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Pluto Gameworld

Watch “Playing As A Female Character” [+ Added Bonus Pluto Reflections]

Watching this insightful #PAXAus2014 yak-session that focused on gender disparities in games [and game development] has prompted the following brief reflection on Pluto, our in-production transmedia project co-produced with Dreaming Methods. What stuck in my noggin when watching the above was the section where these switched-on PAX panelists discuss just how – when given a choice – a player chooses the gender of their in-game character: do they choose to be female? Male? Genderless?

Pluto Gameworld: Screengrab 1

The core of Pluto is a 3D gameworld. This world is navigated by a player protagonist who is backstoried as male. Although [at this stage in development anyhoo] Pluto players are not given a choice regarding their character’s gender, we’re deliberately constructing all transmedia aspects of the project within a conceptual framework that stresses the importance, and narrative interplay, of both passive and [inter]active characters. In our Pluto gameworld, the player’s identity/gender is grounded as male without a deliberate, and weighted, emphasis on that fact: the main narrative focus of the integrated storyworld [revealed through transmedia elements present on platforms external to the gameworld] actually revolves around an ensemble of female characters. Comprehending these gal-characters [some ancillary, some crucial] is┬áredonkulously important in regards to piecing together aspects of Pluto’s overall plot.

Pluto Gameworld: Screengrab 2

At their conceptual core, at least two of Pluto’s female characters embody questions related to identity formation and the corresponding experience of the “real”. It’ll be crazy-interesting to see [both as a developer and a gamer] just how critical these characters become as the project approaches release.

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