Stellaris Director Blames Sexism For Poorly Received Voice Actress

Stellaris is attracting controversy over a recent trailer showcasing voice overs coming in a future update. While the video itself (above) is pretty uncontroversial, the response is. Response to the militarist voice has been rather negative, with members of the community remarking that the gravely, snarling voice sounds out of line with what players expected from a militarist, with some speculating on the single line simply being a bad script or poor directing.

Rather than take the criticism at face value, Stellaris Game Director Martin Anward instead ignored the negative response as anticipated sexism toward the “aggressive-sounding woman,” stating the following:

Let’s just say that having some men on the internet being upset about an aggressive-sounding woman was not an unexpected development.

For the record, here are a handful of responses to the Youtube video. MMO Fallout went through eight pages of responses before Wiz replied and couldn’t find one instance of complaints toward the Militarist voice being a woman.

Not a fan of the militarist one, but that’s just me.

for instance the militarist one, she sounds like she’s about to scream “blood for the blood god!”, which very well might be what player has in mind when designing his empire,
but fanatic militarist empire might be much more about war, tactics and discipline than about bloody combat.

Kinda wished the militarist actress sounded more stoic, deliberate, and overall “commanding”. She sounds more like the leader of space orcs than the admiral of a death fleet.

The militarist voice is not just annoying, it is stupid and a bit offensive. Who thinks that militarists should sound like insane Marvel Comics supervillains instead of, you know, actual professional military persons?

Honestly, I’m probably going to offend someone, but as soon as I heard the militarist one, I wanted to puke. It’s just too much. If we’re going to hear this repeating over and over again during gameplay, it’s going to be way too distracting and out-of-place.

Anward’s claim of sexism doesn’t meld with, say, the Utopia trailer which features an “aggressive-sounding woman,” yet did not receive similar complaints.

To be clear, what I am saying is not that the Militarist VO is perfect and beyond all critique, what I am saying is that we had a script for the Militarist VO that called for a more ‘crazy’ approach, and we picked the actor (after auditioning both male and female voices) that did the role best, knowing that picking a male voice would have been a safer bet no matter the quality of the actor. So it’s a bit amusing, like I said, to see the backlash and the absence of self-distance and self-reflection coming with it, because we *knew* this would happen and chose to pay that price.

So Anward admits that they purposely wrote the character to be ‘crazy,’ but the negative response over the character being crazy is apparently due to sexism. Anward also completely ignores that the strategy genre has had a long list of “aggressive-sounding women” playing the role of military advisers, from Civilization to Alpha Centauri and Command & Conquer who are well received by the gaming community.

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