Mad Max: Fury Road created a huge buzz on the internet with its feminist themes. The game, however, isn’t living up to fan’s expectations.
The discussion about Fury Road caught people’s interest and got them interested in seeing it because it portrayed women in a different light. Imperator Furiosa and the Brides were all strong women in their own ways. They had depth, personality, and an actual voice, contributing with their different skills and strengths to help their band of rebels. This isn’t the case in Mad Max: Savage Road though.
Mad Max: Savage Road, released by Avalanche Studios, is not going to have much to do with the film. The main story focuses around Max Rockatansky making a new car after his XB Falcon V8 Interceptor was stolen by bandits. Accompanied by the mechanic Chumbucket, Rockatansky is on the hunt to rescue his beloved car and escape the desert. To be fair, Avalanche wasn’t aware of what was going on with the film production. The game had been bounced around different to different companies, but that doesn’t excuse the argument.
From what’s been reported, many of the characters aren’t in the game except Rockatansky himself. There isn’t any sign of Furiosa, who served as the main character in the film, making an appearance. Despite the strong feminist themes from the movie, the only known woman to be in Mad Max: Savage Road is a captured female shown in the trailer who turns into a love interest. In the demo, there are no women to be seen at all, despite similarities like what appear to be War Boys, Gastown, and the desert setting.
Having a different story line isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What does hurt the game though, is that the core themes and ideals didn’t carry over. Players are expecting the high standard that the movie set, which doesn’t seem to be met with the large abundance of men and so far, one single woman in the trailer that serves as a tope.
What the game should have is more overlap of the themes, even if the women from Fury Road aren’t in it. There are ways to include groups of strong women or tough bald women that serve a purpose without infringing on licensing agreements - even then, just having strong females would do. Avoiding the weak women who fall in love with their rescuer trope would be a step in the right direction, considering that goes against what was established by Fury Road.
There could have been women who may or may not be on Rockatansky’s side show up every now and again by teaming up, or stumbling upon certain triggers could lead to fighting a female motorcycle gang, or fighting a gatekeeper who you have to challenge to get the important items she’s protecting. Having females in Savage Road wouldn’t even have to change the main premise story, it could still be about explosions and cars. More female representation wouldn’t mean that Rockatansky becomes a secondary character or be paired with a useless sidekick.
As long as there is a purpose for these characters being around people would be happy with it. The fact that the game is open world serves as a great opportunity for these types of things to happen.
Right now, there still is a lot of information in the dark because of how early it is. The game is currently available for pre-order, and will be released on September 1 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.