It Never Ends

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Sosa Star:
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.

Thing is the Amazon and Sorceress are kinda in the minority with playable protagonists in Vanillaware's titles. In Odin Sphere, Velvet was the only truly sexualized character (with CHAINS as a weapon to boot) as Gwendolyn and Mercedes were actually very conservative (though admittedly Gwen did have that ballroom gown). Momohime was also very traditional, save for her stylized (and anachronistic) stockings and...hot springs.

Also, amusing bonus points for the Japanese voices. The Amazon is Major Kusanagi (Atsuko Tanaka), the Sorceress is I-no (Kikuko "Big Sis" Inoue) and The Elf is Tsubaki Yayoi (Asami Imai)

ToastiestZombie:

Daaaah Whoosh:
At this point, I really have to ask: if game characters were oversexualized for women instead of for men, then what would they look like? I'd imagine I would still find a woman's idea of a sexy woman attractive, and the men I could probably get over as long as they could wear a shirt.

They would look like Skyward Sword Link, Pyramid Head and/or Solid Snake. I've seen legions of women fawn over those three characters. What women find attractive is either not entirely noticeable or seen as a power fantasy for men. But if you really want to see examples of male characters that were definitely made exclusively for the straight teen-young adult demographic to love look at both Fifty Shades of Grey's and Twilight's male leads. We all know how shit those two were, though.

Not to mention how much shit male and female communities threw because the male characters were dangerous representations of borderline sociopathic behavior in order to satiate a power fantasy to an extreme. They were hyper-sexualized for a female audience, and people threw a fit about it. That to me says the "double-standard" a lot of people bring up in regards to what can or can't be hyper-sexualized doesn't really exist the way they think it does.

There is an easy answer to this. Instead of complaining about the games other people are making, people should make games that promote their own ideals so that it balances out. Almost every other art medium has grasped this concept. Why are video games having a hard time?

Captcha: glass ceiling

Captcha is best AI

Yeah, for me the problem is the prevalence of sexualized female characters in gaming. There really is much more to women than sexiness and it would be nice to see more characters that demonstrate these other aspects of women.

I would love to see more this type of female designs in video games:

Callate:
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.

It's a loud minority that want's to look and feel progressive, while going through some rebellious phase. Basically if they don't like something, they have to tell you while shaming you, and look "progressive" at the same time. It's fucking stupid, and the current generation and soon to be next, wants to look like they did something, so they will bitch over the stupidest shit.

Also what is wrong with being white/cisgender/western/male anyway? I am Black, but this constant demonizing of white/straight/western/male shit has got to stop. If this was the case for any other group, all of you who do this type of shit will cry foul, but you are doing the same thing, only it's against whites/cis/western/male.

This is just another 'non-issue' being brought up by people who feel the need to 'white knight' for the ladies.

Looks...ALL THE CHARACTERS ARE EXAGGERATIONS.
I know it's hard for some of you to 'get this', but that's kind of the style of the game.

It's like bitching about Madworld being 'too violent', when that WAS THE POINT.

Getting more pissed off about how some characters breasts bounce, while ignoring real issues like the racism in the CoD series, makes you look foolish.

If her specials attacks involved 'boob slap' and 'death by handjob', ya might have a case.
But, as it stands, not really 'feeling it'...bro.

The Frazetta stuff was pretty sexualized as well, so I'm not sure that appealing to that is really an excuse. Especially when it fits a pattern of female characters being drawn in heavily sexualized ways not because that's how the character's been set-up, but because for eye-candy purposes (I read a good essay on this a while back).

No one can stop you from doing that, but you don't have ground to get defensive if female gamers say that it's ridiculous, or that it turns them off the game.

soul_rune1984:
I'm not offended by how the sorceress looks but seeing her boobs flop around like that makes me cringe with sypathy pains. Why couldn't they have had her wear a bra or some thing?

That's my point. There's no real reason in-character reason she's dressed like that, particularly when two of the three male characters are dressed in more practical clothing and armor (only one of them is wearing the Conan-esque clothing). It's just eye-candy, and all three female characters look like that.

