E3 Opinion: The Hope for More Diversity and Female Protagonists

After the debacle last year surrounding the lack of female representation in Assassin’s Creed: Unity and the series as a whole, it seems things may have finally started to turn around in the industry. Thankfully, this year’s E3 sported an exciting number of new cool female characters, and we may finally get some diversity in our gaming protagonists.

After the initial reveal that Fallout 4 would feature an actual speaking main character, rumours began swirling that the story would be centered around only a male protagonist in contrast to the ability to choose gender in previous games, as the role would call for a much larger abundance of voice acting and characterization. Bethesda was the first to acknowledge this small diversity movement displayed by this year’s conferences, with a sly remark that of course you could play as a woman. Following up on this was a protagonist change up in Dishonored 2, which will allow for players to choose between both the returning Corvo and new playable character, Emily.

Surprisingly, both of the big, new, exclusive games from Microsoft and Sony, ReCore and Horizon Zero Dawn respectively, feature female protagonists. Along the same vein as Dishonored 2, the Platinum-developed Nier 2 will now offer a female protagonist alongside two other mysterious choices as well. It’s thrilling to see some more original looking characters introduced into the gaming world, where it’s easy to get lost in sea of white, male, dark haired protagonists voiced by Troy Baker. Even Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is allowing for a playable female character, a first for the series. Although I don’t feel female characters should be haphazardly shoehorned in at an attempt to please audiences, hopefully these characters will be fully realized and dynamic. Either way, I’m still hopeful and pleased to see some cool new women in gaming.

These characters are joined by returning classics like Lara Croft in two different titles with Rise of the Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider Go, and Faith from Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, both with narratives primarily revolving around their protagonists, adding some depth to some already famous women.  It seems even Nintendo too may be making some small steps towards diversity, with Animal Crossing character Isabelle ostensibly becoming the series mascot, over other more recognizable characters like K.K. Slider and Mr. Resetti.

While not a huge deal, I am glad to notice a bit more variety in game protagonists from this E3. Hopefully this trend can continue, and the issue will be one of the past. Ubisoft themselves have finally added a playable lady assassin to their mainline Assassin’s Creed games with Syndicate, though still coming off as a little begrudging of this change.

Still, it’s a great first step and maybe we can now give voice actors like Troy Baker a bit of a rest.


With E3 2015 at a close, we’ll still be giving our concluding thoughts on this year’s conferences and announcements. For more opinions on the gaming world, stay updated @ButtonMasherTO.

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