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“Women are the new core”: Microsoft exec calls for greater diversity

Wednesday, 27 March 2013 10:09 GMT By Dave Cook

Microsoft narrative designer Tom Abernathy has discussed diversity in a GDC panel, stressing that games spanning a wide spectrum of ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation is good for business. He has called on the industry to broaden its view.

GI.biz reports that Abernathy recalled his own experience of gender equality in games and expressed his frustration when trying to find games for his daughter that let her play as a female character. He would often end up empty-handed.

He added that while America now has a black president and that same-sex marriage has been approved in many states, that the games industry is yet to take such significant strides.

The female gamerbase is swelling, with adult feales making up 30% of the American gamer population, according to numbers from the Entertainment Software Association and research conducted by PopCap games. The so-called ‘core demographic of males under 18 now makes up just 18% of the nation’s players.

Tides are shifting, Abernathy suggested, “Women are not a small special market on the fringe of the core. Women are the new core.

“Our industry, our art, and our business stand to gain in every sense simply by holding a mirror up to our audience and reflecting their diversity in what we produce.”

What do you make of the above? Should games be more considerate in their approach to who is behind the controller, regardless of creed, race, sex, age or orientation? Let us know below.

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72 Comments

  1. Sylrissa

    Of course they should be more considerate, and this is nice to hear, but nice words are one thing, action is entirely another, after seeing the recent “female protagonists don’t sell” bollocks.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. silkvg247

    I think games companies will continue to make the same mistakes on this until well in the 2050′s. It’s a shame that I’m not really in a position to change it because I feel I have a strong grip on what the core issues are.

    Here’s what will happen:
    1,Assumptions that girls don’t want to play FPS etc.
    2, Casual games aimed at women like wedding dash
    3, More marriage/relationship breakups because “he won’t stop playing those stupid games!”

    Here’s what needs to happen:

    1,

    Completely obliterate all forms of exclusion; give gender choices in all games. No more excuses about extra development time – if you want to capture the market, then include it. it’s actually quite simple.

    I would add the caveat that if it’s a story based game like Tomb Raider or InFamous then obviously you can’t have a gender choice in single player, this is more than fine. Multiplayer should always have a choice in either case.

    2,

    More strong female leads – Lara is the right sort of thing but even then I’m seeing a lack of imagination. She’s a realistic woman, but where’s our choice for a decent female with superpowers or abilities?

    Like Cole in inFamous? It’s actually quite bleak, I can’t think of a single non overly sexualised one. Not one. Bayonetta? lolsex. I’m drawing a blank here.

    3,

    Get women into proper gaming by actually running campaigns that include females, ones which aren’t just there to sell via sex. Can you even imagine if a BF or COD announce had a fully suited up female sniper on the main art?

    It’d be a fucking revolution and make girls AND GUYS realise it isn’t just for men after all. But no, instead we’ll see pansy pony breeding 2013.. ooops sorry fell into a rant again.

    —————————

    Exclusion IS the main issue. You can keep your sexy bimbo NPC’s and I don’t mind that, but for God’s sake can we at least exist as playable characters in the games you want to sell to us?

    I know with absolute and utter certainty that I’m right on this because I’ve grown up as a woman in this industry, from my cuddly Atari 2600 to my Amstrad CPC 464 right the way up the generations to where we are today. And if you want the real sad news? Games used to be a lot more gender neutral than they are today – with your testosterone filled Halo, BF, COD ads, combined with the constant abuse of the female form to use sex to sell. It’s like it evolved into an anti-female industry overnight.

    If this can be fixed, if my points are somehow magically heard and acted upon, then finally gaming will be moving back in the correct direction, the one it started with before we got this nasty testosterone ripe esports thing going on (to name one of many bad marks).

    It’s in everyone’s best interests to get women into games. If girls like games they’ll understand why you like them and are more likely to play with you than get mad that you’re playing. If girls play games then you might find a partner if you don’t have one. And to the devs/pubs: if girls play games, then you make more money.

    TLDR; Consider that ALL women are potential gamers and develop your games and promotions accordingly.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Sylrissa

    @2

    “Can you even imagine if a BF or COD announce had a fully suited up female sniper on the main art?”

    Fuck yes please!!!!. That would probably get me back into playing FPS games more often, I dabble in Planetside 2 because it’s one of the rare FPS games that allow female characters that are just as kick ass as any male.

    However I won’t be holding my breath that any mainstream game like BF or COD would ever do that, and show a proper military female on the front cover.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Gnosis

    Oh gawd… the worst thing they can do is starting to make “games for women”. Because, you know, bitches love pink and cute little animals, and over the top corny love stories. I appreciate the intention, but I’m afraid that it’s might be a fail of huge proportions.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. sh4dow

    This is the second headline within a short period of time that calls for “diversity” while at the same time expressing a focus on women. But I suppose it is difficult to grasp that concepts like “diversity” or “equality” do in fact NOT mean “focused on women”.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. YoungZer0

    @2: “Can you even imagine if a BF or COD announce had a fully suited up female sniper on the main art?”

    If they want to at least pretend to be realistic, then no. Not going to happen. Simply not enough female soldiers in actual combat.

    @5: +1

    #6 2 years ago
  7. silkvg247

    @4 I agree. We don’t need to be focused on, we merely need to be treat as absolute equals. This is gaming we’re talking about after all – the one and arguably only place where we can truly compete or coop as absolute equals in every regard.

    If we’re included in promotions and multiplayer and stuff, the rest will just happen naturally. Girls will take an interest in something that includes them – even if it’s just a passing curiosity that’s enough for them to give something a try. Eventually skilled, sponsored girl gamers would be just as prevalent in eSports as guys. I know if I’d been born 20 years later, that’d be exactly where I’d head today.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Fin

    I’d def buy that female sniper game! Unreal!

