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

I personally don't see any problem with having female protagonists (especially when well-written). However, there are some issues, especially in physical conflicts. Whenever a game or movie is going for realism, it is really jarring for me to have a female character beating down a dude twice her size.

One recent example for me, is the movie Atomic Blonde. Charlize Theron's character has a few brutal brawls with several men. I kept asking my friend if she was supposed to have super powers or something, because there is no way someone is taking that kind of beating from someone twice their size and getting up. I realize physical combat in games/movies is already fake enough, but it is getting even harder to hold on to the shred of suspension of disbelief with this direction.

I know it is popular nowadays to say everyone can be the same (which is not true at all, there are serious differences between not just men and women, but from one individual to the next). Having a character play to their strength is better in my opinion.

I was a little put off by The Last of Us 2. In general the game looks good, but some of the Ellie situations are a little jarring. She looks pretty small, whereas Joel looked like a big guy. I also don't get the lesbian in your face theme. Nothing wrong with a lesbian protagonist, however most games don't do that for a trailer unless pandering. Sure, there are plenty of trailers with heterosexual protagonists, but they don't purposefully have them make out in sizzle reels or stage demos.
Ive seen the "its not realistic for her to take down guys twice her size" several times and each time its come off as ridiculous and more like complaining for the sake of complaining.

If you had actually watched the trailer you would see that she isnt taking on a handful of big dudes by beating them with her bare fists. She's taking them one on one with weapons. It doesnt matter if its from a little girl or a big burly man if take a machete to the neck you go down. Its just that simple.

Also, I dont get why people are focusing this criticism at mostly Last of Us 2(I think we all know why) and a bit of Assassins Creed Odyssey. Why is Gears of War 5 free from criticism?
 
The bolded is true, but the default in society still is and has always been straight, white and male. So I think it's necessary to "flip the switch" and have games with only female leads, who're not straight and not exclusively white. Why? Because these people do exist and play these games.

If you look at the statistics for games released this year alone, I guarantee there are more where you play as a white male or animal/creature/robot over a woman or person of color. Same with books, movies, TV shows and every other entertainment medium.
If I get your drift, your point is:
• For people to feel enjoyment and their existence validated, then the media they consume needs to reflect their selves realistically.

But taken to its logical conclusion, just like non whites/males/cishet/etc can only empathize and enjoy their time with representations of themselves onscreen, then so are whites. It feels like your position comes not from a place of celebration of characters from all kinds (which you deny and dismiss, "diverse games" in this year don't exist in your world), but from a place of revenge.
Your later comment where you celebrate the decline and extinction of a specific race (and ironically hide behind "everyone who takes issue with this is racist"), further cements this as your intention. Seriously you're looking like a caricature villain from alt right literature except you're taking yourself seriously. That's not justice, nor "growing up". That's certainly not inclusion. It's even worse than the status quo from years ago, because back then the biases were implicit but now they're explicit and enforced. That's an irrational destructive trajectory that centers on perpetrating racial hatred as your lenses of the world instead of learning to look past it and build something for everyone.
 
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I don't have any problems with female characters leading a game. If they are well written characters absolutely fine by me.

But nowadays is becoming more and more of a trend to be honest.
 
I think it seems the majority are positive about female characters so we can play devil's advocate a bit.

The gender of an action hero does change the tone of a game or movie. Instead of female, think about a 14 year old boy as your action hero. Pro women's athletes regularly play with and lose to mid-teenage male teams in different sports (https://www.cbssports.com/soccer/news/a-dallas-fc-under-15-boys-squad-beat-the-u-s-womens-national-team-in-a-scrimmage).

Imagine John Wick but swap the character with the karate kid. Different tone, different feel. One story is about an overpowered badass getting shit done, the other is about defying the odds. It's great to be open minded, but we can't deny that the gender or age of the character changes the feel of the game.
 
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JORMBO

Darkness no more
It's not realistic seeing Ellie mow down enemies like that. It's also not realistic watching Nathan Drake mow down hundreds of bad dudes and then jump across a giant chasm and grab on to the side of a mountain with one hand.

Good thing I don't play games for realism :) I don't mind if characters are male or female.
 
Female leading protagonists is good for the industry but in some games (Bayonetta) they over-seaxualize woman (eye candy) which is not a good thing because this leads to some discrimination, perversion and other issues that have a negative impact outside the videogame market.

Think about how many woman struggle daily to look attractive because of those standards :(
 
I don't understand this "muh realism" that's going around.
Who cares really.
Unless you're playing arma or something, there's not a whole lot of realism surrounding most of your male protags either...

Really feels like an argument that's (subconsciously) rooted in threatened masculinity.
 
