International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, and whilst the videogame industry has traditionally been male dominated…

we are pleased to say that the trend is now starting to change.

Women in games used to mean booth babes and Lara Croft’s breasts (before she became a mass murderer in her latest adventure). In narrative plots they were the eye candy and often played up to male fantasy stereotypes. Clearly the world has moved on and 2013 might be the year the industry starts to recognise this.

This might, in part, be due to the fact that we now have a number of very influential women involved in game design. However, it is also due to more gamers being women than was the case even five years ago. In addition it’s possible that men, perhaps, have started to mature when it comes to what they expect from a game’s narrative and character development. Possibly.

So why is it that 2013 might be the year of the women in gaming?

We have the new Lara Croft. Sensitive, adaptable, and for the first time not a pure sex object, but a character with strengths, vulnerabilities and a story worth exploring. The ‘Last of Us’ for PS3 will have Ellie, a gritty innocent young girl in extraordinary circumstances having to overcome her fears to battle through a challenging landscape. Despite there also being a male lead, she is the focus of the story revealed to us so far in the trailers. The Playstation 3 also has Beyond Two Souls, a title by Quantic Dream (the studio behind the game Heavy Rain), who’s main character is Jodie, a young girl played by Ellen Page.

We have to be honest, there is a long way to go in our industry until we see real gender equality, both behind the scenes, in promotion and in the actual content. E3 will probably once again have women not wearing much as a way of attracting the majority of attendees (men) to their stands. This in itself isn’t bad – if it is what works (it’s business afterall), but as the industry changes even this practice will reduce as the mix of attendees starts to change. We should recognise that the change is already happening, both in terms of the narrative of the games, and in terms of the staff making and involved in them. Women need to be involved in games, both as players and as developers, as it will inevitably lead to better games, with deeper stories and emotions.

To think that 50% of the population can come up with 100% of the ideas is crazy. Here is to International Women’s day and furthering their involvement in our lives.