The Female Video Game Player-character Persona and Emotional Attachment


  • Jacqueline Burgess University of Sunshine Coast, Australia
  • Christian Jones University of Sunshine Coast, Australia



video games, player-characters, gender, emotional attachment


This research, using online qualitative survey questions, explored how players of the PlayStation 4 console game, Horizon Zero Dawn, formed emotional attachments to characters while playing as, and assuming the persona of the female player-character, Aloy. It was found that the respondents (approximately 71% male) formed emotional attachments to the female player-character (PC) and non-player characters. Players found the characters to be realistic and well developed and they also found engaging with the storyworld via the female PC a profound experience. This research advances knowledge about video games in general and video game character attachment specifically, as well as the emerging but under-researched areas of Persona Studies and Game Studies.


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Author Biographies

Jacqueline Burgess, University of Sunshine Coast, Australia

Dr Jacqueline Burgess is an Associate Lecturer in Marketing at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Her research investigates narrative brands with a focus on how consumers and audiences become emotionally connected to the stories these brands tell and the resulting marketing implications. She has published her work in multiple peer-reviewed journals and conferences.

Christian Jones, University of Sunshine Coast, Australia

Dr Christian Jones is Professor of Interactive Media and the leader of the Engage Research Lab. His research focuses on human–computer interaction, interactive media, and affective computing. He leads multiple large-scale, collaborative projects and his research has been published in over 100 international, peer-reviewed conference and journal articles. His work has also been covered by various journalists in news outlets.


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How to Cite

Burgess, J., & Jones, C. (2021). The Female Video Game Player-character Persona and Emotional Attachment. Persona Studies, 6(2), 7–21.



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