David Cage being, well, David Cage, had a lot of fascinating things to say about his latest experimental project, Beyond: Two Souls. Speaking in an interview with Gamasutra, Cage described why he was excited to write for a female protagonist, and what the difference was between writing women and men in games was.
"What I love with females is that they can fight, they can be very angry, they can be upset, they can cry. They have a palette. They have a range of emotions that is actually larger than male characters."
Given that, Cage expressed greater pleasure in writing women than he did men–who feel less emotionally dynamic and aren't as interesting of characters. This is because guys "don't express our emotions publicly so much," he says.
A reading that some people are bound to agree with, even though such things are not implicit in one's gender. One can't help but wonder why he or others in the industry leave all the emotional "palettes" for women. Women are the emotional ones, apparently? If Cage is serious about the industry growing up–a sentiment which he expresses in the interview–then wouldn't it make sense to push the boundaries of what men express in our games?
Cage's feelings on gender might explain why he picked Ellen Page as well. "What really interested me in her features was she looked very strong and angry and upset, and at the same time she looked very vulnerable, and I thought that was an interesting starting point for my character."
Vulnerable is an interesting word when you consider that you play as a woman called Jodie Holmes who is being followed by a ghost-like creature…which gives the game a weird, male-gazey type vibe. This isn't helped when you take a look at the demo that was shown before Beyond, called KARA, which carried a similarly uncomfortable vibe.
Still, it's not as if David Cage put his foot up his mouth with what he said–it raises eyebrows, but after the Lara Croft debacle, this doesn't seem nearly as bad.
Nonetheless, it's curious to note that all these upcoming games exploring women protagonists feel inclined to tap into vulnerability and often market themselves on how hurt and damaged these women become along their journey. Bruises and cuts are highlighted, which isn't something that usually happens in the world of regenerating health games. And they'll look hurt, scared, vulnerable…because that comes easier to women, or what?
Beyond: Two Souls is set to release in 2013.