How to end video games' bullying problem: Change the games

In a separate survey of more than 1,000 boys, Wiseman and Burch asked about video-game habits. Overwhelmingly, the boys chose Master Chief, the hero of Microsoft’s blockbuster Halo series, as their favorite character.

Why? He’s a “badass,” according to the kids, “an amalgamation of all the things boys want to be,” Burch says. “They want to be cool and save the day.”

The problem with that, Burch says, is that Master Chief is emotionless, a point she emphasized at GDC by showing footage of a climactic scene in which Master Chief sounded like a robot.

The highest-grossing games feature similarly unfeeling men at their center: BioShock Infinite, Call of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto V. Hints of vulnerability are few and far between. (Tellingly, the one game in which the protagonist regularly revealed their pain and fear of failure had a woman in the spotlight: Tomb Raider.)