Fixing the Narrative

The connection between my console game, Fortnite, and our class FMS 321 is the controversy of “Gamergate” and how Fortnite corrects these accusations.  “Gamergate” was a controversy that began in 2014 that called out the videogame industry for their tropes of female characters.  Two major tropes that the videogame industry used to depict their female characters were the damsel in distress and the overly sexualized nature of the female characters.  The damsel in distress role is one of the most used roles in videogame history. The main, male, protagonist must win back his damsel from the antagonist of the game, who also is typically male.  A prominent analogy that “Gamergate” supporters use is that the damsel in distress trope is a game of back and forth between two men with the female being the ball.  The portrayal of female characters in Fortnite counteracts the traditional damsel in distress representation by having women be one of the randomly generated characters the player controls.  These women also are not limited in anyway in comparison to the randomly generated male characters so they are given capabilities to easily win the game and kill the other opponents.  Fortnite is a game that has made a conscious effort to appease the angry gamer community that “Gamergate” stirred up with the deliberate decision to incorporate female characters.  There are countless of other battle royale style of games that strictly use male characters, depicting the notion that this setting is not the place for a woman.  Fortnite takes this traditional notion and shoves it back into the faces of the orthodoxical community.

The second trope that is stereotypically depicted to women in a videogame is being highly desirable and overly sexualized.  Women in videogames usually have very developed bodies that are overly defined within the clothing or lack of clothing.  The outfits that are traditionally worn by female videogame characters are small, skimpy, tight and/or revealing outfits that highlight the seductive areas on the character’s body.  Fortnite addresses this by fully clothing the female characters with the most revealing outfit being a military style tank top with full length pants.  The game developers also did not want their consumers that they had a double standard with the outfits of the two different gendered characters so in the game, each female character is practically dressed identical to a male character.  With the appearance of the characters both non-revealing and practically identical, Fortnite successfully contemporized a traditional trope that is usually applied to female characters.

(View of one of the randomly generated female characters)