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

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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 cant tell if your being serious or not.

I remember having discussion during the middle of 2014 - you know the one where some people claimed that if there were more female protagonist then there would be less games for male protagonist. All these stats were given about how only male lead games sold. Also, you shouldn't cater to SJWs

If women don't buy games featuring male leads, and thus we need to add more female leads, would it be all that surprising if men didn't buy games featuring female leads?

I can't say I'm really bothered myself, I played Nier, and enjoyed it, the fact that 2B is (One of) the playable protagonists didn't affect my decision to buy it in any way.

However, if we're going to argue that games need more female representation, as playing male characters isn't something they want to do, we have to accept the inverse is true too.

Phasmal:

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.

So, there should be more Female protagonists to support increasing Female Gamers, but if Male Gamers would play less that would be weak?

Do you see how this makes no sense?

Fischgopf:

So, there should be more Female protagonists to support increasing Female Gamers, but if Male Gamers would play less that would be weak?

Do you see how this makes no sense?

I didn't say play less, I said stop playing.
I think more female protagonists would help some women into games and I don't think it would scare dudes off of playing games. I think that makes perfect sense.
Also the joke was that I've played games literally forever and there's never been that many female protagonists so if a few more female protags scared off the gamer dudes, yeah I'd think that was kind of lame.

Phasmal:

Fischgopf:

So, there should be more Female protagonists to support increasing Female Gamers, but if Male Gamers would play less that would be weak?

Do you see how this makes no sense?

I didn't say play less, I said stop playing.
I think more female protagonists would help some women into games and I don't think it would scare dudes off of playing games. I think that makes perfect sense.
Also the joke was that I've played games literally forever and there's never been that many female protagonists so if a few more female protags scared off the gamer dudes, yeah I'd think that was kind of lame.

I think he's trying to make a point of saying that this implies for females to get into gaming, they need to be represented. But if representation of guys went down, and player numbers dropped respectively, that would be 'weak', is a bit of a double standard.

IE "Why is it okay for girls to be disinterested based on the gender of the lead, but not guys."

Which, oversimplifies the issue significantly, but people like to catch out technicalities on these sorts of issues as if pointing them out negates the topic or something.

Phasmal:

Fischgopf:

So, there should be more Female protagonists to support increasing Female Gamers, but if Male Gamers would play less that would be weak?

Do you see how this makes no sense?

I didn't say play less, I said stop playing.

TZhat doesn't really change a thing, but if you insist that I follow your exact words, fine. What you said is actually even worse then what I portrayed it as.

I think more female protagonists would help some women into games and I don't think it would scare dudes off of playing games. I think that makes perfect sense.

Then I don't think of you as a capable judge of what does and does not make sense since that is self-contradictory, unless of course you are of the frame of mind that Womenz by and large can't enjoy Games for what they are without being pandered to their Sex...but Menz by and large apparently can and if they can't that would be weak.

See, my position is that people that aren't preoccupied with Gender-Bullshit simply generally don't give a shit what the protag theoretically would have between their legs were they real.

So, I don't see increasing the amount of Female Protags as accomplishing much of anything in that regard, I would in fact consider it a bad trend.

Also the joke was that I've played games literally forever and there's never been that many female protagonists so if a few more female protags scared off the gamer dudes, yeah I'd think that was kind of lame.

My criticism of your post doesn't stem from lack of understanding it. I just think you hold a double-standard and I disagree with you that more female protags will accomplish much of anything. You are a perfect example. Like you said, male protags certainly didn't stop you from playing, so why again is it apparentlly stopping all the other ladies? And why again is it ok for them to have such hang-ups but not male gamers?

Elijin:

I think he's trying to make a point of saying that this implies for females to get into gaming, they need to be represented. But if representation of guys went down, and player numbers dropped respectively, that would be 'weak', is a bit of a double standard.

IE "Why is it okay for girls to be disinterested based on the gender of the lead, but not guys."

Which, oversimplifies the issue significantly, but people like to catch out technicalities on these sorts of issues as if pointing them out negates the topic or something.

