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The ultimate power-up is the penis. At least according to most major games, where the virtual dick is the ultimate Swiss Army knife: ignition key for power armor, suspension for surviving 40-foot falls, and a load-bearing member to carry infinite ammunition. Even when freed from physics and biology the developers display a constant need for cock.

iD Software
At least they stopped centering the guns.

They've got to be taking the piss by forcing half of all players to ignore their own gender. And I'm not just talking about the run-of-the-mill sexism, like armor that covers 2 percent of female bodies. I'm talking about games that went balls-out by completely excluding women.

6
Final Fantasy Fears Cooties

Final Fantasy is the very last game you'd imagine excluding women. Sorry. Even the most inaccurately named first Final Fantasy had both sexes, and the main characters are androgynous enough to disprove gender binaries even though they're made of ones and zeroes. So it's weird that Final Fantasy XV decided on an all-male party because women are deceitful harlots bringing strife to the purity of male bonding.

Square Enix
The boys are back in town, and the town is out of hairspray.

As director Hajime Tabata explains: "Speaking honestly, an all-male party feels almost more approachable for players. Even the presence of one female in the group will change their behavior, so that they'll act differently. So to give the most natural feeling, to make them feel sincere and honest, having them all the same gender made sense in that way."

The implication that girls automatically bring lies and falsehood is a pretty Old Testament view for a Japanese fantasy series. Guys don't behave honestly around women? That's only true for idiot children and asshole adults. Though if you've ever played Final Fantasy you'll understand their cootiephobia. Most FF protagonists will attack 10 dragons any day but romantically approach the opposite sex like they were made of antimatter.

Which isn't to say there aren't women. In the background. The mechanic Cindy shows that Hajime has no problem with women working on heavy machinery in swimwear. She is so ridiculously underdressed even Final Fantasy fans complained, which is saying a lot since modern video game characters could use a belt catalog as an entire wardrobe.

Square Enix
Or maybe she's just 15-feet-tall, in regular clothes, and about to crush his head.

The worst thing is that an all-male party wouldn't have been a problem until Hajime's horrific excuse. Final Fantasy X-2 was all women, but then FF X-2 also replaced the combat mechanics with trying on dresses and the plot with giggling. To evenly match that level of gender stereotype, XV should have burping and farting special moves where you level up by proving you can grow a mustache.

5
Nintendo Are Helpless Before Their Own Bullshit

Tri Force Heroes is a three-player co-op game. So more than any other game, you'd think they'd have character choice if only to help tell players apart. But all three players have to be the same guy in different colors. No, different colors of clothes -- of course he's going to be white.

Nintendo
"We decided against white clothes; they're a bit too on-the-nose in these hats.

Developer Hiromasa Shikata gives the most bullshit excuse in history: "The story calls for this sort of legend/prophecy where heroes will come together to help solve a problem. And in that, they are male characters. So, because the game is set with that as the story background, you cannot choose a gender; you are a male character."

So in the game that they wrote there's a story that they wrote featuring a prophecy that they goddamn wrote saying that you gotta have balls. And as mere mortals they're helpless in the face of prophecy. Despite digitizing sextuple testicles they still didn't have the balls to say, "Because we said so." Instead they sock-puppeted their own prophetic fan-fiction inside another fantasy to say that women are inferior. Bonus: You now understand most religions.

Nintendo
A Hyrulian priest seen prioritizing his dogma over someone asking for help.

In Zelda games, characters can turn into wolves, but they can't turn into women. A series so sexist even its own damsel dressed up as an androgynous stranger just to escape and kick some ass. The closest Hiromasa came to acknowledging women players is by helping them fill their "bullshit excuses" bingo cards. He mentions how the women who work for him are absolutely fine with it! Then digs his dick right through the Earth's crust with, "And to be honest, Link isn't the most masculine of guys in the world, depending on how you want to project yourself into the character."

Nintendo
"Stop helping, Shikata."

Nintendo finally acknowledged that women were just as capable of wearing green and lighting lamps with Linkle in Hyrule Warriors Legends. A remake of Hyrule Warriors. It only took them until the 48th Zelda game!

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4
Chivalry's Medieval Attitudes

The good thing is that Chivalry: Medieval Warfare doesn't exclude female characters because of appalling historical sexism. Any game claiming historical accuracy should have 99 percent of the players die in a field and the few remaining knights collapsing of heatstroke if they play for over an hour.

Activision
"Man (and only man), this stuff is heavy."

The bad thing is that they excluded women because of appalling modern sexism. Developer Steve Piggott wrote: "I actually think that adding female characters to a game like this would make it appeal less to females. Which at first sounds strange, but from my experience of the general maturity level of the internet and the unfortunately male dominated FPS market ... I don't think that it would add to the experience for women or men given the actions that would likely occur."

Translation: "Gamers are so poisonous that even reminding them women exist would simulate war crimes in a septic tank."

Further translation: "Those gamers are so toxic we'd rather surrender to them and eliminate women as even a fictional concept. We hope the 51 percent of all people we've ignored will understand that a few online jerks are more important than they are."

