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Forums - Sales Discussion - Aloy has displaced Lara Croft!

Can't believe I just now saw the news that Horizon Zero Dawn has sold over 20 million copies! People naturally make some comparisons to the sales of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild since the games both belong to the same genre and were released at a similar point in time in early 2017. I would point out though that Breath of the Wild was the latest installment in a franchise that had been established for generations, while Horizon was a new IP at the time. But there's also another way in which Horizon's success stands out: it's now the top-selling video game ever to star a solo female protagonist. The previous record in this category was held by 2013's Tomb Raider reboot, which had sold 14.5 million copies as of last November.

I think the success of both games goes to show the difference that simply investing comparable resources into games about women and girls as one might sink into games about men and boys can make. Statistically-speaking, that ain't traditionally happened. Traditionally, games with a female-only protagonist had, on average, only 50% of the marketing budget of female-optional games, and 40% of the marketing budget of games with male-only protagonists.* When people can't see them because they're scarcely advertised or they look less impressive than other games, it's no wonder they don't typically sell as well.

* https://web.archive.org/web/20130321064024/http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/article/games-with-female-heroes-dont-sell-because-publishers-dont-support-them

Last edited by Jaicee - on 15 February 2022

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Definitely opinion based still, I mean congrats to Sony and devs of Horizon for selling very well, but that's not gonna convince me that Aloy is more iconic than Lara Croft.... Bayonetta is still my favorite heroine in gaming, I hope Bayonetta 3 can also pull amazing sales! :)



Jaicee said:

Can't believe I just now saw the news that Horizon Zero Dawn has sold over 20 million copies! People naturally make some comparisons to the sales of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild since the games both belong to the same genre and were released at a similar point in time in early 2017. I would point out though that Breath of the Wild was the latest installment in a franchise that had been established for generations, while Horizon was a new IP at the time. But there's also another way in which Horizon's success stands out: it's now the top-selling video game ever to star a solo female protagonist. The previous record in this category was held by 2013's Tomb Raider reboot, which had sold 14.5 million copies as of last November.

That's right, this means that Aloy has now officially taken Lara Croft's title as the most visible and iconic heroine in gaming! I think the success of both games goes to show the difference that simply investing comparable resources into games about women and girls as one might sink into games about men and boys can make. Statistically-speaking, that ain't traditionally happened. Traditionally, games with a female-only protagonist had, on average, only 50% of the marketing budget of female-optional games, and 40% of the marketing budget of games with male-only protagonists.* When people can't see them because they're scarcely advertised or they look less impressive than other games, it's no wonder they don't typically sell as well.

* https://web.archive.org/web/20130321064024/http://www.penny-arcade.com/report/article/games-with-female-heroes-dont-sell-because-publishers-dont-support-them

I don't know about that.  You didn't have to own a PlayStation or even a Tomb Raider game to know who Lara Croft was even in the early days of the Tomb Raider franchise.  I have a strong feeling that someone not in the PlayStation ecosystem wouldn't have any clue who "Aloy" is if you asked them by name.  Not downplaying the achievement in sales at all, mind you.  But it's a bit early to be using phrases like "most iconic heroine in gaming".  But yes, it was always folly on the part of publishers who would say that a game couldn't sell if it had a female lead protagonist.



Bit soon to make that kind of declaration. Tomb Raider as a gaming franchise has still sold over 85 million copies as well as made 3 movies. Not good movies but still 3 movies were made lol. Plus, if you ask anyone who doesn’t have a PlayStation who Aloy is, they’ll have no idea. Lara Croft is still widely known. 

Horizon is off to a fantastic start though!



Yea...idk. Lara Croft is an icon. You can go stop a random person on the street and they'll probably know Lara Croft. That's not true for Aloy.



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what an insane thing to say



First: congrats to Horizon to achieve that remarkable milestone.

