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Rockstar's Houser explains lack of female protagonist in GTA V

Rockstar's Houser explains lack of female protagonist in GTA V

Tue 10 Sep 2013 2:42pm GMT / 10:42am EDT / 7:42am PDT

Rockstar Games' co-founder explains why there's three male protagonists in the next GTA.

In an interview with the Guardian, Rockstar Games co-founder and vice president of creavity Dan Houser explained why the studio chose to have three protagonists for Grand Theft Auto V.

"Having three protagonists allows us to create nuanced stories, not a set of archetypes," said Houser. "Rather than seeming like you've got this super-criminal who can do everything effortlessly, they're all good and bad at different things. We liked the idea of a protagonist retiring with a family, and how awful that would be. We've never done anything like that and you don't really see it in games - to feed into these concepts of parenting and pseudo-parenting."

Houser also briefly tackled the reason why one of the protagonists wasn't a woman, something that has yet to happen in the entire GTA franchise.

"The concept of being masculine was so key to this story" Houser said simply.

Finally, Houser revealed that Rockstar Games has been "offered, many times" for the film rights to GTA, but the studio has never pulled the trigger. He explained that Rockstar prefers the relative freedom it has in the game industry to the confines of Hollywood.

"The money's never been close to be worth risking one's crown jewels," said Houser. "Our small dabblings with Hollywood have always left us running back to games. The freedom we have to do what we want creatively is of enormous value. The second you go near Hollywood, people seem willing, or have been forced, to lose a lot of that control. That sort of amorphous 'that won't test well' attitude is exactly how we don't work. We've always tried to think of stuff that's innovative and new, and to go into a world where that's not encouraged would be horrible."

Grand Theft Auto V launches worldwide on September 17 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

58 Comments

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,169 0.5
What, there aren't any "masculine" women out there who could co-star in the biggest game of the year? Then again, making one of the characters female and tough tomboy type (and possibly gay or hey, transgender) opens up a few new cans of worms (including hatred from some gamers who don't like the idea of female protagonists at all - yes these neanderthals DO exist), but I think Rockstar could have done something interesting and fun with that. Nest time, I guess (and hell, there's always future DLC to experiment with down the road...)

And NO, hell NO - we don't EVER need a GTA movie, period. Thankfully, Houser knows this as well...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Greg Wilcox on 10th September 2013 6:38pm

Posted:A year ago

#1

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
@ Greg To be fair you are free to make a female character in multiplayer and build your own story around that character, who can complete missions and interact with NPCs in the world, so it's not like they totally left women out.

Posted:A year ago

#2

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,169 0.5
@Nicholas: Oh, I know, I know. But it's been well over ten years that the series has gone on and while it HAS had strong female NPCs in past GTA games and yes the MP mode here should be superb, I think placing a gal in a LEAD role as a playable character where she has dialog and interacts with others as part of the main plot should be something they should consider in the future.

That and... I don't play GTA for multiplayer (and a good deal of others won't as well if they can't get online in areas with crap connections). Max Payne 3 had a similar character creation feature (and some male and female gamers from around the world ended up in the game thanks to a contest Rockstar had), so I figured the company would wisely keep that going and expand on it)...

Posted:A year ago

#3

Eoin Moran Studying Bachelor of Engineering, University of Melbourne

35 32 0.9
...feed into these concepts of parenting
God there's going to be taxi missions and soccer games now isn't there :-S

Well at least the trivialities of 14 y.o. rich kids should be more fun than hanging out with Roman

Posted:A year ago

#4

Morgan King Animator

48 92 1.9
I'd love for a female GTA protagonist, but I don't want the narrative to conform to societal expectations, either. To be fair, they've had an openly gay protagonist, and diverse black and white protagonists, and plenty of powerful female NPCs. I hope we'll see a narrative written for a female character sooner rather than later, but Rockstar has been pretty inclusive and sex-positive (despite its reputation for hooker-killing) with the series as a whole.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

836 669 0.8
Popular Comment
I would like to have a female character among those protagonist, but I understand that having only males obeys to the story structure and where it was to go. That is fair enough for me.
I mean, to make it more clear: Every step towards being equal is welcome, but forcing a woman presence in a tittle just to have one there feels more like "making a favor" than a proper display of gender equality.

