Abfinder, Part 1: Ezren 

We’re interrupting this week’s muscular women discourse for some sexy dudes we redesigned during couple streams. It’s the men of Pathfinder. This week Ezren, the iconic Wizard. Because Ozzie and silver foxes is a pattern, apparently 😉

I usually  keep the silhouette roughly the same for male characters, just uncovering as much of skin as possible, but this was a special case, cause male wizards tend to dress in tons of unsexy layers. I had no choice but to recreate his legs, arms and abs from scratch, without much indication of how ripped he should be. 

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No sleeves, no coat flaps, a crop top that reaches juuust above his male presenting nipples. Now that’s empowerment. 

Hope you also liked the new stylish shoes I designed him from scratch.

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Everyone knows that when fighters and barbarians go topless, it’s to display their physical strength, right? Clearly, when squishy magic user does the same, it’s a sign of magic power making up for their vulnerable bodies! At least that’s what we usually hear when a witch or a sorceress of some kind runs around in a bikini. 

~Ozzie

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

Brigitte and Overwatch’s continous female design problem

We talked already about Brigitte’s costume, but there’s a whole lot of other issues about her character design that shouldn’t be overlooked. Again, it’s a nice idea to have a new lady in actual armor in the game, though we wouldn’t be BABD if we didn’t point out some obvious and less obvious problems that can be spotted with her. 

She’s, after Moira, another white European lady in a row, while still the closest to black female representation among playable heroes is Orisa, a robot (and before anyone says it – nope, none of the dark-skinned female characters are black).
For a game that prides itself in having diverse international cast, Overwatch can not imagine people of color color coming from places that wouldn’t be POC-dominant already (also lots of their heroes of color somehow happen to be morally dubious compared to white ones). And just because Brigitte is a pre-established character doesn’t yet excuse prioritizing adding her to the game over someone with different background. 

It’s kind of funny how after being unnamed for no reason in her last major media appearance, the Reinhardt animated short, now Brigitte got elevated from a supporting lore character to one of main heroes. This, paired with ridiculous lack of consistency in her cross-media appearances gives us a strong feeling that no-one at Blizzard is overseeing writing and art direction of Overwatch as a franchise. Fans who spot constant retcons in the story would agree.

Speaking of no visual consistency, seems like from comics to the animated short to the actual game Brigitte finished her long journey from a unique-looking person to another standard issue pretty face. 

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And no, different artists working on each of those appearances isn’t an excuse for how only her hair and skintone remain relatively consistent. Her crucial features like jawline, freckles, nose shape and size, how big her eyes are and how strong her chin is shouldn’t alter so widely just because of art style change. Blizzard is perfectly capable of making and using style guides – and when they don’t, it’s either by choice or negligence.

And if you wondered what we meant by “standard issue pretty face”, this pic, for obvious reasons, has gained some major mileage around the Internet: 

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Congrats, Blizzard! You officially care about diverse female appearances as little Disney does! (image sources: [x] & [x]) 

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Or maybe the jokes are true and the (weak) excuse for looking like clones is the same as for the Frozen ladies? Mercy is Brigitte’s real mom!

Not to mention that Blizzard can’t make up their mind on what Brigitte’s body type is supposed to be. Is she thin and curvy as virtually every other Overwatch lady? Is she almost as buff as Zarya? Something inbetween? Who knows.

I saw some fans trying to excuse her twig arms from Christmas comic as being possibly earliest in the timeline, but no official channel would confirm or deny any speculation. Overwatch is pretty satisfied with fans using their headcanons to justify whatever information the story canon won’t commit to. Why make an effort when fans can do your job for you? 

~Ozzie

“Brigitte Lindholm, squire to Reinhardt Wilhelm, is a former mechanical engineer who has decided to take up arms and fight on the front lines to protect those in need.”

If I didn’t know anything about this character and was just reading her background blurb, I would be imagining a character design more akin to this:

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Why build a regular armor and shield when I can pilot a 12-foot-tall exoskeleton? Her father builds turrets during combat, it would have been cool if she had skills related to building and adjusting her own armor in-combat.