Bob, are you the secret identity of Switzerland? After the FLAGRANT DISAPPOINTMENT that was Ben Kuchera's one-sided pruderant (and it was that, completely; he came this close to saying "think of the children"), you have risen up as the scion for the forces of even-handedness.

ToastiestZombie and Sosa Star bring up a good point here that reinforces the comment on diversity. Is the Sorceress sexy? Yes, to some (Clearly Bob's cup of tea, but a lot of guys have been pretty fucking eager to chime in on how unappealing she is to their refined sensibilities). Is she a lazy, cynical industry standard? That seems to be the consensus (although if we're just talking about the Ivys, Kasumis, and Shiranuis, I would think Sorceress rather overshoots the usual mark to a fairly distinguishing degree).

But is all of Dragon's Crown's art design industry standard? Well I don't know. Why don't we ask the Amazon, COLOSSEA, CHAMPION OF ALL BLADES?

Do you see those muscles? Does that look like samey design to you? Does she look like that same character you see in every game? Of course she fucking doesn't. She's going to wrestle a fucking planet. This isn't your Diablo 2 Amazon, a Barbie doll in a bronze boobplate. This is the Diablo 3 Barbarian, capable of filling out the armor of a Chaos Space Marine Terminator Lord. And it is no one else, because this is a fucking uncommon design.

So, yeah. I come down on Vanillaware's side on this. If you're talking taste, then that's fine; I get that the style doesn't have to be your thing (I confess, I'm not actually that into the Sorceress; I'm into the Elf, whose design is, of course, hopelessly conventional). And I get if, as a woman (or a dude with manboobs), watching the Sorceress move makes you empathetically uncomfortable, because, wow, yeah. But, man, this is NOT the argument about the rut the gaming industry's art department is in, or the one about how cynically market-driven it is. There really are giants, but this one's a windmill.

This article essentially sums up my thoughts. Individual works of "objectifying" design I have no problems with (Boris Vallejo has been around forever), it's the sheer omnipresence of it that I find disturbing.

Father Time:
[quote]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.

Ahh, exactly! How many male characters in the Soul series wear shirts?! Raphael, Nightmare sometimes, and Cervantes sometimes? Beefcake and cheesecake are provided in equal measure! I'm cool with it!

I think the thing to do here when you have multiple characters is you have to have AT LEAST SOME of the characters of each sex have attractive designs that provide sexual appeal and AT LEAST SOME characters of each sex who are cool and badass and/or are relatably human. Preferably these sets overlap, but I understand that while I think Taki's stoic character is cool (insofar as characters as underdeveloped as Soul characters can be), having to constantly look at her autonomous attack boobs could be kind of uncomfortable.

Incidentally, Ivy herself, as a villain-turned-antihero, is cunning, educated, and driven; ironically, she's one of the most developed characters in the franchise.

I'll be perfectly honest the sorceress is what made me check this game out, I'm a guy I like sexy things. However it's the elf and the dwarf characters that made me want to play this game.

I actually made a blog about this, I'm not pissed by the image i'm more concerned about well not the reaction but the motivation behind pointing this out. It was self-righteous, presumptuous and didn't address the real issue with maturity.
I didn't mind the Sorceress in question because it was ridiculous but that's me.
I Find the Amazon awesome though, it was a mix of Red Sonja and female body builder. In fact the premiss for the designs where inspired by 40s and 60s fantasy style, the Writer from Kotaku didn't take the time to think critically about the contextual significance beyond the surface and claimed it lacked purpose for nothing but sex and wasn't functional.
It he saw fault for really petty reason i found and it obscured a bigger problem.

This argument relies on the assumption that diversity is and of itself a good thing.
It isn't. It's just a thing.
I don't think a majority of gamers would care what the identity of their protagonist is, so long as they were relatable and didn't feel forced.

I just agree with Bob in this. Not much to add.

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.

Using your pic!

OT
Oh interwebz thy double standard never ceases to fail. As a normal man I know I will never look like the dude in the bottom left. I just do not have the ability to exercise my ear lobes like that. Hell look at the head size to forearm size ratio, that is not even close to realistic. These are all obviously caricatures of people.... ALLL of them. If that offends you then this is not going to be your cup o tea.

