Devs Had to Demand Female Focus Testers for The Last of Us

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT
 

Oltsu:

Akalabeth:

zz_:
Honestly is this really that suprising? I mean considering that the gender ratio of people who buy any given game is probably something like 9:1 in favor of males, is it really surprising that a market research firm decided to go with the (vastly) larger audience? They're hired to gauge sales potential, after all, not uphold gender equality.

http://www.onlineeducation.net/videogame

Actually it's a ratio of 6:4 not 9:1 but that's a nice, if revealing, guess.

Let's for a moment assume that the 6:4 ratio is also true for the demographic of console gamers. It probably isn't due to casual and handheld games but lets be optimistic about the amount of console gamers who are female.

You do realize that according to that infographic that you posted only 4.4% of console gamers are xbox female players while 22.8% are male. This means that there are over 400% more male xbox players than there are female xbox players. Meaning that one in five xbox gamers is female.

On the PS3 side of things according to that graph of all console gamers 3.6% are female PS3 gamers and 12.6% are male PS3 gamers. This means that there are 250% more male PS3 gamers than there are female PS3 gamers. Meaning that 2 in 7 PS3 gamers are female.

Are you still quite sure that the ratio is so even? Or that it's something absurd like 47% female like someone suggested earlier in this thread?

You do realize, that you're reading it wrong. It's not talking about the percentage of players per console, it's saying what console those players PREFER if forced to choose one. So yes 3.6% of gamers are female and PREFER the Playstation, and 12.6% of gamers are male and PREFER the Playstation but that does not mean that the actual ratio of players is 1:4. It might be more, it might be less.

Either way having a focus group of 10 individuals where 100% are male and 0% are female is still erroneous even for the big consoles.

Also it's interesting that you neglect to mention the Wii which, even if the infographic suggested what you think it does would mean that female gamers outnumbered males on the Wii at a ratio of 3:2. And since the Wii is the most prevalent console, making up 48% of sales that would give those numbers even more weight.

But again, that's not what the infographic is saying. It simply says that 40% of gamers are female, and then lists console preferences by sex.

And am I sure about the ratios? No, this is just 5 minutes of research. But the people who made the infographic presumably have done research and they ARE sure about the numbers so I will trust them unless given reason to think otherwise.

Akalabeth:

Oltsu:

Akalabeth:

http://www.onlineeducation.net/videogame

Actually it's a ratio of 6:4 not 9:1 but that's a nice, if revealing, guess.

Let's for a moment assume that the 6:4 ratio is also true for the demographic of console gamers. It probably isn't due to casual and handheld games but lets be optimistic about the amount of console gamers who are female.

You do realize that according to that infographic that you posted only 4.4% of console gamers are xbox female players while 22.8% are male. This means that there are over 400% more male xbox players than there are female xbox players. Meaning that one in five xbox gamers is female.

On the PS3 side of things according to that graph of all console gamers 3.6% are female PS3 gamers and 12.6% are male PS3 gamers. This means that there are 250% more male PS3 gamers than there are female PS3 gamers. Meaning that 2 in 7 PS3 gamers are female.

Are you still quite sure that the ratio is so even? Or that it's something absurd like 47% female like someone suggested earlier in this thread?

You do realize, that you're reading it wrong. It's not talking about the percentage of players per console, it's saying what console those players PREFER if forced to choose one. So yes 3.6% of gamers are female and PREFER the Playstation, and 12.6% of gamers are male and PREFER the Playstation but that does not mean that the actual ratio of players is 1:4. It might be more, it might be less.

Either way having a focus group of 10 individuals where 100% are male and 0% are female is still erroneous even for the big consoles.

Also it's interesting that you neglect to mention the Wii which, even if the infographic suggested what you think it does would mean that female gamers outnumbered males on the Wii at a ratio of 3:2. And since the Wii is the most prevalent console, making up 48% of sales that would give those numbers even more weight.

But again, that's not what the infographic is saying. It simply says that 40% of gamers are female, and then lists console preferences by sex.

And am I sure about the ratios? No, this is just 5 minutes of research. But the people who made the infographic presumably have done research and they ARE sure about the numbers so I will trust them unless given reason to think otherwise.

