Lacking a type of character

We need female figures who are older and more rugged in our video games, that is just a simple fact. Currently, we still have to ask ourselves the question that while it is acceptable and totally OK for a man to age and still keeps his coolness, in the meantime a woman who age is much more uncool and unattractive.

In our video games, we keep on embracing older men for their rough-edges appearance and tough manner. That model of leading man is what we have seen a lot recently. While I bet that you would notice sometime that in video games we lack the image of the older female leading character. In our culture, it has been deeply rooted that the older a woman gets the less relevance and importance she is. For example, we have a hugely successful game -  The Last of Us which was given tons of awards praises. In the game, we follow the journey of Joel, a rugged man in his 40s.

Another example is that of God of War 2018, in this game we have the main character is an older Kratos. Both of these characters are finding their ways to look for a father-hood of the second chance. They fight their way through intense combat, use may weapons to hook us on the game both conceptually and emotionally. Their stories are both epic and deeply compelling which make us care so much for them.

Joel and Kratos

In the word of The Last of Us, a post-apocalyptic America after a zombie outbreak, Joel is on his quest to find his lost daughter Sarah while escorting Ellie a young girl to a quarantine zone. We got we observe the heart-rending and emotional journey of Ellie and Joel while fighting the way through the infected. Over 20 years after the death of his daughter, Joel starts to feel his father instinct again thank for his time with Ellie. The most meaningful moment is when he risks the possibility to save humankind by not letting Ellie die to develop a cure. This action may be questionable, but watching his growth and his emotion is what make the story so great.

Video Games Need Female Figures Who Are Older And
Kratos in God of War 2018

In the meanwhile, in God of War - 2018, after many years of seeking revenge for his family from Greek gods, this game is a new beginning for Kratos. He is an older Kratos with his son Atreus, they set on a journey to fulfill the wish of his past wife Faye. In this version, we got to see a more vulnerable and flawed Kratos when he is learning on becoming a father. In the same time, he also needs to learn to accept the death of Atreus mother and his wife Faye. After being a killing machine on all the previous games in the franchise, it is really interesting to see a new level of depth and nuance in character development.

Female characters

In a few years back, we are very lucky to have some awesome, hardcore female protagonists in video games. From Horizon Zero Dawn we have Aloy, Clementine coming from The Walking Dead and we also need to include Lara Croft. These female leading characters are usually naïve, young and on their journey of self-discovery and survival. Through their games, we got to see their adventures and evolution to grow and become full-pledge strong women.

It is kind of nice to see video game female characters who aren't overly objectified and sexualized. In these games, they are the main character with a meaningful back story,  not just single-dimension plot devices for men. They have their nuance, characterization, and depth. But still, there is still a very big hole in video games when talking about women's portrayal, especially for older women who are much less presented in video games. Nowadays, usually female characters just play a small role or just a part of a group in video games. They are presented in supporting roles with an impotent, helpless image such as mother, grandmother or even worst haggish menacing characters.

I noticed that it is a huge unbalanced age and gender parity in games. It seems like that older female is receiving leading character treatment. Age comes with wisdom and experience they say. Therefore, I think that it is interesting to see wiser, more powerful, older female in a leading role in the game. Just like in The Last of us and God of War where they exploiting the father-child relationship, I think they could do the same with the mother figure. An older female character with wrinkles and lines who is both competent and experienced will be an amazing seed to build up an interesting narrative.

Examples of older female characters

Currently, there just are not many games with a 40 or 50 mother leading character and we need to change that. Take the example of

Video Games Need Female Figures Who Are Older And
Sonya Blade

in The Walking Dead. She is one of the original female characters of the franchise. In the game, she is a military General and has a lot of new potential for what she could bring the game. She is a playable character with a much believable, older and hardened appearance. She is one of a rare of an older female character who is not just faded in the background or just support character nor just NPC tier. In a game is known for its graphical violence, Mortal Kombat X has a surprisingly rich characterization.

The game gave us a chance to step into the shoes of an older woman with a stoic personality. Sonya didn't change her surname name after her estranged husband Johnny Cage. She is very far away from the image of a domestic trophy wife. She has a certain level of vulnerability and humanity because she calls her Sergent daughter Cassie.

Video Games Need Female Figures Who Are Older And
Katherine Marlowe

Likewise in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception we also have the character of Katherine Marlowe. She is a female character in the 60s, Marlowe was inspired by a major antagonist and also the first female character in the franchise - Helen Mirren. The main mission of Katherine Marlowe is to help the protagonist Drake find the lost city. Despite being kinda cool, the developer didn't give her as much depth and background nor screen time as Sonya.

Need to do more for female figures

We the people in the video games industry, I am talking about everyone: developers, publishers, Players ... There are still lots to do to better promote age and gender diversity in our games. We need much more whether straight, queer, old, young there are still many places for female figures in games.