Posted by: Ophelia | April 30, 2008

The Ladies of Liberty City

According to this video (lovingly crafted by IGN), the role of women in the latest Grand Theft Auto is again limited to prostitution, stripping, and a quick buck when you run them over with your car. Lovely.

Now I really had no intention of writing about this, as it’s already been covered at Feministing and Female Impersonator (and likely elsewhere). Mostly, I wanted to avoid the inevitable resentment of the gamer set. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a gamer too, but the application of critical theory is not well received by the community. If you complain about the lack of female characters in a game or the roles they occupy, they offer that gender shouldn’t matter (read: as long as you don’t mind playing a male heterosexual character). I don’t object to the fact that you can kill women in the game–you can kill anyone, well not anyone–children don’t exist within the games, and all the adults appear to be able-bodied and within the 18-50 age range, apparently Rockstar has its limits. My objection is to the fact that the women in the game that you can get your hands on are all sex workers who the player can then kill*. There are no male sex workers, there is no option for a female main character. The fact that you can kill male characters does not make all things equal. The women are not cued as neutral, they are disposable–and guaranteed to drop a bit more money than the average John Doe that you might run down with your car.

Really, I’m not picking on Grand Theft Auto, although I do find it to be wholly overrated (I’ve played the games and find more fun in causing mayhem than in the missions–but mayhem is only fun for so long as it too has a limit). It is not enemy number one so much as one example of the issue that exists within the gaming industry. Female gamers are an invisible demographic to most companies. They market to young men, crafting heroes that are generally, white and heteronormanitive possibly with a bevy of buxom women to romance. If women want to play, it shouldn’t matter that the characters and plot are designed for a male audience–they should suck it up and play (although I don’t specifically have a problem with male main characters–after all, the prince in Katamari Damacy was a dude and I didn’t have a problem with him or the girls in the game because gender messages weren’t being sent out–his princely attributes were not connected to his masculinity and there was no message given about femininity either). After all, games don’t communicate anything–which is why there’s no such thing as a humorous or emotional game. So surely, age old stereotypes about gender roles aren’t sneaking their way into this media. Right.

Again, it’s not about killing women. No More Heroes is an orgy of cartoony violence, flayed bodies, and spraying blood, and women get killed too. But they’re not just prostitutes or strippers to be killed, they’re competitors on the assassin circuit. They’re admirable foes, not toss away, no name characters. Even the woman he’s panting over for the entirety of the game is too smart for him. This isn’t a ringing endorsement of the game–I would rent it if anything, it’s only around eight hours, and only if I dig repetitive over the top violence.

It’s about how women are portrayed–and this is the same critical eye I apply to any media I consume. Games are not above reproach.

10 years ago I played Baldur’s Gate for the first time, and surprisingly, they didn’t care what gender I chose. Some npcs were women, some were men, and it didn’t affect their ultimate use. It was fantastic. So I wonder why, ten years later, I’m being told that gender is a big deal, and furthermore that there’s no room for my gender in positions of power within the gaming world. Sounds too much like the real world for me. No thanks.

*I think this point should be clarified but it’s difficult to come up with the proper language. All npcs who are female are not necessarily the ones walking around on the street that the player can interact with. Additionally, not all the women with which the player can interact are available to touch. The ones who show up in cut scenes come to mind, that’s an interaction but you can’t handle them. So, I tried to settle on language that indicates their availability of physical in game interaction.

On violence: Someone was stabbed several times while waiting for the game. Now I’m not going to argue that the game had any effect on the attacker’s predisposition to stab people waiting in lines, but it is chilling that the people standing there had no idea that the violence was real, that desensitization to violence extends into the real world.

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Responses

  1. “the role of women in the latest Grand Theft Auto is again limited to prostitution, stripping, and a quick buck when you run them over with your car. Lovely.”

    I don’t know if you made any sensible points subsequently, but that was such a breathtakingly false opening I couldn’t be bothered with the rest.

    I’ve only played an hour or so of the game and already been in contact with several female characters who are neither prostitutes, strippers, nor targets for your car.

    Hint for future argument: if you want to persuade, try not to open with a lie.