Yeah but I'm not saying dudes can't get disinterested in a game due to the gender of the lead, if you don't wanna play as a girl then that's fine. I'm saying it's less likely to put dudes off entering gaming that a couple games have female protags but women are more likely to be put off because of the massive number of dude protagonists, coupled with the social perception of games as a "guy thing". A relatable female character or two can do a lot to counter that in the eyes of someone who is just getting into games, in my opinion.

Fischgopf:

My criticism of your post doesn't stem from lack of understanding it. I just think you hold a double-standard and I disagree with you that more female protags will accomplish much of anything. You are a perfect example. Like you said, male protags certainly didn't stop you from playing, so why again is it apparentlly stopping all the other ladies? And why again is it ok for them to have such hang-ups but not male gamers?

See above.
I was never discouraged from gaming and didn't know it was considered a male hobby until I was at least 10, and by then I'd been playing video games for longer than I could remember. I think it would help some women with the initial hurdle of entering gaming and I think that men have a massive backlog of male characters.

If we still disagree, well that's a darn shame but I can live with it. It's all opinions at the end of the day.

Phasmal:

Yeah but I'm not saying dudes can't get disinterested in a game due to the gender of the lead, if you don't wanna play as a girl then that's fine. I'm saying it's less likely to put dudes off entering gaming that a couple games have female protags but women are more likely to be put off because of the massive number of dude protagonists, coupled with the social perception of games as a "guy thing". A relatable female character or two can do a lot to counter that in the eyes of someone who is just getting into games, in my opinion.

I do not disagree with you. Was just clarifying that he was going for the 'well technically [blah blah]' to undercut the issue. People have a habit of being pedantic about equality when it comes to these sorts of discussions. 'Guys cant stop playing for less of them represented, but girls can?1!'. Its more about girls not starting in the first place because it was traditionally seen as a 'boy activity', and helping to break down barriers. Plus, representation is nice. Being able to look at your media and say 'this character is similar to me!' is neato. There's a difference between girls not playing because the split is 90/10 and guys dropping out as that split takes any movement towards 50/50.

Especially when a lot of those same guys say things like "X don't need representation, they should just play for the story/gameplay". Its not a double standard to call those guys weaksauce when they drop out because the protagonist isn't 'them'. If anything its holding them accountable for their double standard.

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.

VGchartz is a horrible source. It uses algorithm based estimates that are hilarously inaccurate. The only time they have figures similar to real life figures, is when an actual tracking agency's, like NPD in NA, numbers leak, or a company makes a public statement about their figures. VGC then not so subtly adjusts their figures to be inline with those.

The hilarious thing is, is that when NPD numbers were public for select titles way back, VGC was about the same. The moment those figures weren't shared, VGC numbers in NA became completely inaccurate. It's so inaccurate that it can't even be used for baseline, broad strokes comparisons between titles these days.

trunkage:

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 cant tell if your being serious or not.

I remember having discussion during the middle of 2014 - you know the one where some people claimed that if there were more female protagonist then there would be less games for male protagonist. All these stats were given about how only male lead games sold. Also, you shouldn't cater to SJWs

???? Not sure what you're tryinng to say here. I'm just expressing my personal experiences and opinions, I have never seen ANYONE (1 exception that I mentioned before) say that a male/female protagonist matters that much that it has an affect on whether they should buy it or not.

I have however seen people complain about the skin-color of protagonist, latest one I can remember is someone complaining about Gears 4 protagonist being a white male. But like I said before, never have I seen someone say ''Oh a male/female protagonist? Pass''.

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.

Benzies had literally nothing to do with anything that could effect who or what the protagonist is or how they're written.

The Lunatic:
If women don't buy games featuring male leads, and thus we need to add more female leads, would it be all that surprising if men didn't buy games featuring female leads?

I can't say I'm really bothered myself, I played Nier, and enjoyed it, the fact that 2B is (One of) the playable protagonists didn't affect my decision to buy it in any way.

