It Never Ends

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Well the fact that we are even talking about how the characters look while the game is 4 months away means the characters hit the mark of getting noticed. Lets face it, dragon crown IS going to be a small crowd rpg, and if you agree with it or not, it being a stylized rpg like this rather then a PR friendly dime a dozen rpg will probably help it sell more copies then it would sell other wise. face it, on looks alone on a shelf, with those characters on the box vs the cookie cuter create your own character rpg character or little anime characters, This game will at least get picked up and looked at the back vs the other same old stuff different game.

I like the design of the Sorceress. I like women who have huge... Tracks of land.

ToastiestZombie:
What irks me is that all the other characters designs are being ignored because of one OTT female character in a game filled with OTT characters. Here's a picture of all the characters:

The other two female characters are a pretty, but relatively un-sexualized archer and a MASSIVE amazonian woman.

Another thing that irks me is the fact that because of this one character the game hasn't had any other discussion about it, and to be honest it doesn't even look that good anyway.

The Amazon is wearing basically no clothing, and the Archer is clearly displaying Absolute Territory, http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ZettaiRyouiki
So yeah... they're still pretty sexualized.

Interesting take on the situation, Bob. When it comes right down to it I have the same problem you seem to when most of thes issues come up: even if I don't always agree with all the methodologies of all the feminists and "feminists" on the intarwebs, it's still atrocious that video games can make women uncomfortable not only with the state of their bodies but even with being women.

That being said, I am also extremely hesitant about siding with the 'cover your shame!' crowd. That rabbit hole leads to a fuckload more church basements and repressive sexualities than I ever want to see.

Let's just remove all sexualisation from every kind of media, shall we? Would that be preferable? Looking at the guy who posted that complaint article, it's not at all surprising that he's upset he isn't able to attract good looking women. Yes, this is an ad hominem.

DrunkenElfMage:
In my opinion, the body shape and objectification here crosses the line from sexy to ridiculous and frankly makes it a parody of itself. The character epitomizes the ridiculously high standards that we have set for female characters in video games and if the design wasn't at least a LITTLE tongue in cheek when the artist made it and wanted it to be taken as serious as a character in a Japanese RPG can, then I am frankly saddened by its existence.

I'm kind of on a similar page here. All these character designs are so meticulously strange and, for the lack of a better word, deformed that I can't imagine anyone drew them just because it looks cool. Or maybe they did, but I just don't understand it.

In any way, I don't really have a problem with the existence of the Sorceress. I don't like the art, but that's just my cup of tea. What I do have a problem with, though, is that there are a myriad of similar, maybe less stylised, female character designs. I guess this one is just so over the top that it functions as a kind of lightning rod for the frustration about that.

Yeah I really think diversity is key here. Like this weeks Jimquisition pointed out, there is no perfect pasta sauce but only perfect pasta sauces.

If you look at the other character designs in this game I think they're intentionally going for that over the top look. But it's kind of funny that the Kotaku article said that she looked like she was designed by a 14 year old boy... because typically that is the target audience for this sort of character design. In Japanese manga and anime, from which a lot of the same aesthetics come from for their video games, the '14 year old boy' is a prime market audience. This is where shows like DBZ, Naruto, One Piece, etc are aimed at, along with countless examples of shameless sexploitation. Difference between them and us however is that girls get the same sorts of things but catered to their taste, where we're just starting to catch up with crap like the Twilight series.

My placard at the protest reads: I'm with bob.

I rather like her. :(? :)? :(?

The exaggeration of the boobs and muscles of those characters could be considered somewhat juvenile but my inner kid likes what he sees. I don't regard the shallow attraction to enormous boobs and anything even vaguely female shaped as being a pig so much as I was programmed to do it. Seeing as how the cuhrazy art style affected just about every character I don't believe this is a feminist issue. I don't think the game is a problem at all and everybody should go back to thinking it does not matter because in the end it doesn't.

So yeah it's either not an problem exclusive to women's portrayal in the game or not a problem at all.

Well I just think from an design standpoint if you are going to make your characters models comically impossible then should not the rest of the game follow? Admittedly I know nothing about the games story so maybe the preview game footage did a poor job of displaying the humor, but it looks like the game play wants to be taken completely seriously while fighting skeletons yet at the same time you are distracted by the giant melons on the Sorceress flopping around. It feels like a dissonance between the concept and the game play.

