BRB UK 107: Tim Doesn’t Go To E3

Tim, Jon and special guest Coleman host this week’s BRB UK podcast. Join the three of them for:

  • Jon’s thoughts on E3
  • More E3: EA & Ubisoft and more Nintendo, basically we all want a Wii U
  • Phil Fish being odd, again
  • Sad Kojima
  • Impressions of Destiny‘s alpha

We’d love to hear from you, so feel free to drop us a line (or even a short MP3) at brbuk@bigredbarrel.com.

We appreciate you chaps and chapettes taking time out of your week to listen to our show. For your convenience, you can simply download the MP3 by clicking HERE or you can subscribe via iTunes, RSS or Zune and stay up to date.

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Comments

  1. Ricardo Kirkabon

    Another good episode guys.

    I am, however, a little disappointed at the apparent assumption that the “normal” player character is a white male and that anything other than that somehow carriers “issues”. Surely we have reached a point as a society where we cannot accept this. It is frankly a bit embarrassing for the games industry that almost all of the games featured at E3 had a white male protagonist. The idea that it is just too much effort to market and write a female character is more than a little disappointing for a multi-billion dollar industry based on escapism and inhabiting other identities. After all, I can be a white adult male all I want in real life…

    Anyway, it’s about time I mentioned that I miss the Great British Debate again. 

  2. MrLovePump

    Ha ha the start of this episode threw me at first. I was like “those are the right noises but the voice isnt… quite … right”.

    Interesting chat on women in games. In the case of AC I think there is a technical issue. My educated guess would be besides the fact you will see story parts in the coop missions where your “guy” is in cut scenes etc I would imagine there is an issue with the freerunning systems. I say this because all of the playable characters have been the same size and build roughly. This will be because of the invisible network of nodes within the game world that the player can grab etc to climb. To make this work any body climbing buildings etc has an assumed height, arm span etc as the animation system needs to manage that. I cannot imagine you can just throw a model of a five foot, petite woman in there and it will work, her reach would not be long enough to make the grabs etc that are setup for a six foot, broad man.

    I do think to an extent though there is risk aversion and lazy writing going on. I might be digging a hole for myself but I imagine most leads need to be a strong, heroic figure. It is difficult to do this with a female as the attributes of a strong heroic protagonist are not those you would associate with typical (believable) female traits. The only that works that comes to mind is the strong lady from Game of Thrones whos name slips my mind. I think traditionally when you have a female it only works when the story sits well with our expectation of a female personality. i.e. they are slightly vulnerable and we as the man (beats chest and goes to kill something for tea) are there to protect them. This might sound a little neolithic but consider it… Lara, Clem even Faith given the style of gameplay. She wasn’t the typical hero, she was on the run, vulnerable! your job was to keep her safe by running! 

    Not saying its right… but I can see why things are like they are. 

     

    In other news if anyone is interested, please check out what I have been upto lately. Working on an open world build anything simulator, currently dubbed “Project Fabricate”. I wont try and ruse anyone from the fact its currently looking like a bit of a Minecraft clone but the long term aim is to take whats great about MC and move forwards with it.

    Clicky>> The YouTubez <<Clicky

  3. I am, however, a little disappointed at the apparent assumption that the “normal” player character is a white male and that anything other than that somehow carriers “issues”. Surely we have reached a point as a society where we cannot accept this. It is frankly a bit embarrassing for the games industry that almost all of the games featured at E3 had a white male protagonist. 

    I never mentioned defining anyone as “normal” and only referred to the issues and obstructions to having more lead female protagonists – and just to make it perfectly clear this is something I want to see more of. The point I was making was to highlight some of the reasons this doesn’t happen more often.

    The idea that it is just too much effort to market and write a female character is more than a little disappointing for a multi-billion dollar industry based on escapism and inhabiting other identities. After all, I can be a white adult male all I want in real life…

    It isn’t the effort to market and write female characters that prevented them from being in AC, more the difficulties in making environments suitable for two different sizes of bodies and having to re-record the entire audio for the game. These come at too higher price for what they would get in return (from a purely financial basis)

  4. Personally, while I agree it is an issue worth raising and tackling, I feel one of the reasons it has become such a big story is Ubisoft are generally good about being inclusive normally.

    For instance, if the next Wolfenstein game does not have a playable female character, we won’t see that big an uproar IMO. However, if the next Mass Effect doesn’t have the option, the Internet will burn down!

    Either way, it is a point worth raising whenever possible and appropriate.

     

    Also, good show guys.

