Not Just Another Clone

In many of today’s video games women are viewed in a negative light, whether they be overly sexualized, weak, or the victims of violence; however, Star Wars Battlefront 2 helps to push back against this more traditional way of viewing women in video games. While Star Wars Battlefront 2 does not explicitly deal with race it certainly makes some comments about gender portrayal in video games, akin to some of the racial and gender comments made by Anna Everett in Power of Play.

As Everett says, “An area of growing concern is the role of games in the learning experiences and environments of youth,” which is perpetuated by the stereotypical and over sexualized ways women are viewed in video games (141). Traditionally in video games, women are viewed through a sexual lens and/or as weak, disposable characters, which is emphasized in GTA where “[. . .] women remain marginal and generally figure as props, bystanders, eye candy, and prizes to be won” (Everett 148). This description that Everett provides is similar to my experience of female characters in any video game I have played or watched. It is in this area that Star Wars Battlefront 2 is vastly different from the countless video games that help perpetuate these stereotypes.

In the campaign mode of Star Wars Battlefront 2 the player plays as an Imperial trooper, Iden Versio. When the player first starts the campaign mode he or she will almost immediately notice that the main character, and the only human character the player can use is a women. Unlike other female characters in video games Iden Versio is the protagonist, and the player cannot select a male lead if he or she wants to. Additionally, Versio is in no way sexualized. She has the same uniform as her fellow imperial troopers, and when she removes her helmet her face appears like that of a normal human woman.

The initial load screen for campaign mode featuring Iden Versio

Another interesting feature is that Versio is a commander within the Imperial army, she is privy to information that her subordinates are not, and she leads important, dangerous missions. While Versio is not quite an example of “femme disturbance” in the manner that Amanda Phillips discusses the term with Bayonetta, she is an example of a woman breaking into the male dominated arena of warfare (111). While Star Wars Battlefront 2 takes place in a fictitious universe with a contrived plot, it takes an important step forward in confronting the stereotype of women in video games.

This is a photo of Iden Versio without her helmet

Source: Not Just Another Clone