To your claim: "That's right, this means that Aloy has now officially taken Lara Croft's title as the most visible and iconic heroine in gaming!"
I disagree. You take the most successful game each and declare that makes them an icon. But in actuality an icon is derived from ongoing experiences. James Bond is an icon, because there were movies over the course of more than 50 years. Some bad, some good, but there were always some. A single movie that in itself is very successful doesn't create instantly an icon. So no, in my opinion Aloy hasn't replaced Lara Croft as an cultural icon. It is possible that she will take that spot - if for a decade or more she is featured in more games, novels, movies and so on and stays relevant. We will see if that happens or Sony moves on to drop Aloy and replace her with another IP.
In my opinion an icon shows stability over the years, because it is more than a short-lived trend. If a considerable amount of people still read the books/play the game/watch the movies in 10, 20, 30 years from now, then you have a cultural icon.



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People, people, I meant iconic in terms of current cultural relevance within gaming, as in simply to note that Horizon is outselling the most successful Tomb Raider games. When it comes to the representation of female action characters in video games, you can't just ignore that development. It's factually an historic one. That's the essential thing I'm getting at.

I mean personally, there are definitely game heroines (and antagonists for that matter) I connect with more deeply than either Aloy or Lara myself, ranging from Ellie from The Last of Us to Celeste's Madeline and others, so I also didn't mean to imply that Aloy is the objectively greatest female game character or anything like that. I mean my own tastes aren't shaped by sales.

I meant simply to highlight the commercial success of the game and the fact that it's unprecedented for titles narratively centering heroines. I didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings!

Last edited by Jaicee - on 15 February 2022

Jaicee said:

People, people, I meant iconic in terms of current cultural relevance within gaming, as in simply to note that Horizon is outselling the most successful Tomb Raider games. I mean personally, there are definitely game heroines (and antagonists for that matter) I connect with more deeply than either Aloy or Lara myself, ranging from Ellie from The Last of Us to Celeste's Madeline and others, so I also didn't mean to imply that Aloy is the objectively greatest female game character or anything like that. I mean my own tastes aren't shaped by sales.

I meant simply to highlight the commercial success of the game and the fact that it's unprecedented for titles narratively centering heroines. I didn't mean to hurt anyone's feelings!

I think nobody here really argued about who is the "better" heroine, or better games or whatever. The argument more is different. You see, books, movies and games are at the same time a commercial product and a work of culture. If HZD sold 20 million copies, it is undeniably a successful commercial product, I think nobody would say otherwise. If that means it has a big cultural impact though is too early to clearly say. Tomb Raider/Lara Croft had the time to access the situation, and Tomb Raider stayed relevant over more than two decades with influences on other works and releases in more media than one (movies besides the games). That shows that Lara Croft is a cultural icon. It is just too early to say the same about Aloy/Horizon. It just gets a second game soon and as far as I know has no other media reception. If that will have cultural impact we can talk about in ten years.



3DS-FC: 4511-1768-7903 (Mii-Name: Mnementh), Nintendo-Network-ID: Mnementh, Switch: SW-7706-3819-9381 (Mnementh)

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10 years greatest game event!

bets: [peak year] [+], [1], [2], [3], [4]

gtotheunit91 said:

Bit soon to make that kind of declaration. Tomb Raider as a gaming franchise has still sold over 85 million copies as well as made 3 movies. Not good movies but still 3 movies were made lol. Plus, if you ask anyone who doesn’t have a PlayStation who Aloy is, they’ll have no idea. Lara Croft is still widely known. 

Horizon is off to a fantastic start though!

Yes, but are those sales to 85 million different people? Or have most of them more likely been to the same pool of 7 million people who bought the first couple Tomb Raider games back in the late 1990s  and went on to buy numerous successive installments over the years and decades? After all, successful franchises tend to develop fan bases who do just that.

See what I'm getting at here? The sales of the top-selling installment of a given franchise probably are, in fact, a better indication of the total player volume therein.

Last edited by Jaicee - on 15 February 2022