One feminist criticism of video games is that there are very few games with women as central characters. One games development studio, Dontnod Entertainment, has faced significant difficulty in getting their games published largely due to their focus on female characters. Jean-Maxime Moris, the creative director for the studio’s first game Remember Me, said to Penny Arcade Report "We had some [companies] that said, 'Well, we don 't want to publish it because that 's not going to succeed. You can 't have a female character in games. It has to be a male character, simple as that’". Their second game, Life is Strange, faced many of the same problems with publishers. In a development diary for the game, it was revealed that many companies would only publish it if the lead character Max was a male. These repeated struggles show a worrying trend that games publishers don’t think games with female leads will sell well – but why?
The success of the Lara Croft franchise disproves this way of thinking. Lara Croft is one of the most widely recognisable characters in video game history – but some critics say that this could be accredited to the highly sexualised representation the majority of her games. However, in 2013 the series was rebooted with a less sexualised version of the character, and the recently releas...
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...hips. The massive success of these series evidences a shift in perception. However, the fact still remains that many best-selling titles in the first half 2015 barely feature a female character as more than background decoration, and this is unlikely to change as long as critics such as Anita Sarkeesian receive the amount of vitriol directed at them for simply pointing out flaws in the representation of women in video games.
In conclusion, there seems to be a general shift in perspective towards the representation of women in video games, as evidenced by the success of games like Life is Strange. However, as long as major publishers focus on the outdated stereotype that only men play video games, and cater to the vocal minority who attack critics such as Anita Sarkeesian, the industry is unfortunately unlikely to see any significant change in a reasonable time frame.
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