However, if we're going to argue that games need more female representation, as playing male characters isn't something they want to do, we have to accept the inverse is true too.

As a woman, I would say I'm pretty conditioned to accept male leads without question. For the simple fact that if I ignored all media except that which has a female lead, I would consume next to no media. Thinking of the movies and shows I've watched in the last year or so, the only ones which would fall into that category are Beauty and the Beast, Ghost in the Shell, Moana, Finding Dory, Zootopia, Storks, and Rogue One. And that's actually a very unusual number of female leads in such a short period of time--and note that most of those are children's movies and from Disney alone. For TV shows with female leads, I've watched RWBY and Your Lie in April.

I haven't actually played many games in the last year, mostly just Overwatch and Undertale (mostly because I have a youtube channel where most of my content is Undertale-based right now). Both of those are pretty middle ground as far as genders are concerned. Overwatch has many great female heroes, and Undertale's lead has no specified gender. I have played but not yet finished the new King's Quest by Telltale Games, so I suppose that's one point to the male side.

The other films I've watched in the last year that don't have female leads (that is as the MAIN lead) are Captain America Civil War, The Jungle Book, Deadpool, Kubo and the Two Strings, The Secret Life of Pets, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, Star Trek Beyond, Doctor Strange, and Jason Bourne. As far as TV shows, we're looking at Wolf's Rain, Baccano!, Overlord, Darker Than Black, Stranger Things, and Sherlock. I also watch a lot of Game Grumps and Good Mythical Morning on YouTube, both of which are hosted by men.

Is anybody forcing me to watch these things? No. Do I necessarily think those films or shows with male leads would be better with female leads? No. My point is that men who steer clear of media that predominantly features women are missing a hell of a lot less than women who steer clear of media that predominantly features women. I never consider whether or not the lead is male or female when first considering something to watch, because if I made a habit of dumping everything with a male lead, I'd end up watching mostly cartoons and rom coms.

I also don't think it's really a conscious thing. JK Rowling put her name that way on the Harry Potter books because it's an unwritten rule in book publishing that men and boys are less likely to take a book off the shelf if they are aware it was written female author. Young boys were an important demographic for Harry Potter, so she did everything she could to make sure her books took off. I don't think men and boys are going down the line consciously thinking "Ew, a girl, I'm not reading what SHE'S written."

But I think when you have the luxury of choice, you naturally go for what you feel you'll most relate to. Men simply have the luxury of choice because most media features and is created by men. Women have to either isolate themselves to a few select genres, or broaden their personal definition of characters they relate to.

MrFalconfly:

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.

'

Ok, I'm going to have to ask where the heck you drew that conclusion from, because every time this has been brought up by devs that have had problems getting their games with female characters published, it was painted as a more "boys don't want to buy games with girls in them," way, and "your character has nothing to her except the fact that she's a girl." Seriously, I don't follow your train of logic here.

And kindly don't call me stupid.

Wrex Brogan:
*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.

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'.

It's because it's a statement that I...seriously have no utter respect for. The sheer fact that there are franchises at all with female characters as either the main or prominent main character kinda disproves it, especially when usually the "women don't sell," is treated as an absolute. They don't sell peroid. I've never seen an instance of a developer talking about how they were trying to get their game with a female character published and they couldn't because the main lead was female AND it wasn't part of an established franchise.

And even then, as I pointed out, Horizon Zero Dawn is a brand new IP (done by people most famously known for a Playstation exclusive shooter of all things. When you think of open world exploration, do you think of the developers of Killzone? Heck, how many people actually know that Killzone and Horizon Zero Dawn share a dev?) and Neir Automata, while part of an established series, is only loosely connected to its roots (would you even guess that it's connected to a series that started off in fantasy world?) that has reportedly already outsold its predecessor, and a lot of people who bought it were completly unaware that Drakenguard or the first Neir even existed...also I find it amusing that, while so many people romanticize Japan being unwilling to change their image to appease others, instead of the pretty boy teenage main character that stars in the Japanese version of Neir, the west got a older, big muscly man instead.

