Strong and independent – why are there more and more female empty characters?

Strong and independent – why are there more and more female empty characters?

Female characters in video games have come a long way, from scantily clad ladies in trouble to protagonists who can solve their problems without outsiders. But why is the image of the strong and independent being criticized right now? With your permission, we will discuss this topic a little.

And yes, the author of this text is a girl.

And the demand for protagonists has increased? Why?
The female protagonist is not a novelty for a long time: for example, in 1982, players were pleased with Miss Pacman ( Ms. Pac-Man ), in 1986 – Samus Aran ( Metroid ), and in 1996 two cult divas appeared at once – Lara Croft ( Tomb Raider ) and Jill Valentine ( Resident Evil ). However, there was no need to talk about some kind of trend 20-30 years ago – rather, about local achievements.

It is very significant that as recently as 2017, Sony doubted the success of Horizon Zero Dawn because of the girl in the lead role, and Ubisoft management was sure that “women do not sell video games.”

However, with the increase in the number of gamers, the number of protagonists also grows, and there is no conspiracy of feminists here – girls mostly prefer to play for the representatives of their gender, and the market simply responds to the demands of the audience.

But still, despite the noticeable progress, there are still significantly fewer female characters in the lead roles than male ones.

What do we have now?

Now in the film industry, characters like Rey (Star Wars) or Captain Marvel (from the movie of the same name) have become almost household names for all the clumsily spelled “strong and independent.” It would be naive to assume that the trend towards the creation of such protagonists will bypass video games.

But how much potential her story had!
But how much potential her story had!
Aloy from the Horizon dilogy, Lara Croft from Tomb Raider (the final trilogy), Jill Valentine from Resident Evil 3 Remake – all three often rank high on lists of the best video game women. And their example clearly shows what is wrong with the image of the modern heroine.

So, Aloy’s problems are not in the huge cheeks that the sequel gave her , but in the absence of at least some facets of personality. The girl seemed to have descended from the pages of inept fan fiction – perfect, smart, strong, kind and courageous.

The only thing that separates her from Rey Skywalker is her backstory and emotional baggage in the form of Rast (Aloy’s mentor). In all other respects, this is just as much a “Marisyushny” character (the hero, endowed with hypertrophied, unrealistic virtues, is formed on behalf of the character of the parody “Trekka’s Tale”), for which a piano is prepared in each plot bush.

In the sequel, Aloy’s “Mariness” became very obvious.
In the sequel, Aloy’s “Mariness” became very obvious.
Aloy easily masters the new and the unknown, wins the attention of others, protects the weak, does not tolerate any ambiguous hints – and, in general, is incredibly boring. This is one of those annoying cases when the amazing original design (just look at this cosplay guide!) has nothing to do with the character of the hero himself.

With the updated Lara Croft, there are no less problems: like Aloy, she simply overshadows the people around her with her impeccability, and the scriptwriters do not seem to be trying to create interesting characters nearby, as if they are afraid to shift the focus from the already excessively ideal protagonist.

Their only weak attempt is 2013 ‘s Tomb Raider . Although the project suffers from the strongest ludonarrative dissonance (the conflict between the plot of the video game and the gameplay), it still tries to tell the story of an inexperienced novice terminator Lara. There are her interactions with a love interest, and conversations with friends, and flashbacks with a mentor, as well as numerous attempts at survival. The rest of the series seems to have given up even on this.

Many did not like Lara Croft performed by Alicia Vikander. But she didn’t go far from the character of the 2013-2018 trilogy
Many did not like Lara Croft performed by Alicia Vikander. But she didn’t go far from the character of the 2013-2018 trilogy
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider , the developers made light encroachments towards studying the soul of a young robber, but something clearly went wrong. Therefore, at the output, instead of the promised controversial character, we got an emotionally unstable teenager in the body of an adult. And there were conversations!

 

At the same time, Lara has no one to build a full-fledged dialogue with – there are only blanks around, either helping or opposing her. The girl herself is not afraid of falling planes or holes in her belly from bullets – with a bow in her hands she is able to destroy even the ancient immortals.

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