The void of good, playable women in games has been an issue for a long time, with this year’s E3 an unpleasant reminder of how little some companies are willing to do to remedy it. Nintendo, however, seems to be trying to add some much-needed diversity to their playable protagonists. In an interview with Nintendo Enthusiast, Nintendo of Canada said that games with a strong female protagonist “is kind of a theme for [Nintendo]; the more recent prominence of female characters.” The statement came out after talk of Bayonetta 2, Hyrule Warriors, Super Smash Bros. 4, and Splatoon.
The Nintendo representative’s exact statement was:
“…Bayonetta 2 is this visually stimulating, over the top action game, with a really strong female protagonist. Which, in case you haven’t noticed, is kind of a theme for us; the more recent prominence of female characters. Having female characters playing a role that we haven’t seen often in the past, outside of Samus. And that leads us right back to Hyrule Warriors, seeing Zelda kick some serious ass is pretty impressive. It’s not something that we’ve necessarily seen before from Nintendo. Female Nintendo protagonists are finally stepping into the forefront in their role in the game. Whether it’s all the female heroes in Hyrule Warriors, Bayonetta, the female characters in Super Smash Bros, or Samus in Metroid. Even Splatoon!”
— Matt Ryan
While only one of those new titles has a real singular protagonist, it is difficult to overlook the effort being made to be more inclusive. Hyrule Warriors still boasts more playable women than men, even after the announcement and confirmation of certain playable villains, and Smash has been adding more women to its roster with each iteration. Even the Mario franchise has become less objectifying, with 3D World forgoing putting Peach in a cage and having her join the adventure alongside Mario and Luigi. If the trend continues, we might even see the day where Zelda gets her own title, as that alone has been a major selling point of Hyrule Warriors since its outset.
It is not exactly uncommon for Nintendo to be the frontrunner of change in the triple-A games industry, so it is not too much of a surprise that they are the first to make an active, noisy effort to be more inclusive in all their work. We can only hope others follow suit sooner rather than later.
Source: Nintendo Enthusiast