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Female characters 'scrutinized more' than male counterparts, writer Rhianna Pratchett says

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Female characters bear an extra weight in the gaming world because they're sometimes expected to hold "a banner" for their gender, Tomb Raider scriptwriter Rhianna Pratchett said during a recent interview.

Speaking with Kill Screen, Pratchett told the publication that there is a need for female characters, but also those of different ethnicities, ages, sexual orientation, ability and so forth.

"We are very narrow when it comes to our characters," Pratchett said. "But also you've got a situation where female characters do get scrutinized more than male characters do, and in some ways can be seen as holding a banner up for female characters. A lot gets heaped on their shoulders. Lara Croft gets a lot more scrutiny than Nathan Drake [of Uncharted] does, as a female. Nobody talks about how well Nathan Drake is representing men, or male characters in games."

Pratchett also mentioned that the stereotypical male hero is not even "an accurate representation" of the developers who make the games, let alone the gamers. Pratchett cited a GameSpot article in which a developer talked about his hesitance to create characters outside the stereotype for fear of being called racist or sexist.

"I think there is actually a genuine nervousness amongst developers about straying outside those familiar grounds," Pratchett said. "That is why we get so many dudebros in suits — or Whitey McStubbly, as I call him — repeated over and over again."

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