So that whole "female main characters don't sell" bullshit

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wulf3n:

erttheking:
Any game with a female lead doing well, even one, disproves it.

Not really. A game can do well despite it's flaws, but that doesn't mean the flaws didn't have an effect on the sales.

They said games with female MCs don't sell well. Period, no modifiers, no exception. They were wrong

erttheking:

wulf3n:

erttheking:
Any game with a female lead doing well, even one, disproves it.

Not really. A game can do well despite it's flaws, but that doesn't mean the flaws didn't have an effect on the sales.

They said games with female MCs don't sell well. Period, no modifiers, no exception. They were wrong

I'm going to mimic tippy2k2 for a bit in that I've never heard anyone say that directly, it's always been 2nd or 3rd hand quotes, usually from developers about publishers.

But for the sake of argument I'll assume that is what's said.

Then it all depends on how they/we define "well". Sales alone aren't necessarily enough information to go on. It all depends on the games budget and what the expected return on investment for the shareholders/investors was.

Unfortunately the games industry isn't very transparent when it comes to these figures.

inu-kun:
You are making a mistake here:
http://www.vgchartz.com/game/85674/horizon-zero-dawn/ (2.55m sales)
Nier Automata I found about 1 million.

While Call Of Duty:
http://www.vgchartz.com/game/85359/call-of-duty-black-ops-3/ (14 million)

And as we all know in the AAA industry, only COD amount are considered "sold well" because the industry is borderline insane.

Although I don't think it makes your point invalid - these two games clearly didn't do blockbuster numbers, though I'd still say they did well, vgchartz is not a good site to take figures from. Firstly, they count only retail figures, and not digital. Secondly, the numbers they post are highly speculative estimates.

wulf3n:

erttheking:

wulf3n:

Not really. A game can do well despite it's flaws, but that doesn't mean the flaws didn't have an effect on the sales.

They said games with female MCs don't sell well. Period, no modifiers, no exception. They were wrong

I'm going to mimic tippy2k2 for a bit in that I've never heard anyone say that directly, it's always been 2nd or 3rd hand quotes, usually from developers about publishers.

But for the sake of argument I'll assume that is what's said.

Then it all depends on how they/we define "well". Sales alone aren't necessarily enough information to go on. It all depends on the games budget and what the expected return on investment for the shareholders/investors was.

Unfortunately the games industry isn't very transparent when it comes to these figures.

The stupidity precedent is there.

Depends on the game. Five million is astounding for a new game, but just ok for COD. Both these games Nier in particular broke the expectations around them. I'd say they sold well.

erttheking:

Depends on the game. Five million is astounding for a new game, but just ok for COD.

Very true.

erttheking:
Both these games Nier in particular broke the expectations around them. I'd say they sold well.

Maybe.

According to this article The Tombraider reboot cost roughly $100 million USD and required 5-6 million sales just to break even.

According to this article Horizon Zero Dawn had a budget of roughly $50 million USD so we can assume it would take roughly 2.5 - 3 million sales to break even. So at the moment I don't know if you can say it's selling well, but simply selling adequately.

Can't really say for Nier as I can't find anything that mentions its budget.

Zykon TheLich:

Ezekiel:
I found the three main characters of V unappealing.

As an aside, wasn't that the point? These are horrible people doing horrible things. It's like watching Goodfellas or somesuch, it might have a decent enough story and compelling narrative, but ultimately it's about a bunch of murderous career criminals. That's kind of why I liked it, first GTA I've given more than a couple of hours since being a stoned teenager trying to mow down a line of Hare-Krishna.

OT: Eh. I rarely go for anything that doesn't have character creation (GTAV was mainly bought for online). I don't care if they are male or female, if it's not my character it can generally fuck off.

But GoodFellas has likable characters. I also love Tony Soprano, even though he does some pretty despicable things. The GTA games don't have good writers.

Casual Shinji:

Ezekiel:
I wonder if Leslie Benzies, who has produced RDR and every GTA since III, leaving Rockstar means we might expect a female protagonist in the next GTA or RDR. At this point, I'd just appreciate it for variety. I found the three main characters of V unappealing.

I said it once before, but I wouldn't mind a Bully sequel where we get to play as a scorned cheerleader who has to re-climb the social ladder.

Though to be honest I found everyone in GTA5 unappealing, male or female. I don't know if changing gender is going to improve Dan Houser's shitty writing.

My concern with a female protagonist in a Houser game is that she'd be even more unlikable than the males. Almost every woman in GTA IV and V is abrasive, weak or a burden.