  2. Well that’s nice that you didn’t take the time to read the rest, but I already predicted that response. Sorry if I somehow misconstrued the “Ladies of Liberty City” as presented by IGN as in any way representative of their portrayal within the game–or you know, not. I have to commend you on snipping out the “According to this video (lovingly crafted by IGN)–” in order to make your point. I used that as a springboard to a more general discussion about my issues with the gaming industry and what has been presented by IGN as representative of gameplay. But you wouldn’t know that as you chose to hear what you wanted. Good show.

    So, if the characters who you can’t mow down don’t fit in with the characterization of the rest, doesn’t that make them exceptions, and not the rule? Notably, I don’t include male major characters in the same league as the John Does on the street either.

  3. ““the role of women in the latest Grand Theft Auto is again limited to prostitution, stripping, and a quick buck when you run them over with your car. Lovely.”

    I don’t know if you made any sensible points subsequently, but that was such a breathtakingly false opening I couldn’t be bothered with the rest.

    I’ve only played an hour or so of the game and already been in contact with several female characters who are neither prostitutes, strippers, nor targets for your car.

    Hint for future argument: if you want to persuade, try not to open with a lie.”

    You do realize that misquoting is lying too, right? If you were to READ the post, you’d see that she is commenting on the video ADVERTISING the game from IGN, which is nothing but mindless sex and killing hookers.

    Hints for posting (trolling in this case): Don’t be a douche, learn to read, and learn to comprehend.

    Anyways, as for REAL discussions, I agree that character customization is a huge problem in games, especially in GTA games. I feel like I’m being locked in a role for a character I can’t feel any sympathy or emotions at all for. A game like Godfather allowed you to create your own character (ok, create your own Italian, but still), and THAT game was based on a movie license. Why can’t the roles in GTA be written in a way to allow a character of your choice to be represented? At this point, it seems like a conscious choice.

    There’s more wrong with the game series, but that’s not necessarily linked to the gender stereotypes. A lack of direction, sub-standard controls, and no real innovation. Every time I’ve played a GTA game, I feel like I’m doing the same things again with a new coat of paint and some superficial additions (wow, a bike in San Andreas. Wow, I can play a mini game to try and steal things from a few select houses).

    Finally, when you attack and kill random people and hookers, you get money. It’s not usually a lot of money, but it’s still a reward for the act. I’ve played the games and did NOTHING but run out of my safehouse, kill 50 people, and then return and save, and I’ve gotten rich. Sex with a hooker? Refills your HP. Kill her afterwards? You get your money back. People claim that they do not play the game just to do this, but whenever I see them play, that’s what they end up doing. Coincidence? No. Besides, IGN and other websites make those videos to advertise the game, and that’s what they’re advertising.

  4. Sorry that your first comment was such too lazy to read your whole post (at least he admitted it).

    But yeah, I come from waaaaay outside the gaming community. I used to have a PlayStation. I have an XBox at home. It just doesn’t interest me (except for DDR on XBox…and Guitar Hero II on PS2). So I am glad to hear from people who are interested in gaming.

    But yeah. I don’t think you could ever convince me that a game like that was fun, even though I know there are obviously plenty of people out there that would think it was great.

    The only “shooting” (I sound lame) game that I have ever sort of enjoyed was Halo, but the difference is that in that game, I shoot people who are shooting me. And it’s not ultra-realistic. (That game also made me motion-sick so I can’t claim to be an expert on it).

    Ah. Controversy. I wonder if it’s helping sales? :-/

  5. Amelia, you might fall outside of the demographic for “shooting games” but that doesn’t make your opinion less valid. Don’t even get me started on gamer elitism and “I’ve played more of x type of game than you so my opinion is best”, but I see where you’re coming from.

  6. Aww, sorry. Her first sentence – cop-out “according to IGN” notwithstanding – was repeating an inaccurate claim on which she then went on to base her criticism. If you think I’ve misread her, how about this sentence – “My objection is to the fact that the women in the game are all sex workers who the player can then kill.”

    Not true. A lie.

    The “I don’t count major characters” line she’s now running is a particularly weak bit of weaseling out.

    Meanwhile, Amelia – “But yeah. I don’t think you could ever convince me that a game like that was fun, even though I know there are obviously plenty of people out there that would think it was great.”

    Please define “a game like that”. If by “a game like that” you mean “a game where you kill prostitutes after having sex with them”, then feel free to enjoy GTA 4. Because you won’t ever do that in the game if you don’t actively seek it out.

    Meanwhile, what GTA does offer is a fictional open-world New York to explore, drive through, fly helicopters over etc. You don’t have to play it like a psychopath.

