(Honestly glad there is no mantis race… at least I think there isn’t…)
Unsurprisingly a large part of the Steam community screenshots etc is ogling even more ridiculous sets of armor.
I don’t know which is worse, the weird horny marketing put together by the Creepy Marketing Guy or the more generic, family friendly marketing that tricks people into downloading the game and finding the options for female characters are fighting fucktoy, sexy sorcereress and bad archer..
Now, the Last of Us 2 is (assume spoilers in all the links)
a very contentious piece of art – with a wide spectrum of opinions about the role of violence (1,2), depictions of a trans character (1, 2) and so much more. However, there are some parts are indisputably positive: the graphics are amazingly beautiful, the accessibility is leaps and bounds ahead of so many AAA titles, and the outfits for the female characters are excellent.
Someone is frantically typing a comment about how “they’re just clothes” but they’re really so much more, these are outfits specifically chosen and tweaked to reflect the world the characters live in, and the demands of their lifestyles.
The outfits and the way they change to reflect the changes in the mood and the characters – all without distracting from the rest of the narrative. It’s a great example of how much story telling potential you can get out of clothes when you’re not limiting yourself to the most T&A possible.
edit: fixed first Polygon link (right after spoiler warning)
So, on top of the other issues with SNK Heroines – it also has this odd quirk where one of the characters is Terry Brogard, who (if you’re ancient like me) you might remember from classic arcade side-scrolling beat-em-up Fatal Fury (first released in 1991).
Now, this design first appeared in SNK vs Capcom: Chaos as an effect that could be rendered by Dark Stalkers (ie Capcom) character Demitri Maximoff. Neither Demitri, nor any other Capcom influence appears in the game. Back in the original… Terry looked like this when changed:
It was 2003, which means this game is possibly older than some of you reading this blog (and probably older than anyone furiously typing a comment to defend this outfit). It was a one off gimmick for a game that was ultimately a transparent cash grab and generally agreed to be forgettable.
But, fast-forward to 2018 and it appears that SNK have decided that just because they don’t have a reason to, doesn’t mean they can’t explore the concept of gender-shifting in a serious, considered and mature… I can’t do this…
That’s right, putting a guy into a female body in a degrading outfit that makes fun of their origin is a “prank (?)”. The fuck did these people get up to in college? Are they considering the whole “abducted, put into a degrading costume and forced to fight your way out” part a prank to? Did anyone think about any aspect of this game before green lighting it?
Honestly if your best idea for a gender exploration/shift in a character is “a macho guy gets turned into a sexy woman, and is angry and humiliated… and just keeps checking their ass and boobs” (which is all Terry seems to care about when notified of the transformation… despite the suspicious lack of muscle tone, their old clothes, etc) you should just take that idea and burn it, then scatter the ashes and rethink your life.
Howdy folks, Myriad of Nocturnes here. I’m thinking of starting a series of posts where I bitch about shit that really grinds my proverbial gears. So, being the bonafide robot lover that I am, I thought I’d start us off with something that really just seems lazy to me.
Robots, Gender Roles, and You.
Credential wise, I’m a Transformers fan, Gundam fan, and fan of pretty much every robot focused franchise you could care to name. I love pretty much every sort of robot design, but there is one in particular that really annoys me.
You’ve all seen the content, i’m sure. A big, hulking inhuman (but masculine coded) robot with all sorts of deadly implements of war, death, and what have you….who shares a setting with a robot with ‘feminine’ coding who looks like a shrink wrapped supermodel.
It’s cowardly, if you ask me. People feel the need to assign some sort of humanity to their robot, rather than allowing it to be a robot. Why does your robot have to conform to hetero-normative gender roles? Why are all of your lady robots running around looking like human women with fancy helmets? Why does a robot have to act in a manner consistent with the way people act?
Ya’ll often share posts about making monster girls more monstrous. I just passed one today that called for people to give their orc women fangs, tusks, scars, and muscles.
I say let your robots of any gender coding have multiple arms, inhuman features, and alien thought processes. Be creative! Let your robot be any gender it desires. If you want your robot to be feminine in some manner, let it, but don’t show us that it’s feminine by giving it big anime titties.
We talk a lot about suspicious dimorphism among design of living creatures, but when this trope regards robots, it’s a special case. There’s no “they’re just naturally like that” Thermian argument to juggle. Instead, there might be the “Don’t blame us for how that fictional robot looks, blame its equally fictional creator!” variation of the agency argument.
