It never ends. Last night I was playing Prototype and was into the storyline. I felt like things were clear cut and my goals were sympathetic to an extent. I could have cared less about the main character but that seems to be the purpose of main characters in video games these days. According to Bungie's design document for Master Chief, having a bland and uninspired main character 'focuses on putting YOU in the role of protagonist.'
Then my sister got kidnapped. My first instinct was to shake my head. My second instinct was to lose all faith in the storyline. I already had my motivation. I was a virus carrying crazy killing machine trying to find answers. Apparently they didn't think that was enough so now i'm a virus carrying crazy killing machine who misses sissy pooh.
This is an epidemic in all forms of writing but games in particular uniformly adhere to it. Ever since mario had to save the princess games have relied on this formula to motivate their bland and insultingly stupid male protagonists.
'Oh no my (sister/daughter/wife/girlfriend/hawt-chick-i-know) is (kidnapped/dead/raped/in a coma) I have to (save/avenge) her!'
Then females in general for the game are kept as window dressing or sidekicks at best, the few people that bother to make a female protagonist usually do it so they can put breasts on the box, and i get sicker and sicker of my expected reaction to a game to be a hearty, testosterone laced 'women in danger? MAN SMASH!'
Women in our society are constantly given not so subtle hints in media that men see them as having to only look good and be taken care of. It's confusing and destructive to young women and misleading to young men as well. Then when we grow up all our 'adult' fiction recycles the same old childhood storybook crap and add in some cursing and blood and call it 'deep storytelling.'
Here's a clue for you, fiction writers. Women can do stuff besides make men want to protect and/or bone them, they have brains and limbs and often times have meaningful opinions and goals in life. When creating a protagonist maybe you should think 'would anything I'm trying to do with this character be soured by me making them a non stereotypical female lead?' While you are at it think 'do i really need to use the only women in my story as a cheap shortcut to angsty motivation for my super strong manly men?'
Fiction needs a healthy dose of gender equality and games need a double dose of it but writers these days are too worried about marketability to care about the damage they do to our culture. If we can't even get rid of old sexist stereotypes from the dark ages what hope do we have for being accepting of any other more controversial differences like gay people?