Capcom has responded to concerns surrounding the lack of playable female characters in upcoming RPG Deep Down.
The game found itself the subject of strong criticism from VG247 earlier this week after the site published a furious editorial about the game’s perceived gender inequality.
Capcom has responded by explaining that there are no playable female characters because there is in fact only one playble character, and yes, he indeed is male.
“I was informed by a representative of one of our overseas branches that an article containing misleading information regarding Deep Down has been recently circulating and drawing some attention,” producer Kazunori Sugiura told Eurogamer.
“This article makes the claim that the game has 12 playable characters, all of whom are male. As producer in charge of this project, I would like to respond and clarify.
"While the main character of Deep Down is indeed male, he is the only playable character in the game. The story focuses on him and a group of allies known as the Ravens.”
All of which asks questions of the media’s approach to the subject of gender in games.
It’s a great thing that the industry’s traditional male-bias is now being so regularly challenged by both the press and consumers. Less positive, however, is the media’s increasing inability to see beyond stark rights and wrongs and understand that shades of grey exist with within every debate.
Shouting angrily about a game of which very little is known helps no-one (a point raised more than once by journalists on social media over the last couple of days).
Indeed, now we know the game contains only one playable character (information that really should have been clarified before blades started to be sharpened) the furore of this week does not paint the games press in a positive light.
Should we be seeing more female protagonists and playable female characters in games? Absolutely. Should these sorts of decisions be based purely on commercial projections? Arguably not. The games industry – and indeed any other – should not feel free to operate without any sort of social conscience.
But let’s make sure we’re targeting the right offenders, here. Surely commercially-driven eroticism, distasteful gore porn and archaic gender stereotyping are more worrying offenders? By failing to focus our anger correctly we run the risk of rendering it ineffective.
There’s a chance for real change here. Let’s not waste it.