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Why are so few of Evolve's characters female?

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The creative director responds

Evolve will launch with twelve hunters: eight men, three women, and a robot, though it's referred to as a "he." Of the three female characters, two are medics (Val and Caira) and the other (Maggie) is a trapper. There are currently no female assault or support class characters.

That could certainly change in the future. The asymmetric shooter's season pass contains an additional four hunters. As it stands, though, three-fourths of the cast are men, a ratio sure to disappoint some. Others may be surprised to learn there are any female characters at all.

The topic came up in an interview I conducted with Evolve creative director Phil Robb late last year. Speaking at developer Turtle Rock Studios' office in Lake Forest, CA, Robb told me "there was no political agenda" behind the uneven gender distribution. "It wasn't a planned thing," he added.

Robb went on to describe a fluid design process, one driven by "what feels right."

At one point this involved reworking a female character into a man. Markov, one of the assaults, started out as Nikola, but Robb says his character designers never quite realized their vision for her. Consequently, she was scrapped in favor of what would wind up a male form.

Asked if Turtle Rock felt pressure from the outside to make those sort of changes, Robb said his team never discussed which demographics would be represented or in what capacity. Apparently, it was just about "making cool, compelling characters." 

"One of things that was really important to the character team, we wanted to make the female characters we do have strong, intelligent, cool female characters," he said. "We kept all their clothes on. We didn't go for the whole Dead or Alive-- There's no boob jiggle or any of that bullshit."

Robb said the team has many more character ideas kicking around, "a lot" of which are female. He hopes to explore them should the game do well at market. We'll just have to wait and see.

Evolve launches this Tuesday, February 10 for Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4.

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Kyle MacGregor Burleson
Kyle MacGregor BurlesonWeekend Editor   gamer profile

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