It's a sad reality that some gamers are close-minded – after all, we've all seen what's happened to our wonderful hobby over the past year. But while we're not here to preach to any one of you on this site, we will say that we're glad that Sony and Guerrilla Games stuck to its guns with Horizon: Zero Dawn's female protagonist.
To be fair, we are slowly starting to see change; the likes of Life Is Strange, The Last of Us, and The Walking Dead prove that different types of characters and experiences can be both commercially and critically successful – and we hope that Aloy continues that trend. Alas, for the Japanese giant, this week's reveal was nerve-wracking.
"Personally, The Last Guardian was very emotionally important, a great reveal, but for me the announcement of Horizon: Zero Dawn from Guerrilla Games is actually the biggest project for me for this E3 to announce because it's a big project and a new IP," Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida told Polygon. "I was nervous to see the reaction from people."
Naturally, these nerves extended to more than just the main character – but she did play a part, too. "She's a female lead character," he said. "That has always been the vision by the team, but we had a discussion. Is it risky to do a female character?" Data shows, sadly, that she probably should have been replaced by a gruff guy with a shaven head.
But, after doing a bit of research, Sony and the team decided to stick to their guns. "We worked with our marketing groups to do this focus testing," he continued. "We wanted to see how people would react to some of the things: open world RPG, the set up of machine versus primitive weapons, and the female protagonist. All of those things."
These kinds of tests are usually the death knell in a creative project, but fortunately the feedback was good and Guerrilla Games was allowed to continue with its original vision. Let's all take a moment to stop and say thank bloody heavens for that. We sincerely hope that one day this isn't even a conversation. For now, though, we're just happy that things are slowly starting to change.
I didn't even consider the fact that she was female and it had no bearing on my opinion of the game. I guess that means I'm simply a great human being! Woo - I always knew I was!!
Holy thank heaven!!! I love Guerrilla Games and their visionary projects. So glad they are doing this very interesting new IP instead of killzone - which i really like.
I'm glad with this. Talks to much but she's badass
This really resembles Princess Mononoke to me, but with robots instead of demons.
Honestly, this was my favorite thing to come out of E3. I want to see more as soon as possible. Looks stunning.
That fact that you play as a female protagonist has me more interested in the game.
@Splat I always think it's a bit odd when guys actually prefer to play as ladies. I'd say I'm pretty much unbiased but given the choice I think I'd generally go for a guy just because I am one (last time I checked, anyway.) Like in Fallout 4 when they announced you could play as a lady it was a bit uncomfortable hearing a load of males cheering :S
That said I guess I preferred the female cast in FF Type-0, Queen was a badass... I suppose I don't have a point, really
I actually prefer playing as female characters. I don't remember anyone complaining about "having" to play as Lara Croft back in my teens, nor do I remember people avoiding Jill Valentine or Claire Redfield in RE1 and 2, in fact it was quite the opposite. Amongst all the (mostly) justified that was talked about FFXIII, I don't recall anything about "having" to play as a woman. At least off people online, I get the impression the vast majority chose to play as a female Shepard in ME.
Maybe it's just games aimed at 15-year-old American boys, or American adults who still spew words every 5 minutes as if they were 15. I don't want to pick on Americans, but I'd never heard this idea of female protagonists being offputting until I delved into the internet. To all the other Americans, and much of the rest of the world, I'm not sure if it's ever been much of a problem at all. Perhaps it's just the value publishers place on hits like CoD and the endless ocean of FPS sludge which appeal to that vocal group of idiots.
I have warned you several times now the past few days to watch the language, next time I won't warn. -Tasuki-
@kyleforrester87 I think the other way around is odd. When you play as a female character, you're not getting a sex change in real life, any more than when you play as Mario you're developing a giant head, fat belly, and Italian accent in real life. There are games where we "become" blue hedgehogs, or little Aryan boys wearing white tights and green miniskirts. Isn't that strange, if you apply the same thought process to it?
Also I guess with games like Mass Effect, I feel less like my character if I pick a guy because then I'm drawing a direct comparison between us. I'm not the kind of person that would do anything Shepard does, yet calling him by my real name and trying to have him "be" me... That just creates a weird juxtaposition.
I was hoping that you could create a character but I never really care about gender when it comes to game characters
@Matroska Haha yeah, I get your point. I actually hate calling characters by my own name in RPG's. I kinda want to punch people a little bit who rename Link. Still, it remains odd to me hearing a room full of middle age men cheer and clap at the prospect of playing as a lady in Fallout 4. It should just be a normal aspect of the game. Perhaps I just incorrectly consider the cheering to be as a result of a strange sexual perversion as apposed to a thankfulness that it's getting with the times!
We do currently live in the year of 2015? Please stop with the buff marine solider guys in every game. It hardly counts as character design anyway. lol
@kyleforrester87 I always pick a female character when given the option. No idea why, always have!
@kyleforrester87 Yeah, I know what you mean. It does create the impression that they're all eager to find some nice 1950s frocks and play dressup, try to find THAT pair of shoes.
