All these excuses are 100% real and reiterated only with the slightest sarcastic inflection. They were all uttered with complete seriousness, though whether from sheer naiveté or callous indifference I couldn’t tell you. The point is they’re all excuses.
Some of these are even true; in fact, all of them are at least a little true, because the best (worst) excuses is always just a little true.
But ask anyone who thinks about creating anything and they’ll tell you, as you probably know already, that what you leave out is as much of decision as what you put in. Where’s your budget going, exactly, that’s so much important than a playable woman? If you can’t write women, maybe you should hire a better writer, or hire a consultant, or have your writer talk to a woman a few times.
What these excuses say is “we thought a lot about our game. But we didn’t think women were worth thinking about.” A distraction from what they really wanted to talk about. They can even understand, intellectually, that a story about women might be serious or interesting or relatable. But they have no idea how to do it themselves and no interest in creating ones. They think that’s okay and they think that doesn’t matter, because they’re writing a story about men.
But men do not live in a world with only men, and what’s far less “realistic” than playable women is a world in which men can safely ignore women…or people of color, or queer folx…telling stories that revolve only around them. Their stories aren’t alone. They touch every story around them. A story can never be about “just” masculinity because even (especially) the absence of something is as much of statement as its presence. What sort of story do think that it might be? The story without women, that is.