And if it's because both of them were more heavily marketed, frankly I feel like that's even more of my favor, considering that a common argument as to why female games usually sell less is because they usually don't get as much marketing and the industry is perpetuating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Fischgopf:
Snip

*Sigh* Is this really something worth getting mad over? I mean seriously? Am I getting you mad from an ideological standpoint in which you just hate the way I'm arguing, or do you really think games with women in it don't sell well and I'm an idiot for not realizing that? Seriously, help me out here.

You know, that seems to be something that boils down to "you're glad that a game with female main characters is doing well, how fucking dare you." Yes, I'm happy that games with lady protagonists are doing well. I'm also happy that they're apparently good games that people enjoying and am slightly upset that the PC port of Automata isn't up to snuff. I'm VERY glad that Horizon Zero Dawn has been utterly eschewing the DLC bullshit you usually see in games. I'm a little put off by Automata because apparently you have to play the game three times to see the ending, and I'm thinking "Christ, why? I mean...WHY!? Is it a 999 thing were it ties directly into the plot? And you can fast forward through the bits you've already seen?" This might blow your mind, but I'm capable of caring about more than one thing at a time. And I seriously doubt that many people will honestly take issue with both of these games having a lady lead, because I refuse to believe that there are people out there who are that freaking insecure that they were originally going to buy these games, but refuse because a random person they never met in their life is happy that it's selling well because a lady is a lead (along with all the other reasons I'm glad it's selling well.)

Not really. We've been getting these comments from idiotic publishers who have been treating it as an absolute. There were no modifiers to their claims, no "well, there are exceptions," just "women don't sell," end of sentence. The only mental issue I have is overexposure from stupid game executives who think they know what's best for this industry. I'm not giving them a benefit of the doubt that they have not earned. To be frank, you seem to be saying that any attempt to praise the industry for expanding itself in terms of the range of characters it has is going to turn people off. Once again, I refuse to believe that there are people out there who are that freaking insecure. Who are more than happy to play a lady character, but get turned off the second I say how great it is that people can play as a lady character.

Seriously, where is all this freaking hostility coming from? Did I run over your cat or something? Also, Saint's Row. The Boss from Saint's Row 1 was male, that's canon. It's even referenced in later games. If you pick a female boss in the later games, you are playing a transgender woman. And you know what? When that was pointed out, it didn't scare people away because they didn't want to hear about a game that was praised for having a transgender character. And stop putting words in my mouth, I'd love to see a game that lets you pick that your character is trans. And I really don't follow your logic. If a single one of those games sells badly, it proves that those games don't sell by my logic? Not really. If a game with a woman character sell, a handful of examples are all that's needed to prove it right, and just one example doesn't prove it wrong.

Yeah, and I've provided my evidence and my case. Either disprove it or present a counter-argument.

Also, please refrain from insulting me this time around.

You mistake a game with a female lead for a game with a LOOK FEMALE WOMAN HEROINE AREN'T WE SUCH PROGRESSIVE HEROES lead. Gamers only want a gender studies sermon in their games if they are insecure and/or hate themselves. By the way unless you can confidently list off all the myriad variables for the monetary success/failure in contemporary games, cross-referencing that data with games of past eras, and prove a causal correlation between the lead's gender and sales as opposed to gameplay, brand loyalty, marketing, etc. be my guest. My guess is that you can't.

/thread

The Lunatic:
as playing male characters isn't something they want to do,

Yeah...I never said that...stop putting words in my mouth.

RedRockRun:
You mistake a game with a female lead for a game with a LOOK FEMALE WOMAN HEROINE AREN'T WE SUCH PROGRESSIVE HEROES lead. Gamers only want a gender studies sermon in their games if they are insecure and/or hate themselves. By the way unless you can confidently list off all the myriad variables for the monetary success/failure in contemporary games, cross-referencing that data with games of past eras, and prove a causal correlation between the lead's gender and sales as opposed to gameplay, brand loyalty, marketing, etc. be my guest. My guess is that you can't.