Posted:A year ago

#6

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,169 0.5
Oh, I agree completely guys. I was just lamenting that after all this time, there hasn't been a story where we have a gal who's a lead and a game with multiple playable characters seems (or will seem) to some as a missed opportunity. And yeah, forcing the issue never works out right, so at the end of the day, i defer to Houser and co. I guess when the time is right, we'll see it happen...

However (and hoo boy!), I can see one "negative" (not for me, mind you) there as in had they made a character say, a crazy uber-butch female (in place of the crazy guy in the game), there would be an outcry from some who think its a bunch of bad stereotypes and so forth and so on.

Posted:A year ago

#7

Shehzaan Abdulla Translator

124 245 2.0
Popular Comment
I think what really hit me about this article was how the title only addressed one small part of what the Q&A was about. I was honestly surprised when the subject suddenly changed.

I think that there is something wrong with the industry when an excuse has to made (and demanded) for a design decision. Not an 'explanation' but a an actual 'excuse' as if the developer is somehow inherently in the wrong and needs to explain themselves. I'm not sure if that was the case here or not but I have noticed that alarming trend recently.

Posted:A year ago

#8

Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios

191 81 0.4
@Shehzaan

I totally agree with you there. Something is wrong when developers have to 'defend' their reasoning for not having female main characters.

There have been a lot of situations relating to games that have come out in the past two years where the developer has been forced to defend their decision behind making a protagonist male, or having a 'damsel in distress' plot line, or -insert gender inequality generic argument here-

Until a developer comes out and says "We made the protagonist a male because we think females are weak" (which no sane developer would ever do), It's just going to be more arguing about design decisions until it gets to a point where we have a basic checklist of politically correct characters that fulfill every single possible role in a non-offensive way. So then from that point on, games will pretty much be required to mark off each check box during their game development until every game will have an almost identical set of characters, personalities, relationship dynamics, and whatever else ends up on the checklist.

Most of these demands for defending arguments over PC (playable character) gender or sexuality are attempts to create mountains out of molehills. It's the developers game. It's the developers decision. It's the developers brain child. It's the developers world they've created (keyword being creativity). If somebody doesn't like the game because of the lack of a female protagonist, or any other reason for that matter, nobody is forcing them to buy the game. But their opinions should not force others into a narrow scoped checklist game.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

355 1,518 4.3
Popular Comment
I find it both amusing and sad that some people seem to think that questioning design decisions - as if a creative's every decision is perfectly etched in diamond and cannot or must not ever, ever be changed for any reason - is the same thing as imposing some kind of censorship on developers. They're just questions, people. The answers - and the rabid attacks on anyone daring to ask these questions in the first place - are often illuminating to say the least.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
@ Jessica I really don't see many people attacking them for asking the question, and I'm definitely a big supporter of more strong female characters (the new Mirror's Edge and Beyond Good & Evil 2 can't come soon enough), but of course that doesn't mean that you have to design all games around female characters, just as you shouldn't design all games around male characters. It's perfectly reasonable to say that you had a design vision that involved a male perspective, without it being even remotely sexist.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

355 1,518 4.3
just as you shouldn't design all games around male characters.
But... isn't that exactly what's happening here? The vast majority of games are designed with male protagonists. GTAV will draw from three different protagonist's perspectives, and I don't think it's unreasonable or 'politically correct' to ask why none of them are female. The explanation that the story has something to do with masculinity and therefore can only be played through male characters feels a bit weak to me, especially since women are quite capable of experiencing masculinity from an outsider's more objective perspective. I will be interested to see whether the game explores concepts of masculinity in a novel way(I would personally love to see a game dissecting aspects of toxic masculinity or tearing down harmful patriarchal norms of masculinity in favour of a more positive view) or whether the quoted reason is merely a convenient excuse to continue ignoring and marginalising female experiences in games.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Chris Murphy Community & Live Manager, Ubisoft

46 17 0.4
I would certainly be interested in a game that tackles the unquestioned "me man, me be dick, me kill things" approach to many many games; however somehow I'm not entirely confident that that would strike a chord with the majority of GTA's target audience :/.

