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Remember Me Dev: Publishers Still Don't Like Female Protagonists

Female characters in video games are becoming more common, but developer DontNod Entertainment has recently found that a large part of it is still a boy's club.

When the Remember Me creators were trying to find funding for their project, some publishers resisted a partnership because the protagonist was female. This according to what creative director Jean-Max Morris told Penny Arcade.

"We had some 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 wanted to be able to tease on Nilin's private life, and that means for instance, at one point, we wanted a scene where she was kissing a guy. 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.'"

Obviously, the assumption there would be that the majority of those controlling Nilin would be male, which is certainly true. And while publishers are essentially only interested in one thing (sales), it's interesting that they honestly believe a game with a lead female character simply can't sell as well as a game with a male hero. Added Morris:

"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."

Lara Croft has proven several times over that female characters can be popular, even when they're not oddly formed sex objects. Lara's recent more realistic overhaul didn't seem to make her any less popular; in fact, gamers seem to like this new Lara even more. So maybe publishers are still suffering from some backward-thinking.

Related Game(s): Remember Me

Tags: remember me, capcom, female character, females in games

3/19/2013 10:11:48 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (8 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 @ 10:44:22 AM
Reply

Here on display for all is a moment of business where the deciders clearly haven't caught up to the people they are trying to entertain. I think more gamers just want something that is WELL MADE and enjoyable, as long as the characters shine through and endear themselves to us in one way or another (whether that is through ruthlessness or vulnerability) then immersion isn't about our sexual proximity to the main character but about the storytelling and it's effectiveness in bringing the world to life.

Personally I prefer the female protagonists for games as they tend to contain a personality and are more agile. Making female protags in RPGs makes them more interesting too.

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gumbi
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 @ 10:47:04 AM
Reply

I can just imagine how some of these interviews go...

"Okay, lets see what we've got here. Blood, guts, carnage, violence, mature themes, disturbing plot-lines, and foul language... Hey, no problem! ...

Whoa, wait, umm... what's this? Female lead kissing a dude... no, no that makes me uncomfortable."

o_o

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Raze22
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 @ 11:40:43 AM
Reply

Just because Miss Lara Croft has changed her form doesn't mean she is no longer what we call a "sex object."

Publishers are just looking at statistics, but fail to realize that this is not a 100% guarantee. You are going to have to take risks sometimes to make profit.

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Teddie9
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 @ 12:57:10 PM
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This is upsetting, but mildly true given nilin has no history with gamers.

It does always come down to the score though. If it does hit the high notes and receives ample praise, I don't think most gamers will care.

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PC_Max
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 @ 2:04:18 PM
Reply

Well I am passing on Lara Croft as its an old series and more interested in something new... dare I say..... Mirrors Edge.

Mirrors Edge's character Faith was definitely a more "human" quality persona and I wish they would bring us a sequel, probably next gen. The story was interesting and compelling when dealing with her sister. Definitely Faith was a step up from Lara Croft who I always found to be as feeling as cardboard.

I have no qualms in playing a female character in a game, as long as she is written well, gameplay is good and a story to engross me in.

If they are really stuck on sex orientation for characters then let the player choose their avatars for the game.

Keep Playing!

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FxTales
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 @ 8:57:06 PM
Reply

Kind of sad this is still a common opinion among game publishers since we're moving onto a new generation of consoles. I was expecting more from this current one. Seems like it's slow going.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 @ 10:12:49 PM
Reply

I don't fully get that, but maybe I don't really get the majority of the gaming audience either.

I saw the gameplay trailer, and I thought it looked fantastic. That was all I needed.

True, playing as a woman doesn't make me feel like a woman, but that doesn't mean I can't relate to her character. Women and men are, believe it or not, both human. And even if sterotypically speaking each react to life in different ways, that doesn't mean a well written story will leave me unable to relate to a female character. We all understand loss, brokenness, happiness, love, longing, relief.... and well, every other human emotion. It's really not that difficult to imagine I can't relate to a well written character going through those emotions in a believable setting.

But... the business types seldom account for emotional buy in.

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Lordnicon
Sunday, March 24, 2013 @ 8:29:39 PM
Reply

I know I'm late to the party but, I almost ALWAYS play females in RPGs. Yes most gamers are men but that doesn't mean guys can't feel a connection to the character. Beyond Two Souls has people pissing in their pants and that's because it looks well developed by developers that have proven that gameplay trumps everything whether the main character is a woman, man or a piece of junk.

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