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Sony was nervous about Horizon's female protagonist, did lots of focus testing

Emperor_Uriel

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Jun 4, 2011
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On the other hand some people might think falling in love would "lessen" her strong character

I remember someone saying they were happy that Mad Max spoiler
Furiosa and Max didn't exchange romantic feelings
Which is, in my opinion, one of the biggest missteps relating to the writing of empowered women: To be heterosexual is to be oppressed.

It's immensely foolish, because it concludes that heterosexuality itself, rather than the subpar and rigid depictions of straight relationships throughout fiction, is the problem.

If men were going down on a female protagonist the way ladies go down on Geralt of Rivia, that would be immensely empowering.

We just have trouble, as a society, seeing women as equal or dominant partners in a straight relationship. We can't wrap our heads around the idea that an empowered woman may seek sexual pleasure and intimacy in the same way legions of empowered men do.
 

NahaNago

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Aug 29, 2014
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Most of those games, not the main characters, sucked.
Or you could look at it from the folks with the money who are like all these games with female characters flopped but the last one with a guy lead made money lets not fund any games with female characters. I'm honestly just trying to give a simplified point of view of the people who green lights games i have no problem with female characters just make them interesting and i'm good.
 

Caronte

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Aug 6, 2013
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No, not even close.
Metroid
Final Fantasy
Streetfighter
The Elder Scrolls
Mass Effect
Saints Row
World Of Warcraft
League Of Legends
Cilization

I mean, I could go on, but to imply having female playable characters actively harms a games success starts leading into huge amounts of disclaimers about "except for games like this, despte our only evidence being mediocre titles versus good titles" territory.
Games where you can create a female character are not the same. And lol at Street Fighter.
 

Loakum

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Mar 24, 2013
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the hell? they forget about Beyond already? lol

i guess because it's robot dinos which definitely appeals a lot to the boys, but still, how silly.

heavenly sword ferchrissakes
  • Tomb Raider
  • Heavenly Sword
  • Mirror's Edge

Sony must had forgot about those too.
 
Dec 5, 2009
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On the other hand some people might think falling in love would "lessen" her strong character

I remember someone saying they were happy that Mad Max spoiler
Furiosa and Max didn't exchange romantic feelings
I don't think people feel that way because it downplays the "strong" aspect of a female character, but more because it's such a common trope that it's boring. It's exciting when a movie forgoes a romance subplot, especially if there isn't any obvious reason why one would exist.

Pacific Rim did a good job with this too.
 

synce

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Sep 18, 2012
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Has it ever been proven games with a female lead sell less than the exact same game with a male lead?
 

Boobahzone

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Apr 4, 2015
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I'm not picking on you Boobahzone, but those are not dreadlocks people, those are braids.
You're right. She kinda looks like that lady from Shadow of Mordor but much more interesting. I do wish she looked a bit more racially mixed considering this is presumably in the distant future.
 

Lalalandia

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Oct 27, 2013
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Is much of anyone saying she's "ugly"? She's really boring, and not especially pretty but I don't think they had "pretty" in mind when designing her.
I actually think she is pretty but she's not supermodel/porn star pretty and that would describe most female models in gaming so I could see how 'normally attractive woman' would seem ugly to some. Hell this is in place across all media and why few female actresses are as busy in their 40s as they were in their 20s.
 
Aug 13, 2014
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Is much of anyone saying she's "ugly"? She's really boring, and not especially pretty but I don't think they had "pretty" in mind when designing her.
I can understand people not thinking that she is the prettiest flower in the universe. She fits the pretty/beatiful category for me atleast.

But where is this "boring" part coming from?


It was definitely a bit much in the demo they showed.
And yet I think that in this case the self-dialog/being talky is "justified". For all we knew she might have just started to hunt alone and is talking her nervousness away.
 

Lalalandia

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Oct 27, 2013
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I think it would've been much better if he hadn't said this. Like, stand for something Sony.
I prefer the honesty, it's weird but it won't change until we know it's happening and in the end whatever their focus testing told them they commissioned the game. It's like when Bruce Straley and ND having to demand that TLoU focus testing include women, I had never thought that would have to be an actual request rather than the default.
 

KoopaTheCasual

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Jun 5, 2013
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Is much of anyone saying she's "ugly"? She's really boring, and not especially pretty but I don't think they had "pretty" in mind when designing her.
In other threads about Horizon, people were outright calling her ugly. Which she definitely is not.

She just looks like an actual person. There are too few games, where your main character isn't some perfect fantasy, that people's perception are skewed.
Has it ever been proven games with a female lead sell less than the exact same game with a male lead?
Nope.

Just fear and very minimal and limited market data that suggests gruff manly men are "safe".
 

SolidSnakex

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Jun 7, 2004
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I think it would've been much better if he hadn't said this. Like, stand for something Sony.
They're still making the game, which is standing for something. Sony probably has more games with sole female leads than any other major publisher aside from Square.
 