Thanks a lot Bob for posting this! The thing that bothers me the most about the current discussion is people trying to shame me for enjoying the female figure (in any media). But then again I guess my views coincide more with the "sex positive" feminist than anything else.

More diversity in gaming is always welcomed.

Grahav:
I just agree with Bob in this. Not much to add.

Because (well, IMO) there is no issue here. I have a bigger problem With the Bioshock Infinite cover, i know that's already done but I was on Gametrailers (please, keep reading!!) and watched the Final Boss Man and he revealed that maybe Ken Lavine's motivation for putting the current cover and they where less impressive to say the least but what's worse is the "fan" Online vote reversible cover which I saw for the first time. And it wasn't even that good.

This revealed 2 things to me, I found disturbing.
-If they where going to do a reversible cover, then why not just have the original and let the fans and if optional retailers swap them?
-And if fans gave as big a shit of this cover issue, then why didn't they vote for the original cover to be on the other side?

These are things we should be talking about, not the degree of the acceptable size of boobs (which practically is none that'll give you a back ache;P)

Firstly, let me clear something up:

I wish people would stop saying "this was drawn by a 14 year old boy" because any male who finds this character genuinely appealing to look at is either blind or bonkers.
I'm usually someone who's not against over-sexualized characters when the character actually LOOKS sexy.

But there is nothing beautiful or appealing about this "Sorceress" character, her figure is disgusting to look at! There is nothing sexy about watermelon-sized boobs which behave like they're filled with water and bounce around like they're trying to detach from the woman, with hips so disproportionately large it looks more ALIEN than human.

There are good kinds of over-sexualization and then there are the bad kind. This is the worst kind.

If you want to design a beautifully over-sexualized character, don't give me a disgusting animal that has giant tumors in it's chest and hips. I don't find that sexy in the least and as people can see from the Youtube ratings, hardly anyone does.

That is all.

So there's a gallery of pictures of the characters in another article here and I could really only stand to look at a couple of them before closing the tab not because "OMG SEXIST OBJECTIFICATION OF WIMMINZ!" but because the designs are horribly disproportionate and kind of disgusting to look at least in my opinion.

There is not point in getting worked up into a lather when a game company does something like this. If they were to do the total opposite of the Dragon's Crown character design and make the most puritan looking characters possible there would be tons of backlash against that as well, some of it from the same people that are throwing a tantrum over this "debacle". No matter what anyone does with this issue it's going to piss people off because it's a popular thing to argue about on the internet right now. It's not going to go away until a bunch of people find something else to be all indignant over and nothing is going to change, except for the topic of these circular internet arguments.

There is enough room in the industry for reasonably designed female characters right next to the over sexualized three eye patch held together with dental floss characters.

This issue is pretty stupid. Just don't buy the game.

I'm of two minds myself. First, if someone feels something is wrong, I believe they have every right to stand up for what they believe in (within reason). On the other hand, you always have to pick your battles and this is a stupid stupid battle to participate in. I don't have much in the way of respect for anyone over at Kotaku. They only did what they did for the click throughs. They aren't, by any stretch of the imagination, a legitimate or important or even good source of news as much as they are an opinion factory (like most game "Journalist" sites (I use that word quite liberally in cases like this)). The fact that they would attack the lead artist for an issue they have in the game when in fact anyone in the long chain of decision makers could have put the end to that. If he is an example of someone who is fighting for the equality of women and the image of women in gaming... well he sucks and should be gagged right now, because he isn't helping anyone.

I also feel that artists (a term I'm going to use loosely in this case) should have a little more going on than giant breasts on a woman and overly muscled up men who can crush mountains. I love comics and a big part of comics is exaggeration, but any artist should have a care about whether or not they are ruining the aesthetic of their work and by extension the visual message they are sending to the general public overall. In other words, it's fine if you want to draw that, but keep it at home. There is an audience that seeks work like that (many of which are fully grown and responsible adults, not just boys going through puberty), but it probably doesn't extend the general overall public.

Stryc9:
There is enough room in the industry for reasonably designed female characters right next to the over sexualized three eye patch held together with dental floss characters.

