Rhianna Pratchett talks of the challenges facing female protagonists and diverse characters in gaming.
The challenges for female protagonists in the gaming industry are manifold. As Dontnod Entertainment found out, sometimes you have to fight an uphill battle to present a strong female lead in video games.
Tomb Raider didn’t have it any better, as writer Rhianna Pratchett for the new reboot spoke about not only the problems facing female protagonists in games but diverse characters as well.
Speaking to Kill Screen, she stated that, “You’ve got a situation where female characters do get scrutinized more than male characters do, and in some ways can be seen as holding a banner up for female characters.
“A lot gets heaped on their shoulders. Lara Croft gets a lot more scrutiny than Nathan Drake does, as a female. Nobody talks about how well Nathan Drake is representing men, or male characters in games.”
“Developers themselves are much more diverse than the characters. Whenever anybody talks about a need for more female protagonists I say: ‘There’s a need for more female protagonists, but there’s a need for characters of different ethnicities, ages, sexual orientation, ability, et cetera.’ We are very narrow when it comes to our characters.”
In fact, she wanted to work to make Lara more womanly in Tomb Raider; maybe even make her gay and explore the different complexities of gender and sexuality. Games like Mass Effect have tried, for a while, but the industry is still yet to fully embrace the notion.
“There’s just so much to be explored, if we could just be a little bit braver about our characters. Because gamers can take it, I think,” says Pratchett.