  7. Jeremy,

    I think you’ve missed the larger point here. The fact that there may be women who you can interact with in the game on a more sophisticated level does not negate the fact that there is no female main character model to choose or, more importantly, the misogyny of the images that IGN has deliberately chosen to use in order to advertise the game.

    You said:

    “You won’t ever do that in the game if you don’t actively seek it out.

    Meanwhile, what GTA does offer is a fictional open-world New York to explore, drive through, fly helicopters over etc. You don’t have to play it like a psychopath.”

    You may not have to play the game like a psychopath, but let’s all be honest and admit that being able to act like a psychopath is exactly the appeal of this game for most people.

    It’s not a secret.

    Sure people play the missions–I have no doubt that missions are part of the appeal for many gamers. But you are being incredibly naive if you think that simply because the gamer has the individual choice to not to kill prostitutes that somehow the months of planning and programming it took the designers to make all of those optional features are justifiable.

    Killing hookers is still part of the game. It’s also a part of the game that’s endorsed by IGN as per the above video. This is problematic.

    The “fictional open world” argument doesn’t hold up either, because if this game really mimicked real life so well, was really a fake version of a city I could explore freely, I would 1) be able to choose a female character to play and 2) I’d be able to walk into all the houses and steal people’s lemonade right out of their refrigerators or dance around in front of them while they watch Dr. Phil. Can I?

    This game, like all games, includes a finite number of options, so what the designers have included as options in the game is a conscious choice, and in this case those choices are inexcusable.

  8. “The fact that there may be women who you can interact with in the game on a more sophisticated level does not negate the fact that there is no female main character model to choose”

    No, but it negates the poster’s opening claim to the contrary.

    “more importantly, the misogyny of the images that IGN has deliberately chosen to use in order to advertise the game.”

    Uh, what? IGN is a media site. They’re not “advertising” the game with that video; they’re highlighting the worst things you can do with it for the purpose of reportage. If you have a problem with the misogyny of the IGN player, then that’s IGN at fault, not the makers of GTA.

    “being able to act like a psychopath is exactly the appeal of this game for most people”

    What complete rubbish. Where’d you pull that from. “Most people”? There are plenty of violent games where you can act like a psychopath. The famed appeal of the GTA series is the open-ended world you can explore in any manner you choose. Hence all the games post-GTA which have tried to capitalise on the game model it created. It’s the sandbox nature of the game that’s made it so popular, not the violence.

    “Killing hookers is still part of the game.”
    Only if you’re a psycho who chooses to do that with the freedom the game gives you.

    “It’s also a part of the game that’s endorsed by IGN as per the above video.”

    What the hell are you talking about? Who cares what IGN reports (or, in your odd choice of words, “endorses”)? The poster is attacking the existence of GTA, not some random game review site.


  9. Aww, sorry. Her first sentence – cop-out “according to IGN” notwithstanding – was repeating an inaccurate claim on which she then went on to base her criticism. If you think I’ve misread her, how about this sentence – “My objection is to the fact that the women in the game are all sex workers who the player can then kill.”

    Not true. A lie.

    The “I don’t count major characters” line she’s now running is a particularly weak bit of weaseling out.

    Meanwhile, Amelia – “But yeah. I don’t think you could ever convince me that a game like that was fun, even though I know there are obviously plenty of people out there that would think it was great.”

    Please define “a game like that”. If by “a game like that” you mean “a game where you kill prostitutes after having sex with them”, then feel free to enjoy GTA 4. Because you won’t ever do that in the game if you don’t actively seek it out.

    Meanwhile, what GTA does offer is a fictional open-world New York to explore, drive through, fly helicopters over etc. You don’t have to play it like a psychopath.”

    Now this comment is a cop-out and still doesn’t take my posting hints into consideration. I guess when you’re a douche, you can’t be anything else.

    Her first comment, ONCE AGAIN, wasn’t using the video from IGN as an excuse to bash GTA 4, she was using it to BASH THE MEDIA surrounding it. Her other comments still hold up, because there’s no mention of any woman as anything other than an incidental character with little influence to the game, or they’re a sex worker. If not, GIVE EXAMPLES. You’re not beyond reproach like you seem to believe, and neither is your game. Not to mention that you still lack any form of reading comprehension.

