(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..
As it approaches Cult Classic status, its worth thinking about how Jennifer’s Body is both a brilliant deconstruction of gender in horror but (sadly to its box office detriment) a great example of the old notion of sex sells doesn’t just fail to generate sales, it actively harms many productions.
The movie was horribly misrepresented in marketing, largely because the studio was convinced the only reason anyone would want to see a Megan Fox movie was to ogle her body. That is: They assume all decisions about whether a movie is worth watching are made by developmentally stunted cishet men (the only demographic who wouldn’t work out there were plenty of places you could already ogle Megan… largely due to movie studios).
Despite what overpaid executives in suits who paid someone to do their exams for them will tell you, nobody actually benefits from the proliferation of this sort of marketing.
People interested in feminist themes don’t get works containing them identified as such to them
People wanting to watch stuff not about conventionally attractive women have to search to find out what things are actually about
A lot of people who view my feminist leanings as an “act” always point to the fact that I used to draw fetish art a decade ago as some sort of hypocrisy. But the fact of the matter is that just because I don’t draw fetish art anymore and identify as a feminist now doesn’t mean I have some sort of vendetta against it. The problem that arises when feminists clash with comic/game/geek content is because the “context” for the “sexy artwork” either doesn’t exist or is so flimsy it might as well not exist. There is nothing wrong with NSFW artwork, providing the context makes sense (and that includes the WHERE and HOW it’s being published).
Time for a reminder that this “sexy women just because” is such a norm that many seasoned creators still want to promote the idea that doing other than is somehow at odds with making a quality product.
Cliff Bleszinski recently got roasted for an Instagram post where he framed putting diversity into LawBreakers as a factor in its collapse, specifically because it did not get the praise that Overwatch did:
Ever since the studio closed I’ve been wracking my brain what I could have done differently. Pivot HARD when the juggernaut of Overwatch was announced. Been less nice with my design ideas and more of a dictator with them.
One big epiphany I had was that I pushed my own personal political beliefs in a world that was increasingly divided.
Instead of the story being “this game looks neat” it became “this is the game with the ‘woke bro’ trying to push his hackey politics on us with gender neutral bathrooms.” Instead of “these characters seem fun” it was “this is the studio with the CEO who refuses to make his female characters sexier.” Instead of “who am I going to choose” it became “white dude shoehorns diversity in his game and then smells his own smug farts in interviews” instead of just letting the product … speak for itself.
It’s okay to be political when your company or studio is established for great product FIRST. But we were unproven and I regret doing it. (This will be quite the doozy of a chapter in the upcoming memoir.)
Now obviously there were the usual suspects chanting “Get Woke Go Broke” when the game closed, but largely (in places that are not boiling cesspits) it didn’t get a lot of discussion either way because of a wide variety of other, more pressing factors like gameplay, bugs, sever issues, graphical similarity to Overwatch, etc.
But the first thing that springs to mind is “I should have made the female characters sexier” because the conventional wisdom is somehow (despite society’s ongoing oppression of sex workers) female characters looking less than porny is a risky political statement.
This movie was a great start to the year and addition to the dialogue regarding the Marvel movies. Representation of women and same-gender relationships were great discussions sparked by it, and it smashed a box office record in the process.
Battle Royales are a big market right now, and it’s nice to see one that embraces diverse characters and provides the female characters with interesting roles and equipment (that is also practical looking)
And because I’m not too proud to admit to schadenfreude:
Mortal Kombat fanbase highlights general toxicity in gamer culture
So, Mortal Kombat 11 came out and it’s… well it’s a Mortal Kombat game, but a few changes to default designs and made a few female characters have less conventionally sexy outfits… and well, capital G gamers did not take it well:
If you’re wondering why you hadn’t seen more on Wolfenstein: Youngblood or Control, it’s because pretty much the vast majority of platforms such as Steam and rating services such as MetaCritic still want to take a hands-off approach to their communities because they just don’t care. Of course, there’s also the issue of how Kelly Marie Tran was all but written out of Rise of the Skywalker.
Well the game is out now and while it was celebrated for its nostalgic qualities, it sadly also carried along all the nostalgic ideas on how female character’s costumes should just be generically sexy without anything thought on… anything else at all… not even whether the clothes can even exist.
This whole thread is definitely worth reading for a better understanding of The Creepy Marketing Guy and why so many games, particularly in early campaigns, seem to rely on generic strategies like sex sells.
So the next time you see a promotion for a game that seems to focus entirely on boobs, butts and explosions then you can be sure that it’s because the marketing guys are getting paid for the campaign, not the sales of the game, and they probably got to interfere in the process of game development, messing with the original vision of the developers, to make that happen.
(Before we continue – for the benefit of those about to frantically type a comment – the artwork is very much on brand for the artist, and would even be very suitable in an explicitly erotic game or just as softcore erotic art. The problem isn’t the art itself, it’s that it’s for a game about mechs vs kaiju)
This art was used heavily in a “buy now” promotion a few days prior to releasing the first playable demo* of the game that’s been in development for three years.
It’s probably good that the majority of people who like this art like it as a pinup and not as a promise of content to be in the game then.
If the most interesting thing about your game is a thing that isn’t central to the game or in even in it… a giant stop sign, clearly your game is going wrong. I mean at the very least, stop asking people to hand over their money for a product that’s guaranteed to disappoint. ***
This is of course, the most extreme example – but it’s probably something to consider the next time you see a game promoting itself with bizarrely incongruent sexual imagery, big promises and little substance.
* Playable in the absolute vaguest sense possible – there’s only movement mechanics so it’s not even an alpha release. Incidentally, from the second indiegogo (the first one was just for the site):
(Due to Mark’s forementioned affiliations – it is safe to say that a lot of these backers lost their shit at @femfreq for extending their deadline due to unforeseen support… I wonder what the difference could be…)
Look, I’m not saying that this marketing strategy wouldn’t be effective at getting the attention of twelve year olds… but is this really the best way to market products supposedly suitable for pre- teens?
This week’s throwback: cover image that totally tells us what the game is about and is very definitely appropriate to tweens. Yup, totally.
Seriously though, while 12-year olds are not too young to begin understanding their own sexuality interest in butts, how about we don’t make them internalize the idea of reducing women to body parts? And maybe consider what kind of message it sends to 12-year old girls?
So, a while ago the ever classy Soul Calibur announced that for #6, there’d be a couple of guest characters: 2B from Nier Automata who you can dress like Kaine and Geralt from The Witcher… who you can dress like generic Geralt.
So why is Ivy* in the bingo? Well, apparently she’s critical to 2B’s… something.
Because it seems that the marketing at Soul Calibur are now so over invested in the generic myth that never pays off that even 2B was not sexy enough, so she doesn’t even get to make an appearance until 30 seconds into her own intro.
And the story is apparently… all about Ivy for some reason? None of it seems to fit with either game, and more importantly none of it explains why we don’t have a “just got out of the tub” Geralt costume.