You would think that, of all times and all places, a future space war between aliens and humanity would be the last place you'd find people getting bashful about women serving in the military. I can't imagine screechy pterodactyls care which gender they're chewing on. If gooey bio-reptiles can get past these prejudices, can't we all? *Cue inspirational music* So it's good to see that Natural Selection 2 developer Unknown Worlds have announced the addition of a female marine , planned for an upcoming update to the multiplayer FPS strategy.
And it's even better to see that their design includes an armour suit that would offer some actual protection from all those claws and teeth:
"The game industry has a history of depicting female characters inappropriately," writes Unknown Worlds' Hugh Jeremy. "Often, they are stylised to such a degree that they become sexual objects: While their male comrades are clothed, armed and armoured to fight, the female character is notable for the lack of any clothing at all. When female characters are granted equal protection, that protection often ignores basic laws of physics in favour of offering titillating form.
"This is not good enough, and it's not a trope Unknown Worlds will entertain. Games are legitimate cultural influences, and game developers are responsible for the message they choose to convey to players. The Natural Selection 2 female marine is first and foremost, like her male colleague, a soldier. Her armour puts function before form, while adopting the science fiction, melee combat aligned design cues that have made the male marine so uniquely recognisable."
In the post, the developers reveal that the previous, male-only roster was a result of the team's lack of resources, saying: "It is your support, and the success of NS2 on Steam, that has made this new addition to the game possible." The new character will be made available in an update due out late-August/early-September.
That's a fictional sci-fi conflict taking a much-needed step towards equal representation in gaming. Maybe soon fictional near-future conflicts will do the same. How about it Arma 3?