In theory you are right about the word prefer however in practice I haven't seen any proof that a meaningful part of the population owns multiple current generation consoles. So that means that preferring a console is about the same as owning that single console, not 100% accurate but very close to it.

I also left out the wii because I did not want to do any more math and I was highlighting the difference between the overall gaming demographics and demographics for consoles on which games like the last of us will be played on. Last time I checked the wii isn't really that huge on first party PS3 games.

So in the end saying that 40% of gamers are female and that game X on the PS3 or xbox 360 should thus cater to females is quite illogical. You have to look at the individual demographics before you can make that decision. I still of course support having female game testers obviously, just that we shouldn't go around spreading pointless statistics in order to inflate the importance of one group.

Helen Jones:
Female here, not sure I understand the problem. Why do they need to specifically find out what women think, they're not specifically finding out what men think of the game, are they?
Surely they were going to get a random sample of gamers to beta test the game and give feedback which, being from a random sample, would include female gamers views.

Except the Market Research firm were going to specifically exclude women gamers and only use a "random" sample of men. Which is why Naughty Dog had to push for them to include women in the focus groups. RTFA.

Am I the only one that read this and saw that it only said they had no plans to polling women specifically? No where did it say they weren't going to include women just that there were no specific plan about it. It's almost as if they had this group of people called "gamers" and were going to select an unspecified target audience from it... and then comes ND and makes a big song and dance about how they need to specifically include women despite the fact that they weren't going to not include women in the first place.

Legion:

JudgeGame:

Legion:
Unnamed research firm?

How is that considered a valid enough source to warrant a claim such as this? This is no different from the unnamed publishers who Jim mentioned in his video a couple of weeks ago. No names or companies are mentioned in regards to who actually said or done these things, so as far as news reporting goes, it has no validity.

If it is true, I understand the reaction, and agree that it is completely wrong, but as it stands, I don't understand the knee-jerk responses to completely unverified sources.

I don't think you understand how journalism works at all.

Ordinarily a reporter will have an anonymous source give details on a person/company etc. For example "Our anonymous source revealed that Matt Damon is having an affair". The source is kept secret for their own security, but the information they reveal is open. Giving the accused the oppurtunity to respond.

This kind of journalism would be the equivalent of saying "We spoke to our source Mr Smith and he told us that an unnamed celebrity is having an affair". As a story, it has no value. Nothing to go on. The unnamed firm cannot confirm or deny anything, and nobody has anybody to actually be angry with.

Stories such as this are basically unsubstantiated rumours. So people getting angry doesn't make any sense.

Your argument makes no sense. If you didn't name Naughty Dog in the article it would be just as meaningless. I don't see any valid reason for naming this firm since a) it would put Naughty Dog in a legal bind b) research firms are not entities of public interest, while development studios are, c) pointing out a single firm is meaningless when it's already well established most if not all firms employ identical methods and d) there's no reason to give this firm publicity. Using your logic (which is broken), we might aswell not trust what any news source says ever, since it's all eventually the fruit of someone's subjective experience. If you don't trust Naughty Dog's word, don't believe them. If you don't trust the integrity of Escapist's journalism, you have no obligation to read it.

TheKasp:
Actually, this is not true. Frequent purchasers are 48% female.

If you're talking about that BBC study, then that classed gamers as people who played any kind of game within the last six months.

Playing one of those interactive tv games for five minutes was enough to qualify someone.

So I don't think that statistic is really applicable to the development of AAA games.

MagunBFP:
Am I the only one that read this and saw that it only said they had no plans to polling women specifically? No where did it say they weren't going to include women just that there were no specific plan about it. It's almost as if they had this group of people called "gamers" and were going to select an unspecified target audience from it... and then comes ND and makes a big song and dance about how they need to specifically include women despite the fact that they weren't going to not include women in the first place.

Yup, reads the same to me. Nowhere can I see the article mentioning that they were going to purposefully exclude girls from playtesting, they were just going to take a random group of testers and let them test the game.

ND on the other hand brought the whole gender issue on the table and specifically wanted to make it into an issue. A clever marketing tactic most likely to make them look like the good guys.

I just see this sort of thing as toxic to the whole community, I don't want to see different people as girl gamers, or male gamers or whatever gamers. I would just like to see everyone as their own individual gamer.

