[E3] The rise of female characters - how organic does it feel

#1
Mod note: This is a very difficult topic to quantify and has a very broad spectrum of issues. Topic creator posted in good faith to open up the dialogue. Try to move the topic forward instead of getting too bogged down on the opening questions. I've also updated the thread title as the main issue people seem to have a problem with is having woman as a political checkbox rather than fully fleshed out e.g female soldiers etc. were as far back as Skyrim. Female protagonists even further.


As proposed by moderation, let's have one thread for talking about all things feminism in games instead of ruining actual game talk in all individual threads :)

My two points:
1.) The way the female AC Odyssey hero fought that big male soldier looked off and unbelievable, simply because a petite woman like her overpowered her enemy by sheer strength. I'm ok with a woman beating a man, but it should be done better. Evie in Syndicate did it better.

2.) I wonder what would happen if a developer made a game where you play a man and all enemies are women which you brutally kill during game progression. *


mod edit: removed the TLoU2 comment as personal preference or hype for a title is irrelevant to the question.
 
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#3
This seems like a thread begging for trouble...

I have no strong feelings about female protagonists. I have always been ok with them (ever since I found out Samus was a woman back in 1989) and nothing has changed.
 
#4
You face both men and women in TLOU2, even in the fake gameplay from the trailer. And you also brutally kill women in games like God of War. I don't get point 2 at all.
 
#5
Honestly I do not mind as long they do not put emphasis on the point that she is a strong independent women. This pandering is getting really annoying. In Last of Us for example it felt real it made sense and also Ellie and her motivation made sense. Mass Effect for example did it wrong. It was bad and cringe. As for Lara I think its hilarious that she is 2 games in and already does outrages stuff and they always promise that Lara becomes the Tomb Raider. She already is since the first game.

Also if its unrealistic matters as much as women wearing high heels in a fantasy game like the Witcher 3. If people can complain about that than people also can complain about how this is unrealistic. And in this regard. The Battlefield controversy was not unrealistic it was fucking insulting to the people who fought in this war IMO.
 
#6
This seems like a thread begging for trouble...

I have no strong feelings about female protagonists. I have always been ok with them (ever since I found out Samus was a woman back in 1989) and nothing has changed.
there seems to more female protagonist this gen than perhaps last gen or the gen before so I disagree. At least on the western side we are seeing more. I don't believe Japan has this problem the West has been known to have. As they have a lot of female protagonists.
 
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#8
Last thing female heroes have been risen since years. I think at E3 2015 or 2016 of all E3 announcements 67% had female leads. And people like Anita still id complain how it is not enough. You can never win against them. Also it is probaly me but everytime I see a female lead now I am asking myself how will this fill all the tropes of a strong women? Ubisoft did this with division. I had the feeling the women was the only competent while the guys died over and over again.

Again TLOU2 does it perfect it just fits and does not feel pandering.
 
#9
I don't like TLoU games in general so if I go off ranting about their writing it's probably going to be easy for someone to misinterpret my views.

However, with Assassin's Creed I don't think it's any conspiracy. I think we're immediately back into the routine of annualized, lazy AssCreed and they were just sloppy with it. They barely put any thought into Greece from what I can tell.
 
#11
As someone mentioned, i have no problem if its portrayed in a realistic way. Tlou2 did well yesterday minus the kissing scene. It felt like a they were making a statement more than anything else. Regardless of propaganda, i had no problem seeing/growing up playing protag like Lara Croft. Its the other things i have problems with.
 
#13
I wouldn't call them heroes exactly. More like angels of death. I appreciate a good female lead, but you can show strength in other ways beyond gruesome killing.
 

Bill O'Rights

Seldom posts. Always delivers.
#14
mod note: We expect this to be a balanced discussion where both views are respected and expressed. Dogpiling opinions/posters will earn an automatic reply ban from the thread for a few days, so think before you call out someone just for the sake of it. Similarly those appearing to be on individual crusades to enforce a mentality of 'with us or against us' will also be ejected. This applies to everyone.

There is a lot to talk about with reference to the OP. Tomb Raider, Gears, The Division, AC:O etc. Does this present problems with suspending belief when they are in certain situations, does it really bother you that a usual male protag has been swapped for female and so on...

Think of this as an opportunity to show the debate is more nuanced than 'we don't want females in our games', which is what these topics get boiled down to and stifles any real discussion.
 
#15
Well it all depends how the female protagonist is written , if they have depth and neuance then i might very well enjoy there character if not then i wont , i don't like characters like Marcus Fenix or Aloy because they have as much personality's as a Strawberry absolutely none.

however if they have the depth of Viconia Devir , Bastillia Shan or angel of Darkness Lara Croft then i say bring it on id love more intresting female characters.

I think its more of a problem for the medium , because its interactive it holds back really great storytelling .
 