Activision
In-game simulation of developer's dialogue with women players.

Rather than confront sexism -- which would, remember, just be some angry commenters -- they agreed with the worst assholes in existence that everything would be much easier if they just didn't have to deal with women. When someone decides to avoid upsetting the assholes, they're agreeing with the assholes. They're being the assholes.

3
BioShock's Load Of Balls

BioShock starts with Big Daddies chasing Little Sisters, and the gender issues never get any better. BioShock 2's "Subject Delta" doesn't even have a name, because developers thought it might put a barrier between him and the player, but assumed the "him" as standard. Three BioShock games, and they all have male protagonists. Flipping a coin would do better, unless you were using a coin with an actual metal penis sticking out so it couldn't land lady-side-up. Which would still be less ridiculously contrived metalwork than what they actually have in the game.

Irrational Games
The Patriarch-o-tron.

The inhumanly powerful Elizabeth can pick any lock, retrieve weapons from thin air, tear open portals in space and time, and rearrange reality itself, but she still sits patiently in her tower prison until Dude With Gun can rescue her.

Irrational Games
"I pulled this gun from a parallel universe and hurled it an Olympic distance,
but my dainty fingers are too weak to pull the trigger!"

The ability-draining "Siphons" restrict her powers, because it's not like video game heroes ever fight giant machines designed to stop them. And we all know video games are nonfiction documentary based on undeniable historical records. Poor Irrational Games, poring over the archaeological wreckage of the magical floating alternate universe city. "Dammit, we have to keep her prisoner because that's what really happened!" they presumably cried. "Which is a real shame. Because now it looks like we invented the most powerful woman in gaming, then specifically contrived a vast machinery of repression to make sure she couldn't do anything without a man!"

The DLC expansion Burial At Sea: Episode 2 eventually gives Elizabeth center stage. But the second DLC expansion is somewhere between "unreleased B-side" and "third tree from the left in nativity play." It isn't merely an expansion; it's even merelier -- they thought of "man, but underwater, for the third time" before they thought a woman could be the hero.

Irrational Games
"FINALLY."

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2
Assassin's Creed Just Couldn't Be Bothered

Assassin's Creed Unity is one of the worst examples of bullshit exclusion. But then it is one of the worst examples of almost everything about major game launches. We're lucky it doesn't have a woman or they would have blamed binary periods for bringing down a curse upon the game.

Ubisoft
"I will strip off my own face before looking at an unclean temptress."

The Assassin's Creed franchise is apparently "No girls allowed," with eight main installments all starring dudes. The problem went from obvious to ridiculous in Unity's cooperative multiplayer, where you are joined by three more guys, all with different faces. The developers "clarified" that everyone was the same guy, called Arno. Even when there are four of you. Even when you look different. It seems the 18th century had cloning and plastic surgery but no women.

Ubisoft
About to drop the hottest barbershop quartet of 1789.

Creative and technical directors Alex Amancio and James Therien claimed that the lack of women was because of the "reality of game development," as animating women would have "doubled the work." Apparently unaware that doing work to make a game is their job. Did they think "director" meant they just got to sit in a wooden chair shouting at people through a megaphone all day? Did they think vagina bones were an unsolved problem in computer simulation? And apparently it wasn't too much work to hire a Sorbonne professor to advise on 18th-century peasant life.

Ubisoft
But by some Herculean miracle they were still able to animate women as sex workers.

Even the next Assassin's Creed game called bullshit on this. Ubisoft included the awesome Evie Frye in Syndicate, proving that they could animate the mysterious woman, that things are more fun when you have choices, and that calling companies on this kind of bullshit works, so everyone should keep doing it.

1
GTA V Thinks It Has A Story

Every Grand Theft Auto main character has been a guy. Grand Theft Auto V has three main characters, and they are all guys. The games might have realistic physics, but if biology worked that way the human race would be extinct and ankle-deep in semen. I think Rockstar's autocorrect switches "main" to "male" and everybody working there is too busy scratching their balls to notice.

Rockstar
Rockstar focus group.

Rockstar Vice President of Creativity Dan Houser (you'd think a company who employs a specific creativity person would notice there is more than one kind of genital) explained: "The concept of being masculine was so key to this story."

Your dick's the key? Did I miss the sequence where you get your cock caught in a vice and have to fight off bears that explode when they detect periods? And if we're halving the human race for the all-importantly scrotal story, how come there's still yoga? Though the most ridiculous thing is the idea GTA even has a story beyond seeing how many bullshit missions you can take before firing a rocket launcher into a level crossing.

Rockstar
"A good story makes you happy, a great story makes you think, and GTA's story
makes you explode the world in self-defense."

The worst bullshit is the basic assumption that only men can be masculine. The only way GTA deconstructs gender stereotypes is by running them over with a car. Saints Row demolishes this and every other argument by letting you choose your body type and voice at any time, and they don't have to match. It turns out the richly resonant tapestry of "Go kill those assholes" isn't undone if you can't write your name in the snow with your urine.

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