I Am A Straight White Man And I Want More Women In My Games

Dear people who make video games,

I am straight. I’m pretty damn straight.

I am married to a woman. I’ve only ever had sex with women. I don’t mind too much, but on the whole I’d rather not look at another man’s penis. If I had the choice to look at a man’s penis or not look at a man’s penis, 90% of the time I’m going to go with option b.

I am overwhelmingly white. I might actually be the whitest person I know.

The last time I went to the beach I did a quick survey. Yep. I was the palest, whitest person within three square kilometres. Then I went home. I was sunburnt. I’d been topless in the sun for roughly 45 minutes.

I am a man. In a lot of ways, you might even categorise me as a ‘bro’.

Here is a list of things I like: video games, sports, exercise, eating meat. I could probably grow a beard if I wanted to. If I was single and in my early 20s, you might even catch me in the gym getting ‘ripped for Stereo’. The only strike is my inability to consume alcohol, but this in negated by the cold hard facts: I am in possession of a penis.

Just checked. Yep. I definitely have a penis.

My favourite film of 2013 was Frozen. Frozen is a Disney movie about two sisters who are women. It is a movie that subverts previous Disney tropes about romantic love in a number of interesting ways. It is a movie that celebrates sisterhood and the power of sisterly love. It made $1.25 billion at the box office.

Here is a list of video games that I have recently played and enjoyed: Tomb Raider, Mass Effect, Child of Light, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. These are also, coincidentally, video games that either exclusively asked you to play as a woman or provided players with the option to play as a woman.

Here’s a thing that happened about a month ago: I was playing Dark Souls II. In the game I accidentally stumbled upon a coffin and the game allowed me to enter that coffin. Turns out that coffin was the harbinger of a strange curse that allowed my character to change sex. It transformed my male character into a female character. The game allowed me to change back if I wanted to.

But I didn’t, because who gives a shit? My precious stats remained precisely the same, and I enjoy playing video games with female protagonists. I went on my merry way and completed the rest of Dark Souls II as a female.

Here’s another thing that happened.

During its E3 presentation Nintendo showed its latest Zelda game for the first time. I noticed that Link, the game’s protagonist, looked more feminine than usual. After the conference people began to speculate: is Link, the perennially male main character of the Zelda series a female?

Here’s what I didn’t do: I didn’t vomit blood, I didn’t brutalise a nearby wall in fit of pure masculine vengeance. I didn’t even get angry. Here was my legitimate reaction: I got excited. ‘Wow,’ I thought. ‘How incredible would that be. What a refreshing change of pace! Wouldn’t it be great to play a Zelda game where the protagonist was female?

‘Nah, that’ll never happen,’ I sighed.

Here’s one more thing that happened.

During E3 news broke that Ubisoft, during the development of its latest Assassin’s Creed, had been considering adding a female assassin to its roster to compliment the game’s latest 4 player co-operative mode, but quickly scrapped it because the “reality of production” would have made their inclusion too costly.

“It was really a lot of extra production work,” explained creative director Alex Amancio.

Here’s what I didn’t do.

I didn’t nod my head and say, ‘well, that’s the reality of video game production’. I didn’t laugh and say, ‘take that feminism!’ I didn’t twirl my non-existent moustache and cackle, ‘another one in the can for the straight white man.’

My first reaction was disappointment; because I often enjoy playing as a female character in video games.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I am going to exercise the rights and power that my privilege as a straight white man has bestowed upon me: I am going to inform you that, when it’s reasonably fair, I expect to be able to choose between a male and female character. As a straight white man I’m going to demand that. Alongside the other bullet points on the back of box — alongside hundreds of multiplayer maps, side missions, guns, blood, explosions, whatever — I’m going to demand the ability to play as a woman, because I am your main demographic. I am the type of person you care about, and this is what I want. This will help inform the purchasing choices I make in the future.

I am a straight, white man with disposable income. I want to play as a woman in your video games. Please give this thing to me.


    I play as a female barbarian in Diablo 3 and I always play as princess peach in Mario kart. I usually prefer female characters in fighting games because they are fast and I like to spam moves. I'm a big, bearded, white guy.


        No. He said: I'm a big, bearded, white guy.
        Not: I'm a big bearded, white guy.

        Last I saw, GRRM was about 5'2" and more akin to someone you'd find tending the forges under Stone Mountain...

      I chose the female Mage in Diablo 3 because I wanted Azula from avatar to keep saying stuff.

        I chose the sorceress in Diablo 2 because fireballs are AWESOME!

          Also Dragons are only one step down the awesome chart from Dinosaurs. And fire is like number 2 on the list of all things awesome. Imagine how incredible it was when I discovered you can summon dragons made from fire.

      I always roll female mages. It's just habit.

      My philosophy is this. If you're going to play an RPG or 3rd person game as a straight guy, what would you rather look at for hours on end? A shapely female behind, or some dude's manky butt? Not a hard decision really.

      Last edited 12/06/14 10:52 am

        I'd think you should be concentrating on the demonic hordes attempting to kill you, but maybe that's just me.

      The main problem is, western game Male characters are just muscle blocks and female characters usually have more design into it.

      Male Monk is a old beardy, Male Wizard looks like a bitch, Male Crusader is a muscle head, Male barbarian and Male Witch doctors are alright since they look like what they are.

      I always choose female option as they are usually better designed.

    im sorry, i could only get through a small portion of this article...
    i gave up after the 500th time you mentioned 'penis'

      Penis is such a great word. Submit to this fact.

        The Pen is truly mightier than the sword.

          Penis is such a great organ. Submit to this fact.

          Last edited 12/06/14 10:21 am

            Thanks, now I'm envisioning an organ made out of penis's.

              I think I need to see a doctor as mine makes noises when in use 0___0

        Alrighty Mark,
        just for you i will soldier on through the wave of penis and complete the article!
        (Frozen was epic btw, that is a fact i can submit too!)

          Tip: If it offends you, every time you read the word "penis", hit a large metal disc with a mallet.

          You know that sound you hear? DONG.....

          (heheheh. I said "tip")

          Now, back to the actual discussion.

        Mark, please stop waving that around and telling people to submit to you D:

        It's also woefully underused (the word, not ... *rated MA15+*) with people preferring to resort to cruder and more immature names.

