A new survey carried out by the information firm Quantic Foundry has apparently shown that hardcore video game players care less about female video game protagonists. Amid the “strong independent woman” debate that often shows up in games with male protagonists, it seems the gender really doesn’t matter to some.
While there have been a number of good female protagonists in video games in recent years, such as Lara Croft from the rebooted Tomb Raider games and Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn, along with Emily Kaldwin from Dishonored 2, women have probably almost never been at the forefront of video games as much as they have currently.
However, the survey, which was conducted with 1,266 people, shows that video game players that count themselves as “hardcore” care less about female protagonists than other types of gamers do. There’s also a notable gender disparity (of course girls and women would like it more when a female protagonist is in their game) but still, the hardcore category doesn’t appear to care as much.
For instance, while 66% and 56% of casual and core gamers care much more about female protagonists, only 48% of hardcore female gamers think that a female protagonist is extremely important. Male gamers are, of course, less accommodating, but interestingly a huge portion of male hardcore gamers actually do believe that female video game protagonists are somewhat important, at 32%.
The difference between casual, core, and hardcore gamers is likely due to how people actually play the games. While hardcore gamers would likely be more interested in the gameplay of the game, casual and core gamers would be more likely to pay attention to the game’s characters and story, and thus more diverse characters would be more important to them.
Considering the positive reaction to characters like Aloy and Emily Kaldwin, it’s likely that we’ll be seeing more female video game protagonists in other games to come, but we don’t really know when that will actually happen.
Hopefully other female protagonists will be coming in more video games soon.