    @5

    So what if there’s a focus on women?

    #8 2 years ago
  9. silkvg247

    @6 You do realise a sniper rifle isn’t held up? It’s rested on a surface/tripod for a steady shot. I don’t know what strength has to do with it, and you know what, I’m pig sick of strength or realism being brought into any discussion about girls in games. It’s fucking irrelevant. 9 out of 10 skinny geek guys playing at home wouldn’t fare any better in a real war either so your point is..? Also the last time I checked, women now can fight in wars and have been able to take non combatant positions for years.. so you really are missing a few points.

    You and people with your mindset are one of the PRECISE reasons we need to see this happen, to take you out of this “bred in” mindset where games are male dominated because they “just are”, because it’s realistic (lolwut?), because you’re stronger (lolwut?)

    At least give me a decent argument if you are going to contest my points. If you are going to use realism then I demand that all future war games require players to enroll, pass a basic fitness, weight and agility test, and train for 6 months every day before even being allowed on the battlefield. If you’re not willing to do that then really, your point is bad and you should feel bad.

    @8 I didn’t mean a game specifically about a girl sniping (appreciate the enthusiasm though!), just that if we’re included/acknowledged in games and the massive promotions surrounding them, then we’re more likely to take notice and it would be a massive, huge stand out thing if it happened in one of the big war games; hence me using the term “revolution” because I honestly think it’d be that big.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Gnosis

    @5 And this is exactly the reason why I think that it’s gonna be a fail. Like #7 said, they don’t have to “focus. Hell, they mustn’t focus. There’s been a female audience in the industry for decades. They’ve been playing games for dudes, made by dudes and it was fine. They did it, because those games were fun. All the devs need to do now is to bring some variety, not focus. Because, at least to me, “focus” sounds like…well: “Hey guys, we need to get some more bitches into gaming. What do you think about a Twilight game!?”. Firstly: this is NOT gonna get them a bigger female audience. Women, who didn’t care about gaming before, will not suddenly start caring about it because of a handful of games that appeal them. And secondly: it’s gonna make the male gamers become even more hostile towards the females, because it’s a waste of time and resources. Oh, and the “fact” that their beloved hobby is being “invaded by feminists”.
    I’ll say it again, I appreciate it, but I don’t think “focus” is the right decision.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Fin

    @9
    +1+1+1+1+1+1+1

    #11 2 years ago
  12. monkeygourmet

    @9

    Do you get annoyed that generally when you comment it’s around these kind of issues?

    I understand these topics are obviously relevant personally and you bring good insight, but it always seems to keep you on the periphery.

    Mind you, I can understand why you wouldn’t want to join in with some topics!

    #12 2 years ago
  13. zinc

    How hard can it be to throw in a couple of female avatars?

    I honestly think devs are just too lazy. They hear ‘female charcter’ & get the cold sweats, thinking about creating something new from the ground up.

    “How are we supposed to program breasts? I’ve never even touched one!”

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Sylrissa

    @9 I couldn’t agree more, I just hope I live to see the day this ever happens on a major scale.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. silkvg247

    @12 Yes, it’s very close to home. I’ve always felt alienated in our little world, so naturally I’d love to see games become as enticing to women as they are to men and for the floodgates to open.

    I’d also in my lifetime like to see girls and guys playing esports on an even field, because I passionately believe it is the one place we truly are equals; that is, a girl can have a natural talent for gaming just like a guy can.

    The reason I so strongly believe this is simple – I did it. Been there.

    It was more subtle in my day, we didn’t have eSports. But if I can consistently defeat 20-odd guys in pretty much every single game of q2 deathmatch, rocket arena or freezetag, coming in the #1 position and if not, top 3, if I can do that for two years running then clearly it really does have nothing whatever to do with gender.

    Oh and it happens after Q2 I was to be the best TFC sniper for a year or two on the public servers I frequented. Other snipers would literally duck out of the server or change class… oh and man the hacker accusations. Especially that one game where I had 140-odd points to the next guy’s 40. Ahhh fun times.

    I actually don’t care for bragging, just hoping this helps me make my point, we’re equals here. We really, really are.

    If I can do it, anyone, male or female, can. So long as they have the natural talent/ability.

    The main difference is that for a woman to get there is very unlikely.. at least with the industry as it is today. Her talent may never be realised, because she never saw a reason to try gaming because nobody really tried to tell her it’s something she can or should do. Nobody tried to sell it to her.

    It annoys me that the big guys with the money and the power assume that we need to diversify and give women different things. We don’t need anything different, we actually need the exact same love and attention you feed to your guy gamers.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Deacon

    All very valid points aunty. Why the fuck don’t CoD and BF have playable female characters?

    Unless the campaign storyline sees your character talking loads, or in specifically male-centric situations, I don’t see why they can’t offer the option to play as either sex. Ok, a few more weeks to re-work the weapon graphics to allow for slightly smaller (?) female arms and hands. Hardly a budget-busting amount of work.

    Absolutely no excuse for MP games to not include female characters. I’m sort of amazed the big ones haven’t (to my knowledge).

    Save for the fact that only boys play shooters, obviously.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. YoungZer0

    @9: … hm? Who said anything about strength? Maybe ‘realism’ is the wrong word? ‘Authenticity’ might fit better.

    Fact: Very few women are in actual combat.

    It would probably make more sense if you play some kind of Israeli soldier, because I read their women actually have to go to the military, therefore they have many female soldiers. But most of the time you play an american and they don’t have many female soldiers.