I just hate the idea of focus groups in general. Yes polish every sharp edge until it's bland and generic but offends no one.

Oltsu:

ND on the other hand brought the whole gender issue on the table and specifically wanted to make it into an issue. A clever marketing tactic most likely to make them look like the good guys.

It's kinda starting to look that way. Mention something about fighting the good fight, get free press.

Andrew_C:

Helen Jones:
Female here, not sure I understand the problem. Why do they need to specifically find out what women think, they're not specifically finding out what men think of the game, are they?
Surely they were going to get a random sample of gamers to beta test the game and give feedback which, being from a random sample, would include female gamers views.

Except the Market Research firm were going to specifically exclude women gamers and only use a "random" sample of men. Which is why Naughty Dog had to push for them to include women in the focus groups. RTFA.

Where did it say that?

the idea of polling female gamers was nowhere on the table.

My big surprise during this process is that the research group wasn't planning on focus-testing female gamers - it's something we had to specifically request.

Neither of those comments say anything about exclusion. They both say there was no specific plan to test female gamers, not that there was a specific plan to not test female gamers. Its kinda like saying there was no specific plan to test with males aged 31 wearing glasses... that doesn't mean if a 31 year old guy with glasses was part of the test group he'd be turned away. ND pushed to specifically make females a quota to be filled.

Good to see Naughty Dog standing up for their product and being interested in crafting something worthwhile. I hope this games turns out well and rewards their due diligence.

Paradoxrifts:
Next thing Naughty Dog will be announcing through their PR department will be that a member of their development team successfully preformed the Heimlich Maneuver to save a female play-tester from choking. As the CEO of a major publisher stood back watched, while smoking a cigar made entirely out of rolled up hundred dollar bills and gold dust.

At this stage the bullshit is getting a little thick.

Ah yeah the bullshit of acknowledging that female gamers actually exist. Such terrible bullshit.

Tenmar:
Umm I'm going to make the base assumption they were looking for female QA testers. To which I have to say, not exactly the easiest job to get even if it is entry level, temp work. Also considering the people who apply for those jobs...

Focus testers, pretty different. Focus testing is when you get a bunch of average Joes in a room to determine what the general public will think about your product. Since the marketing firm is still in the "only men buy/play games" mentality, they wanted the female character off the front of the box, because they assume a male audience would see her and think "this game is for girls" and not buy it. Which is just another reason focus testing stupid. Not to mention the public doesn't ever know what it wants or even what's particularly good, for example just look up the original ending to the Will Smith version of I Am Legend sometime, knowing that they changed it to a generic explosion fest that undermined the entire theme of the story just because the original ending didn't "test well".

UberPubert:
Changing the box art of Bioshock Infinite isn't going to change that it's still a story told from the perspective of a man about a woman in a game about ideals, prejudice, and shooting people in the face with their zappy hands. Female gamers might still not like that, and neither will their grandmothers, but that's not going to change the content of the game on any level besides the superficial.

Funny you mention that, because Bioshock Infinite seems to have been just as popular with the female gaming audience. And there have been some pretty significant changes to Elizabeth between the 2011 demo and the final release. She no longer has distractingly large cleavage, she's no longer weepy and simpering, and she no longer behaves like an abused spouse (no really that was the original plan, she'd act like a battered housewife toward Songbird and exhibit Stockholm Syndrome. Early on she was also going to be mute.)

Booker went through some changes too, from that demo I get the feeling there was a very stereotypical contrast between them, Elizabeth was "caring" and tearful, Booker was grr tough guy. But Booker in his final form is more curious, more laid back, and even rather funny at times. Making them more well-rounded characters makes them more real, and they clearly have both been appealing to both genders.

SteewpidZombie:

Here is a general idea of how a guy might design a game (Also about 99% of all fantasy games):

Guy 1: "Okay, we need to design a male character for this game".

Guy 2: "How about a 7'foot tall badass viking, wielding a broadsword and wearing full armor?".

Guy 1: "FANTASTIC IDEA! Now how about a female character?"

Guy 2: "We could try a strong and smart female knight who carries a sword and shield!"

Guy 3: "Or...we could make her into a cheap stripper who wears nothing but a leather thong and bra, coupled with over-the-top acrobatics and arming her with a BDSM whip?"

Guy 1: "STRIPPER IT IS!"