LostGryphon:

Personally, I like femprotags and usually play female characters, if given the opportunity to do so. Always have.

Ditto. I prefer RPG's so if I'm going to look at my character for 30 to over 100 hours (DA: Inquisition) I always whip up an attractive female character.

Thank goodness BioWare is big on lesbian relationships!!!

wulf3n:

erttheking:

Depends on the game. Five million is astounding for a new game, but just ok for COD.

Very true.

erttheking:
Both these games Nier in particular broke the expectations around them. I'd say they sold well.

Maybe.

According to this article The Tombraider reboot cost roughly $100 million USD and required 5-6 million sales just to break even.

According to this article Horizon Zero Dawn had a budget of roughly $50 million USD so we can assume it would take roughly 2.5 - 3 million sales to break even. So at the moment I don't know if you can say it's selling well, but simply selling adequately.

Can't really say for Nier as I can't find anything that mentions its budget.

I'd say a game that makes its budget back in two weeks is doing well

https://www.polygon.com/2017/3/16/14945792/horizon-zero-dawn-launch-sales-ps4

And Automata surpassed the first Nier in sales, on top of being a niche game that managed to get mainstream appeal, something no one saw coming.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nier:_Automata#Sales

Don't think I've ever heard anyone say female protagonists don't sell because they're female protagonists, but because their games are rarely supported by publishers and thus have a harder time reaching out.

Ezekiel:

hanselthecaretaker:
Tomb Raider has always done pretty well, and that's been for decades.

If it's always done pretty well, they wouldn't have had to reboot it twice and turn it into a bloodthirsty shooter.

Under that logic, Call of Duty sales have been lacklusters for a long time, after all they have rebooted the franchise several times. Sometimes two concurrent reboots has been maintained at the same time. A new reboot is expected this year...

inu-kun:
You are making a mistake here:
http://www.vgchartz.com/game/85674/horizon-zero-dawn/ (2.55m sales)
Nier Automata I found about 1 million.

While Call Of Duty:
http://www.vgchartz.com/game/85359/call-of-duty-black-ops-3/ (14 million)

And as we all know in the AAA industry, only COD amount are considered "sold well" because the industry is borderline insane.

/second that.

Publishers these days seem to have no concept of "sold well".

The Tomb Raider reboot sells an astonishing 6 million, and the publishers are unhappy. ...Then for the sequel (which I love as well) they went and released in on the same day as Fallout 4. That's beyond stupid publishing. Criminally stupid publishing.

Dead Space 1 and 2 sold well (somewhere between 1 and 2 million copies each), but then the publisher said "Dead Space 3 needs to make 5 million or we will kill the franchise.". Well, their expectations weren't met and Dead Space was killed off. :(

Horizon is doing very well for a console-exclusive first entry in an IP. It's outselling Mass Effect 1, Uncharted 1, Killzone 1 and pretty much ever other _______ 1 I can find. One would hope publishers would look at those other franchises and go "Horizon is selling well!"...

hermes:

Ezekiel:

hanselthecaretaker:
Tomb Raider has always done pretty well, and that's been for decades.

If it's always done pretty well, they wouldn't have had to reboot it twice and turn it into a bloodthirsty shooter.

Under that logic, Call of Duty sales have been lacklusters for a long time, after all they have rebooted the franchise several times. Sometimes two concurrent reboots has been maintained at the same time. A new reboot is expected this year...

I wouldn't call those reboots. They also didn't have to change their identity as much as Tomb Raider.

Well, TR didn't HAVE to change its identity. That was just the publisher selling out.

I've never heard anyone say that. And honestly...I don't care. I was thinking of picking up both Horizon and Nier at some point, but that's primarily because I though the games looked cool. The female protagonists don't effect my judgement, if they did, I'd be forced to stick to Breath of the Wild.

I find it funny that no one remembers "Remember Me". Lemme see....

http://www.vgchartz.com/game/57722/remember-me/
If this is right, "Remember Me" is sitting at 0.32 million sells. So 320,000 copies roughly I think. With a female protag.

So what can we draw from this? That female protagonists don't sell? Given the two games brought up here seem to show that yes they do. Or at least with marketing and a good game they sell. Or that just good games sell. It's like with horror and RTS games. "They don't sell"; have you TRIED? Have you honestly tried games industry?

I hate to bring up the quote but it's actually pretty good here. "Let the market decide". These two games seem to have sold pretty well so the market doesn't seem to care about the gender. Other than everyone freaking out about Neir's rears.