This really is way, way beyond "over sexualized". See my above post, the goal of over-sexualization should be to make a character that is at least appealing and beautiful to look at.
But this creature looks like she escaped from the depths of art hell and is the polar opposite of "beautiful". Well, everything below her neck at least.

Tanis:
This is just another 'non-issue' being brought up by people who feel the need to 'white knight' for the ladies.

Looks...ALL THE CHARACTERS ARE EXAGGERATIONS.
I know it's hard for some of you to 'get this', but that's kind of the style of the game.

It's like bitching about Madworld being 'too violent', when that WAS THE POINT.

Getting more pissed off about how some characters breasts bounce, while ignoring real issues like the racism in the CoD series, makes you look foolish.

If her specials attacks involved 'boob slap' and 'death by handjob', ya might have a case.
But, as it stands, not really 'feeling it'...bro.

You know, just because it was intentionally done doesn't make it immune to criticism. You criticize things if you don't like them, especially if they're out on the mass market. This game is not immune. And I'm pretty sure people have criticized Madworld for being too violent, and very few ran of Gears of War when it was being criticized for being over the top with massive muscle bound men that looked like they abused steroids on a regular basis. It was done intentionally, but people criticized it because they didn't like it.

OT: I agree with Bob. I'm not asking people to be morally ashamed for liking this game, but you really can't expect everyone to be ok with this. We're gonna criticize it if we don't like it. I'm a big Halo fan but I put up with everyone criticizing it on this website, this game doesn't deserve special attention.


Art has not changed a bit over the millennia.

Yuuki:

Stryc9:
There is enough room in the industry for reasonably designed female characters right next to the over sexualized three eye patch held together with dental floss characters.

This really is way, way beyond "over sexualized". See my above post, the goal of over-sexualization should be to make a character that is at least appealing and beautiful to look at.
But this creature looks like she escaped from the depths of art hell and is the polar opposite of "beautiful". Well, everything below her neck at least.

I think you mean between the neck and hips, that drawing has an awesome pair of legs

;)

But in all seriousness "Beyond"? I don't think this qualifies, as it's hardly sleazy or intended to insult or demean. It's just silly.
If children where involved now that would be beyond, but that's just my opinion of course.

CrossLOPER:


Art has not changed a bit over the millennia.

Might want to put a NSFW tag on that one.

I really think this whole silly issue with the sorceress has sadly overshadowed a very awesome fact.

You can play as Raistlin in this game.

So, it really isn't going to stop? Ever?

I feared this. Here's the thing, the sane people aren't the problem. We are trapped between two extremes. People who, as said, refuse to see a problem, and people who think there is nothing else but the problem.

And they won't. Shut. Up. They won't become better informed and they will never, ever stop and goddammit, it's really driving me fucking crazy. It seems to just go on, and on, and on, with no real progress made. No doubt it can't just be ignored, like I said, people ignoring it is part of the problem, but sweet jesus, can we not just discuss this semi decently? The discussions around this are vicious even by internet standards.

It looks like an ugly, stupid game. I'm not going to buy it. I don't have to, and neither does anyone who finds the art offensive.

See how easy this can be?

Yuuki:

Stryc9:
There is enough room in the industry for reasonably designed female characters right next to the over sexualized three eye patch held together with dental floss characters.

This really is way, way beyond "over sexualized". See my above post, the goal of over-sexualization should be to make a character that is at least appealing and beautiful to look at.
But this creature looks like she escaped from the depths of art hell and is the polar opposite of "beautiful". Well, everything below her neck at least.

Stryc9:

I could really only stand to look at a couple of them before closing the tab not because "OMG SEXIST OBJECTIFICATION OF WIMMINZ!" but because the designs are horribly disproportionate and kind of disgusting to look at least in my opinion.

We're pretty much saying the same thing on the subject of Dragon's Crown but there is an overall issue here where every so often a game comes out that has characters that aren't as disgusting to look at as some these but are still considered to be "over sexualized" and certain portions of the community get all worked up and scream about how the artists are all sexists that do nothing but sit around and objectify women all day. Whether or not that's the case I can't really say because I don't work with these people but I seriously doubt it's what goes on.