First off, lemme say I agree with your post. However, I feel the need to nitpick something. More specifically, the bolded part.
Now, I'm not saying smart and strong characters don't happen, and that they should't. But every time I hear about making female characters, I always - ALWAYS - hear the words 'smart and strong' in the same breath. Now, of course we shouldn't blindly latch onto stereotypes, like 'big strong person is also dumb', but I find it kind of disconcerting how women, unlike men, aren't allowed to be strong and dumb - a bit like, say, the Hulk or your hypothetical badass viking. It's like women can't be allowed to have flaws or something. Which I find to be a stupid idea, because flawless characters are also pretty damn boring and, to me, kind of creepy.

Nice one dudes....If you need anybody for future games I volunteer ;D

I'm pretty much going to pretend this game is about Simon and Marcy anyways :p

they sound like really great guys who care about their game and want to deliver the best possible for their customers. now if they just can bring this game out for the pc, i would be so happy.

Naughty dog, Hats off to you for actually giving a rat's ass about your game, and standing your ground. How can you focus test a game (especially in this day and age with this many female gamers, and ESPECIALLY in a game where the female is the emotional heart of the story) and not have any female focus testers involved?

Still, I can't see any small developer (or one subservient to EA) being allowed to do this. I honestly think the only reason ND is able to get away with it is because they've made SERIOUS blockbusters before and can therefore throw their weight around without Corporate coming down and going "WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU ARE CRIPPLING YOUR CHANCES YOU HAS NO RIGHTS".

I'm still hyped as HELL for this game.

MagunBFP:

Where did it say that?

the idea of polling female gamers was nowhere on the table.

My big surprise during this process is that the research group wasn't planning on focus-testing female gamers - it's something we had to specifically request.

Neither of those comments say anything about exclusion. They both say there was no specific plan to test female gamers, not that there was a specific plan to not test female gamers. Its kinda like saying there was no specific plan to test with males aged 31 wearing glasses... that doesn't mean if a 31 year old guy with glasses was part of the test group he'd be turned away. ND pushed to specifically make females a quota to be filled.

We are obviously reading the article very differently. To me that says the marketing firm didn't even think of involving woman gamers in the market research, either as part of a mixed group or separately, until Naughty Dog requested it. Maybe I'm just too cynical.

I'm glad Naughty Dog is exposing this outdated thinking in the games industry. Except it won't do anything except make people upset with the industry in general if they don't start naming names. I doubt every marketing firm is like this--let's hear which one decided to shoot themselves in the foot this way. At least in this case it makes sense that they can't name names because they are still in a business relationship with the firm. But when ND revealed that publishers turned them down left and right because of the female character? Why not tell us who? What good does it do to know that "a lot of publishers did it" without knowing which ones? If they would tell us which ones, those publishers would then have a chance to explain themselves, and if they can't, we would have a chance to show them how outdated their thinking is by not buying their male-dominated game. Without specifics, this is just aimless negativity.

MpSai:

Paradoxrifts:
Next thing Naughty Dog will be announcing through their PR department will be that a member of their development team successfully preformed the Heimlich Maneuver to save a female play-tester from choking. As the CEO of a major publisher stood back watched, while smoking a cigar made entirely out of rolled up hundred dollar bills and gold dust.

At this stage the bullshit is getting a little thick.

Ah yeah the bullshit of acknowledging that female gamers actually exist. Such terrible bullshit.

Are you so desperate to believe in Naughty Dog's narrative that you're willing to be spoon fed mouthful by mouthful such a patently obvious PR campaign for their upcoming game?

That was a rhetorical question by the way, we both know the answer.

It's times like this I'm glad that I mostly play Japanese and Eastern European games.

Those are two regions that are completely immune to asinine gender politics.

Here's the thing. Even if ND is just "keeping up appearances", they're doing it right. Even if this didn't actually happen, it shows that they understand that it's how people would want them to react if this situation were to occur.

And if they know what stance the consumer wants them to take on stuff that doesn't even cost them any more money, they'd have to be idiots not to take that stance.