ZeDilton:
Don't think I've ever heard anyone say female protagonists don't sell because they're female protagonists, but because their games are rarely supported by publishers and thus have a harder time reaching out.

Generally that's the impression I get from listening to developers talk. AAA publishers are all about squeezing maximum return out of their investment, stories from devs make it sound like publishers love to rely on marketing analysis and focus groups, which results in things like no women play testing the Last of Us, or Bioshock Infinite being told to make their game cover look like a steampunk Call of Duty ripoff.

Usually in threads like these everyone insists nobody cares about the gender of their protagonist, but when you are sitting at the top and making decisions and you are looking at statistics like the ones Bioware put out, where only 20% of people who played Mass Effect played with a Female Shepard, it seems easier to understand how such people, who mostly only care about maximizing sales, would come to the conclusion that male protagonists sell better than female protagonists, whether its true or not.

To the individual it makes little difference, but for someone that is getting paid quite a bit of money to come up with ways to squeeze single percentage point increases in sales out of a product, even if less than 1% of people care about the gender of the protagonist, that's still potentially millions of dollars in profit being left on the table, and I imagine the amount is likely greater than 1%.

Hopefully, with recent examples and devs like Naughty Dog pointing out the flaws of narrow focus groups and this type of thinking, we will see publishers giving a little more freedom to devs rather than relying on focus groups, developers seem quick to complain at least when they know their game is getting focus grouped to death.

Lufia Erim:
Thats confirmation bias. You set out to prove that have female protagonist don't cause games to fail then post two games with female protagonists that sold well.

What you should do is chronicle a list of all ( or most) games that have female only protagonists, then chronicle games made in the same year, and same genre with male protagonists, then compare the sales of the two. Both day one ( or month) sales and all time sales.

Even then, that doesn't take into consideration other variables such as marketing, game quality, other high profile games that came out at the same time , etc...

But nobody got time for real research, just blanket statements am i right?

Gaming discussion is dead, we killed it. All we have left is searching for the narrative that supports our opinion.

Just count the posts that bring up Jim to make credibility for their statements.

And count the posts I'll get for taking His name in vain.

erttheking:

wulf3n:

erttheking:
Any game with a female lead doing well, even one, disproves it.

Not really. A game can do well despite it's flaws, but that doesn't mean the flaws didn't have an effect on the sales.

They said games with female MCs don't sell well. Period, no modifiers, no exception. They were wrong

Oh wow you're serious. I mean, i would assume the modifiers were implied, by you know the world not being measured in absolutes. Nothing is as clear cut black and white, and are usually stated that way for emphasis.

Imre Csete:

Lufia Erim:
Thats confirmation bias. You set out to prove that have female protagonist don't cause games to fail then post two games with female protagonists that sold well.

What you should do is chronicle a list of all ( or most) games that have female only protagonists, then chronicle games made in the same year, and same genre with male protagonists, then compare the sales of the two. Both day one ( or month) sales and all time sales.

Even then, that doesn't take into consideration other variables such as marketing, game quality, other high profile games that came out at the same time , etc...

But nobody got time for real research, just blanket statements am i right?

Gaming discussion is dead, we killed it. All we have left is searching for the narrative that supports our opinion.

Just count the posts that bring up Jim to make credibility for their statements.

And count the posts I'll get for taking His name in vain.

Amen.

Well look at it this way, either people don't care about having the main character of a game being the same gender that they are, then why are people constantly bringing this up? Or people do care about that, so make the character male cause more male buy traditional video game (especially games with protagonist).

The argument isn't that game with female character sell badly, it's that having a female character will negatively affect the sales of the games. It's hard to know how much of it is just self fulfilling prophecy and how much of it is real, but if you were to look at the top 100 traditional game by sales you'd have a higher percentage of games with males protagonist compared to the % of traditional games with male protagonist (i.e. 70% percent of games have male protagonist but 80/100 of the top selling video game have male protagonist).

The number of female players are creeping up slowly so things will eventually balance but probably never fully because long running franchise with establish lead (i.e. zelda) have an advantage that can't be easily replicated.

Personally I don't really care about the main character gender, so either way is fine with me, but that doesn't mean its the case for everyone.

Lufia Erim:
Snip

You're giving them a little too much credit. It was a stupid comment made by stupid people. Gaming executives aren't exactly well known for nuance.

