Most video games have an average white male as the lead character, but more games are starting to have customizable characters that allow you to be female, and that’s a good thing.
Recently, I picked up a copy of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. I’ve been a fan of the franchise for a long time, but I was a bit apprehensive to pick up the new title.
But I’ve surprisingly been really enjoying the game. The maps aren’t my favorite — I tend to be a fan of the more traditional war maps that are less futuristic — but there are a few things I do love. The main one? You can be a female character when playing online.
This feature was first added for the last game installment, Ghosts, but I hadn’t had the chance to see it in motion until Advanced Warfare. Essentially, the creators enabled players to customize their characters. There are a variety of different faces to be chosen, and then you can further customize their clothes and equipment. The voice of the player is also changed to an extent, and higher or lower sounds are made when injured depending on the gender of the character chosen.
Personally, I don’t know why this couldn’t have happened earlier on in the franchise. For me, customization is a big draw. This might be because the first game I got into was The Sims, but I really enjoy being able to make a unique character that looks different than all the others. While it’s a completely different kind of game, I’m glad that the customization feature has finally been added.
It’s important to have these options in games. While being forced to play as a white male character hasn’t deterred me from playing games, options like this really make me more interested to try others out. That’s the reason why I was interested in checking out Mass Effect and Skyrim — two other games with similar features. What’s so hard about adding an option that allows the character to be something different than what’s normally portrayed in games?
Trust me, there’s still a lot more steps needed to make games more open to all. Video game campaigns rarely have a female lead or even positively portrayed female characters. But customization is a good first step.
Sophie Kruse is a junior studying journalism. Email her firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet her @kruseco.