According to Dontnod's co-founder Jean-Maxime Moris, Square Enix was the only publisher that didn't question Life is Strange's female characters.
Life is Strange, Dontnod's follow-up to Remember Me, puts the player in control of high school senior Maxine Caulfield, who is reunited with her former best friend Chloe upon returning to her hometown. The graphic adventure utilizes a time-rewinding mechanic that allows Maxine--and the player--to go back and act differently with the knowledge of their previous choices. According to the developers, having a female lead felt very natural, but most of the publishers they approached didn't agree; eventual publisher Square Enix was the only one that didn't want Dontnod to make the protagonist male.
"Square was basically the only publisher that didn't want us to change a single thing about the game," Dontnod co-founder Jean-Maxime Moris says in a new developer diary. "We had other publishers telling us, 'Make it a male lead character' and Square didn't even question that."
"It felt natural to have Max as a female character," producer Luc Baghadoust added. The developers delve a bit deeper into the game's young women, highlighting the differences in the ways Max and Chloe act, dress, and move.
This should go without saying, but obviously not every game needs to have female leads in order for the industry to be more inclusive. It's incredibly disheartening, though, when a developer's vision incorporates a female character and publishers are openly opposed to it. Kudos to Square Enix for allowing Dontnod to develop Life is Strange according to the developer's original plans. Hopefully it pays off when the first episode is released on January 30.