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Bodycount dev on shredding cover, lack of in-game females

Thursday, 18th August 2011 12:51 GMT By Stace Harman

In a recent interview, level designer, Andrew Parsons, from Codemasters’ Guilford studio explained the cover system, the scavenger character class and a lack of females in the upcoming PS3 and 360 shooter.

Speaking with Games On Net, Parsons explained the thinking behind the relative shortage of indestructible cover in the game.

“We’ve tried really hard to create a readable visual language for the player, so that they can assess their cover for its ability to protect them,” he said. “It’s always been one of the cornerstones of Bodycount’s environment design that if you allow *everything* to shred away and disappear, there’s nowhere left for the player to hide – which isn’t always fun!”

Speaking of the scavenger character class, who will steal precious upgrade orbs from under your nose, Parsons said.

“The scavenger is a great example of how we’ve tried to broaden the tactical landscape of Bodycount,” he explained. “Basically, he acts as a sponge for any intel dropped during firefights – if you see all your precious loot being sucked away from you, that’s a scavenger working his evil! He’s a fast-moving character with a low physical profile, so you have to chase him in order to get a proper bead. I probably wouldn’t get too carried away chasing him down, though – he has a tendency to drop mines!”

The lack of females in the game was also discussed. Female participation is limited to one significant female enemy character plus the operative’s “handler” who doles out mission intel. Parsons explained that more female roles were discussed “…but when it comes down to it, that doesn’t accurately reflect the the majority of real-world combat scenarios, not least the hellish areas we send the Operative in to in Bodycount!”

Martin Mathers recently saw Bodycount for VG247, find out what he thought of it with his hands-on impressions.

Bodycount is due for release on 360 and PS3 on August 30 in the US and September 2 in Europe.

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27 Comments

  1. STEGUINO

    don’t care, no buy demo is a stinker.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Fin

    @1

    Yup

    #2 3 years ago
  3. silkvg247

    “…but when it comes down to it, that doesn’t accurately reflect the the majority of real-world combat scenarios, not least the hellish areas we send the Operative in to in Bodycount!””

    Yet in real life we do send PC and console goons, geeks, teenagers and kids into combat. Yes sir.

    Getting piss sick of developers whipping up shite excuses to not include female playable characters in their games. Sorry but when games as old as Quake2 came with it as standard, I find it an appauling omission.

    Yet the excuses keep coming. In Brink it would apparently reduce the level of customization if they had to focus on two genders (when in actuality it’s just the same skins mapped differently, done in a plethora of other games). In TF2, well, I guess TFC never had females so there’s the excuse. Or wait, maybe the Pyro is a girl. And now in this, it isn’t “realistic”.

    Sigh. Keep ‘em coming.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Ireland Michael

    “…but when it comes down to it, that doesn’t accurately reflect the the majority of real-world combat scenarios.”

    Bullshit. Fucking bullshit.

    Women are not fucking relegated to sitting on the comms.

    Yes, we get it. The game is aimed at juvenile teenagers. We don’t need that point drilled home even more with some sexist, ignorant excuse.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. TheBlackHole

    “The game is aimed at juvenile teenagers”

    All the more reason to have women in it then, no?

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    @5 Apparently teenagers only enjoy seeing men in combat roles. It helps promote their own “macho” view of themselves and the world.

    Women seem to only be suitable when they’re talking in your ear, because hey, if you’re going to listening to someone for the whole game, it might as well be a soothing female voice, right?

    They’re rather out-dated stereotypes that most people have long abandoned caring about. The sci-fi genre is *famous* for people women in equally as powerful and commanding a role as men.

    You’d think video games could try doing the same a little more.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. TheBlackHole

    “if you’re going to listening to someone for the whole game, it might as well be a soothing female voice, right?”

    EXACTLY.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Red Beast

    I played the demo today, the FOV was more bothering than the lack of in-game Females.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. ManuOtaku

    #8 what FOV stands for?

