Warning: Possible spoilers for the ending of Uncharted 4!!!
Uncharted 4 is doing quite well for itself, scoring universal praise around the gaming sphere and becoming the fastest selling PlayStation 4 exclusive to date. You’d think that everyone is in love with this flippin’ game to the point of marrying it.
Disclaimer: I haven’t played it yet…
Actually, that is not quite the case. Not everyone is happy with the fact that Nathan Drake gets beaten up by… gasp! A girl! Indeed, at some point in the game, (again, I haven’t played it) Drake enters fisticuffs with a female antagonist by the name of Nadine “Triceps” Ross, and that was just a little too much for one focus tester.
Director Neil Druckmann explains in an interview with Glixel that not only was the man upset that his hero got beat up by a woman with the nickname of “Triceps,” he also took offense that it would be a daughter to follow in the footsteps of Nathan Drake and not a son. That 50/50 chance happened to fall on a side that he looks down upon.
You’ve said in the past that you’ve been influenced by Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency videos and the larger conversation about diversity and representation in games. How did that affect Uncharted 4?
Druckmann: When I’m introducing and describing a new character to our lead character concept artist, constantly she will ask, “What if it was a girl?” And I’m like, Oh, I didn’t think about that. Let me think, does that affect or change anything? No? Cool, that’s different. Yeah, let’s do it.
Initially, in the epilogue, it was Nate’s son. Something similar happened with the mansion they go into. That was an old English guy’s house. She asked, Well, what if it was a woman?
You have some sexist focus testers who were really upset by Nadine beating up Nate, and really upset at the end when it was Nate’s daughter. To the point where we had to ask one guy to leave. In his core, it just affected him. He was cursing, “Not you, too, Naughty Dog! Goddammit. I guess I’m done with Uncharted, if you guys ever make another one, with his daughter. This fucking bullshit.”
And I was like, Wow, why does that matter?
Seriously, dude. I would totally expect to get my butt handed to me by a woman with the nickname of “Triceps” as well.
And isn’t Uncharted a kind of rip-off of another “tomb raiding” franchise that just happens to star a woman? Clearly, if Nathan Drake’s daughter were to ever go out exploring for treasure and murdering lots of people in the process, it wouldn’t exactly be unprecedented.
It is perfectly acceptable to ask “What if it was a girl?” when designing the characters of a video game. It doesn’t exactly guarantee that the gender of this fictional piece of imagination will be switched, but it does guarantee that the gears are turning for future characters or perhaps extra reasoning along the lines of “Why does this have to be a man?”