Ugh. As a female gamer who worked doing video game reviews (and who now works under NDA for a video game company), have you *seen* the games made by male developers "especially for women"? They are DIRE is what they are. No conflict, no action, just sort of wandering around until something happens. Boring doesn't even begin to cover it. And there was a "Diary" type game that would allow teens to write in a secret, "locked" diary... files which could be read by anybody with a word processing program. Sincerely... would any guy buy a program whose entire raison d'Ítre is "It's your secret magical diary!"

Oltsu:

So in the end saying that 40% of gamers are female and that game X on the PS3 or xbox 360 should thus cater to females is quite illogical. You have to look at the individual demographics before you can make that decision. I still of course support having female game testers obviously, just that we shouldn't go around spreading pointless statistics in order to inflate the importance of one group.

Taking the numbers at face value in the manner your suggesting, have you ever considered asking not "why waste time catering to females when there are not that many players" and instead simply ask "why are there not more female gamers?"

Like if most Xbox/PS3 games are about war and killing and most of those boxes have some big muscular dude on the front is it a surprise that female gamers would rather go play Kirby?

You're saying why cater to females if females don't play the console.

My question is why aren't females playing the console? What are those people doing wrong that the Wii is doing right? There's a girl at work right now with a Nuka Cola shirt, so obviously some women like 360/ps3 but there should be more and excluding females from focus testing and relegating women to the back cover is not going to help grow those numbers.

And really, American box art is SOOO boring. Like, is a "put a dude on the cover" the only imagination these people have? Hell whatever happened to "sex sells", one would think that an attractive woman character on the front, even a well-dressed and self-respecting one, would catch a few eyes. Or hell, make the box art you know . . artistic.

American box art seems . . . insecure basically. They're afraid of trying something interesting will get them rejected so instead they just regurgitate the same shit. There are lots of movies that appeal to guys that things other than a dude on the cover, why would games be any different.

Paradoxrifts:

MpSai:

Paradoxrifts:
Next thing Naughty Dog will be announcing through their PR department will be that a member of their development team successfully preformed the Heimlich Maneuver to save a female play-tester from choking. As the CEO of a major publisher stood back watched, while smoking a cigar made entirely out of rolled up hundred dollar bills and gold dust.

At this stage the bullshit is getting a little thick.

Ah yeah the bullshit of acknowledging that female gamers actually exist. Such terrible bullshit.

Are you so desperate to believe in Naughty Dog's narrative that you're willing to be spoon fed mouthful by mouthful such a patently obvious PR campaign for their upcoming game?

That was a rhetorical question by the way, we both know the answer.

Because the only reason a video game company would even think of their female audience, or potential female audience is for PR. Right? This couldn't possibly have been a genuine concern. You sound pretty paranoid there dude.

MpSai:

Funny you mention that, because Bioshock Infinite seems to have been just as popular with the female gaming audience. And there have been some pretty significant changes to Elizabeth between the 2011 demo and the final release. She no longer has distractingly large cleavage, she's no longer weepy and simpering, and she no longer behaves like an abused spouse (no really that was the original plan, she'd act like a battered housewife toward Songbird and exhibit Stockholm Syndrome. Early on she was also going to be mute.)

But that wasn't what people were outraged over. They wouldn't stop going on about the cover, and while Irrational has been thoughtful enough to provide alternatives the cover remains the same. And so, if it is still popular with the female gaming audience, and does sell well and receive critical acclaim, the message being sent to publishers is that the public outcry centered on minor aesthetic changes can be happily ignored, so why listen to their input at all when most of it is superficial and non-indicative of game sales?

MpSai:

Booker went through some changes too, from that demo I get the feeling there was a very stereotypical contrast between them, Elizabeth was "caring" and tearful, Booker was grr tough guy. But Booker in his final form is more curious, more laid back, and even rather funny at times. Making them more well-rounded characters makes them more real, and they clearly have both been appealing to both genders.

The demo was just that, an early demonstration of a work in progress. They couldn't be more well-rounded because their time was so limited; you just can't get to know a character as a living human being within the span of a few minutes (especially when most of it is spent actually showing off the environment and combat/power mechanics). The characters have evolved now into something more and better, but can we definitively say they're that much different solely because of the input of a few female focus testers?

I think the idea I take the most issue with is the idea that men simply can't write or decide on what makes a good female character without a living woman there to tell them. That the feminine mystique just cannot be captured by the limited male spectrum of ideas and is simply out of their grasp. I don't believe that anymore than I believe women can't write male characters, but I keep being told that they're quantifiably richer thanks to a woman's - any woman's - input on the matter.

