Seems to be the rallying cry, due to there apparently being 0 games featuring a female protagonist during their Microsoft’s E3 presentation.
While technically true, it’s also fairly misleading.
For starters. They showed off about 16 games. I’ll break them down.
Games featuring a male protagonist for sure;
- Metal Gear Solid
- Dead Rising
Halo and Metal Gear are long running franchises featuring characters established more than a decade ago. So picking on these titles is a bit unfair. Ryse is based on being a roman soldier, in a period where there were no female soldiers, accuracy counts. That leaves Dead Rising, Titanfall and Battlefield, Dead Rising and Titanfall really has no excuse, however presumably Battlefield may fall under the blanket of accuracy, assuming it’s development started before female armed service members were ok’d to go into combat.
Still this only makes up 6 of the titles announced by the Xbox team. What about the other 10 titles?
Games with no defined protagonist:
- Sports Rivals
- World of Tanks
- Project Spark
- Killer Instinct
These games have no defined protagonist. In Sports Rivals you play as your avatar. In Forza and World of Tanks you play a vehicle, and the story really isn’t about anything. Killer Instinct is a fighting game, which by definition doesn’t have a protagonist, but rather a series of stories to play through. If they even bother with story. Minecraft gets a special mention here because while your avatar is known is Steve, he is barely a character, more of a shell for the player to act through, and who says girls can’t be named Steve? It’s not like “Steve” has any well defined gender characteristics. Project Spark, is a multi user game making engine. It’ll be up to those users if the protagonist is female.
That is 6 more. On par with the Male centric games listed above.
The remaining 4.. are a bit tricky. And may be where the declaration that no females were featured only becomes technically true. As these game MAY feature female protagonists, we don’t actually know.
- Crimson Dragon
- What Lies Below
- Sunset Overdrive
Crimson Dragon, there is a person of indistinguishable gender on the dragon’s back. What Lies Below is billed as a Roguelike, a genre that traditionally allows you to choose a gender. D4 we barely glimpsed, you can’t really even call it a preview, let alone declare anything about protagonists available. Sunset Overdrive, the biggest thorn, appears to be a multiplayer run and gun style game, and a female WAS featured in the trailer. Safe to assume she is playable, so while the trailer may not have been centered around her, she was featured in it.
The worst of it is statements like this can make developers try to overcompensate. What matters quality or quantity? Would you prefer 10 Beyond Good and Evil level females, or 100’s of Lollipop Chainsaws? Because that is what the majority of male protagonists are. One dimensional buckets of meat, spewing stupid catch phrases and having no substance.