Volume, the second game from Thomas Was Alone developer Mike Bithell, wants to prove that having a male protagonist doesn’t have to mean you can’t do something different.
In a recent interview, Bithell revealed to Polygon that his top-down stealth game actually started out with a female lead before he settled in on the game’s story—a futuristic retelling of the Robin Hood legend—and decided a male hero would be the best way to explore the ideas of privilege inherent to that narrative. But he was also quick to note that he’s made a conscious effort to make player character Robert Locksley into something different than the typically macho leading man.
“The thing that’s interesting with gender, and is exciting, is that the conversation has gotten to a point where I’d even be asked ‘Why male?’,” Bithell said. “That’s a big deal, and speaks a lot to the awareness that’s brewing in the industry about gender depictions, and frankly, the boringness of the standard chiseled beefcake with the big gun. People are getting tired of playing the same grizzled man carrying a variety of guns.
“My hope is that this is a different kind of male protagonist,” he continued. “Smarter, non-violent, and a bit arrogant.”
In other words, don’t expect to see Locksley cracking a six-pack of Budweiser and bro-ing out with Marcus Fenix when Volume launches later this year.