This article popped up on Twitter today, and I loved it. First off, it gives the name of the Fallout: New Vegas writer I couldn't remember on the podcast - John Gonzalez, who lead that writer's team, and the one on Shadow of Mordor (meh!) - second, I had no idea Guerrilla had such an open, creatively-minded culture. Third, I love this paragraph about how they ended up producing (what I determine to be) the most successfully-feminist triple-A video game I've ever played. And the answer is exactly what you'd hope:
"Aloy was always a woman right from the initial concept. While no one at Guerrilla expresses any kind of agenda when it comes to gender equality, as technical lead Michiel van der Leeuw notes, there was an awareness that female leads in games are often sexualized – a precedent the team had no intention of following. "She had to be agile and athletic. She's an outcast but she's also brought up lovingly," he says. "There were so many elements we had to balance to make her the person she is. I like that people have picked up on her teeth being a bit crooked, her face being asymmetrical – I think people pick up on her imperfections because she's a real person.""The article gives a really excellent impression of Guerrilla, perhaps most notably from Horizon writer - and new Guerrilla hire - Gonzalez, who moved from the States to Amsterdam to join the team, and now refuses to leave.
"I've seen a lot of things and experienced a lot of things in the industry that would lead you to become cynical and disillusioned. I don't find that to be the case here. I feel like the level of ambition here is really high, but I don't feel like the ambition is high for external reasons, like wanting to be masters of the universe. It's high because people really care about the quality of the product. I just feel like I don't want to step away from that, you know? This is a place where I can improve myself, can bring myself to the work. I want to stay as close to that as I can."A nice example of this is the ants on the trees. You may have seen a GIF or video of the leafcutter ants you'll find on trees, here and there - it was kind of a big deal when the game first launched.
Y'know why those are in the game?
"It's a level of attention to detail most won't notice, but one Guerrilla appears to do without consideration – even to the point where animators took time out of their day to render ants climbing up tree trunks, all of their own volition. ... "They felt like the environment needed something to make it come alive.""So yeah, check the article. S'good stuff.