    If the game is such a ‘rich world’, then why is it that there never seems to be anything to do besides stealing, killing, or maybe deliver a pizza or two? You’d never know it by how EVERY SINGLE PERSON PLAYS THE GAME. Every time a new one comes out, its always “it’s a richer world”, when they add things like a motorcycle and a few side missions and call it a day. People don’t only play it for the missions, because if that was the case, you wouldn’t need an open world for the missions. You can’t open businesses or really do much of anything honest in the game besides stealing someone’s vehicle and performing missions associating with it. And those aren’t designed to carry the game either. All that the open world is really used for is, surprise surprise, random violence.

    Other games in the same vein have made some progress. In Godfather, you can demand protection money from shopkeepers. It’s still illegal, but it made it more dynamic to me. Choices like that from the designer’s perspective make all the difference to me.

    I don’t expect you to read this, since your reading comprehension is still limited to about 10 to 15 words in a paragraph, so go have fun playing with yourself.

  10. Aww, sorry. Her first sentence – cop-out “according to IGN” notwithstanding – was repeating an inaccurate claim on which she then went on to base her criticism.

    I didn’t realize that visual information presented to me as an advertisement for the game was inaccurate. I’m sorry, I’ll use smaller words next time–just for you.

    Do you actually have anything to offer in the way of the actual discussion of the post? It appears that you heard GTA4 and decided to stop reading since obviously the game is beyond reproach if the right wingers have anything negative to say about it. I’m not a right winger, I have no desire to see the game taken off the shelves, if adults want to play it that’s their right. I would just like to see less pandering to misogyny to sell the games–I think it shows an underestimation of potential buyers, that they require this sort of content to find an interest in the game. I’ve heard it argued that the plot is supposed to be deep–but this is what IGN decided to showcase?

    The majority of the post isn’t even about GTA4. It’s called a springboard to a larger discussion. Seriously, this is all you have to offer? Whining about the way you chose to misinterpret the first sentence? I didn’t realize that pointing out a specific video advertised in connection with the game by IGN was a cop out or an inaccurate manner of judging their advertisement strategy and the features they want to highlight for potential buyers.

    It’s pretty obvious you have no desire to discuss anything involving women in gaming, but rather, you want to limit your “discussion” to Grand Theft Auto, and you know, on your own blog? Feel free.

    However, this is my blog, and I presented this video as an example of the type of attitude surrounding gaming, and this is the point of discussion–not derailing the entire conversation while you pick, choose, and invent talking points from other commenters in your fevered attempts to defend the game. I am in no way advocating that this is the worst game in the world, nor am I crying that someone think of the children. I think the portrayal of women in gaming is shitty. Are there outliers? Yes, obviously. But do those outliers negate the overwhelmingly negative portrayal of women in games? No.

    I do appreciate you coming into a feminist space and telling me that my concerns about the portrayal of women in gaming are invalid. Really, thank you. This has offered so much insight into the problem.

  11. The poster is attacking the existence of GTA, not some random game review site.

    I’m sorry, I can’t mince words here: can you read?

    Honestly, I don’t remember saying that GTA should be taken off the shelves and that it alone is what’s wrong with the gaming industry. Considering you didn’t read the post, I’ll do you a solid.

    “Really, I’m not picking on Grand Theft Auto, although I do find it to be wholly overrated (I’ve played the games and find more fun in causing mayhem than in the missions–but mayhem is only fun for so long as it too has a limit). It is not enemy number one so much as one example of the issue that exists within the gaming industry”

    I’ll give you that one for free.

  12. “What the hell are you talking about? Who cares what IGN reports (or, in your odd choice of words, “endorses”)? The poster is attacking the existence of GTA, not some random game review site.”

    And now you’re attacking her, being a troll, and trying to twist everyone else’s words so your opinion is fact. You really are pathetic, hunting the internet for any site that mentions your precious game and try and denounce it by reading 5 words and exploding into stupidity. Get a life.

  13. I know this is kinda random, but I always liked the rpg games you could play where you could be anybody you wanted, like Baulder’s Gate (although I never played that one).

    I liked the women in Final Fantasy too (but then again, I only played one or two of the versions… I think 7 and 9). So I’m really not super qualified to talk about the genre as a whole.

    Done being random now.

  14. Actually Lindsay, you’re on topic. I like rpgs where you can be anyone just so that I can really craft my own character and give them a personality and everything. I don’t necessarily mind games where characters are predetermined if the story is okay. I didn’t mind being Cloud, so much as I minded being Tidus (ugh).

