Are Epic Game's female characters a cut above the rest of the gaming world?
Short Asnwer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb4R-FvEKgM (typed out because the link option is not working)
The long Answer:
There really shouldn't be much of a difference between a good male and a good female character. Usually for a good character you should be able to remove any knowledge of whether the character is male or female, and still be left with a good character. When I think about the traits of my favorite characters in any media usually the traits that stick out the most have nothing to do with their gender. A character can embody traits more commonly associated with a particular gender but any good character is going to be more than just that.
Making women who have guns and kill stuff, without giving them any good character traits, doesn't mean that you are making a good female character that women can look up to, it means you are making a generic stupid character that stupid people will look up to.
When I see comments like, I like that character because it's a woman who shoots things while also "remaining very feminine" (since there isn't really anything different about their characters I guess that just means I can see they have boobs), I could just as easily imagine these same people praising the characters in a Michael Bay movie if they had just removed all the men and replaced them with women. Those characters all sucked, but now that they are women and they have guns and say generic uninteresting lines so now they are characters that every woman can look up to.
It's not that hard to find better written characters outside Gears of War (female characters included), and if Chris Perna believes that Gears of War sets the standard for female characters in the industry then that says a bad thing about future characters in the Gears of War series and for Chris Perna's taste in video game characters in genral.
Looking at some of the quotes from Chris Perna also raises a few other questions
You see the implants and the blonde hair and pants and you roll your eyes its almost like the game geeks idealisation of what a woman should be
I seem to remember Anya being the only woman (in the army at least) in the first two games, already highly unlikely when you are fighting for the survival of your species. I also seem to remember her as being blonde, having a nice figure, wearing make up (which doesn't seem like it would be a priority in the Gears setting). I seem to remember all three of the women that join you in your squad for Gears of War 3 (Prologue DLC for one of them) being pretty attractive, certainly not something I would say about any of the male characters that join your squad. I guess we don't know what the Carmines look like under those helmets, maybe they were all hot. Maybe all the men in the army are even more attractive then those three women, maybe they just wear helmets so they don't make Delta Squad feel bad, we certainly don't need Dom and Baird whining anymore then they already do.
I think because we didnt go that route we have more believability weve got more butch characters
You mean that one women, the one that was only in that one area of the game, and was only in the game and looked like that because of the comic books? Also, you know what is just as generic as a stereotypical male fantasy, a stereotypical butch character. A female character should be a well written character before a generic bombshell or just some guy with a gun that you added boobs to.
When asked about a female in the lead role
"That's certainly interesting but I don't know,"
There's nothing interesting about it by itself, it is only as interesting as you make it. Epic's writers could make a game starring a female half human, half locust, half cyborg dragon and the character still wouldn't have any traits to make her interesting. I also wonder how Epic could think that their female characters are a cut above the rest of the gaming world when past, present, and future games have females as the main characters or as playable characters at certain parts of the story. As far as I know unless you are playing co-op with two (or maybe three) people you will never even play as a female character outside of having the choice to in multiplayer.
I also have to say that just the title of the article points out everything wrong with what Epic is saying
Epic: a female Gears of War star would be tough to justify
But existing female cast are a cut above the usual stereotypes
It's like they are saying, we don't want to give the women any important roles but there are certainly worse companies out there.
Speaking of games with good female lead characters
(Yeah, Gamespot posted about this a few days ago, but I was too busy with Fire Emblem to write a blog at the time, a series that does have good female characters and has had them in lead roles)