A mixed-race female stars in Capcom's upcoming action title Remember Me to distance it from the excesses of white male hero stereotypes, the game's creative lead has said.
Jean-Maxime Moris, the co-founder of Paris studio Dontnod, told CVG that there are more things to consider than target markets when designing lead characters.
"We wanted [Remember Me lead] Nilin to stand out," he said.
"I think these sort of issues become self-fulfilling prophesies; people saying that only white males sell so then everyone only does white males.
"If you start believing these things you get your head inside this cold marketing strategy that you cannot get your head around. It becomes a pretty fucking racist and misogynistic way of thinking about lead characters."
Most mass-market games adopt the template of white male lead characters, though there are some exceptions (Assassin's Creed 3: Liberation, Prototype 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Tomb Raider, Portal 2 et al).
Despite the perceived commercial risk attached to Remember Me's lead character, Moris claims that several publishers were keen to sign the project when it was revealed at Gamescom 2011. Initially the game was signed by Sony but the deal fell through after the PlayStation business had to reign in its spending.
"We just stopped pitching it to studios," Moris said.
"The deal with Sony ended early 2011, so that year I went to Gamescom with a teaser [trailer], concept art and a speech. The idea was to create some excitement amongst journalists, which creates a feedback loop and catches the attention of publishers.
"Our goal was to get a publishing deal by the end of the year, and by the time we signed with Capcom we had four publishing deals on the table."
More on why the deal with Sony fell through, as well as ideas for Remember Me itself, can be found in CVG's newly published interview with Moris.