    Even the ones that go to Afghanistan/Iraq don’t necessarily see combat. And I’ve heard from my brother first hand, that they try to keep them out. ‘Discrimination’ you might think, but no. These guys are only protecting themselves.

    There’s this stuff called ‘Physical Requirements’. And women are held to lower standards than men. No one wants to go on patrol with some one who was held to lower standards.

    IMO this shouldn’t happen, but then we’d probably have even less female soldiers.

    Yes, it is true that women have less body strength than men, but you can top that with proper training (which lower standards don’t require). So I don’t understand why you bring up ‘strength’ at all.

    I’m totally fine with female avatars in FPS. Or even military FPS, but modern military FPS that try to be authentic? That just doesn’t work.

    However, Games like Killzone, Halo, Brink or even Bodycount? Have at it. They are not bound by authenticity, so there is no excuse why they shouldn’t do it.

    It would even make sense in a WWII game, but only from the russian side, as many snipers in the soviet army were female.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. silkvg247

    @16 I actually think that in the past it’s sort of been ok for them to exclude women, games were simply not popular to the masses and I really don’t think would have sold to women at the time at all.

    Today, thanks to social gaming causing a gaming explosion, everyone knows what gaming is.

    The time is right. If they advertise to women now, I feel they’d have a very good chance at catching lots of new interest.

    Do any guys have ANY idea just how good it feels stabbing some tosser in the face when I have pmt? What’s not to like? Of course women like these games, they might have been brought up to not realise it is all.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. G1GAHURTZ

    There is a female soldier (Marine?) at the end of the 17 minute BF4 vid.

    Did anyone notice?

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Christopher Jack

    Hmm, what armies actually do have woman in front line combat? Of the top of my head I can only assume Israel & I’m not entirely certain of that.

    I think people are just being melodramatic. I don’t go complaining when great games feature woman as the protagonists, although frankly that’s mainly because it’s not too common.

    The majority of games are trying to tell stories & most game developers are male & I believe that the majority of core gamers remain male too so it’s mostly men making games that other men want to play. There are always exceptions & there are a lot of female core gamers but I still think they’re the minority.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. G1GAHURTZ

    LOL!

    Why Israel?

    #21 2 years ago
  22. silkvg247

    @17 I know it sounds like a cop out but I’m really not on-board with having a massive discussion on realism vs gender vs games again. Honestly I’m just bored of repeating myself.

    So I leave you with my thoughts in a nutshell:

    Realism has a place, but I don’t think it in any way should warrant complete gender exclusion – it’s a game played by both sexes, so exceptions can and SHOULD be made. Having female combatants isn’t going to ruin your immersion. It’ll probably mean you get beaten by more actual girl gamers though.. is that a problem?

    @20 and others – I’d politely ask we don’t once again derail into what happens in real life, because it’s completely irrelevant, because we’re talking about games. A game might have realism but in order for it to be a game, that is fun to play, that line will always be blurry at best (medpacks? bullets heal over time? Ammo packs? Point capping?). We already bend and twist the rules, so regardless of what goes on in our actual wars, our game wars are quite different and we should embrace that.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Deacon

    @17 – but seriously, would having a couple of female avatars in your party really break the immersion with something like Battlefield? I highly doubt it. It’s not like BF (and especially CoD) are ACTUALLY that realistic. Pretty sure most people go down with 1 shot, yet we regularly see people shrugging off several bullets without a care in the world.

    The realism angle is weak, imo. I think it comes down to laziness on behalf of the pub + dev, and this misconception between ‘the suits’ that it isn’t particularly wanted or worthwhile.

    Like I said, I don’t regularly play these FPS games, so I couldn’t really give a monkeys.

    Looking at it from a female’s perspective though, I’d find it quite annoying that I’m constantly being forced to play as some bloke.

    @18 – It definitely seems like the time is right!

    #23 2 years ago
  24. G1GAHURTZ

    I must say, though…

    If female characters actually were introduced into the more popular MP games, I would expect instances of simulated tea bagging, and raping of dead bodies to increase by about one million percent.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Christopher Jack

    @22, I just don’t see the point of catering to every group that demands some attention. Sure it’s GREAT to have diversity but you’re not going to get that in CoD so don’t expect any changes there.

    Also, I don’t think breaking immersion is irrelevant, games- just like any other form of media, aren’t just about dumb fun although if you’re after dumb fun you’ll always be in luck.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. manamana

    Dance titles imminent :-)

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Kalain

    With Military shooters, I’m thinking that the companies want to make it a real as possible. Since there are very few front-line female combatants and probably no female Special forces personnel, then you are not going to see females in those roles in those types of games.

    As for diversity, I would like to see more of the Geek type person instead of the muscle bound, hardcore, no non-sense male hero. We have too many games where the lead is an overly muscles male character with ideals of being dark broody and the weight of the world upon his shoulders.

    There should be more character types than what we have now, for both male and female characters, along with different avatars in games, like someone said above me, for MP games.

    You also have to remember that, previously, Males were more likely to buy games than girls because of the stigma that use to be attached to playing games and the overall social appearance of them. When making a game you want to get the maximum amount of profit so you make something for the largest market which, at the time, was the male audience. Now we have a lot more females getting into gaming, but a lot of the top publishers are still stuck in that old, dinosaur-esk, way of thinking.

    Should there be more games designed for females and males individually? No, I don’t think that there should be. I do think that games should be designed for both males and females equally, with choices dependent upon what you do and, to some extent, your gender in the game.

