Look, I’ve been employed as a designer for two years now, and maybe that’s not that long; I’m at least sure I don’t have the same kind of industry experience that the designers in charge of this train wreck probably do, but I do know one thing:
Design that fails to communicate its intended message is bad design.
It is, in my opinion, the chore element that separates what we do from Fine Art – fine art is a personal expression. Someone can argue with the conclusions that you came to in fine art but ultimately, it’s your territory, your message, your composition, your voice, your story.
When you’re a hired designer, everything changes. It’s their story, their character, their message, their voice.
Putting aside the obvious pandering and intent to profit off of misogynistic ideals in female video game characters for just an instant, let’s talk about Charlotte.
Charlotte [evidently, from what I’ve admittedly heard through the grapevine; this game is not yet out in my country] uses a masquerade of charm and innocence to seduce men for their wealth. When I heard this, I was shocked, because from the moment I saw her outfit, she never looked like someone I could trust.
If she’s supposed to look demure, make her look demure, goddammit. You shouldn’t need a greenhorn like me to tell you these things. Learn to treat your female characters with more respect.
Awesome redesign accompanied by an awesome writeup, thank you, pixelcut!
One more thing I’d add about the difference between design (hired or not) and fine art, is that design is supposed to serve the same purpose for everyone who sees it. To communicate an intended message, as pixelcut puts it.
The problem with how Charlotte looks basically boils down to the whole issue our blog concerns: that a lot of female character designs, particularly female warrior costumes, do not tell us who we’re dealing with. Lingerie models, maybe, but not warriors, especially not if male characters of the same or similar class establish a completely different aesthetic.
Speaking of communicating a character’s backstory and personality via original design, let’s again celebrate this awesome fanmade Charlotte fix that tells us all she would want us to know about her… instead of being just a straight-up bikini armor
I did an armor edit of Charlotte from Fire emblem! Finished product first.
It’s not perfect, but I really like it. This is my first time finishing a large project like this (started three days ago, whew)! I want to revise other characters from Conquest, too, because I personally think that their personalities could be better reflected if their designs were revisited.
@bikiniarmorbattledamage This is an old subject, but I thought you might appreciate my take on Charlotte’s design from FE.
Amazing attention to detail. I especially like the belt rings which hold up her cincher. They both reference rings on her belt and gorget, while their placement is subtly implying on the character’s… naughty nature.
Backstory made to fit a sexualized design vs. a design made to fit a backstory requiring a character to wear minimal clothing.
Thank you, shattered-earth!
It is crucial to understand that a character design has to be informative of who the character is. And that sexualized designs do not inform us of it, just break the immersion.
Quiet’s a mercenary with a fictional condition that requires her to uncover as much skin as possible? Fine, then either make her totally nude or give her minimal clothing that is actually comfortable for her job.
Princess Zelda is royalty and a magic user, so her armor has to be fancy rather than simplistic and practical as Link’s? Sure, then make it gown-like and ornamental, just don’t leave out random patches of skin where she can be conveniently stabbed.
Charlotte is a gold-digging seductress who pretends to be innocent and demure? Then maybe instead of a boob-flaunting bikini give her a child-like costume that matches that persona?