Home Gaming Publishers rejected Life is Strange over female lead

Publishers rejected Life is Strange over female lead

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Publisher reject Life is Strange's female lea

Like it or not, the equal and fair representation of women in gaming is an issue, and one that is unlikely to go away anytime soon. Some may argue that developers aren’t trying enough to shift this tide, but it seems that publishers are the wall that they keep running into. Or, at least, it’s the reason Life is Strange was nearly never made.

The developers of Remember Me have been teasing their enticingly interesting episodic adventure for a while now, with the first episode set to drop this month. But that nearly never happened, with Dontnod Entertainment explaining that numerous publishers turned them down over the sole basis of their lead being a female. It appears Square Enix were the only ones without this demand.

“Square were basically the only publisher that didn’t want to change a single thing about the game. … Square didn’t even question [the decision to make Max female] once.”

Dontnod goes on to explain that they’re not actively trying to make all of the leads in their games female, but rather that the characters they create progressive evolve naturally and take shape by themselves. As stated in the development diary, they’re not “trying to ‘fix the industry.'” Max, protagonist of Life is Strange, always felt naturally female, according to Dontnod.

This isn’t the first time they’ve run into adversity such as this before. When developing Remember Me, creative director Jean-Max Morris was extremely outspoken about how publishers flat out refused to publish the title because of its female lead. Back then it was Capcom who came to the rescue.

“We had some [publishers] that said, ‘Well, we don’t want to publish it because that’s not going to succeed. You can’t have a female character in games. It has to be a male character, simple as that…'”

I don’t pretend to deny that gender representation in games makes a noticeable impact of its marketability. If it didn’t, there wouldn’t a movement rallying to change it. I do, however, question consumers who base a purchase solely on the character on the cover. Life is Strange looks like a wonderfully unique experience; should it matter that you’re playing as a female?

I certainly don’t think so, and believe in games that speak through their writing and gameplay rather than using gender as a crutch. What’s your opinion on the matter? Does playing as a female steer you away from a game?

Last Updated: January 12, 2015

80 Comments

  1. Well Anita is gonna cause a shit storm..0_o

    Reply

    • Kromas, Guardian of Cenarius

      January 12, 2015 at 08:52

      Was thinking the same thing but this time I have to say that publishers should stop being asses. What if Tomb Raider never got released?

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief

        January 12, 2015 at 08:53

        SHUSH YOU LALALALALALALA FINGERS IN EARS I CAN’T HEAAAAAAAR YOU

        Reply

  2. Spy Master Tokashi

    January 12, 2015 at 08:07

    Playing as Lara Croft never steered me away from playing Tomb Raider ^_^

    I do agree, if you have a story to tell and it is about a female character then go female because .. duhh. Bioware managed to pull this off properly with Mass Effect and Dragon Age. They have created a story and it fit perfectly with a female or male character.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief

      January 12, 2015 at 08:10

      Agreed

      Reply

      • Ghost In The Rift

        January 12, 2015 at 08:11

        I wished i could have played as Miranda on ME2:-(

        Reply

        • Rock789

          January 12, 2015 at 08:13

          You just wanna stare at her ass the whole game! :p

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief

            January 12, 2015 at 08:14

            DAT…………………..wait for it………………ASS

        • Spy Master Tokashi

          January 12, 2015 at 08:13

          Who does not want to play with Yvonne Strahovski .. 🙂

          Reply

        • Admiral Chief

          January 12, 2015 at 08:13

          You can play as her, I want to play WITH her

          Reply

          • Mossel

            January 12, 2015 at 08:33

            Why not both?

          • Admiral Chief

            January 12, 2015 at 08:47

            Both is good

    • Mandom (Umar)

      January 12, 2015 at 08:24

      As long as they’re good, well-written characters, it shouldn’t matter 🙂

      Reply

  3. RinceThis

    January 12, 2015 at 08:08

    So sad this is still an issue. Also, Sandy, you are in the line of fire now, #GG

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief

      January 12, 2015 at 08:10

      Bang bang

      Reply

    • Brian Murphy

      January 12, 2015 at 08:35

      Not really, highly doubtful actually. Nothing here would annoy the vast majority of GGer’s as far as I’m aware (at least, nothing Sandy said). New IP, female lead, doesn’t bother them. Taking old IP, changing the characters to female just to suit gender feminists on the other hand, would probably cause issues. Which is why I also think they’d appreciate knowing that several pubs have forced them to change their IP.