    I think Bioware has this correct to some degree. Looking at SWTOR, there are different options dependent upon your class, race and gender. For instance, when playing the Trooper, you complete a quest for a Female Commander. If you are male, she invites you to a quite night, if you are female, she says well done. Just as for the smuggler class, where one male NPC will invite to a drink if female, and a ‘Go Get them’ if you are male. That, to me, shows that they have, at least, though about their player base, knowing that both male and females will be playing it. They could expand on it, but that will take time and changes in how we view each other socially, but that’s another topic.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. silkvg247

    @25 It isn’t every group, and again I politely ask we don’t derail into that either. I’m not talking about sexuality, ethnicity or any other “sub category” you’d care to mention. I’m talking about the top level of our hierarchy, the one which has two bubbles – male, and female.

    There are precisely zero reasons for women not to play your CODs and BFs. The only reason they don’t is because they have no idea how much fun they’d have doing it, because even though they are the second half of the human race they’re just treat as non existent entities.

    I don’t expect change, but I do want it, I do hope for it.

    I would be interested in knowing how a female avatar in a baggy combat suit could break any immersion. I don’t mean to judge but it does sound like some weird excuse to keep your battlefield games as a boy only zone.. why do you want that? I mean really, really think about it. Why?

    I really don’t get the comment about dumb fun.. are you saying the second a female is in a game then it’s a dumb fun game? If so I’m kind of wasting my breath on ya.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Christopher Jack

    By dumb fun I mean Saints Row(3/4), Timesplitters, just wacky games that have no intention of recreating reality in any way.

    I have no issues playing Lara in Tomb Raider or Drake in Uncharted, it’s just not that big of an issue. There’s just really not that much of a point putting females into a military shooter when even the real military is dominated by men. In games that don’t aim to be realistic I’d encourage them to shove as much diversity as possible & even if CoD isn’t that real, it doesn’t mean they’re going to change the status quo to appease a minority- which face it, you are when it comes to games like that.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. silkvg247

    @29 Ah I see. But what if I told you women like realistic games too? What if the fact it’s the only place we can live out violent fantasies makes us enjoy it as much, perhaps moreso than the guys? ;)

    You know, I really do think female avatars wouldn’t be a big deal. They wouldn’t even look much different.. if you’ve seen a woman in a combat uniform it’s just pretty much the same as a guy. Those things ain’t sexy.

    Also to consider, there has to be female avatar inclusion in the game before they can promote any female characters outside the game. It’s all interlinked.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. Christopher Jack

    @30, Wait til woman start making up a large enough portion of front line infantry then you’ll get your female avatars.

    Now that I think of it, there actually was a female playable character in CoD, Tanya in Finest Hour. However I believe the Soviets actually did have front line woman so…

    #31 2 years ago
  32. Mjorh

    i think its kinda interesting 2 have a female character in games , however the connection can’t be made with a female character 4 a gamer unless the gamer be a girl !

    #32 2 years ago
  33. roadkill

    Lol!

    #33 2 years ago
  34. salarta

    While I agree with him, I don’t think we currently have any chance of female characters being treated just as respectfully as male characters. The trend lately seems to make already existing strong women look weak, and make new women with dominant personalities simultaneously emphasize showing off their bodies and making sexual puns.

    As a guy, obviously I can enjoy such titillation. As someone that likes and appreciates good characterization and some actual variety, however, I have to condemn such games even if some part of me might like it. Through every game that’s come out this generation with a female protagonist, with the sole exception of Portal 2 (I haven’t played Mass Effect yet, so that might be included later), I think we have seen that the industry is not ready for games that focus on women. I may have played and greatly enjoyed Bayonetta, Lollipop Chainsaw, Mortal Kombat 9 and others, but I would hardly say that they represent women in equal terms as men; the representations of women in them were more fitting of the interests of men.

    It’s a little sad because the PS1 era introduced plenty of great women: Aya Brea, Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield, Lara Croft, and of course we still had Samus Aran carrying over. They may not have been the most fleshed out characters ever, but they were definitely viewed with the same level of respect as men.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. OlderGamer

    @Silk/#2

    Well said. My wife has been gaming for years. And she is just as good as I am or anyone else in our game group. Hell her job is to take point and lead the group when we play L4D games on PC. Was the same way when we played Wow. She is a good at it.

    Once people stop trying to find a difference, their won’t be a difference.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. xxJPRACERxx

    Sorry but seeing women running on the battlefield in my ArmA games would break my immersion.

    Also, guys have no problem controlling a female avatar (Tomb Raider, ME3, etc). Why would a girl have problem controlling a male one?

    #36 2 years ago
  37. Gnosis

    @36: Well, apparently guys do have a problem controlling a female avatar, since according to the publishers games with female lead sell worse.
    And aside from that, they’ve been controlling mostly male avatars for decades now. How about a bit of diversity for a change? Would it hurt so much?

    #37 2 years ago
  38. OlderGamer

    Yes it always ticks me off when playing a RPG and I can’t pick a gender. Like Sacred2 where I have to a be female for a certian class. Same goes for my wife, she is often time stuck with a male char. Such a little thing to change, is it really that big of a problem?

    #38 2 years ago
  39. viralshag

    I think when it comes to MP, which includes military shooters, you should have an option for both and I don’t see what the big deal is. I’m not going to feel bad shooting a pixelated male avatar any more than I would shooting a pixelated female avatar. Both will probably be played by some 30 year old dude most of the time anyway.

    I just don’t see how it will break immersion unless they’re running around in bikinis with inflatable guns and exploding boobs.

    When it comes to SP, just include whatever fits the story.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. zinc

    It’ll change as soon as the suits get the figures they need, to approve investment.