Posted:A year ago

#13

Bonnie Patterson Freelance Narrative Designer

185 517 2.8
@ Alfonso - I'd agree, which probably surprises some people given I'm a feminist, but I don't actually have a problem with people writing stories about men and masculinity and so forth - especially when someone has actually written a story rather than vomiting up hollow code.

It just makes me sad and frustrated when having no women is just a default assumptive - like my she-money has too many cooties to be worthy of a game. But when they have actually thought about it and are saying "I am writing a story about guys doing guy stuff", as Rockstar have, that's an entirely different thing.

But I think I'll be playing through Remember Me again when it comes out. Unless they have something new to say about "guys doing guy stuff", it'll always be easier for me to engage with something I can relate to.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 11th September 2013 11:38pm

Posted:A year ago

#14

Bonnie Patterson Freelance Narrative Designer

185 517 2.8
@Joshua Rose - but do you not think, in a world where 52% of the population aren't men, that there's something a little bit weird and worthy of questioning about that near-complete exclusion?

If you take it on a single game basis, sure, mountain out of a molehill, right - someone wants to tell a story about guys, nothing wrong with it. But when you look at an entire branch of art and find your half of the species barely exist in it except as a function for men, yes, I want to ask questions!

It's not about requiring developers to tick off boxes - I really don't want to see what a designer might inflict on me as a portrayal of women, if they haven't managed to work out by themselves that women have personalities and needs unrelated to what a heterosexual man wants them to have. It's about questioning why they haven't managed to do that yet. Why so many apparently don't even want to do that, and are angrily opposed to it.

And definitely no one is going to stand up and say "we think females are weak." What would they do with all the dominatrix outfits? What many of them would actually be saying were they to stand up and be honest is "We don't really think of women as people." Not because they're evil and malicious, but because they simply don't think about it.

And if it's an inaccurate impression, maybe developers need to think about correcting the vibe they're giving off - which is what people are asking them to do in the first place.

And you're correct - no-one is forcing them to buy the game. And what these pesky, pesky complainers are doing, is telling you they won't, and why. Which is actually pretty nice of them. They are shouting at the top of their lungs "BORED NOW!" And that's half your marketplace. How unreasonable of them.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Bonnie Patterson on 12th September 2013 12:10am

Posted:A year ago

#15

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
@ Jessica And not enough women is an absolutely fair criticism of the industry as a whole, but at the same time a wholly unfair criticism of every individual game that chooses to use male protagonists. This may seem like a conflicting view, but I assure you it's not. To try to clarify:

I think the industry doesn't develop games for women largely because it lacks enough female developers to give good perspectives on female characters.

On the other hand, a prerogative of art, if we accept our industry to be art, is that it must be allowed to exist within its own internally established goals, without seeking to meet any sort of standard for the sake of the standard itself.

So while it's totally a valid criticism that yes, more games need strong female leads, it's very silly to walk up to every game that has male leads (even multiple male leads) and point and say "Hah! You're the problem!" especially before they have a chance to actually release the game and have it judged on its own merits.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor

407 205 0.5
Similar to what Bonnie and Alfonso are getting at, I'd rather not have a female protagonist in a game if she weren't well written especially if the alternative would be a male character that was. The obvious question for any particular project would be why is this the case?

Is it a fair situation for a studio to be in the position where their staff are talented at writing male orientated story lines as a vast majority but little skill for female characters? I'm not sure that I could necessarily criticise them for doing what they're good at but the pattern of a lack female character orientated material across the industry should be addressed. "How?" is a completely different matter but the best way I can see it manifesting would be in companies realising that they could quickly carve themselves a nice niche and become the experts in the industry.

Wouldn't it be weird if we had studios that centred only on female centred stories? You know... like an antithesis of Epic. Not cutesy and girly per say but adult and feminine.

Posted:A year ago

#17

Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer

75 47 0.6
In contrary to what most of you are saying I don't think a female protagonist or antagonist has a place in a GTA. The game is about gangsters, every gangster movie in history was about guys killing guys and slapping bitches etc. I expect this stereo type slightly nuanced into a narrative.

