E3 2018: Upcoming Games Featuring Female Protagonists

Gender diversity in gaming is something that players have felt lacking for many years. Although the scales have balanced a little more in recent times, the number of women-led video games that represent female characters with the same respect as their male counterparts still leaves something to be desired.

This year’s E3 event has brought some change on that front, however, with publishers announcing many new titles and sequels featuring powerful leading ladies. Of course, this has not been met with open arms on all accounts. A quick look at the comment section on any of the trailers for these games will give you an idea of the discontent spawned by the prospect of headlining games with female playable characters. Outcries by fans that publishers are pandering to “political correctness” are widespread.

However, publishers are certainly promising some spectacular gaming experiences for the coming months, and if they include more well-written and -represented woman characters, all the better!

Here is a selection of some of the big titles announced recently at E3 2018 that promise to hit the mark for gamers that want to play as a bad-ass female character.

In Cyberpunk 2077 you play V, a fully customizable character with the option to select your own gender and appearance as well as historical background. It seems as though these choices will shape your playthrough experience, and it has been confirmed that you can romance characters of any gender, regardless of your own. Cyberpunk 2077 has no official release date as of yet.

Assassins Creed Odyssey, you can choose between a set male (Alexios) or female (Kassandra) protagonist, with whichever character you choose adhering to the same character design in terms of armour style and body type. Your choice of character won’t affect your gameplay or story, and you can choose to romance the same characters regardless of your choice of gender. Assassins Creed Odyssey will be released for PC, PS4 and Xbox One on October 5, 2018.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood features two female playable characters, Jessica and Sophia, the twin daughters of the protagonists from the previous game, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. The game can be played in single player or co-op mode, but we don’t know much about the gameplay just yet. Wolfenstein: Youngblood will be released in 2019, pending an official date.

The Last of Us Part II features Ellie, one of the main characters from Part I, as it’s protagonist. The trailer highlights her lady love interest with as much importance as her ability to brutally dispense with her enemies. This incited a great response from fans who played The Last of Us: Left Behind, the DLC for Part I of the game which originally referenced Ellie’s sexual orientation. Despite this existing canon for her character, it was still met by criticism from some fans. There is no official release date for The Last of Us Part II as of yet, although it is a PlayStation 4 exclusive.

Battlefield 5 also gives you the option to select female playable characters, which fans found inaccurate based on the game’s World War II setting. Despite the fact that women did, in fact, participate in World War II, fans insist that the inclusion of female characters is simply an effort to appeal to political correctness. Nonetheless, the option to play as a woman is in the game – whether you choose to do so or not. Battlefield 5 will be released on October 19, 2018 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

The Gears 5 storyline will follow Kait Diaz, who was first introduced in Gears of War 4 but acts as the playable protagonist in Gears 5. Kait is the first female lead for the Gears of War franchise. Gears 5 is scheduled to be released in 2019 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Control is a third person shooter game that follows Jesse Faden as she fights supernatural creatures using some really neat looking psychic powers and a morphing service pistol. Although the trailer is relatively vague, the style and gameplay evoke a previous game by the same publishers – Quantum Break. Control is set to be released in sometime in 2019 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Also announced was Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which has made great strides in recent releases to not overly sexualise the Lara Croft character, and represent her as a strong and resilient adventurer. The new instalment in the Tomb Raider franchise will be released on September 14, 2018 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

Beyond Good and Evil 2 features Shani, a new character and supposedly the protagonist, as well as Jade, the protagonist from the previous Beyond Good and Evil – which takes place before this game is set. Not much is known yet about the gameplay or plot, except for some pre-alpha gameplay footage released by Ubisoft. No release date has yet been announced for Beyond Good and Evil 2.

Whether these games have been met with positive feedback for their female inclusivity or not, there is no question that the future of gaming looks very promising for gamers of all demographics.

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