Female leading protagonists is good for the industry but in some games (Bayonetta) they over-seaxualize woman (eye candy) which is not a good thing because this leads to some discrimination, perversion and other issues that have a negative impact outside the videogame market.

Think about how many woman struggle daily to look attractive because of those standards :(
do you also believe that violence in video games lead to more violence in the real world?
 
Can you quote anyone who is against that?
I wasn't replying to anyone, just to the overall sentiment in the sense that we shouldn't be overthinking this. In the "I like women in leading roles, but" phrase, this but usually leads to overanalysis or is even a rebuttal to stuff that is unrelated to a work of fiction.
 
The reason the scene irked me is because I feel like Ellie would have better taste... it's almost insulting and makes her less believable as a character.

Naught dog dev: "Hey, guys lesbians are pretty much attracted to anything with a vagina right?" Yeah man totally... "Even if they're really REALLY unattractive?!" Psh, yeah man! Lesbians actually have no taste at all just as long as it's a female... they'll be into them! "Great, great that's what I read too... so let's just make her attracted to someone super gross then yeah, can we get away with that?" "HELL YEAH!!! WE"RE SO CUTTING EDGE!"
 
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The reason the scene irked me is because I feel like Ellie would have better taste... it's almost insulting and makes her less believable as a character.

Naught dog dev: "Hey, guys lesbians are pretty much attracted to anything with a vagina right?" Yeah man totally... "Even if they're really REALLY unattractive?!" Psh, yeah man! Lesbians actually have no taste at all just as long as it's a female... they'll be into them! "Great, great that's what I read too... so let's just make her attracted to someone super gross then yeah, can we get away with that?" "HELL YEAH!!! WE"RE SO CUTTING EDGE!"
People are attracted to different people? Oh noes. What a shocker.
 
I never cared about the gender of videogame characters. I just think it's funny how everyone is trying to hop on this train. "Look we have a female protagonist too!"
No, it doesn't hurt anybody. But it feels forced. Like we never had female protagonists before. Which isn't true. And it's never enough. In another thread someone was calling out ubisoft because only now they have a female protagonist in the next AC. And that's not true! AC Syndicate had a female protagonist.
I can't wait to see articles about how the depiction of women in BFV is problematic because it encourages violence against women or some other nonsense.

The reason the scene irked me is because I feel like Ellie would have better taste... it's almost insulting and makes her less believable as a character.

Naught dog dev: "Hey, guys lesbians are pretty much attracted to anything with a vagina right?" Yeah man totally... "Even if they're really REALLY unattractive?!" Psh, yeah man! Lesbians actually have no taste at all just as long as it's a female... they'll be into them! "Great, great that's what I read too... so let's just make her attracted to someone super gross then yeah, can we get away with that?" "HELL YEAH!!! WE"RE SO CUTTING EDGE!"
I wish i could downvote you. So she should be dating a super model?
 
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Cybrwzrd

Anime waifu panty shots are basically the same thing as paintings of the french baroque masters, if you think about it.
Female leading protagonists is good for the industry but in some games (Bayonetta) they over-seaxualize woman (eye candy) which is not a good thing because this leads to some discrimination, perversion and other issues that have a negative impact outside the videogame market.

Think about how many woman struggle daily to look attractive because of those standards :(
 
I wasn't replying to anyone, just to the overall sentiment in the sense that we shouldn't be overthinking this. In the "I like women in leading roles, but" phrase, this but usually leads to overanalysis or is even a rebuttal to stuff that is unrelated to a work of fiction.
I'd add another but here, mostly concerning a certain obvious problem I haven't seen mentioned yet: when many people (including developers) suggest games need more female protagonists in order for women to feel comfortable & enjoy playing those games, a natural conclusion based upon the same premise ("people buy a product based upon their own gender representation within the story") would entail men might themselves in turn "not enjoy" playing as a women, i.e. the side pushing for more female protagonists in the name of bringing women into the fold (because they don't enjoy male action leads) might need to realize a certain double-standard exists within that assertion, i.e. especially when men are accused of being sexist pigs for not wanting to play as a woman... whilst women in the same shoes vis-à-vis not wanting to play as men are considered totally normal.

It's easy to understand why many men get royally p*ssed off when they're told to embrace playing as a female whilst women are encouraged to go "beurk, I won't don't want to play as an effing white male!". That's why I support the decision they made in Assassin's Creed Odyssey, i.e. for better or for worse, at least give us the choice & there will be no more gender infighting.
 
it definitely does feel forced because it is especially when the people in the conference talking about games being for more people. with that said i honestly dont give a shit about who im playing i just want to play a good game. the only thing about 'diversity' in games is that it never really is that diverse. if they make a game trying to make it diverse it ultimately ends up with them just making a white female character or a black female character with an afro. for diversity they can have a male character from any other race or the same with female, but it just feels like they just checked a box
 
Not to mention, what with the zombie apocalypse and all, the options may be limited. Tinder probably won't be at its peak anymore.