#16
I find it interesting how people suspend realism when it comes to things like, I don't know, the first civilisation having magical spears in Assassins Creed Odyssey, but when it comes to a female character killing people with guns and bow and arrows it's simply unrealistic? Where's the logic there?
because that is also how the other sides argues. Armor? that is not realistic. high Heels in a battle not realistic therefore it is sexist etc. I think people adopted this kind of arguing on the other side f the spectrum as well.
 
#17
I don't get point 2 at all.
It was a hypothetical general question concerning gender in games. Like in COD, you mow down hundreds of dudes for hours straight. Game after game after game. No one cares. But you would not even be able to release a game where a dude just chews through hordes of women. I'd like to see that honestly lol, just to read all the hyperventilating on Era.

I don't care about female protags really. I enjoyed me some Tomb Raider. What bothers me honestly is all the screaming for LGBT representation in every kind of game possible. Like I don't understand how LGBT people still front like 90% of the culture isn't in their corner. Inclusion and diversity are everywhere. It is the trendiest thing to hate haters.

But yeah, seeing Ellie take down hordes of raiders is a little eye-rolling, I'm sorry. I'm getting tired of male feminist and/or dad creators trying to show me how tough women can be. That scripted gameplay looks sick though, can't wait.
 
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#19
Gameplay wise, I took no issue with any of those. Kassandra and Ellie are characters I would enjoy playing as.

That kiss scene in TLoU2, though, was too much on the nose. But that's not detracting from the game as a whole...
 
#21
Gameplay wise, I took no issue with any of those. Kassandra and Ellie are characters I would enjoy playing as.

That kiss scene in TLoU2, though, was too much on the nose. But that's not detracting from the game as a whole...
The kiss seems on the nose if you didn't play Left Behind.

If you did, it makes a lot of sense for her character.
 
#24
mod note: We expect this to be a balanced discussion where both views are respected and expressed. Dogpiling opinions/posters will earn an automatic reply ban from the thread for a few days, so think before you call out someone just for the sake of it. Similarly those appearing to be on individual crusades to enforce a mentality of 'with us or against us' will also be ejected. This applies to everyone.

There is a lot to talk about with reference to the OP. Tomb Raider, Gears, The Division, AC:O etc. Does this present problems with suspending belief when they are in certain situations, does it really bother you that a usual male protag has been swapped for female and so on...

Think of this as an opportunity to show the debate is more nuanced than 'we don't want females in our games', which is what these topics get boiled down to and stifles any real discussion.
It is not how they deal in certain situations it is more like their character and personality. Division was something I felt very clearly in this regard. Again the women was the competent fighter while the men died all the time and had to be helped by the women. What I miss is something more fluid and natural. Again LTOU 2 does such a great job. here. You had a vast variarity of female personalities in this 10 minutes alone. It feels natural not like a trope of a strong women.

And that is also a big Problem. Men can be everything women have to fill certain roles, they can have no real flaws etc. Back then people called it the Gybrush Treepwood Syndrome

 
#27
I don't care. I mean at the end of the day it's fictional and a game. Not to mention with respect to AC:O they give you a choice of which character(male or female) to play...so in my mind there is nothing at all to complain about.

And it's not like there hasn't been female characters in fighting games since forever....

That being said in the case of Battlefield V the characters bothered me a bit because WW2 was an actual real-life event. This is an exception because the majority of games are not based on anything real. So yeah when it comes to WW2 games I prefer they remain authentic.
 
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#28
there seems to more female protagonist this gen than perhaps last gen or the gen before so I disagree. At least on the western side we are seeing more. I don't believe Japan has this problem.
I didn't realize female protagonists were a "problem" but it is indeed Japan who gave us Samus. And Aya (Parasite Eve), and Jill Valentine (Resident Evil), and Bayonetta, and Major (Ghost in the Shell) and even more problems.
 
#29
"Feminism" mentioned in this context normally is about the sex-negative (nowadays mainstream, but it wasn't always like that) wing that goes full Taliban on sexual appeal of women, is rather frustrating. "Sexual objectification" is just a random thought, not a solid theory built on facts. People of both genders need sexual objects, they actually do exist for women too.

Other than that, I wish people would realize that diversity is when you have a choice and not when you flip the switch and go from only males to only females and from only white males to anything, but white males.

It is also wise to remember the reason why we actually need various characters: it's easier to relate to the character that is like you (the main argument of about why so few women play non-mobile games) but works it both ways.

Other than that, I'm playing HZD at the moment, and enjoying it very much.
 
#32
You disagree that I don't care?

And more female leads is a "problem"?
Oh, I was talking about your second sentence when you said "nothing has changed" and I said "we are seeing more female protagonist on the western side".