        I lol'd at the fact that the first person to upvote this was Cody's Sausage Factory.

      I am married to a woman. I’ve only ever had sex with women. I don’t mind too much, but on the whole I’d rather not look at another man’s penis. If I had the choice to look at a man’s cock or not look at a man’s dick, 90% of the time I’m going to go with option b.
      The only strike is my inability to consume alcohol, but this in negated by the cold hard facts: I am in possession of a trouser snake.

      Just checked. Yep. I definitely have a wiener.

      Read on, friend.

      Last edited 12/06/14 10:57 am

    Link has been around for a damn long time as a male, and has always been elfish. The picture above, which some claim to show a boob bulge, clearly shows a straightened arm holding a damn bow.

    I have no problem with female characters in games, it doesn't effect my buying decision at all. I do have a problem however with long running characters being messed with purely for feminism's sake. Seriously, the hero link has to save the princess Zelda, what's wrong with that? It's not final fantasy where the protagonist changes every game, it's a Zelda game.

      But why do you have a issue with the story changing? None of the Zelda games have had the exact same story or characters.

      Last edited 12/06/14 10:21 am

        I get what your saying I really do. I also respect what your trying to say.

        However, in all honesty would it change the game, link or the experience in any significant way?

        I would say no... You still have your silent protagonist. You can still save princess zelda (or prince, again I'd say it wouldn't matter) . You can still fight gannondorf (or gannondorfina). The experience will still for the most part be the same. So why would it be an issue?

        I'd argue it shouldn't be. I'd argue it would be a refreshing change. Your saying it's purely for feminism but what if it is simply the developer trying to do something different?

        Is that really a problem? For how many years now people have been saying the series has become stale. So why don't we let them try something new for this zelda? The open world is a good step in the right direction. Ultimately, I'd say it will benefit the series in the long run.

        Anyway male or female it doesn't really matter to me. Can't wait for the game and it can't come quicker.

        edit: meant to reply to dknigs

        Last edited 12/06/14 10:24 am

          But you're saying that it's a meaningless change. You're saying this doesn't matter in the slightest. So why is it so important for the change to be made? It would just be a surface level gimmick that would be bigger than the game itself, and that's really the last thing Zelda needs.
          Gender swapping pre-existing characters is such a bad way of doing things. Whether the people making the game intend to or not it just creates a hell of a lot of friction that drowns out any proper discussion on female characters in games.
          Zelda already has established rules. You can work a female Link within those rules easily enough but it's a bit like a Gears of War looking hulk of a Link in that it's not impossible but it goes against the established characters/history. On top of that it's just a terrible ground to have this discussion on. All it does is give the people who actually are jerks ammunition to justify their position.
          Instead make actual female characters like Samus or Mirror's Edge's Faith. Nobody has a decent argument against Faith being female. If someone complained about Samus' gender they'd be shut down in a heartbeat. I think we'd see a lot of people change their tunes about the importance of not altering genders of existing characters if a Metroid reboot put a man in the suit instead of Samus.
          If you make a new IP like Dead Space cast a female in the lead from day one and don't ask to be praised for it or attempt to sell it to men with sex. Just do it. Those are actual steps towards making gaming more diverse.
          Make sure that every game where you can make your own character (something Zelda should never do) include realistic/respectful representations as wide a range of humans as possible.

          I've got nothing against female characters. I think it's stupid that it took until the sequel for Fable to give you the option of playing as a female. I just think you can't take an existing character, clumsily slap some tits on it and pat yourself on the back as though you just helped women be taken more seriously. Gamers, both male and female, deserve better than gender swapped characters.

          (For the record, I've got nothing against playing as Zelda. She's a great character who doesn't get enough attention and I'd absolutely love to play as her. It's female Link that bugs me.)

            Although I never said it was an important change. I said it would be a refreshing change. The fact that Links gender is irrelevant works both ways. He can be male, or she can be female. I believe either works. Further, I agree wholeheartedly. It should not be implemented as a cheap gimmick. If it is going to be done then it should be done well. Whether this is possible or not I guess is really the question and we won't know until it is actually tried.

            Now to your second point. I agree for the most part. You can't have an existing character like Marcus Fenix and suddenly change the character into a female. Nor can you suddenly change Samus into a male. However, the character of link and the Zelda universe actually lends itself to that type of change. The hero of time is always a random child destined to be a hero. This means it can easily be a female. Hell, Link isn't even the same person from game to game and that is an important difference between the Zelda universe, the Link character and other games/characters etc etc.

            Here is the important part. What would the reason be for making link female? If it is just a gimmick to cash in on a current issue. I agree that would be wrong. Alternatively, what if it is conscious design decision, and thus, more than just slapping a pair of tits on an established character?

            If it is done well...why not? why can't link be female. If your response is simply that it goes against the established rules of the franchise. Then my next question is how do you then innovate within a franchise?

            Metroid was a 2D platformer. Metroid prime broke those established rules and made it into a first person shooter...of sorts. Warcraft was an RTS and was made into an MMO (although I'd prefer for it to return to an RTS). Zelda was a 2D top down adventure game and made the change into a 3D adventure game. It initially was open world with no set linear path and that was changed with OOT.

            Now I acknowledge that my examples have to do with genre and mechanics and not the character itself but I think the same principle is applicable. Established rules can be changed so long as it is done well and done with good reason.

            TL:DR - if done well why not? I'm not saying THIS HAS TO HAPPEN! I'm saying I would be kinda cool if they did but if not thats ok.

            What I don't want to happen is for everyone to pick up the pitchforks and start bashing Nintendo saying they hate women if they have followed tradition and made Link male.

            Last edited 12/06/14 12:21 pm

              He can be male, or she can be female. I believe either works.