(Seriously, "super gross"? Please do post a picture of yourself for reference)
My post was intended to be a bit over the top... I don't think she's super gross and only intended to exaggerate a funny dev exchange... Also, it wouldn't matter if I looked like your avatar, they still designed a character that's intentionally unattractive... if you don't think they did you're not being honest with yourself.
 
Wow. Are they seriously saying they don't care if people buy their game or not? Really?

Other than that, it's the same tired response which ignores the original complaint (that particular representation of women doesn't fit the context), replaces it with some made-up affirmations (we don't want women in our games) and then proceeds to accuse the complainers on the basis of those same made-up affirmations. It's a text book straw man.

Also, check this particular quote:

EA’s dogged response to this debacle marks another instance of creators standing up against toxic fan bases who seek to rail against diversity and what they view as “PC politics.”
The fan base is a consequence of the product, not the other way around. If you consider your own fan base toxic, perhaps you should have been making products more akin to your tastes instead of theirs.
 
My post was intended to be a bit over the top... I don't think she's super gross and only intended to exaggerate a funny dev exchange... Also, it wouldn't matter if I looked like your avatar, they still designed a character that's intentionally unattractive... if you don't think they did you're not being honest with yourself.
I personally think she looks normal, not intentionally unattractive. While Hollywood would have you believe everyone is gorgeous, that's about as far from reality as you can get.
 
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Female leading protagonists is good for the industry but in some games (Bayonetta) they over-seaxualize woman (eye candy) which is not a good thing because this leads to some discrimination, perversion and other issues that have a negative impact outside the videogame market.

Think about how many woman struggle daily to look attractive because of those standards :(
This kind of thinking is exactly whats wrong with this. Women can be everything they can be smart, sexy shy, stupid, clumsy etc. If you want to look at diverse women media look at Manga/Anime. Female chaacters are fucking diverse, they have personality they are also sexy, prude, shy etc. Take a look at Erza from Fairy Tail for example. Fairy Tail is an Anime which his popular with boys and girls and it has a ton of fanservice for everyone. Stop trying to say that women can not be sexy. Women designers also love sexy women and there is nothing wrong with it. In the case of Bayonetta a women draw the design and kamiya wanted her to be less sexualized but she said no.

Velvelt is another example drawn by a women who loves these kind of designs.




Women can be everything what they want and they can wear or designed like the artist wants Stop trying to "educate" people what they allowed to and what not. Women are not that simple
 
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Wow. Are they seriously saying they don't care if people buy their game or not? Really?
Placing a female character in the British army on the frontlines in a WW2 game is utter stupidity. There are a thousand different tales they could have told about brave women in that war but not the farcical route they chose which disrespects history & the real men who fought in that terrible conflict.
 
I admit I think I'm bit bias against female characters in games. I'm not sure why, maybe it's the content of the game I'm playing. I don't like them in fighting games because they tend to be strong and their small bodies make them harder to hit. In RPGs they tend to have annoying personalities. However I loved Final Fantasy 6 and technically Terra was the lead character.
 
Placing a female character in the British army on the frontlines in a WW2 game is utter stupidity. There are a thousand different tales they could have told about brave women in that war but not the farcical route they chose which disrespects history & the real men who fought in that terrible conflict.
honesly in a game like battlefield which does try and be more realistic i do agree with this. also it does downplay what any women actually did in these conflicts. i mean if they contributed show how and what it meant for the war instead of downplaying what they actually did and just having a woman who didnt exist blowin up tanks and mowin down dudes. there were female russian snipers honestly you can have a battle tale of something similar to the ghillie suit mission of cod. its still a game and you can have some leeway in story telling.
 
I personally think she looks normal, not intentionally unattractive. While Hollywood would have you believe everyone is gorgeous, that's about as far from reality as you can get.
Ok I'll concede... she's personally not very attractive to me, and as a result the scene feels awkward. You're probably right in that the devs didn't intentionally go out of their way to make her unattractive, however I'm sure there were discussions in casting and they opted to choose actors that were average looking and culturally diverse... for realism the average looking actors are a plus, for aesthetics... not so much.
 
1) All depends on how realistic the game wants to be. I will say, the more realistic the game the more boring it likely will be to me.

2) It would get a similar range of reactions Carmageddon got. More accurately, it would get a range of reactions just as any other game.
 
