Rock Paper Shotgun had an article about “Male Protagonist Bingo”, demonstrating how well-known videogame protagonists easily fill over half the card.
Naturally, I played Bingo for Scout, but no bingo for her…
Then again, someone should probably create a “Female Protagonist Bingo” card. I wonder what that would look like. “Lara Croft Clone”, “Edgy Tattoo”, “Skin Tight Suit”, “Boob Armour”, “Healer”, “Underage”, might be a good beginning, but we can keep “Military Rank”, “Supernatural Powers” and “Psychological Problems”, I think.
And… here is the female protagonist bingo. *cough*
And here is the original blog post by wundergeek. It’s the truth, all of it.
With an adult female protagonist and a half dozen main NPCs being women (of all ages), Scout’s Journey is well equipped for a gaming world in which the largest sub-group are adult women. Heck, two of the game’s factions are even matriarchies.
I’ve been eyeing women as a target audience for a while. More and more media reports have been pointing to their rising importance in gaming over the last few years. Here’s a source I found on twitter today (article from 2014.) The legend that women play mostly casual games turns out to be untenable. Women over 18 are a larger audience than teenage boys. So, why not take that into account when marketing the game – find out what women like in games, and make an effort to make SJ even more attractive to that audience. It’s not gonna be too hard I hope.
Four of the most important characters are women:
- Elin, aka Scout, the intrepid adventurer on her life’s journey
- Esperanza, hardened veteran, leader of an entire squad of female elite soldiers
- Nkoyo, model soldier, Esperanza’s right hand, with a soft heart under all that toughness
- Jiao, the youngster who struggles with circumstances but eventually comes into her own.
Moreover, the game also deals with things such as women having to take matters into their own hands, the position of women in an isolated group of people, cooperation between enemies that’s born out of sheer necessity, and the problems with a clueless all-male command structure. In short, most of the game’s stars are women, although there are strong male characters too (with themes such as breaking away from peer pressure and doing the right thing even if it’s not the popular route, or having to arbitrate between your peers and a detached leadership.)
Game developers can’t ignore demographics anymore. I hope we will see a lot more female protagonists and main NPCs in the future. I think it’s already beginning with games like The Last Of Us and Mirror’s Edge. Gaming is ripe for it.