McElroy:
Next time bring some non-PS4 options. No wait... Ok I get it, PC doesn't do retail game sales anymore and thus no charts.

On PC it's even better, we can see 99% of the sales data for almost all games thanks to SteamSpy.

Here's the data for Nier.

erttheking:

The stupidity precedent is there.

Depends on the game. Five million is astounding for a new game, but just ok for COD. Both these games Nier in particular broke the expectations around them. I'd say they sold well.

5 million I'm pretty sure is what both of the new "Tomb Raider"s sold. And they were considered nearly failures. Though I can't say I'm surprised, they sold on name recognition alone and have pretty much none of the charm of the old games, or even having much to do with the titles honestly.

Not to mention Nier was not sold on it having a "female protag" in any way but Taro being a lovable pervy bastard and Taro's writing in general actually making games be somewhat unique in their narrative structure. He's been praised for like a decade for it and has carved out a little niche for himself because of that writing. It's sorta why Drakengard 2 and 3 happened. They're all broken games, ranging from a single combo being stupidly strong it'll be the only thing you use, to "I just bought this thing and I already have to go buy a new one".

Female protags sell, it's just that they have to actually have good games built around them and not just be a studio banking on "WE WANTED A FEMALE PROTAGONIST BUT NOBODY WOULD TAKE US" for marketing and recognition. It's just that the majority of the time a female protag game fails is when they draw so much attention to said female protag and they're surrounded by a failure of a game(be it boring or outright bad). We've had them for years, people have picked females for years when they've had a choice, it's just that the last 8 or so years we've had an influx of people talking about it for no other reason than they think they know something they obviously don't.

Yeah, female protagonists sell, it's just that when they're made alot of the time these days, it's always the same character, which is stupidly ironic(coincidental? I've forgotten) considering most of the people that praise them or making them are always complaining about the "Steve" character. And the worst part is, Stephanie isn't featured in many competent, much less good, games. So it just sorta becomes that thing you start to see. I mean, you can forgive Steve, the guy's bland as can be, but he doesn't need to be pretty or amazing, or anything. He just needs to move and shoot when you tell him to, and be that tiny speck on the box of the great amazing world you're about to explore and immerse yourself in. Stephanie...sorta still needs to stop drinking and actually do something other than talk about how hard it is to be a girl and actually prove herself for people to start taking her seriously(again, as when Stephanie started appearing seems to be one of those subjective things).

Also I still have yet to figure out why Horizon is so popular. Nothing makes sense and the only people that have any ability to think for themselves are either killed off or shunted to the back of the bus so fast you forget they exist. Also I cannot stand Ashly Burch's voice. I've come to dislike Jennifer Hale's voice, but at least she goes to the studio lucid.

Ezekiel:

hanselthecaretaker:
Tomb Raider has always done pretty well, and that's been for decades.

If it's always done pretty well, they wouldn't have had to reboot it twice and turn it into a bloodthirsty shooter.

It's one of the best selling IPs of all time at something like 58 million units. Sure that's over the course of seven or eight games now, but how many installments can a series go before enough elements are rehashed to the point a reboot is needed.

*sigh* I just... this feels like a real oversimplification of the issue at hand, honestly. You can't just point at two popular games and go 'See female protagonists do sell!' without also taking into consideration all the things like marketing, audience, history, who's the developer, who's the publisher... like, it's just not that quick a thing to throw together.

erttheking:

inu-kun:
You are making a mistake here:
http://www.vgchartz.com/game/85674/horizon-zero-dawn/ (2.55m sales)
Nier Automata I found about 1 million.

While Call Of Duty:
http://www.vgchartz.com/game/85359/call-of-duty-black-ops-3/ (14 million)

And as we all know in the AAA industry, only COD amount are considered "sold well" because the industry is borderline insane.

Then every single game made aside from COD doesn't sell well. Seriously, name five series that pull in those kinds of numbers on each installment

I mean, yeah, that's pretty much the case with the AAA industry, hence why it's so damn unsustainable given everyone wants the COD mega-bucks but tends to ignore the fact that COD tends to also dump most of it's billion-dollar profits back into production and advertisement.

Hell, as cool as it is that Horizon Zero Dawn has sold so well one of the most impressive things about it is that the dev budget was only 45 million dollars! That's fucking chump-change in the AAA industry. As cool as it would be for publishers and marketers to look at it and go 'hey, diversity doesn't actually hurt our marketing, who'd have thought', it'd be just as awesome for them to go 'hey look, we don't have to dump the GDP of a small country into our game and hope like hell we get enough sales to turn a slight profit'.

