A female lead for Gears of War?

I spied an interesting article at OXM which discuss female video game characters by way of the Gears of War franchise – given the interview was with Gears’ art director Chris Perna, it was no surprise that happened.

What was interesting was his take on female video game characters.

“You see the implants and the blonde hair and pants and you roll your eyes – it’s almost like the game geek’s idealisation of what a woman should be. I think because we didn’t go that route we have more believability… we’ve got more butch characters.”
I don’t think any one could accuse Anya Stroud of being butch. You’d possibly agree with him if he was talking about Samantha Byrne, those she really just had some been up rage. An I guess with those dreads, Bernadette Mataki was a bit butch….


Perna shared his observations on female fans have dressed cosplay style in the game’s female characters. . “They feel empowered,” he said. “They put on that armour and they walk around with these massive weapons and I think they get a kick out of it – I get a kick out of seeing it.

“From what we’ve heard, when they play the game they feel empowered and they feel good. Some of the feedback I’ve heard from women that I talk to is that if we’d made these women more feminine and more stereotypical it wouldn’t have been so nice.”

So given this popularity of female characters in the Gears franchise, could one act as the ‘star’ in a game?
“That’s certainly interesting but I don’t know,” Perna pondered. “If you look at what sells, it’s tough to justify something like that.”
There’s a bit of truth to that – I still cringe at the first Xbox 360 game I got, Perfect Dark Zero that featured a female lead. That game sucked.
None the less, the new Gears of War Judgment game introduces Sofia Hendricks as Kilo Squad’s medic, so maybe for now, woman will be strongly featuring in Gears games, just in the Dominque role rather than Dom*!
* But he was such a girl’s blouse any way….