    That’s the state of gaming today. Game design as approved by market research.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. salarta

    @39: I think we’re closer to seeing female characters with water guns and bomb boobs in games than we are to seeing female characters as equal with men in games, unfortunately.

    #41 2 years ago
  42. FeaturePreacher

    I doubt that even when a series like tomb raider fails to meet its sales targets that developers will be rushing out to sacrifice profit for getting such a small market of ladies to get interested.

    #42 2 years ago
  43. silkvg247

    Well they’ll be kicking themselves when they finally realise in 50 years time that we (women) wanted the same thing all along. In fact I daresay shooters are quite a nice outlet for the old PMT.

    #43 2 years ago
  44. silkvg247

    @29(edited version) We’re only a minority because nobody tries to change it. There’s no actual logical reason we can’t be as big a market for any game – but because games have always been aimed at males by default then we are where we are. You do realise, that if in some alternate reality, women were the combatants (maybe sperm is too rare/valuable to risk), then it’d be the total opposite way around?

    In either case I simply don’t understand the segregation. Not in gaming. No matter if the game is realistic or not, it’s still an escape, a hobby, a sport. It can be as realistic as it wants but it will never be *real* especially since, unlike real life, both genders are toe to toe equals and thus both should have representation.

    I still don’t bite that female avatars could ruin immersion – a female battlefield combatant in her baggy camo and helm would be hard to tell apart from a male counterpart. She’d have a smaller frame is all – I bet you’d be hard pressed to judge at a distance for sure.

    Maybe it’s because you can’t help but conjure up bikini babes in your head when you think of females in games.. and because of that you think any female in any game automatically takes away from the seriousness/realistic atmosphere. It’s a really flawed way of thinking but it isn’t actually your fault, it’s what you and all gamers been spoon fed for decades.

    #44 2 years ago
  45. salarta

    @44: That’s the unfortunate nature of games right now; women need to be treated like they’re entirely different and alien to how men are. It seems the industry thinks women have to be either heavily sexualized or else think, act and feel in much more fragile and emotionally-driven ways than men.

    #45 2 years ago
  46. viralshag

    Come on guys, who wouldn’t buy the Wet T-shirt “Armor” DLC? I know I would. I reckon some ripped pecs and an AK would look hot on the battlefield…

    #46 2 years ago
  47. YoungZer0

    @22: “Having female combatants isn’t going to ruin your immersion.”

    Yes, it is going to. Look, this is my opinion, it’s not going to change, unless the real world changes. When it comes to military shooters i’m very sensitive, even little things like wrong equipment can piss me off and ruin the immersion.

    But that’s just me, they can do it, their business. If folks like you feel more encouragement playing it, cool. I would probably be okay with it if it was in Call of Duty. But not Battlefield or ArmA. That’s just my two cents.

    “It’ll probably mean you get beaten by more actual girl gamers though.. is that a problem?”"

    I hate that label so much. Please don’t use it. I’m not a boy gamer and you’re not a girl gamer.

    #47 2 years ago
  48. Kuwabara

    i would love to see a fps female lead.

    #48 2 years ago
  49. vOL

    Well call me sexist(in gaming), I don’t care but I can’t really feel empathetic to a female character/avatar. It just feel…wrong(yes I’m a guy). Especially playing action game. To me, women do just fine leading in action games or any genre as long as I’m not playing that game. That’s why I ignored the FFX-2, The 3rd Birthday, Bayonetta, Tomb Rider, etc and the incoming Remember Me. I’m so sorry to the other gamers out there that feel differently but that’s just the way I am. *sigh*

    #49 2 years ago
  50. Gnosis

    @49: I don’t think, that’s sexist. At all. That’s how you feel and it’s fine. The thing is, that it works the other way around too. I never really cared about that, but there are for sure women, who feel uncomfortable playing male characters. Again, that’s fine too. The only problem is that most of the time they simply don’t have a choice to play a female avatar.

    #50 2 years ago
  51. viralshag

    I find it strange creating a female avatar in something like an MMO and I only did it in SWTOR because I wanted to mix up my family tree a bit and see the difference in story.

    As for games like Bayonetta and Tomb Raider I have zero issue. New Lara was awesome if a little Terminatorish.

    #51 2 years ago
  52. Rafa_L

    I don’t think immersion and realism are valid arguments. If you put a bimbo with breasts hanging out in a warzone, that’s a joke, but a strong trained woman that can hold her own wouldn’t ruin authenticity. No matter if the gear is appropriate, the setting or story, these games are far, so far from realism that using that as an argument is just resisting change.

    We all want to feel included and respected, I feel the problem with girls in game is more about the depiction of existing ones than the absence of them.

    If women and race in games are still a matter of discussion, It’s almost impossible to seriously consider a gay sidekick, not to mention a protagonist.

    People have a hard time being truly empathetic with “minorities” that they don’t belong to, but if you ever felt discriminated for some reason, as being a woman, gay, christian, a nerd or gamer, I urge you to stand for other groups of people that need more weight in their voices. If not only for goodness, someday you might need their voices too.

    #52 2 years ago
  53. Gnosis

    @51: It’s interesting, isn’t it? I know quite a few ppl, who feel the same way. I think, it’s because characters like Lara or Bayonetta already have an established personality. Especially in the case of Bayonetta ppl are not supposed to put themselves in her position. MMORPG chars are more of a tabula rasa. They are supposed to represent you ingame. That’s why ppl will try to make an avatar that is as close to their personal… well, ideal as possible.

    #53 2 years ago
  54. YoungZer0

    @52: What about an authentic game about Vikings? One of the Vikings is black and the other is asian, would you be okay with it? If not, you’re just resisting the change, man!

