The hilarious front line in the tragic war against ridiculous female armor
Tag: Character Design
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Speaking of the Sengoku period, this ultra-violent game set in that period has a variety of female warriors with different ages, backgrounds, etc and they all look amazing.in their own ways. Their particular natures showing through.
Of course, FromSoft has an amazing history of positive examples in Dark Souls and Bloodborne, but its particularly interesting that they did it with this game given so many other creators treat the period as free license to go completely off the rails with designs and the game taking the historical context seriously.
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)
The key consideration on this work is why is the armor and why the specific placement and design of the armor? Why this design? Particularly if its a more complicated design than regular armor.
Anzogh has a ridiculous cow skull on his belt, and a strap across his chest, bone bracelets to emphasise how little he has – it conveys that his is powerful and needs none of the convenience of civilization (like armor). Sometimes these characters have massive pauldrons to give them a more menacing silhouette
Saoirse has armor on her arms, and bits of her legs, the gaps in her armor are not to show power or independence, but to showcase her body from tits to hips. It’s to assure you that despite these weapons, her age and being on the battlefield… she’s got it going on. Generally when characters like this get shoulder, hip or thigh armor it’s to accentuate their hips and frame their torso pleasingly.
This is why we don’t trust explanations for why female protagonists have to have convoluted sexy costumes…. because if nothing else it means that they’ve decided they’re comfortable with making that a cornerstone of their brand.
And… I don’t even know what to do with this except cringe.
So, as you or may not have seen the hilarity of brodudes shitting themselves in anger that the new iteration of Lola Bunny which is going to appear in Ready PlayerSpace Jam was designed to be family friendly and appeal to young girls, rather than be a recreation of porny fan art of the character. (They literally claimed a fan art by a smut artist was the “original”) (VICE article here)
This magnificent tweet by InspectorNerd highlights why what we talk about on Bikini Armor Battle Damage is an important and often overlooked aspect of design for female characters (never male characters) and also another brief point I want to cover first.
Every now and again we do get people spamming us with out of context links to quotes from large busted women who, generally speaking, enjoy been seen as attractive but are sick of being reduced down to their bust size. They supply these as though it is absolute proof that the male gaze is perfect, and if you critique the design of fictional characters – you’re attacking these real women.
In it’s “golden age”, the pen and paper Vampire: The Masquerade was distinct from Dungeon and Dragons (and copycats) due to its heavy focus on social and other non-combat solutions. The game of course had combat, but much like in the original Bloodlines game it was generally fairly clumsy and heavy focus on it was generally heavy focus on making it as short and decisive as possible.
This made it notably popular with people who were sick of dealing with people who’d taken to expressing their toxic masculinity through superior knowledge of statistic math – and that included a lot of women.
I say all this so you’ll see that it makes perfect sense that they’d incorporate a Battle Royale variant of the upcoming Bloodlines game, and naturally show that this was going to apparently involve running around in lingerie and a leather jacket with a reverse grip on two swords in over the top action scenes.
Even more logical that in this modern fantasy game, where they could use countless items of real world gear as inspiration they apparently decided to go with this bizarre mix up gear that looks like it was randomly selected by an AI with a list of “cool” items.
Something to think about the next time you see people claiming that it’s people who propose that diversity in representation is “pandering”.
Return to Soul Calibur: Cassandra, Part 2
Soul Calibur IV/V: The Worst One
I don’t know why I do this to myself, but I decided to tackle the worst out of Cassandra’s outfits. The design started kind of silly at first, with me giving her a butt armor plating pretty much immediately. If she’s going to have a bunch of butt attacks, she might as well pack a real punch with those cheeks.
But as I was trying to figure out how to redo her entire upper half, which I hated all of, I ended up looking up some traditional Greek clothing for inspiration. Even though this is a while after Cass left home, I still wanted to include something that tied her back there. As I was explaining during a stream, SC has all these varied characters from all over the world, all with their own motivations, and yet their designs (especially in the later games) are so focused on the fan-service that any actual storytelling is lost.
In the end, I maintained the color scheme, and even the overall shape spread, with the legs being the biggest shapes (although reversed), and the small shapes breaking up the larger shape of the jacket. I guess the only shape I really broke up were in the arms, because I hate her stupid gloves lol.
I got rid of all of her pink ribbons because they just seem out-of-place no matter how you look at it. Guess they were tying the pink of the shield into her outfit, but they were too stupid. Rest in Pieces, ribbons.
This design would probably suit an earlier game, but whatevs. Overall, it’s pretty passable, if I do say so myself.