I mean if the protagonist is suppose to be an impossibly hot clone of Jessica Rabbit then her enemys designs could be reflected in their apperance. Instead of the same parade of skeletons wielding scimitars and mushroom dudes I have seen used so often why not make the skeletons wise cracking pimps with dusty purple suits and golden canes? and they continually try to backhand you with their pimp hand. Would this be in poor taste? yes but at least it would fit in with the rest of the games "over the top" design choices.

First off I just want to say Movie Bob, you've been added to my short list of critics whose opinion whether I agree or disagree almost never fails to promote thought and cause me to look up vocabulary. I've been trying to make myself complement the writers I enjoy more often.

With that said, I find myself wishing that Dragon's Crown wasn't the game being put on the altar for this because I enjoy Vanillaware's art so much. But from another perspective, the game is probably getting more attention now than it would have as a niche title.

Personally, I'll be playing the buff chick.

VMK:
Hmm... I don't hear many people (both female AND male) pointing out that japanese "bishonen" male characters, with which japanese game market is practically flooded, can be offensive to men. Do I smell... SEXISM???!!!

On a bit more serious note, I agree with Bob about need of diversity. Let's take Blazblue for example. It is one of my most favorite modern fighting games, but I do feel that they overdid it with quantity. What I mean is this:

In Calamity Trigger (along with Noel, Rachel and Taokaka) we got Litchi

Fine, I get it, every game needs one sexualized female character. Plus, she is a nice character story and gameplay-wize.

Then, in Continuum Shift, we got Makoto

Umm... I get it too. She is a beastkin and beast tend to not wear clothing. Plus, as in previous example, she has great personality and is one of my mains.

But, in the upcoming Chrono Phantasma, we will have a chance to play as Bullet

WHY? Her backstory says that she was raised among mercs (who I bet were mostly guys). I don't think that anyone would have worn something as revealing in the same situation.
But then I watched her gameplay videos and I really, REALLY liked her. I like that she is a fast grappler, I like her voice, I like her mannerisms of "tough big sis".

As a man, I like those designs. But as a person, I think that I should at least have a chance to switch them to less revealing uniforms.

I get that sexy girls sell well, but a bit more class is always welcome.

I think you are into something there. Considering your post, it seems you like those characters despite their design (Litchi and Makoto being nice characters story, personality and gameplaywise, and Bullet having an interesting gameplay style and cool mannerisms). If anything, I think it leads to the point of MovieBob about the real problem being that everything leans towards sexualization. Does any of those characters need to dress like they want to titillate their opponents (or an hypothetical person behind the 4th wall)? No, neither of them does... and the fact a lot of graphic designers don't even consider it an option is part of the issue.

About Dragon's Crown, I believe all these debate is not helping them. Personally, I am of the opinion that the characters are so overly exaggerated and disproportionate that the game looks like a Heavy Metal cover, and it being intentional is totally fine. But social shame will turn a lot of people away from it...

I honestly can't see how people can be turned on or attracted to this Sorceress character. I just felt really awkward and uncomfortable watching her move...

I disagree that there is not an easy answer.

Easy Answer: multiple characters, with different body types and proportions, both male and female covering the gamut of physical types.

Then everyone can play what they want, ogle what they wish, and pay more attention to real issues in the world and let them be what angers you, instead of getting angry over superfluous things that exist within our entertainment.

The real world is messed up, and we do not focus enough attention or care on it.

castlewise:
It is unclear to me why Dragon's Crown gets to be star of the show in this latest round of internet drama but a game like Starcraft 2, for instance, gets a free pass on their character design. Why is the Sorceress over the line but Kerrigan with her impractical zerg heels and meticulous non-chitin covered ass is somehow ok?

Dragon's Crown is a LOT more blatant and exaggerated.

This particular game has every expressed sex exaggerated. Unfortunately, where men only have muscles to exaggerate (as opposed ot genitalia, I suppose), women have those mammo-pillows front and center.

But damn if it isn't blatant here. I mean, I usually contend that everyone is being exaggerated but those floppers should practically have in-game stats.

But yes, the easy answer is to provide more options rather than making all options be just as objectifying as the last. I guess the elf is the answer? Honestly, I'd consider the linked video NSFW.

In some ways what I find increasingly frustrating about this kind of thing is that it seems like there's a loud minority that would like to punish what they see as "exploitation" (and/or creating a threatening, "boys-only" atmosphere, treating women as sex objects, etc.)- but I don't get a real sense that either they have much of an effect on a game's sales, nor that creators who actually try to create something more affirming are particularly rewarded for their efforts.

