Take up your arms! A game company has besmirched the fairer sex! Or has it? Read on to find out!
The topic of sexism within video games has always been a controversial one, but never before have the flames been fanned over something like the packaging. Just a few days ago, Ken Levine of Irrational Games had to defend the company's choice for the BioShock Infinite cover which prominently displays male protagonist Booker DeWitt with no sight of Elizabeth at all. Immediately, fans cried foul at the supposed slight for the feminine focus of the franchise's latest entry.
Booker DeWitt on the cover of 'BioShock Infinite'
Following this small outcry came word that Naughty Dog refused a push to take female lead Ellie off the cover for their upcoming title The Last of Us. According to actress Ashley Johnson, who provides the voice and motion capture for Ellie, this is just an example of a larger problem when dealing with the portrayal of females in video games.
This specific issue is a unique one that raises an interesting question. Are female characters purposefully passed up for the cover out of belief that it will better market the game?
Going back to the BioShock Infinite situation, Levine himself admitted that the choice for the cover was so as to target "frat boys." So, what are you saying exactly? That frat guys don't like girls? Do I have to resort to a book I read in my early childhood to prove how stupid that sounds?
This is a bro's world.
To be fair, Ken Levine did attempt to rectify the situation with a poll to choose the design for the reversible cover of the game (click here). There are some nice choices here I'll admit with #5 being my favorite followed closely by #4. Does this help fix the problem? Is it really our call to say how a game should or should not be represented? Ashley Johnson again gives her thoughts on this particular issue.
Not only on the cover but with a closer shot!
Out of curiosity, I looked up the covers for video games that feature prominent female characters. I'm not crying conspiracy here but it is interesting to take note of if the mindset of marketing video games is truly universal.
No sign of Alyx
Chell's not here, man!
We got Anya and she's not even a major character!
BioWare at least gave us a reversible cover for us FemShep fans.
Controversy or coincidence? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!