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?



WOOO I did a redesign of this hot monstrosity. The screen shots used in this post were provided by doctorsanity, who submitted them to bikiniarmorbattledamage

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.


Original post with the full gallery available here.

I think it’s worth emphasizing that not only do cheesecake designs on serious characters insult the audience – they represent massive missed opportunities.  Every time a company decides to go with “sex sells” instead of a solid design it means that all kinds of great potential is flushed away sight unseen.

– wincenworks

A quick reality check on the fact that every lazy “sex sells” female* character design accounts for another wasted chance for greatness.


*Not to say that male characters don’t fall victims to creative bankruptcy in their own right, but they still manage to have A LOT more cliches and archetypes to choose from and not be reduced to fap fodder by default.