Home Gaming “How can we stop those awful women and foreigners from ruining our games?”

“How can we stop those awful women and foreigners from ruining our games?”

3 min read
18

Rezzed 2013

The Rezzed PC and Indie Game Show presented by Eurogamer.net and RockPaperShotgun took place this past weekend, where they held a panel discussing the effects of new business models on PC and indie gaming. No women or foreigners were injured in the process.

If you have no desire to watch the entire 50 minute video I’m about to post, do yourself a favour and watch minutes 12 to 13, it’s a guaranteed laugh and sums up how most feel about publishers and retailers.

Right, now that that’s out of the way. John Walker hosted a panel with Prison Architect’s Chris Delay and Mark Morris, creator of The Secret World Ragnar Tornquist, Mode 7’s Paul Taylor and video game designer and comic book writer Chris Avellone, who’s currently employed at Obsidian Entertainment. During the panel they discussed particularly how the Kickstarter model changes developing games as well as buying games.

The most prominent opinion from all of the members of the panel was that creating a publicly funded game significantly eases the process of development as the developers are able to get feedback a lot sooner than when their game is funded by a publisher. Instead of only knowing whether gamers want your game or think it’s a goods idea after about two years or so of development, developers are able to know within the first month whether their game is rubbish or not. Also mentioned is that this in return enables developers to either improve their game or scrap it completely, not wasting months of valuable time.

It makes a lot of sense that developers would rather go for crowd funding than sell their souls to publishers, for all of the obvious reasons, like having more freedom to add unusual adjectives publishers don’t want to take risks with in AAA games.

For me, and I’m sure for many others, this raises the question of “but will your game still be AAA quality when it’s only funded on Kickstarter?” While publishers might invest 10, 20, 30 million in a game, most kickstarters don’t even come near that amount. It’s unlikely that we’ll see the same calibre of game when a budget is as much as 10 times lower than that of a AAA game. How plausible is it that we’ll see a BioShock Infinite, or Far Cry 3 or The Last of Us as a result of a crowd funded game?

This brings us to the player experience and why gamers would back kickstarers and buy them after they’re released. An interesting point made by the panel is that kickstarter allows gamers a greater sense of ownership and investment in the game. Having something of their own for example their face, adds a greater sense of emotional attachment to the game. Because of this, developers run the risk of disappointing their backers.

The panel continues discussing the subject until questions from the audience is allowed, the last of which was obviously a question by a woman about female protagonists.  She starts off by stating that there is this assumption in the industry that female protagonists don’t sell as well as male protagonists and asks whether the panel thinks that kickstarter helps bring more female protagonists into games.

I wouldn’t say that this wasn’t a viable question, but I kind of do feel that the concept of kickstarter answers that question by itself. If developers present their vision to the public, whether it’s including a female protagonist in their game or not. It is up to the gamers to decide if they want to play as that female protagonist or not.

The question in my opinion might have (intentionally or not) just been setting up a panel of white men to look sexist and evil. Wouldn’t the industry have loved that one eh?

I think it was a fantastic panel, however, I don’t feel like the initial question, “How can new business models improve PC gaming?” was really addressed as much as talking about indie games and crowd funding.

Last Updated: June 24, 2013

18 Comments

  1. Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    June 24, 2013 at 15:06

    That was definitely a reaction seeking question and not one I think matters as a kickstarter game will not care about such trivial things as what sex the lead character is but rather how amazing they can make said character to make sure their crowd funded game sells well once released. Whether that character is male, female or it.

    Reply

    • RinceTheBurnWithIce

      June 24, 2013 at 15:09

      Agreed, she was looking for the hightlight reel finish. Fail.

      Reply

    • Trevor Davies

      June 24, 2013 at 15:25

      I think you’d be surprised how strongly some people feel about things like this. The whole storm in a teacup about gay marriage in Massive Chalice was pretty intense for a while.

      Reply

      • Argentil

        June 24, 2013 at 15:31

        I think the issue of racial diversity in gaming is far more dire than female representation, personally. If you were a minority race, and enjoyed gaming as a main hobby, you would have a tough time finding something to represent you. RPG’s with character creation are the only fix for this.

        Reply

  2. Argentil

    June 24, 2013 at 15:14

    Ok, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that women protagonists don’t sell games. Before you burn me alive, let me explain why I would say that:

    Women protagonists are usually leads in less conventional game genres. No Haloz, CoDz or Gearz main leads are female.