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Phoenixblight

    @9

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_of_view

    #10 3 years ago
  11. ManuOtaku

    #10 thanks mate

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Dr.Ghettoblaster

    After playing the demo…….it’s no wonder Black left the project..

    #12 3 years ago
  13. DSB

    Gamers must be pretty bored to start caring about stuff like gender in games.

    Not that reality has any bearing on an artists enterpretation, but the vast majority of combat troops are still male. And special forces pretty much exclusively so.

    I’m more comfortable with designers trying to make interesting characters, rather than just ticking boxes to ensure a maximum degree of political correctness.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Lord Gremlin

    Ok, comment about females in the game is disgusting.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. onlineatron

    I couldn’t want this game any less. I wasn’t going to buy it, but that short-sighted comment about females has made me want to walk into stores selling the game, and rip copies of shelves.

    Despicable.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. majicship

    I was very interested in this game but after playing the demo I am not at all impressed. I don’t mind arcade style shooters but I think the problem can sometimes lies with us as gamers. Once you have played (and got used to) something as expensive to produce as a CoD Black Ops and other similar products, dropping down a notch to accomodate an affordable to produce shooter is always going to feel tainted by a sense of cheapness. For what it’s worth I stopped playing the demo because the demo was awful, not because the game itself was crap. Same with Driver SF. I am left with the impression that demos aren’t always such a good thing. Thank god for them though!

    #16 3 years ago
  17. onlineatron

    @13

    The lack of strong female characters in games – in film and TV as well – is a major issue. Women are misrepresented all over the place. They are portrayed as either: A) Warrior types (see: Michelle Rodriguez), or B) Men-pining lost causes. These are perfectly acceptable, people like this exist, and should be represented; but seeing these female archetypes exclusively is an issue.

    Well-written, funny, smart, ‘care about stuff more than just men’, females are far too rare in media. Elena from the Uncharted series is a perfect example of this. Elena is compelling, and fun to see on screen. Sharp as a whip, interested in men (Drake) without being a whiney girl, or an extreme feminist.

    Parson’s mentality of ‘blah blah women in the battlefield, scoff’ is the reason we end up with so many bald space-marine game heroes. It’s not only detrimental to entertainment, but to the human race.

    It’s not just females characters that stand to benefit from better representation, but men as well. Taking aspects from a feminine personality, and intertwining it with a male’s characteristics could easily lead to more layered, and nuanced videogame stars.

    Broaden the mind, broaden the horizon.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. YoungZer0

    @13: “I’m more comfortable with designers trying to make interesting characters, rather than just ticking boxes to ensure a maximum degree of political correctness.”

    Absolutely agree. In most cases including female characters makes things even worse. I’m talking about you Lost Planet 2.

    As long as developers are trying to sell their female characters through sex, i’m absolutely against it.

    Either do it right (Most devs don’t) or don’t do it at all.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. DSB

    @17 I fail to see why I should care about any of that. And I think it’s pretty sad when men take it upon themselves to raise the issue, instead of letting actual females speak. If women have a problem with being left out or handled a certain way, let them step forward and speak for themselves.

    I also fail to see why women or any other (percieved) minority would somehow hold sway over creative works. Just because something is succesful, it doesn’t mean that it’s neccesarily racist, sexist or otherwise intolerant, it just means it’s more popular than the alternatives. Around the 1400′s you had a market that was mostly fat, white women. Today it’s (often highly repressed) erotic archetypes that in my opinion have every appeal in the world.

    As a male I’m in no rush to dress up in digital drag or experience what war is like with a pussy between my legs. It’s not that I mind the concept, and it’s not like I think those games should never be made, but I fail to see why I should care even a little that they generally aren’t, or find it somehow a neccesary part of enjoying games, movies, or art.

    I love well formed, clever characters, but I love them for being well formed, clever characters. I couldn’t give less of a shit what they have in their pants.

    I don’t feel like cookie cutter political correctness is broadening anything. If anything it takes attention away from what’s actually important – Creativity. Rather than making sure you have everything labelled correctly, people should be free and proud to make the characters they want, whatever those characters may be.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. onlineatron

    It has nothing to do with ‘political correctness’, all my points are about crafting a compelling narrative and characters.

