Video games may be considered a male-dominated pastime, but a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Centre showed a higher percentage of console owners in the US were women. While Lara Croft is the figurehead for female protagonists, the women behind the scenes surely deserve their time in the spotlight.
Here are seven industry pioneers that are making games a better place for women.
A former games journalist, Pratchett moved into script writing and has worked on a wide range of games, from Heavenly Sword to Mirror’s Edge. She’s recently overseen the transformation of Lara Croft, as lead writer for both the 2013 series reboot and the forthcoming follow-up, Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Picking up the baton from Roberta Williams at Sierra, novelist and game designer Jensen is one of the industry’s finest writers of adventure games, probably best known for her work on the critically-acclaimed Gabriel Knight games. Her debut came in 1991’s Police Quest III, and she’s still making games today.
As producer on Assassin’s Creed and executive producer on its sequel, Raymond helped establish the most successful new game series of recent times. Excitingly, she’ll now be collaborating with another of the industry’s most respected women, Uncharted writer Amy Hennig – the pair are working on an as-yet-unnamed Star Wars title for Electronic Arts.
Siobhan Reddy is a powerful voice for women in games, rightly insisting that the industry can and should cater more to female players. A born innovator, Reddy might well have found her perfect role as studio director at the Guildford-based Media Molecule, one of the most bold and creative game developers around.
An industry veteran with over two decades of experience, Ross is the driving force behind one of the most popular and critically acclaimed video games around. She founded and heads up 343 Industries, and is responsible for all aspects of the Halo brand – from games to novelizations, comic books, anime series and live-action features.
Award-winning feminist critic Sarkeesian successfully crowdfunded the YouTube video series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, which highlights problematic gender archetypes in games and seeks ways to improve representation. She’s since worked with several developers and publishers to discuss equality issues and to help create more inclusive working cultures.
Independent developer Quinn is the creator of Depression Quest, a free game designed to help others with the condition. Her fortitude in the face of vicious online abuse has inspired a memoir, Crash Override, which will be published next year. Rights for a movie version have already been snapped up, with Scarlett Johansson heavily tipped to be involved.
Words: Chris Schilling