Blizzcon just ended and once again another gaming convention has come and gone with an ever present male bias in gaming. It happens every gaming convention, not just Blizzcon. I get my hopes up that some gaming company somewhere will present reveals, cinematics, or a new major character(s) that are women. I fear that is never going to happen however.
The executives, hell almost every panel member, is male. The new character models on the Warlords of Draenor site are so far male only models. The only models shown during the art panel and discussed were male models. Sure they showed a slide of a female dwarf and gnome, but these were non-animated slides and are not available on the website.
Every major character discussed at Blizzcon was male. Why? Warcraft has so many amazing women that would make excellent vehicles for story telling: Sylvanas and Jaina immediately spring to mind. There are so many story lines possible with just these two woman alone that it is inconceivable to me that they are left to languish and sit there on the sidelines. Sure we heard from Jaina a couple of times in Mists of Pandaria but her story was left unfinished from the brilliant treatment Jaina received from Christie Golden’s Tides of War.
Star Wars:The Old Republic does a somewhat better job. Satele Shan is the Grand Master of the Jedi Order and she isn’t a figure head that players have no interaction with either. She is a strong, lead female character but SWTOR isn’t a great example to draw on unfortunately. SWTOR is extremely story driven by the player’s in-game choices thus allowing Bioware the opportunity to write strong female characters into cut-scenes. Bioware, in general, writes strong, prominent female characters but even these characters aren’t the “star” of any Bioware game.
I want development of lore from the games I play that involves women. Women play games, write about games, and want game developers to recognize that we are more than just a small, insignificant portion of their player base. We are more than spell slingers and healers. We tank, we burn stuff down quickly with blade and spell alike. We lead raids and guilds, we write about our gaming experiences and we bring others into games we play. What do game developers fear in making a woman front and center in a game? That their male audience won’t play because of the presence of a strong woman lead character?
It’s time that gaming developers recognize that women play games and that we want stories that are balanced between the sexes. My characters, are more than a plate bikini digital image to feed the imaginations of young men. Women everywhere deserve equal lore representation and focus as male characters.