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Sony Was Nervous About Horizon's Lead Female Character

If you hadn't noticed, the main character in Guerrilla's new IP Horizon: Zero Dawn is female.

That's a sticky subject in recent years, as it has become known that publishers don't like female protagonists. Their argument is that such games simply don't sell as well.

Even Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida was a little nervous when they unveiled Horizon during this year's E3. As he told Polygon, the female lead character "has always been the vision by the team," but he wondered if it was risky:

"The concern came after the game was in development. We started to show it to many more people internally and they had questions about it. So we worked with our marketing groups to do this focus testing. We wanted to see how people would react to some of the things: open world RPG, the set up of machine versus primitive weapons and the female protagonist. All of those things. The focus testing reaction was positive and that made us feel good, but you know it's a limited number of people that we were able to test."

However, Yoshida did add that female protagonists are becoming more common, what with games like Mirror's Edge: Catalyst, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Assassin's Creed Syndicate, and the option to play as a woman in Fallout 4. He also said PlayStation should be trying to reach a wider, more diverse audience so he supports this female expansion.

Personally, I rarely even notice. If the character is a good one, then fine. If it's not a good character, gender and anything else don't matter one jot.

Related Game(s): Horizon: Zero Dawn

Tags: horizon zero dawn, guerrilla games, women in games, females in video games

6/21/2015 9:41:45 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (20 posts)


trumpetmon65
Sunday, June 21, 2015 @ 10:38:54 PM
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I wonder if they don't sell well because many of them have been pretty bad. Remember Me was glitchy. Tomb Raider had a quite a few games that weren't good at all in the past. Blood Rayne was mediocre at best. Heavenly Sword, while pretty, gripping, and fun to play, was just too short for many people's preferences. I think they'd find that many of the exceptions to the rule were also just really good games.

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Bio
Sunday, June 21, 2015 @ 11:13:59 PM
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Given that most game developers think writing a female character is all about what clothes they don't wear and how impossibly disproportionate their dimensions are, it's not surprising that many games featuring them don't resonate with as many people as iconic characters like Snake or Drake.

If we had more female heroes like The Boss or Alyx Vance, plenty of people would respond well to games featuring them.

It's not really a problem endemic to video games, though. It's surprising and depressing how many movies still fail the Bechdel Test, for example.

Last edited by Bio on 6/21/2015 11:14:37 PM

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Beamboom
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 7:19:43 AM

I had to google "Bechdel Test" :)

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Bio
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 1:02:26 PM

Once you're aware of what the test is and what it's designed to point out, it's hard to look at movies the same way. It becomes painfully obvious how unbalanced films can be. Funny thing is the test started off as a joke in a comic strip from 1985.

30 years later, though, and there's basically been no progress. Sad.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 3:10:16 PM

The original Jurassic park was rife with those.

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Bio
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 5:20:22 PM

Jurassic Park barely passes the Bechdel test.

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FAREEZ
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 1:30:01 AM
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Female character can kick ass too. But I think all game should have option to choose male or female character like M.effect, so we can have choice...

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Beamboom
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 7:17:46 AM

I agree! BioWare have proved, beyond any doubt, that it indeed can be done.

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FM23
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 5:40:35 PM

I always found my female Shepard more compelling than my male Shepard for ME2 and 3.

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ethird1
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 2:15:08 AM
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That is just for the story mode. The online mode will let you make your character ... I am assuming anyways.

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Beamboom
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 4:23:17 AM
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The female character in this game looked totally awesome. It's no bimbo.

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berserk
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 7:39:05 AM
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Maybe with more lead female i ll start creating a male when i got a choice .

Since tomb raider i started wanting more and more a female protagonist in upcoming games .That was ( Lara croft ) the first good proof that a great female protagonist work . That a she could sell games too .Those polygons ...

Last edited by berserk on 6/22/2015 8:11:42 AM

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Bio
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 12:59:03 PM

The new Tomb Raider is far from the first example of great female lead characters, and if you're basing that opinion on "those polygons" I think you've got your priorities a bit mixed up.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 @ 3:27:00 AM

There's nothing wrong in enjoying'em curves, Bio. Being them virtual or not. :)

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JonnyR
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 8:10:04 AM
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With that closing statement, i think you speak for the vast majority of gamers, its certainly what ive seen and felt.
People respond positivley to good writing and good design, not whether a character has tits or not. This assumption that gamers are put off by female protagonists is insulting to everyone.

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FM23
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 5:45:55 PM

For real. We have progressed so much in society. Females get degrees at a higher rate than men and in some areas have higher income, yet this country still seems to view the female population as house servants who are suppose to take of the kids, cook, and look sexy at all times. Women and men, are equal. Different minds that exist on same plane with the same end goal.

But I love female protagonist. And me being male, I rather watch a female for a majority of a production (over a male) do her thing. Just saying.

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Underdog15
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 12:00:42 PM
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I thought she looked awesome. I'm definitely looking forward to this one.

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Beamboom
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 @ 3:27:59 AM

Indeed. She had personality. I think we could see that even from that small little glimpse of gameplay we were served.


Last edited by Beamboom on 6/23/2015 3:28:19 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, June 22, 2015 @ 3:12:40 PM
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I wish the publishers were as forward thinking as the gamers.

There shouldn't even be focus testing, GG earned the right to follow their vision. And the chick is believable and not a fashion or lingerie model.

You could have a female in all the fallouts so whatever. We need more not less!

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 6/22/2015 3:12:51 PM

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Legendary Minja
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 @ 5:31:24 PM
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I would prefer to have the option of being either but I really don't care as long as the story is good. The main character should be good. Remember all the characters in FFVII that are all females that we loved??? SPOILER ALERT...Aerith was my main healer....when she got killed off...I basically just wtf'd. I had to resort to someone else being my healer but no one would truly replace her lol. Who doesn't love Tifa??? I did and do feel less comfortable with females dying in games such as the graphic scenes for Lara in the Tomb Raider game...::shudder::

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