Her design doesn’t inform me of her character at all, which is a problem with several of the Overwatch cast (mostly ladies, I wonder why that is). She wears armor, but so does Pharah; is she also a soldier? She has no welding mask or a tool belt that would indicate that she’s a mechanic type. I get that she doesn’t want to just fix things on the sidelines, but she does throw out armor for her allies. It isn’t a stretch to flavor it as her fixing her team’s equipment in the heat of battle, and she does get a welding mask in a different skin but not the primary one?

Her color scheme is almost the same as Mercy’s, with silver (instead of white), yellow and black being the core, which really isn’t helping that same-face problem, Blizzard. Not to mention the shapes are very similar to Pharah’s. There’s just nothing new here design-wise, and I am disappointed.

-Icy

So since the screaming baby rage machine is still going full throttle, it’s probably worth bringing this back to highlight how this issue goes and the general expectations regarding fictional buff ladies.

After decades of pandering, capital-G gamers will accept buff ladies if:

  • They’re clearly in the service of a manly (cishet) man
  • They have some cute costuming to make them non-threatening
  • They are easily Disneyfied

They will lose their shit if the lady:

It’s never really about what they say it is – it’s always about “does this clearly prioritize me above everyone else, to the extent of excluding others”.

– wincenworks

One More Week With No Stream

Icy’s computer setup was messed up, so unfortunately we can’t stream this week either. Hopefully everything will be sorted by next weekend.

Stay safe!

~Ozzie and Icy

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

krixwell:

dare-to-dm:

feministgamingmatters:

I am really struggling to write academically about this trend of developers making up bad excuses for not including women because what I really want to say is that it sucks and it’s adding insult to injury and could you please just be honest and say you don’t wanna.

Oh yeah, I’m sick of it too.  And it feels like it just keeps happening and it’s insulting to our intelligence.  Like

Ubisoft: We can’t have a female protagonist because they’re too hard to animate!

Logical Retort: What about all those female characters you already animated?

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What they should have admitted: We didn’t want to make a woman protagonist.  

~~~~~

Konami: Quiet can’t wear clothes because she’s infected by a parasite that makes her breathe through her skin and she’d suffocate!

Logical Retort: Well then how come that other guy with the same parasite was covered head to toe?

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What they should have admitted: We wanted her to be eye candy.

~~~~~

Bungie: Cortana is rendered without any clothes because it gives her a psychological advantage over her opponents!

Logical Retort: Then how come the “male” AIs are rendered with clothing?