Silentpony:
The problem is, and Jim Sterling made this mistake to, those games didn't sell well. He compared Zero Dawn to Bioshock infinite, which outsold it nearly 3-1.

Statistically speaking those games did not outsell male-lead games. Now that's a shame, because both those games are fun, but facts is facts.
I mean hell RE6 outsold RE7 nearly 6-1! That's how it goes!

Did he remember to adjust for the Playstation only sales in the comparison? Cause Bioshock Infinite was on 3x the platforms as Zero Dawn (possibly 5 if you count the Bioshock Collection).

(I think Nier was PS exclusive too, I could be mistaken)

hanselthecaretaker:

Ezekiel:

hanselthecaretaker:
Tomb Raider has always done pretty well, and that's been for decades.

If it's always done pretty well, they wouldn't have had to reboot it twice and turn it into a bloodthirsty shooter.

It's one of the best selling IPs of all time at something like 58 million units. Sure that's over the course of seven or eight games now, but how many installments can a series go before enough elements are rehashed to the point a reboot is needed.

TR 2013's predecessor, Underworld, failed to meet the publisher's expectations.

http://www.tombraiderchronicles.com/headlines3592.html

I've played only Anniversary, Legend, Underworld, Guardian of Light, 2013 and Rise. Legend and Underworld had significant problems. They were fixable, though. The publisher just gave up and turned the games into something they're not. I want Tomb Raider to be Tomb Raider. Hopefully, things will improve now that the lead writer has left. The games definitely don't need to be as expensive as they are now. It's fine to limit your audience with a smaller budget and less killing and cutscenes.

kenu12345:

B-Cell:

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:
This is the first time I hear about this, I've never seen or heard anyone say that the gender of the main character matters much (except for bcell, but, you know.).

I love portal. other than i dont like those games which feature female main character because even if those games has male characters i would still hate them. i just dont find any good game with female protagonist.

plus it depend on game. for FPS games. Male character is must!!. for action and adventure. it depend and JRPG suit best with female characters.

Have to agree with Hawki, saying a certain gender is a must for certain genre makes no sense to me. Any gender can fit into any genre with nary a difference

Who are target audience of FPS? of course males. it doesnot matter if females play or not. but FPS carter towards males.

similarly Cinderella target audience is female.

It just depend on game itself.

The argument has always been a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because publishers don't think female protagonists sell well, they don't invest money marketing the game, then the game doesn't sell very well.

To the extent that I think it was ever really "true," it was a long time ago. Gamers are a more diverse, more mature demographic now. They're capable of appreciating a game where you play as a child or a cavelady or a gynoid supersoldier or an empress who is a part-time assassin.

MerlinCross:
I find it funny that no one remembers "Remember Me". Lemme see....

http://www.vgchartz.com/game/57722/remember-me/
If this is right, "Remember Me" is sitting at 0.32 million sells. So 320,000 copies roughly I think. With a female protag.

So what can we draw from this? That female protagonists don't sell? Given the two games brought up here seem to show that yes they do. Or at least with marketing and a good game they sell. Or that just good games sell. It's like with horror and RTS games. "They don't sell"; have you TRIED? Have you honestly tried games industry?

I hate to bring up the quote but it's actually pretty good here. "Let the market decide". These two games seem to have sold pretty well so the market doesn't seem to care about the gender. Other than everyone freaking out about Neir's rears.

I'm no marketer so the conclusions I draw might be far off the charts, but I'd like to bring attention to another game: Dishonored.

It and Remember Me was released the same year. Both were new IPs at the end of a console generation. Both were rated M for Mature. Both were also made in France, for whatever it is worth(there probably are some cultural artifacts that can be found in the titles, but I'm mainly focusing on how easily gaming publications had access to developer interviews and marketing material).

On sold well enough to warrant a sequel, the other sold badly. One had a male protagonist, the other a female. What can we draw from this?

It depends on what you're looking for, but I think looking at what they drew from can be informative.

Dishonored has been said to be a current iteration on the Thief franchise. Thief has in the past sold well enough to have a complete trilogy be produced. Remember Me has been compared to God Hand, a game with a cult following but which has never received any sequel. From this it is not odd that one sold well and the other did not.

Looking over the history of the studios behind the games, another pattern can be seen: Arkane of Dishonored had released titles previously, Dontnod of Remember Me had not. I remember GameTrailers' review of Remember Me mentioning that there were mistakes in the game that a more experienced developer should've seen and corrected right away.