  15. Lindsay,

    You’re not being random at all! Games like Final Fantasy have had a better record of representing women than many. Although I’m personally bothered by the frequent portrayal of women as magic users and healers in RPGs. (Keep in mind though that FFVII is my favorite game EVER and FFIX follows somewhere closely behind, hehe.)

    You may also be interested to know that I had an interesting conversation with a few Japanese feminists last year who also loved FF7 (although one swore up and down that Chrono Trigger was better 😛 ) , and they too were bothered by the portrayal of women in RPGs and appalled by their portrayal in other genres. Their opinion may not be shared among the majority of female gamers in Japan, but I have a feeling they are.

    Incidentally, I think Final Fantasy 13 will have a number of characters to choose from, including women, as main characters, so if that is the case perhaps the industry is responding to the until now silenced, but ubiquitous, criticisms of female gamers.

  16. I feel like in a way, the industry has backslid from the Baldur’s Gate games. There were a number of games in the same vein of allowing you to design your own character, and that it wouldn’t matter if they were male or female, like Fallout or NeverWinterNights or Wizardy, but you don’t find it as common. Even the new Warhammer online RPG looks to limit your character class choices depending on your gender.

  17. No, wait, it was FF8 I liked a lot. I thought Squall was hot, but I did appreciate the variety of female characters. I thought his teacher Quistis was cool.

    But I did like the rpg games where I could make my own character… My brother would buy the game because he was actually interested in the rpg gaming part of it and I wanted to make a character to run around and explore the world. It was cool that we were able to play the same game and get what we each wanted out of it, though.

  18. *shudder* I played through 2/3 of FF8 and I remember not being able to continue. I just… didn’t care about the characters or the plot. That was me though.

    An interesting idea to me would be to take a sandbox game, and make an RPG out of it. It doesn’t have to be turn based or anything, just expansive and allow you to do what you want, while still having complex combat and more of a real storyline and character progression. The closest I’ve played to a game like this was Vampire:Bloodlines, which allowed you to make a character (a vampire) and you had some places to explore and do missions. Problem was, the world was really small and a lot of it was unbalanced. Still, it was fun.

  19. lol, you’ve resurrected the age old battle between people who liked FF7 and people who liked FF8. RUN!!

    I am one of the few who liked both, I think. I agree with JH comment, though. I think there was a game like that (sandbox/rpg) one of my high school teachers mentioned waaay back when. It was probably for the PSone, but I don’t remember the name of it. Anyway, he vouched for it’s awesomeness. I think a game like that has the potential to offer players way more identification with the characters involved, if done properly. (Maybe the WiiMii idea could be applied in a much cooler more consistent way in the future?)

    But honestly, it would be nice to see more games with main characters who are from diverse backgrounds, especially women, who are not stereotypes.

  20. The only RPG with a lot of freedon that I can remember was Wasteland, and that was OLD (Think DOS). I’d like to know what that game was that he was describing.

  21. My point stands: you opened your piece with a deliberate misrepresentation, thereby reducing the chances of anyone with a dissenting view bothering to engage in the actual argument you wanted to have.

    PS “I do appreciate you coming into a feminist space and telling me that my concerns about the portrayal of women in gaming are invalid.”? I of course did not say the above; I said your opening claim was inaccurate, which it was. But “coming into a feminist space”? It’s a BLOG, mate. If you don’t want discussion, then remove the commenting facility or use your administrative power to capriciously delete opposing views.

    PPS Your other points I may well have agreed with.

  22. Alright, really, at this point it’s fairly obvious you’re trying to be trollish. Try harder so it’s less clear next time. You keep insisting the opening line is a misrepresentation of the game when in fact it’s a representation crafted by either the game makers or IGN (most likely IGN). I believe they’re in the position to make those judgments and given that most of the videos listed for Grand Theft Auto 4 contain age restrictions, let’s be blunt. They’re not advertising the deep plot lines.

    There isn’t much to dissent about, if you even bothered to watch the video. The video shows exactly what I described, and that’s what the starting point of the discussion was. You decided that the video in no way represented the game, which is your right, but extended that to claiming that I was rallying against the very existence of Grand Theft Auto. You decided to jump to conclusions and name call without reading, which makes you a reactionary fan boy, not a reasoned dissenter.

