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