OK, let’s get something straight. The gaming world has some problems with sexism… OK it has a lot of problems with sexism. Women are objectified left and right in games. You really don’t have to look hard to find a girl in a skimpy bikini, a revealing schoolgirl outfit, or sporting a bustline that defies the laws of gravity and physics itself. Not to mention there are many more male main characters than female main characters, and female main characters tend to constantly have to struggle with personal problems of weakness and frailty while male main characters get a full pass to be badass. Then there are the gratuitous sex scenes in games like God of War, the idea of women treated as a reward in every game that ever has you rescuing a princess, and the absolutely abhorrent way that we, as gamers, treat female gamers both online and in real life. The next time I hear someone yell “get me a sandwich slut” or attempt to hug a cosplay girl without their consent at a con, I think I might just light the entire gaming world on fire.
BUT!... and this is a big but… sometimes, yes, we do overreact. It’s not often, because frankly we are just so goddamn good at being sexist, but it happens. This is what is happening with Capcom and Deep Down, their new free to play game for the PS4.
A while back, Capcom announced that you would not be able to play as a female character in Deep Down, and this sent the gaming world into an uproar. Assuming that the game was much like Dragon’s Dogma or other ultra-hard games that start with a D like Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls, players wondered why Capcom would ever make the decision to allow your character to only be male. In a world where created characters don’t even need to be human, it seems like a giant step back to require main characters to have a penis, right?
Well, yes, you would be right... if Deep Down had a create-a-character system. You see, we, as a community, simply assumed that Deep Down was going to be like Dragon’s Dogma. It looks like Dragon’s Dogma, sure, and Capcom’s only game based off the mythology of medieval Europe is… well… Dragon’s Dogma, so we could be forgiven for thinking as much. But the fact of the matter is that Deep Down isn’t Dragon’s Dogma. It’s not a game that allows you to make your own character at all. The only reason that Deep Down won’t let you play as a female, is because the main character of the game IS male. He has a name, and a backstory, and a personality. He is not a blank slate.
There is another rumor going around about the game having a supposed “12 main characters” and all of them are male, which would make for gamings largest sausage fest. However, this too is incorrect. Deep Down producer Kazunori Sugiura clarified this on the game’s Facebook page.
”From our overseas firm, there was big misconception in an article claiming that there were 12 main characters in Deep Down, all of them male,” he said. “As the person in charge on the development side, I'd like to explain the matter.”
“There is one male main character in Deep Down. The story is being developed around him and his surrounding Ravens comrades. At the moment, an overseas release hasn't been decided, but I am grateful for the attention Deep Down is receiving.”
“Please look out for more information in the future.”
Story details about the game is still being kept under wraps. But it has been made clear that Deep Down is not a game that “contains no female characters” nor is it a game that “doesn’t let you play a female.” It’s just another JRPG with a male protagonist, which may be another statistic in the grand scheme of how there are more male main characters than female ones, but isn’t a personal reckless act of sexism. In the end, Deep Down may not pass the Bechdel Test when it’s released, but that’s frankly nothing new for games today.
Former Contributing Writer