International Women’s Day: the women who rocked the games industry last year | The Sun

WHILE the games industry is quite heavily focused on men, there are thousands of women doing amazing things in the industry to make gaming great. 

Women typically don’t get put in the spotlight in the games industry all that much, but their contributions to games are undeniable, and many games wouldn’t be possible without them. 

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we put together a list of five women and one non-binary person in the games industry who made the biggest impact on us this past year. 

Here’s our appreciation for the wonderful women who made amazing games possible. 

Mari Shimazaki

Mari Shimazaki is one of the most celebrated character artists in the games industry, having worked on award-winning games like Bayonetta and Soul Calbiur. 

Shimazaki most recently worked on last year’s Bayonetta 3, working on new designs for both Bayonetta herself and a number of other powerful women in the game. 

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She came up with hundreds of designs for the original Bayonetta game, and the amount of detail she puts into her characters is unmatched. 

Die-hard fans can notice tiny design decisions that act as mini Easter Eggs, such as the shape of an earring or the swirl on the back of a demon, hinting at the greater story in the games. 

Manon Gage

The star of last year’s excellent Immortality, Manon Gage played the role of Marissa Marcel, an actor who’s gone missing, prompting the player to figure out her whereabouts. 

Gage put an incredible amount of work into her role as Marissa, blurring the line of reality and fiction by playing an actor who is playing an actor. 

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Her performance, both as Marissa and as the characters Marissa portrays in the in-game movies, is one of the best performances in the games industry in recent history. 

Gage pulled off a performance that few actors ever could, flawlessly shifting between Matilda, Franny, or Zoe in any of the footage you watch. 

Yuri Stern & Barbara Wittmann 

This dynamic duo were the sole creative forces behind last year’s indie breakout, Signalis, which was considered one of the best games of the year. 

The pair worked together on all aspects of the game, designing, drawing, programming, and writing everything in the game, all by themselves. 

Signalis was one of the most complex and touching stories in video games, not only from games released last year but in games as a whole.

It tells the story of a lesbian couple who try their hardest to stay true to each other, despite the harsh and difficult environment they find themselves in. 

Roberta Williams

One of the greats of the industry, Roberta Williams is a pioneer in gaming, shaping the early days of video games and inventing entire genres. 

She designed and wrote for classic games like Mystery House, Phatasmagoria, and the King’s Quest series, as part of Sierra Online, which she co-founded. 

After selling off Sierra and signing a five-year non-compete deal, Williams took to sailing the world, largely retiring from making games. 

During Covid lockdowns, however, she came up with the idea of recreating the game that gave her a start in the industry, Colossal Cave, coming out of retirement to release it. 

Ayako Furukawa

2022 was a year filled with dozens of beautiful games, but few captured the eyes, hearts, and souls of players as much as Triangle Strategy. 

Art director Ayako Furukawa was the brains behind the gorgeous 2.5D art that brought Triangle Strategy’s world of Norzelia to life and secured its place in gaming history. 

While many of the character designs in Triangle Strategy, Bravely Default, and Octopath Traveler were created by Naoki Ikushima, they would not have been possible without Furukawa. 

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They say that behind every great man is a greater woman, and with Triangle Strategy it’s easy to see how this holds true, with Furukawa shaping Ikushima’s designs to create something magical. 

Written by Oliver Brandt and Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.

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