/thread

I really didn't. All I said that games with female leads were selling well. So nice little strawman you've got there. Except here's the thing. I never said they sold well BECAUSE of their female leads. I just said that they were games that had female leads that sold well. Lots of gaming executives say that games with female leads don't sell well. I'm pointing out examples of how that's BS. Not that they sold well because they had female leads. Because they're games with female leads that sold well.

Reply to what I actually say please.

/thread. (See, I can do that too)

Seth Carter:

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)

I don't know. He just made the point Elizabeth should have been on the cover, and the sales probably suffered as a result compared to Zero Dawn.
And I think I even told him Infinite outsold Zero Dawn 6-1

Silentpony:

Seth Carter:

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)

I don't know. He just made the point Elizabeth should have been on the cover, and the sales probably suffered as a result compared to Zero Dawn.
And I think I even told him Infinite outsold Zero Dawn 6-1

Wait, is it 3-1 or 6-1?

erttheking:

Silentpony:

Seth Carter:

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)

I don't know. He just made the point Elizabeth should have been on the cover, and the sales probably suffered as a result compared to Zero Dawn.
And I think I even told him Infinite outsold Zero Dawn 6-1

Wait, is it 3-1 or 6-1?

3-1! sorry, typo. Zero Dawn is close to 3mil, and Infinite sold just under 11mil. So its probably closer to 4-1, but I'm rounding down, not up

This whole stupid argument needs to be qualified and put to rest.

GOOD characters sell.

BAD characters do not sell.

The gender/sex/whatever of the character is of no consequence.

Never played Nier, but Horizon Zero Dawn sold me more on the robot apocalypse setting than the characters. I will give the developers credit that they did do a female character well, though.

I would be interested to see where you got the original argument from, though? I've never really seen it said that female characters don't sell.

I think most of the problem in terms of representation is the settings of your AAA games. Historical combat games are statistically speaking overwhelmingly likely to favour male characters (and modern shooters, for that matter). Gangland violence games also. When you go to the fantasy / wacky settings, representation is a lot more equal, with your Mirrors Edges and Bayonettas et al.

Catnip1024:
Never played Nier, but Horizon Zero Dawn sold me more on the robot apocalypse setting than the characters. I will give the developers credit that they did do a female character well, though.

I would be interested to see where you got the original argument from, though? I've never really seen it said that female characters don't sell.

I think most of the problem in terms of representation is the settings of your AAA games. Historical combat games are statistically speaking overwhelmingly likely to favour male characters (and modern shooters, for that matter). Gangland violence games also. When you go to the fantasy / wacky settings, representation is a lot more equal, with your Mirrors Edges and Bayonettas et al.

Mainly in forms of developers talking about how publishers turned down their games because women didn't sell. Remember Me, Life is Strange, even the Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite had to struggle with showing that women were a big part of their game, Naughty Dog having to fight to actually have Ellie featured prominently on the cover, with Ken Levine putting a generic gunbro picture of Booker on the cover of Infinite because he felt he needed to do that to secure the fratboy sales. There was a compromise with the flipable cover though.

erttheking:
Mainly in forms of developers talking about how publishers turned down their games because women didn't sell.

Well, that just sounds like excuses to me. "Why did your game get rejected? Was it bad?" "Err... No. It was because the main character was a woman..."

I could be wrong. Execs are generally risk averse, so there may be some crazy reluctance to do different characters. Either way, I'm a sufficiently insignificant portion of the purchasing market these days that they ain't going to listen to me.

Ezekiel:

hanselthecaretaker:

Ezekiel:
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.

The problem as I'm sure you're well aware is they're owned by a big publisher who is incapable of thinking small, at least with an established brand that's been historically successful. Compound it by the fact that what makes a game better is rarely in line with what makes it more profitable.

My favorite is probably still Anniversary, although I haven't played Legend, GoL or Rise.

Catnip1024:

erttheking:
Mainly in forms of developers talking about how publishers turned down their games because women didn't sell.