Posted:A year ago

#18
I sometimes dabble with writing short stories and one of the most important things I was taught was "write about what you know". If you don't you can end up looking like an uninformed buffoon.
I wouldn't write a story about a lawyer doing lawyerish things because I have not got a clue about that world. I do however know about other subjects that do interest me or that I've got personal experience with.
Any story I write is bound to include some form of fighting, loss, running around with weapons and social awkwardness :)
I would feel totally out of my depth trying to write from a female point of view so I would only embark on that if I had the time to ask lots of females lots of questions to get their perspective.
I think I agree with a few others here when I say it's probably more to do with the sheer number of men in the industry - it's bound to produce waves of guns & ammo games. In time, when more and more women are part of the industry I have no doubt that we'll start getting a wider variety of themes. I hope so anyway, because that'd be very cool.
Plus if devs started sticking women in stories just to tick boxes it would be a different kind of sexism, a token gesture that says "be content with this".
I wonder what an all-female dev team would produce. That would be interesting!

Posted:A year ago

#19

Paul Smith Dev

189 154 0.8
Violent aggressive women don't make for good likable characters , Its a hard sell.

Posted:A year ago

#20

Andrew Ihegbu Studying Bsc Commercial Music, University of Westminster

469 178 0.4
@Bonnie

Um. I think Seren Gibson said it best. "Feminism is really borderline snobbery now."

When the population is near 52% men, don't you think that something is a little bit weird with near complete exclusion of females from many logic oriented courses. We both know that women are more than capable of squaring up to men at math and science based industries ability wise... yet they don't, because the vast majority of those interested in those subjects are men. Is that our fault somehow because you seem to be blaming men for a problem that seem firmly seated on the female side of the court.

And females in games aren't the only thing that exists as a function in a game. Everything is a function, or a class, or a fixed pointer. By for men I assume you refer to the programmer, as more often than not he will be male.... for that I defer you to the paragraph above. (In all honesty that statement was so polarised that I wanted to make a serious comment about it but just couldn't muster up the strength to take it seriously)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew Ihegbu on 12th September 2013 1:12pm

Posted:A year ago

#21

Helen Merete Simm Senior UI Artist, Codemasters

53 276 5.2
@Paul Trillo "Violent aggressive women don't make for good likable characters , Its a hard sell."
Bayonetta, Ma-Ma from the recent Dredd, Sharon Stones' character from Basic Instinct, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, pretty much anyone in Sin City...

Pretty damn likeable to me.

Posted:A year ago

#22

Paul Smith Dev

189 154 0.8
Bayonetta isn't "violent aggressive" and the rest aren't the MC. Catwoman and bayonetta don't go around killing innocent people either.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Smith on 12th September 2013 1:57pm

Posted:A year ago

#23

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

355 1,518 4.3
Andrew, nobody's blaming men as a homogenous group for anything. Patriarchy hurts everybody, patriarchy does not mean 'all men', and patriarchal gender roles( = men fight, play games and do techy things, women bake, make babies and teach etc, horrible constricting ideas) are mostly to blame for dissuading girls from pursuing science and technology-based interests and ultimately careers. And patriarchal ideas can be reinforced by anybody, male or female. When you assert that women 'just aren't interested' in technical roles, you are out there on the front lines, reinforcing tired patriarchal strictures. They can also be dismantled by anybody, so the job of changing society's expectations of what are considered appropriate interests for young people of any gender is everybody's problem.

What would help, imo, is to drop unhelpful and untrue sayings like 'females just aren't interested in this kind of thing, so it's not my problem' (Please call us women, we are in fact members of the same species as you) - or 'aggressive women don't make good characters' - why on earth, Paul, would you say something as ignorant as that?

Posted:A year ago

#24

Paul Smith Dev

189 154 0.8
Its anything but ignorant, there's a reason why people find Tony Soprano and Walter White likable but find Skyler White detestable, Maybe it is a man thing but then again GTA audience is 90%+ male.

Posted:A year ago

#25

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

355 1,518 4.3
And what, pray tell, is that reason? Do you think it might have something to do with patriarchy abhorring women who speak up and look after for themselves without apologising?