...

And there are feminists that think Zelda and Princess Peach are the problems with gaming.

*slow clap for naughty dog* Kudos, ND. I may buy your game just on principle now.

It makes mae sad that we're so happy about this.

Doing unbiased focus testing should be the norm. Not the exception.

Talking about "relics of the past" that need to go away. Why are we still so concerned about the box art?

UberPubert:
But that wasn't what people were outraged over. They wouldn't stop going on about the cover, and while Irrational has been thoughtful enough to provide alternatives the cover remains the same. And so, if it is still popular with the female gaming audience, and does sell well and receive critical acclaim, the message being sent to publishers is that the public outcry centered on minor aesthetic changes can be happily ignored, so why listen to their input at all when most of it is superficial and non-indicative of game sales?

It still sends kind of a crappy message that to sell even really good and unique games the cover HAS to have a single guy with a gun on it, because the dudebros like COD and now conventional "wisdom" tells us this is the only imagery men will respond to.

They couldn't be more well-rounded because their time was so limited; you just can't get to know a character as a living human being within the span of a few minutes (especially when most of it is spent actually showing off the environment and combat/power mechanics). The characters have evolved now into something more and better, but can we definitively say they're that much different solely because of the input of a few female focus testers?

I didn't say that, I said there are marked differences and Elizabeth has resonated with both male and female gamers I think all the more because of them. Imagine if she instead spent the majority of the game crying and acting like a battered housewife. Would she be considered a good character? Or would people feel it re-enforces the idea that women are helpless, cry all the time, and need a man to protect them?

I think the idea I take the most issue with is the idea that men simply can't write or decide on what makes a good female character without a living woman there to tell them. That the feminine mystique just cannot be captured by the limited male spectrum of ideas and is simply out of their grasp. I don't believe that anymore than I believe women can't write male characters, but I keep being told that they're quantifiably richer thanks to a woman's - any woman's - input on the matter.

The "female mystique" is exactly the problem. Some writers seem to think women necessarily have to be written vastly differently from male characters (and I just say "writers" because don't think for a second women aren't capable of sexist or misogynistic portrayals of women. Just look at Twilight), so they think about the things they associate with what "woman" is and sadly many of them have a limited mental library, just settling on limiting stereotypes: "pink" "boobs" "sexy" "damsel" "love interest" "mom" etc. And having a female perspective is not a bad thing in a team effort. In fact, the lead writer of Dragon Age 3 expressed the benefit in action in a recent blog: http://dgaider.tumblr.com/post/36214913229/the-female-perspective-in-game-development

MpSai:

I didn't say that, I said there are marked differences and Elizabeth has resonated with both male and female gamers I think all the more because of them. Imagine if she instead spent the majority of the game crying and acting like a battered housewife. Would she be considered a good character? Or would people feel it re-enforces the idea that women are helpless, cry all the time, and need a man to protect them?

I don't think most people would or should formulate their world views based on characters in fiction but even if they did I also don't believe that means we should exclude negatively portraying members of the female sex. Why can't Elizabeth be a battered housewife in need of protection? What if she became a truly pitiable character the player felt empathy for? Why does she have to stand as a strong role model for women everywhere instead of just as a tragic figure? The Elizabeth we got was arguably better suited to her task, but there's nothing wrong with the one that might have been.

MpSai:

The "female mystique" is exactly the problem. Some writers seem to think women necessarily have to be written vastly differently from male characters (and I just say "writers" because don't think for a second women aren't capable of sexist or misogynistic portrayals of women. Just look at Twilight), so they think about the things they associate with what "woman" is and sadly many of them have a limited mental library, just settling on limiting stereotypes: "pink" "boobs" "sexy" "damsel" "love interest" "mom" etc. And having a female perspective is not a bad thing in a team effort. In fact, the lead writer of Dragon Age 3 expressed the benefit in action in a recent blog: http://dgaider.tumblr.com/post/36214913229/the-female-perspective-in-game-development

Most men also aren't writers, and the ones that are aren't being _____ist when they associate women with their known stereotypes, they're just being unimaginative or simplifying it for the audience's sake, and the same thing applies to male characters. But stereotypes and tropes exist for a reason: People find them easily identifiable and can relate to them (there's nothing wrong with liking pink, having boobs, being sexy, etc.) it only becomes a problem when the audience looks beyond this surface level stereotype and finds there's not much else there, and that's still not _____ist, it's just lazy/bad writing or shallow characters. No amount of audience input can make up for a lack of effort or talent, barring outright displeasure at what's being provided and a refusal to look past it.

