The Games At E3 2014 Sure Had A Lot Of Dudes (Like Always)

It’s probably not surprising to hear that E3 heavily featured men this year — that is, unfortunately, normal — but still, after watching every dude one after the other in a supercut, everyone sort of starts blurring together as a blob of Stern Angry (And Probably White) Dude.

It’s not as bad as when every protagonist ever started looking like Vin Diesel, but it’s still not a great situation if you ask me.

There were, of course, some games with women protagonists in them this year, too! The new Tomb Raider, Splatoon, Bayonetta — just to name a few. But they’re outliers. Here’s hoping that game companies stop making excuses and stop cutting women out of their games, because it sure would be nice to have more variety in here.

But for now, these 40 dudes are basically the face of gaming, as Rebellious Pixels notes in the title of the video.

The Face of Gaming: 40 Male Protagonists Featured at E3 2014 [Rebellious Pixels]


      • Since there are indeed a percentage of games where there are female protagonists/player characters then I would like to see the discussion quieten by that percentage.

      • A problem will also only be solved if the discussion is meaningful and constructive, motivating action and change. This doesn’t really feel like either of those things and is merely just saying yet again “Oh look, there’s a problem” and then going back to whatever you were doing.

      • Yeah, seriously. Look through the author article history. 80% is trash. It’s not even ‘controversial yet thought-provoking’, it’s just utter poor journalism and trash. It’s made purely to get views/interactions. There will be plenty of lengthy comments below, but I felt it was time to make a nice and curt response which sums it all up.

        • It’s Kotaku man. If sensationalist headlines and click bait articles bother you then you’re in the wrong place.
          She is a female journo hired to comment on gaming from a very obvious view point. The subject isn’t going to go away because it’s already been mentioned and the story itself is a massive link to all the relevant female related articles of E3 of which she was not the only contributor and a video she didn’t make.

          The mindset around here seems to be, this is a very important subject but I don’t want to hear about it anymore.

          If you don’t like her work don’t read it. I dislike shock jocks and talk back radio but I show this by not listening to those stations, not getting upset and calling them, that would be weird.

  • While I’d like the option, im just a consumer, not a character design or modeler, let alone a writer or creative director, it is not my place to tell devs how to do their jobs. I don’t mind contributing my thoughts when devs ask me, but would hate to think anyone compromised their vision to fit my tastes.

    If Ubi are too scared of the market reaction not being positive if they made a full fledged AC games protag female, then they are too scared. Or FC.

    I’m going on the assumpttion that making fem protags is costly is bs btw.

    • We enjoy stories like this……but only once and then never mention them again no matter how important or current they are.

      • I believe in equality for women, I’m not a sexist guy. I just don’t want people pointing it out or talking about it at all.

          • I’m not racist but I believe all Aboriginals shouldn’t recieve Centrelink payment or Healthcare.

    • Can you explain further, how exactly it sucks?

      I never see any overly male-focused articles, or comments, or “which babe would you bang” type of stuff. The only thing I see is constant sexism stuff. So, what exactly is the problem? You can’t reply to a generic blanket statement with another generic blanket statement and expect it to make sense.

      Also, you should hop on over to Talk Amongst Yourselves. There’s quite a thriving community talking with each other about all kinds of stuff, and a decent amount of females too.

  • Can you get over this Patricia? I have no problem with female characters in my games and I’m especially pleased when they aren’t in a game purely for “tits and ass” factor and are actually useful fleshed out characters. What you need to realise though is that this is a male dominated industry you work in. The main consumer is young males. Gaming is a business. Being a business this means they have to try to make a profit. To make a profit they need to cater to their main market base. This isn’t some industry saying “we hate women we don’t want women in our games” like you try to make it out to be. There’s no conspiracy it’s just business.

    • What you need to realise though is that this is a male dominated industry you work in. The main consumer is young males. Gaming is a business. Being a business this means they have to try to make a profit. To make a profit they need to cater to their main market base.

      So, to make a profit, you only cater to your existing demographic? You don’t try to expand your demographic to the other 50% of the population? hmmmm

      And how do you know that the industry isn’t dominated by males purely because there aren’t more video game heroines?

      You make an awful lot of assumptions.

      • You make an awful lot of assumptions.
        Nah, game studios do. He’s just observing their actions in reaction to these assumptions.

        And from the actual articles, it seems the game studios don’t give a shit about a (perhaps) small minority waving a flag.

      • There’s an NPD study that shows that 80% of the HD action genre demographic is male. And a Venture Beat article had this to say based on the results of the core demographics revealed in said study:

        “Short of a study on how many women are staying out of core gaming specifically on account of the lack of female characters or sexist depictions of women, there is no economic reason I can think of why developers or publishers of core games ought to care about selling to an audience which might exist more than selling to the audience they know exists.”