Posted:A year ago

#26

Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios

191 81 0.4
@Bonnie

Saying that it's near complete exclusion is simply untrue. In the past 10 years alone, there have been many, MANY, games that have come out that have had women as playable characters. If they were not playable, they were NPC's with a large impact on the game as a whole be it storyline, mechanics, what have you.

I don't have the time nor the patience to name off every single one, an I'm not going to either because google is everybody's friend.

I don't know where you're getting the opinion that many developers don't even want to women personalities and are angrily opposed to it. Unless you're in the design meetings of every single game development company in the industry and you can 100% say you heard the devs angrily shouting "We don't wanna put women in our game!!! RAWR IM MAD", I don't think you have the justification for such a statement.

In the past decade, there have been countless games with women characters (playable and non-playable), games where you have a male/female selector in the character creation. Hell, I can remember all the way back to the days of games like XCOM and Baldur's Gate where half your team was made up of various women from all over the world (some of which had higher strength stats than men on the team!). Or In Baldur's Gate where your main character could be female, then there were countless female characters that joined your party throughout the game.

There's always something for somebody to complain about. If it's not a lack of female characters, it's that the female characters aren't strongly written. If it's not that, it's that the female characters aren't playable. If it's not that, it's that the character isn't feminine (or masculine) enough. There will always be something for somebody to complain about.

I still can't wrap my head around your persistent ability to personify the opinions and though process of the entire game industry in some of your comments. For example:
What many of them would actually be saying were they to stand up and be honest is "We don't really think of women as people."
All I can say about this statement is how dare you... Just... How dare you. Again we go back to your perceived ability to voice the opinion of every single man in the game industry and the world as a whole.

If you go to google, and can't find a long list of women characters in games over the past ten years, then you're either not using the correct search criteria, or you have a seemingly unwillingness to observe the counter argument.

Posted:A year ago

#27

Ian Lambert UI Developer, Ghost Games

18 18 1.0
Isn't a big part of it that the movies that inspired GTA don't have much in the way of strong woman leads? The gangster films that were clearly the inspiration for the earlier 3D GTAs were all about manly men being macho, and the games reflect that. In fact, even where the films did have interesting parts for women (Casino, I guess?), they were largely part of the protagonist's efforts to have a life outside their crime, and the games were much more about the violence and rivalries of organised crime, so they STILL got ignored.

That said, GTA IV seemed to be less beholden to Hollywood cliche so there was less of an argument there, and while V looks it's back to being more OTT blockbuster, it's still got plenty that looks unique rather than "like that bit in gangster film X" (I can't think of a direct equivalent of the psychotic trailer-park guy in a movie for instance, although I'm no expert), so maybe they've evolved beyond their early influences and Rockstar have just missed an opportunity to make the first iconic woman gangster...

<edited to swap 'female' for 'woman' - sorry Jessica, no offense meant!>

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ian Lambert on 12th September 2013 4:34pm

Posted:A year ago

#28

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

355 1,518 4.3
Ian, good comment. I think GTA has transcended its origins and itself defines an entire genre now - excusing things like poor representation of women because of the original source material would be a bit lazy by now I think.

I should point out after seeing your edit that 'female' is IMO perfectly acceptable as an adjective, but when used as a noun to describe a woman or girl it has disquietingly dehumanising overtones that make a lot of women uncomfortable.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jessica Hyland on 12th September 2013 5:06pm

Posted:A year ago

#29

Paul Smith Dev

189 154 0.8
@Jessica the reason why the majority of GTA players are male is because the majority of females don't want to play that type of game, its science.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Smith on 12th September 2013 5:52pm

Posted:A year ago

#30

Al Nachman Level Designer

2 8 4.0
@Paul: Would you be able to quote and reference the science you're talking about? Sure, if a game makes someone, man, woman, or whatever uncomfortable, they probably won't want to play it, but you're making such a blanket statement that it becomes a smokescreen.

And I disagree with your previous assertion about violent, aggressive female characters. I think a well-written crazy lady can be as enjoyable and likeable as a well-written crazy guy. You may be right that such characters "don't sell," but I think that has more to do with the current predominant attitudes than any flaw inherent in the nature of such characters.