    #54 2 years ago
  55. vOL

    @50: Thanks for understanding. Yeah! Developers should include that gender option more often in their games. Strangely enough, I can play horror games with female lead though. Fatal Frame 1-3, Haunting Ground, Kuon, etc. Still can’t believe I cried at the end of Fatal Frame 3. The ending was..teary.

    #55 2 years ago
  56. Night Hunter

    @54: Well, there were no black or asian vikings. There were female viking warriors though ;)

    #56 2 years ago
  57. YoungZer0

    @56: I know. A Shieldmaiden.

    #57 2 years ago
  58. Night Hunter

    @57: Do you, by any chance, find yourself watching the History channel every sunday night as of late?

    #58 2 years ago
  59. Gnosis

    @54: Your example is a bit shaky. Vikings are per definition “norther Germanic people”. Soldiers are not per definitions male. I understand where you’re coming from though.

    #59 2 years ago
  60. viralshag

    @53, Well that’s it for me. They already have character and personality (or should), I’m just playing the part they would in the story. It’s like reading a book with a heroine, I’m not sitting there thinking “I wish this was a dude”, I just enjoy it for what it is. Which is something that seems to be missing from gamers these days, enjoying a game for what it is seems to come second to criticising it for everything it’s not.

    #60 2 years ago
  61. YoungZer0

    @58: Goddamn yes. Love it. So much better than I expected. Took us long enough though. So many movies and games got Vikings So. Fucking. Wrong.

    @59: Cool.

    But you know what, fuck it. Put women in there, I’m being an asshole here. I think it’s far from authentic, but if it gets us more players, then have at it hoss.

    But if you’re gonna include one in the singleplayer, stay a way from damsels in distress and Michelle Rodriguez character.

    I bet Publisher will talk the “Too expensive” talk, but if F2P games can do, then AAA titles can too.

    #61 2 years ago
  62. silkvg247

    @61 Well yeah my only goal with my little rants is to get more gamers/players out into the world. If we want women to jump onboard we’re gonna have to flex a little.

    I did hear a comment about us being the minority. Dunno who it was but I found it a bit odd.. we’re not a minority. I’d guess females are roughly 50% of the population (give or take)? We’re not a minority but we are an untapped market. :)

    #62 2 years ago
  63. deathm00n

    In the case of Tomb Raider I don’t mind one bit about playing as a female lead, because of what some of you said, she already have a personality. But one of the first MMORPG I’ve was Archlord, there was a race called Moon Elf (deathm00n is from that time actually, it was my nickname) and the class I liked was in that race that consisted of just females. I was almost forced to play with a woman. After that I never play a game with option of gender like Mass Effect without creating at least 1 character that is a woman. If you roleplay while playing a RPG it’s a very good way to train different ways of thinking.

    More strong female leads would be very good, from what I’ve seen from “Remember Me” she seems a good lead. But there is always the japanese games, they have a very bad way of representing woman. Or we don’t understand their culture, but I think they are too exagerated.

    #63 2 years ago
  64. Night Hunter

    @61: Vikings is pretty awesome, but as always I have to pirate the shit out of it because Americans are just too restrictive with their TV and over here (Austria/Germany/Switzerland) they are just too stupid to bring anything of worth. Also, german dub *shudder* …

    BTT: I’m all for the inclusion of gender choice, but just a thought, aside from the lazy and money bullshit, could it be that female avatars are a little bit smaller and thereby unfair in MP?

    #64 2 years ago
  65. silkvg247

    @64 Unless your male avatars are goliaths then you can get away with just giving the female model the same height/hitbox. See planetside2 for reference.

    #65 2 years ago
  66. Night Hunter

    Ah okay, I really don’t know as I rarely play anything online, I just remember that Gears 3 and Halo: Reach had female Soldiers/Spartans

    #66 2 years ago
  67. Gnosis

    #63: Outch, that’s a sore spot of mine. Everytime I see one of those cute cliche JRPG female leads, I just wanna punch them in the face. With a chair. Japanese devs are obviously more open towards female leads (Valkyrie Profile, Atelier series, Xenosaga, etc) and still most of the time it’s the same stereotypical little girl, that needs to be protected, even though there are games with strong female leads. I just don’t get it.

    #67 2 years ago
  68. silkvg247

    I’m currently playing bioshock infinite and was pleasantly surprised to be told quite bluntly that Elizabeth doesn’t need protecting and will look after herself in combat. Thank you devs, both for avoiding the protect the woman cliché and sidestepping that annoying “protect the dumb npc” shite that ruins so many games.

    #68 2 years ago
  69. salarta

    @68: Which is strange considering Bioshock Infinite’s commercial has the main character rescuing Elizabeth. I’m not saying there’s anything “wrong” with that by any means, I’m only noting the bizarre juxtaposition that she doesn’t need protecting and can take care of herself, yet the commercial to promote the game suggests the exact opposite about her.

    #69 2 years ago
  70. silkvg247

    @69 If you play the game you’ll find out why she “needed” rescuing. I don’t want to give spoilers. :)

    #70 2 years ago
  71. salarta

    @70: Yeah, I’m not suggesting Elizabeth is a damsel in distress when I know next to nothing about the game, but that the commercial paints that kind of picture. :P Whatever happens involving that part of the game, an outsider that doesn’t know the context and circumstances gets a different impression of what Elizabeth’s role is.