    You saw GTA4 in a sentence with prostitutes and decided to fire off an angry missive about how I was clearly a liar and against the game.
    You haven’t offered any discussion, and I get the feeling you have no opinion on women in games either way–so why even participate? All you did was prove my theory that the mere mention of Grand Theft Auto in conjunction with a negative opinion (even when focused on the industry in general as this post does) brings out the indignant gamer set. You traipse in, decide not to read anything you don’t want to listen to and simply derail the conversation and prevent any actual discussion–managing to convince one commenter that she was off topic for discussing the body of the post. Who are you to come into someone else’s blog making comments that would be deleted in your own blog according to your comment policy?

    Given that you have nothing substantive to add to the conversation about women in games, why don’t you take yourself to a gaming blog that does want to discuss the ins and outs of GTF4. I’m sure there’s lots more arguments to misrepresent out there, and you don’t want to miss out.

  23. Additionally, it’s only a deliberate misrepresentation if you have a penchant for failing to read entire sentences, followed by an aversion to clicking on links, and finally a trembling fear of context clues.

  24. So Jeremy, do you really want to participate in this feminist discussion? Because that’s what this space is for, not vindicating your opinion of GTA4.

    Here, I’ll make it easy: I’ll pose a meaningful question, in the spirit of the original post, (which you didn’t bother to read), and see if you can answer it without being a troll.

    I wonder if the gaming world isn’t slightly different than other forms of media: Is the representation of women in many games as hyper-sexualized, objectified, expendable, and one-dimensional, coming more from the hegemonic culture’s notion of the whore in the Madonna/whore dichotomy, or is it possibly linked to the invisibility of the female gaming demographic in a traditionally male-dominated field, or is there another large factor in play here?

    If you have something constructive to say about this question, or others like it, by all means you are welcome here. Otherwise GTFO. Thx.

    Everyone else, what do you think? Are different dynamics at play in representations of women in games than in other forms of media?

    Also, JH, I can’t remember the name of that game 😦 I keep wanting to say “Everworld,” but I’m pretty sure that’s way off. I could always call up Mr. P, he was pretty chill so he’d probably remember if he hasn’t smoked the memory away by now with his “medicinal” mary-jane. I’m pretty sure you could choose your character in it though, and I remember him saying that one small decision could change the entire outcome of the game. My cousin Ant might actually remember…

  25. I’m still wondering why Jeremy insists on coming in and saying the SAME THING over and over. She DID NOT LIE. That video doesn’t show anything besides showing prostitutes, sex, killing prostitutes and lap dances. If someone were to base their views on that video, you’d have thought that’s all there was to the game. She knows that’s not true, and she SAYS so. If you’re not going to read or participate, back the hell off.

    Manafana, the only game similar to that I’m aware of would be Everquest, maybe? It was an online RPG for the PC that was released around that time. It didn’t really have an ending, so maybe not….

  26. Yeah, I know about Everquest, but the game Mr. P was talking about wasn’t an mmorpg, it was for the PSone I’m pretty sure. I’ll have to ask Ant.

  27. When you look at games like GTA, and complain that there’s no character customization, or no choice of character to play as, realize this:

    There’s well over 1,000 lines of dialog in the game, for the main character alone. That’s not counting the optional missions and the random things he shouts. All those sound files add up, and take up a sizable chunk of space on the disc. For them to include just one more playable character, say, a female, with a different voice, they’d have to double that. Not to mention double the options for clothes and accessories.

    The other option that many developers take is to have a completely customizable character, but to give them no dialog, like in Saints Row.

    Either way, you lose out on elements of identity. One way, you play as a character you may or may not like, and may not identify with. Or, you play as a character you created and so are more attached to, but feels lifeless because of the lack of vocals.

    From a designer’s point of view, it’s a very challenging aspect of game development. Many people suggest (and would like to see) more options for playable characters and character choice, but it’s way easier said than done.

    Rockstar already mentioned that they’ve gone the route of an established character for their games so they could focus on the story and character development. Though it’s still not as good as it could be, their writing and plot dynamics have only improved with each iteration.

    The only game I can think of that allows for a good degree of character customization without compromising dialog and plot content is Mass Effect. Games like Fallout 3 and Saints Row 2 are opening up these kind of options, so we’re slowly progressing towards this kind of ideal, but it will be a while still before complete character customization and compelling story lines are seamlessly blended.


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