Posted:A year ago

#31

Paul Smith Dev

189 154 0.8
the 1st part of this documentary talks about gender and roles, its very insightful (http://vimeo.com/19707588)

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Paul Smith on 12th September 2013 8:48pm

Posted:A year ago

#32

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,169 0.5
Heh, somewhere back in time, Ma Barker is getting pissed off. Bonnie Parker, too (and she's not related)... A simple check of film history even shows there were PLENTY of "women in prison" flicks that ranged from wretched to excellent and yup, featured tough gals making all sorts of trouble. I'd even go as far to mention the old TV series Prisoner: Cell Block H, which was pretty damn amazing back in the day for being part soap opera, part violent prison drama...

Posted:A year ago

#33

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

355 1,518 4.3
Paul, if you're going to toss around insulting gender essentialist absolutes and justify it with 'it's science', you'd best have some research papers to quote to back that up. A 40-minute documentary drawing some very dubious conclusions by interviewing random members of the public on Vimeo is not science.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jessica Hyland on 12th September 2013 9:11pm

Posted:A year ago

#34

Paul Smith Dev

189 154 0.8
There's many scientists in the documentary, maybe you should watch it first?

Posted:A year ago

#35

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

355 1,518 4.3
I suffered through ten minutes of those inane questions, vague answers, eyebrow-raising conclusions and lack of any kind of serious examination before giving up. Give me some actual science and I might consider taking you seriously, Paul - until then you stay in the 'big-mouthed student' category.

If you think that documentary proves anything except that the documentary-maker doesn't know anything about statistics and evidently has never encountered the concept of socialised gender roles, do feel free to lay it out for me.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jessica Hyland on 12th September 2013 9:27pm

Posted:A year ago

#36

Paul Smith Dev

189 154 0.8
I did give you science, but you chose to ignore it.

Posted:A year ago

#37

Al Nachman Level Designer

2 8 4.0
Allow me to clarify the request: Please provide us good science.

Posted:A year ago

#38

Paul Smith Dev

189 154 0.8
Good science? There's a Professor Simon Baron-Cohen in the documentary, hes the Director of Cambridge University's Autism Research Center how is that not "good science"? unless "good science" is only science that backs up your own opinion?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Smith on 12th September 2013 9:50pm

Posted:A year ago

#39

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

355 1,518 4.3
That's nice, but Simon Baron-Cohen himself dismisses the idea that biological sex can be used to make any kind of sweeping assumptions about a person's behaviour. So, he's not even backing up your opinion. And I quote, from an interview a few years ago with the Guardian:
We find, for example, that it is your brain type, not your sex, which predicts how you will behave. Some brain types are more common in one sex than another, but because an individual can be atypical for their sex, it is meaningless to try to predict anything about a person's behavior based on their sex.
I find his theory of gendered brain types interesting but unnecessarily mired in the concept of a pure gender binary - it contradicts itself by suggesting that there are 'male brain types' and 'female brain types' and then pointing out that women can have 'male brains' and men can have 'female brains'. His attachment to the essentialist concepts of male and female are unhelpful and mar an otherwise interesting theory.

Posted:A year ago

#40

Paul Smith Dev

189 154 0.8
Well my opinion is that majority of males and majority of females think differently because of biology and not because of social constructs, which is what his science shows, I agree that its not binary. You can't deny that it exists, Its easily observable in animals and like in the documentary with newborn babies.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Smith on 12th September 2013 10:30pm

Posted:A year ago

#41

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

355 1,518 4.3
His science suggests that men and women may tackle things in different ways and may be predisposed to certain thinking patterns - it certainly does not indicate that 'most women don't like playing GTA because their brains are wired that way'. Plenty of women like playing dumb shooter games, and plenty of men don't. You can't say 'it is statistically likely that one particular woman thinks in this way because she is has a certain brain type that is most often found in women' and use that to conclude that the main part of an entire gender just doesn't really care about video games, and that this cannot change because ~biology~. There are hundreds of reasons - social reasons, cultural reasons, not immutable biological ones - why the gender imbalance in every area of games, from playerbases through development studios and even in the games themselves - is so heavily skewed towards men.

Insisting that biological sex ultimately determines the interests and aptitudes of human beings is frankly ridiculous.

