Women are a growing force in MMA fighting — and now they're fighting onscreen too, in the new video game Supremacy. According to the game's developers, this could help counteract the "princess in need of rescuing" stereotype that dominates portrayals of women in games.
ComputerAndVideoGames.com interviewed Ricci Rukavina, co-founder of Supremacy developer Kung Fu Factory, who says the inclusion of female fighters in the game is a natural choice: "we've seen plenty of female MMA fights and it didn't make a lot of sense 'not' to include them." He sees Supremacy, which will feature video game versions of real fighters, dressed the way real fighters dress, as an alternative to "games like Mortal Kombat, Soul Calibur or Tekken" where women often appear "with an exaggerated sense of body proportion and are often times overtly sexualized." He adds,
Everyone knows that historically and statistically males have made up the larger percentage of game makers and game players. So you end up with women who are often put in the "princess in need of rescuing" role, or they're objectified.
But this also happens in cinema, music, all facets of life. And then someone comes along and breaks the mould, by doing this differently. We saw a chance to do that and its fit perfectly into our plan of being a different type of game.
As others have noted, female MMA fighters often find their looks discussed in ways that men's aren't, and Rukavina does call the women featured in Supremacy "real fighters who [are] just as beautiful as they are bad-ass." But his remark about the need for "playable women characters in the games we know and love" rings true. Legions of girl gamers know that games aren't just for dudes, and just as in any art form, women want representations of themselves doing stuff, not just looking pretty or getting saved. This is even more true of video games than of, say, fiction or film — it's a big deal for girls and women to be able to actually take on the roles of female characters and play as them. Some will surely say that the opportunity to watch their counterparts beat people up onscreen isn't such a great victory for women, but dudes have been guiding their male avatars through all manner of carnage and chaos for decades. Female gamers deserve the same freedom.
Are Women Poorly Represented In Video Games? [ComputerAndVideoGames.com]