War of the Vikings, Paradox Interactive’s sequel to the gritty and gruesome War of the Roses, is about to receive its first expansion, a relatively modest addition that adds one new class: the Shieldmaiden. Executive producer Gordon Van Dyke, a veteran of multiplayer development who can trace his history back to some of the early Battlefield games, says it’s an opportunity to not only shake up the way the game is played and the patterns that players are falling into, but that it might also be a chance to challenge a few assumptions about gender.
At Paradox’s annual convention in January, Van Dyke spoke to me about his plans to introduce women warriors to the game and how it was important to him that they be dressed in realistic, practical gear rather than sporting the tired trope of stylised “boob armour,” the sort of curvy breastplates and chainmail bikinis that have plagued video games for decades. He explained how this expansion is his chance to make good on his ambition, why there should be women warriors in his game and how he relishes a chance to challenge some of gaming’s sexist conventions.
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