To be clear, I'm one of the last people to suggest that "the market" as an entity is anything but amoral at best, or what "works" should be the only yardstick by which what we consume is judged. And yet-- I don't know that we're ever going to have genuinely positive movement on things like this until those who condemn it have something more compelling to say than "You should feel bad about this because it makes us feel bad." It's an argument calling for empathy, frequently delivered in such a way as to make that empathy all but impossible.

It's funny; I saw the "Dragon's Crown" character designs more than a year ago, and found them rather ridiculous even then. But I wouldn't have expected the frequently niche-y Atlas (that is to say, they of the relatively narrow audience) to be the eye of a firestorm a year later. Seems I'm insufficiently imaginative in my cynicism, for once.

I don't see the issue, all the characters are over the top in proportion to comical levels and I just see some pretty character art and nothing that makes me want to purchase the game any more than I already do. In the terms of sexualization points could be argued for both sides, the Amazon and Sorceress are both way out of proportion but so is the dwarf and wizard and we live in a world where both sexes have body issues.

Also I have never seen any forum posts made by average female gamers or met any female gamers that say/have said something along the lines of "I didn't buy this game because of the way the female character looked because it made me feel *blank*." It almost seems like a non-issue raised by a vocal minority, article writers in need of attention and "pop culture critics".

Actually I want to see a study on this, get a load of gamers and non-gamers both male and female in a room, play some trailers for Soul Caliber, Dragons Crown, early Tomb Raider games and other games with sexualized and exaggerated characters and see if they react negatively. I want to see this kind of thing.

My problem with the kotaku article is that he says the sorceress is a male fantasy, that's fine, she kinda is but then he goes to say that the half naked dwarf isn't any kind of counter balance since he just represents a male empowerment fantasy. If the dwarf being all naked and buff as hell can only represent a male empowerment fantasy then why can't the sorceress be a female empowerment fantasy?

Actually what would a female empowerment fantasy even be? A male one seems to just be bigger and stronger then anyone else or that's the impression I get anyway.

castlewise:
It is unclear to me why Dragon's Crown gets to be star of the show in this latest round of internet drama but a game like Starcraft 2, for instance, gets a free pass on their character design. Why is the Sorceress over the line but Kerrigan with her impractical zerg heels and meticulous non-chitin covered ass is somehow ok?

Because Kerrigan has a backstory and a personality. Because we know something about her character, and have knowledge and context for her. Because her physique isn't made to a point at which human spinal columns would shatter.

Because Blizzard hasn't (yet, at least) made entire trailers where the main point would be to show off her arse. I mean when I watched this trailer, I couldn't literally tell what was going on apart from *jiggle jiggle boing boing*.

About this character we know nothing, besides that she's a sorceress and has giant tits. And I would bet a hundred bucks that if you put pictures Kerrigan and this sorceress next to each other and ask people which one they find more sexualized, most would say the sorceress.

Nothing personal, but it always fires my nerves up when people try to justify shit like this with "Well character x from popular acclaimed game y is clearly like that, so that makes it okay".

also, 666 posts, MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

"listen, I'm going to be the voice of reason. sure, this is a problem - ladies, I'm a feminist. but I'm also a red-blooded, titty-honking depraved man and I get why they make the gals look like this - it's freaking hot. look, its an issue that women are depicted this way but it'll always be like that, you feminist types are never happy so I just know it'll be something else next time"

Just stay out of commenting on social issues unless you want to get serious, actually read up on the social issue, and include a more diverse set of voices. Jesus Christ.

Callate:
It's funny; I saw the "Dragon's Crown" character designs more than a year ago, and found them rather ridiculous even then. But I wouldn't have expected the frequently niche-y Atlas (that is to say, they of the relatively narrow audience) to be the eye of a firestorm a year later. Seems I'm insufficiently imaginative in my cynicism, for once.

I suppouse someone would take issue with you in that these kind of games are reinforcing the standard videogame fare of overly sexualized women 'n sich. But like moviebob says, these characters are absolutely everywhere and hardly matters. It's not like it's being pushed by some giant publisher like EA or Activision and trying to sell you entirely on the sorceress's (wow that's hard to say) outfit, complete with comercials that focus entirely on the potato sacks she's got attached to her torso. It's just another extremely stylized RPG that some people will play and whose controversy will be forgotten by the next month.

So yeah, essentially what someone said earlier: It came out at the wrong time.

It makes sense for Dragons' Crown to have this kind of character so I don't see anything wrong with it in this instance, keep in mind that every guy character in the game seems to be a hunk so it just seems fitting. Other games that require a more believable character design shouldn't have every woman looking like a porn star though; the only game that immediately comes to mind is Dragon Age.

