Because seriously, how badass would a female protagonist be?
Recently, OXM published excerpts of an upcoming interview with Epic Game's Chris Perna where they talked about Gears of War: Judgement and female characters in the Gears universe.
It got me thinking. When Gears of War 3 debuted playable female characters, I realized first-hand just how empowering they were to play. Truthfully, there's so much testosterone in Gears that it's a wonder that anything other than men can exist in that world.
But they do! And look no further than Claudia Black's signature sultry but fierce performance with Gears 3's Sam to see just how well women fit into the universe... outside of that unfortunate "women only exist to make babies" thing in the lore.
Still, the inclusion in Gears 3 was progress. Might we ever see a female protagonist, though? ...probably not, according to the aforementioned interview. To quote:
Is it possible a future Gears game could feature a lady in the starring role?
Alas, it seems the market might have issues with this. "That's certainly interesting but I don't know," Perna mused. "If you look at what sells, it's tough to justify something like that."
What to even say, though? Again we have an instance of decisions being dictated wholly by business—business that limits itself to one specific demographic. You've probably heard all of that before, and frankly, as much bullshit as it might be (hello! even Epic acknowledges the great female fanbase in Gears, nevermind the whole "women are half of the population" thing, and the insulting implication that guys cant relate to girls—on and on), as awful as it is for anyone outside of the 18-25 year-old male demographic to have to justify itself just to exist... putting those things aside for a minute?
It's heartbreaking to read this, because I think a female protagonist could work, and it would probably be amazing. Anecdotal, but online, you see most people playing as the female characters anyway: so there's not this complete aversion and unmarketability, I don't think. People would be down for it.
I reached out to Epic to ask about specific stats: how many people were playing as women online? They told me that they don't give out exact numbers on that information, but what they could tell me is that about 10% of the total userbase has gotten the "Battle Mistress" medal in Gears 3. That's the medal you get for playing at least 25 matches as a female character.
Oh well. I'm sure Judgement will be just grand, but I definitely look forward to the day—should it ever come—that I get to play as a female gear as the lead.
UPDATE: Epic Games contacted me to add the following statement to this story:
"We have lots of strong, intelligent female characters in the Gears universe and we would never rule out a female protagonist for any of our future games, Gears or otherwise."