              I think that touches on the fundamental difference between our way of thinking. I don't think players play as their own character in Zelda like they do in say Mass Effect so choosing the gender isn't an option to me. It's an old school RPG in that it hands you a character and you play as them. The only customisation is his name, and even then he has a very well established canon name so entering another name is pretty much just labeling your save file. So to me the only series appropriate way to give players a female Link is to remove the option of a male Link. Either way could work but it's one or the other, and for a ton of reasons I'm going to fall on the side of a traditional male Link every time.
              I mean if you let players make the choice then Link is probably still going to be a guy (maybe they'll let it be a her the first time they do it). In all the documentation and references made in follow up games there will be a canon Link and it'll probably still be a guy. The story itself would remain almost completely gender neutral like it is now because they can't have sections of the game vanish when you play as a male. It wouldn't be the story of Linkette anymore than if you were to name your character Linkette in the other games. So what would it really achieve? Would it open up the Zelda franchise to female players? Is Zelda currently locking them out? I totally agree games need more variety when it comes to this stuff but does Zelda?
              I think if you're going to let players make a choice on gender in a Zelda game the only way to do it is to go Resident Evil 2 style where you choose between playing as Zelda or playing as Link. To me that just seems a thousand times more appropriate to the series and way better as far as putting women in games go.

              You can't have an existing character like Marcus Fenix and suddenly change the character into a female.

              I actually meant you can't have a Link incarnation be a bulky Marcus Fenix looking guy even though technically the lore allows it. The precedents set in previous games aren't entirely lore based. Link talks in every single Zelda game. He talks to everyone he meets. That doesn't mean it's a good idea to have his dialogue displayed or give him a voice.
              Likewise there's nothing in the lore that says the hero can't come from Steroid Village but a big part of the story is that even though he's not the same person every time he is the same. There are specific Links and Zeldas and there's an almost universal Link and Zelda, and a solid wall of muscle doesn't fit universal Link. I think swapping everyone's genders doesn't fit the universal versions of the characters anymore than giving them huge muscles.

              You'd (rightly) call me an asshole if I suggested women where lesser creatures made from the rib of a man, so I don't get why are people so into doing that with women in games? A female character doesn't need to latch onto an existing male character's popularity. It seems like a female Link should be offensive to a feminist. A strong female lead should be a strong female character, she doesn't need to be some mutated version of pre-existing male character. Joanna Dark is fantastic, Jane Bond is just a man with a bow in his hair.

              Also I can't stress enough that I wouldn't be outraged if they made Link a female. It certainly wouldn't ruin the game for me. I just think it'd be a bad move for Nintendo/Zelda and a really shitty step towards representing a wider range of people in games. If they chose to go down that path I'd much rather they scrapped the Zelda parts of the project and made a similar game from scratch with a female lead that wasn't restricted by past games and male predecessors (in that regard the female Link discussion is almost a better argument for retiring the franchise for a generation or two and making a new signature series with similar gameplay).

              Last edited 12/06/14 3:23 pm

                I think it ultimately depends on the purpose behind it. I haven't approached this discussion from a point of view that it would open the series to Women because I think ur right, I agree entirely. If they have made link female solely for the purpose of trying to be more inclusive to female gamers then there are better alternatives to do so. A fully fleshed out Zelda game where you play as Zelda instead or a completely new IP with a strong female lead as you have said.

                I'm coming from the point of view that it would be an interesting twist on an established series. If it is a conscious decision made with a specific creative direction in mind and it is done well then I'm all for it.

                In fact, if you read my first reply it was directed at the argument that there shouldn't be a female link simply because of the established tradition that he is male. I was merely trying to point out that the Zelda universe and the Link character itself is open to the possibility of a female Link. Further, in my opinion at least, a female Link would not detract from the story or game etc etc (see above).

                In any event, I understand your point and I respect what you are saying. You have articulated yourself well good sir.

      I am a huge fan of the Zelda series but I'm not going to vomit blood if they allow you to choose your gender at the start of the game. Is there even any need for Link to be male? Sure, Link was a male in the previous games but I don't understand how Link being a women would change anything in the story. In fact I would welcome that change, open the game up for all players to enjoy!

      Last edited 12/06/14 10:19 am

        If some one refuses to play any Zelda game based solely on the decision that they can't play as a female surely deserves not to experience such an awesome series.

      The 'hero' Link has always been a random child fated to become the hero. It is not the same child in every game. I agree with your point re: the character design here (it's clearly not 'boob bulge' as you so eloquently put it), but what would be the problem if one time the chosen one was a young girl?

        I don't think there would be any problem if Link's latest form was female. I don't think the fan backlash wouldn't be that bad.
        But on the other front what if Link is male again, is that a problem? Because I simply aren't seeing any indication that he is a female like many others are.
        Will people get angry when this doesn't play out as some are very defensive about something that hasn't even been confirmed?

        I wouldn't mind a change up personally, but if it doesn't happen I won't blame anyone.

        Ubisoft on the other hand needs to wake up.

          Interesting question.

          If link is female in this game I don't think that means he/she has to be female in every game that follows. I don't think it is reasonable for there to be an expectation that link will now always be female if that is the case in this game. Link may be male in the next....female in the one after. As jay said it is always a random child fated to be the hero.

          Maybe it would open the door for gender to be choosable (that's a word right?) in future games which again I wouldn't be opposed to (for reasons see reply above).

          All in all I don't think this is necessarily white knighting and people taking up the feminist cause...I think it is just people saying "hey Nintendo...you know if you made link a girl in this zelda it would be kinda cool".

          Last edited 12/06/14 12:32 pm

          You put it much better than I did, and I totally agree. If as a part of the creative direction genders were swapped, I wouldn't care. But if they aren't, so what? It's a long standing series, why should they have to bow to internet pressure and gender swap? Let them follow the creative direction they want to take and tell the story they want to tell!

            We're talking about Nintendo here. They don't bow to internet pressure. They have always done their own thing even in the face of mass outrage. If they have decided to use a female protagonist I guarantee its because they really wanted to. Nobody was clamouring for a female Link, the closest thing I read was an article saying "wouldnt it be cool if you played the next zelda as zelda". Based on this I have zero issue with a female lead in Zelda.

      "The picture above, which some claim to show a boob bulge, clearly shows a straightened arm holding a damn bow"

      Ever used a bow? The bow is being held in the left hand, the left arm is extended forward. The bow string is being drawn with the right hand towards the right cheek. A straightened arm is indeed holding the bow, but it is not coming from the right shoulder across the chest which would be a really stupid way to hold the unless you are perfroming some kind of goofy melee attack.

      Also, in order for it to be an arm, that belt would also have to go across the chest and up behind the shoulder instead of over the top of the shoulder. That a scenario ruled out by this pic. which also more clearly illustrates the arem doing all that bow holding.


      Whether or not they are boobs, The boob hypothesis fits better than your attempt to debunk it.