        What’s being demanded of these developers is akin to a man writing into Cosmopolitan incensed about the lack of content in their magazine for the male reader. That is if each issue cost 200 million dollars to make.

        You’d be treated like a fool. They’d explain to you that you aren’t their market, and that they are not going to cater for a small, loud minority that, while they appreciate your interest in the publication, could not possibly make allowances for. They would say anyone could see the illogical position you are taking, and wonder why you even brought it up to begin with. They would finally state that what they publish is up to their discretion, and if that meant you were going to stop purchasing their magazine because of that, then there’s the door.

        Maybe if they were really nice they’d recommend creating the magazine you want to read. This is the way all creators started. It’s a combination of aspiration and frustration. You love the medium, you are disgruntled with how the people who operate in it perform. The best bands start this way, the best companies, writers, game designers, anyone.

        If you think it can be done your way, if you think you can make as much money creating games where everybody “wins”, prove it.

  • While I may not agree with Ubisofts stance, due to thinking their technical explanation is weak, I don’t agree with this video at all.

    1. There’s a few games, at least 5, in there such as The Division which DO give you the option to play as females, easily the equal of their male counterparts, defeating the entire purpose of this propaganda driven video.
    2. Crackdown, we’ve only seen a few characters so far, there may be a female yet, we don’t know.
    3. Certain games such as Sniper Elite, have to be fairly accurate to history. Snipers in the US military were *male*. Sorry Patricia but they use US Military snipers in the game.
    4. At this point, the whole point behind the original issue has been lost and it’s been ‘internetted’, turned into something it originally wasn’t.
    5. That quote by Dan Houser is taken *amazingly* and *completely* out of context, Patricia you know it and I’m betting the creator of the video knows it. Jesus christ.

    I think there definitely should be more equality in games, but not by weak propaganda driven efforts like this.

  • Hey, don’t forget that in hyrule warriors midna, impa & ZELDA are all playable in the game, thus making it a worthy game to play for fans who want to play as zelda & possibly sheik, ninja princess ftw

  • How is tomb raider an outlier? She is close to being one of the most popular video game characters and been around since ps1..

    I hate this type of journalism…

    • Tomb Raider is an outlier in that it’s one of the rare franchises featuring a properly developed female protagonist. There are very few games like it, is the point.

      The last game’s popularity and strong sales are an excellent counter-argument to the bullshit line that men won’t buy games about women, by the way.

      • Mass Effect? The Division? Dragon Age Inquisition? Anything by Bethesda… at all, because even Wolfenstein had strong female characters in it despite you controlling BJ Blaskowictz. The Sims 4.

        There’s a plethora of games that allow equality. However I do take the point there’s far more bro-games out there that don’t give equality.

        But I still stand firm this is an entirely propaganda driven argument that’s *really* weak when it’s stripped to its core. There however is a strong argument to be made, just not with the information they’re trying to arm themselves with, it just feels like they’re coming from the wrong angle.

  • So would you prefer it if some of these companies who have a majority of males working for them (i know this is a generalization but the reality is that even with an increases amount of females in the industry it is still male dominated) design female characters from their a male perspective, giving us an inaccurate, offensive, sometimes sexist depictions of female characters. I genuinely think some men cannot write for a female role, sure some people can. Did you ever stop and think that maybe it’s out of respect for woman that some of these companies don’t make female characters because they are fully aware of their shortcomings and know that including a badly written female character will be more offensive and detrimental than just leaving them out. Sick to death of this stinking argument, let game developers do what they want, oh you find it offensive do you, sorry that’s freedom of speech, did you know there is such a thing called freedom of choice and you have the right to choose not to play the damn game, clearly you are not the target audience. I often wonder how many new and inventive features have been left out of a game because developers may have worried they would offend someone.

      • Cos it better not have been a woman! … or… it should have been? Um… I’m confused what are we all fired up about again?

        • I just hope the cheese and butter are evenly distributed across the bread. That’s all we can really ask for in the end. For too long, butter has been unfairly smooshed into one side of the bread, because sandwich technicians “don’t have time” to scrape it over.

          This doesn’t affect me however, as a consumer of mayonnaise. I just love coming here to talk about it all the time.

  • I agree that the lack of realistic female representation in games is a problem, but I really don’t think forcing the issue down peoples’ throats is the way to go about fixing it. All this is doing is getting the hackles up of a large proportion of the gaming audience (as evidenced by some of the comments here), making people defensive and less likely to listen to any logical arguments put forward.