May 6, 2014
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Is much of anyone saying she's "ugly"? She's really boring, and not especially pretty but I don't think they had "pretty" in mind when designing her.
I've seen that word thrown around, albeit sparingly. She's a normal girl, not a statuesque supermodel. Not acceptable for fedora-wearers the world over.
 

Caronte

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Aug 6, 2013
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I can understand people not thinking that she is the prettiest flower in the universe. She fits the pretty/beatiful category for me atleast.

But where is this "boring" part coming from?
I've not seen the boring thing until we've known she's been focus tested. Take that as you will.
 

GeNoMe

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Mar 30, 2005
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I think it would've been much better if he hadn't said this. Like, stand for something Sony.
This.....why would they state this info to the media and the world?
I mean what would you gain? You took a gamble, and stuck with the vision the developer has for the character, and it worked out for you.
It feels like they are trying to do some kind of damage control or something. Very strange.
 

Deified Data

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Jul 6, 2011
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Considering many of the responses in this and other threads about the game, Sony was right to be concerned.

Horizon looks amazing and so does Aloy - easily my game of show alongside Fallout 4.
 

Mononoke

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Dec 26, 2012
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Considering many of the responses in this and other threads about the game, Sony was right to be concerned.

Horizon looks amazing and so does Aloy - easily my game of show alongside Fallout 4.
I mean, I shouldn't be shocked. But some of the responses here were fuckin mind blowing. I could understand someone just being like, I would rather play as male, because I'm male. But just some of the reasoning for why, like fuck.

It makes you wonder how accurate that market research really is. I always have to remind myself that, GAF and places like this, kind of exist in a bubble. That there is a much larger general market of consumers. Some might have taken Sony's actions here as pathetic, but when you consider how some people are, and how much risk/budget goes into these things, I mean...

It's certainly sad that they even have to be scared. But seeing some of those replies. I just have to hope, that those kind of responses are in the minority.
 

privitsan02

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Dec 28, 2014
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Dunno why people keep bringing up Tomb Raider... That franchise has been around for 20 years now and we all sort of know why that blew up.

Now it's just a household name.

Also Sony's recent games with female leads didn't do so well either. Beyond Two Souls had bloody Ellen Page and we still don't know how well it sold, at least to my knowledge.

Best wishes.
 

Sorc3r3r

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Jun 6, 2007
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In an action game i really do not care.
In a rpg it will be rather interesting to see the a girl empaty acting out of my control, interesting in a very positive way, she will feel to me more indipendent more alive than the usual male character where i align my empaty pretty easly with.
It is one of the thing that make Horizon already a game to take into consideration.
 

jimforspeed

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May 27, 2013
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What the hell? Is this some kind of issue now that needs to be addressed by Sony or the developers?

Excuse me as I have not researched onto this "issue", but if some games sold well/bad depending on the sex of the protagonist, that's really really sad.
 

Raistlin

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Jun 17, 2004
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It's hard to tell.

We release very few major games with female leads.
Yeah. Not much of a sample size to go on.

Of what has been released though, isn't Tomb Raider the exception in terms of being a big seller? People keep citing Heavenly Sword, but that never sold well enough to warrant a sequel. And while Mirror's Edge finally is getting one, based on the timeline it seems it wasn't such a great seller to get one immediately.



Either way, I think the reality comes down to the platform and genre. And that's both in terms of demographics and cultural expectations for what the protagonist is actually doing. Tomb Raider is mostly and adventure game, and people in general seem to have no issue with the gender of the protagonist.

Would gamers feel the same towards say something like COD? I don't know. Would gamers accept a serious WNBA title? I doubt it. Guess we'll have to wait and see whether they are accepting of an open-world action RPG, since really we have no precedence.
 

ElBoxyBrown

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Sep 6, 2014
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This is an idustry that considered Tomb Raider and Alien Isolation to be a "disappointment" sales wise. It should be no surprise as to why Sony wanted to be open about this.
 

Tempy

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Feb 6, 2005
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The fear is real though. Focus testing showed many males disliked playing a female character, and I've definitely seen a few posts on GAF asking whether they could play as a male. Seeing as a lot of money is involved, you want to make sure it sells more like Tomb Raider and less like Heavenly Sword.
 

ZangBa

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Apr 22, 2013
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I don't mind female protagonists, but I don't really like her design that much. Not gonna stop me from playing. c:
 
Sep 20, 2005
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Not that, but perhaps prefer an other game over this.

Dunno why it's hard for people to believe that the gender of the protagonist does make a difference. Especially in gaming or to be more precise AAA gaming. Most of the people that buy these games are male. For a male it's easier to identify with a male protagist. So yeah, naturally most males will prefer games with male protagists.
Pretty much this. It isn't fueled by hatred.