Twyst, Gunthera1, elenielstorm, and Brinstar look at playable men in games:
The latest fad seems to be asking why there are no playable male characters in video games. We reached out to a few developers to get their thoughts on this matter:
“These boys are just not understanding what it actually takes to make a game,” one developer wrote. She went on to say, “As a game developer, I am often asked about resource management and priorities. Creating boys in games isn’t a simple thing, listen, we aren’t a sexist company, we are just realistic. It is a matter of resources and expense vs. return. Creating a character that is fundamentally different from the other characters in the game takes up memory, time, and requires unique writing, voice acting, textures, skeleton rigging and animations.”
This sentiment was mirrored in many of the other responses that were returned to us:
“We just didn’t have the resources to put Mario in New Princess Peach Wii. I mean, he doesn’t wear a skirt, he has two legs and pants. Both legs have to act independently and that is thousands of lines of code!” (even though we note that AGAIN we have to save Mario in this latest release). But even after his rescue he is not a playable character. We see this as a missed opportunity. Especially as Mario was present in other Princess Peach releases, like Unicorn Race (he even had a snazzy kilt!).
“Our game is has a lot of dialogue and text, to have a male character involves checking every line of dialogue and text to ensure correct pronoun usage, for a small number of people who are not our target market. It just doesn’t make sense for us.”
“Due to our commitment to a rich, detailed experience, creating a male character was just not feasible for this release. We would have to recreate every cut scene, which, may I add, are cinema quality. This would involve another voice actor, motion capture, skeletons and rigging–effectively double the size of the entire game! We already motion captured all female characters. Think of the time necessary to redo the work for males. Their gait and center of gravity are completely different. We would have to start over from scratch! Were we to do that, we wouldn’t have the realistic castle drawbridges and customizable unicorn mounts that Queen’s Quest is known for!”
“We wanted to have men in the game, we really did. But as the release date drew nearer and nearer we had to make some tough decisions. Don’t get me wrong, i love men. Who doesn’t, mirite? I love to stare at them all day long. But there just are not enough hours in the day. We would have had to design form fitting clothing, and the penis physics alone would have taken days. And of course, we would have to redesign the costume choices to show off a little skin. The flowing dresses in our games simply do not show much skin. That takes time and effort.”
“Men see enough violence in the real world that we didn’t want to have such triggering scenes. Originally there was a plan for a male character, but early builds of the game shows that it just made us uncomfortable to have bad things happen to him. No one wanted to play him or do any harm to him. We felt protective of him.”
“In the end we felt that adding a heterosexual male would be pandering to ‘political correctness.’ Just look at population statistics and you will see that the majority of people in the world are not heterosexual, white, males. But hey, we should get points for the m/m relationships, because that is just hot, mirite, ladies? We just couldn’t show that as a real relationship. It would simply take too many resources.”
“It was regretful that we weren’t able to fit a playable male into the game. But the love interest, Keith, is pretty hot! We even got a few close up chest and butt shots in there for the ladies.”
“I don’t think men were ever in the plan for our game, hardly any men buy games anyway. We would have to change the artwork to include camouflage and black just to market the game and we didn’t want to do that. We felt there were already enough ‘boy games’ out there as it is.”
“Our entire art department is filled with women. They know how to animate female hair as they see it every day… but when asked to animate men’s hair styles they were stuck. And how does one possible animate a bald head? This was simply too much of a challenge for our art department.”
“When hitting the streets we made note of the people walking past us. After extensive polling we realized that straight, white males are clearly in the minority. As such it would be nothing more than a ‘politically correct’ move to include them in our games.”
“The majority of our developers are women, so of course, they’re more familiar with women. It’s about what’s relatable, you know? Women can relate to and identify with women more easily than with men. So what comes naturally to game developers is filling a world with female NPCs. This is why, about 75% of all of the NPCs in our RPG game are female, and 25% are male. Female NPCs also have more than twice the number of lines of dialogue than male NPCs. It’s just easier to write dialogue when you’re writing dialogue for female characters. And since the majority of the population, and therefore the majority of gamers are women, we don’t see why we need to pander to niche audiences like straight, white male gamers. Just think about it. The majority of our target market are women. We’re just making characters that the majority of market can better identify with and relate to.”
Really, a lot of the replies were the same old excuses that we hear over and over.