After a seven year pause in games, Samurai Warriors 5 is out and it features a new kunoichi (female ninja)
character – Mitsuki. You can tell she’s a kunoichi because she’s dressed like she’s from a ninja gaiden game. For those not aware, Ninja Gaiden is set in 1980s USA and Samurai Warriors is set in Sengoku Period (1467 – 1615) Japan.
Now the thing with the Sengoku Period is that it is an area of history where we have some good evidence of female professional warriors (onna-musha) being around (though their role has historically been downplayed and so the specifics are unclear) and we have some artwork depicting what they might have looked like… unsurprisingly the armour they wore was the same as the men’s.
When not in armour, they are understood to have worn clothes typical of feudal Japan… basically the opposite of this outfit.
So… how can this be an improvement? Well from Samurai Warriors 1 – 4 the equivalent character was a kunoichi who’s name is… Kunoichi and is… *checks notes* apparently fifteen years old…
And, again… I want to stress… there are real women from his era with artistic depictions of them available, so for a game where most of the cast are historical figures… this is um… well I don’t need to tell you.
I didn’t say it was a big improvement… or one worth congratulating them on, but it is at least a very minor improvement… very, very minor.
“We didn’t make any change because of external influences,” he says. “Those changes came up internally. We decided to remove that because we want the biggest possible number of people to play, and we don’t want to have something in the game that might make someone uncomfortable.”
The even better news is that those who were enraged that such an amazing act of censorship could occur have pretty much re-affirmed the point. After a month and a lot of publicity, the petition only gathered 6,300 signatures (and at least one duplicate I noticed). Most of these guys still don’t seem to believe that the developers actually decided on this change on their own…
and they’re probably all going to buy the game anyway:
I can’t imagine why the developers may choose to try to appeal to people outside of this demographic… oh wait, I can.
Today’s throwback: reminder that “self-censorship” isn’t really a thing and maybe a developer doing the bare minimum to not alienate potential audience pre-release is neither “pandering to the SJWs” nor literally a vile act of censorship? 🤔
This comic opens with this line, then outlines the brutal deaths of the protagonists parents in a manner plenty of people will find disturbing. The core plot for this is the protagonist avenging her brother.
So, it’s a little confusing why ever single cover depicts her like one of her like less armoured version of a long forgotten pulp fantasy character. I mean, okay it’s a an improvement on her famous appearance in 1982:
However at some point, the creators of these things really need to decide if they want them to be a:
A light hearted romp full of pulp, cheesecake and beefcake OR
A serious and shocking drama story about hatred and revenge
‘Cause this weird thing of wanting to have the 80s pinup camp along with the “we have serious stories” grit really isn’t going to do them any favours.
From Generic Bikini, to Generic Swashbuckler. What creativity!!
So it seems Remedy (creators of Max Payne, Alan Wake and Quantum Break) have decided to branch out, rather than making a game about a man who can’t stop narrating about his surreal life they’re going to make Control, a game about a woman who can’t stop narrating about her surreal life…
What’s really ground breaking about this though is that it shows exactly how easy it is for developers to make a female character who can run and gun without sexifying up her design. They’ve even refrained from using her pants to produce gratuitous butt shots in the promos!
And it’s a definite improvement on the last role the voice actress played in a Remedy game… because tactical clothes do not fit like that:
It turns out this stuff was easy all along, all you have to do is think of your female character as a person… who knew…!?
(Yes her hair is sub optimal but in a game where you have surreal telekinetic powers, I will take annoying but expressive hairstyle over “if no boob, how woman” tops any day – at least the former is expressive of character and can make for dramatic framing/composition)
SMITE’s standards are below the bottom, so of course while she no longer had gravity-defying metal pasties for a top, it’s still a skin-tight boobplate.
I didn’t go particularly wild with fixes this time. I liked the ornamentation and accessories well enough to leave them be, so the changes are limited to the shape of the breastplate and big blue gambeson under all of it. Thanks to it her pretty necklace suddenly popped out, since color theory is still a thing. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Blue because it matched her existing color scheme, including those tacky Pict-like tattoos, which are alreadya cliche on many Norse/Viking characters, for some reason.
Not my most creative or labour-heavy redo, but I hope you guys like it!
And don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that the 2 ladies have some breast support now, but their breasts are still very clearly accented by their clothes for some reason. The designs are getting better, sure. It’s definitely an improvement from a Child’s-Small-size Halloween costume with shoestring (not even a better version than Ozzie’s Green Arrow), but we can do better.
I do hope that Brendan George continues to work hard with his team toward getting that “more mature and respectful” aesthetic that he wants. He’s not all the way there yet, I think.
Once again, I’d encourage our readers to not settle for the smallest, safest improvements in female (and/or otherwise marginalized) representation. I get it, we’re starved. But we have the right to ask for more.
The 80s She-Ra, like most of her contemporary cartoons, never aimed to be anything more than a glorified toy commercial. Characters were all based on the same mold to sell easily-reproducable toys and to fit the dirt-cheap animation budget at Filmation. J. Michael Straczynski even confirmed that’s why there were little to no costume changes in the original show.
The 2018 She-Ra rebootdoes characterredesign right – taking interesting parts from the originals (like color schemes, symbols, weapons) and doing a unique spin on them, with special attention to diverse body types, skin tones, facial features and recognizable silhouettes.
Not 100% the same cast between two images, but can you spot the ones that appear on both? 😉
Bingo-ing her was a bit of a challenge. Not necessarily because Slash checks out too little or too many squares, but because a lot of elements, like the original’s crotch window and the new version’s crotch belt would require custom bingo to actually score.
So, some of my friends started Quake Champions and I figured… this should be relatively safe game. I mean, the original Quake guy had a cube for a head and Quake 3 was… well for you kids who don’t remember the 20th century, it was what we killed our friends in before Fortnite and PUBG. The games industry has moved on in a lot of ways since then.
But apparently Slash’s outfit design (originally from Quake 3) has not moved on… just like, weirdly sideways and swapping out a garter-belt dress for a crotch belt. (and like… a leather garter belt under spandex shorts as well)
Please take a moment to consider how uncomfortable that would be to wear normally. Like, just standing around.
Now remember that Quake is the property that originally popularized (in first person shooters anyway) the gaming stunt we know as the “rocket jump” where one sets off an explosion underneath themselves mid-jump so the force of the explosion will launch them up.
For those of you typing comments frantically, yes it is true that Quake has never placed much emphasis on realism or even making sense – but I’m supposed to grimace in pain when I get gibbed with a rocket… not when I open up the character selection screen.
Hence it is now one of the few games/properties/products which I truly wish would return all the way back to it’s roots and the glory of 1996.