      If your going to play a female character in a Legend of Zelda game I want it to actually be Zelda.

      Imagine if Zelda and Link we're both playable characters pursuing their quests for the Triforce of Wisdom and Courage respectively. Twice the Content, different approaches to the game it would be like getting 2 different Zelda games at once. I just ask that I can swap characters/stories any time I'm not in a dungeon.

        I would pay all the money for an Adventures of Sheik, set between Zelda's escape from Hyrule Castle and Link's return as an adult. A game with a female Link however would also provide the opportunity for some great new perspectives on the character and the story.

      Why not just allow you to play az zelda as well? Best way to diversify the gender argument.

      Actually as the Zelda universe is different time periods all in the same world, and in each game Link is a reincarnation of previous Link's, why wouldn't one of them be female? It stands to reason. Hell one of them could potentially be dark skinned.

      I don't actually think Link is female in this game but I think it would not be breaking canon if she/he was.

      How about this time, Zelda has to save Link? I figure by now she owes him one.

      and Samus was originally thought to be male.

    And this is why you're the man Serrells :)

    But I'm genuinely insanely curious... If it WASN'T at all about production etc, then at what point would they have actively gone, eh screw it, no girls this time! If they've done so in the past and haven't had an issue then it still needed to be a legitimately calculated choice... I just personally don't feel like it was as simple as 'FOR THE DUDE BROS!!!' You know?

      Oh, it probably was by virtue of it being more work. More work that it was "worth".
      The salient point is that so many other games manage to make it past the allegedly-onerous workload involved in adding female characters (including previous AC games), and that it's ridiculous for a game (with a much bigger production team than any of the ones that have managed it) to have its lack of choice defended as 'just too hard'.

    I just couldn't care less, really. This whole thing is just silly.

    Though I don't see any reason why we shouldn't have the ability to play as a female character. Unless the story strictly needs the character to be male for whatever reason. Though, in games that is usually not the case, so I guess you are right. We should have the ability to choose as we like even if when I play I almost always choose the default and move on to play the game.

      This whole thing is just silly.
      No, it's an adult conversation that should be happening in the gaming world. The fact that you personally don't care doesn't make it 'silly'.

      Personally, I'm happy to see at least a discussion about gaming moving away from constantly representing white males aged 16 to 40 as the only people who ever have interesting stories to tell.

        Oh? Please show me to where I was against the idea of having female characters in games.

        I don't think we should take it overbroad, but we should have... Nevermind, just read the paragraph after the part you quoted.

          I'm pretty sure he was only objecting to the part where you called it "silly", and at no point in what he said accused you of being against female characters (he did say you didn't care though, which seems accurate?). Don't strawman for drama's sake :)

            There it is again. Strawman, that some sort of a saying?
            Where is it from? What's it refer to? Drawing straws? Second time I read that word yet I don't know what it means lol

            Typo? Now space between straw andan in both instances?

              It's an argumentative technique. The idea is that you can make your argument more persuasive by setting up an imaginary argument to test it against, which has all the agency and battle prowess of a man made of straw.

              When someone is 'setting up a straw man', they accuse another party of arguing X so they can counter X with an obviously superior Y, even if X wasn't actually being argued by anyone. The process simply serves as an excuse for or as a delivery mechanism for their pet argument Y.

              Some folks also seem to take it to mean seizing on a detail or example which misses the greater thrust of the main point, pretending that the more easily-argued-against point is the most important part of what's been said.

              I don't believe it's been used correctly in this instance.

                Thanks, that actually makes sense. Had to read over the argument again.

                Thinking about it now, though @patrickbateman is right, hasn't this already been discussed many many times?

                Wasn't there this whole we need more female protagonist characters done before?
                Wasn't there some girl who took peoples' money on kick starter for this exact reason and then nothing happened??

                I think there needs to be a better approach than just discussing this. People simply will have to make games that will sell and hopefully prove to be better than the generic stuff we get now.

                The new Tomb raider game (was released a year or 2 ago), was great, but the ones before that I never really liked or found anything good about them; yet they were so popular.

                Mass Effect 2. Best example; you are given a choice to make your character and the story does not differ on appearance, gender, or whatever, other than your choices.

                  Well, that's kind of the deal with the article. Mark might spend a lot of copy on explaining his reasoning, but the final para is basically his 'new position' on voting with his wallet. Or at least, that's how I read it. And while there's plenty of hand-wringing to be had pro and con in the comments, as a statement, it does the job of being more effective than talk.

                  Not that I initially thought it's a terribly viable stance for an editor of a gaming blog to take, y'know... not playing games, but he's already freely admitted to not playing several big name/popular titles, so y'know. Maybe there's something there. Delegation and whatnot.

      As a 'white' person with a dick between my legs, I can honestly say that I can't relate at all to most male characters in games. Some are downright bad to play as. Which is why you end up distancing yourself from the character and focus on the game itself.

      Marcus in GoW, Aiden in W_D, countless other protagonists... I can't relate to their way of thinking at all and I'm forced to role play a character that I have no affinity for. It's not exactly a problem, but it's not like you can bucket and assume every single white guy that fits into this demographic must also enjoy the character they're forced to play as.

        True, but I don't expect every game/movie/story to be tailor made for my likings. While I have played many games and do support the fact that we should have the option, unless otherwise required for story or experience to differ, there are games that I really have enjoyed such as metroid prime and see that, even in games such as that the character sex has no effect on the overall experience of the game. When I finished Zelda, halo, metroid prime, if anything I really loved the characters more and more cause they didn't say much, their story was great and they never used their genitelia to change the outcome of their story. By genetilia i mean gender.

        Don't take things too literally.

        That being said in assassins creed they have to have female assassins, if at the very least only for multiplayer.

          True, but I don't expect every game/movie/story to be tailor made for my likings.

          I agree. That was my point too.

          In fact, one character that I could 'relate' to the most was Lara Croft in the latest Tomb Raider. Her drive/motivation were closer to how I'd react than say Aiden in Watch_Dogs - with whom I had no connection as a player.

            ...Aiden in Watch_Dogs - with whom I had no connection as a player.
            I would say that from everything I've seen in let's plays so far that I actually do kinda feel some affinity, but that would probably put me on a dozen watch_dogs... lists.

