AS GAMES BE­COME MORE DI­VERSE, HOW ABOUT A BIT MORE DI­VER­SITY IN OUR MALE CHAR­AC­TERS?

We should ap­plaud Life Is Strange 2’s boy’s own ad­ven­ture

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - OPINION - Ian Dean

There’s no more Chloe and Max. Life Is Strange 2 has re­placed its fe­male leads with two broth­ers and the in­ter­net had a bit of a fit. Some­where on­line there’s a spe­cial place re­served for Chloe­max fan­fic­tion and blue hair memes. Some fans are pre­pared to turn their backs on an­other com­plex, emo­tional ad­ven­ture just be­cause this one will have two male pro­tag­o­nists.

So has the poster game for em­pow­ered girls turned its back on gen­der pol­i­tics and be­come just an­other dude­bro ad­ven­ture? Not quite. That makes the as­sump­tion all male iden­ti­ties are cur­rently be­ing served, and served well. In fact, de­spite fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tion in games im­prov­ing (though, ad­mit­tedly, there’s still room to go), with El­lie, Aloy, and the Strange sis­ter­hood cham­pi­oning new, com­pli­cated fe­male he­roes, we men are still put in the shoes of blood­thirsty avengers and blink­ered trea­sure hun­ters.

If Dontnod can turn its sharp writ­ing to male gen­der roles we could fi­nally get mas­cu­line pro­tag­o­nists to be proud of, who aren’t an­gry men putting the world to rights at the end of a gun bar­rel, or smirk­ing killers with hearts of gold, but killers nev­er­the­less.

BOYS’ CLUB

While it’s true many games of­ten de­fault to a male pro­tag­o­nist they rarely stretch the hero be­yond a nar­row­minded lust for blood, gold, or power. Even the newly car­ing, fa­therly Kratos does his par­ent­ing at the end of a blood-soaked axe. And while Nate Drake is a charmer, he’s slowly evolved from a cheeky, ad­ven­tur­ing buf­foon into a spec ops force of na­ture who leaves a trail of de­struc­tion in his self­ish quest for more loot and renown.

Too harsh? Maybe, but the ar­gu­ment holds wa­ter – have male char­ac­ters re­ally evolved past Pit­fall Harry? In Dontnod’s hands broth­ers Sean and Daniel could be­come gen­uinely bal­anced, in­ter­est­ing male char­ac­ters. The tease, of course, is that younger brother Daniel will de­velop his per­son­al­ity based on the lessons you teach him. If at the end of our jour­ney we have an­other dude­bro gun for hire, a killer in a flan­nel shirt and floppy hair, then that’s on us.

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