Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gamasutra: No Female Heroes at Activision?

Leigh Alexander is laying it down over at Gamasutra, and also at SexyVideoGameLand, her personal blog, about female characters in games, and specifically, Activision.

Set your controversy meters to STUNNED.

 I'm just going to say this on this subject, the fewer characters that are considered in detail in your story, the less interesting it is. The less interesting your story is, the less people will remember it. If you are just trotting out the same tired stereotypes over and over, people will get bored and you will be forgotten.
[Gamasutra's Leigh Alexander looks at the apparent recasting of a female protagonist to male in what would become Activision's True Crime 3, asking whether this is symptomatic of larger issues around focus testing and female character representation in the industry.]

Games with female leads don't sell. At least that's what Activision believes, looking at top software sellers in any given year for evidence and choosing only projects that go with the trend, sources claim.

In 2007, we're told the publisher even went so far as to change the protagonist in a new concept -- the project that would become True Crime 3 -- from a female to a male, on the rationale that the female wouldn't move software units.

Numerous former employees of the company's studios tell Gamasutra that Activision relies on focus tests to a contentious extent -- and the result is that according to our research, the only titles published by Activision since 2005 that feature female leads are licenses, like Barbie and Dora.

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