Escape from Tarkov not getting playable female characters despite dev retracting initial statement

By Sherif Saed, Tuesday, 7 January 2020 10:34 GMT

Escape from Tarkov developer has responded to questions about the lack of female characters in the game.

Battlestate Games, developer of the realistic military shooter Escape from Tarkov, has released a new statement on why the game does not have female characters, whether playable or as AI combatants.

This all started in a 2016 interview with Wccftech where a Battlestate representative said the team “came to the conclusion that women can’t handle that amount of stress” as the reason for snubbing female characters.

That comment popped up again recently thanks to Escape from Tarkov’s current rise on Twitch, which prompted the developer to release a new statement that… doesn’t actually make things a lot better.

First, the studio’s official Twitter account said the opinions expressed in the 2016 interview were misinterpreted. “The answers were done by one, not a key BSG employee which probably were misinterpreted and as a result didn’t reflect the official position of the company, that we always respected women in wars and military women,” Battlestate wrote.

“The employee was reprimanded and properly instructed. We are sorry for caused confusion.”

“Just to finally clear the question about women in EFT,” the developer’s new Twitter statement begins. “First – there are women in EFT already (trader, some future key storyline quests will have women as main characters).

“But there will be no playable female characters because of game lore and more importantly – the huge amount of work needed with animations, gear fitting etc.”

While it’s true Battlestate is a smaller team with a limited budget, this particular argument about the extra cost of creating playable female characters is old and debunked. Ubisoft famously used this as a justification for why Assassin’s Creed Unity co-op didn’t feature playable female characters.

Just like that time, developers with experience designing characters have explained that creating female characters using modern tools isn’t an intensive process, and that the real cost worries only arise when you have to record two sets of dialogue/hire actors and so on.

Veteran character artist Delaney King detailed exactly what goes into this process in today’s game development, and how teams can smartly include female characters without requiring days of work. We’ve included the first two tweets below, but the full thread is well worth a read.

Escape from Tarkov has some basic callouts and taunts Battlestate can easily hire a female actor to record. The game also doesn’t exactly have the highest fidelity visuals out there, so I doubt anyone would be picking apart the different animations/models to see how similar they are across genders.

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