I think it’s been long enough but if you find yourself getting ready to type up a comment related to Mass Effect: Andromeda’s animations please consider watching this educational video from Extra Credits and not commenting here instead. This post is going to be a clarification of what we mean when we say Creepy Marketing Guy, and since the first post on this topic featured Samara, it’s only fair that Cora be the star of the clarification.
First, let’s start with what we do not mean when we refer to Creepy Marketing Guy. It does not refer to:
- Using distinctly porny ads to promote products (be they porn or not porn), particularly if they’re generic images from a clickbait ad company
- Products where hypersexualization is the norm (eg Bayonetta, Mortal Kombat, etc) even if they’re pitched as “empowerment”
- Auteur productions where the auteur advises that they want sexy ladies because they like sexy ladies or they breathe through their skin
What we instead refer to is a product where you can see the development team’s intentions are to create something where every element is involved in telling a specific story – and then someone (usually marketing) steps in and makes the change specific parts of them with the assumption that the cishet male demographic needs the sexual availability of at least one female character broadcast to them in order to be interested in the unrelated aspects.
In this case, they pick Cora Harper, who is an ultra-professional soldier (one of the most battle hardened in the team), introduced as being calm in a crisis, the second in command on the mission, and seems to use “male” set of animations for her running, etc (instead of the elbows-in butt wiggle run generally assigned to female characters, including fem!Ryder).
Then you see in the outfit in the top of the post before launching into the tutorial mission, during which she appears in cut scenes like this:
Pretty much every other female character in the establishing chapters of the game has pragmatic, non-gendered attire on and off the battlefield. But, since Cora is a romance option for bro!Ryder, she apparently needs to wear a fetish outfit sculpted around her boobs and butt, while on the battlefield. The other female member of the away team who is a romance option also similarly needs to broadcast she’s got a sexy side (she also only owns one set of clothes).
All other traits other than romance option to bro!Ryder are considered secondary – to the extent now Cora looks not just contradictory to her character but out of place in the game about exploring a new galaxy, finding wondrous alien technology and shaping humanity’s future.
Ironically this now means she is so out of place cannot be included in marketing material without making the game look a ridiculous parody of a dramatic adventure exploring alien worlds in a new galaxy. It’s almost like they should have just given her one of the dozens of pragmatic outfits I am sure the concept artists designed for Cora before being told to sex it up.
What is it with the “above boobs and under boobs belts” design feature that’s become so popular lately? Also, I thought Ashley’s outfit in Mass Effect 3 was insulting; the new BioWare studio really took it up a notch, though. … Good job?
I’ve read none of the promotional material for ME:A before it came out, so when I watched part of a Let’s Play of it out of curiosity, I couldn’t believe that Cora was this battle-hardened badass soldier type; I thought she was just another human on the ship. Her design makes me think of EDI before anything else. Those really sad attempts at actual armor pieces (like the baby plates on her shoulders) somehow make it worse, like Creepy Marketing Guy begrudgingly allowed it.
Also, send help, that butt window is staring into my soul.
This throwback is as the reminder that the problem of ridiculous female armor design is a wide spread enough probably that even studios known for being progressive end up falling prey to it.
That and well I recently acquired the Mass Effect Adult Coloring Book, which features Cora in it, but she’s clearly more inspired by the costume design than the writing in the game…
So much good work can be lost by pandering to an unappreciative demographic.