    #71 2 years ago
  72. Vice

    Pathetic…

    #72 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    The Kickstarter for Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee sailed beyond its final £1 million ($1.5 million) Stretch Goal overnight, which will allow for a simultaneous release on all announced platforms. Once funded, Yooka-Laylee was slated for release on Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One; however, a simultaneous release on all platforms wasn’t guaranteed unless […]

  • Not a Hero will miss its May 7 release date, but not by much

    Not a Hero will miss its May 7 release date, according to an announcement from Roll7. Not to worry though, it’s only by a week. According to the developer, the delay is due to “having undergone super-secret upgrades to crank shit up to 60fps.” The extra week will provide the additional time needed for tweaking […]

  • Assassin’s Creed, The Crew, Far Cry 4, other Ubisoft titles on sale through the Humble Store

    Ubisoft has put a number of its games on sale through the Humble Store. Franchises Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry are on discount as are single release titles. The list of games on sale are below. For pricing in your region, head over to the Humble Store. Anno 2070 Complete Edition Assassin’s Creed 3 Assassin’s […]

  • Payday 2: Repeater rifle, Peacemaker pistol introduced with The Butcher’s Western Pack

    Overkill Software released the 21st DLC pack for Payday 2 yesterday, titled The Butcher’s Western Pack. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and other digital distribution channels. “For our 21st DLC we go back in time to visit the Wild West and the arsenal it was known for,” said the developers. “With it we’re introducing […]

  • The Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter just launched and has already met its funding goal

    Playtonic Games launched the Kickstarter campaign for Yooka-Laylee at 5pm UK, and in just over 30 minutes it already hit its $270,000 funding goal. You can watch the funding counter continue to roll over through the link. Yooka-Laylee is a 3D platformer where the characters use special moves such as Yooka’s tongue grapple and Laylee’s […]

  • Batch of hi-res Persona 5 screenshots released by PlayStation Japan

    A set of screenshots have been released for Persona 5, and while you’ve seen these before in magazines and on the official website, these are high-res versions. Some will even look familiar to those who watched the first gameplay trailer back in February. The shots were posted over on the PlayStation Japan Persona 5 game […]

  • Is Alien: Isolation getting HTC Vive support?

    Placeholder images for SteamVR icons have been found and it looks like there may be support for Alien: Isolation, so if you enjoy soiling yourself, get psyched! NeoGAF members found a thread on Reddit, where a little rooting around in a Steam directory unearthed the images. The list includes both games and apps, and as […]

  • Xbox Live multiplayer is free this weekend on Xbox 360

    Xbox 360 players in all Xbox Live regions can play multiplayer online for free this weekend. If you are a Silver member, this means you are Golden from May 1-3 and can play multiple games online with your buddies. All you have to do is log-in to Xbox Live.

  • Assassin’s Creed actor Michael Fassbender confirms film production starts September

    The Assassin’s Creed movie will start production this fall, actor Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, 300, X-Men:First Class) as confirmed. Speaking with ComingSoon.net, Fassbender said filming will start in September, which is inline with Ubisoft’s announcement in February. The actor will star in the film alongside Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard, both reuniting with their MacBeth director Justin […]

  • Eve Online boss states VR won’t be as big as we think next year

    I don’t think I’m the only one who wants VR to hurry up and manifest into a Sword Art Online-esque reality. Unfortunately, the chief executive officer at the studio behind Eve Online doesn’t think that will be happening any time soon. Talking to Venture Beat, Hilmar Veigar Pétursson touched on his excitement at the prospects […]

  • The Last of Us: Left Behind goes standalone in May on PS3, PS4

    Naughty Dog has announced that The Last of US DLC Left Behind will be released as a standalone experience next month. It can be purchased for both PlayStation 3 and PS4 through the PS Store and a two-hour demo of the Factions multiplayer will also be made available. “The Left Behind standalone game will have […]

  • EA’s annual E3 press conference takes place on June 15

    Electronic Arts has announced its annual E3 2015 press conference will take place the day before the show kicks off on June 15. EA, Microsoft, Sony and Ubisoft always hold press events the day before E3 officially starts, so this isn’t any surprise, really. The presser, dubbed “Live to Play”, will last one hour and […]

  • Steam exchange rate mix-up closes down community market

    The Steam community market was buggered up big time today after a mix-up with currency conversion had items selling from practically nothing, to millions of dollars. PC Gamer picked up on the news after a thread on Reddit appeared with screenshots depicting just how silly things were getting over there. The currency exchange rate data […]

  • Britney Spears signs five-year deal with Glu for new mobile game

    Pop star Britney Spears has signed a five-year deal with Glu mobile for a new, untitled game. The mobile game will feature her “voice, likeness, and creative influence,” and is due for release sometime next year. Glu also signed a deal with Katy Perry in February, so expect a game revolving around her to hit […]

  • Large Activision publisher sale on Steam discounts Call of Duty, Prototype, more

    Activision has put the majority of its library on sale through Steam this weekend, and if other titles weren’t included, it could be referred to as a Call of Duty sale. Below are a few standouts. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Gold Edition 25% off Call of Duty: Ghosts 67% off Call of Duty: […]

  • The Dota 2 International Compendium is out, second Stretch Goal almost complete

    The International Compendium has been released for Dota 2 with the prize pool sitting at a lovely $1,917,155 as of press time. Valve said over the weekend to expect the International Compendium to drop sometime this week. As with previous years, those who purchase the Compendium can earn rewards by completing challenges, making predictions and by […]

  • If permadeath RTS games are up your alley, check out indie project XO

    The Square Enix Collective showcases projects for a limited time to help drum up community support and potential backers, and RTS title XO from Jumpdrive Studios is worth taking a look at. The teaser trailer is fairly brief, but if you visit the page for XO over at the Square Enix Collective, it’s understandable – […]