I think what bothers me the most about the Dragon's Crown characters, at leas the Amazon and that female Ranger\Archer thing along with the Dwarf thingy is the legs, they look like the guy didn't know what legs look like or he was looking a pictures of 'roided out body builders for inspiration while he was drawing those characters.

The problem isn't, and has never been, that The Sorceress (or Ivy, or Cammy, or Lara, or Daphne, or whomever else) look like they do... it's that everything looks like they do.

That's funny, because there is another female character IN THIS EVERY GAME who looks entirely different. So it seems that it IS the fact that even ONE exists that's twisting people panties or noodles respectively.

When I look at The Sorceress don't even see a character the designer is seriously hoping men cream their pants over. I see an absurdest satire of a 40 year old cliché. Yes the breasts physics are a joke, because IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE A JOKE!

I find it ironic when people complain about "sexy" characters they often give counter examples saying characters should, "look more like this..." with Fayth from Mirror's Edge on many people's short list of examples. As far as I'm concerned Fayth is the single sexiest character I've ever seen in a game. Don't assume your ideas about what people find sexy in a character design is in any way universal.

Furthermore, dictating what all characters should, or should not look like is demanding homogeneity, just a homogeneity you happen to prefer.

ToastiestZombie:

Daaaah Whoosh:
At this point, I really have to ask: if game characters were oversexualized for women instead of for men, then what would they look like? I'd imagine I would still find a woman's idea of a sexy woman attractive, and the men I could probably get over as long as they could wear a shirt.

They would look like Skyward Sword Link, Pyramid Head and/or Solid Snake. I've seen legions of women fawn over those three characters. What women find attractive is either not entirely noticeable or seen as a power fantasy for men. But if you really want to see examples of male characters that were definitely made exclusively for the straight teen-young adult demographic to love look at both Fifty Shades of Grey's and Twilight's male leads. We all know how shit those two were, though.

You've seen "legions" of women fawn over pyramid head? I don't even...

Its not that I'm doubting you, its just... it does not compute. Link? sure. Snake? Sure. and Vaas from Far Cry 3 seems to be very appealing to some of my female gamer friends, but pyramid head?

He's a tall pasty white dude with a cleaver and a spear. You can't even see his face. I think he's dressed somewhat conservatively too with his butchers smock and pants. He might be shirtless in a few games, I can't remember.

Maybe I'm over thinking this...

Well, once other groups start putting down as much money for games as the two groups of teenage boys/young men do, they'll be served just as well as these two groups are.

The market never discriminates against money.

I'll be honest, I LOVE the all the art design this game. ALL of it. The crazy knight, the burly as hell dwarf, the huge tits that float in the wind. It is so crazy and out there, yet super detailed and beautiful. I know some will judge me based on this alone but I don't care. Bring on Dragon's Crown!

Ishal:
Snip

I don't get it either, but I have seen some... unsavoury... fanart made by women of Pyramid Head. I guess it's the domineering, incredibly powerful and (dare I say it), rapey parts of him (I've seen a lot of women on the internet with rape fantasies, but like many fantasies they wouldn't want it to happen IRL) that make some women attracted to him. But then again, I've seen men fawn over weirder stuff so who am I to blame 'em, it's not like anyone's hurting anyone. The human mind works in strange ways sometimes, I guess.

I thought we had a deal on this, people stop complaining about overtly sexy women in videogames and I stop bitching about those Chippendale werewolves and sparkly bishonen vampires in Twilight.

I do remember raising an eyebrow at the character designs when this was first announced, but honestly, I find it hard to believe that anyone would look at this and take it remotely seriously as a portrayal of women. This is even further into the absurdest area then Bayonetta and Lollipop Chainsaw.

Besides, this is Vanillaware, who have proven they can make characters sexy and interesting with Odin Sphere and Muramasa (which I will buy the Vita version of). Heck, Odin Sphere made me genuinely interested in the mythology of the Ring Cycle. How many games can you think of that spark an interest in Opera?

Either way, I'll wait util the game comes out and I have a chance to play it before passing judgment.

CrossLOPER:

Art has not changed a bit over the millennia.

Fun fact: My art history teacher in college basically flat out said that all those paintings of Venus from the Renaissance were the softcore porn of their day. Surprise!

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