              I don't know, I can't really care much for Aiden. Can't connect with the character at all. The story is a bit, revenge cliche story. They should've made him more like Batman. Batman is cool and does go around killing an entire city because someone he knows dies. Batman never kills, its why he's Batman.

                That's why he is hard to relate to. Batman doesn't do things that make sense. If you were in the position to save thousands of people by killing a man who you have just watched kill thousands of civilians, a normal person would kill that man.

                Batman is just like, just because you have escaped and killed 7 times in the past, I see no evidence to suggest this could happen in the future.

                Last edited 12/06/14 6:37 pm

                  Batman is on the opposite extreme to Aiden.

                  Batman: You killed many people, but I'll give you the 10th chance to redeem yourself.
                  Aiden: You killed one person, but I'll seek revenge by killing 1,000 more.

                  Aiden was one of the worst characters I experienced in that sense. Mainly due to not having a choice in the story to reflect that dialogue and decisions to be a murderer. I really enjoyed the game, but that was a big disconnect for me.

              I disliked the hypocricy he exhibits. In a game where you're forced to (mostly) follow down a single story path. On one hand you're gunning down countless people with families, but on the other hand you keep ranting on about how your niece was killed which (if you haven't played it, don't look):

              ... Spoilers don't work!

              Is explained later, was technically an accident.


              Furthermore because I uncovered the side bits, there was no reflection of this in the dialogue within the game. So when you speak to the person responsible for your death, you treat them as if you know nothing about it. And Aiden becomes an asshole who doesn't care about what really happened, but is rather just out for revenge.

              Last edited 12/06/14 6:53 pm

                (Spoilers are best off hidden by encrypting them with the rot13.com cypher which... well. Does as the name suggests.)

                I dunno if it ever gets played well like in the classic 2000 movie 'Brother' (Japanese gangster gets exiled to the US) but revenge has a way of spiralling for that exact reason. People get in your way, they gotta pay... only, to the families/friends/illegal associates of that person, that was unjustified, so they come after you too, so obviously THEY have to die, and at some point it gets to be such a hassle that now you have to be proactive and just... ripples on a pond.

                But in that white-hot moment of rage, do you consider the ripples? Fuck no, you wanna break some fucking kneecaps and really don't care if you get careless with some skulls because they probably had it coming. MY aggressor is be pursued as a target of vengeance... I, as an aggressor, am a force of nature, to be got out of the way of. It's the ultimate in self-entitled hypocrisy, the most narcissistic worldview there is.
                ...Which is probably where I can relate. While my default state is amiable benevolence, it's not something I ever want to find tested. But to fantasize about through movies and games in their heavily-used revenge-porn glory? Sure.

                ; _ ;

                  Seriously though, I get what you mean. I've thought about that too in games - however for some reason it just didn't work right in this one. He seemed all over the place. If at least his rage was maintained throughout I'd understand. But one minute he's acting in a particular way and the next completely differently. It just didn't feel right.

                  Not that we're all consistently rational/irrational at all times. But we can take a step back and look at the bigger picture and how our actions are affecting others and what the consequences are.

                  This was a case of "this guy stole that grandma's handbag... I must kill him!!!1!11!1!!"


                  Perhaps the inconsistencies in the story and character are due to changes of the story during development stages of the game. It being so obvious most likely is something as simple as that.

                  If i remember correctly, wasn't the main story supposed to be about human trafficking and something along the lines and then they changed it? Or was it do something with some sex scene or something? I do not know as I haven't really followed the news on the game through from its announcement like more than a year ago to release date, I just bought it. As a sucker I am, I went straight for the vigilante pack. Not that great really. A lesson for the future, I guess.

                  Edit: typos

                  Last edited 12/06/14 9:23 pm

    Sounds good to me. I don't care as much as Mr Serrels, but I always pick female when given the choice.

    Last edited 12/06/14 10:17 am

    @MarkSerrels, you're from Scotland, you're not white at all. I've seen how pale you guys are!!! You're practically translucent!

    But good article, I was disgusted with Ubisofts attitude towards this, I don't believe them for one second. I also can't figure out why, what, 8 games or 9 games into the series now and we've only had one female lead and that was only in one minor handheld title. It's about time Ubisoft that a major AC title had a female lead. It's about time.

    I'm a bisexual white man and I could not care less if they put a gay character as a lead character. People shouldn't get worked up. People should care if the game is fun or not. That's it. It's dumb that people need a justification to be who they are. Be who you are. Who cares that AC unity dosn't have a gay/female/different race character. Just enjoy the game. If your looking for real Heroes look at real life. Their much more important things in life at the moment. I can't tell you how insulting it is that if I met a man I wanted to marry I can't. People should be mad about much more than who the lead charecter is of a game. So, I'm using my minority group card, game devs, keep making fun games, don't listen to fake warriors because us in minority groups have bigger problems in the world.

      The existence of one problem does not necessarily negate (or even lessen) another.

        It does. I'm sorry but the fact that you think there not being a gay/female/different colour charecter in games is on the same level as gay people not being allowed to get married or people of different colour being judged by their skin or women being stoned to death in different countries just because they were raped is incredibly insulting and makes me furious.

          It simply doesn't, and you're assuming that they're being equated, which nobody but you has done so far.

          I intend no insult at all; what I'm saying is that just because there is problem a)Representation of women in video games and problem b) same-sex marriage doesn't mean that b) negates a), which is what you've said above -- specifically "heir much more important things in life at the moment. I can't tell you how insulting it is that if I met a man I wanted to marry I can't. People should be mad about much more than who the lead charecter is of a game."

          I don't disagree with you that same-sex marriage is an issue worth getting furious about, but I'm also not dismissing it; you're reading my comment as though it does for whatever reason. Life is more complex and nuanced than that; if we were to take every single aspect that people should get passionate about and stack them in terms of priority, I'd say (for example) that same-sex marriage is less important than a child starving to death in Africa. That's an absolute extreme example, but I'm using it to try to illustrate how when you go down the path of "oh, but there are more important things to get angry about" you're not adding to the debate, but instead diverting it down a completely different path that is functionally irrelevant to the discussion at hand. It doesn't mean that the additional issue is irrelevant in and of itself, but it's a diversion from the context.

          Many things are happening. Many things are important. Existence of one does not negate the other. Do you now see?

            But the bigger problems often get pushed to the back for these small problems that don't matter.

