*It was pointed out in the comments that I was rather wrong in my judgement here… So terrible Iz I. See the total number of female characters is actually 6, yes they pulled a Samus switch on me.. Awesome blue robot suit is awesome. Anyway, with that it brings the female design total to 3 femme fatales and 3 that differ.. A decent balance really. OH WELL… rant diminished I guess although that study I linked is still pretty cool. Maybe just take out the blizzard name and add in any other stupid company you dislike atm*
I’m sure nearly everyone has seen the video by now but it’s worth showing off the new character for Blizzards FPS project Overwatch again. Most media sites and people have been going a little crazy over it with titles like “blizzard is really listening”, implying that the recent movement towards better female characters and Blizzards own troubled history with them might be changing. I however am a little less enthused.
I mean it’s great to see they are starting to create female characters out of the usual sexy female old; changing the features, the look, the general silhouette and of course the play style of these characters. But really, it’s but one character so far out of all the female characters that does this, and I would still consider the face and such young and cute, in those certain ways. Seriously just have a look at the character list and you see just how similar the other designs were with the same exaggerated silhouette: big boobs, small impossible waist and the ghetto booty for balance I guess… Oh, and can’t forget the revealing and form-fitting clothing.
Now look at the guys. Differences in size and stature. Armor design varies a lot. young, old and the awesome robotic types. Are we really thanking them for supposedly breaking the mold with just one female character.
I’m also a lot more annoyed at this supposed model in that it actually differs from nothing. It is still an incredibly stereotyped character.. I mean COME ON, the butch russian… really? We’re going there now. That’s been a joke for many for a long time now. A deviation from the regular population that has someone come to represent them. MOTHER RUSSIA, and all that idiocy.
I don’t know. I like that they are thinking from a different perspective but you could literally design a better character by stapling a few characteristics to the wall and then throwing darts to see where they stick. One morning I could stir some alphabet cereal and pick out a better character. My toddlers could have designed a better one (probably true actually). Do they not have anyone, anywhere in Blizzard that picks up on this. That can maybe point out any logical fallacies and blatant rip-offs of racist stereotypes to the design team. I can offer my talents there… unemployed remember =p
I get that a lot of these companies think they have to design like this these days to apparently appeal to their supposed demographics but really, have we not learnt by now how wrong and damaging that type of thinking is. There are a lot more demographics than just the younger male crowd looking at and playing games. In fact, many of those other groups now surpass them – together it isn’t even a contest. Wouldn’t diversity in design then be the better aim considering you will appease a greater amount of people.
In general I get the feeling the times are changing. Recently there was another study focusing on school age children and their own gaming opinions and interest which was rather enlightening. There are a few hypothesis you can easily make from this study too that continue to break that mold. First it was interesting that while Girls generally didn’t categorise themselves as gamers even though their habits where strong and comparable to the boys. Over 50% could easily be categorised as such, and yes that’s over a lot of different genres too. Multiple as well with only 19% saying they didn’t play games.. DIDN’T. That’s a huge shift from what a lot of people believe at the moment. And no, they weren’t all candy crush players you jackass
Another was in the choice of protagonist. As children get older their preferences seem to change. Girls begin to prefer to play female characters and boy gain a greater non preference. It makes sense in a way as the majority of games, especially those for the older demographics mainly have male protagonists.
Overall though there is always a strong sense of wanting to play characters that represent themselves, this would be common knowledge in many ways but it’s something I think a lot in development, or at least those calling the shots seem to forget. If you want more woman to play your game than the choice of characters matters and yes, even at those earlier ages in the studies recognise problematic and sexualized designs. I’m guessing this would matter during choice and purchase of games as well.
It should be common knowledge by now but apparently we still need studies like this showing certain habits and beliefs of the genders. There is a huge market there but an industry that is seemingly focused mainly on a single part, that seems rather silly. You would think, knowing what we do then that a greater parity in the amount and design of characters would be a far better idea for growing a greater playerbase and of course financially. Five out of the 16 released for Overwatch is much better than the usual but just one out of those that breaks from the sexy mold but still stereotyped is really not something I feel like celebrating. And I certainly don’t believe that Blizzard has been truly “listening” or learned anything just yet.