Remember Me studio Dontnod Entertainment was advised by several publishers that making lead character Nilin female would result in weak sales, and that a male star would fare better. However it stuck to its guns and kept Nilin female before signing a deal with Capcom.
Speaking with Penny Arcade, creative director Jean-Maxime Moris recalled, “We had some [companies] that said, ‘Well, we don’t want to publish it because that’s not going to succeed. You can’t have a female character in games. It has to be a male character, simple as that’.
“We had people tell us, ‘You can’t make a dude like the player kiss another dude in the game, that’s going to feel awkward.'”
Moris went on to say that this kind of close-mindedness is holding the industry back, “I’m like, ‘If you think like that, there’s no way the medium’s going to mature.’ There’s a level of immersion that you need to be at, but it’s not like your sexual orientation is being questioned by playing a game. I don’t know, that’s extremely weird to me.
“You can identify with people of the other gender in movies, why could you not in games? The fact that our core target is males 15-25 is not an excuse. We need to be able to create, and respect the audience enough to believe that they can be smart enough to identify with that type of character.”
The comments come as the debate around gender and orientation equality in gaming continues. A few weeks ago EA held its first ‘Full Spectrum’ event in New York, where Kixeye’s executive producer Carly Shaw warned that gaming was still very much a ‘white dude’ industry.
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Remember Me launches on PS3 and Xbox 360 in the US on June 4, and across Europe on June 7.