Aware of female representation in video games, game developer QCF went back to the drawing board when it came to developing its characters for Desktop Dungeons.
It wasn’t good enough for us [at QCF] to simply react with deliberate ugliness or typically masculine factors – the idea was for Desktop Dungeons to remove the gender binary entirely instead of just making everyone a man. In de-emphasizing sex as much as possible, we hoped that players would be able to enjoy a more gender agnostic environment in general.
Shorthands for the feminine kept crawling into our work when we weren’t paying attention – smooth skin, homogenized facial structures, evidence of makeup, you name it. Even characters who we thought would easily sidestep trouble (like the female wizard) simply looked like young, pretty women in grunge costume rather than hardboiled dungeoneers. Portraits for some species went through several drafts just to deprogram our subconscious idea of what felt normal and right.
It’s definitely a step in the right direction. QCF was also forthcoming, however, with the flaws they will work on in the future, such as “whitewashing” much of the cast, relying on “secondary markers” to identify female goblins from male ones, and predominantly male enemies and main story characters.
There’s hope for the gaming industry yet!
[Via The Mary Sue]