I see this character as I see Jessica Rabbit, a character that is pleasing to the eye, but ultimately too cartoonish to function realistically. But I'm okay with that and her design fits in with the rest, if she was the only one with exaggerated proportions then I'd call foul, but it's a stylistic choice.

I think a core problem is that game developer's are still heavily male, so you're going to get experiences more tailored to men. Whilst it is a bit of a cop out, the more women that are in the industry calling the shots, the more likely we can get games that's going to make every person and their dog happy.

I think Tycho from Penny Arcade put it best

The only characters here who aren't fucking mutants are the Elf and the Wizard, who are there to calibrate the player; everybody else is some fun-house exponent of strength or beauty stretched into some haunted sigil. Iconic isn't even the word - they don't evoke icons, they are icons. They're humans as primal symbols.

Unless I'm mistaken there isn't much actual plot, story, or characterization to be had in a game like Dragon's Crown. This isn't a game that's supposed to evoke emotion (beyond those associated with fun) or spin some amazing tale that tries to get us to reflect on the human condition. This is a game about donning the role of Badass Hero who saves the World. These characters aren't supposed to be deep, complex, or interesting. They are supposed to be big, bold and over-the-top to a ridiculous degree. One of the ways to make a female character big, bold and over-the-top is to make her sexualized to an absurd degree.

There is absolutely no reason this should be a problem to people. If we're so worried about sexualized females go worry about Scarlet Blade or Skullgirls.

I am so very happy, this has been the only place I have seen that acknowledges the other characters and how the over the top art applies to each of them. It annoys me greatly that people pick one character and tear the game apart. Imagine if people took Velvet and condemed Odin Sphere, you'd miss out on how she's a deep, complex charater who is amazingly strong.

My other problem is that people are flat out saying 'all women should hate this' I, as a woman, do not hate it. I might be annoyed if she's a shallow, bubblehead, with no character (which seeing as who's making this, I highly doubt). I showed another woman friend the amazon and she loved the design. She really liked how the thighs and legs were so muscled. As she put it 'I was afraid it'd be some skinny twig with an ass' but she liked how the charater was muscled, powerful looking, and is giving Chun Lee a run for her money.

In short, I think not enough people are looking at the big picture when it comes to this game. I will play and likely enjoy this game, as I did with Odin Sphere and Muramasa.

tangoprime:

ToastiestZombie:
What irks me is that all the other characters designs are being ignored because of one OTT female character in a game filled with OTT characters. Here's a picture of all the characters:

The other two female characters are a pretty, but relatively un-sexualized archer and a MASSIVE amazonian woman.

Another thing that irks me is the fact that because of this one character the game hasn't had any other discussion about it, and to be honest it doesn't even look that good anyway.

The Amazon is wearing basically no clothing, and the Archer is clearly displaying Absolute Territory, http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ZettaiRyouiki
So yeah... they're still pretty sexualized.

Time to bring out the burkas! Oh wait, those are sexist too... how do you win here exactly? Dress the character as a conservative librarian or something?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HotLibrarian
Blast!

Movie Bob once calmed that the extremely attractive male characters are 'self image fantasies for men' and female characters are image fantasies also for men. The thing is, the Male self image fantasies are to be attractive to females. That is also true for Women. The idealization of any character is not only for the opposite gender, but also a self image fantasy for that gender. Just look at the female cosplayers wearing who attempt some of these costumes.

I understand the portrayal is imbalanced, it's impossible for that not to happen since men and women are so different.

Worgen:
My problem with the kotaku article is that he says the sorceress is a male fantasy, that's fine, she kinda is but then he goes to say that the half naked dwarf isn't any kind of counter balance since he just represents a male empowerment fantasy. If the dwarf being all naked and buff as hell can only represent a male empowerment fantasy then why can't the sorceress be a female empowerment fantasy?

Actually what would a female empowerment fantasy even be? A male one seems to just be bigger and stronger then anyone else or that's the impression I get anyway.

The Arrow television series or just any television, every ad I see these day's seems very focused on women.

i'm not sure why people are making a big deal out of this, yet again making a mountain out of a pimple. i can't imagine what kind of miserable lives these people have that get butthurt over the design of a FICTIONAL character. If women these days are really trying to compare and compete with cartoon characters, then there is something SERIOUSLY WRONG with society today.

