Those who closely follow the debate over issues of gender in video games will likely be aware of the small controversy that was kicked up this week over Deep Down, the upcoming dungeon-crawler from Capcom. From the medieval aesthetic to the fire-breathing dragon in the cinematic trailer, Deep Down looks Tolkienesque in more ways than one, and one of those ways is its apparent near-total lack of female characters.
Since the best-known fantasy games tend to be RPGs with either customizable main characters or a mix of male and female characters in the adventuring party, the news that Deep Down would have twelve playable characters and that they would all be male caused something of a stir. Brenna Hillier wrote a fiery critique of the lack of female characters in games over at VG24/7 and, by virtue of looking good in a headline, the story spread pretty fast across gaming news sites.
While the discussion of more equal representation in gaming is undoubtedly an interesting and important one, it seems that the disappointment over Deep Down‘s lack of playable female characters may have come about as the result of a misunderstanding . According to a correction posted on Deep Down‘s official Facebook page (helpfully translated by Gematsu), there are not actually twelve main playable characters who are all male, but just one main character, who is a male:
“This is producer [Kazunori] Sugiura. 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. 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.”
It’s unclear whether the Ravens are all male characters, which could explain where the misunderstanding came in, but according to DualShockers‘ original summary of the livestream in which the game was discussed there will be a “sexy Cortana-like housekeeping AI.” The prospect of yet another game with a gruff male hero and sexy female helper still sounds a little eye-roll-worthy, but we’ll hold off on judging Deep Down until after its release.
When that might be, however, is another matter entirely. In the same update, Sugiura explains that an overseas release date hasn’t been decided yet, but that he’s grateful for the attention that Deep Down is receiving.
While it does look like a fairly standard dungeon-crawler, one thing that sets Deep Down apart is the fact that players are transported to the dungeons by touching magical artifacts and reaching into the memories of their past owners. Now that’s quite a way to travel.
Deep Down is set to release exclusive on the PS4 some time in 2014.