For years, there have been calls from different equality groups for video game companies to include more female characters in games. Whilst some companies heeded the calls, others gave some “interesting” reasons why they couldn’t. This piece takes a look at some of these reasons.
A lot of extra production work
This was the line used by Alex Amancio, creative director at Ubisoft, when the lack of playable female characters in the game “Assassin’s Creed: Unity” was pointed out. He said it would be a lot of production work to include women as it would mean doubling the animations, doubling the voices and doubling the visual assets. To counter this, Jonathan Cooper, who worked on “Assassin’s Creed III” said it would only take a day or two to include playable female characters whilst talking to Polygon.
Jonathan Copper’s position makes sense because lots of other games and even simplistic online gaming portals that allow playing of games like bingo have female characters. Bingo players can go to newpaypalbingo.com and choose PayPal bingo sites that have female characters.
Creating a female character therefore is as simple as having the will to do so.
Female soldiers won’t be believable for boys
“Battlefield 1” is an upcoming first-person shooter that takes place in Wordl War I and we are not expecting to see many women in the game. Amandine Coget, a coder who used to work at DICE, maker of the game, thinks that the male audience they have designed the game for, will not find the presence of female soldiers believable.
This argument has of course been thrashed by industry watchers. Some of these video games feed the audience with fiction and they still believe and enjoy the games anyway. Female combatants actually exist so what is unbelievable about them? In fact, female combatants existed even during World War I which the game is based on.
You can’t just pull a switch and include women
Far Cry 4 is another game from Ubisoft that drew criticism for a lack of women characters. The game director Alex Hutchinson told Polygon that he wanted the option for gamers to have women players but that they just didn’t have the time. In his words “it’s not a big switch that you can just pull and get it done”. The question is, was there a big switch to get male characters done?
The bottom line is that the company couldn’t just be bothered to do the work it would have taken to get that option in.
A game with an all-male cast is “more approachable.”
This was the line of argument used by the makers of “Final Fantasy XV” where the cast is solely made up of men. They said the gender makes the characters universally relatable, hence reinforcing that sad notion that male characters are the standard gender with which all others can identify.
These reasons show that even though there have been some progress with trying to push more female characters, there is still a lot of work to be done.