Hey everyone! Mod Knight here with another round of Feminism in Gaming! This time, we’ll be covering a really, really great game: The Wolf Among Us by Telltale games.
Now, if you’ve ever played a game by Telltale, you know they they’re rich in story, character, and depth; and this game is no different!! But, this isn’t a review of the story or gameplay, we’re here to take a look at how this game handles important issues. Be warned! Spoilers will follow in this article.
Lets begin by looking at the premise of the game: Sheriff Bigby Wolf (formerly the big bad wolf) must investigate a series of murders in a New York town filled with fairy tale characters; as he digs deeper, he stumbles onto a much darker plot.
Let’s start off by taking a look at some of the issues this game addresses. In the very first chapter, you’re called in to handle a dispute which appears to have turned into an assault, with a drunken man attacking a female prostitute. During the confrontation, not only is she not shown as powerless. Ultimately, she is the one who ends the fight by burying an axe into her attacker’s head (he gets better). Bigby befriends the woman, only to find her dead later on, beginning the true investigation the game revolves around.
Now, while this gets dangerously close to “Fridging” territory, ultimately the murder in question is much more, as not only are we meant learn more about her and the circumstances regarding her death, but also, we see the effect it has on the community as a whole. And when the deaths continue, we see that the game really wants us to feel the impact of each loss.
Now, luckily, the game doesn’t only present it’s female characters in the form of meaningful deaths! No, instead we have several great examples of strong, well developed female characters, both protagonists, antagonists, and major side characters.
Let’s look especially at one who is, arguably, the second most important character in the game after the protagonist: Snow White. Snow is presented as a strong woman with a bit of an independent streak, to the point that she can seem aloof or cold. However, she is actually deeply compassionate and cares for the people under her watch. Not only does she serve directly under the deputy mayor, by the end of the game, she becomes the new mayor; unsurprising due to her talent for leadership and charismatic nature.
Not only does the game deal with violence, it also goes into themes revolving around sex workers and the way that they are treated. In the game, the women who work in the sex industry are shown to be respectable, good people. Rather than treating the workers badly, the game goes and points out the corruption in the industry, and how sex workers are often treated as if they were of little value. Not only that, but it goes out of its way to vilify those who treat them with disrespect!
Ultimately, The Wolf Among Us, is a game that takes deep, dark themes, and handles them with extreme grace and ease, the characters in game are dynamic and multifaceted, and the story bends and twists along with them. Ultimately, I have to say that this game is beyond my expectations, and it’s one that many game companies could learn from.