Rhianna Pratchett, the writer responsible for the new and improved Lara Croft of the latest Tomb Raider reboot, has spoken out about the representation of gender in video games, and the challenges developers face when creating more diverse characters.
"You've got a situation where female characters do get scrutinized more than male characters do, and in some ways can be seen as holding a banner up for female characters," she told Kill Screen.
"A lot gets heaped on their shoulders. Lara Croft gets a lot more scrutiny than Nathan Drake does, as a female. Nobody talks about how well Nathan Drake is representing men, or male characters in games."
Pratchett also referred to the fear some developers have of more diverse characters, in case those characters were then labelled racist or sexist, and how that has lead to an army of game protagonists in the "Whitey McStubbly" type.
"There's just so much to be explored, if we could just be a little bit braver about our characters"
"That's the familiar ground. But it's not an accurate representation of gamers, it's not even an accurate representation of developers," she added.
"Developers themselves are much more diverse than the characters. Whenever anybody talks about a need for more female protagonists I say: 'There's a need for more female protagonists, but there's a need for characters of different ethnicities, ages, sexual orientation, ability, et cetera.' We are very narrow when it comes to our characters."
In the interview Pratchett also discussed the importance of making Lara more female, not just "a male character with boobs," admitted she would have loved to make Lara a gay character and argued that different representations of gender, sexuality, race and even relationships were an important first step for the industry.
"There's just so much to be explored, if we could just be a little bit braver about our characters. Because gamers can take it, I think."
The Tomb Raider reboot was released on March 5 and is currently top of the UK software charts.