    • But who is forcing the issue down your throat?
      You chose to click on the article, to read it and comment on it. The article didn’t knock on your door and ask if you have accepted our lord female representation and not let you reply while it frantically hands you flyers. It didn’t call you at dinner claiming to be named Chris despite a clear accent and cut you off every time you try to say “no thanks I am happy with my current services”

      • His choice of words may not be technically accurate, but we all knew what he meant.
        He meant that underrepresentation of women is not going to be taken seriously if all they complain about are non-issues or misinformation (like the taken of out context quote at the end of the video). You surely knew what he meant too, why chastise him like that?

    • HEY! Person with a perfectly reasonable opinion.. We don’t take kindly to your types around here.

      Now skeeter they ain’t hurtin no one..

  • Obligatory: Because when I’m holding an assault rifle, I don’t want to have to get in touch with my feelings…

    But seriously, I embrace equality in video games, but the push to have more female video game leads is just going to end up with complaints about how these new female leads are overly sexualised or overly sensitive or tokenistic or stereotypical or misrepresenting (x) type of women or whatever else there is wrong with them. Because all everyone does is fucking complain about fucking everything all the fucking time /rant.

  • From talking to many gamers I find there are quite a few men who hate playing anything but a straight dude. Their feelings seem to typically be
    “that’s gay!”
    “it’s okay if I get to look at her butt”
    “if people can choose gender online then women can hide from my advances and I might accidentally hit on a man which is gay”
    “did I mention how bad being gay is? it’s like the worse thing because it means you like to have sex with men and that’s what women like and women are literally the worst thing ever”.

    Why game developers want to pander to these idiots and ignore many more potential customers I have no idea.

    Also why is kotaku so full of feminist hating dudebro’s? Why do they keep coming back to complain about the choice of topics? Did something happen to ign?

    • I dislike feminists, I dislike the male equivelant (manlists???? masculists???) I’m personally an equalist. I personally feel either of the first two have an agenda, pure and simple so when I hear the word feminist or sense the male equivelent is out and about, it gets my neck hair up.

      • This idea that feminists hate men is absurd. Yes, we have an agenda: equality, and getting rid of sexist gender norms that portray men as buff, sex-minded protectors and women as weak child-bearers. Wey’re called ‘feminists’ instead of ‘equalists’ because these gender norms predominantly make the world worse for women, and equality requires often fighting for the side that is oppressed.

      • You don’t actually know what feminism is. You could be forgiven for not reading a book about it but how can you have not even visited wikipedia?

        Feminism is about women being brought up to the same basic level as men. This idea that feminists want more rights than men have is a strawman argument that people constantly drag out to shut someone up who has a valid point. There should be more women represented in games! It’s bullshit how few there are. You can’t walk down the shops without seeing as many women as men and yet when you turn a videogame on it’s all men men men men men. Even if no women played games at all you should have a more equal representation of them in games because half the planet is women. Game developers always talk about realism and immersion. They put so much effort into light baking ambient occlusion and specular highlights on helmets but completely ignore actually replicating the gender diversity of the real world.

        • Have you read any modern feminist blogs? Have you heard of “international castration day”? Okay, that’s extreme, but there are women out there who legitimately believe this is a fair and just practice. Feminism was a valid movement about 40, 50, 60 years ago, but it’s slowly turned into a much more extremist and disturbing movement. Yes, there are still legitimate feminists who aren’t batshit insane and thankfully they seem to make up a majority but the line between the crazies and the sensible people is beginning to blur slightly.

          I don’t care about this equality shit in games, I don’t care if the protag is male or female if it makes sense and is written well I just really don’t care for this whole angry movement where every game with no female protagonist is instantly scrutinized and criticized. People just want to have a female protag in every game for the sake of equality, not giving a shit about the story or writing or the game itself.

          • So let me get this straight. Your point is that there is a small group of women out there who hate men and they define the feminist movement because.. just because?

            I have no doubt that such extreme views exist in rare places of the internet but why are you holding them up as what constitutes feminism when there are a majority of other people fighting for equality under the feminist label?

            Furthermore the patriarchy that feminists criticise doesn’t even benefit most men it actually harms them. When a young boy chooses videogames over pumping iron at the gym and gets bullied for it, that’s the fucking patriarchy!

            Its a really sad fact that so many feminists are attacked by male gamers, people they would actually be helping by dismantling the patriarchy if only those fools would help them.

          • No, I’m saying that such extreme views are becoming more commonplace and beginning to blend with the more sensible feminist views. This is far from some deep dark corner of the internet; a very good number of feminists have absurd views on how men should be treated. And as such, be wary when you say that “feminism is about women being brought up to the same standard as men”, because certain groups of feminists are beginning to turn it into “feminism is about women being the superior sex”. People say “I’m a feminist” and have no idea of the implications of what they’re saying because there’s a good number of women out there who are convinced feminism is about female superiority instead of equality.