I'm digging the trend to be honest.

We've had 20 odd years of testosterone-heavy lead characters, they can take the story in some different directions with a female lead. Over time we can hopefully settle at a fair balance between the two, but no issues at all if women get to take the driver's seat for a bit.
 
There have always been plenty of strong female characters in games. They were and still are a minority, true, but that's because the majority of gamers are men. Now that more and more women are getting into gaming we're starting to see more female lead characters to match. It's really not a social justice issue like some people have made it out to be. It's an issue of demographics.
 
It's really not a social justice issue like some people have made it out to be. It's an issue of demographics.

its 100 percent a social issue. especially with devs coming out and shitting on their fans if they dont like a certain aspects. granted a lot of fans act awful but devs are acting like they have moral superiority now. its a really shitty attitude they are starting to get
 
No one complained about Xena. I really do not get it. This is a game which had a minotaur at the end of the demo. There is nothing really realistic in this game^^
I want a Xena game now. Where's all the muscular women in games? Tired of these twigs.

What bothers me is that people automatically assume that game developers are catering to some "SJW" movement. It's like do people remember Lara Croft, Samus Aran, Jill Valentine, Claire Redfield and Aya Brea?
I too remember attractive stylized female characters.

We've had 20 odd years of testosterone-heavy lead characters, they can take the story in some different directions with a female lead.
And they usually don't. We still have testosterone-heavy lead characters but now they have a vagina.
 
Given the choice I usually play women in games, I've been playing games with women my whole life so I don't have an issue with it.
That being said the way some reveal are handled makes me feel like the dev are really saying 'hey look kotaku and co there's your women character so please don't write an article about our franchise being problematic'.
Maybe it's just my impression but the fact that they feel the need to put the emphasis on it makes me think that.
 
its 100 percent a social issue. especially with devs coming out and shitting on their fans if they dont like a certain aspects. granted a lot of fans act awful but devs are acting like they have moral superiority now. its a really shitty attitude they are starting to get
I think you're misunderstanding me. I'm saying it's not something feminists ought to be complaining about because developers are just catering to their audience which is mostly men. It's not a social justice problem.
 
Placing a female character in the British army on the frontlines in a WW2 game is utter stupidity. There are a thousand different tales they could have told about brave women in that war but not the farcical route they chose which disrespects history & the real men who fought in that terrible conflict.
That's a valid point if you're talking about the singleplayer campaign, but if it comes to multiplayer, who honestly cares if people pick a female character or not.
For multiplayer games it's such a petty thing to complain about, that it almost hurts my brain trying to wrap my head around people's thought-process.
 
to right wingers, diversity is always forced.
Half of the population is woman. It's only natural to have more female leads in video games.
Those were just quoted for truth.


I think Naughty Dog is obviously pushing an agenda. I'm currently playing Uncharted 4 for the first time and its totally ridiculous how handily Nadine Ross (prob 120 lb female) beats the hell out of Nathan Drake! She throws him out of windows like she's wonder woman! The Last of Us 2 demo featuring the lesbian angle front and center is further evidence of their new-age-liberalism agenda. I'm all in favor of equal rights and equality but to me that means being honest about each other's differences and appreciating them NOT pretending like biologically men and women are equal in all measures including physical strength. Because that is flatly not true and pretending like it is has the opposite affect and shines a spotlight on the inequality. If a 95 lb girl believes she can go toe to toe fighting a 210 lb male thug she may end up blaming herself for not living up the expectation set by video games and society as a whole. The same concept is well documented in affirmative action.
For the record, Nadine is probably closer to 140, and Nate is probably closer to 170. So yeah, I can see her beating up Drake.

But Black Widow (ScarJo) beating up...pretty much everyone she's ever fought in the Avengers? You gotta be willing to suspend your disbelief by not rolling your eyes. At least Uma Thurman is given a sword in Kill Bill.
 
I think the only time it never feels organic is in those times where it literally just doesn't matter: the character is some non-talking, blank slate that everyone reacts to exactly the same regardless of how they look. These character do not and cannot have a personality, so it's seemingly impossible for either sex to be a representative when there's nothing that doesn't make them some terribly generic avatar. 2B and 9S have huge differences, A2 has a lot of differences from both of them, but if you were to be able to Make Your Own YorHa that was just there in looks and acted exactly the same as Battle/Scanner/Attacker with their respective actual characters it would be terrible.