      Reply

  4. Hammersteyn

    January 12, 2015 at 08:11

    “Life is Strange” is what the devs said after speaking to most publishers

    Reply

    • Owl

      January 12, 2015 at 12:37

      my .tep-mother makes $69 /hour on the laptop . She has been fired from work for 6 months but last month her income was $12889 just working on the laptop for a few hours. find out this here;.Grand

      Reply

  5. Blood Emperor Trevor

    January 12, 2015 at 08:15

    When I first saw the trailer the only thing I thought was that it looks like a really cool game. That it has a female lead didn’t even register. Was that good or bad? Clearly I can’t be interested in the game any more because of this, it somehow threatens my manhood. If I play it suddenly I’d be braiding my hair & gossiping about boys.

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief

      January 12, 2015 at 08:16

      You said it, I could not care less about who the main character or badguy or anything is. As long as you give me a good story, I’m sold

      Reply

      • Spy Master Tokashi

        January 12, 2015 at 08:18

        A game with an evil sexy female villain will be just awesome.

        Reply

    • Spy Master Tokashi

      January 12, 2015 at 08:16

      My parents were so upset when I kept on playing with the female lego character, they thought I was going girly …

      Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      January 12, 2015 at 08:18

      No one even batted an eye back when the first Tomb Raider came out because no one cared about females in gaming really or how they were portrayed. But now that it’s an issue…

      Reply

      • Ghost In The Rift

        January 12, 2015 at 10:23

        I think Anita started all this shit,or the movies,maybe something subliminal is going on that we are to dull to catch on,who knows…

        Reply

        • A.

          May 26, 2015 at 22:21

          She just has put to words what we’ve wanted to say all along. Or we’ve been saying it and no one has been listening until Anita said it.

          Reply

      • A.

        May 26, 2015 at 22:20

        Don’t say no one. As a female gamer since the 1970s, 222111I’ve always cared.

        Reply

    • Mandom (Umar)

      January 12, 2015 at 08:20

      Not really, it’s not an issue really, it didn’t even register for me either. It’s normal, as it should be

      Reply

    • Spaffy

      January 12, 2015 at 08:23

      “If I play it suddenly I’d be braiding my hair & gossiping about boys.”

      I thought you did that anyways

      Reply

      • Blood Emperor Trevor

        January 12, 2015 at 08:25

        Well yes, but in this case it’d be the game’s fault.

        Reply

      • Admiral Chief

        January 12, 2015 at 08:50

        Busted

        Reply

  6. Mandom (Umar)

    January 12, 2015 at 08:18

    Good on Square!! I AM SOOOOO FUCKING excited for this game!!!!

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief

      January 12, 2015 at 08:51

      Hi there SFEFTG, welcome to Lagz

      Reply

      • Mandom (Umar)

        January 12, 2015 at 08:52

        LOL SFEFTG??

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief

          January 12, 2015 at 08:53

          You said you are?

          Reply

          • Mandom (Umar)

            January 12, 2015 at 08:54

            God Dammit captain literal!

          • Admiral Chief

            January 12, 2015 at 09:00

            That’s ADMIRAL to you mr SFEFTG

          • Admiral Chief

            January 12, 2015 at 09:00

            That’s ADMIRAL to you mr SFEFTG

  7. Mandom (Umar)

    January 12, 2015 at 08:21

  8. Rock789

    January 12, 2015 at 08:22

    Nope – a female lead has never stopped me from purchasing a game. It’s the GAME that counts… Funny concept that, huh?! Hell, I actually play as a female character in a lot of of RPGs…

    I just enjoy gaming. Female or male leads honesly don’t matter to me – it’s the game as a whole that counts.

    Reply

    • Blood Emperor Trevor

      January 12, 2015 at 08:24

      Me too. I think it’s a holdover from Baldur’s Gate and those games – the female char portraits usually looked cooler to me.

      Reply

      • Rock789

        January 12, 2015 at 09:01

        Yup. And sometimes, through great writing and voice acting, the female characters are just better. I remember in Mass Effect, on my 2nd playthrough, I decided to play as the female Sheppard. I had so much fun with that character, and she was so badass, that in the end I think she’d definitely kick my male Sheppard’s ass in a fight!! She was awesome. And, since then, my go-to character for ME imports. Same goes for a lot of RPGs.

        Reply

      • Rock789

        January 12, 2015 at 09:01

        Yup. And sometimes, through great writing and voice acting, the female characters are just better. I remember in Mass Effect, on my 2nd playthrough, I decided to play as the female Sheppard. I had so much fun with that character, and she was so badass, that in the end I think she’d definitely kick my male Sheppard’s ass in a fight!! She was awesome. And, since then, my go-to character for ME imports. Same goes for a lot of RPGs.