@femfreq has an old episode regarding the inherent sociological problem with sexualizing female-coded robots:
The video focuses exclusively on gynoids in advertising, so doesn’t really touch on the even bigger problem in various science fiction and similar media.
Popular media tends to assume a robot, an artificial (not always sentient) being should either be coded male or assumed male in absence of gender signifiers. A female-coded robot is generally requires a “good” justification to look like a lady – usually some combination of being seen as subservient, providing fanservice or the Smurfette Principle. Thus making them look feminine is a bigger priority than taking advantage of the fact that robots can look like whatever – that privilege is reserved to machines which are male by default.
That leads me to quite a bold conclusion that Orisa is by far the best female playable character design in Overwatch – bearing very little gender signifiers (particularly compared to all the human women in the game) and having silhouette that is both very bulky and not entirely humanoid.
Okay, so we had a few people ask for opinions on Yacht Clubs Games adding the Body Swap Mode to Shovel Knight. I want to preface this by saying I completely believe that they have good intentions and have done some very progressive things (like letting you set your pronouns independent of sprites) but that it also has some issues.
Lastly, and linking back to the first point, it’s important to remember that body swap options like this have a very strong tendency to promote an idea of false equality by creating a situation where gender is irrelevant. In real life, people’s gender is often very, very relevant to how the world interacts with them, their internal motivations and their general experience.
(That’s not to say there’s not a purpose to gender options or characters that exist outside of gender, but rather that one cannot just assume gender doesn’t matter – especially after heavily investing in gender roles)
To use one of their own examples, compare King Knight and Queen Knight.
Now, honestly I think the design in the sketch without the ridiculous boobplate effect was better but if Queen Knight looks like this, then King Knight should really look like Henry VIII combining his party and jousting attire:
The idea that “boobs decide if female” thing seems to be a trend with a lot of their swap designs, to the point of absurdity with some designs:
And when they don’t opt for boobs as the signal, it sadly seems to fall down to the idea that a male character has slightly more impressive armor (the most obvious example being The Enchantress) and aggressive stance than a female character.
As I said, I believe that the intention is there it doesn’t seem to have led to the actual examination of issues like “why are we sexualizing armors in the first place?” and “are we making the female characters seem out of place or a deviation?”
That can be challenging questions to ask, particularly if you’ve already got a dozen or so designs you really already love – but not asking them tends to result in re-enforcing the same old messages just in different ways.
i’ve been meaning to do this post for YEARS and i finally managed to dig out all these sketches and put them together.
the sexual dimorphism in WoW has always been sad especially considering blizz had such good ideas at the start but the furious fan feedback always made them redesign these fascinating and monstrous females of the races into much more humanlike. i also remember the uproar of thin male blood elves and the homophobic and sexist slurs that followed which made them beef up the male model considerably.
i tried my best to give a go at redesigning them to make their body types, postures and facial features more aligned.
dwarf, undead, goblin and gnome models on the other hand are great, 5/5.
welcome to video game!!!!!! customize your character; but first, choose your gender:
in case anyone thought this was an exaggeration
TERA is such a bad joke of a game. And not only that, but female characters all wear super-skimpy outfits and lean way the hell over so that you can see their panties when they run.
I mean, nothing against fanservice (although I prefer mine a bit more equal-opportunity). This game, however, is just…tawdry. Like something out of a particularly bad adult manhwa.
Also, I remember a discussion in which the scummy fanboys broke out literally every scummy fanboy derailing tactic in the book (plus a Godwin or two and an accusation of “shaming” the characters). So…there’s also the matter of the brand of fan it attracts.
Ah, TERA Online. Once upon a time, I played (and enjoyed) the closed Beta, up to the point where I had to interact with a female NPC who literally wore a metal bikini (not chainmail, actual solid metal) whose breasts still swayed–with the armor.
I actually have a mixed attitude toward the designs in the game. On the one hand, it’s all very Male Gaze, creepy, and completely impracticalor physically impossible to wear into battle. On the other hand, some of their stuff is actually well-designed (i.e. actually makes use of design principles) and is nice to look at. It’s the kind of stuff I wouldn’t mind seeing at a Haute couture fashion show (though they can’t seem to design shoes for shit).