            I just wish people could stop it from being one sided. Label it “equalism” instead of picking a side. It would be stupid to identify as a masculinist, so why is it not considered stupid to identify as a feminist? Both sides have problems: women in India and the Middle East are given horrible rights compared to men, women have lower pay in the first world, women are still subject to a greater amount of sexual abuse. However, men still suffer some poor treatment. Men are circumcised at birth and men are often found guilty of rape when falsely accused, and many people still hold the view that male rape is nonexistent. Why must we attribute these to a “patriarchy”? Why can we not just work towards the rights of both instead of making it a battle between sexes?

          • People have been saying “certain groups of feminists are beginning to turn it into “feminism is about women being the superior sex” for decades.

            Here’s a question when was the last time you heard about the so-called men-haters attacking men physically? Now, when was the last time you heard about sexists who hate women being violent towards women?

            Those blogs and things exist as a way for these women to vent. The women who face violence and sexism constantly. The ones who are constantly told that their concerns are trivial, by men and some women who have never faced the same things. When a girl on Tumblr says “kill all men”, she A. doesn’t plan to follow through, B. probably has an actual reason to fear men. To frame it as equal to a dude starting a blog called “women should be killed” is absurd, because you’re missing crucial context. I agree that I don’t think it’s the right thing to do, but hell, I haven’t been through the same things they have.

            Yes, men have problems in this world. Rape being defined as ‘penetration’ is an issue, as are false rape accusations. But you know what’s much, much more common than men being falsely accused of rape? No-one being accused of rape despite occurring. Even fewer get punished for it. There are many, many more women who suffer sexual abuse and don’t get any justice than there are men who get falsely accused.

            Feminism isn’t about a battle of the sexes, though, as you put it. The people who cry “kill all cis men” aren’t serious about it. What do they, seriously, want? They want equality. And arguing that feminism is anti-male because it doesn’t focus on men’s issues is ridiculous. You could similarly argue that feminism is anti-Sudanese because it isn’t aimed at directly helping in the conflict there.

            There’s also this mistaken belief that feminism only exists to help women. You know what hurts men? This gender binary of men being tough bastards who can handle anything, and women being the ones who should be in the kitchen. When MRA’s see ads with the old man-so-dumb-he-cant-figure-out-how-to-do-something-around-the-house-but-his-wife-can, they complain that it’s sexist, and that feminists must love it. But they don’t. Because these same things hurt everyone. Masculinity being equal with toughness and femininity with weakness is something that feminists are against, and it hurts *everyone*.

            It’s also completely disingenuous to say that the feminists are the ones turning it into a battle of the sexes; whenever there’s an article on womens’ issues, someone will inevitably go “but what about *men*?”

          • You don’t really understand many of the words and concepts you are talking about. It’s a big ask that you go and do gender studies at university so I will just quickly cover some points.

            1. Yes all people suffer, but they do not suffer equally. Overwhelmingly women suffer the most, then followed by gay/queer men and then finally men. Of course you can find a guy that suffers more for his sex than a woman but that is not the majority case.

            2. It’s called feminism because women suffer the most and women named it that. If there were more men fighting alongside them in the first wave of feminism then it may well have adopted a different label. Men like myself have come in later because we were blind before. We missed the boat to get a say on the label and really who cares? It’s the meaning that matters.

            3. You must attribute these problems to the patriarchy because that’s what is causing them. Pay careful attention here. The patriarchy, not men, but the patriarchy is the enemy. The problem is that many men think that the patriarchy is what they are but it’s not. It’s what they live inside. It is a shitty system that harms women, men and everything else. And even women can be complicit in it to, for example when a women makes fun of a guy for crying or not being tough enough.

            4. When the patriarchy goes away, men don’t go away they are more free. Free to do whatever they want and not get called gay as an insult by other men. Free to like baking cakes, do ballet or not be into cars and punching things. You really need to understand how ingrained the patriarchy is to see why this is so important. Men suffer and commit suicide from bullying and rape all because they cannot conform to the gender model patriarchy tells them they must. This isn’t a battle of the sexes, it’s humans vs the patriarchy.

          • I don’t disagree that there are issues for men too, and I used to say the same thing about “equalism”, but I changed my mind.

            You can’t compare the sheer magnitude and weight of problems facing women due to their gender vs those facing men, especially when you consider developing countries. In this country even things as simple as wearing makeup, being oggled or being expected to act a certain way are things that women deal with on a daily basis. (It’s worth pointing out that probably a decent share of the blame for some of those first world feminist issues belongs to women, but that’s irrelevant.)

            As squawkly said, just because a minority of people who call themselves “feminists” are loonies, doesn’t negate the meaning of the word. If that were the case, I wouldn’t call myself a liberal or an atheist or a gamer.