Well, that just sounds like excuses to me. "Why did your game get rejected? Was it bad?" "Err... No. It was because the main character was a woman..."

I could be wrong. Execs are generally risk averse, so there may be some crazy reluctance to do different characters. Either way, I'm a sufficiently insignificant portion of the purchasing market these days that they ain't going to listen to me.

Maybe, but Life is Strange went on to do well, and Last of Us was a huge success.

I was laughing all the way as I read through the replies. I remember how 3-4 years ago the counterarguments were very different. Or maybe you should had posted it on the Gaming Industry forums (where the members with the "games with girls don't sell" arguments are most likely to lurk). Anyways, I'm glad they are doing well.

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:

trunkage:

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 cant tell if your being serious or not.

I remember having discussion during the middle of 2014 - you know the one where some people claimed that if there were more female protagonist then there would be less games for male protagonist. All these stats were given about how only male lead games sold. Also, you shouldn't cater to SJWs

???? Not sure what you're tryinng to say here. I'm just expressing my personal experiences and opinions, I have never seen ANYONE (1 exception that I mentioned before) say that a male/female protagonist matters that much that it has an affect on whether they should buy it or not.

I have however seen people complain about the skin-color of protagonist, latest one I can remember is someone complaining about Gears 4 protagonist being a white male. But like I said before, never have I seen someone say ''Oh a male/female protagonist? Pass''.

I just saw your joining date and assumed that you might have had discussion about this a few years ago. You're lucky if you missed it.

It was one of the areas where GG was seen as misogynist, although I remember it being around for games like Gone Home, which doubled as the FPX (walking simulator) taking away way FPS and well as female leads are bad for business

erttheking:

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

While certainly not bad by any stretch of the imagination I would personally hold off on "well" until it starts returning a significant profit. When it gets to 3.5 - 4.5 million I would say it's doing well.

MrFalconfly:

erttheking:

MrFalconfly:

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.

'

Ok, I'm going to have to ask where the heck you drew that conclusion from, because every time this has been brought up by devs that have had problems getting their games with female characters published, it was painted as a more "boys don't want to buy games with girls in them," way, and "your character has nothing to her except the fact that she's a girl." Seriously, I don't follow your train of logic here.

And kindly don't call me stupid.

I drew that conclusion from people complaining about "female main characters" amongst the playerbase, not necessarily the publishers (because there are people in that group too who sometimes "complain" about female characters, and say that they don't "sell well").

Regarding the devs and the publishers.

They usually only react to hard, cold numbers.

If game A sells better than game B, and the only appreciable difference between them are the gender of main character, then of cause they're bloody going to conclude that a certain gender wont sell.

For example, let's compare Horizon: Zero Dawn, the current Playstation exclusive, to Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, the previous Playstation exclusive.

Uncharted sold 4.93 million copies globally.

Horizon sold 2.55 million copies globally.

If you just look at numbers (like I suspect the publishers are), it's easy to conclude that "female main characters don't sell". Whether that's a fair assessment is an entirely different issue.

EDIT:
Also, I generally don't assume people are stupid.

But if they act stupid (even just for comedic effect), or they do stupid things (like suggesting "giving too much credit", to try and stifle discussion), I'm going to call them stupid.

You do realize you're compared the lifetime sales of a very old game to the two week sales of a brand new game right? How is that a fair comparison? Also you said only appreciative difference. There's a hell of a lot more difference between Uncharted and Hirizon than the gender of the character

Oh l'm not respecting the opinions of out of touch executives. I'm soooooooo stupid. Don't patronize me.

erttheking:

MrFalconfly:

erttheking:
'

Ok, I'm going to have to ask where the heck you drew that conclusion from, because every time this has been brought up by devs that have had problems getting their games with female characters published, it was painted as a more "boys don't want to buy games with girls in them," way, and "your character has nothing to her except the fact that she's a girl." Seriously, I don't follow your train of logic here.

And kindly don't call me stupid.