It sometimes bugs me how bad the leftward side of the gaming community gets played here.

For staters, let me point out that this is Naughty Dog here, these are the guys who got on the map by doing the game "Keef The Thief". A humor RPG which isn't exactly high on the female empowerment or political correctness scale
and includes easter eggs where you literally run into "Laurie, The Naughty Dog secretary!". When looking at something like this you have to consider the source. They mostly produce irreverant titles like this, or (to a lesser extent) uncharted, or anthromorphic things like "Crash Bandicoot" or whatever. "The Last Of Us" is actually something of a departure from their usual, somewhat irreverant style.

Basically what Naughty Dog is doing here is looking at the way the non-issue of "women in gaming" is getting people riled up, and how so many people think there is an issue here when there isn't one. Trolls like Anita Sarkessian being catapulted from minor lib-troll, to mega-troll overnight by riding these waves of complete BS, I mean she alone collected a ton of money from misguided left wingers she riled up, which she promised to produce new "higher quality" feminist videos with, before apparently pocketing it and producing a few new vidoes just like her old ones, lulzing all the way to the bank pretty much. They doubtlessly realized that this is something they could try and use for marketing purposes, especially seeing as they are now releasing a "serious" game and might want to see if they can get some "issue" cred, by going after an easily exploited non-issue. By dropping the news that they had to "insist on a female focus group" they are basically criticizing the game industry, giving a nod/rallying cry to misguided left wingers who think there is an issue here to begin with, and grabbing a fistfull of press all with one smooth move where all they had to do was point a finger and make a claim which on examination doesn't even make a whole lot of sense. I mean if what they are saying is true it's more a sign that their marketing firm doing the testing was being lazy the first time, rather than any kind of great crusade on the part of Naughty Dog.

Of course, just by argueing this, we're kind of buying into it.

See, Naughty Dog is after press, and trying to create a specific issue they can tie to this game. They are garnering interest, and maybe convincing a few women they specifically care along the way. It's paticularly transparent when you look at who Naughty Dog is, their body of work, and heck even the title they chose for themselves after they gave up on being JAM software.

Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with trying to grab some press, but let's not treat this like anything more than that. It's not like this is a genuine issue, or an attempt by a company to address it. Especially seeing as of all companies out there THIS is not the company you'd expect to get legitimatly invested in an issue like this, it's pretty much anti-thetical to the entire "Naughty Dog Attitude" they established up until this point.

Of course then again I guess part of the point is that most people gaming right now don't have the perspective or memory to remember "Keef The Thief" and that these are the same guys.

Oh and speaking of which, they could probably do worse than to try "Keef" again, it was actually pretty funny for it's time. :)

I mean really think about this "Naughty Dog Entertainment: Champions Of Feminism" it sounds like the title of a porn parody.

MpSai:

Paradoxrifts:

MpSai:

Ah yeah the bullshit of acknowledging that female gamers actually exist. Such terrible bullshit.

Are you so desperate to believe in Naughty Dog's narrative that you're willing to be spoon fed mouthful by mouthful such a patently obvious PR campaign for their upcoming game?

That was a rhetorical question by the way, we both know the answer.

Because the only reason a video game company would even think of their female audience, or potential female audience is for PR. Right? This couldn't possibly have been a genuine concern. You sound pretty paranoid there dude.

I would rather be accused of being a dour, paranoid pessimist than a grown women(?) who still needs to believe in fairy tales woven from whole cloth. The people in charge over there at Naughty Dog might indeed have genuine concerns about attracting a female audience, but their PR department took that ball, ran with it and is selling the living shit out of that narrative.

To the point that to anyone with a bit of perspective, it's getting a little on the nose.

What I want to know most about their upcoming game is how Naughty Dog is going to manage to make a game that seems to be based primarily around an escort mechanic not completely suck.

