When we initially thought about our game we had a lot of ideas for special explorers that would be chosen by the player at the beginning of each expedition alongside normal units and starting equipment. Those explorers, famous personalities of the 19th century like Nikola Tesla or Charles Darwin would practically act like a class in a RPG. Each would offer varying options and play styles throughout an expedition, supplementing our roguelike-like approach of high replayability and a wide range of possible player expression.
Soon after we started writing about this feature on our TIG DevLog people started to recommend various personalities, and called us out on our lack of female explorers. Since then we talked a lot about it, collected references and wikipedia links to famous female explorers, but up to now have only managed to actually implement only one female explorer, Marie S. Curie.
Being employed in the AAA industry for quite some time and knowing about it’s rather tainted perspective on female protagonists in games, I’ve been following the development of Anita Sarkeesian Kickstarter campaign, as well as the resulting videos about Tropes vs. Women in games. The last episode called Ms. Male Character was in my opinion exceptionally well made, and offered a lot of very applicable suggestions for game developers to add meaningful female protagonists to their games.
Even though I felt that we somehow had the issue on our map, and did a good job in the portrayal with Curie as our first female explorer (no bow, phew), I felt bad after watching Sarkeesian’s latest episode. Sure we are still very early in the creation of our game, but still, the ratio was already embarrassing - currently there are 7 male explorers vs. 1 female explorer; our Curie is a Smurfette. In addition to that, almost all the male explorers have their own, characteristic voice lines, whereas Curie has none.
So what I’m going to do is a Femcrunch! A Femcrunch is a period in development that is solely dedicated to improving the presence and portrayal of female protagonists in a game.
And here’s how I will do it:
Each of the following weeks I’m going to create one female explorer with a portrait and at least one characteristic voice line.
I’m going to do that until I have the same amount of female and male explorers (This means 6 new female explorers will be added).
I’ll start femcrunching next week, beginning on the 2nd December.
You can help me with this by suggesting female personalities of the 19th century that fit our game. Just send your ideas to email@example.com
[UPDATE] It’s finished! With the enormous help of our community, we were able to easily meet our goal. Here is our new, equal roster: