Posts Tagged ‘snark


How to Make a Really Good Game with a Female/Gay/Person of Color Protagonist

Lately, it seems that a number of people believe it’s more difficult to write a game with a female protagonist than one with a male protagonist. As a game industry veteran (four years counts as a veteran, right?), I’m here to tell you that it can be done! Follow these easy tips, and you’ll have an awesome, high-quality game with the protagonist of your choice:

  1. Decide what kind of game you would like to make. You can use any combination of the below, though there are many more:
    1. Shooter
    2. Roguelike
    3. Music
    4. Point-and-Click Adventure
    5. Puzzle
    6. Turn-Based Strategy
    7. RTS
    8. RPG
    9. MMO
    10. Sports
  2. Come up with some really kickass mechanics.
  3. Write high quality code
  4. If your game has a story and a protagonist, construct a fun, relatable story with your protagonist
    1. Consider giving your player the option of choosing their gender/sexual identity/race.
    2. If you’re ever unclear on what sorts of encounters, relationships, or experiences that women, people of color, or gay people have, just ask yourself “What kinds of experiences do people have?”, then do that.
  5. Have a clear art direction.
  6. Playtest and iterate!
  7. Leave plenty of time for QA and bug fixing.
  8. Ship it.

That last one is the most important. Well, the last two. Well, okay, all of them.

Okay, yes, this is a bit snarky, and in fairness, it ignores stories that have a specific focus on gender-based relationships, like rescuing the princess (no, wait, it doesn’t have to be a princess, and the plumber can be male) or guiding a daughter-figure through a dangerous world (no, wait, it doesn’t have to be a daughter, or a father) or sexuality- or race-based relationships (I can’t think of any games that focus specifically on these).

There’s that snark again. Sorry. It’s just that it really is this simple. Of course gender/sexuality/race factors into a character, but for most people, it’s not the most interesting or pivotal aspect of their story.


[EDIT: Ugh, I’m the worst. I knew I was forgetting something. You also have to have awesome audio design. Seriously, it’s critical.]


My name is Maitland Lederer, and I’m a video game developer. I learn stuff you probably already knew and have opinions you've probably already heard. I figured it might be a good idea for me to start writing down the stuff I've learned so I don't have to relearn it. It's not, like, great wisdom or anything. It's just things I happened to learn, usually today.

Header photo by D Sharon Pruitt, used under a Creative Commons License.