The recent posts regarding Sacred have reminded me of an interesting oddity. I have included pictures of two of the four female classes in the first Sacred, one picture each on how they look in the class selection scene and one with ingame armor.
If we look at the Seraphim in the class selection, we’d still see an example of terrible female armor. However, the player won’t run around like this for long, because the armor they’ll be able to collect will look like the one in picture two. I’d say that is a pretty good example, if not the most perfect.
Then there is the vampir, who starts the game clad in something I cannot properly identify, however, picture four despicts another piece of ingame armor. In fact, it is a special, high-level armor set.
Say, what do you make of this incredible gap in armor quality between marketing and actual game?
From what I’ve gathered from people who work in games, and my own experience in multimedia project management, when you have a random sexy outfit, sexy woman, etc that sticks out like a sore thumb in a project – it means an executive thought it was a necessity.
Largely it has to do with the process by which the vast majority of mainstream studio titles are produced. It’s a process that depends on professionals who often hold misguided or just outright misogynistic beliefs.
The game designer will make notes on the ones they like because they fit the game, and notes on how they need to be fixed/improved. The lead 3d modeller with also add their notes about what’s doable/needs changing… and the marketing representative (or similar executive) will pick the ones they like and add notes about needing more T&A due to the misguided belief that sex sells. The art director then gathers up all the chosen designs, and tells the artists to refine them as per the instructions – all the rest are scrapped.
(Often marketing person, company equivalent or other sexist executive will have a disproportionate amount of power to others, owing to the fact that it’s his responsibility to ensure the game sells and makes lots of money or are considered a vital component to the product.)
The refined designs are then brought back to the group and the process repeated until all parties have the required number of designs they are happy with – meaning that the actual developers need to alter the product in order to appease the guy who thinks sex sells and wants to see boobs.
This is another reason why female villain characters (who we’re not supposed to like) often end up looking like they’re in the middle of a lingerie shoot.
Other popular choices of appeasing the marketing guy include:
- Secondary female characters
- Starting outfits for the PCs
- “Final form” outfit (available for the last level only… but may haunt a character for the rest of their career if marketing likes it)
Essentially it’s because of the strange idea that if a game has women in it then people must believe at least one of them will be super sexy in order to buy it. Even if she’s just sexy for a few moments. Personally as a straight male gamer I find the concept rather insulting.
This is not to imply that any party involved is deliberately trying to be evil (well maybe some of them are), but that the industry in general is still very in the sway of faulty logic based in many old misconceptions.
Which is why it’s important to challenge these perceptions and advocate that they just make good stuff for us to buy.
I love stuff.
(Disclaimer: Concept art in this case was used by because it was convenient as an example of a oddly sexualised character, I have no specific knowledge about the choices on that particular character)