Indie Developer Explains Why Having Gender Options in its Game is Important

While two team leaders from Ubisoft (working on Assassin's Creed: Unity and Far Cry 4) say that there wasn't enough time or resources to include female character options for multiplayer, one small developer – chronicled by Polygon – designed its game with inclusivity in mind at the start.

The developer is Xaviant and the game is Lichdom: Battlemage. From the starter players of this upcoming first-person magic casting game can choose male and female genders from the start and each gender choice has its own carefully crafted animation and back-story.

Xaviant CEO and creative director Michael McMain says that when his company set out to design the game it thought about these options well in advance.

"It's something that we were adamant about doing," explained CEO and creative director Michael McMain. "Our motto at Xaviant 'you will feel everything.' It's all about immersion. My argument is, how can a woman feel that immersion when she's playing a male avatar that she does not want to play?"

McMain goes on to tell Polygon that his team debated the pros and cons of including gender choices – including any extra work or costs it might add to the project. Ultimately they decided that having these options was of paramount importance.

Obviously this came at the expense of other things we could have done, but we prioritized," he said. "We said it's important to do. We have what we feel is an amazing experience. This just adds more depth to it."

McMain thinks that inclusion is a matter of will and a choice.

"It's really just a choice," he said. "We said, we're going to do it and we don't give ourselves an option to fail. Yes, it costs more in animation. But when we decided we're doing it, the team rolled up their sleeves and we got it done."

Xaviant is going to release Lichdom: Battlemage in August, but the game is currently available on Steam Early Access.

Source: Polygon

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  1. 0
    Rohin says:

    Assassin's Creed III: Liberation didn't sell particularly well with Aveline as the main protagonist. If you bear in mind their games feature one main playable character rather than an array, you can see why they might be a bit leery to make a woman the main playable character of their flagship game.


    I would love for them to put more women in as playable characters, but you can't really demand that a particular game does it, you can only point out that lots of games don't.

  2. 0
    Neeneko says:

    As the  number of women in gaming increase, many get tired of being told things they care about do not matter and are distracting from things that guys care about.

    When you have a small group, it is easy to silence.  As a group gets bigger, people within it discover that they are not as easy to drown out as they used to be and start talking just like the majority groups are accustomed to being able to do.

  3. 0
    BlindMaphisto says:

    Eh that's actually not a bad argument. I think I'm just annoyed how frequent this story and others like it have become all of a sudden. We are a few days out of E3 and there are like four stories on the front page of GP alone and a few at least everywhere else I go. It just seems all whacked out of proportion considering how much news is available to cover right now. Not sure who started this particular crusade but it's caught on in a big way.

  4. 0
    BlindMaphisto says:

    The whole get girls in assassins creed seems like the most asinine campaign ever. The only input ordinary people should have over an artistic endeavor (I don't care if you think AC is art or not) is whether or not to buy it.

  5. 0
    David says:

    "McMain goes on to tell Polygon that his team debated the pros and cons of including gender choices – including any extra work or costs it might add to the project."

    This is exactly why Ubisoft is saying they don't want to add female characters.  Management didn't see the investment of time, money, and labor as necessary.  I suspect that after this unpleasant PR situation, Ubi's management will more closely consider female avatars for future projects.

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