              Hate to be coldly analytical about it, but if you've got a problem that's affecting 50% of the population and another problem affecting 10% of the population, and you want to have an argument about which one gets solved first? You solve the 50% problem.

              (Edit: Not that it's at all relevant in any way whatsoever. Especially when the attention, context, and solutions are all completely different. We solve the marriage issue with voting once every three years. We solve the video game demographic issue by voting with our wallets every release - every month or more. You can do both. And writing about one doesn't mean you should write about the other at the same time. Because if that were true - which it's not - why aren't we also talking about forced detainment for refugees, the widening gap in distribution of wealth, the tax system's reinforcement of an unofficial class/caste society, or the major issues facing prevention of the obese/smokers into the health care system? Talking about one problem does NOT oblige you to discuss all the others.)

              Last edited 12/06/14 2:08 pm

                As I stated, these problems that mean nothing often push major problems liked you talked about to the back of the discussion. Also a gave more examples than just same sex marriage so why is that the one example your trying to pick apart?

                  Because like I said, and like everyone else is saying: just because a conversation is worth having doesn't mean we have to have it before we can talk about anything else. Otherwise, how would you choose?

                  This is the conversation we are having now: representation of women in games. We are having it on a gaming site. This is perfectly OK and bringing up other issues or asking why we aren't talking about other issues is utterly irrelevant and/or inappropriate.

              They're problems that are solvable simultaneously without affecting the other? We are talking on a games site, about how we'd like a change in video games. I highly doubt its pushing back other causes by taking up "more room" in discussions. I'm just glad that this site actually takes some time to talk about social issues in games, when it could be a perfectly decent gaming site without discussing them at all.

          I can't believe you whine about not being able to marry while sex traffickers are selling children into slavery around the world.

          You bawl that you can't sign a piece of paper with your boyfriend and take advantage of the financial benefits of being married while 5 year olds are being enslaved and raped at gunpoint.

          Get some perspective. #firstworldgayproblems

          /did I do it right? Is that how it works?

            These problems should be talked about more. But no let's concentrate on not playing as a women in games right?

              Yes, they should be talked about more...
              But you are on a site dedicated to video games and nerdy culture in general
              Posting in a thread which was very clearly about the issue of/excuses why in ACU there isn't a female protagonist and games in general
              You are also edging precariously around all your posts being flame posts adding nothing to the actual topic of this instance of a thread (if it was TAY then there would likely be less issues)
              I fully expect, if you do respond to this, that it would be a sarcasm laden dismissal of my points in favour of your own (which I do agree with btw, just not where you are making them), and it is a post I fully intend to ignore

                I'm using this article as an example of the problem with society where we concentrate on little things rather than big problems. To relate it back to gaming then. Why does lack of diverse characters get talked about more than women in the gaming industry getting paid less than men to do the same job?

                  Gay marriage is a little thing next to child sex trafficking, stop diverting attention from the REAL issues.

            Just a point the Government benefits from Gay people being a Defacto couple as much as they do from Straight people getting married. So why shouldn't they get the same Benefits as straight people.

      Just because you don't have a problem with it doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

        I'm not saying it doesn't, I'm saying it shouldn't matter when far more important things are going on in the world.

          Have you SEEN how much a cup of coffee costs in Perth these days?


          You know that caring about this doesn't mean that I have used up all my caring about other things?
          I can still care about lack of women in video games as well as caring about non legalised gay marriage, and the worryingly high prevalence of AIDS in young children in Africa, and racism in Australia...

            But those big problems often get pushed to the back for things that don't matter.

              Kotaku is a gaming site. If Mark posted about the aforementioned big problems, no one would read Kotaku because they aren't relevant to gaming. He's posting about gaming problems, because this is the context.

      I would 100% agree with you if this was a standard news site and it was taking up significant headline space. But it's not. It's about video games. Kotaku doesn't try to tackle issues like Crimea or mass child - kidnappings in Africa. It's just a video game site that has its own agenda.

    I'm a straight white man and unless I have to, I never play female characters. I find it a little creepy that so many men want to to be honest.

      So you're playing a 3rd person game for 6 or so hours, and you'd rather stare at the arse of a steroid abusing space marine than say... Lara Croft.

      I find that a little creepy.

      Edit: Really shouldn't have used the word "creepy", was only trying to mimic the original post. Whatever your flavour of butt (eww) you want on your screen is fine.

      Last edited 12/06/14 12:04 pm

        Neither compare to the real thing mate, I don't play games to get aroused.

          And other people don't play for self-insertion. That's a little creepy, to be honest.

          I play games for the sake of their narrative. When I play an MMO, I'm not imagining myself as whatever character, I'm helping along the story of the cute elf (elves are always better than everyone else), because in my mind that makes for the better narrative. Even if it's only because of subversion of gender roles/expectations and subconscious addition of underdog status given the stereotypical lower female proclivity/proficiency with violence.

            That elf had better be of the blood variety or we just cant be e-pals anymore.

              *dainty elf-fist-bump* I played Nelves til Belves came along. Blood elves are hot. Night elves are... office-hot.

      I'd counter and say I find it odd you think it's creepy. Each to their own, which is kind of the whole point.

      Not that I find it creepy, but given the choice I always pick a male character. That said, I still play games like Tomb Raider, Mirror's Edge, Beyond Good & Evil and Lollipop Chainsaw and enjoy them immensely.

        Perhaps creepy was the wrong word to use, I meant no offence by it. I find it 'strange' as when I play a game like gunnie said playing a male character with as close a resemblence to myself gives me a better sense of immersion.

          I often choose female characters, because as has been mentioned above, they often suit the way I want to play better. I've played WOW on and off since the Beta, and most of my characters are hunters or similar. Male characters in WOW just don't look like hunters, they look like WWF wrestlers! So I prefer the female versions in any game where the female better suits the way I want to play, as simple as that.

          So as to "playing a male character with as close a resemblence to myself gives me a better sense of immersion"; for me is actually more immersive playing the female version.

      Keep staring at those dude butts, dude.

      /not judging

      Is it creepy if a girl ever wants to play as a guy?

      I just noticed you have a girl's username. Creepy. I have a straight white man as mine.

        Favourite Band... back in your hole grub.


        Last edited 12/06/14 12:53 pm

          What's their best album?

