The girl is­sue


She should be of­fen­sive. The star of Bay­o­netta 2 (p36) takes the phrase ‘hy­per­sex­u­alised’ to lu­di­crous new heights: she sashays about the place with a phys­i­cally im­plau­si­ble wig­gle, and strips down to noth­ing more than her high heels at the end of a combo. The cutscene cam­era is ob­sessed with the curve of her but­tocks and her provoca­tive sucks on an end­less sup­ply of lol­lipops. Bay­o­netta 2 should be gross.

In­stead she might just be the strong­est fe­male lead in games, com­fort­able in her skin and her sex, prov­ing her­self the most pow­er­ful be­ing on the planet and all its spec­tral planes. She does not ex­ist to be ogled: dur­ing com­bat, it’s all but im­pos­si­ble to any­way, since her naked form is typ­i­cally ob­scured by the gi­gan­tic hell-de­mon she’s just sum­moned for the sole pur­pose of chomp­ing a god into obliv­ion.

Also com­ing soon to Wii U, Hyrule War­riors (p48) may be wed­ded enough to tra­di­tion to make sure you start the game play­ing as Link, but the char­ac­ter-se­lect screen fea­tures more fe­male fighters than male ones by the end of our time with it. It shows that, in fact, this most sto­ried of se­ries has long been about more than just the boy with the sword, and it says much that stick­ing to tra­di­tion and play­ing as Link proves the least in­ter­est­ing way to play the game.

And heart­en­ing as it is to see Ja­pan be­gin to cast off the shack­les of 30 years of abysmally las­civ­i­ous char­ac­ter de­signs – al­though Dead Or Alive 5 Ul­ti­mate’s Bath And Bed­time DLC shows it still has a way left to go – the western game in­dus­try also has woman trou­ble. With the big boys such as Ubisoft con­tin­u­ing to get it wrong, it’s up to the indies to show the way. The de­vel­op­ers of Vir­ginia (p50) might name check the likes of Twin Peaks and The X Files, but here the women are the stars, not side­kicks or mur­der vic­tims. Th­ese games may still be the ex­cep­tion rather than the rule, but they sug­gest that this most blokey of in­dus­tries may fi­nally be get­ting some­where.

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