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What they should have admitted: We wanted her to be eye candy.

~~~~~

Nintendo: Link can’t be a woman because no one would relate to them!

Logical Retort: 48% of gamers would probably love to see a character like them.  And much of the other 52% may appreciate the novelty.

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What they should have admitted: We really like making the exact same concept over and over.

Stop.  Your BS excuses are honestly almost more insulting than the truth.

@bikiniarmorbattledamage

First let us begin with a summary of many of the reblogs by individuals who have very predictable responses.

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The basic arguments being spewed up are the usual suspects:

Basically all variants on the “I am threatened by examination of my hobby and would prefer we maintain a world where I am unfairly celebrated than move toward one where I am expected to recognize other people as human.”

Really there’s only two reasons we keep getting this trash:

  1. Developers who want to make out their personal fantasies and expect everyone to praise them unconditionally for it
  2. Creepy Marketing Guy convinces the stakeholders to follow an old myth that sounds appealing but, in reality, doesn’t work.

Obviously, neither of these is really a good explanation so instead of the honest truth we get the a worrying state on ongoing denial of both the problem and the consequences.

– wincenworks

More on rhetoric on BABD | BABD’s Rhetoric Bingo

I figured this would be an appropriate throwback, in the light of Ubisoft, one of developers mentioned, being exposed last month for their massive sexual misconduct claims, and then, on top of that, evidence of absolutely shamelessly toxic, cishet white male-centric development philosophy at their studios, despite  bragging about having diverse teams working on games

When not insisting that sex sells”, Creepy Markerting Guy and his Creepy Executive buddies, are literally on record saying that “women (as protagonists) do not sell”. And pushing back against their development teams fighting for even slightest bit of inclusivity in their games. 

We’ve been saying for years, one way or another, that there’s a direct connection between toxic white masculinity and the refusal in entertainment industry, including games, to acknowledge women as more than eye candy and that people other than white straight cis men deserve to have their stories told. 
We’re not surprised by the disturbing revelations – there were similar ones before. Moreover, the product itself reflects the toxic environment it was made in, if you know where to look. 

~Ozzie 

kainissoable:

I tried giving Umah from Blood Omen 2 some proper armour, design based broadly off the single piece of armour to her name – that weird double pauldron thing. Edited the bottom half of her bikini into a fantasy tabard, and if I’d thought to use a fuller screenshot I’d have put the dragon from her Defiance concept art on there, but thought of that way too late. Come up with your own reason for why she has the Soul Reaver, preferably one more interesting than the fact that it’s hiding some lop sided hip armour that would have been a pain to fix. Another case of not as good as I was hoping for but automatically an improvement on the bare skin chafing nightmare of the original.

Personally I ascribe to @bikiniarmorbattledamage‘s tongue in cheek philosophy that women in fantasy should be fully armoured while men should wear something tastefully revealing. Legacy of Kain at least gets halfway there with the well muscled men in leather pants, just a shame about the prevalence of bikini armour.

Wow, the original is a yikes, especially the huge boob part made from unidentifiable material. I guess it counts as better than most booplates we’ve  seen on BABD because there’s no boob window/exposed cleavage, but that’s one low bar to clear. Also, one huge grey boob blob on her chest is somehow extremely distracting and boring at the same time. At least put some symbol on it or something! 

I like your simplistic redesign, @kainissoable. If me or Icy were doing it we’d probably put some design (likely sampled from other part of the costume) on the breastplate, to break up this huge shape, which was also the original’s problem. It still works objectively better than the generic garbage the original was. 

~Ozzie 

bikiniarmorbattledamage:

baddreamslimbo:

poisonivyys:

@bikiniarmorbattledamage

Speaking of boobs in fighting games

@pointandclickbait as usual has a really great take on the case

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Remember that time when dudebros declared that Fury in Darkseiders III, sporting a (vaguely jiggly) metal boobplate, was “unfeminine and almost no more clearly recognized as woman”

Well, now we have a version of that devoted to sexualization of the undead. How… precious. 

Bonus fun fact based only on what some people in reblogs claim: those OneAngryGamer tweets are supposed to be “satire”. Riiight. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) 

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If this is that dude’s idea of “satire”, I prescribe him reading more Point and Clickbait before attempting again to commit his comedic genius to a keyboard. 

~Ozzie 

Throwing this post back not because sexyfying the undead is particularly topical* right now, but because of the point it’s making about satire at the end. 

As I explained in the comments under the original copy of this post, “Political Correctness Gone Mad: I Barely Want To Fuck This Zombie” is clearly satire. 
“For the sake of boner culture, hopefully the sexy outfits are still viable option via the gear customization” is really not. 

Believe me, I would not be able to make a whole rhetoric bingo if I haven’t seen a big deal of people unironically defending stuff along the lines of “boner culture”. 

~Ozzie 

* Sadly, it’s always topical to some degree 

Disagreeing with Disgaea’s Designs, Part 2: Flonne

I feel like I’m going to get flack for this but oh well lol. So Flonne here, in her initial appearance, is an angel, assassin, otaku, ditz, and believer in love and justice. Hashtag relatable, am I right? I’m not sure why an assassin would have annoying detachable sleeves and hotpants. The color contrast between her pale-ass skin and white shirt isn’t even strong enough to make her shoulder an interesting standout shape. Maybe all the angels wear pajamas, which honestly, I can relate to. But not for assassinating.

For the redesign, I took inspiration from the lolita fashion style and gave her some fun shorts and a little cape. I was trying to maintain a lot of circles/rectangles in the redesign, since she is a force for good, even though the original had those bow triangles.. I guess they’re supposed to foreshadow her role in the sequel games? I’m not sure. I kept the color scheme, and I moved around some of the bows for balance in the design.

I think she could benefit from some socks, maybe, but I decided to forgo them cause I feel like even if she wore them, she’d forget to. She’s supposed to be an airhead, after all!

I’m not sure how I feel about the final product, this is the result of like 3 different tries, as usual. The only thing I’m really sure of is that cape. 🙃

-Icy