On the one hand, I'm a feminist, an out-and-proud "social progressive" in the parlance of American politics and a full-bore proponent of knocking down, busting up and sweeping away the white/western/heterosexual/cisgendered/male power structure not just in gaming but in everything,

It's a video game. It is not part of a power structure, there is no oppression, and you can ignore the video game with no consequences. They are complaining about this game because they don't like it. Don't pretend it's some part of a noble crusade. What they're doing is no better than the people who complain about there being a new NBA game every year or that casual games are a thing.

Oh and speaking of Soul Calibur, if you pry yourself away from Ivy for a minute you'll notice that they have a lot of shirtless men with dashing good looks that are clearly meant to appeal to women. They aren't there for a power fantasy either, that's what heavy hitters like Astaroth and Nightmare are for. I'm talking about the people like Maxi and ZWEI and to a lesser extent yun seung.

I have to admit: I'm rather partial to the design. Usually oversexed female characters don't sway me one way or the other, but I think there's a nice aesthetic here that works. Completely unrelated to the topic at hand, but I feel like a lot of other people also like her design, so that's probably generating more vehement defense of the art than usual.

TBH, if they just threw in a hot bishi or two then everyone could be happy.

You know I actually don't like these kind of over sexed women in skimpy outfits. I think it's immature and stupid. Even my sleazy side doesn't like it because my sleazy side knows that I can find porn on the internet. Even porn of impossibly sexualized fictional women can be found easily on the internet. Even if they make a uniquely attractive women, rule 34 would ensure I find porn of that on the internet eventually.

So yeah my sleazy libido find little to love about scantily clad women with large cleavage. Either go full hog or stop being so immature.

Actually come to think of it most of the porno games out there look pretty stupid so go with the second option.

What I hate though is the people who act like having these kind of characters is some kind of slight against them and against women. It seems reeks of entitlement as if it's a personal insult when a game excludes them from the target demographic.

The whole Dragon Crown Sorceress fiasco is like the latest version to FOX reporting on the whole Rapeplay game. The game was announce a year or so ago including that chraracter can be seen beforehand and they are now pulling the whole sexist controversal card all over again. What make the Sorceress any different from any other female game characters in the past other than being the latest installment onto the list of sexualise characters?

The funny part is that all this did was give free marketing to a game that was destined to be overlooked and will now have a lot of perverts looking into it, and I'm one of them.

As for the gender debate itself, I won't say it needs to go away, but we do need to get to a point where it isn't the "boys club" on one end, and its "victims" on the other, and all this drawing attention to a niche game just shows to me that some people have less interest in debate than in sqashing anything that makes them uncomfortable or appears juvenile. If anything, any sign that we'd happily like to know what they like to see so they can have enjoyment too is a strong sign of maturity and understanding that the medium is a big place and other demographics need to be served and can be without dismantling or censoring the likes of other demographics. On the manga rack the yaoi sits next to the yuri, which is next to the shonen action, the reverse harem adventure, the fanservice and the classics (and in my bookstore right across from the books on religion and Christianity.)

Video Games can be the same thing, but they won't be if all the one side seems to want to do is bitch about patriarchy instead of showing financial support for the (probably more niche) games that fall into what they approve of. Strong sales for Remember Me or even some $5 indy game will do far more than all the forum posts and kickstarter funded videos ever could.

So what?

Really, so what?

Women get their "mommy porn" with the likes of 50 shades of gray with powerful, assertive men, girls get their "romance porn" with many shows/movies/books now of hunky, shirtless forever-teen-looking creatures fighting for their love and attention... Can't us guys have our own fantasies? It's sexualized like everyone elses escapism, just a different medium, so why do we have to have to catch so much shit for enjoying the sight of pretty girls in various situations? It's no different. (I didn't even mention the yaoi fangirls and their own fantasy escapism).

So it's gratuitous, not all games are.

However, people liking "This" doesn't magically lock some door that keeps other gamers from getting "That" made, and there is no "boys only" mentality in general, there are lots of girls in the clubhouse so gender isn't the problem here; It's a vocal group with different opinions that are trying to turn it into a gender issue and polarize everyone.

What I've noticed is that Bob tends to side with the Anti-sex feminists point of view, where women/female characters can't be sexual or exposed to anything sexual outside of a relationship without it being seen as a negative (boothbabes just being another example they don't like), and some sort of exploitation.

That is a real thing by the way, feminism has many groups supporting different ideas, look up "feminist sex wars". Also, read stuff by Ellen Willis (a bigwig from the orginal women's rights movement), her books shed light on how one group has cropped up since the 80's she calls "neo-victorian", which is what I was mentioning above. I learned a lot about feminist history because of internet arguments XD

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