Escape From Tarkov Developers Say Adding Playable Women Would Be A 'Huge Amount Of Work'

Illustration for article titled iEscape From Tarkov/i Developers Say Adding Playable Women Would Be A Huge Amount Of Work
Screenshot: Battlestate Games (Escape From Tarkov)

Battlestate Games, the studio behind the newly popular online shooter Escape From Tarkov, says they won’t implement playable female protagonists for “game lore” reasons and because it would be too much work. Right now, you can only play Escape From Tarkov as a man.

“[T]here will be no playable female characters because of game lore and more importantly - the huge amount of work needed with animations, gear fitting etc,” the company said on Twitter yesterday.

The studio made the statement following the two-year-old game’s rising popularity on Twitch, which brought renewed scrutiny to comments made by a Battlestate Games developer back in 2016 about the war in fictional city Tarkov being too stressful for women to fight in. Distancing itself from the old comments, the studio tweeted yesterday that they “didn’t reflect the official position of the company,” and that it “always respected women in wars and military women.” But they won’t be letting you play as a woman.


Escape From Tarkov takes place in a fictional part of Russia that’s been closed off after war breaks out between various corporate-backed paramilitary factions seeking to take control. The women in the world of Tarkov have not all been killed off, and some even appear as non-player characters, so the “game lore” explanation is unclear. The game’s two main factions are pretty generic military contractors and I haven’t been able to find anything in the company’s recent statements pointing out why women wouldn’t be involved in them.

The amount of work required to make women playable is an excuse that’s been wheeled out in the past as well. In January 2014, Ubisoft creative director Alex Amancio told Polygon adding women to Assassin’s Creed Unity’s online mode would have required twice as many animations. Far Cry 4 director Alex Hutchison said women were cut from the game’s co-op mode for the same reason later that year. Former Ubisoft animator Jonathan Cooper chimed in then to disagree, estimating that it would have only required a few extra days of production.

Whatever the resources required, whether or not to deploy them to create playable characters that represent approximately half of the people on earth is clearly a choice, one to which the developers said no. Battlestate Games did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kotaku staff writer. You can reach him at

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If a game or developer does not align with your politics and you feel strongly about it, then don’t buy the game. By all means, take a stand. Sign an online petition stating that you’re not buying the game because it fails to give equal representation to women. If you want to enact real change and enough people feel as strongly as you do, that’s the way to do it. If you hurt a developer’s bottom line enough, if they make another game, or if other companies learn from the example, they will align more directly with your politics.

On the other hand, don’t demand that a developer change or edit their game after release to align with your politics and get riled up when they don’t want to. It’s their game, their vision, they owe you nothing. If they want to make a military shooter featuring only men, that’s entirely their prerogative. If you don’t want to buy it, that’s entirely yours.