Exec. Producer of FIFA’s Video Games Says No Women This Year, Will Happen “At Some Point”
I Want to Believe
David Rutter, executive producer of the official yearly FIFA video games featuring the exclusive likenesses of professional soccer players and teams from around the world, has said that including any women or women’s teams in the game is something that will happen. Naturally, it won’t be in this year’s FIFA ’13, and he can provide no time table as to when women’s national teams will actually make it into the game, or a game.
Now before you roll your eyes (because I rolled my eyes) and move on, you should hear the rest of what he had to say.
Rutter’s comments came in response to an internet petition begun by psychologist, gamer, Brazillian expat, and football/soccer fan Fernanda Schabarum, which called for EA Sports to add women’s national teams to their globally popular annual video game series. And unlike the vast majority of internet petitions, this one actually got some traction, with Schabarum and Rutter setting up a meeting.
Schabarum thinks including a women’s team perfectly feasible, and very important. From Kotaku:
“I’m a psychologist, so I know that when children play a game, it’s not just that their favorite player or team is scoring a goal or winning, they feel like they are too,” she said. “Girls should have the same right. David’s daughters should have that right, too.”
To his credit, Rutter (whose two young daughters are soccer players) seems mostly wary of making a half-assed concession to women in sports, like alternate skins or models, a different play mode, or a tie in instead of a good, standalone game. He was involved in the making of Mia Hamm 64 Soccer for the Nintendo 64, which was not well received and, because it was basically a reskinned version of another game featuring a male soccer star, it appeared “more of cynical marketing tactic than a game really interested in women’s sports.”
“We want to make the best fundamental simulation of football,” Rutter said. “When it gets to a point where we’re considering a feature’s inclusion because it benefits everyone, then it becomes a priority. The key thing about delivering on it, is that it has to be of very good quality, very high value, rather than just an acknowledgment of women in football.”
Schabarum says that as a fan, she respects the game’s commitment to realism: she wouldn’t want a game where women’s teams compete against men’s teams, or where you could create a female Career Campaign character who plays on an otherwise completely male field, because unlike some other sports, those things simply don’t happen in professional soccer. Like Rutter, she wants something that pays an honest tribute to the accomplishments of female soccer players and to the legitimacy of their game.
For now, at least, it’s up to folks like Schabarum and anybody else who wants to see women’s football on their consoles to hold Rutter accountable to his statements.