            Honestly I just don’t think you have your finger on the pulse when it comes to feminism. The vast majority of public figure feminists, especially in this country, are articulate and educated and very reasonable. You see them on TV – Jane Caro, Leslie Cannold, Mia Freedman, etc. The worst you might say is that they take issue with things you might consider minor or too PC – like including more female protagonists in video games. But the idea is to open conversations and bring about the social change that leads to more important things – abortion rights, equal pay, etc. Modern feminism is hardly about hating men and burning bras. I think that’s a complete myth.

          • Yes, I absolutely agree there exists sensible feminists but it needs to be made more evident which feminists are good and which feminists are bad. Right now, the crazies and the sensible people call themselves the same thing. As you said, yes, there are crazy atheists and crazy liberals and crazy conservatives. The difference here is that feminism a burgeoning movement and as it becomes less and less politically correct to criticise feminists, the crazy feminists will begin to have more free reign to say crazy things.

            Modern feminism is hardly about hating men and burning bras. I think that’s a complete myth.

            I cannot agree with you. To some extent perhaps but a “complete myth”? No. There is a worrying amount of people who have this mindset. All I want is for that to be recognised so that the worse kind doesn’t begin to merge with the better kind and begin being hateful of men under the pretense of being a positive influence on society.

          • Oh yes I see now. A bunch of people have collected stupid things other people have said on social media. This clearly constitutes what feminism is. I will go and edit wikipedia now to correct it. Tell the boys to grab some drums of petrol, we have a lot of books to burn. And someone get me on the phone to those universities.

            “Hello? Vice Chancellor?”
            “I’ve just discovered that you have been teaching feminism wrong. Some people on the internet compiled some stupid things feminists have said on social media.”
            “What? No this is not an ignoratio elenchi.”

        • What about that woman who points out what’s wrong with feminism? She’s all for equal rights, but believes many feminists are doing it wrong.

        • This argument is exactly the reason why ‘equalism’ is the far, far better term to use. *shrug*

      • Masculism. Technically a person can be a masculist and a feminist at the same time as both are based on equality, or your version of ‘equalist’. However a masculist or feminist would typically see one side being disadvantaged or unequal and lean that way. So for a poor example you could be a feminist over equal wages and a masculist over child custody. Unfortunately there is a general misunderstanding of feminism being about the hatred or distrust of men, known as ‘Misandry’, the more common opposite of this is ‘misogyny’ which is also heavily incorrectly applied, especially recently.

  • As a female I’m more concerned about the lack of female representation in Governments around the world, and the fact we get paid less than men in the same occupations not “wahhhh game won’t let me pick a female character”. Not every female out there gives a flying fuck about this issue Patricia, I for one don’t because there’s real issues to get your undies in a knot over.

    • Maybe there is a lack of female representation in governments because society has deeply engrained views of females that is perpetuated by things like females having very little representation as characters displaying leadership, strength or wisdom in video games..

    • Why do you give a flying fuck about how many women get elected into government when there are kids dying of starvation or being sold into sexual slavery?

      Can’t we give many flying fucks about many things that are wrong?

      Also I really have to disagree with the idea that cultural representation in media is not very important considering it’s saturation level in modern society.

      • Um Squawkly where did I say I didn’t care about poverty or sex trafficking?! I’m not trying to dictate how and what people should feel about issues that plague this planet of ours, merely stating my own opinion (and emphasising that Patricia isn’t the elected spokesperson for an entire gender, just like I’m not).

        • I never said you didn’t care about such things if you read carefully. I was pointing out that just because some things are more important than others doesn’t mean that the less important thing doesn’t deserve an article on a website.

          One thing I did assume is that your post was suggesting that this article shouldn’t exist since you directly addressed the author to tell her how this isn’t a real issue. If this isn’t the case I apologise .

          • I appreciate what you were saying Squawkly, That just because some issues aren’t as important as other issues doesn’t mean that they should be ignored. This is a gaming website, not a political website, so when it comes to articles about women’s equality appearing on this site, it makes sense that it’s in relation to games and not governments.

    • I’m open to being wrong about this, but last time I checked, the actual wage gap between genders, given the same field/role and the same experience/qualification was about 1.5-3%

      Most of the reports that given values along the lines of 15-25% are just taking the comparing the average wage of men to that of women, without taking into consideration hours worked, age of retirement (which affects average number of years in field), or the even the gender distribution across various fields, amongst various other mitigating factors.

    • There’s always a bigger fish to fry. That doesn’t mean the small fish aren’t worth frying too.

      It’s about a broader cultural shift. The lack of female representation in gaming is a result of the same crap that sees a lack of female representation in government. Change needs to happen at all levels.

