It’s always awesome when a strong female game character like Fetch is able to tell her story, but at what cost? Are female characters doomed to linger in the shadows of their male counterparts or will the gaming world finally be able to dig in and get more head-strong ladies to play? Spoilers included.
When inFamous Second Son hit shelves in 2014, I was among many that rocked the hell out of Deslin Rowe’s badass bad-boy antics and I loved every second of it. But, when Sucker Punch Productions released its DLC inFamous First Light just a few months later I jumped at the opportunity to play as one of the coolest conduits Deslin encountered – Abigail Walker aka Fetch. And let me tell you, the game didn’t disappoint. I nearly lost my damn mind when Fetch graced my screen with her neon light presence and even more so when I realized just how in-depth Sucker Punch went with the character and her story.
First Light left me yearning for more stand-up female leads, but where were they?
Since the dawn of time, female characters have always been the side-kicks so it comes as no surprise that the gaming world is lacking in the heroine genre. Their sole purpose has always either been the object of the hero’s eye, his temporary savior, or his Achilles heel. So when Fetchs’ character and story were introduced, it was a very pleasant and refreshing surprise to find that that wasn’t her purpose in this game… at first. In the game, ex-drug addict and firecracker Fetch tells her story to the leader of the D.U.P, Augustine, while she sits in chains. You basically relive her story which details running away from home with her brother Brent, falling in with the wrong crowd, the mystery surrounding Brent’s death, and of course how she fell into Augustine’s clutches before escaping.
The story Fetch tells is heartbreaking yet thrilling but there’s just one problem. Despite the extensive back story to one of inFamous’s favorite characters, Fetch still falls into the typical category of side-kick not just with Deslin, but also to her brother Brent.
Now, I get it.
The story is all about how she became the queen of neon, and that includes spending hours chasing Brent down before killing him, but as a prequel to inFamous Second Son, it strips Fetch of all her stand-alone independence which – let’s face it, would have been badass to see in a sequel rather than a DLC.
Aside from characters like Laura Croft from Tomb Raider, strong, stand-alone female characters are as rare as a unicorn. Under the guise of DLC’s such as First Light, and Assassins Creed: Liberation, they were only allowed to briefly tell their sides of the story but not before their male counterparts had already set (or stolen) the scene
In this case, Fetch’s story details her life before Deslin caught up with her in Seattle, and as you play the game, it’s hard to shake him off even though he isn’t ever actually mentioned; and it’s not the only game that does this. Even a game like Assassin’s Creed, which is usually so unique in gameplay and characters, harbors an eerie male presence despite the fact that Liberation is a stand-alone game.
Playing the game was awesome until I realized I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that while I stalked around as Aveline de Grandpre in Chichen Itza, Pirate Edward Kenway was always on my heels.
So when will female characters be able to stand on their own like the infamous Laura Croft?
Probably when the term feminist isn’t seen as a negative connotation, but rather a compliment. For now, it seems like our favorite gaming companies will simply continue to test the waters with epic DLC’s like First Light, instead of taking the hint and just giving us what we want. A full game that’s all about the girls.
Writing by Yours Truly. All works cited as links below:
inFamous First Light (header)