Giving video game characters a gender-switching fem-flip

The recent announcement that a woman will be taking up Thor’s hammer shook up the comic book community and provides a brand new perspective to one of Marvel’s oldest characters. It’s important to note she will trully be Thor - not She-Thor, Lady Thor, or Thorita. So, it’s a very exciting time for female characters and fans. With the San Diego Comic Con right around the corner, we started thinking about video game characters that might benefit from a gender switching fem-flip.

Death (Darksiders II)

It's not too uncommon for Death to be personified as a woman in comic books. For example, the Sandman series portrays Death as an attractive and pleasant young girl who happens to take her job very seriously. This is in stark contrast to Death in the Marvel universe, who is more cold and calculating. Although the abstract entity is normally a skeleton in a dark cloak, it often chooses to replace the skeletal look with that of a human female.

In the game, Death is the most feared of the Four Horsemen, and is portrayed as a dual weapon wielding, fast-moving assassin who is out to reverse his brother War's alleged crimes. So, a fem-flip in Darksiders II might be easy to accept. Making Death a female character probably wouldn't change much beyond aesthetics and voice, since a sister would be just as dedicated toward vindicating a sibling as anyone else. As the American Ninja Warrior competition proves, a woman can be fast and agile enough to swiftly eliminate anyone that gets in her way.

Master Chief (Halo Series)

A female Master Chief isn't a terribly far-fetched idea. In Halo: The Graphic Novel, there's a story titled "Armor Testing." In it, a Spartan soldier drops from orbit, uses a sniper rifle to shoot some guys out while falling, lands, and takes out even more soldiers with a pair of SMGs. After some more butt-kicking, the Spartan is escorted to a commanding officer. There are some salutes, and then comes the big Samus Aran reveal as Maria-062 takes her helmet off. The armor was to be shipped to Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 pending her approval. However, the officer hints that she could have one of her own if she reenlisted into the UNSC. Maria declines, stating that she wanted to start a family. So, in the span of a few panels, Halo scores a point for gender equality, then loses two.

Giving Halo a fem-flip wouldn't change the look or gameplay of the game, considering how the armor is androgynous. But having a female protagonist could have a significant impact on how the story plays out, and not just in terms of the interaction and relationship with Cortana, or whether or not there would be a G.I. Jane-esque undertone. We don't know if there's gender equality among the Covenant, or even if there is gender. Would they be just as fearful of a female soldier who could tear through their ranks, more so, or would they become indignant? Would fans feel the same way about a female hero sacrificing herself and going into indefinite cryo sleep, like Ellen Ripley in Alien, compared to a man?

Team Fortress 2 Cast (Team Fortress 2)

Team Fortress Fan Girls, by T03nemesis

There's no reason for men to dominate the whacky class-based multiplayer game Team Fortress 2. As the Love & War animated short indicates, even the mercenary team's cleanup crew (comprised of a single woman) can be as deadly as the rest of the team. Still, having an all-female team should be more than a simple gender/voice swap. Female mercenaries should have their own unique look, and players should be able to select between genders when they pick a class. Not only would this look great for team diversity, but it sets the stage perfectly for men vs women matches. Also, let's admit it... nobody appreciates shooting up the opposing team to win a new hat more than a girl.

Dante and Vergil (DMC: Devil May Cry)

The twin sons of Sparda and Eva could have just as easily have been the daughters, or even the children. A brother and sister rivalry would further play up the dichotomy between the two siblings. The intro for DMC: Devil May Cry would probably have to be altered, along with some of the enemy interactions, but the gameplay could remain almost completely unchanged. Although a hot-headed female Dante would certainly be amazing, a smart, cold, and ambitious queen-bee Vergil could make for a more interesting character, especially after the Vergil's Downfall storyline.

The Prince (Prince of Persia)

The series is called Prince of Persia, but that doesn't mean there can't be a Princess. Come on, women can be dark and brooding too. The Prince of Persia storylines usually have the player cleaning up some catastrophic mess that someone else started or masterminded, while the gameplay centers on platform puzzle solving. We know from the Tomb Raider series it’s a formula that works. We also know from seeing Farah in action that women in the series can be deadly. So, trade in the bow for swords and you have... a Persian Mulan. Or perhaps Elika from 2008's Prince of Persia could be the main character of her own story instead of being a magical assistant - especially given how Prince of Persia: Epilogue ends.