Finally, I'd argue that Remember Me tried to do a few too many things. It had a God Handesque combat system, a memory manipulation mini game and a standard action adventure overworld, and focusing on so many things was to its overall detriment. Given that Life is Strange more or less took the memory manipulation mini game as its central aspect and that was a well received title, I think it's not unwarranted to claim they threw a too wide net in Remember Me. One cannot fault Dontnod for playing it safe, but I believe people are hesitant with parting with 50$ on something they're uncertain if they'll even like. I am less familiar with Dishonored, but I believe it a more conservative title in it gameplay than Remember Me.

There are probably other conclusions one can draw; if there are, I'm curious to hear.

bastardofmelbourne:
The argument has always been a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because publishers don't think female protagonists sell well, they don't invest money marketing the game, then the game doesn't sell very well.

To the extent that I think it was ever really "true," it was a long time ago. Gamers are a more diverse, more mature demographic now. They're capable of appreciating a game where you play as a child or a cavelady or a gynoid supersoldier or an empress who is a part-time assassin.

Mmmm, this.

I don't think we're going to see a massive increase in female protagonists, but they're not going anywhere either.
It'd be nice if publishers would invest more in games with female protagonists, as I think the female audience for games is only increasing and that's likely to help it, and dudes are pretty unlikely to stop playing games just because you can play as a dude less. (And even if they did that'd be pretty weak shit considering I've been playing my entire life mostly games where I had to be a dude).

Still, I'd enjoy it if the trend to label anything non-straight non-white and non-dude as capital P Political went away. That's pretty fuckin' dumb, too.

Ezekiel:
But GoodFellas has likable characters. I also love Tony Soprano, even though he does some pretty despicable things. The GTA games don't have good writers.

Really? I thought they were all total cunts, being charismatic doesn't really sway me. Not going to argue that, I have no idea about what constitutes quality writing.

I suppose my point was, "Unlikable characters? I thought that was the whole idea".

B-Cell:

kenu12345:

B-Cell:

I love portal. other than i dont like those games which feature female main character because even if those games has male characters i would still hate them. i just dont find any good game with female protagonist.

plus it depend on game. for FPS games. Male character is must!!. for action and adventure. it depend and JRPG suit best with female characters.

Have to agree with Hawki, saying a certain gender is a must for certain genre makes no sense to me. Any gender can fit into any genre with nary a difference

Who are target audience of FPS? of course males. it doesnot matter if females play or not. but FPS carter towards males.

similarly Cinderella target audience is female.

It just depend on game itself.

As a male, one of the best ways to cater to my interests is pretty girls. Hunky men just don't really grab me that same way.

But you be you B-Cell, you be you.

erttheking:

Lufia Erim:
Snip

You're giving them a little too much credit. It was a stupid comment made by stupid people. Gaming executives aren't exactly well known for nuance.

Maybe, however, just because they're stupid doesn't give you carte blanche to be stupid.

Personally I take "Female characters don't sell", as meaning "Main characters whose only special qualifier is their gender doesn't sell", because of cause they don't. If you set out making a character whose only reason for existing is "being a female main character in a shooter" then that isn't really a compelling character.

Ezekiel:
My concern with a female protagonist in a Houser game is that she'd be even more unlikable than the males. Almost every woman in GTA IV and V is abrasive, weak or a burden.

Yeah, I don't really know what shifted in Dan Houser between Red Dead Redemption and GTA5, but it certainly had an impact on the characters. Not that I care much at all for RDR, but the characters (just like in GTA4) showed some empathy and sincirity at least.

Whether a game does well or not with a female protagonist, is ultimately irrelevant. It's a question of sales vs the same/similar games with a male protagonist. Horizon Zero Dawn doesn't prove anything. There are stats that clearly demonstrate that male led games outsell female led games by large margins and that gamers on the whole prefer to play as males. While the choice is certainly welcome and reviews tend to be favourable, they don't reflect in sales. The question is how much Horizon Zero Dawn would've sold given a male protagonist, instead of a female one. While it's moot since it cannot be answered, stats demonstrate sales trends.

Gamers are still predominantly male, and male gamers tend to play male characters, given the choice. Female protagonists appeal to fewer gamers, so making a game with one is to aim at a smaller potential market. Right or wrong, the industry bases these decisions on hard facts. You can be assured if female protagonists outsold males, they would dominate the market as assuredly as male protagonists do now. Capitalism gives no s**ts about gender.

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