I like this. I mean, not the fact they had to specifically request testing with female gamers to make it happen, but I like that they did make that request.

Andrew_C:

MagunBFP:

Where did it say that?

the idea of polling female gamers was nowhere on the table.

My big surprise during this process is that the research group wasn't planning on focus-testing female gamers - it's something we had to specifically request.

Neither of those comments say anything about exclusion. They both say there was no specific plan to test female gamers, not that there was a specific plan to not test female gamers. Its kinda like saying there was no specific plan to test with males aged 31 wearing glasses... that doesn't mean if a 31 year old guy with glasses was part of the test group he'd be turned away. ND pushed to specifically make females a quota to be filled.

We are obviously reading the article very differently. To me that says the marketing firm didn't even think of involving woman gamers in the market research, either as part of a mixed group or separately, until Naughty Dog requested it. Maybe I'm just too cynical.

Well let me elaborate on my point and lets see if we can't reach a consensus.

If the quote had been... "the idea of polling bronies was nowhere on the table" would that mean that bronies would have been actively excluded? or how about "the idea of polling high school kids was nowhere on the table" would they have been excluded? How about if they were just breaking their plans into age groups and income demographics so the quote might have been "the idea of polling male gamers was nowhere on the table"?

I'm not going to say that you're wrong because there's just not enough information in the article to say that there was an active attitude of exclusion intended, the only information we've been given is that there was no specific plan to test a certain number of women until ND insisted that there was.

Paradoxrifts:
What I want to know most about their upcoming game is how Naughty Dog is going to manage to make a game that seems to be based primarily around an escort mechanic not completely suck.

Bioshock Infinite managed it. In spades.

Therumancer:
For staters, let me point out that this is Naughty Dog here, these are the guys who got on the map by doing the game "Keef The Thief". A humor RPG which isn't exactly high on the female empowerment or political correctness scale

Imagine, a game from 24 years ago wasn't very progressive.

Basically what Naughty Dog is doing here is looking at the way the non-issue of "women in gaming" is getting people riled up, and how so many people think there is an issue here when there isn't one.

It would be nice if you'd elaborate as to why you believe it to be a "non-issue" in the first place.

UberPubert:
I don't think most people would or should formulate their world views based on characters in fiction but even if they did I also don't believe that means we should exclude negatively portraying members of the female sex. Why can't Elizabeth be a battered housewife in need of protection? What if she became a truly pitiable character the player felt empathy for? Why does she have to stand as a strong role model for women everywhere instead of just as a tragic figure? The Elizabeth we got was arguably better suited to her task, but there's nothing wrong with the one that might have been.

A character like that could work, if handled well, but let's face it game writing right now isn't exactly as sophisticated as it has the potential to be. And how annoying would gamers find her if all she did was cry and go running back to her captors? Lastly, we just so often see 1-dimensional, stereotypical women in gaming, it's nice to see game writers, you know, actually putting in thought and effort?

Most men also aren't writers,

I'm saying even male writers do this.

and the ones that are aren't being _____ist when they associate women with their known stereotypes, they're just being unimaginative or simplifying it for the audience's sake

I think a huge barrier in this discussion is when someone points out a sexist/racist/etc. theme, character, or writing in a game, some people automatically jump to the conclusion that the person pointing it out is saying there's malicious intent or a purposeful agenda behind it. I hardly think most people seek out a sexist theme in their writing. It by and large happens inadvertently, but it does tend to happen because of laziness, thoughtlessness, and an author's own prejudices, which they might not even be aware they have generally because they're so ingrained in their culture, seeping in. Identifying and discussing these things is just that.

MpSai:

Paradoxrifts:
What I want to know most about their upcoming game is how Naughty Dog is going to manage to make a game that seems to be based primarily around an escort mechanic not completely suck.

Bioshock Infinite managed it. In spades.

And that has absolutely nothing to do with either Naughty Dog or their game. If I were to draw a comparison between Irrational Games and Naughty Dog it would be to point out that so far Naughty Dog has concentrated more on shooting their mouths off about sexism than showing gaming "journalists" that they're developing a high quality gaming experience.

Irrational Games made sure that anyone who was interested in playing their game that they wouldn't be chained to your industry standard bullet cushion NPC companion.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here