THIS. Every game universe represents a series of choices made by its creators. What you include, what you omit, what you present to the world is a direct reflection of your thoughts as the visionary for that world. There’s no such thing as a “neutral” or “apolitical” game. Even the fact that you chose games as your medium says something about who you are and what you believe is important.
Whenever people scream “keep your politics out of my games,” what I hear are people who agree so completely with the traditional industry version of reality that they can no longer recognize it as a POV. The one particular perspective that creators choose to present.
For me, the magic of games—of literature, of film, of all the arts—is that we are free from all the constraints that tie us down in reality. As noted above, you don’t even have to obey the laws of physics in your new universe. I look to games to show me something unexpected, something I can’t see when I look out my window. I want creators to make interesting choices that represent fresh POVs. I want them to be able to say “what if…” and run with the idea, not worrying if it aligns perfectly with reality. I want game worlds to be better and more interesting than real life. Because otherwise, what’s the point?
Why is the asker a sexist dumbass?
Well, for a lot of reasons.
1) As askagamedev pointed out, the “reality” in video games is whatever the developers decide it is.
2) “Physically superior” is an awfully broad term. Men, on average, have greater upper body strength than women. But these things are overlapping bell curves, not fixed points. So while the average man has greater upper body strength than the average woman, there are plenty of women who are stronger than the average man.
3) The heroes of most games aren’t the average man or woman. They’re exceptional. So it makes no sense to argue that the protagonist of a combat game should be male because most fighters are men. I mean, especially in a futuristic world where you’re fighting for “earth” or “humanity” as opposed to a particular country, if you want to go by what’s “normal” or “average,” it makes no sense to have the protagonist be white, as most people on the planet aren’t.
4) “Men have always been in the front line in combat”? Sure. Yes they have. So have women, actually. Not in the same numbers, but often enough that it’s not a rare exception or anything. Women have always fought. Women have always led armies. I mean, here’s just a smattering:
3500 BCE(ish) - Queen Vishpla loses her leg in battle, is fitted with an iron prosthesis, and returns to battle, as described in the Rig Veda.
1300 BCE - Female warriors carrying axes and swords are painted onto the walls of Hittite fortresses.
740-720 BCE - Zabibi commands an army containing large numbers of women, and rules as a warrior queen. Her successor Samsi does the same.
500-400 BCE - Female skeletons of Scythian women are buried with swords and bows.
102 BCE - Plutarch describes Roman soldiers fighting contingents of female Celtic fighters.
39-43 CE - Meanwhile, in Vietnam: Trung Trac and Trung Nhi, whose mother Tran Thi Doan trained them to fight and led her own troops to support them, lead an uprising against the Chinese and took over 60+ fortresses with an army composed predominantly of women. Phung Thi Chinh also fights in those battles, and delivers a child on the battlefield.
49 CE - Agrippina presides over the exercises of the Roman legions. The captured Celtic king Caratacus and his tribesmen, when brought before the emperor, assume Agrippina is his partner in martial leadership and bow to her.
61 CE - Boudicca.
63 CE - Tacitus complains in his Annals that Nero’s gladiatorial shows, while pleasingly lavish, are marred by senators and women of rank “disgracing” themselves in the arena. Female gladiators are also mentioned by Petronius, Statius, Suetonius, Martial, Cassius Dio, and other Roman authors. Septimius Severus prohibits female combatants in the arena in 200 CE.
250-275 CE - Zenobia, governor of Syria, leads her armies against those of Claudius and Aurelian.
366 CE - Empress Jingo Kogo of Japan invades Korea. She’s pregnant at the time and has to have adjustable armor made.
373-380 CE - Queen Mavia leads her Saracen army against Rome in Palestine, Phoenicia, and Egypt.
550ish CE - An English princess, known as the “Island Girl,” takes an army and invades Jutland, capturing King Radigis, her betrothed, who’d jilted her.
600 CE - Kahula and Wafeira, two Arabian army commanders, join forces to defeat the Greeks.
647 CE - The (unnamed) daughter of a Roman prefect named Gregory fights in the front ranks at Tripoli. She is trained in horsemanship, archery, and the use of the scimitar.
656 CE - Aisha bint Abu Bakr, wife of Mohammed, fights in the Battle of the Camel. Salaym Bint Malham fights in the army with weapons she keeps strapped around her pregnant belly.
