Some of you may remember that after The Game Awards, I ran a survey of the protagonists of the nominees. You can see that census here. Today I’m going to do a similar thing for the DICE awards, the nominees for which you can see here.
Methodology note: for TGAs, I looked at each game individually no matter how many times it was nominated, and then realised that this was a bad idea so redid it, but it turned out not to affect the percentages so I went with the first version. This time I looked at each nomination including games that were nominated more than once so when I say there were 105 nominations, this doesn’t compare with the 50 I mentioned in discussing TGAs, but the percentages do compare and that’s what’s important.
So, yes, there were 105 nominations. Of these, 16 had no human protagonists. Eight had both male and female protagonists and did not allow player choice (either randomly assigned or ensuring switching between them. 23 allowed players to choose their own character and included both male and female options, though this category includes both character creation (for example, Fallout 4) and those that have a roster of characters including both male and female characters, and the latter category tends to have more male options (for example, Rising Thunder, which has two female options out of six). Of those nominations with fixed protagonists, twenty were female, twenty-eight were male, and ten were non-binary or unspecified.So many numbers. Obligatory pie chart*:
The biggest change is the reduction in male characters. Player choice is also down, but everything else has slightly increased. This leads to greater evenness overall.
Female characters make up 19% of the DICE awards nominees, where they were 14% of TGAs’.
Whereas in my analysis of TGAs I pointed out that including women and non-binary characters in the Games for Change category far more than in any other belied the reluctance of the industry to actually change, the DICE awards include more women in the categories celebrating character and story, demonstrating the impact of good representation on enjoyable game experiences.
AIAS President Martin Rae said that “looking at the nominees for the 19th Annual DICE Awards, I am especially impressed by the broad range of titles catering to gamers’ increasingly sophisticated and diverse tastes,” which of course covers more aspects than protagonist gender. But I think that the better inclusiveness of the DICE awards over TGAs fits into this, and that’s great. It is of course still uneven, but the overall industry is, and as such I wouldn’t be expecting an awards ceremony to nominate an entirely equal group.
It’s a good list, and I’m looking forward to the results of the awards and analysing those.
*This pie chart is now out by one, as I removed one game (Star Wars Battlefront from the ‘male and female’ category and moved it to the ‘player choice’ category) but it would still look broadly the same.