        Reply

  9. Hammersteyn

    January 12, 2015 at 08:25

    One solution is to have character creation at the start of the game and allowing you to pick your gender. But not for any Ubisoft games. It’s too hard for them to code

    Reply

    • konfab aka derp

      January 12, 2015 at 08:49

      Gender choices in GTA6?

      I would approve for the sole reason of the shitstorm it would create.

      Reply

  10. Blood Emperor Trevor

    January 12, 2015 at 08:32

    OMG I JUST REALISED SOMETHING TERRIBLE! I started playing Child of Light yesterday – SHE is a GIRL and I spent a minute PLAYING WITH HER HAIR! It’s like all the protein & testosterone is leaking from my body now! Why Ubi? WHY DIDN’T YOU MAKE THE LEAD A BOY? I’M MELTINGGGGGGGGGGgggggggggg…….

    Reply

    • hairyknees

      January 12, 2015 at 08:57

      That game is amazeballs <3 also playing it at the moment.

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief

        January 12, 2015 at 09:00

        I grabbed the demo of Steam this year, and I have to say, I MUST HAVE THIS GAME

        Reply

      • Admiral Chief

        January 12, 2015 at 09:00

        I grabbed the demo of Steam this year, and I have to say, I MUST HAVE THIS GAME

        Reply

    • oVg elfroot slayer

      January 12, 2015 at 09:28

      I thought it was David Bowie…

      Reply

  11. konfab aka derp

    January 12, 2015 at 08:40

    I don’t care what gender a character is, as long as it is a well developed character. Which is why my party in DA:I usually consisted of:
    FemQuisitor
    Sera
    Cassandra
    Vivienne

    For no particular reason… I swear ^__^

    Reply

  12. Raptor Rants A Lot

    January 12, 2015 at 08:46

    Oh dear. Prepare for the storm. This is going to cause a big thing. What worries me though is how so many publishers apparently turned them down due to a female lead. Should they not be naming these publishers?

    In an industry where everyone is trying to prove how gender inclusive they are I can’t believe that so many publishers would then turn away a game with a female lead? I’d really like to know who these publishers are so that I can go ahead and not support them because they are the reason we have people like Anita who can use stories like this as ammo against male gamers.

    Reply

  13. HairyEwok

    January 12, 2015 at 08:49

    What the hell is wrong with these publishers. Are they so afraid of the female demographic that they shoot down a game with a female lead role. Wake up, just because it isn’t a male playing the lead role doesn’t mean it’s not going to work.

    Reply

    • oVg elfroot slayer

      January 12, 2015 at 11:43

      Ken Livine asked the same question. In the end he understood the majority of gamers a little better and was forced to shove Liz on the back of the box.

      Reply

    • Tom Krager

      January 12, 2015 at 13:53

      they want the female demographic of course .. . that would mean more money. However video games are still largely the hobby of males and I believe most publishers try to cater to males as they are the target demo. I think it’s rather silly to try and cater to males by making shallow decisions like not putting a female lead though .. . As with most male gamers, I don’t care what gender my main character is.

      Reply

      • HairyEwok

        January 12, 2015 at 13:59

        Males the target…. More the reason to make it a female then in my opinion. Guys love dem ladies ok, and a lady that kicks ass is even more likable.

        Reply

        • Tom Krager

          January 12, 2015 at 14:02

          For me and you it may be perfectly fine yeah, but the publishers seem to think they need to make the main characters male, and maybe they do to grab a certain portion of the market. My nephew for instance who probably wouldn’t play a game with a female lead because he is a 7 year old boy.

          Reply

          • HairyEwok

            January 12, 2015 at 14:31

            Yes in certain instances of games it would work that way, but this game isn’t for a 7 year old, it’s for the more matured audience so this doesn’t count here at all. They just went and blatantly threw this one away due to it being a female as a leading role.

  14. oVg elfroot slayer

    January 12, 2015 at 09:17

    Yup, something wrong here. I do not see any stubble, fat neck, hill billy space marine with an attractive hairy butt crack to look at in third person for 10hours… 😛 FAIL
    Stupid ass gamers.

    Reply

    • oVg elfroot slayer

      January 12, 2015 at 09:21

      Its also bloody time that Grand Theft Auto maned up and gave us a kick ass Female Protagonist.

      Reply

      • Spy Master Tokashi

        January 12, 2015 at 11:33

        and Uncharted …. trolololol 😉

        Reply

      • Matthew Holliday

        January 13, 2015 at 10:02

        can you imagine the complaints, when we get a female lead as offensive and derogatory as is needed for GTA?
        Im actually fine with GTA not getting a female lead though. the sexism, racism and whatever other ism you can think off, is part of the games charm.
        just because female leads should be encouraged, doesnt mean that every game should pick it up.

