I really wanted to do a quick redraw of the two characters from “Aurcus Online” (original post here), first the male one in the obviously empowering outfit and then the female one with more appropriate attire for combat.
What amazes me the most about this is that the male outfit is actually pretty gender neutral and doesn’t look weird on the woman, at all. You’d probably just make the collar a little smaller for a more “feminine” look and choose different boots for a lady with her body shape (like I did), but that’s it. So why on earth would you invest more precious time into developing a different version of this outfit? The “male” one even shows cleavage! Game designers never cease to confuse me.
I am honestly as baffled as you for why so many video game developers design separate costumes for the same character/class depending on gender instead of slightly readjusting one outfit. Somehow doing extra work specifically to alienate half of potential audience is good business practice, because… sex sells?
Yet whenever it’s more convenient, a completely opposite rhetoric is used to justify lack of women in a game.
So yeah, depending on which way the creators want to keep gaming cootie-free, female characters either have a separate budget for making them explicitly different (i.e. more sexualized) than male ones or they are too hard to render so there won’t be any. Either way, women = deviation from the norm = extra work.