The best thing to come out of Ubisoft saying some very foolish things about the all-male roster in Assassin’s Creed: Unity has been the outpouring of industry pros talking about it. Well, that, and the cosplay.
Yesterday, VideoGamer.com spoke with Ashley Johnson, who voiced Ellie in The Last of Us (which our Editor-at-Large loved). When asked about the general lack of playable female characters in video games, she had this to say.
Assassin’s Creed: Unity is a great example of when I saw the gameplay and saw that [in] their multiplayer you do not have the option to play as a female. I was like, ‘Give me a f***ing break! It’s 2014! How many video games do you have to make to realize maybe have an option to have a female be in there?’ And maybe not just on PS Vita.
But it did make me upset. There are so many female gamers…I don’t know what the percentage is at this point but there are a lot of females that play video games and it would be nice to see stronger females in a game that are not just the damsel in distress, the love interest or she’s oversexualized. She doesn’t even necessarily have to be a badass. Just like a normal female character.”
Johnson added that female characters weren’t the only ones who would benefit from less stereotyped roles.
On a broader spectrum, also male characters. Have a good story, have real characters and… I think the audience is changing so hopefully that’ll change a little bit more.
Voice actor Troy Baker (the voice of Joel) chimed in as well, though he doesn’t think token characters are the way to go, either.
What I don’t want to see happen is have the obligatory female character in there because that’s what marketing says we need to have. I think that’s almost even more disrespectful than not having women in the game.
But clearly there’s such a large demographic – I’m getting rid of the term ‘female gamer’ because you’re just a gamer, we don’t have to [identify] by gender – but there’s a large portion of gamers that are women that feel marginalized. They don’t feel like this game… it’s irrelevant to them. And that’s where games are going. It’s a very relevant way for them to immerse themselves in the story.
I essentially agree with Baker’s opening comment (and I, too, prefer to just be called a gamer, though I support the ladies who feel otherwise). But as far as the matter of disrespect goes, I personally see tokenism as a lesser evil than erasure. Ideally, no, I don’t want female characters who exist purely so that a box can be checked off. I would, however, jump at the chance to play more of them.
- Ubisoft Lacks Resources To Animate Women, But Can Totally Hire A Parkour Expert
- Sunset Overdrive Throws Some Major Shade At Ubisoft
- A Great Big List of E3 Games with Playable Female Characters