While the difficulty of bringing gender choices to games is a hot topic this week thanks to comments from Ubisoft (related to gender options in the multiplayer portions of Far Cry 4 and Assassin's Creed Unity), one developer says that such efforts are usually the first things to get the axe on a big project.
A female game development engineer who wanted to share her thoughts on the topic but feared that speaking out would cost her job, spoke candidly and anonymously to GamesIndsutry International. The developer, who works "for one of the top studios in the industry" explains how discussions about including female characters worked at her company.
"The arguments offered by Ubisoft sound horribly familiar," she begins. "I've heard the same ones internally in similar conversations: need to redo the voice over, need to redo the animations for it to be to quality, no time, no budget, etc. All those are technically valid: when you're pushing the tech so much, the differences do matter. It's about choices though. And inclusivity always seems to end up on the cutting board."
She also says that the 'authenticity' argument comes up often but apparently "authenticity is not an issue when the gameplay and the fun are at stake. But somehow female characters are less believable than absurd, over-the-top situations."
Developers may also believe that "male is the default" because "people assume female characters don't sell, and that the audience is mostly teenage boys."
Another argument that comes up often is that "it's not the right game to do it," to which the engineer notes that maybe the "company is making the wrong game."
The engineer does highlight the fact that the studios where she works generally have an "amazing atmosphere" and people there do enjoy discussing topics like this one and pushing for a better effort.
"It feels that the tide is turning and there will be good things coming," she tells GII. "But due to the time it takes to make a AAA game, it will still be three, four, five years before any of that becomes visible."
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