            Personally I think nocturnal, I like their riffs on Unhallowed but its a bit old recording wise, they've been through so many lineup changes but for me Nocturnal has the juiciest sound.


            Last edited 13/06/14 8:57 am

            worth a watch https://thepiratebay.se/torrent/10334323/The_Black_Dahlia_Murder_-_Fool_Em_All_[2_Disc_DVD]

    I'm all for that, in theory. In practice, the dynamic shift would have to be far greater than it first seems, or we'll just be bombarded with impossibly curvy sex symbols with strategically torn clothing... which improves nothing.

    In an ideal world, it would be more than a skin change. In many situations, men and women derive different approaches to problems based on their individual strengths or abilities (and I'm not necessarily talking about the usual stereotype brawny-man brainy-woman thing), and the world itself certainly reacts differently. I'd like to think that the mechanics of an AC games with a female protagonist would be different (guards, for example, would probably be far more complacent in combat, simply because historical sexism), rather than being the exact same game with a skin change.

    But hey, if the integrity of the story wouldn't be destroyed, then sure, give me a choice. Or write some more female-centric games. Mirror's Edge was pretty wicked - I'll take another one of those.

    Last edited 12/06/14 11:05 am

      It is one of those things that really depends on the story being told though. A lot of games wouldn't work with just a skin change because of the kind of story it is. But some do. Mass Effect, for example, the way *it's* written it really does work whether it's Dudeshep or Femshep, because it's not a male or a female story, it's a soldier story. Of course, Femshep being skinned onto Dudeshep leads to some hilarious "my balls are the size of WA" posing, which could be dealt with, but other than that, the nature of the story is that it's the story of a person not of a specific gender. I could do with more writing like that in video games.

    I'm a straight, white, cis man. I play a lot of video games. I used to instinctively choose male characters most of the time, even when the option was given, but lately I find myself playing female characters 2/3 of the time. (This is easier when you play MMO's, of course)

    If you asked me why that is, or why I've changed - I think it's exactly that. Change. I've been playing video game for almost 30 years, and I got fucking tired of just playing dudes over and over again.

    I'm a man, and I want the option to play a female character in more of my games too. Imagine how most women feel.

      I think it's down to what you're looking to get out of the game and how you approach it. I know a few folks who get heavily into the self-insertion. They'll come up with intricate, detailed, rich backstories for their characters with a heavy focus on being able to relate, and play that backstory into their future interactions (where possible and not railroaded by the game) for the sake of role-playing.

      Me, I don't practice that aspect so much and mostly construct a narrative around the character as their own, independent entity who I am merely guiding, providing the agency for.

      Eg: I played Mass Effect and enjoyed the story of Commander Jane Shepard. I did not play it to live out a space-fantasy of my own, just to enjoy her story.

      Same goes for MMOs, etc.

      What you said about 'I've seen enough dudes blowing shit up' (paraphrase) is a pretty telling, I reckon. About the narrative focus. Tropes are everywhere. You don't avoid them as much as pick the ones you want. And what I prefer about the female-badass protagonist trope is that it's less-common than the male-badass protag one, and it counters a few prevalent stereotypes with some less-commonly-used stereotypes. Which is nice for the novelty.

      In the case of preferring a woman as the protagonist of a narrative-focused experience, I'm not convinced that what you gender you are personally has much of an impact on how the character fits the tropes available to make use of. :)

        Yeah, I'm not an immersion type gamer. I'm playing as the character in the game, it's not me.

        It could honestly come down to a simple change in scenery. ME being a good example. DudeShep and FemShep are the same character, but I found FemShep far more interesting. DudeShep just looks like every other soldier-type in history. It felt more..... something - making a FemShep and choosing how she reacted to people and situations. By the end of the 3rd game, i was actually really invested in her as a character. I cared what happened to her. Pretty sure if it was DudeShep, I would've been more detached. Difficult to tell how much more, because I haven't done a DudeShep playthrough.

        MMO's are a bit different. They're just avatars to me. A simple manifestation of me interacting with the world, and not a lot more. Yet interestingly, I tend to choose mostly female characters there too, despite there being no real narrative for me.

    So 1 in 10 times he will look at another penis at public toilets.

      If you know of the rules of mens toilets, then the chance of that happening is incredibly low.

        #1 Eyes front
        #2 No talking

        So basically the same rules that apply to church, funerals and that moment directly after you get spotted gazing at someones boobs


    I loved Tomb Raider and Really enjoyed the playing as the protagonist in Beyond Two Souls. Every time I get to play as a female character I enjoy it because its a different perspective. I bought Among the Sleep because I wanted to play as a 2yo. I want games that let me play as a grandparent. I enjoy games that allow me to step into another world, and I love that to include one that is other than the 32yo male that I am.

    However I also work in software development and there is often a wish list of things to include and at some point these items will be scrapped for various reasons. I assure you that each task had estimates places against it and when the available time was compared to the feature list the red pen came out. get that people perhaps feel that they could have prioritised this over that or whatever, but I don't believe that this should be the shit storm people are making it out to be.

      Ubisoft is a juggernaut of a business. They have ten studios working on this game. Previous games in the same series have managed to have both male and female characters in multiplayer. Do you see why people are skeptical that they're really that hard up for development resources?

      There's also the question of priorities. If development resources really are stretched, why is it this that's getting cut?

        Can't speculate on any of that but just because someone has 1000+ resources does not mean every feature is possible.I get your point and don't disagree, but it seems that people are placing a lot of importance on this because of the frank and up front response but many other games don't get the same treatment for not having a female character.

        Sounding like a fanboy and I don't want to. I don't really play AC games so don't really care. I fully support everyone wanting female protagonists and only support that when it's fits or suits the story line. Female assassins would have been bad ass and hopefully this will make them reprioritise... who knows.

        It's a good point. Given those conditions, I would also be skeptical, but context is important - remember, this is the Assassin's Creed franchise. Where they're aiming for what... annual releases? That kind of expectation probably puts some extra weight on the time-priority, which leaves me slightly more inclined to believe an excuse that I would otherwise roll my eyes at. "What's another six months, really?" actually means something if you're aiming for annual.

        Wouldn't be surprised if the next game they make in the same engine/world expands things, though. AC5's 'Brotherhood' 'Sisterhood', if you will.