  5. Great shows guys thumb

    On the subject of female leads … I think its been blown way out of proportion. Does it really matter if the protagonist is male or female? as long as the story is great and the voice acting to match theres no reason to complain. Do these people complain when every film with a male lead comes out ?

    anyway now iv got that off my chest i feel alot better haha  

  6. zombiesauerkraut

    I agree with MadgesVag. I’m going to assume that the default white, male protagonist between the ages 20 to 40 pertains to the major demographic developers are catering to. Funnily enough, I’ve only heard white males bringing up this “issue” thus far. As I’ve yet to actually witness the outraged voices of female gamers who want more female protagonists in their games go completely ignored by Ubisoft and the likes, I think the term “sexism” is being confused with the term “capitalism.” And Ubisoft would be the last dev that I’d trust with writing a dignified, ground breaking female role without coming off as gimmicky and chauvinist. I’ll start caring about which gender the hero is when they can finally write a single character in general that I care about.

    P.S. Loved the show, guys! thumb

  7. Andystrev

    Nice episode guys, get what Tim was saying about the business choices that the video game companies have to make with regards to creating female characters as there are inevitably more considerations that have to be made.  

    Sometimes people forget that if a company isn’t making money then they can’t produce more games and especially can’t allow the creatives more time and space to create truly great games  if they are under pressure to just bash something out to make a quick buck!

    anyways just wanted to let you know I reviewed the podcast on iTunes so what’s coming my way in return?????

  8. Ricardo Kirkabon

    Tim said 

    I never mentioned defining anyone as “normal” and only referred to the issues and obstructions to having more lead female protagonists – and just to make it perfectly clear this is something I want to see more of. The point I was making was to highlight some of the reasons this doesn’t happen more often.

    Appologies Tim, I think I had been up for a long time when I wrote that post. I could have sworn I heard somebody refer to white male protagonists as “normal”. On re-listening, nobody did.

    It isn’t the effort to market and write female characters that prevented them from being in AC, more the difficulties in making environments suitable for two different sizes of bodies and having to re-record the entire audio for the game. These come at too higher price for what they would get in return (from a purely financial basis)

    Not quite sure I buy this argument, some women are tall. 

    On the argument, from someone else, that currently only white males are complaining about that absence of female protagonists, is this because the vast majority of people commenting on video games are men? Might that be somewhat influenced by the fact that most video game players are men? Might that in turn be partly because most games are marketed at men?

  9. Ricardo Kirkabon

    zombiesauerkraut said
    I think the term “sexism” is being confused with the term “capitalism.” 

    I think failing to include 50% of your potential audience is the opposite of capitalism. 

  10. zombiesauerkraut

    richardkirke said

    I think failing to include 50% of your potential audience is the opposite of capitalism. 

    You mean…communism? No, I think that’s just bad capitalism.tongue But I just looked it up and it seems that, according to the Entertainment Software Association, about 45% of gamers in the United States are female. So, are devs really so stupid that they don’t immediately cash in on this seemingly untapped niche of gamers? Maybe female gamers couldn’t care less about the gender of the character they’re playing as, and it’s chauvinist to think that just because a hero is female you’re game is going to reach at least 45% of the market. Or maybe female gamers are glad that all of the ludicrous chest-pounding, killing and terrible one-liners that appear in games are not attributed to their gender toothysmile

  11. Josh

    I have to agree with one or two on this thread… The lack of female protagonists isn’t a huge issue that needs to be addressed. If the character has a good story-arc to follow and seem compelling I don’t believe it should matter what gender they are. I do believe if a woman is portrayed in a game/film they should be 3 dimensional in personality and not just “the sexy love interest” or anything.

    My main problem with the general consensus of the Video game community is “There needs to be more women in games” but that doesn’t make the game instantly good, and if the game was a flop or didnt sell well… It would probably do more harm than good.

    Anyway, my main reason for coming on here (Rant aside) I actually am excited for a new-gen NHL game, I understand I’m in the minority because Hockey isn’t as big as football, but I was kinda bummed out that there wasn’t an NHL game last year… and it looks amazing now compared to NHL 13

  12. steroidtulip

    Great cast . Been away for a bit due to health issues but the ‘roid is back ! barrel

  13. Anyway, my main reason for coming on here (Rant aside) I actually am excited for a new-gen NHL game, I understand I’m in the minority because Hockey isn’t as big as football, but I was kinda bummed out that there wasn’t an NHL game last year… and it looks amazing now compared to NHL 13

     

    If I had more time atm, I could see me being interested in this too. Ice Hockey is like football with more fights thumb

     

    @Steroidtulip – welcome back, buddy happy

  14. angryjock

    I think the femail protagonist issue isbeing tacled well in the indie game genre
    As we see more and more imaginotive storys and issues tacled.
    However its the fat aaa end of the market thats always slowest to change
    Same in most entertainment forms be it comparing indie film to blockbusters , comparing indie punk or rock music to a syrupy sweet pop song or even wrestling and how the wwe treat its femail employees

    Thats not to say we shouldn’t be having this conversation as anything that highlights these issues and puts pressure on the big titles to embrace change is always good

    Anyway great show guys but whats with the weeks with no show since work is begining to feel like work without you lot

  15. angryjock said
    Anyway great show guys but whats with the weeks with no show since work is begining to feel like work without you lot

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