It goes without argument that Angelina Jolie has played some of the strongest female protagonists in film history. Would it surprise you that at least one of Angie's leading roles was originally written for a man?
Well it shouldn't. Writers and video game developers have struggled creating strong female protagonists for years. Just this year at E3, Ubisoft got slammed by bad press after a statement was made about them dropping the female assassin of Assasin's Creed Unity because of limited production time and budget (yeah right). And now most recently there has been a swarm of drama surrounding Marvel gender bending Thor...
What if creating a strong leading lady was as simple as gender swapping a character. Or what if doing so could offer us a fresh perspective on an old story? Steven Wong of Shacknews has compiled a list of video game characters that might benefit from a gender switching "fem-flip":
Death (Darksiders II)
It's not too uncommon for Death to be personified as a woman in comic books. For example, the Sandman series portrays Death as an attractive and pleasant young girl who happens to take her job very seriously. This is in stark contrast to Death in the Marvel universe, who is more cold and calculating. Although the abstract entity is normally a skeleton in a dark cloak, it often chooses to replace the skeletal look with that of a human female.
In the game, Death is the most feared of the Four Horsemen, and is portrayed as a dual weapon wielding, fast-moving assassin who is out to reverse his brother War's alleged crimes. So, a fem-flip in Darksiders II might be easy to accept. Making Death a female character probably wouldn't change much beyond aesthetics and voice, since a sister would be just as dedicated toward vindicating a sibling as anyone else. As the American Ninja Warrior competition proves, a woman can be fast and agile enough to swiftly eliminate anyone that gets in her way.
Master Chief (Halo Series)
A female Master Chief isn't a terribly far-fetched idea. In Halo: The Graphic Novel, there's a story titled "Armor Testing." In it, a Spartan soldier drops from orbit, uses a sniper rifle to shoot some guys out while falling, lands, and takes out even more soldiers with a pair of SMGs. After some more butt-kicking, the Spartan is escorted to a commanding officer. There are some salutes, and then comes the big Samus Aran reveal as Maria-062 takes her helmet off. The armor was to be shipped to Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 pending her approval. However, the officer hints that she could have one of her own if she reenlisted into the UNSC. Maria declines, stating that she wanted to start a family. So, in the span of a few panels, Halo scores a point for gender equality, then loses two.
Giving Halo a fem-flip wouldn't change the look or gameplay of the game, considering how the armor is androgynous. But having a female protagonist could have a significant impact on how the story plays out, and not just in terms of the interaction and relationship with Cortana, or whether or not there would be a G.I. Jane-esque undertone. We don't know if there's gender equality among the Covenant, or even if there is gender. Would they be just as fearful of a female soldier who could tear through their ranks, more so, or would they become indignant? Would fans feel the same way about a female hero sacrificing herself and going into indefinite cryo sleep, like Ellen Ripley in Alien, compared to a man?
Team Fortress 2 Cast (Team Fortress 2)
There's no reason for men to dominate the whacky class-based multiplayer game Team Fortress 2. As the Love & War animated short indicates, even the mercenary team's cleanup crew (comprised of a single woman) can be as deadly as the rest of the team. Still, having an all-female team should be more than a simple gender/voice swap. Female mercenaries should have their own unique look, and players should be able to select between genders when they pick a class. Not only would this look great for team diversity, but it sets the stage perfectly for men vs women matches. Also, let's admit it... nobody appreciates shooting up the opposing team to win a new hat more than a girl.
Dante and Vergil (DMC: Devil May Cry)
The twin sons of Sparda and Eva could have just as easily have been the daughters, or even the children. A brother and sister rivalry would further play up the dichotomy between the two siblings. The intro for DMC: Devil May Cry would probably have to be altered, along with some of the enemy interactions, but the gameplay could remain almost completely unchanged. Although a hot-headed female Dante would certainly be amazing, a smart, cold, and ambitious queen-bee Vergil could make for a more interesting character, especially after the Vergil's Downfall storyline.
The Prince (Prince of Persia)
The series is called Prince of Persia, but that doesn't mean there can't be a Princess. Come on, women can be dark and brooding too. The Prince of Persia storylines usually have the player cleaning up some catastrophic mess that someone else started or masterminded, while the gameplay centers on platform puzzle solving. We know from the Tomb Raider series it's a formula that works. We also know from seeing Farah in action that women in the series can be deadly. So, trade in the bow for swords and you have... a Persian Mulan. Or perhaps Elika from 2008's Prince of Persia could be the main character of her own story instead of being a magical assistant - especially given how Prince of Persia: Epilogue ends.
Agent 47 (Hitman Series)
Given what happens in Hitman: Absolution, a female assassin is completely possible. No, she wouldn't have to dress up as a S&M leather loving nun. For that matter, a genetically engineered femme fatale could be FAR more effective than a bald guy with a bar code and an aversion to small talk. Infiltration probably wouldn't be nearly as hard. It's a wonder why the evil scientists of the world aren't racing to clone them by the dozen. Then again, a female protagonist might break the gameplay precisely for that reason. So, with all respect to the Nikita fans out there, this assassin should stick with a perfectly engineered killer Y chromosome.
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