"Fight like a girl"
This thesis describes a process for producing designs for specific female video-game characters in a manner that attempts to avoid female gender stereotypes typical of the
genre, placing more emphasis instead on communicating aspects of the character’s specific fighting features and functionality in the game.
This work considers theories that design of female video-game characters is both effected by, and contributes to, the representation of the female gender in the gaming world and even in society in general, possibly having a negative impact on participation and enjoyment for female gamers.
Based on a study of these theories, and with guidance from an expert in the video-game industry, new design sketches were developed in differing visual styles for two female characters from the game Ultra Street Fighter IV. These design sketches were then appraised by a small group of players representative of the game’s target audience.
The results suggest that one of the chosen visual styles appears to successfully enhance the understanding of the characters’ fighting features and functionality in the game while maintaining their visual appeal, without relying on the gender-stereotypical attributes visible in the character designs in the current version of the game.
The full thesis is available here.