I drew that conclusion from people complaining about "female main characters" amongst the playerbase, not necessarily the publishers (because there are people in that group too who sometimes "complain" about female characters, and say that they don't "sell well").

Regarding the devs and the publishers.

They usually only react to hard, cold numbers.

If game A sells better than game B, and the only appreciable difference between them are the gender of main character, then of cause they're bloody going to conclude that a certain gender wont sell.

For example, let's compare Horizon: Zero Dawn, the current Playstation exclusive, to Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, the previous Playstation exclusive.

Uncharted sold 4.93 million copies globally.

Horizon sold 2.55 million copies globally.

If you just look at numbers (like I suspect the publishers are), it's easy to conclude that "female main characters don't sell". Whether that's a fair assessment is an entirely different issue.

EDIT:
Also, I generally don't assume people are stupid.

But if they act stupid (even just for comedic effect), or they do stupid things (like suggesting "giving too much credit", to try and stifle discussion), I'm going to call them stupid.

You do realize you're compared the lifetime sales of a very old game to the two week sales of a brand new game right? How is that a fair comparison? Also you said only appreciative difference. There's a hell of a lot more difference between Uncharted and Hirizon than the gender of the character

Oh l'm not respecting the opinions of out of touch executives. I'm soooooooo stupid. Don't patronize me.

Yes I do.

Also, I'm not comparing those numbers. The Publishers are. Big difference. I'm just explaining how the conclusion is made from their point of view.

As for your last quip.

If you don't respect the opinions of, as you call them, "out of touch executives", they're sure as shit not gonna respect yours.

Don't expect to get any levelheaded discourse, if you aren't even willing to actually put yourself in their seat, and see through their eyes. I don't expect you to agree, only to understand their methods.

Through that understanding, it becomes much easier to get them to change their minds.

EDIT:
Honestly, I have no dog in this fight.

I just want to play good games. I have no interest in what gender my character has, as long as the gameplay is tight, the character is likeable, and the story is good.

I just want to help you achieve your goal (getting publishers to realise that female characters WILL sell), and the way you're doing it here, ain't it.

Phasmal:

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.

That is more likely to happen as soon as the trend to label anything straight white dude as capital P Problematic goes away. Talking mad crap about anything straight white and male then mocking them and calling them defensive when they get annoyed by that and respond is pretty dumb, also.

Things like Life is Strange did well because the game was fairly well written and the protagonist fit the story.The game was fundamentally different than a lot of other games at the time and offered something new, not just a female lead. Life is Strange would be a fundamentally different game (or have a different story and thus be a different game ) because of this. Some stories are written or designed for a very particular character type and those games don't feel like they were made just to check off the mandatory inclusion checklist. I don't care what the race, gender, species of my character is if it is well written and doesn't feel like mandated shoehorning.

Games like Skyrim, Fallout, and Morrowind have been doing great female and male leads for years. People complain about the lack of female leads but many games allow you to customize your character and thus provide optional leads of many types. Those games sold well too. Customizable protagonists mean that character is potentially any of those possibilities so they should count as male, female, and every race/configuration you can potentially generate. Isn't being able to choose your protagonist inclusive?

Silentpony:

Seth Carter:

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)

I don't know. He just made the point Elizabeth should have been on the cover, and the sales probably suffered as a result compared to Zero Dawn.
And I think I even told him Infinite outsold Zero Dawn 6-1

Well, doing some research. Infinite had shipped 4 million in its first quarter(3 months). 64% on 360. 31 % on PS3. 5% on PC.
PS4 is probably the bigger base this generation around, so taking that big share, 64% of 4 million is 2.56 million.
As of March (which is two months before the same 3 month period), Horizon ZD had sold 2.6 million.

So once you factor in the console exclusive nature, its actually outsold Infinite. So far, anyways.

Whether putting Elizabeth on the cover of Infinite has anything to do with anything is probably anyones guess. It'd still be a boring generic cover compared to Bioshock the original (which would prettymuch be par for the course with the boring generic game contained inside compared to Bioshock).

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