While around half of gamers across the UK are female, a new study has revealed a huge divide when it comes to the amount of dialogue spoken by female characters.
Shocking research of more than 13,000 video game characters revealed that only 35% of words are spoken by women.
Kingdom Hearts 3D and King’s Quest VI had the lowest scores of all, with only 6.7 and 6.4 percent female dialogue respectively.
The research comes at a time when female gamers are widely targeted within the community, according to the team.
“About half the players are women, but they experience a lot of abuse and exclusion,” said Cardiff University’s Dr Roberts.
The Top Three and Bottom Three: Kingdom Hearts and King’s Quest VI had the lowest scores of all, with only 6.7 and 6.4 percent female dialogue respectively.
“A more diverse representation is requested by players and developers. We therefore hope that developers will consider correcting the imbalances we have found in order to create more inclusive games.
The controversial research took into account 6.2 million words from the scripts of 50 popular role-playing games (RPGs).
This kind of game often takes on a narrative format, with dialogue used as a key driver of progression.
The search only included games that had sold at least one million copies worldwide while also being mentioned in “greatest RPGs of all time” lists.
Only 29.37% of characters were female, with almost all games including more male-dominated conversations than female-dominated (94%).
King’s Quest IV, King’s Quest II and Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII were among the games with the most female dialogue, with 80%, 79% and 54.6% respectively.
But The Curse of Monkey Island ranked in the bottom three alongside Kingdom Hearts 3D and King’s Quest VI, with just 6.7% of the words spoken by a woman.
Only 30 of the 13,000 characters are also identified as non-binary, which is about half of real life.
Dr Rennick from the University of Glasgow said: “While we expected to find a greater proportion of male dialogue overall, we were surprised to discover how few games – just three out of 50 – had more 50% female dialogue.
In the recent Final Fantasy VII Remake, its female character Jessie has 10 times more dialogue than the original – but most of it flirts
The gender divide in video games
- Just over 29% of characters were female
- About 35% of dialogue was spoken by female characters
- Male characters talk to other male characters 66% of the time
- About half of the gaming community is female
- Only 30 of the 13,000 characters are also identified as non-binary, which is about half of real life
“Players seem to share our surprise: when polled, they anticipated the general pattern of more male dialogue, but overestimated the number of games where women spoke the majority of the time.”
Researchers believe the huge imbalance is caused by a lack of major and minor female characters, with many males speaking exclusively to other males in games.
These games were also found to be similar to films that fail the Bechdel test – a measure used to analyze female representation.
But scientists warn that improving female dialogue or character portrayal doesn’t always solve the problems.
In the recent Final Fantasy VII Remake, its female character Jessie has 10 times more dialogue than the original – but most of it flirts.
Meanwhile, games like Stardew Valley have seen characters react differently depending on their player character’s gender – perpetuating stereotypes 24% of the time.
Just over 30% of dialogue in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was spoken by a woman
For example, female gamers are portrayed as beautiful, offered salad, and assumed to have little video game experience.
Still, male gamers were offered pasta, described as “full of energy” and assumed to be good video game players.
“An important future step for research into gender bias in video games is to identify the tropes that drive the imbalances in dialogue so that they can be directly addressed,” the Royal Society study says.
“Developers concerned about these biases should monitor and reflect on these patterns.
“This is perhaps a bigger challenge for video games than any other medium, because modern games can incorporate many more hours of content than the average movie or TV show, and include hundreds of characters. , designed by a large number of developers, in several companies. .’
FROM BEST TO WORST: GAMES RANKED BY THEIR LEVEL OF FEMALE DIALOGUE
- King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella: 80.0%
- King’s Quest II: Romancing the Throne: 79.8%
- Flashbacks: Final Fantasy XIII: 54.6%
- King’s Quest VII: The Bride Without a Prince: 49.2%
- Final Fantasy X-2: 48.4%
- Persona 4: 47.6%
- Stardew Valley: 45.2%
- Horizon Zero Dawn: 44.4%
- Mass Effect 2: 43.5%
- Persona 3: 43.0%
- Final Fantasy XIII: 42.1%
- Mass effect: 41.8%
- Final Fantasy XIII-2: 41.2%
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion: 40.8%
- Mass Effect 3: 40.3%
- Dragon Age 2: 40.1%
- Persona 5: 39.6%
- Chrono trigger: 38.0%
- Final Fantasy VII Remake: 37.2%
- King’s Quest Chapters: 34.9%
- Final Fantasy XIV: 33.4%
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: 33.2%
- Final Fantasy X: 32.2%
- Final Fantasy VIII: 32.2%
- Dragon Age: Origins: 32.2%
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: 30.5%
- Final Fantasy II: 29.8%
- King’s Quest V: 29.3%
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: 28.6%
- Final Fantasy XII: 27.2%
- Final Fantasy V: 27.0%
- Final Fantasy IX: 26.2%
- Final Fantasy VII: 25.9%
- King’s Quest III: The heir is human: 23.9%
- Final Fantasy: 22.9%
- Kingdom Hearts: 22.1%
- The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall: 21.2%
- Final Fantasy XV: 19.5%
- Final Fantasy VI: 18.2%
- Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge: 16.8%
- Super Mario RPG: Legend of Seven Stars: 16.6%
- Kingdom Hearts II: 15.5%
- King’s Quest VIII: 14.2%
- Kingdom Hearts III: 14.0%
- King’s Quest I: Crown Quest: 11.2%
- Final Fantasy IV: 10.6%
- The secret of Monkey Island: 7.9%
- Curse of Monkey Island: 6.7%
- Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream drop distance: 6.7%
- King’s Quest VI: 6.4%