One common reason given for the absence of female characters in video games that are set in the past is that the portrayal is supposed to be historically accurate (see for examples these discussions at the Border House). This great post by Juliet McKenna suggest that excuse is not legitimate.
McKenna notes that much of ‘history’ as it was studied did leave women out of the discussion, but as she puts it, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” Instead of accurately representing the role of women in history, McKenna suggests that the absence of women reflected Victorian beliefs about the importance of great men. It was not the case that women played little role in history, instead it was the case that Victorian historians focused on what men did and neglected what women were doing. And since the rise of women’s studies in the 1960s, writers can no longer use the “historical accuracy” excuse.
Women’s influence and significance is now apparent, even when they were effectively denied financial and political power by the cultures of their day.
So a fantasy writer can no longer point to a few exceptional women in fantasy narratives, such as Galadriel, and hide behind a claim to reflect historical accuracy because the only significant women in history were exceptions such as Good Queen Bess. Not when I have books on my study shelves about the women who sailed with Nelson’s navy and built his ships in the royal dockyards, about the role of so many women in the scientific developments of the Enlightenment and a whole lot more besides. (From “The Representation of Women in Fantasy“)
So the alleged historical accuracy might not be so accurate. If only this were enough to convince people to stop using the excuse…