Deep Down – Supposed “sexism” in the gaming industry

TW: Logic. Facts.

So I read an article yesterday that really annoyed me about the supposed “sexism” in the gaming industry all because the upcoming Deep Down won’t have a playable female character in it. Let’s look into this a little further, since this story has been gaining a lot of attention…

The author certainly doesn’t waste any time with this one:

“Deep Down apparently won’t contain any playable female characters. It’s 2014. This is video games. Brenna Hillier is, predictably, pretty fucking angry.”

It’s the first line of the article and already Brenna is apparently emotional and upset. Why? Well let’s find out…

“In a livestream event over the weekend, Capcom’s Kazunori Sugiura, producer of Deep Down, reportedly said the free-to-play PlayStation 4 dungeon crawler won’t include female playable characters.” – Source

Ummmm, so? There are plenty of games that have playable female characters and plenty of games that allow you to play as a male or female. Some quick big titles off the top of my head from the past few years include Tomb Raider, Final Fantasy, The Last of Us, Portal, Gears of War: Judgement, Starcraft II and League of Legends.

Lara Croft - Tomb Raider

The reboot of the Tomb Raider series has done a great job of re-inventing Lara Croft into a believable and strong female character.

Recently I’ve been playing Tomb Raider where you play as Lara Croft. The game is awesome and Lara is a bad ass. I don’t find it hard to play as a female character and it’s actually a pretty nice change of pace to play a strong female character in a video game. How about Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII? This is one of very few Final Fantasy titles where you don’t play a mixed party of characters, instead you play as the female protagonist Lightning. I guess I better start complaining that the sexist pigs at Square-Enix don’t want me playing as a male character.

But Brenna obviously isn’t upset and angry for no reason is she?

“Why on earth would a game creator deliberately omit the entire female gender from its game? Because of the plot, apparently.”

Hold up, hold up. We’re getting a little carried away here aren’t we? We’ve gone from no female playable characters to “omit the entire female gender from its game”. Yeah, that sounds like a little bit of a stretch to me. There could very well be female NPC’s or important female characters in the story line but I guess facts don’t make for a dramatic article do they?

What possible reason could an author have for making these kinds of assumptions?

Instead of making up bullshit, lets actually look at FACTS:

“Translated by DualShockers, perhaps the biggest reveal for the game is the exclusion of playable female characters. It’s stated that this is due to reasons that will be made apparent in the game’s narrative.”

So wait… Based on a translation of what Deep Down producer Kazunori Sugiura said, some angry bloggers and internet commenters have their panties in a twist because apparently the developers had a story to tell that didn’t involve female protagonists… You’re fucking kidding me, right?

A TRANSLATION. Because it’s not like a quote like this could easily be misinterpreted or taken out of context when translated from it’s native tongue, is it?

“Don’t let this answer satisfy you. Capcom wrote the plot. There’s no reason why it had to write a plot that excluded female characters.”

And there’s no reason the game must include female playable characters either. Capcom have a story they want to tell, but apparently they have to change their vision and make sure to include females because if they don’t they’re sexist? That’s a pretty fucking bold claim to make with absolutely zero information and facts to back it up, isn’t it? The author goes on to mention that Capcom has had strong female characters in other games, but apparently they just chose to omit them from this game because they’re trying to oppress women.

Personally I’d be pretty pissed if someone took something I said out of context with no information about me and then made a harsh judgement on me like that, but then, we’re dealing with people that don’t know how to use logic…

I guess to make sure we keep everyone happy we better make sure to include Asians, blacks and homosexuals in every single game as well to make sure we tick every box on the diversity checklist? Fuck it, why stop there? The lead character of the next Call of Duty title should be a quadriplegic.

“Having had several years to reflect and digest, to be educated by my peers, to learn more about the business of games, to experience the sexism of the industry firsthand and to become increasingly angry about everything, I’m no longer satisfied with this answer.”

Sorry honey, no one gives a shit about what you’re satisfied with. At the end of the day the entire thing comes down to money. Why on earth would a publisher want to spend all that extra development time and money on creating a female character if it’s only going to increase their sales by 5%?

The article ends with a hilariously written mock conversation of the developers and publishers being enlightened when they realise they don’t know how to do their jobs. Not hilarious because Brenna is funny, but hilarious because she implies that the marketers from large publishers don’t know how to do their job. I’m sorry, but we live in an age where a corporation can predict that you’re pregnant due to your credit card spending habits and you seriously think publishers and developers aren’t aware that women play video games too? Yeah, no.

You want to know the worst thing about this article? It’s not the fact that the entire thing is written in an emotional style to tug on the heart strings and contains absolutely zero facts and some very blind assumptions, it’s the fact that this article has actually gained traction and people are actually reading this shit and then accepting it as gospel as if some random bloggers opinion on the matter means more than the actual developers themselves that have stated they have reasons for their decision. Can someone please explain to me why her angry rant is being given more credibility than the freakin’ games developers?!

Lets be realistic for just a second can we? Gamers and developers aren’t purposely excluding female characters from games because we want it to be a boys only crowd. This couldn’t possibly be further from the truth and there’s no factual evidence to back this up. I say this as a guy with a level 54 female priest in WoW and over 100 games played as Ashe in League of Legends.

Ashe - League of Legends

Ashe from League of Legends is one of the first champions I played in LoL and still one of my favourites.

The fact is, developers are limited by money. Deep Down is a brand new free to play IP that may or may not be successful. If the game has voice acting that means double the amount of time in the sound studio and money spent on voice actors. It means double the amount of character models and armour, etc. This isn’t cheap especially when you’re already risking money on a brand new IP.

It’s great when developers allow gamers to create their own unique characters of whatever gender and race they want but not every single game is going to allow this level of customisation and that’s ok too.

When I play Tomb Raider I don’t spend the entire game saying, “Gee, I wish I was playing as Nathan Drake”. I sit back and enjoy the plot from a perspective of a woman. After kicking ass as Lara Croft, I can switch discs and enjoy the witty sarcasm and charm of Nathan Drake in Uncharted. I’m having too much fun in each game too much to give a shit about what gender I’m playing as.

The article is roughly 3 pages long. Based off a single translated quote about the game which the developer has said they have a good reason for. Instead of actually waiting for the facts, we should just grab our pitch forks and start an uprising, we can bathe in all that juicy, juicy ad revenue.

How about we give the developers a chance to release their story before we grab our pitch forks and accuse them of being sexist when we have no idea of why and how they came to their decision?  Once you’ve played the story then you can decide if the developers made a mistake excluding a female playable character and then you can feel free to criticise them all you want.

Until then shut the fuck up.


UPDATE: So this happened just shortly after I posted this article:

Producer Kazunori Sugirua said the original report was “misleading” and that there is only one playable character in the game, who is male. – Source

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you don’t jump to conclusions based on little to no information and throw out wild and insulting accusations. Brenna Hillier of course still has her original article up. She hasn’t updated it with new information but I guess she’s rolling in the cash from her ads so she doesn’t care.

Brenna calls herself a “journalist” but it seems she’s just very good at making a scene over nothing. I’m waiting for her to take back what she said and apologise to Capcom, but I won’t hold my breath.

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