Developers Should Look To The Boss For A Strong Female Character
The topic of female representation is always afoot in the gaming industry, and remerged with quite a storm after the whole debacle with Feminist Frequency’s YouTube videos on Tropes VS Women in the industry. I’m not really here to weigh in on that discussion, but to rather focus on female characters in video games, and where developers should be looking for inspiration on the subject matter.
There are so many developers who talk about strong female representation. Crystal Dynamics with Tomb Raider, or Dontnod Entertainment with Remember Me or Ninja Theory with Heavenly Sword and Enslaved. There are plenty of other examples of course, but I’m not writing a history book here. There are some games that get it incredibly well, and a recent name will definitely spring to minds from the indie crowd – namely Gone Home from The Fullbright Company.
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It just all got me thinking. If you want to create fantastic female characters, why not look to the actually great examples? And that brings me to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
This is the one game I consider to be perfect without question. It is the only game that after years I still cannot find a single fault with it. It’s my favourite game of all time honestly. In fact I’m such a nut job about Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater that one of its villains, The Sorrow, actually inspired the name of my first novel. You may get your “nerd” shouts out of the way now please.
It struck me recently that another reason I adore Metal Gear Solid 3 is because it had one of the best characters in a video game for me – The Boss. Like the Professor Snape of video games. I’m kidding. Anyway, The Boss epitomises everything great about a strong character. Whether you’re looking for qualities and themes such as independence, idealism, self-sacrifice, torture, tragedy, strength, respect, power and leadership – The Boss simply does all of it justice. The whole works. She’s a complete character, and typifies the kind of commanding role you’d usually find an iconic male character in.
And the best part? She uses none of the common hooks for female characters – and with that I’m talking about sex appeal or revealing dress code or damsel in distress situations. If you’re tired of women being objectified in video games, or hyper sexualised, or constantly missing out on iconic female characters or just characters who don’t have to use the common tropes to get attention, look no further than The Boss.
Alright, in the interest of full disclosure, The Boss is kind of unfortunately perceived as a patriot – but no one is perfect, right? Kidding. Don’t hate me ‘Merica.
For me developers looking to tangle with strong female roles should ideally look to the best sources of inspiration for it, and for me Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater’s The Boss sits right at the top of the list.
Ladies – play this game. Even if you don’t take a liking to the character, it would be difficult not to respect what was achieved with The Boss, and admire the exceptional characterisation.