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FeaturesPicking up momentum: Transition from a march

Picking up momentum: Transition from a march

Published: 6th Mar 2021 5:28 pm

This is one about making things right, a column that builds on #gamergate and the problem of women portrayals in games, women players, streamers, and women in the gaming industry. A debate that started in 2014 and went on for a year, the movement of perceptions, stereotypes, and set foundations has been glacial as the major issues have never been addressed.

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However, with each new year and generation, we hope for better, better in terms of representation, better in terms of conducive environments, and better in terms of a more balanced game-space. Who knows? This decade could be the one where the term gamer doesn’t elicit the mental image of a white teenager of privilege.

The observations are encouraging though as the next generation’s games showcase nuanced female protagonists headlining some of the most promising games. This week we look at five titular characters and anticipate the excitement that could emanate from their success.

Aloy (Horizon Forbidden West)

Second time around, as one of the most heart-rending coming of age stories expands on Aloy’s legacy. A young woman with the fate of the world in her hands, she must find her way and traverse the world to make sense of the reality around her. One of the most anticipated sequels on the PS5, there is a lot resting on Aloy’s shoulders including the fate of the franchise.

Nara (Chorus)

The protagonist of an atmospheric shooter, Nara headlines the foray of women characters in the genre. With a sentient spaceship and some superhuman abilities, Nara must fight both in-game enemies and prevalent stereotypes if Chorus needs to become successful.

Selene (Returnal)

A game that is a psychological thriller, Returnal tells the story of an astronaut who has to fight her way out of a planet out to get her. One of the true next-gen games, Selene’s adventure is one of the first titles that will tap into the haptics and added functionalities of the PS5 controller. This could be one of the next great games in the genre and Selene could have a big role in shaping it.

Marianne (The Medium)

One of the bravest protagonists in a game I have had the opportunity to play, Marianne is the titular medium in the game. Someone who bridges the two worlds and can talk to the living and the dead, Marianne is everything and more than what the game has to offer.

Kena (Kena, the Bridge of Spirits)

Another game that has the potential to be one of the biggest surprises of the year, Kena has showcased some exciting stuff. Kena as the titular character with her unique abilities, impressive physical skills and some extremely cute sidekicks ticks all the right boxes.

The five characters are all indicative of the immense strides that video game making has made in making strong female characters. Add into the mix Ellie, Abby (Last of Us 2), and Masako (Ghost of Tsushima) from 2020 the narrative of games has changed. However, there is more to be done but I am glad the March has now broken out into a run.

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