  • GTA 5 PC patch disables mods. Here’s how to get them working again

    A new patch for the PC version of GTA 5 was released yesterday and, as it turns out, has wiped the ability to use mods with the game. The wasn’t great news for some players, but YouTuber taltigolt has already figured out how to play the PC version with mods after installing the patch. Matt […]

  • Xbox One ad stealth launches a mysterious Halo 5 competition

    A new Xbox One advert released today isn’t as straightforward as it appears. The trailer has a couple of pretty conspicuous ‘glitches’ throughout, and members of NeoGAF wasted no time in breaking it down. The first item of interest is the screen from the hunt the signal site, which displays an error message when accessed […]

  • Battlefield 4 Jungle map improved with latest update

    DICE LA has updated the Battlefield 4 Jungle map, adding more foliage and a new route. As demonstrated by Westie in the video above, the map now has the kind of foliage you’d expect in the jungle, helping to conceal infantry players. The update also tweaks positions of objective points and has added a concealed […]

  • Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate free DLC pack for May includes Metroid and Mega Man armour

    The May DLC pack for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate boasts some big ticket items, including Metroid, Street Fighter, and Mega Man gear. This big fat chunk of free DLC, detailed on the capcom unity blog, includes Hunter equipment: Metroid’s Varia Suit Metroid’s Zero Suit Metroid’s Arm Cannon Taiko Drum Master Hunting Horn USJ’s Star Rook […]

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory for May 1, 2 – Hard Light edition

    Here he comes with his weird face, dealing goods and gear for Guardians. It’s Friday. Xur: Agent of the Nine is back in the Tower. Of Course he is. Got your Strange Coins? Here’s what’s in his bag this week: Ruin Wings [Exotic Titan gauntlets] – 13SC Don’t Touch Me [Exotic Hunter gauntlets] – 13SC […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition Jaws of Hakkon DLC drops for PS4 on May 26

    Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC has now been announced for May 26 for PS3, PS4 and Xbox 360. The announcement was made on Twitter via the official Dragon Age account. Mark your calendars! #DAIJawsOfHakkon pic.twitter.com/mU1WfkSrQV — Dragon Age (@dragonage) May 1, 2015 The DLC was released for PC and Xbox One back in March thanks to […]

  • New Witcher 3 screenshots highlight Geralt’s questionable fashion choices

    Even though The Witcher 3 release date is drawing closer, it still feels like a million year away. So here are some more screenshots to tide you over until then. We got to look at in-game shots yesterday, but these new screens show Geralt riding through some gorgeously vibrant mountains, in the midst of combat […]

  • Sims Gurus patch out pregnant men

    Say goodbye to The Sims 4 unique take on fatherhood, as The Sims Gurus confirm that male pregnancies are no more. The Sims 4 players have been reporting high numbers of alien abductions, leaving their male characters with sore bottoms and a bellyful of alien baby. Kotaku reports that not everyone was getting their knickers […]

  • Black Mesa countdown probably points to Half-life remake release date

    Half-life remake Black Mesa may have a release date at last. Black Mesa is a Source Engine remake of the original Half-life, which like everything related to Half-life feels like it’s taking forever to come out. The first part launched in September 2012, and it looks like we might have a release date for the […]

  • Spector puts down rumours of troubled Epic Mickey development

    Epic Mickey seemed like a surprising follow-up project from the man who made Deus Ex, but Warren Spector has put down rumours of a difficult relationship with Disney. Epic Mickey displays several qualities found in Spector’s other games and which he has always espoused in interviews – heck, this is the man whose dream it […]

  • Ubisoft makes good on Child of Light promise with free eBook

    Child of Light fans can check out a gorgeous new illustrated book set in the world of Lumeria. Earlier this month, creator Patrick Plourde confirmed that there were more Child of Light projects on the way. As we expected from the cagey wording, at least the first of these projects isn’t a game: it’s an […]

  • Half-life episode from Junction Point would have featured a magnet gun

    Half-life seems to be on near permanent hold, but at least we can glean some insight into what might once have been. Junction Point’s cancelled Half-life game came up in Warren Spector’s Reddit AMA overnight. Commenting that he isn’t sure whether he’ll get into legal trouble for discussing the project, Spector gave a few comments […]

  • Destiny: exclusive shader, emblem on offer with Nepal benefit shirt

    Destiny developer Bungie has asked Guardians to offer their aid, and they’ve already responded in troves. A new Destiny shirt added to the Bungie Store is the object of a fundraising drive to provide aid in Nepal following a devastating earthquake this week. Bungie popped the pretty stylish shirt on sale earlier today, offering an […]

  • What does the creator of Deus Ex think of Human Revolution and Mankind Divided?

    Deus Ex creator Warren Spector seems pretty positive about the direction the sci-fi series has followed under Square Enix’s hand. Deus Ex was created by Spector and his team at Ion Storm, and remained with Eidos after the developer shuttered. When Square Enix purchased the British publisher, it put new studio Eidos Montreal to work […]

  • Protest Goat secures future for Elite Dangerous destruction derbies

    One of the stranger and more beautiful stories to manifest in the gaming world this week, I think. Elite: Dangerous has given birth to an unintended, emergent style of gameplay; a destruction derby like affair where players gather in no combat areas to both race and gleefully smash into each other until a victor limps […]

  • Destiny’s stunning landscapes captured in panoramas

    Destiny has some beautiful environments, which screenshots don’t necessarily do justice to. Walking around Destiny exclaiming over the lighting effects and the tiny animated details is the best way to experience Bungie’s tremendous achievements, but these panorama images stitched together from in-game screenshots are a good second. Click to see them fullsize. Redditor CenturyEagle made […]