        Reply

    • Blood Emperor Trevor

      January 12, 2015 at 09:50

      mmm mmm mmm.

      Reply

    • Tom Krager

      January 12, 2015 at 13:50

      why stupid gamers? It was publishers that made the fuss . .. Gamers historically don’t seem to really care about that shit.

      Reply

      • oVg elfroot slayer

        January 12, 2015 at 14:32

        Unfortunately it is the gamers. The numbers have spoken. The casual teen gamers make up the majority. Not the 0.2% who read up on video games.

        I cant beleive only 7% of Mass Effect players played as Female Shepard. Heavenly Sword, Remember Me, Liberation and many other games with a female on the cover all tanked.

        Even Naughty Dog were told to remove Ellie from the cover and they said FCUK YOU.

        Reply

        • Matthew Holliday

          January 13, 2015 at 09:57

          stats lie. everyone has different stats, ive read the femshep numbers have been up to 18% and 35%
          depending on sources.
          femshep was a resounding success in the mass effect series.

          same with skyrim and dragon age, which got similar numbers.

          personally dont think the sex of the lead is important. il play as either if the games good. the need for distinction is the reason its a problem.

          Reply

  15. Jonah Cash

    January 12, 2015 at 09:22

    Lara Croft…………

    Reply

    • oVg elfroot slayer

      January 12, 2015 at 09:23

      ( • ) ( • )

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief

        January 12, 2015 at 09:34

        Well, if you refer to the old original Lara Croft, then you are incorrect oVg, since it was triangular bewbs back then

        Reply

    • Anon A Mouse

      January 12, 2015 at 09:23

      Didn’t sell enough games with the reboot to be considered a success apparently.

      Reply

      • Jonah Cash

        January 12, 2015 at 13:30

        You take that back!! She is my game wife!!!

        Reply

        • Quo Vadis?

          January 12, 2015 at 13:36

          Them are fighting words there! MINE! LOL

          Reply

  16. oVg elfroot slayer

    January 12, 2015 at 09:26

    Square Enix mentioned one flaw, “WHY IS HER HAIR BLUE”?

    Reply

  17. Martin du preez (D4RKL1NGza)

    January 12, 2015 at 09:30

    MAH SOGGY KNEE

    Reply

  18. Majik

    January 12, 2015 at 10:52

    I don’t care what gender the character is. If it’s a good game I’ll play it.

    Reply

  19. Tom Krager

    January 12, 2015 at 13:43

    I have a hard time believing stories like this. Tomb Raider is one of the biggest titles in history and it has a famous female heroine. I never had any issue with playing the game and personally I don’t think I ever even gave it a second thought. The Tomb Raider game that came out a couple of years ago was by far one of my favorite games ever. Gender of the characters had nothing to do with it.

    I think the funny thing is, a lot of feminists want to make it out like gamers are the one’s with the sexist issues and the misandry but If this article is true, then it’s actually capitalistic minded publishers who are the ones that push this agenda.

    I wonder if all the sites that continuously post anti-white male gamer articles will attack publishers now? Oh wait, they wont? strange . .. .

    “Life is Strange looks like a wonderfully unique experience; should it matter that you’re playing as a female?
    I certainly don’t think so”

    then ironically enough, why does it matter if they want to make the game’s main character male? If it really doesn’t matter then well . .. why does it matter!?!!?!?!? why make an article about how a publisher didn’t want to make the game, why demand equal representation in gaming at all then if you don’t think it matters? Obviously because to some people, it does matter the gender of the character they play.
    “Max, protagonist of Life is Strange, always felt naturally female, according to Dontnod.”
    So the story was better suited for a female character. If the Author truly believes that the gender of the character shouldn’t matter, then why give the quote from the creator of the game that suggests the game would be better served with a female character? Seems kind of hypocritical and antithetical to your overall point.

    also, why should there even be equal representation? Because from my perspective and statistically speaking, most developers are males. If I made a game tomorrow, the main character would probably be male simply because I’m male. Now if male developers are simply making the games they want to make, with the main characters they want to make, what is the issue?

    Reply

  20. Generic ZA

    January 12, 2015 at 13:49

    Just realized my Sunset Overdrive character is a girl, yet she dresses as a boy … I dunno, as many have said as long as the game is good who cares what gender the main character is.

    Reply

  21. A.

    May 26, 2015 at 22:16

    Cool. Square Enix is my new favorite publisher. I hope SE comes out with some more good games soon!

    I am boycotting game publishers and developers now who are not women-friendly. There aren’t many, if any, games left to play.

    Reply

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