In Gamasutra's newest feature
, Transform Entertainment's chief creative officer Brandii Grace shares how developers can make triple-A games that appeal to more women.
She likens the majority of current triple-A games to a man's best, custom-tailored suit, which she says is "a perfect fit for the intended audience and a poor fit for most women." Grace argues that the industry's big-budget shooters and massive open-world RPGs make few attempts to properly target most women.
"I'm not just talking about the themes of these games; their execution doesn't support the needs or attitudes of this audience," she says. "Compare how Twilight and Underworld both approach the theme of vampires versus werewolves. Underworld attracts more men by focusing on the action of a gun-toting, catsuit-wearing hottie kicking ass."
Grace adds, "Twilight attracts more women by focusing on the drama of internal and interpersonal conflicts between desire and the emotional bonds of love, family, and friendship. Yet, too many people in our industry think they'd attract the Twilight audience simply by making the Underworld vampires sparkly!"
For developers to reach women, they need to consider building those kinds of conflicts that Twilight employed, internal struggles between desire and the emotional bonds of love, family, and friendship. Those sort of conflicts and emotions might seem difficult to convey in video games, but Brandii says it's possible.
"Deception and alliance manipulation are mechanics successfully implemented in plenty of games like Mafia and Werewolf," she points out. "Social networking technology has matured considerably and alliance manipulation is an area social games are well-positioned to explore."
Brandii adds, "Moreover, The Sims
-- the triple-A franchise most successful at attracting large audiences of women -- created interpersonal conflicts between its AI characters. They successfully implemented gameplay I refer to as 'empathy play'. Players are given a voyeuristic view of all the drama and the ability to influence its outcome; but players never become a direct or indirect target of the emotional conflict. (Watching a screaming match may be fun; being in one is not.)"
The full feature, in which Brandii Grace talks about how Transform Entertainment seeks to create triple-A games for women, is live now on Gamasutra