A few of you might remember that during awards season last year I ran the numbers on the protagonists of nominees to give an impression of what games were being released and celebrated. Well, it’s that time of year again! You can see the nominees for TGAs 2016 here.
There were a total of 98 games nominations (games that were nominated more than once have been counted each time they were nominated).
Of these, just four had female protagonists.
Usually I give you all the numbers at once, but…yikes. Four female lead games apparently deserved accolades this year – and one of those is a fan game (Project A2MR – the others are Oxenfree, Horizon: Zero Dawn (which isn’t even out), and Severed).
Conversely, 43 had male protagonists. This does include some repeats – Uncharted 4, for example, was nominated a handful of times, but essentially, 10 times more nominations went to male lead games.
For other options, 35 games allowed the player to choose their character’s gender, either through character creation or from a roster. (Of these, only 12 had equal numbers of male and female options.) 5 nominations had protagonists of an ambiguous gender, and 11 had no protagonist.
These numbers don’t look a lot better as a pie chart:
Honestly last year, when things were slightly more even (though far from equal) I went into a lot of detail over these numbers, but I don’t have much to say about this. All I can think is to appeal to people who don’t see a representation problem in games: imagine trying to squeeze yourself into that tiny purple slice and being content with it.
It’s also worth noting that all 5 Trending Gamer nominees were male (no one who isn’t male has ever been nominated for this award) as were all of the “best esports players,” four of six nominated voice actors, and, best I could tell, four out of five esports teams have no female players either.
There have been some releases with diversity this year – racists bemoaned the release of Battlefield 1, Mafia III, and Watch Dogs 2, all featuring a black protagonist, in a short span of time, for example. We got some great female characters like Emily Kaldwin and much of the Overwatch cast. But the gender split here is, frankly, unacceptable.
May 2017 be better.