There is, it must be acknowledged, a rather glaring imbalance in first-person shooters. The vast majority of the player characters, from Halo’s Master Chief to Booker DeWitt from BioShock Infinite, are male. While female characters often appear in these games, many with significant importance (such as BioShock Infinite‘s Elizabeth), they are very, very rarely the main character controlled by the player.
RedBedlam, a game developer in the United Kingdom, has decided to turn the tables by introducing a female protagonist in their forthcoming first-person shooter Bedlam. The game is based on the novel of the same name by British author Christopher Brookmyre, which does in fact have a male protagonist – Ross Baker. For the game, however, the perspective will shift to strong supporting character Heather Quinn, also known as Athena, who is herself a fan of both video games and science fiction. Ross will remain vital to the story, but it is through Heather’s eyes that the player will experience the game world.
Heather is a programmer for Neurosphere, a medical scanning developer. Unexpectedly, she finds herself transported to the world of Starfire, a first-person shooter she played as a teenager in the 1990s. As she ventures through the game in search of both an explanation and an escape, she finds herself in “a vast realm of interconnected game worlds documenting the evolution of the FPS genre and of video games in general.”
The game has been developed in association with Standfast Interactive, and spans decades of game history. The player will experience a range of genres both old and new, with a variety of shooter environments and platform classics. The first-person perspective will place them directly in the action, and Brookmyre’s signature dark humor will be evident throughout the adventure.
“The average FPS protagonist is a testosterone-addled sociopath with all the endearing charm of a cornered honey badger,” Brookmyre notes. “I thought we could prove that you don’t need balls to be bally. Players of both sexes will identify with Athena, because first and foremost she is a gamer herself. Women have been shamefully ignored by the FPS genre, so it seemed appropriate that we have an acerbic female perspective in a game that plays upon the evolution and conventions of the genre.”
Bedlam is expected to appear on Steam in summer 2014, and RedBedlam has planned two more novel/video game tie-ins as part of their partnership with Brookmyre. Keep watch for the latest developments regarding Bedlam by following the game’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.