In Bearhands Games’ upcoming stealth game, Grand Values: Monaco, players assume the role of Amy, a young and gifted burglar. Amy, along with her fellow aspiring “pro thieves,” Joe and Frank, find themselves in a sticky situation when a target (retired gangster Magnus) seeks revenge. Taking advantage of the 1% hotspot that is Monaco, Amy has to steal $50 million to get Magnus’ off their backs.
While Bearhands Games promises “dramatic plot twists, big stakes and developed characters,” along with “pure stealth gameplay,” Grand Values: Monaco’s female protagonist is a huge draw too. Not only is it refreshing to see that Amy is in charge of things (rather than being a secondary character or being relegated to just another face in a predominantly male ensemble cast) her character design subverts tropes as well.
Grand Values: Monaco Gamescom Trailer via Bearhands Games
Grand Values: Monaco
As a recent study on the sexualisation of female video game characters showed, female characters are now less likely to have been created for the ‘male gaze,’ i.e to titillate and arouse. But that doesn’t mean that the representation of women has improved across the board, as many female characters are still typically feminine and use traditional beauty standards to appeal to the audience. Some rare examples of more masculine character designs include Zarya from Overwatch and Cassandra from Dragon Age: Inquisition.
It’s why Grand Values: Monaco’s female protagonist stands out even more. Asking Bearhands Games if Amy’s design was a conscious decision by the team, Alexander Edwards, who is in charge of narrative and marketing at the developer, tells me that “[Amy] is definitely the end result of some pretty strong intentions about what we wanted to achieve.”
“While it might be an artificially created world, we wanted our world to reflect some truths of the real world – it’s a diverse place, and the characters need to make sense, have depth and consistency.”
Edwards further explains:
This means that, for us, it was most important that Amy appear like she is capable of doing what she does. She’s an incredible climber, she needs to hide and sneak, and during the steals she has to pull off some pretty nimble moves. So, it made sense that she has a small build, wears sensible clothes and has short hair, for example.
Better yet, she’s the leader of the group, and while she might include others in the discussion, she decides what happens next and takes responsibility for it. Not to win the love or approval of a man, but for herself as a young, ambitious person.
Players will have plenty of chance to learn more about Amy and test out her nifty pickpocketing abilities when Grand Values: Monaco part one (of three) hits consoles next year. Edwards also tells me that “we’re concentrating on consoles right now, but we won’t rule out a PC release in the future,” so keep your fingers crossed for that too.
Grand Values: Monaco (Part 1) will be released on PS4 and Xbox One in early 2017.