645 CE - Daya al-Kahina, a Berber queen, leads her people in battle against the invading Arabs.
890 CE - Queen Thyra of Denmark leads her armies against the invading Germans, and builds the Danneverke wall to defend her country. There are also numerous Viking graves from around this time containing the bodies of warrior women, and female fighters are frequently mentioned in sagas.
900ish CE - Aethelflaed, Lady of Mercia, leads her troops against the Vikings and builds fortifications to support the reign of her brother Edward the Elder.
900ish CE - Hethna, Visna, and Vebiorg lead Danish companies during the battle of Bravellir.
945 CE - Olga of Russia, raises an army and ends the revolt which killed her husband Igor.
1061 - Matilda, Countess of Tuscany, first goes into battle at her mother’s side. She begins commanding her own armies at 1069.
1070s-1080s (?) - Duchess Gaita of Lombardy marries a Norman mercenary and rides into battle with her husband, wearing full armor.
1098 - Urraca of Aragon leads her own armies into battle to protect her son’s inheritance rights. Her half-sister, Teresa, also leads her own troops.
Late 11th century - Isabel of Conches rides, armed as a knight, into battle over land in Northern France.
1172 - Countess Alrude of Bertinoro and her army break a siege at Aucona. When she returns to her own castle, she takes part in several more battles.
1173 - Countess Petronilla of Leicester arms herself in a hauberk and fights in her husband’s rebellion against Henry II.
~1100s - Queens Eleanor of Aquitaine, Eleanor of Castile, Marguerite de Provence, Florine of Denmark, and Berengaria of Navarre all go on Crusade. A troop of female fighters accompanies Emperor Conrad to Syria, and female Crusaders fight in the army of William, Count of Poitiers.
Late 1100s - Tomoe Gozen fights alongside her husband, a Minamoto general, in the Gempei War. Yae fights alongside her lover Takeda Shingen and commands a squad of female cavalry.
1200 CE - Saxo Grammaticus writes about Danish women who dress in men’s clothing and spend all their time learning “soldiers’ skills.”
1216 - Nicola de la Haye becomes sheriff of Lincolnshire and defends the town against rebel barons and the King of France’s son.
1261 - The Order of the Glorious Saint Mary is approved by Pope Alexander after about 30 years of existence. It grants the rank of “militissa” to women. (Sixtus V suppresses it in 1558 because women fighters oh no.)
1300-1374 - Jane, Countess of Montfort, rides armored into battle to defend her besieged city. She mobilizes the townswomen to defend the ramparts of her castle with missiles. She breaks out of the castle at the head of a troop of 300 horsemen and fights her way to freedom, later returning with another 600 men to reinforce the town. Later that year, she fights in a naval battle, wielding a sword at the helm of her ship.
Early 14th century - Isabelle of England takes up arms against her husband Edward II. Edward II forces her to flee to Scotland, where she fights in the ensuing war with a troop of women that includes the sisters of Nigel and Robert Bruce.
Late 14th century - Agnes Hotot’s father agrees to a lance duel to settle a disagreement. On the day of the encounter, he falls ill, so Agnes puts on a helmet, mounts her father’s horse, and beats his foe in the tourney. While he lies on the ground, Agnes lets down her hair and bares her breasts so he will know he has been beaten by a woman.
1383 - Pope Boniface VIII writes several letters mentioning female Genoese crusaders.
1518 - A group of 350 girls constructs and defends fortifications for the Protestant Garrison in Guienne, France.
1521 - Hernan Cortes’ army includes Spanish and Mayan women.
1524 - Ameliane du Puget leads a troop of women who break a siege at Marseilles.
1568 - Amaron and Kenau Hasselaar lead a battalion of 300 women to defend the Dutch city of Haarlem against the Spanish.
1584 - Tomoe Gozen, described as an excellent swordswoman, captures Kyoto after winning the Battle of Kurikawa.
And again, that’s just a small selection of some of the more interesting examples. Women have always fought.
TL;DR: In a combat game in which the physics and reality and biology are made up wholesale by developers, and in which the hero is positioned as exceptional, not average, the only real reason not to have female protagonists is, yes, sexism.
I would like historical fiction about all of these ladies please.