  • I’m just gonna repeat my comment from earlier:

    I began studying my children’s services diploma in order to work in day care. I was literally the only guy in all of the classes. At no point was I discouraged or ostracized. All of the women were very welcoming to me (most believed that more males in the industry would eventually equate to higher award wages) but it didn’t matter, it was hard to shake the feeling that I didn’t belong, that I was out of place. And there was the cultural pressure to, there was the feeling that it wasn’t a man’s trade. It was a really challenging time and it took some degree of willpower to stick it through. But I did, and eventually it was really rewarding. But it really opened up my eyes to what it’s like being the minority. I had never really comprehended what it was like to be marginalized by my gender because as a man, it virtually never happens to us.

    I wonder if it’s the same for women and gaming. I wonder if they see the lines of men at midnight launches, the shelves of box art featuring a majority of men, and I wonder if there’s that general feeling that they’re out of place, like it’s not a feminine hobby. I wonder if the underlying message is “this is primarily a place for men, a place for male heroes, but you are welcome to participate”

    I wonder is there has been a cultural programming that has seeped into our minds over the years. Do fewer women play action oriented style AAA games for natural biological reasons? Is it just not in their DNA? Or do fewer women play these kinds of games because they feel out of place being the minority? Do fewer women play these kinds of games because they’re simply under represented are not marketed to?

    It’s interesting to think about, and I wish it was a conversation we could have more often without guys coming insisting that there’s not an imbalance and we should move along and there’s nothing to see.

    • Hahaha! I love the idea that women just don’t have the DNA to enjoy or be able to play games. Like, if one picks up a controller, everything just falls down.

      • But how would the game determine gender? Random question before a game loads.

        Your ideal day off includes:

        A. Beer and sport
        B. Getting your nails done and gossiping on the telephone

    • Yes, you are correct. Look at the extensive studies on gaming habits. A lot of females may be ‘gamers’, but this is mostly mobile Candy Crush type stuff when you look down at the actual data. Yes, females are a minority in the game target audience, this is widely known, and the material pumped out reflects this. It’s nothing new at all.

      • Is the material pumped out reflective of the audience? Or is the audience reflective of the material?

        • The gaming industry is worth over $20 Billion per year in the US alone. Rockstar was rumoured to have spent $100 Million in the development of GTA V. This is big business – you don’t invest this kind of money and expect to make a profit, without knowing exactly who your target market is.

          • In the midst of this of all the discussion about equality, you make a very sobering point.

    • While I will definitely agree it is getting better (in a sense, although some comment sections do make me wonder), a lot of the attitude does come across as “this is primarily a place for men, a place for male heroes, but you are welcome to participate as long as“, where as long as is variations on a theme like “as long as you don’t want to play a female character”, “as long as you don’t complain you can’t play a female character”, “as long as you don’t complain about the sexism or misogyny in x title”, “as long as women playing video games doesn’t stop me, the male video game player, from seeing half-to-3/4 naked ladies running around dying while making orgasm noises”, etc.

      There still seem to be a lot of caveats placed on being a female gamer or calling yourself a female gamer which are placed on women by what I hope is just a very vocal minority male gamers. And a lot of these stipulations seem to be that because women are women, they are casuals and not actually the magical gold-standard capital-g Gamer, and as such their opinions are not relevant or welcome. That being said, there are also a lot of very supportive dudes who want to see more variation in player protagonists and who also aren’t the kind who bleat about how dudes would kill to have a girlfriend into video games and yet shout down female gamers. Which… ?????? Yeah, I don’t get it. It’s like comic book dudes all over again.

      I’ve been a gamer since I was a little kid smashing games on the family C64, and I still am made to feel like I don’t belong, like this isn’t my community. That video games are not for me.

      Also kudos for you for sticking with it! I’m glad you are rewarded by it, not just because it opened your eyes! 😉

    • It’s interesting to think about, and I wish it was a conversation we could have more often without guys coming insisting that there’s not an imbalance and we should move along and there’s nothing to see.

      This is a pretty sickening twist. I can’t see anyone here denying an imbalance, i see people asking for more insightful scrutiny. Regardless of what you believe is right, it doesn’t give people license to dismiss, ignore or generalise others just because it’s happened to them. What i see is an attitude and a culture on one side that discourages women from joining a discussion that actively involves them and on the other side a culture that discourages men from joining a discussion that actively involves them.

      When you put intentions behind people by saying everyone with a semi-contrary opinion is saying there isn’t an imbalance when even passing scrutiny even shows many people have empathy for the issue, they just have a problem with the communication. That is not a threat. That’s an ignorance of another kind and one that’s just as damaging. Since when is it ok to just ignore and dismiss genuine concern simply because it’s associated with a particular gender?

      • If I had time I’d quote the kinds of comments in talking about. But people really ARE dismissive of this issue. Just today I read a comment saying something like: there are plenty of games with female leads as well.

