September 11, 2010

Rants of a Gamer Girl: Gears of War – Women On The Front Lines

Filed under: Gaming,Gender,Media — Tags: , , — Rachel @ 1:15 pm

In addition to criticizing the negative aspects of being a gamer girl, I plan on writing about positive portrayals and treatment of the female gender in the gaming community.  There are some pretty kick ass companies out there making games that feature smart, non-sexualized, independent women.

Gears of War wasn’t the first third-person shooter game I played, but it definitely piqued my interest in the genre. (Previously I spent most of my time playing racing and skateboard games.)  I became interested in Gears via the online options – playing Horde and Annex are among my favorite ways to spend a weekend.   The first two games of the franchise only featured one female character – Anya Stroud, the control contact for the COGs.  Anya is smart, non-sexualized, and a valued member of the COG team.  In the upcoming Gears of War 3, Anya will be on the combat side of the COG team, along with a newly introduced character – Sam Byrne.

During an interview with G4, Cliff Bleszinski, Design Director of Epic Games, explained the reasoning behind having playable female characters in the latest installment.  “There’s more female fans in that franchise than a lot of other shooters…We wanted to depict the women as…tough, more like Jim Cameron women.  Like Sarah Conner, like Ripley from Aliens who are tough, and not like girls on the cover of like, Low Rider magazine.”

The fact that the team at Epic Games decided to listen to the female fans of the game, and made these characters badass and non-sexualized is something I can appreciate.  I’ll find out if Gears of War 3 lives up to my expectations next April when the game is released, but for the time being, I’m feeling pretty hopeful about it.