Meant that Japan never has the issue of having female protagonists that the West has been known to have.. I edited my previous post to further state what I mean. My apologies.
 
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#33
I'm totally fine with it. I used to be against it in general, because I never played a game where the female wasn't forced in your face, annoying, or just badly written.

Then I played Assassins Creed Syndicate, and I loved playing as Evie. She was well made, realistic, her character made sense, and didn't fall into to the trap of ultra feminine weaklings.

I get what you are saying, females in war will never be as strong as men. But using the point of ACO where she fights this hercules of a man works, if it wasn't for the fact that it wouldn't make sense for Alexios to beat him either.

I like when games are passive about it and don't using it as a selling point, and I'll give you that Ubisoft does seem to be catering to the crowd of "this is a selling point". Similar to TLOU 2 with Ellie and her being lesbian. I really did like it in Gears 5 though
 
#36
But yeah, seeing Ellie take down hordes of raiders is a little eye-rolling, I'm sorry.
The worst thing about modern feminism is how they are making everybody perceive everything with a bipolar lens. Nowadays, you are either a man-hater feminist or a misogynist.

Seeing that little girl mow down bulky mercenaries with a knife looks ridiculous, but that has nothing to do with gender. It wouldn't look less ridiculous if that was a man with a similar constitution, while I'd have no issue seeing a woman with Brienne of Tarth's build doing the same thing, for example.
 
#37
I've been gaming since the 80's. This is nothing new. Females have always been protagonists in major gaming and film franchises, even back when female core gamers comprised <1% of the market. I suspect the figure today is closer to ~20% when it comes to triple A money makers and mobile gaming whales. Women to this day simply don't spend much on games.

Devs tend to target the money making demographics, but many guys also want a choice and have always wanted one. I'll play ass creed odyssey as the girl, just for the fresh character model change. And I've always played mmo's as a girl, it was guaranteed to get me free loot/gold from thirsty guys and greatly improved the initial grind.

Seeing some devs/publishers using gender or race as a selling point is completely bizarre to me and it always ends up seeming forced.
 
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#38
It wierd that so many people have issue with Ellie kissing a girl and try to blame the “direction” but I bet you 100% people wouldn’t complain about “direction” or call it “forced” if she was kissing a guy. At some point people need to stop make big deal out of same sex couple in games
 
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#39
It wierd that so many people have issue with Ellie kissing a girl and try to blame the “direction” but I bet you 100% people complain about “direction” or call it “forced” if she was kissing a guy. At some point people need stop make big deal same sex couple in games
Yeah I do not get it. It was not really forced. Actually think again it was very natural compared to other games like Dragon Age. That feels forced
 
#40
There have always been female protagonists but it tends to appear more now in the blockbuster games since studios know its not a risky move. The longest Journey, Tomb Raider, Fear Effect, Portal, Samus, Jill Valentine, etc.

That this is a controversy is a result of a tainted narrative between the idealogues of the left and right, where on one hand we have needless imposition of issues into a narrative (No, Ellie kissing a girl isn't one of them, its established and evolves from the narrative in the first game) and on the other, a backlash against those folks by being derisively reactive against anything that so much as hints at progressive ideas, including female characters.

No, in a world where male characters routinely beat things disproportionately more than they should (Chris Redfield punches fucking boulders), I'm not disturbed by fictionally strong women. People complaining about real life don't realize that actual physicality is so draining you couldn't do what any character does for any length of time be it free climbing like a monkey or fighting bare handed without breaking bones (and not patching yourself up MGS3 style).

There has been a bias where designers prevented you from brutally killing women despite allowing the same for men, but from the trailer for TLOU2, it seems that they're doing an about face, though this concept did exist for their multiplayer.
 
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hyp3

Neo Member
#42
* Whether a main character is a man or woman depends on the developer and his vision or you as player when the game has character builder. As for feminism, in Poland we have a saying: it ends when you have to bring a fridge the to third floor. Men and women are different and we should cherish that.

mod edit: The 'Sorry OP but this is bullshit.' was not needed. Adjust tone going forward.
 
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#43
I've been gaming since the 80's. This is nothing new. Females have always been protagonists in major gaming and film franchises, even back when female core gamers comprised <1% of the market...
That's essentially where I stand. If we were at a 50/50 ratio of female to male, I don't care. I also don't even care about "believability" because I prefer games that accept they're video games and don't have a complex about being taken seriously (See: Yakuza). The only time I have issues with anything on this issue is when it's marketed as "woke" or "brave". My hatred of that would lead people from some places to conflate my emotions with "not wanting women in games".

My favorite game protagonist of all-time is Terra. I love characters. I just hate overly-politicized back-patting and social media pandering.
 
