Pratchett: “2013 was a pretty good year for female characters,” new interview suggests diversity is improving

Monday, 13 January 2014 11:44 GMT By Dave Cook

Tomb Raider writer Rhianna Pratchett has discussed the state of female protagonists in gaming and the issue of diversity at large among the games industry. 2013 was a good year, the writer agreed, but stressed things are getting better on the whole.

It follows Pratchett’s confirmation that the author will not pen DICE’s Mirror’s Edge reboot, and felt her work on the original game was hacked pre-release.

Now, speaking with IGN, Pratchett agreed that the games industry isn’t about to ditch that worn visage of the muscular dude-brah, bro-man with guns, but agreed that the industry is opening up to new, diverse protagonists.

Pratchett suggested, “The industry isn’t going to ditch guns anytime soon. Not completely. They’re just too heavily entrenched. However, I do hope it starts expanding its verbs and finding new ways for players to interact with worlds, characters and game mechanics. From a gamer perspective I can’t help but think that it would be nice to sometimes travel to these amazing, exotic and imaginative locations, and not have to shoot the locals in the face.”

On gender, Pratchett continued, “As for the ‘men’ part – Again, I think 2013 was a pretty good year for female characters, both NPCs and protagonists. Although in gaming terms ‘pretty good year’ means that there were some, and they were cool, interesting and well thought out, rather than anything approximating equality. As well as more female protagonists (and antagonists) I hope we start to see a broader spectrum of representation in age, ethnicity, sexual and gender orientation and ability.

“You only have to look at TV shows like Breaking Bad, Luther or Orange is the New Black to see how popular a bit of diversity (or as I like to call it, ‘real life’) can be. On top of that, I still think there’s a lot of scope in broadening the way games approach depictions of masculinity, which is still extremely narrow in scope. It would be nice to see a panel about gender in videogames and it not just be about one gender! Because, frankly, they could both use work.”

Do you feel that protagonists need work? Are we still far from reaching the diversity seen in shows like Breaking Bad and such? Let us know what you think below.

Via OXM.