Posted:A year ago

#42

Paul Smith Dev

189 154 0.8
Yes plenty of women do play dumb shooter games but its still a smaller ratio than of men who do, If our brains are wired to think differently than surely they are also wired to react differently to stimulation.

Posted:A year ago

#43

Bonnie Patterson Freelance Narrative Designer

185 517 2.8
@Andrew Ihegbu - I'm really quite baffled as to why a porn star might say that. It's not like it plays hard to her main audience or anything.

The paucity of women in science subjects has been pretty firmly shown to be rooted in how much they are pushed away and discouraged from them, and it's been show best by how much those numbers have risen now that's no longer so prevalent.

Function is a word with more than one meaning; it means "Something to be used". Female characters in games far more often than not are just there as something to look at, something to rescue, something to provide praise and motivation.

The key word there is "some thing".

Posted:A year ago

#44

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

355 1,518 4.3
Paul, you're still ascribing way, way more importance to small and variable differences in brain structure/chemistry than it really deserves. Even if you're distilling it down to the vagueness of 'stimulation', different people enjoy the same games in different ways(ie they get and enjoy different types of stimulation, whatever their gender); hell, that's half of why the sandbox shooter genre invented by GTA even exists. When even the one scientist whose research you're clinging to disagrees with your conclusion, I start to wonder if you're just looking for excuses to keep believing what you do.

Posted:A year ago

#45

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,169 0.5
Yikes. What is this, Planet of the Apes? When twisted in this manner, "science" isn't infallible, especially when it's clear that the person with the big degree on his wall seems to have a skewed bias working in his own mind and seems to be using his title more than the truth to make a point.

Dr. Zaius would be proud...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Greg Wilcox on 13th September 2013 12:01am

Posted:A year ago

#46

Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios

78 35 0.4
Isn't the simple answer, that the audience for the game is male? If Rockstar mixed it up, 2 male protagonists and 1 female, this might alienate or annoy their vast, male audience (whom the game is designed for) You can customize your own female character in multiplayer, yes? So that problem is solved.

It's just marketing and business, making a product that caters to it's fan base. Jeez, why discuss science, and the human brain etc?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Marty Howe on 13th September 2013 5:49am

Posted:A year ago

#47

Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer

75 47 0.6
Pointless discussions ladies and gentleman, men are the main demographic of the game industry and have always been. Even if statistically middle aged woman are the biggest group of gamers. For blockbuster entertainment and games men are the focus point usually and otherwise its couples. This is not going to change overnight because the world is still predominantly run by men, and like with parents and kids, men earn money in most societies and choose what to spend their money on. So in many ways tradition and evolution have influenced what you are experiencing and a lack of strong believable female characters is only natural in the bigger picture. I'm not saying we shouldn't make strong female characters but you don't mess around with 240 million dollars budget to please I tiny part of your gaming audience. Look at transformers, made by men, for men and woman are eye candy! Any way you twist or turn this will not change within the next 100 years.

Posted:A year ago

#48

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

528 788 1.5
I should point out after seeing your edit that 'female' is IMO perfectly acceptable as an adjective, but when used as a noun to describe a woman or girl it has disquietingly dehumanising overtones that make a lot of women uncomfortable.
To me, when people say "females" they're using it as a catch-all term to include both adult women and young girls, just the same way as I may say males to mean men and young boys, and is about as neutral and inoffensive as you can get. I don't see it being particularly helpful that you keep jumping down people's throats because you're imagining some kind of hidden insult that probably was never meant. Seems like you're determined to find offence to take rather than anyone giving it.

Posted:A year ago

#49

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

355 1,518 4.3
I'm not sure when the words 'please' and 'in my opinion' equated to jumping down someone's throat...? I was giving my opinion, held by a lot of people besides myself btw, that the word can be uncomfortable. If your opinion is different, that's fine, but if you do care about the feelings of other people then 'please don't use this word to refer to me and people like me' isn't an attack, just a suggestion.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jessica Hyland on 13th September 2013 5:38pm

Posted:A year ago

#50

Bryan Robertson Gameplay Programmer, Ubisoft Toronto

86 210 2.4

Good science? There's a Professor Simon Baron-Cohen in the documentary, hes the Director of Cambridge University's Autism Research Center how is that not "good science"? unless "good science" is only science that backs up your own opinion?
A documentary containing the opinions of scientists is not the same thing as science.

