The gaming industry has continued to change and evolve, not just from a business perspective, but also from a content one. Themes and topics that are explored in gaming these days tend to take on more serious meaning, and at the same time, powerful female leads have continued to arise.
Like any industry though, there are those cliches and repetitive terms we hear often and you’ve heard them before in gaming: immersive, verticality, strong female character and so on. However, Rise of the Tomb Raider lead writer Rhianna Pratchett recently talked about a different sort of overused term that she believes the industry needs to alter or get away from.
“We do tend to overuse the words ‘strong female character’ – you never hear them say ‘strong male character.’ It’s almost like that’s inherent. What we really mean is good or interesting or textured or broad or exciting.
“It’s more than strong and strong I think does these characters a disservice… And I know calling it a strong female character is just a step we go through before just calling them characters in the same way male characters are just called characters,” Pratchett told GI.
Pratchett makes a good point about how even though a term can be meant to express how a character stands out, it quickly loses its meaning if it is used over and over again. Lara Croft is of course the star of the Tomb Raider franchise, but she doesn’t need that term associated with her because she is simply a badass, just like her male counterparts.
Our industry has continued to progress and become inclusive, to a certain extent, and you can see this through standout games like Life is Strange, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, Rise of the Tomb Raider and others. Pratchett talked about her hopes for female antagonists as well as further definition within male characters.
“When the numbers go up and we start having more diversity in the characters and we have more female antagonists and more female antiheroes, I think that’s going to be really interesting. And I’d love to see more diversity within male characters.
“I think there’s a lot we can do there with diversity of all our characters. It’s not just the female characters… It was really good to see at [last year’s] E3 the number of games coming out with interesting female characters leading them or secondary characters,” Pratchett said.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was one of the best games released all of last year and Crystal Dynamics will no doubt continue to push the series forward. Rise of the Tomb Raider is out now on Xbox One and PC, with the game coming to PS4 later this year.