    I’m fed up with Joe Blow-cock ‘bald space marine X’ being every mainstream videogame character. I think theirs a lot of unexplored creative potential with game characters. It just so happens that I believe a lot of that potential stems from females.

    At the moment I’m reading The Hunger Games Trilogy. Having the story told from the view point of a teenage girl is entirely fascinating. It’s a perspective I know nothing about, and like exploring. I’m merely asking for something exciting like that in videogames, instead of the same old, recycled guff.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. DSB

    It’s interesting because it’s rare though. That’s always been the case with media. Some things get marginalized, and because they’re marginalized, they’re all the more interesting when they do come along.

    I’m not saying that it’s worth less for spiking curiosity, but looking at what we have to go on for women in games, they arguably get all the more exciting for being rare. Take Triss in The Witcher 2, for all intents and purposes she’s the hot piece of ass, but she actually has a sexdrive that doesn’t resemble something out of a 1940′s romance novel. There’s no mandatory repression. That’s awesome to me, because it’s rare. In reality it’s just me getting excited at something, that should be a lot more common with developers who choose to touch on sex.

    It’s fine to call for variety in games, I’m sure we all want to see that. It’s the primary reason why I buy indie games. I know I might not like the design a lot of the time, but at least it’s usually something new.

    I just think it’s taking a detour that’s entirely wrong if we were to start labelling those things like there’s a quota to be met. To me the games industry’s problem isn’t a female problem or a minority problem – The problem is that they don’t have writers like the guy you like in The Hunger Games Trilogy, or the better TV shows, writing their games. The lack of real talent is mindblowing, and to me there’s a world of difference between the games that actually care for the writing like Portal 2 or the The Witcher 2, and the games that simply pull archetypes from the shelf, and make them act and say exactly as we expect them to.

    Still, to me that’s not a woman problem or a minority problem, that’s just a lacking ability to attract proper talent, or perhaps a lacking will to do it (read: Pay for it).

    #21 3 years ago
  22. onlineatron

    Agreed, it’s a double-edged sword. Given anything too much and it’s devalued over time.

    I just wish it were slightly less rare. I find myself unable to connect with a lot of game plots because of how often ground is retreaded.

    I wholly agree with your examples of good writing, and that the industry’s truly great writers can be counted on one hand. I hope to see improvement in this area, but given the cost of videogames already it seems unlikely.

    The way game stories are told is another issue. I remember the writer of Overlord II, Rhianna Pratchett, advocating cutscenes a while back. She argued that cutscenes done well are still relevant. Whilst I agree a well-directed cutscene can be wholly enjoyable, I wish the industry would move away from them. Games need to play to their strengths and tell their stories in ways only this medium can – interactively.

    One of the most affective moments in recent memory, for me, was the end of Halo: Reach. I didn’t care much for the plot, nor the gameplay; but the way the Bungie allowed players to have full control of the Spartan as the planet was falling, fighting until his life faded; was masterfully done. Very affective and very enjoyable.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. DaMan

    @ #6 Um, that’s because it’s erm, well sci-fi (science *fiction*).. When we’ll have that kind of suits and weaponry perhaps it will be akin to interwebs, where men are men, women are men and children are FBI agents.

    #23 3 years ago
  24. Phoenixblight

    Its a game political correctness and reality doesn’t apply. THey simply didn’t want to include female because they didn’t feel like it. THis game will bomb anyways Codemasters will continue to struggle.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. onlineatron

    PS. Thanks, DaMan, for having a reasonable conversation with me. Doesn’t happen often in comment threads, appreciate it.

    #25 3 years ago
  26. YoungZer0

    @25: Ouch, you mixed up DSB with DaMan.

    #26 3 years ago
  27. DSB

    I always treasure those as well :P

    And I also totally agree about cutscenes. I can see very few reasons why you wouldn’t let people play along while you act out a scene in the game itself. Even if a tasteful use of cutscenes doesn’t bother me.

    #27 3 years ago

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