How do you think science works? Do you think a bunch of scientists just get together in a room, argue their opinions on how the world works, and take a majority vote? That's not how science works.

If you're going to claim that the audience of GTA is 90% male, then you need to back that up with studies showing that's the case, if you want your claim to be taken seriously. Otherwise it's "just common sense innit"

A peer reviewed study (ideally several) on black holes is science.
A documentary in which Stephen Hawking discusses his opinions on black holes is not science.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Bryan Robertson on 13th September 2013 6:17pm

Posted:A year ago

#51

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

355 1,518 4.3
And Farhang, if you're fine with society in general being as stacked towards men(handy term: this is called 'patriarchy') as it is, that's nice for you, but I believe that society can be better, and I'm not going to let grumpy 'hmpf nothing can ever change, just ignore the past several thousand years of social progress and accept your place' comments stop me from trying to effect that change in any and every way I can.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jessica Hyland on 13th September 2013 9:11pm

Posted:A year ago

#52

Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters

528 788 1.5
@Jessica - Sorry, you're right, it wasn't an attack, but I find it a bit unfair to paint people as having said something offensive when it's only your interpretation of their intentions when using an innocuous word.

Posted:A year ago

#53

Jessica Hyland Character Artist

355 1,518 4.3
I am not assuming anything about their intentions(declaring what I said to be an attack certainly is making some assumptions about my own intentions, but thank you for the apology), being perfectly aware that some people see it as a legitimate usage. My request was merely intended to indicate that I and many others regard that particular usage of the word when referring to women or girls as otherising and dehumanising, and would prefer a more humane word be used instead. A simple request for politeness and respecting people's wishes is all it is.

We've gotten rather off topic here, so I'm just going to leave it at that.

Posted:A year ago

#54
Having read through the entire thread a few things I'd like to point out:
it was suggested that introducing a female mc in GTA would alienate the majority of the playerbase. Hard to believe really.. And very rude to our male friends (of the same species ;)) - they are not the sexists you make them out to be. As one other person commented: there are plenty of very successful games out there with strong playable female characters
to the point of women not being interested in "maths and stuff": my bsc in Computer Science had more than a third of women. And despite that we had to put up with silly comments questioning us being there.
btw: i loved gta. The first ones. What stopped me buying it? The lack of a character i could identify with.

now regarding the "fact" that its men who earn the bucks and therefore decide what its spent on: women actually make up the highest share of money spent on games. Happy to back that up with statistics when i am not typing on my phone (the mystery lies in the buyer is not the user in many cases).
fun fact before this angry female goes to sleep: in Japan role models are very traditional: men go to work, women look after the family. After some pocket money taken off, mummy manages the family budget. And that's Japan. If you really think women are baking & knitting at home and have no say in family budget or contribute, then you re still stuck in the 50s.
our buying, power is real. So is our desire not to play mind numbing games like farmville.

Posted:A year ago

#55

Marty Howe Director, Figurehead Studios

78 35 0.4
it was suggested that introducing a female mc in GTA would alienate the majority of the playerbase. Hard to believe really.

Read what I said, I said it 'might' I don't know. I'm speculating. I'm not a superhuman like you, who knows everything.

Posted:A year ago

#56

Justin Shuard J - E translator

47 180 3.8
GTA has always been targeted at a male demographic, much like a game like the Sims is targeted at a female one. I'm sure that if the formula was to become tired and sales started to dwindle they would consider a female protagonist, but seeing as GTAIV sold in excess of 25 million copies I wouldn't hold my breath.. GTAV is rumored to have a budget of around $250 million. I guess you can't really afford to take risks when you're throwing that kind of money around.

Posted:A year ago

#57

Paul Smith Dev

189 154 0.8
If you're going to claim that the audience of GTA is 90% male, then you need to back that up with studies showing that's the case, if you want your claim to be taken seriously. Otherwise it's "just common sense innit"
http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/WandaMeloni/20100330/4812/The_Next_Frontier__Female_Gaming_Demographics.php

Posted:A year ago

#58

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