    Male gamers are still more common (and more researched on what’s coming out) than female gamers. >Shallow< male gamers relate better to male protagonists.

    The games industry aren't confident in tackling female protagonists, as a result most female protagonists are quite shallow leading to compensation with either sex appeal or superwomen-type characters.

    It will take years of failures and successes to change this. My 2 cents.

    Reply

    • Dave

      June 24, 2013 at 20:42

      I think the fact is that developers just don’t actually try hard enough. Cate archer was a brilliant protagonist and NOLF is definitely in my top 3 games of all time. But they just use the male protagonist again and again, justifying it with the same reasons you gave simply because then they can make the women big chested sex objects that fawn over the hero. I guess it just strengthens the stereotype that programmers are lonely geeks. 🙂 (Same reasons why all comic book heroines are ridiculously clad?)
      I think there could be a market for a good female character if they actually took enough time to make one that was worth playing as, like Cate Archer. I’m sure if instead of a dog they’d added a female protagonist to COD the game would have still sold as many copies, but the publishers aren’t willing to take that chance. It’s a bit of a self-perpetuating circle really. All the big games only ever have male leads, so it must be what people want, but at the same time none of the potentially big games have ever risked a female lead.

      Big up though to saints row for it’s equal opportunity lead characters. Even the AI characters didn’t seem to notice that I was a woman one minute and a man the next, they’re very non-judgemental that way. My accent even changed and they still knew I was the same BA boss underneath.

      Reply

  3. RinceTheBurnWithIce

    June 24, 2013 at 15:18

    My boet had his video game showncased at this event. Don’t worry, if he starts talking like Cliffy B I’ll bash his fingers in with a bowling ball…

    Reply

  4. Trevor Davies

    June 24, 2013 at 15:19

    Off the top of my head I would say throw a stick over a cliff for the women & internment camps for foreigners. I’ll go read the article now to see if I’m right.

    Reply

    • RinceTheBurnWithIce

      June 24, 2013 at 15:23

      WRONG Lalalalala…

      Reply

      • Trevor Davies

        June 24, 2013 at 15:30

        Shut up, you’re still drunk! 😉

        Reply

        • RinceTheBurnWithIce

          June 24, 2013 at 15:34

          Burps, noooo ish not!

          Reply

  5. Kromas

    June 24, 2013 at 15:30

    While not the lead we have many female companions that are more animated and have a depth in them that are really enjoyable. Off the top of my head: Ellie from last of Us. Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite. And Alex Vance from Half Life. I see no reason for a female lead to have an impact on a games sales. Then again I don’t play CoD.

    Reply

  6. HvR

    June 24, 2013 at 15:32

    “watch minutes 12 to 13” limit that to 12:02 to 12.09.

    Reply

  7. Trevor Davies

    June 24, 2013 at 15:38

    Crowd funding will never replace publishers for big budget games. It’s better suited to small to medium size games. The number of people willing to back a game before it’s even in production is much smaller than the number willing to buy it upon release, if they can’t secure enough funding before hand, it won’t work.

    Reply

  8. Sageville

    June 25, 2013 at 11:02

    How is this outfit ridiculous???

    Purely functional imo.

    Reply

  9. OminousRain

    June 25, 2013 at 11:08

    My view on this male vs female protagonists issue.

    Personally for me, it depends. Majority of the time, I don’t really care which way, as long as it fits into the story/environment and if you see yourself as the character or if your just enjoying the story.

    Example: The new Tomb Raider. Awesome game, awesome story. While I was playing, it didn’t feel like I was the character. I felt more like an observer. (Couldn’t relate, wonder why 🙂 ) But that is ok. The game was still awesome and I enjoyed the story very much.

    But then playing Half-Life, I am the character, I am Gordon Freeman. I could live myself into the character. Is it because he was a male? Perhaps, or perhaps because he never speaks, so I’m left with my own reactions of what is happening around me.

    When I play a type of RPG where you create a character, then I always play as a male, because I create my alter ego. For the same reason a female player might create a female character.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m just rambling nonsense. 🙂 But if I lead an army into an epic battle that will decide the fate of the world, then I would like to play a male and I can understand that a female would like to play a female.

    Reply

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