For years, the topic of female characters in video games has proved divisive or controversial. As many ask for more representation of women in games, others argue that adding female characters runs the risk of alienating male gamers.
As the developer behind Remember Me and Life is Strange, which both star female protagonists, DONTNOD Entertainment has no doubt heard many of the arguments against female characters. But now, says the developer, times are changing and there is much less apprehension to female-fronted projects.
DONTNOD Entertainment on Female Characters
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, DONTNOD Entertainment’s CEO Oskar Guilbert says that “what we see now – even in the movies – is that female main characters are more and more present. There are not as many questions. We have more freedom now.” The exec. also ponders whether DONTNOD “contributed towards this freedom in a small way.”
Guilbert also says that “it’s great that the industry is moving in this direction, but I think it’s also very, very normal. I mean, half of us [people] are women. It’s normal to have that same proportion in games.” Moreover, he reveals that the studio wasn’t “attached” to female characters, but with both Remember Me and Life is Strange, “it was just the ways we wanted to convey emotion to the player.”
Many would agree with Guilbert that the games industry has moved forward regarding female characters. Several major upcoming releases, including Dishonored 2, Mass Effect: Andromeda and Horizon: Zero Dawn will all allow gamers to play as women. However, studies suggest that female characters in video games are still over-sexualised, so clearly in terms of the quality of representation, there is still a long way to go.
Elsewhere in the interview, Guilbert also promises that the studio’s upcoming action RPG Vampyr will feature “strong female characters.” He also confirms that the studio will be involved in creating the Life is Strange TV show, but how much say the developer will have exactly is unclear.