Why you should care about Child of Light

Child of Light is an upcoming RPG game from Ubisoft about a princess who becomes a warrior and saves the land… or some such. Now as a very strong enthusiast for the narrative and such a thin grasp of the story, something else must make CoL interesting. I wish this statement wouldn’t be so political and emotional, but it can’t be helped: I feel the most interesting part of this project is that the protagonist is a young female. Now I want to be quick to establish that as an adult male, I do not see this fact as a point for identifying with the character. I feel the dozens of other characters that already lead games give me ample targets for that. But it is hard to argue that there are not demographics that games from major publishers ignore especially for the defined protagonist seat (I specify defined to separate a game that defines a female protagonist like Tomb Raider or Beyond Good & Evil from a game where one can choose to be female like Saint’s Row or Borderlands. I also would like to recognize that there are plenty of other neglected demographics, but must point out that progress is slow). So if I don’t want to make a political statement, why do I care so much about inclusive demographics and so on? To be perfectly honest, for rather selfish reasons: because I feel video games, a medium I love, will benefit greatly from it. In the end, diversity is what brings so much fun and flavor to video games. I do love narratives a great deal, so the possibility of having new stories to tell with female leads is downright exciting. It was The Stanley Parabol and Papers, Please that created some amazing narrative experiences that honestly probably topped what fun I had with Bioshock: Infinite (though I appreciated the full length experience of Bioshock: Infinite which is also harder). I say this as no insult to Ken Levine (from the Bioshock games; he has made amazing and fun games). I merely found the other two to give such a fun new experience that they had to rate for me. And CoL might be a way to introduce more of those experiences. Though The Stanley Parabol might have tugged at the definition of game and gone more to a world I like to call experience, Child of Light gets to sit firmly in the game camp. It was described early on as a JRPG taking after Final Fantasy VI with the visuals of Hayao Miyazaki (Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, etc.), Yoshitaka Amano (Final Fantasy), and John Bauer (Among Gnomes and Trolls). Then we...