So I work in video games right now and sometimes stuff just happens that makes me really not happy with the total lack of creative risk-taking in the industry |:< Specifically with regards to characters that are anything other than white, male, 30-something, scruffy, and probably named Jack.
In cases like this designing ladies is my comfort food.
1. Money wins every time
2. If more people bought games with alt. MC’s then they’d be more prevalent
3. Solution? Make a great, marketable game with a character that isn’t a straight white male
Please don’t forget that while you may disagree with it, there’s a LARGE percentage of gamers who are not only typical dudebros, but white straight males. Most of them being ignorant only buy games with Macho McBeefHulk on the front. It’s no one’s fault but the consumers.
My point is: make the game you want to play if it bothers you so much. You obviously have artistic talent. Put it to use instead of complaining about “Cis-scum”(white hetero males, myself) on Tumblr.
Hey there! I just wanted to clarify that the focus of my frustration is not the consumer, and definitely not white hetero males themselves. Dudebros are great, and the world would be a poorer place without them just as it would be without ladies.
All three of your points are super true: money wins, consumers have power, and making games that are different will help create the change we need. BUT. Creating those games that give the consumer the opportunity to vote with their money is, I have discovered, extraordinarily difficult. The big studios have a winning formula (the white male 30-something protagonist) that they know is low-risk and will likely guarantee them the safest chance at a profit.
Spending the last year employed by Microsoft, you see this kind of thing happening constantly on both smaller and larger titles. A big game coming within inches of having a main character that completely breaks this pattern, but gets shut down by executives higher up the chain who have the power to make that call when they feel a creative decision is a business risk.
Independent game developers can take those risks and make games that are outside that pattern. Big studios are locked into this rut because, as you say, money wins every time. It’s a frustrating situation, and a challenging one to solve. The issue lies in the system, the bureaucracy, and the business. Many, many artists, writers, and devs are trying hard, VERY hard, to make that game that will break the cycle. But getting it through the system without breaking the integrity of the vision is nigh impossible.
I hope this helps clarify the situation and my feelings on it a bit.
Maybe I’m just feeling feisty and defensive of my friends (and Bridget had the decency to leave you such a thoughtful response even though you 100% didn’t deserve it), but theredmages? Fuck off, man.
Using art to vent frustrations with the industry is a legitimate tactic for change. Your logic is flawed, tired, and dated. Saying "if you want it so bad why don’t you make it" is a sad diatribe parroted by people who:
- don’t actually have any goddamn idea how games are made
- cannot cite actual statistics about the games industry because that would be too much work
- cannot deal with someone else being passionate about something they clearly don’t care about
In today’s climate of internet/social media, public opinion moves mountains. Anyone worth their salt in this industry knows that. The barrier between developers and consumers is far more transparent than it’s ever been, and it suddenly means that marginalized people are in a place to voice their opinions and be heard.
Also, how the fuck do you think we make games? They don’t just sprout out of the ground fully-formed and shrink-wrapped. Trying to stomp out creativity at the source is a pretty dick move.
"But consumers don’t buy [x] so developers don’t make [x] so consumers don’t buy [x] so developers don’t make [x]!" is some seriously cyclical logic. Step back and listen to yourself. If there were games out there driven by white, male, 30-something, scruffy dudes named Jack, I would buy them up in a second- but there aren’t. You can’t preemptively assume that games wouldn’t do well without white male protagonists just because that’s been the status quo for decades.
This legitimacy of this Henry Ford quote is questionable, but the sentiment still holds true: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
You’re talking down to someone who actually works in the industry. Bridget literally makes video games. This is what she does. What we do. Even by your weird, exclusionary logic about who has a right to proactively critique the media they consume, Bridget is that exact person.
You are complaining on the internet about the futility of other people complaining on the internet. Shut your mouth and walk away. You’re what’s wrong with this industry.
Well said. When someone brings up these tired arguments to shut you up, remember that their purpose (whether they realize it or not) is to shut you up, not to further a discussion.
That’s the difference between critical responses and oppressive responses. If you can boil down someone’s argument to “stop talking” or “just give up,” they’re not interested in what you have to say. They just want you to go away because you’re threatening their little world.
Criticism is essential to furthering art, but all too often these days someone saying “just stop, just shut up” is masquerading as critical analysis.
Some people would complain that these characters wouldn’t fit in a game, which is bull. I have ideas for these women just off the top of my head!
[number 1-8,from left to right, top to bottom]
1. She’d be in a game right alongside number 4. They’d be the selectable main characters in an action game. They would have two very distinct playstyles. Number 1 focuses on a Devil May Cry style swap of gunplay and fist weapons (like Beowulf from DMC3, Gilgamesh from DMC4 or Eryx from the new DMC.) Her gunplay would be fairly acrobatic, but the fist attacks would be very heavy and have a solid feel to them. Some of the stronger attacks might cause the screen to shake a little on contact. For a neat change up, she might even combine the two, essentially using her guns as miniature clubs to strengthen her punches. The effects of her attacks would be colorful and vibrant. If you managed to get a long combo chain, the flowers on her left arm would glow and bloom and have a sort of water color effect following her. [See below for detail on Number 4.]
2. This lady would be featured in a more exploration heavy game. Something like Zelda, but with a more sci-fi, cyber punk feel. For an appearance think a mix of Tron and the Black Velvetopia level from Psychonauts. Her main weapons would be two disc like weapons she summons from her earrings and the beads on her little belt loop thing would be used for long range. They’d also gain upgrades as the game moved on that would make them more useful for exploration (bead loop hookshot, disc earring glide ability, that sort of thing)
3. [See number 5]
4. Stars in an action game alongside 1. Her play style would be more speed oriented, quick stabs and jabs. Taking another example from Devil May Cry, it would be similar to how Rebellion is used. For a similar effect to 1, she’d have streaks in her hair that began to glow different colors and create a similar moving water color effect. I just really like the idea of the game being bright and colorful.
5. Bare with me on this one! Number 5 and number 3 don’t just co-star, but they are actually the same character. She’d be the star of a puzzle game that had a time hopping mechanic, where in you jump back and forth between two incarnations that allowed you to traverse the levels. I’m not sure how you’d nail it, but I think it’d be really fun.
6. Number 1’s Momma! You’d go to her for upgrades to your weapons and special skills. Thinking on it, I think it’d be fun if the story line of the game was to save Number 1’s Poppa.
7. I really like the idea of this girl being Number 2’s rival. She’s small and unassuming, which you don’t see a lot of in an antagonist, but I think it’d be fun if she wasn’t actually as timid or weak as she looks. Her appearance makes you think she’s not that big of a deal, but the first time you have to deal with her, it’d be made very clear that she’s nothing to sneeze at.
8. Off the top of my head, I thought she’d be the star of some sort of rhythm game, like Guitaroo Man or Parappa the Rappa. Then I figured she’d be fun as a reoccurring villain character in 1 and 4’s game. Either way, she’d be very loud and expressive. If she were an antagonist, she’d be that pain in your ass character that is fun to see come on screen, but that you really don’t want to fight against.