    Shouldn't feminists be all over this? Sure, you're supporting their cause, but you're also saying you're a straight white man who prefers to look at a female form. And this change should be done, because you're the main demographic. Yet main demographics of hetero players in the East wasn't enough for Nintendo to get away with "not including gay marriage".

    Is it only me that sees the irony here?

      Except he said nothing about preferring to look at a female form... You just added that to the conversation.

      The closest he came to that point was saying he didn't like to look at penises... Penii?

      The reason he brought up his demographic is that it's a common trope from designers to discount female characters purely because they don't think this demographic cares for it. It's a counter to that argument.

        It's also a common trope that men don't listen to what women say until a man says it too.

          So true it made me kind of depressed.

          But at least solidarity is better than silence, even if it technically shouldn't be needed.

    So am i, i just really dislike Frozen.

    The only idea i reject is that men are represented fairly in games. In terms of quantity perhaps but since when has "gruff marine" been enough for people of any gender? Asking simply for female characters isn't necessarily the way for me personally, i'd just like all-round better characters. About half of those should at least be female. I mean the option? For everything? I believe that certain things in life actually are gender-specific, we don't need a choice necessarily, just greater diversity.

      I support the inclusion of female characters and protagonists where they make sense.

      For instance, it's bloody unlikely that women would be in some SOOPER SPEC-OPS SHOCK TROOPAH unit (unless powered armour entirely obsoleted physical ability), but in a survival horror game about a band of randoms struggling to survive the collapse of civilization or an investigative game about serial killings their inclusion would be entirely warranted.

      AC is one of those games where I can take it or leave it. If that makes me a bad person, so be it.

    As much as I'd like to support it, the snarky, sarcastic tone and the inevitable use of the word privilege (intended, of course, to make us all feel guilty about being a straight white guy) just makes me want to shut the browser down.

    I think a female character in Assassin's Creed would be great and it would even work in the context of the story, but, urggh...articles like this just make me so annoyed.

      The concept of privilege isn't actually supposed to make people feel guilty. It's supposed to make people think about what kind of hard-wired advantages they have in life, and how much more difficult life would be without them. It's a provocation to empathise, not an accusation of guilt. We can't really help if we're born white and male in a rich country, so feeling guilt about that would be silly (and anyone who thinks you should is, likewise, silly).

        That might be the intent, but it's hardly the use of it. All it makes me think is "Well, screw it then, if you're going to hate me just because of how I'm born you can sod off and fix your own damn problems". It also insinuates that we are utterly immune from any problems of our own simply by bent of the colour of our skin and gender. In short, it's generalising bollocks that's no better than any other form of stereotyping. The only difference is this kind is currently socially acceptable.

          Outside of a handful of extremists, merely being privileged in way way or another does not inspire hate among people.

          More importantly, X privilege does not suggest that people with a given privilege are immune from any problems, rather the specific problems that can be associated with race, gender, etc. For example, men are not subjected to discrimination against women (which manifests in such ways as female-named applicants being rated as less competent, and offered a lower salary than the male-named applicants, with identical - aside from name - applications*). That is not to say that all men have it great, or that all men should be ashamed or hated. Merely that men are not subjected to the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) biases against women. They disadvantage women. By extension, not being subject to them provides a (relative, though not absolute) benefit, or 'privilege'.


            Of course men don't experience discrimination against women, they're not women. Likewise, women don't experience discrimination against men, because they're not men. However, you'll find that the notion of 'female privilege' is widely denounced by feminists of both genders, and perhaps rightfully so - nobody uses the word privilege the way you do. If they did, there would be tacit acknowledgement that most certainly female privilege exists. Instead, anyone so much as suggesting female privilege is real is condemned as sexist.

        That might be the more noble intention, but in practice the word gets wielded as a weapon, and it's pretty ugly. Newspapers are for reading, but you bop your dog on the nose with one enough and they're not going to place much importance on that.

        (Do... do people even buy newspapers anymore? I keep seeing them at corner shops...)

          Computers are also used as weapons, that doesn't mean they're bad. The concept of privilege shouldn't be used as a weapon, though, you're right. Sadly, it can be. But that's by no means the most prevalent use of it - it's extensively used in academia, social sciences etc, where it originated - but I would hope that humans have greater critical thinking skills than a dog, that might allow them to do more than just develop a Pavlovian response.

            Well, it's kind of like the word 'friendzone' which for the last damn near 15yrs of my experience has been used to describe the very common scenario where someone you approach romantically rejects your advances and offers friendship instead. The word existed to describe that scenario, independent of how anyone might feel about the scenario.

            But somehow apparently using that word to describe that scenario is now off-limits because the reddit/MRA/feminist-blog gender-warriors have somehow managed to convince enough people that their either-side-extremist echo-chamber bullshit is relevant to the entire internet, so now apparently 'friendzone' instead of describing an 'officially-rejected crush with offer of friendship' is apparently now associated with whining about the situation or accusations of rejection as some kind of malicious or manipulative act. Which, y'know... the mind boggles. A prime example of a completely innocuous word getting tainted by a minority of assholes so the rest of us can't use it anymore.

            Same goes with 'privilege'. Academic, social-science clinical term removed from any values judgement in and of itself, now inextricably linked in the Internet's hivemind to those who use it as the opening salvo in Internet comment/forum battles.

              Except it also gets used a lot online as not a weapon, but in discussions in the original context. I honestly can't recall the last time I encountered someone employing it aggressively, and I know a buttload of feminists /shrug

        'X privilege' is a fallacy known as hasty generalisation, and tends to invalidate an argument that it's incorporated in. The notion of X privilege implies that all members of X enjoy a position of privilege, however this is demonstrably false in almost all cases.

        There are better ways to encourage thought than to use fallacious reasoning, and certainly better ways than to use the implication that members of X are fundamentally lacking in knowledge or experience to be able to accurately assess a situation, which is a very common intention from people who use (or perhaps misuse) the privilege argument.

          "The notion of X privilege implies that all members of X enjoy a position of privilege"
          No, actually, it doesn't. It refers to a specific, and limited, set of privileges unavailable to not-X, not that all X are privileged in the "well off/rich" sense of the word. Very broadly it refers to the 'privilege' of not being discriminated against. White privilege does not mean (or claim) that all white people have better lives than all non-white people, nor does male privilege mean or claim that all men have better lives than all women.