Agent 47 (Hitman Series)

Given what happens in Hitman: Absolution, a female assassin is completely possible. No, she wouldn't have to dress up as a S&M leather loving nun. For that matter, a genetically engineered femme fatale could be FAR more effective than a bald guy with a bar code and an aversion to small talk. Infiltration probably wouldn’t be nearly as hard. It's a wonder why the evil scientists of the world aren't racing to clone them by the dozen. Then again, a female protagonist might break the gameplay precisely for that reason. So, with all respect to the Nikita fans out there, this assassin should stick with a perfectly engineered killer Y chromosome.  

Sam Fisher (Splinter Cell Series)

The Splinter Cell series doesn't have a lot of prominent female characters. There's Sam Fischer's daughter, Sarah, who is often used as leverage against him. Then there's Anna Grímsdóttir, the technical operations manager. Other than that, Third and Fourth Echelon are total boys clubs. However, the president is a woman, so... there's that. In any case, there are probably significant parts of the running story that need to be changed to accommodate for a female super spy, but the gameplay can remain relatively unchanged. A woman can hide in the shadows, scale buildings, employ a host of gadgets, and assassinate targets just as well as anyone else. All while running a black ops team and calling home to make sure her daughter hasn't been kidnapped again.

Garrett (Thief Series)

With slim fingers, a slender figure, and the agility of an Olympic gymnast, a woman could be the ultimate master thief, as demonstrated by numerous characters - not the least of which include Catwoman from Batman and Black Cat from Spider-man fame. Garrett could be the ideal character for a fem-flip. The gender swap wouldn't change the gameplay or the character all that much. His acute kleptomania, OCD tendencies, and role as pawn for the Keepers could be kept whole. Given how he works with a female partner, Erin, at the start of the latest Thief game, it's completely believable to have a female burglar and pickpocket running through the city's shadows. Plus, you know, diamonds are a girl's best friend.

Marcus Fenix (Gears of War Series)

After destroying their own cities and still ending up on the losing side of the war against the Locust Horde, the humans on planet Sera can't afford any discrimination. Women serve equally alongside men and fight with the same ferocity against aliens, mutants, and whatever else pops out of the ground to eat them. However, we've seen very few, if any, women assume leadership roles. The closest might include Alicia Valera (who met an untimely end) and Sophia Hendrick (who also saw a potentially bad end). Anya Stroud probably deserves to be more than the Control contact, even though communication is her chosen specialty; considering how Gears of War 3 opens with her narration.  

As far as the Gears of War plot is concerned, giving Marcus a fem-flip probably wouldn't be too much of an issue. A woman could just as easily decide to abandon her post to rescue her father, leading to a 14-year prison sentence. Fe-Marcus could also step up and take command of a squad when the CO dies. Delta Squads’s frat brother attitude might get toned down a bit, but it doesn't necessarily have to. The world government is destroyed and humanity is nearly wiped out, so there's no reason why the camaraderie wouldn’t apply to everyone.

Isaac Clarke (Dead Space Series)

Fem-flipping Isaac Clarke could potentially change the entire feel of Dead Space. Sure, we’re no stranger to women fighting monsters using high-tech gear, and the RIG suit is pretty androgynous once the helmet is down. However, even though there are plenty of stories of men embarking on perilous missions to find their loved ones, there are shockingly few that involve a woman looking for her missing husband. Maybe the social expectation is that she should forget about him and move on? Plus, wandering through the wrecked nursery section of Dead Space 2 could have a deeper significance to a female protagonist. Not to mention, for me, watching a woman stick a needle in her eye seems that much more intense, along with the multitude of death scenes in the game.

A Character that CAN'T make a fem-flip...

Ezio Auditore (Assassin's Creed II Trilogy)

Players can take the role of Aveline and stab their way through 1765 New Orleans in Assassin’s Creed: Liberation. However, Liberation is a spin-off game, and a true fem-flip has to involve the main series. With three games to his name, no assassin is quite as popular as Ezio Auditore. But even though you can recruit and dispatch female assassins in Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, there's no evidence suggesting that Ezio's predecessors were as progressive. So, giving Ezio himself the fem-flip presents some difficult challenges.

Although women enjoyed more freedom compared to the feudal era, it would still be extremely unlikely for a woman in Renaissance Italy to inherit the Assassin's robes and mission from her father. Although women could own land, they were largely regarded as property of their fathers and husbands. So, even if say, Claudia, discovered the robes, along with a knack for killing and a thirst for vengeance, she would still have an extremely hard time picking up her family's legacy.

But that doesn’t mean a different assassin can’t rise the ranks someday. Although it wouldn’t be a fem-flip, the World War II era would be an ideal time for a female Assassin to rise up.

Which video game character do you think could do with a fem-flip? Let us know in the comments!