Fouche shares his experience trying to interest his former partner in gaming, and finding she instinctively wishes to not play the female in Left 4 Dead. This leads into the question of gender and gaming, and Scars of war.
That was her instinctive reaction, based upon her prior experiences. Women are seen as lesser, even in escapist fantasy and '˜play', even, to a degree, to themselves. That disturbs me. I've made my fair share of off-colour or misogynistic jokes in my time, but always in the spirit of the jibe, the good-natured war of the sexes. Men bemoan women, women roll their eyes at men, we all carry on knowing that we're all really '˜in love with the enemy', yes?
I want to tease, not to instill an instinctive sense of inferiority. I'm happy for women to be the heroes of their own stories, for them to be the Lady Knight who rescues the fainting Prince, in their own personal imaginings. Fantasy worlds have always been my refuge since I was a child, the daydreams I go to, to escape from the hum-drum of daily life. Games, I see as a natural extension of that. They've enabled me to live out any number of personal power fantasies. The idea that female gamers can't leave the burden of real world gender prejudice behind them even in escapist fantasy horrifies and saddens me.
Which brings us back to SoW. You've probably figured out where I'm going with this. There aren't any real differences between the genders in SoW, beyond the cosmetic. Not in the character system. This is not to say that sexism doesn't exist in the world of Scars of War, that it's some homogenized, politically-correct fantasy world. There is sexism and rape and a whole host of suitably nasty things. But there won't be anything like '˜Males get +2 Strength, Females get +2 to Charisma' or whatever in the character system. There will be nothing that says to a woman who plays SoW '˜hmmm, you want to be a warrior eh? Well, better play a man then.'. If she wants to be Shannon the Barbarian, so be it.