I was about to say "Why was it even mentioned at all?" since you've always been able to do that in Fallout, but I guess it might have been removed since the protag is now voiced.
by the end of 2015, they will change the title to "The adventures of jon snows red headed girlfriend"
Very nice. I am a male but I also pick the female when given a choice. If I am taking hours seeing a character on screen, I would rather see something I like. Besides with so many male leads, it really is refreshing to see a girl.
I really can't believe that in 2015, this is still a subject for discussion, I see absolutely NO reason why a game cannot have a female lead. At most I can see an argument for selecting a specific gender IF it is pertinent to the story but otherwise gender is (or at least should be) irrelevant.
Tomb Raider has a female lead and it certainly hasn't been detrimental to that franchises success - When it hasn't been so successful, thats more down to the 'story writing' and game play - Not the fact Lara is female.
I wonder how many select a 'female' character to play when given a choice? I wouldn't be at all surprised if more Female Shepherds existed than Male ones in Mass Effect...
I could understand the apprehension to use a LGBT character as a lead as there isn't that many strong openly LGBT lead characters across all media and I think it would be much more of a risk with peoples attitude to this but if the story warranted it I see no issue with this either.
For something that is 'modern' and looking to the future etc, the gaming industry does see to have some antiquated issues and perceptions.
She's no Aiden Pearce.... thank goodness.
To me, the character itself matters, not the gender. I wouldn't care if it was a buzzcut wearing dude (which is probably a trope itself) or a female archer as long as the character is done well. Gender shouldn't matter, personality should.
@Bad-MuthaAdebisi Let's be honest, no one can compete with Aiden Pearce...
It comes to the idea of what gamers THINK they want but never act on it once it's presented. People think they wanted more female protagonists who aren't there for sex appeal but didn't turn up when Mirrors Edge and Remember Me hit the shelfs but will turn up for Lara Croft even though she's sporting those short shorts still. Same goes with backwards compatibility, you think you want that but will probably rarely use it.
I personally prefer playing as a male in games. I just enjoy it more. I don't really think it's any more sexist than girl wanting to play a girl (which is to say it isn't.) I'll still play a girl though and get the game if it looks good enough. But while we're on the subject, scrap a female protagonist, give me a redheaded male protagonist, where are those huh? They're in a worse position than girls, there isn't even one AAA game that has one.
I rarely pay attention to the gender of the character i am playing. A good game makes it feel like it is "you". I do wonder though, if you subtracted the trolls opposed to a female protagonist if there would be anyone left in opposition.
@kyleforrester87 exactly my thoughts, when reading the article I was genuinely suprised that this discussion even took place, not because Sony are inherently close minded, but because it's even a concern at all because of public reception!
I like games that let you choose between gender, but if it really matters, as it's fake anyway, get a life. It effects my life being a guy or women in no shape form or fashion, it's just a game. If you don't like it, don't play it, but save the world from your complaining it's not a girl or we need more girls in lead roles
Is this a joke? Did no one play parasite eve; tomb raider; FF6; perfect dark; resident evil 3? These are all games that broke a million copies back in the 90's when this industry was a good deal smaller and all shocker feature a woman as a main character. Make a good game and people will show interest, make something mechanically poor like remember me or heavenly sword and you'll fail; make something with the literal writing of what a 50 year old man thinks teenager girls act like and you get life is strange; make a shallower sequel and you get the walking dead season 2.
its good to see a female character that isnt wearing some string and a piece of cloth for clothing and hasnt had breast implants. less porn stars/macho men and the world will be a better place.
@Matroska Never believe impressions you get from reading game forums. Bioware's own numbers showed only 18% of the player base touched fem shep.
I'll always choose a female protag when given the choice. There's just something about playing a kick arse heroine that makes a game story feel better, in my opinion. Femshep in ME being a classic example.
Some of my favorite protagonists, ever, are female so this is fine with me. I don't see a risk at all. Man, woman, blue hedgehog... Doesn't matter to me what the lead character is as long as the game is great.
given that it's an action game I normally expected a dude took me about 5 minutes scratch that once I finished washing the trailer I said ok she will be a great lead character, no just give me that release date this, this looks stunning and unique!
@sonicmeerkat Sadly there is real data out there that suggest games sell better with a male protagonist. I know, it blows my mind, too...
@get2sammyb I don't doubt you but could I see this data? I'm curious how a person would measure this and determine that the factor that influenced sales was the main characters sex and could not be better attributed to something outside that.
I personally don't care male or female aslong as the character is fully developed and not just a basic stereotype! This is the reason I prefer proper made characters with deep storylines ie Ellie & Joel last of us compared to create your own character ie fallout and skyrim! Dont get me wrong i love fallout and skyrim but because of gameplay wise, for me I tend to attach to these characters over ones I have created myself. So yeah my point is I don't mind the gender aslong as they are a fully developed character.
Ygritte vs. Dino Machines!
OMG! I'm so glad they didn't change her to some guy. Just FYI, more than half of all gamers are women.
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