Capcom's cyberpunk adventure Remember Me will star Nilin, an amnesiac heroine in search of lost memories, when it launches this June. And we're lucky to see it: a Penny Arcade interview reveals that publishers weren't fond of Nilin in the game's early development stages.
Creative Director Jean-Max Morris gave the lowdown to PAR's Sophie Prell. "It was not a decision. It was something that just felt right from the beginning," he explained. "It's one of those things that we never looked at from a pure, cold marketing perspective because that would have endangered the consistency of the whole game."
When Dontnod Entertainment reached out to publishers, it was met with cold reception: "We had some that said, 'Well, we don't want to publish it because that's not going to succeed. You can't have a female character in games. It has to be a male character, simple as that.'” Morris and his co-horts held fast. "We wanted to be able to tease on Nilin's private life, and that means for instance, at one point, we wanted a scene where she was kissing a guy," he detailed. "We had people tell us, 'You can't make a dude like the player kiss another dude in the game, that's going to feel awkward.'”
Fortunately, Dontnod found a willing publisher in Capcom. Now, the studio's vision can proceed unimpeded. "I'm like, 'If you think like that, there's no way the medium's going to mature,'" he continued. "There's a level of immersion that you need to be at, but it's not like your sexual orientation is being questioned by playing a game. I don't know, that's extremely weird to me."
The full, excellent interview with Morris, which includes details on Remember Me's cyberpunk setting, transhumanism, and the intersection of technology with emotion and intimacy, can be found over at Penny Arcade Report.
Let us know what you think of the industry's reaction to Nilin's sex in the comments below. Is it time for publishers to ignore market trends in favor of advancing the medium and giving female characters fair treatment?