#44
@everyone:

I made this thread so that not several other game threads would be ruined by the constantly reoccurring feminism-debate when female protagonists appear. I have no special investment in the topic, but ofc I comment on it, too, because creating a thread and saying 'have fun' would be too little imo. So take this thread for what it is and not 'sigh, KevinKeene starts that dumb discussion again'. It had already started, in several threads. Now it stays confined here :)


I find it interesting how people suspend realism when it comes to things like, I don't know, the first civilisation having magical spears in Assassins Creed Odyssey, but when it comes to a female character killing people with guns and bow and arrows it's simply unrealistic? Where's the logic there?
I see this complaint often, so let me adress this quickly:

1.) First of all, it's important that jusr because there's one fantasy element in a game, it doesn't mean EVERYTHING needs to be fantasy. Tbh I love stories where everything is realistic, just one fantasy-element is added. :) It's why I love Shin Megami Tensei or Silent Hill.

2.) There's a difference between the fantasy of a magic spear, a triforce, a kamehameha AND the fantasy of petite women beating bullish men through physical strength. Do you see that? The former bears no relation to reality at all, it's a true fantasy, whereas that latter bends reality, and in a place where everyone knows 'that makes no sense'. Or said differently, you'd think nobody would make a 'women so strong'-fantasy because it's not interesting, whereas magic spears and such are exciting.

You don't have to agree with people, but please don't say 'there's no logic'. I always have a reason for saying what I say.
 
#46
The worst thing about modern feminism is how they are making everybody perceive everything with a bipolar lens. Nowadays, you are either a man-hater feminist or a misogynist.

Seeing that little girl mow down bulky mercenaries with a knife looks ridiculous, but that has nothing to do with gender. It wouldn't look less ridiculous if that was a man with a similar constitution, while I'd have no issue seeing a woman with Brienne of Tarth's build doing the same thing, for example.
It's a goddamn video game. getting anal over the difference between a "little girl" and a man (who probably wouldn't be strong enough to do it IRL anyway) is downright pathetic. Letting that affect your gaming says more about you than it does about the game itself, especially when most people don't have a problem with it.

And why are you blaming feminism for the partisan views when it's the alt-right that have pushed the anti-women narrative far worse and with more violence?
 
#47
It wierd that so many people have issue with Ellie kissing a girl and try to blame the “direction” but I bet you 100% people wouldn’t complain about “direction” or call it “forced” if she was kissing a guy. At some point people need to stop make big deal out of same sex couple in games
That scene would also fell forced with a straight couple. In fact, I recall a few scenes (mostly dialog) between Drake and Elena in the Uncharted series sounding very corny to me as well.
 
#48
1.) The way the female AC Odyssey hero fought that big male soldier looked off and unbelievable, simply because a petite woman like her overpowered her enemy by sheer strength. I'm ok with a woman beating a man, but it should be done better. Evie in Syndicate did it better.
Lol what? Did you actually watch the trailer? She's taller than most of the men, there is nothing petite about her
 
#49
I never put any emphasis or focus regarding gender, sexual orientation, color, disabilities etc in games and movies (and in real life of course). For me, you are first and foremost a human, and should not be defined by your gender, your sexual preferences or the color of your skin. I don´t see how things like that can hinder ones enjoyment in games.
 
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#50
With regards to Assassin's Creed Odyssey: I fully support the inclusion of a female lead character because it directly feeds the wonderful aesthetic of the game whilst also offering a sort of Xena Warrior Princess vibe (& Spartacus as well, with all the female warriors in the series). This is part of our pop culture & very enjoyable when done right (I could reference Lagertha as well in Vikings). Is it ultra realistic? Nope, but it's fun & makes for engaging entertainment when the character in question is well written & memorable. The moment it isn't enjoyable is when the narrative centres around actual man-hating themes, i.e. a "this is a strong woman kicking man's ass, suck it up or else you're a misogynist gamergator pig!" type of thing which is essentially just a power fantasy for angry women. It's even worse when it devolves into a totally hypocritical mess in which the stuff men are condemned for (brutality, sexism etc.) is praised when reversed & embodied by a woman.

From what I've seen, none of that appears evident in the new Assassin's Creed. I'll be damned if I allow a poisoning of the well to the extent both extremes mischaracterize the debate, i.e. when Resident Evil 3 was released many moons ago (1999), none of us went 'boohoo Jill Valentine sucks'. No, she became the sine qua non female action heroine of the moment (certainly among my classmates).

Now, if they'd given Kassandra in Assassin's Creed purple hair & a story arc in which she's hellbent on a punch-a-Spartan-in-the-face fight against an oppressive patriarchy, then yes, that would suck & be blatant pandering. As for Ellie in The Last of Us, I didn't like her because she's a brat. That's all. Teenagers in films/games are always annoying, at least in most cases.

I didn't like River in Firefly either, for the same reasons (& because she was a weirdo).