I agree on the AC:Odyssey comment. It looks utterly ridiculous to see a petite, attractive woman fighting in armour in times when you had to be physically strong just to lift a sword or spear.
It's really immersion breaking.
I have no problem with female protagonists - look at my avatar - I just hate it when they're shoehorned in.
I'm not sure why it's that far-fetched, considering it even says you've got some sort of power from carrying the broken spear of Leonidas. so even if the size and strength mattered in this case, mystical artifacts make it a game. I'm also not really sure how it breaks immersion, but I can literally never identify with anyone saying such and such was an immersive experience. I'm still hitting buttons on a controller, likely with a HUD, with janky animation and all the other warts that come from technical limitations.

I think Naughty Dog is obviously pushing an agenda. I'm currently playing Uncharted 4 for the first time and its totally ridiculous how handily Nadine Ross (prob 120 lb female) beats the hell out of Nathan Drake! She throws him out of windows like she's wonder woman! The Last of Us 2 demo featuring the lesbian angle front and center is further evidence of their new-age-liberalism agenda. I'm all in favor of equal rights and equality but to me that means being honest about each other's differences and appreciating them NOT pretending like biologically men and women are equal in all measures including physical strength. Because that is flatly not true and pretending like it is has the opposite affect and shines a spotlight on the inequality. If a 95 lb girl believes she can go toe to toe fighting a 210 lb male thug she may end up blaming herself for not living up the expectation set by video games and society as a whole. The same concept is well documented in affirmative action.
I cannot tell if you're serious or trolling, I really can't.
 
I think forced diversity is destined to fail. If people don't willingly accept something it breeds resentment and undermines what you're goal is. If it fits the narrative I have no issue. In a game like AC in the time period they'd sooner stone a woman to death than put them on equal footing in combat in ancient Greece. That feels forced. TLOU 2 feels organic and well done. BFV feels forced. Lara Croft in Tomb Raider feels organic. It's easy & lazy to dismiss someone as sexist or misogynistic if you ignore the proper context of why someone holds different views depending on the game & setting. As long as the characters fit the setting and the narrative fits I'm okay with that.
 
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I certainly won't be buying it, I used to be in awe of my great grandfathers cabinet, where he kept all his brothers war memorabilia. He was stabbed through the kneck by the Japanese as a POW and yet survived. I really take issue with the lack of respect and reverence... It's just not appropriate.
I haven't bought an Assassins Creed game since Black Flag and I will not be buying Odyssey either.

I love a well crafted female protagonist... Ellie, Aloy, OG Lara Croft, Claire Redfield, Samus, 2b... kinda and Joanna Dark but I really don't like clumsy attempts to forcefeed people an ideology with no nuance or deeper message. I feel like it's moral grandstanding or virtue-signaling and if you have to state something so plainly and loudly, it is obvious you have some deep seeded guilt or issue that you are trying to hide.
 
Yes always a slim, attractive female lead. Why does no female lead look like Whitney Way Thore?
Um...

If that were true, women such as Bryce Dallas Howard & Jennifer Laurence wouldn't be cast as leads in huge Hollywood blockbusters (to name just two). People want beauty (shocking, right?) There is a definition of beauty & this is the complete opposite (the one on the left):




By the way, I'm in France - so your USA obesity remark doesn't apply here.
So female leads can't be slim and attractive or "ugly"?

Yall need to decide which way yall wanna argue.
 

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Feels a little forced at times, but most of the time I have zero issues with female characters. Pandering goes both ways on this issue, and they both suck, but most games handle their characters just fine...
 
Wow. Are they seriously saying they don't care if people buy their game or not? Really?

Other than that, it's the same tired response which ignores the original complaint (that particular representation of women doesn't fit the context), replaces it with some made-up affirmations (we don't want women in our games) and then proceeds to accuse the complainers on the basis of those same made-up affirmations. It's a text book straw man.
From the same company who brought you "A lot of people angry about the Mass Effect 3 ending really just hate gay people." Remember that one?

And why aren't there more people who are angry with "historical" video games pretending like women had equal treatment when they most certainly did not? How is that not the feminist take on this (or even A feminist take on this), and instead acting like those issues didn't exist is somehow the universally "correct" way of approaching this?
 
My bad. I forget indie games do their own thing. AAA games are still the same type of characters we've always played as but now they are mostly women.
AAA gonna AAA.

Just like how the Rock is now an Action Hero.


I think it is debatable whether
Joel was a villain. Sure, he does prevent the Fireflies from poking around Ellie's brain, and that was something Ellie was resigned to do - but at the same time, there were no guarantees that would have helped with anything. He was in full dad-mode, so at least from his perspective, he was doing the right thing. Now lying to Ellie at the end - that was a dick move. But not something I'd still call villainous.


Dude slaughtered the Fireflies. The entire resistance faction. Yes, in the end, you were playing as the bad guy.