After getting a look at the game, it seems the concern was unwarranted.
Now that we’ve all “met” the female protagonist in the just announced Horizon: Zero Dawn, it’s a safe bet the gaming world is officially in love with her. What you might be interested to find out is Sony almost went in an entirely different direction. Shuhei Yoshida, head of Sony Computer Entertainment’s head of worldwide studios sat down for an interview with Polygon where he said he and other members of Sony’s team were uncomfortable about having a female lead in the game.
“She’s a female lead character,” he said. “That has always been the vision by the team, but we had a discussion. Is it risky to do a female character?” Of course, it seems as if someone should have immediately pointed out to Yoshida this would hardly be the first female lead in big budget (cough, Tomb Raider, cough).
Yoshida says that Sony did quite a bit of focus testing on a number of different aspects of Horizon: Zero Dawn and the female lead was one of those aspects. Even after the focus testing was finished and came back positive for her, the exec admits he was still nervous. He also says quite a bit of those nerves faded as E3 unfolded and he saw just how many games, such as Mirror’s Edge and Dishonored 2, were using female protagonists.
In the end, Yoshida said he hopes this many games going with a female lead can help broaden gaming’s base. The Sony chief said he believes it’s a good thing to have more diversity in gaming because it opens the market up to more people. Horizon: Zero Dawn doesn’t have an official release date yet, which hints it won’t be out until sometime next year.