is someone that women would find attractive? Is Snake not considered a character perpetuating the power fantasy to you?

you can be my Daddy Jim <3

ah...ahem. right anyways,

This isn't the first time i've heard of this, and it's annoying and frustrating as a girl myself. I get really irritated in games when my armor is reduced to 'sexy clothes' while the male equivalent is either fashionable and functional or just plain more realistic than stylized lingerie.

Even Guild Wars II, one of my favourite games at the moment is guilty of this, which is whyi have a hard time playing any of the cloth classes.

My general belief of armors is that "If I wouldn't wear it into combat, my character isn't going to either" thus I play the medium and heavy armor classes and avoid the striperiffic clothy classes.

weirdguy:
because statistically only 18 percent of me3 playthroughs were female

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/122880-See-How-Your-Mass-Effect-Choices-Compare-to-Everyone-Elses

I'd be interested to see the statistics, with those who chose 'default Shepard' at the start of ME3, without having played the previous games. Soldier, male, saved Ashley, spacer, war hero - easiest to get paragon with, given the buffs that those provide to your paragon/renegade points.

Onto the topic presented in the video. I really don't have much to add. A dialogue about female characters in games would be nice to open up to the public, though it could go either way.

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