        Also, people often point to examples of female protagonists like they’re an argument-ending check mate that women are represented equally. Someone today even said it didn’t matter and that it’s just pixels and polygons. I often witness a really dismissive attitude to this issue.

        I’m all for intelligent discourse, I’m even for having my mind changed and enlightened.

        • I’m all for intelligent discourse, I’m even for having my mind changed and enlightened.

          …precision weapons ruined Halo!


          • No, they did not. You are completely wrong and always will be. My opinion is 100% correct on this. Lern 2 BR noob

          • Pfft shut up casual. I have rank 50s in all gametypes across 20 Gamertags (that I then sold). Getting just one 50 means I am automatically correct over you regardless of whatever counter argument you say. If it’s a 3 page essay proving me wrong I’ll just not read it because I’m that right.

  • I don’t understand why people feel as if being generalised and marginalised is license to generalise and marginalise?. Isn’t the problem that in our male-dominated society, men have become complacent and ignorant in the values they promote and the marginalisation they cause through what they believe to be harmless discourse? Why is there this ridiculous attempt at fighting fire with fire?

    We only have generalised blanket statements here in defense of women. Almost no one but Mark actively writes about the issue in a way that actually considers the audience. Patricia does not write for men. She writes for the people who agree perfectly with her. There is no attempt made to inderstand a different culture or to even allow our masculine society to actively explore the notion of gender norms without being accused of marginalising her. Not women, her. Then she says stuff like “every” and “all” to describe males.

  • Wait, am I wrong but don’t some of the 40 dude’s in the supercut above have to be dudes in these games? i.e. Batman? I’m no statician but at least remove from your stats the games where a male protaganist is the only option?


    A fact:
    Female characters are grossly underrepresented in games. Especially when it comes to protagonists. & I’m not talking about RPGs where the PC is decided by player choice. I’m talking proper, fleshed-out, intentionally-written-as-a-female characters.

    is it coz ‘games are a boys toy’? hell no. you all know the stats. 48% of people who play games ID as female. & don’t give me that ‘girls only play Candy Crush & The Sims’ bullshit. We all know that aint true. that shit don’t fly.

    so then, it is because males are hugely overrepresented in the industry which creates these games? that might be part of it. quite a large part, I’d think.
    games are, in part, escapism. they’re fantasies in which player takes on the role of the War Hero killing the Nazis, or the Spaceship captain saving the Galaxy from the Evil Alien Empire of Doom, or the Tolkein-esque fantasy adventurer fighting dragons, or whatever the fuck else heroes do these days.
    that desire, that fantasy, is just as much for the developer as the player. the devs want to be that monster slayer / adventurer / hero just as much as the players do. So then… are male protagonists overrepresented because the people creating this fantasy (mostly men) are, consciously or not, inserting some fantasy version of themselves in to the game? I’d bet money on that being at least partially the case.

    Why does it matter?
    Coz games are just that – escapist fantasies in which all players, regardless of gender, want to take part. It’s potentially alienating almost 50% of players. or at the very least, giving a lesser escapist fantasy experience to them.

    So what’s the problem?
    I don’t think for a second that it’s a malicious misogynistic decision on the part of the developers / designers. its just… an oversight.
    & I don’t buy for a motherfucking second that ‘games with female protagonists don’t sell as well’ bullshit line.
    Tomb Raider is a case in point. The 2013 reboot, that is. (I’m not counting the originals, as they sold well primarily, i think, coz they used overt female sexuality as a masturbatory marketing strategy)

    in the end, I think females are underrepresented in games coz females are underrepresented in the game making industry.

    What the fuck are you gonna do about it?
    is it time for an ‘affirmative-action’ strategy? do we pressure publishers to give more money to developers who are willing to :
    a) hire more female talent (& don’t fucking tell me there isn’t any. that’s bullshit), and
    b) create games that have strong female characters (that don’t solely rely on tits to shift units)

    Well, I goddamn hope not. I really, really hope that the games industry gets the hint that the consumers of their products – their customers – have matured faster as people than they have matured as an industry.
    I’m sure for every one Ubisoft (“oh we cant have female models coz of poly counts, or some shit”), there is a dozen developers who are ready, able & more than willing to start being inclusive.

    so…. umm… that was a tad longer than I thought it would be. i’ll stop now.

    Edit : also, @stickman even if you disagree, show a bit of respect. ‘fuck off’ is not a valid argument.

    another also, @blackdahlianz @energydrinkhigh @pixel_the_ferret_viking like any issue anywhere, people wont stop talking about it until the issue is fixed. so if you don’t wanna keep hearing about it, rather than taking the piss outta people who raise their concerns, you might be better off joining in & campaigning for a bit of change so these kind of articles don’t need to be written anymore.

