In an article detailing the development of Uncharted: Golden Abyss postmortem on Gamasutra and Joystiq, I couldn’t help but offer my two cents in this pitiful “dilemma.” Of all the outsourcing that was done, you couldn’t outsource an alternative perspective on the female character Chase portrayed? It was unanimous that focus testers simply hated Chase, the new female protagonist which for whatever reason came as a surprise to the development team. Why? Because simply doing a “thorough job vetting actress casting process” doesn’t make a great female protagonist! Acting isn’t the center vocal point in female characters, it’s obviously what you have the character say or do that matters more. The least important thing is the actress since even crappy actors are good with a good script.
A good female protagonist isn’t a hot head or sharp tongue but has consistent and dynamic character. Females that are hot heads and sharp tongues are considered to be bitches, not cool, appealing, or attractive. Granted you can have a mix of flavor a woman with a smart mouth, but whose level-headed and doesn’t say something sarcastic every time they speak. Yes she can be aggressive, but balance her or she’ll just be off the wall. Having her say “Oh my God” every other time is asking for a slap in the face. The portrayal is too much of a wimp to be a lead of anything let alone the lead female protagonist. I’m not saying copy a Lara Croft, nor am I saying we need another Bayonetta, but with female characters they’ve got to have some of their own confidence and strength or they not at all considered lead female protagonist by more like underlings or a sidekicks mule who whines when they need to carry a canteen.
There is no excuse to have some “Princess Peach” scenarios. Frankly, this is Uncharted we’re talking about, how the heck can you have Drake survive a crashed train falling off a cliff and yet have his counter part need rescuing all the time? Seriously? I have no problem having Chase being choked, knocked out, or shot at but at lest let her get herself back up or fight back. You know what I think of when I contemplate a good lead female protagonist? Ada Wong in Resident Evil 2 when she is following Leon for a brief time. She is so self-sufficient on her against zombies you can pretty much leave the fighting to her and she’ll take them out. Granted she acts a bit arrogant, but her character is a strong and non wavering. For crying out loud, she even has enough cojones to fight the Nemesis in which I know if Chase switched place she’d scream like a piggie. The kind of lead female protagonist needed is a fighter, not a half-twit valley girl with a personality complex that rivals Daisy’s princess identity crisis.
In addition, if you have the man character annoyed at Chase’s inability to help herself, you’ll have gamers annoyed with her too. That’s just bad moojoo. Doesn’t matter if you changed Drake from grunting and whining at Chase being attacked again to him actually saying, “Not Again.”
Unless you have a female working on the development of the game help you, just do us a favor next time, don’t add a female protagonist at all.
Narz is a writer at Girl Gamer Vogue, Knickerbocker Ledger, and Gametyrant.