It has been the case since the dawn of video games. You’re more likely to see a man save the day than a women…why is that exactly? An Associated Press story today features quotes from different industry executives discussing why that might be the case. For EA Studios executive vice president Patrick Soderlund, it has something to do with the reality that video games are habitually designed with men in chief creative roles.
“My thesis is that it’s a male-dominated business,” Soderlund told the AP from E3 last week. “I’m not sure that flies, but I think it overall may have something to do with it–that boys tend to design for boys and women for women. I’m just happy that we have a game with a female heroine.”
LA Weekly recently posted a think piece asking the question, why are there not more women in the video game industry. There are obviously a large number of women gamers but behind the scenes doesn’t seem to reflect that. As the article points out, it’s not as is women are just now discovering video games.
According to Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, as even more women play games, we’ll start to see more female protagonists. “The more women we have playing games, the more we will be able to have a balance between women and men in the games,” he said.
This is far from a new debate. Recently actress, comedian, and avid gamer Aisha Tyler recently spoke out about the continued lack of diversity in the video-game landscape, both onscreen and on the development side. “In the end, it will be about commerce and demand,” she says. “These companies are in this business to make money, so it’s going to have to come from the gaming community — and I think it is, and continues to do so.”
According to Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg, “Any character you create requires extra resources, gender aside. Any character that has a different look, voice, mechanics or way of moving, requires more work. … But that’s not a reason not to do something. We create lots of different characters with lots of different movements.”
Female video game heroes are obviously not completely absent, you have games like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, The Order: 1886, Alien: Isolation, and of course the Tomb Raider games. Though, compared to their male counterparts, it’s just sad.