Video games have often had a reputation for being a male-dominated hobby, but as time goes on, this is proving to not be the case. A recent study showed that female gamers make up nearly half of the gaming population, and more female gamers over the age of 18 than men over 18.
Considering this ratio, it’s always a good thing to see a game developer offer both male and female playable characters to choose from. Apocalypse MMO H1Z1 was notably devoid of female playable models when it first launched, but it appears that they’re looking to change that.
The president of Daybreak Game Company, developer of H1Z1, recently came forward and announced on Twitter that a female playable model was in the works for the game.
hoping to get the female model into H1Z1 in the next 2 weeks. trying for late next week.— John Smedley (@j_smedley) April 21, 2015
Given the timeline, the 1 million players of H1Z1 should expect to see the playable character addendum go live with the next update to the game, currently schedule for April 30th. This update also promises to bring the ability to buy and sell in-game items on the Steam Marketplace, and will be offering new, higher-res game modes with a high difficulty.
H1Z1 is part of a current trend of games that have failed to include a playable female characters. Square Enix, for example, suggested that their all-male playable cast in Final Fantasy XV was to make it “more approachable”, but after a negative response to this, they were quick to note that Final Fantasy XV could feature playable female guest characters.
Ubisoft has also been criticized for their lack of female playable characters in Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed: Unity‘s multiplayer modes, which they claimed was due to requiring additional resources to model and animate female characters. The criticism of such claims was so widespread that even developer Insomniac Games took it upon themselves to mock this idea by placing a female Assassin’s Creed lookalike in one of their gameplay videos for Sunset Overdrive.
It’s a wise decision for the Daybreak Game Company to add a female playable character to their roster, and the game is admittedly still in the Early Access phase where many changes and additions are regularly made. Even so, it’s interesting to think that creating a female character was low enough on their priority list that they only started talking about it three months after the game became available to the public.
On the other hand, many gamers choose to play characters of a different gender than their own, so many may not have been troubled by it. And even though it took a while, ultimately, Daybreak decided to add a female PC rather than trying to make excuses for why it isn’t possible, which is surely appreciated.
H1Z1 is currently in Early Access for PC.