This time around I want to talk about why we decided to cast a woman as the main character, especially since the game’s creators and writers are men. So much can be said for how women are represented in video games, if they are at all. We see it constantly in video games, highly sexualized female characters and weak helpless women regulated to support roles. We all know the state of female representation in video games, just Google it, it’s not pretty.
When we made Dekker we had to make sure we created a balanced and well thought out character. We didn’t want to create a character, and a world, where a female detective was constantly being crapped on by her coworkers and society in general. We specifically avoided creating scenes where a man makes a sexist comment and the woman responds with some empowering speech. We also avoided the cliche where a sexist male insults a female cop for being a woman, calls her weak, and then at some point later in the story she saves his life and all of a sudden he has a new appreciation for women.
In our game there are no exclamations of “A woman guard!?” or “Why would I be scared of a dame!?” To us, creating a truly equal and respected female character isn’t about constantly reminding the player that Dekker is a woman, it’s about reminding the player that Dekker is a person. In our game women are equal, they’ll get treated equally, for good or for worse. We didn’t ask ourselves, “What would a woman do in this situation?” We asked ourselves, “What would a hard-ass, high functioning alcoholic, private eye, do in this situation?”
Really, when all is said and done, our primary motivation for making a game with a female lead is that we thought it would interesting. It also gives us the opportunity to right a few wrongs that exist in the industry. We didn’t just add a female hero, coming in ACT 2 we’ll be introducing more characters that break the gender norms found in JRPG’s, as well as a role reversal for the ever popular Noir trope, the femme fatale.
Thanks for reading!
Co-Founder / Designer
I want to start off by saying “Thanks!” to everyone who has contributed already to our Kickstarter and also thanks for taking the time to check our site and developer blog.
Today I want to talk about some of the thoughts and ideas that went into The Dekker Records, specifically the idea to take classic JRPG and Noir tropes and turn them on their ears. The idea for TDR initially came about because of our fondness for classic JRPG’s and old noir novels by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. Once we had the idea in mind to combine the two we went about pinpointing the tropes that made JRPGs so good, and also so bad. The number one gripe we, and we believe most people, have with the JRPG genre is the narrative breaking properties of a certain resurrection item.
You know what? I’ll just say it; Phoenix Downs ruined one of the most important scenes in video game history…Aerith’s death. Really, any meaningful character death is ruined by a game where resurrection items are available to the public. Here’s how it should’ve played out “Oh no! Aerith is dead…wait, I’ll just pop down to the corner shop and purchase a Phoenix Down for 500gil because they sell them to everyone in the city.”
The first thing we wanted to address was this glaring example of “mechanics that break narrative”, while at the same time poking some fun at the idea of a world where no one really has to die. Why does every RPG sell resurrection items so cheaply? So that players have a way to beat the game. The only problem being, it has no impact on a game world that pretends that death is still something that happens, well, at least to normal folk. So, we thought it would be fun and interesting to create a world where readily available resurrection items not only have an impact but the idea that heroes, adventurers, and even monsters are all part of a vital industry that rely on them.
Once that was in place the next logical step was to take them away. After all, you can’t have a murder/mystery if death doesn’t mean anything. Of course, if heroes know they can die permanently that would throw a huge wrench into the industry of a being a professional hero.
Also, you can’t have an interesting noir murder mystery without a detective. In our next developer post we’ll talk about the biggest change we made to the JRPG and Noir genres, gender role reversal, and the impact it’ll have on the game.
Co-Founder / Designer