    • Wasn’t a female in charge of Assassins Creed and they kept parading her body assets around to advertise the game, then when she stopped doing that they fired her?

      I could be getting my stories mixed up.

      • yeah, Jade Raymond. but I honestly don’t think it was her ‘parading her assets’ around as much as it was a bunch of dickheads on the internet perving on her & making lewd comments behind a mask of anonymity.

        • Still, weren’t they constantly showing her off because she’s a woman? Even if it’s to show that women can develope games?

          • honestly, I think she was on screens & stages only just as much as any male creative director would’ve been.

            coverage of her apperances, on the other hand, I dunno….

    • Tomb Raider 2012 didn’t sell well. It actually lost money until the Definitive Editions came out. However, this had nothing to do with the fact that it had a female protagonist. It was because the budget was big enough to buy the entire population of Chile a roast chicken and plum sauce sandwich.

      • The advertisment budget I believe.

        and even if it didn’t sell enough to make its money back, it still sold a lot that many developers dream to reach.

        • also @phlanispo
          yeah, it was the massive budget (mostly promotion) that made it hard to profit from. I mean, it did sell 6 million+ copies & broke even eventually

    • Your post is extremely reasonable. There’s very little any sensible person would argue with. No hyperbole, etc. Yet you get responses like “fuck off” and probably a heap of downvotes. Talking about such a minor aspect of a major issue and watching the responses is a great way to expose just how deep the issue goes.

  • There are games when you get a chance to choose which sex too like Bioware’s games and Diablo 3? Why aren’t they being commended? We only seem to focus on the bad, not the good. Aveline, Lara Croft, Samus, Ellie (Last of Us). There are games with main characters that aren’t white and focus on a minority population like Delsin (Infamous) and Connor (AC3). Plus, I don’t believe that the Division should be included in that video because if you don’t have choice over hair/skin/sex in the Division i’ll eat my shoes.

    As it stands there is more games tactically moving towards inclusion than exclusion.

    The video games industry is a business based upon a hobby. They will work out their development costs, do a cost versus benefit and do a risk assessment and choose what they believe will deliver the maximum profit above cost with the smallest risk.

  • I was really bummed out that GTAV didn’t feature a female lead character. The game is traditionally pretty sexist so I would have loved have had a lil’ kim’esque character to balance things out a bit. Would have made for some great dialogue.

  • It’s funny how Mark Serrels article makes me agree with him completely, and Patricia’s article makes the topic seem pointless and whiny. I guess it comes down to the way the article is written.

      • You’re a terrible person and you should feel bad…
        I laughed so i am also a terrible person and feel bad 😛

      • …I’m a little confused by your response. Do you think that I believe the Mark is right because he’s a man? I said that it was mostly due to the wording. I suppose it comes down to the preconceived notions I have when I read one of their articles. Patricia has a history of badly-written articles and Dorkly reposts.

        However, it was probably a joke that went way over my head.

  • Hey, a controversial topic, I want in!

    I think perhaps there are far more male protagonists in games than in other media (like film and books), for two reasons – 1: because most games are violent, and 2: because men are good at violence.

    1: Almost every game in that montage contains high levels of violence, multiple murders etc. It’s an easy and satisfying genre of game to make. It’s much easier to make a fun game about killing than it is about romance or comedy. Apart from Nintendo and some indies, most developers don’t even attempt to avoid violence in their games. I like fictional violence personally, it’s fun, but it’s also a disproportionately bigger part of games than any other media. Name 10 comedy/romance/dramatic non-violent films? Easy! Do the same with games? …hmmm, not as easy.

    2: Men are violent. Statistically and biologically violent. Evolution gave us larger muscle mass to hunt and fight and kill, and culture has reflected that to the point where it feels unusual and a bit novel when a women is portrayed as being violent. More and more that’s changing culturally, but there’s still an expectation that action heroes with high body counts (most game protagonists) are men.

    So imagine if games were films instead, and if we lived in a world where literally 90% of the films being made were violent action movies (Rambo, Predator, Terminator,Die Hard, you know the ones, multiple kills etc). It would be a lot harder to see the majority of those male murder machines roles taken by women, because they are roles designed for men. In a world without non-violent films, I think there could be far less female actors.

    So perhaps what we need, rather than more violent women protagonists, is a few more non-violent games? (I don’t want to take away your violent games, I just want them AND other games as well).

  • Half the games in this list include either a choice of gender or both male and female protagonists but sure, lets just ignore that and show only the males because it causes more of a shitstorm…


    *Puts females in Videogame*


    You know why they’re all guys? Because 97% we just don’t give a FUCK about how the character is portrayed, that other 3% is where we just hate a character for no reason…

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