114: Holding Out for a Heroine

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Hey, wow. I'm actually sharing alot of the thoughts these interviewed women have. It's refreshing knowing that someone else is thinking the same thing. That lady from Ninja Gaiden Sigma, for example? I can't stand looking at her. Every part of her pains me, and I havn't even encountered her in the game yet (not far ^_^).

There's more; I'm writing the story for a Manga I will be drawing that features a female protagonist or two (mostly two). The story has the major leading role torn from her marriage, and has to fight deadly odds (not always a litteral fight) to win her love back. These odds are met with intellect more than blind rage and a blood bath. There's planned a scenario where she'll have to make a desision that will cause her moral standards to ache. I aim to have a full range of emotions. The Mangas' premiss is one of Humanity is a cyberpunk setting.

My concerns however are that my lead characters are not sexy enough to become popular. She does not wear heels, she does not spore DD's on a petite frame, and she wears pants. Bikini battle wear is not my idea of a good wordrobe.

Anyway, I enjoyed reading this. :)

" "Pants. I just like my heroines to be wearing pants."

That's so funny; I like to fight in my bedazzled underwear and high heels. It's a personal choice.

I didn't notice if this was already posted, but...
http://www.ctrlaltdel-online.com/comic.php?d=20070922

I really have to agree about the things being said here. I'm sure this is what most (perverted) guys want but to a certain point it just becomes far too ridiculous. Now most heroines are going to be scantily clad, yes, but now it seems like a bunch of strings vaguely covering things up, and tightening the boobs just counts as a costume (or maybe SC is the main culprit)

I think Yahtzee also sums it up well when looking at Tomb Raider Anniversary's opening scene. Must ALL FEMALE CHARACTERS be total bitches? I realize they're trying to make her look attractive, but if she uses Armor-Piercing on any guy who gives a suggestive look, then I DON'T WANT HER!!!

My favorite female character: Alyx. She manages to show less skin than most fighting games' MALE characters. Yet, she's just such a well-written character, and her voice is so sincere, that when she rushes at Gordon and hugs him in the intro to HL2 Episode 1, you swear you feel skin against your cheek. I know, it's wierd.

"When will we see a mother take up arms to protect her children?"

Umm...Sophitia from Soul Calibur? Since a large part of your article dealt with the Soul Calibur franchise, I find this massive oversight incredibly disturbing.

Also, how in the hell could you leave out Samus Aran? I can't even take this seriously, an article about video game heroines (or lack thereof, or at least realistic ones) with no mention of Samus Aran, something is dreadfully wrong here. Also, what about Joanna Dark from Perfect Dark? She kicks ass and takes names in appropriate apparel (most of the time she wears some sort of armored combat suit, once she wears a full trenchcoat, once she wears a tight leather outfit, twice she wears appropriate 'cold weather gear' twice she wears a wetsuit, and twice she wears a 'little black dress' all of them appropriate for the storyline and the missions she is performing). So does Jill Valentine from Resident Evil, as well as Rebecca Chambers and Claire Redfield (who is searching for her brother, really what more can you ask for?)

It seems to me you're really just looking in the wrong places...either that or you're conveniently overlooking anything contrary to your argument.

Poltergeist, the fact is the majority of games have kind of scantily clad women...ESPECIALLY Japanese ones.
Samus doesn't count because she has no female personality. She has no spoken lines, and is really only a "female" about 10% of the time when her suit's off. When that happens (all too often) they just exploit her by having her wear extremely tight clothes. Look at SSBB; mightonesay...fan service?
Consider the fact that Metroid would work exactly the same way with a male character, and might actually be more fitting; Nintendo seems to want to portray an adventurous and good-hearted woman, but let's face it: she kills every bit of wildlife she comes across.

Since it's the Halloween season, I recommend you take a look at the adult female costumes available. By and large most of them are "sexy." That's because most women, when given a chance to "be" something else, want to feel sexually powerful. They want to feel attractive. This choice doesn't surprise me. I'd rather look attractive too than be a giant M&M (or some other non-sexy Halloween alternative.)

Unfortunately, I never get the impression that these "sexy" identity choices are being made by female game designers trying to make characters feel empowered with sexuality. More likely it's male game designers fulfilling some male fantasy. As I type this, there's an ad for "Fury" on the screen, and the female warrior is wearing something that looks like a pole dancer might wear. (I think I see a dollar bill tucked in on her hip.) Of course, whoever she's fighting is fully dressed. Probably a male. I can't imagine a designer passing up the oppotunity of a scantily clad "chick fight."

I find it interesting that when Eidos handed over the Tomb Raider franchise to Crystal Dynamics, the developer made sweeping changes to Lara's backstory to make her softer and more sympathetic. No longer is Lara an adventurer disowned by her parents, but an orphan whose life has been spent tomb raiding in the hope of discovering what happened to her mother. *cue heart-wrenching soundtrack*

I, for one, far preferred the loose cannon Lara, whose motivation and ethics were always in question. I found a woman who lived by her own rules far more interesting than one for whom therapy is indicated. She also wore more clothes. :D

I wasn't sure on how I was going to reply to this thread/article. I believe that yes, in the gaming industry and in a generalist way that women are mostly objectified and provided as eye candy for the male dominated industry that is gaming. That being said though, there are exceptions to every rule. Samus is one, as one of the previous posters mentioned, but as was stated she didn't have much in the way of character development. What about Heather from Silent Hill 3? Not only was she the heroine and main character, but she was put in some pretty hellish spots that I can say as a man I would've cracked and run from. Or you could look at Clock Tower on the PS2 as well. Again a survival horror main female lead, or Jill Valentine, etc etc. I think the big problem is that the Fantasy genre is giving the bad rap to other female leads where as the females are scantily clad vixens of punishment, but there are exceptions to that as well, Dark Ages of Camelot or Final Fantasy XI. So yes, there are generalizations towards objectifying women, but I think if we just look at those women and not the women who advanced other aspects of gaming as well, we are doing a great disservice to those games and to the women who had their input implemented into those games.

Godheval:
The other issue, I think, is that most of the people writing these video game plots and characters are males. How equipped is a male author to write a truly believable female character? I consider myself a good writer, but I will admit that one place I struggle is accurately depicting the many particular complexities of being a woman - in the normal world, let alone a fantasy or sci-fi world where she is faced with impossible challenges on top of her normal struggles

Heh, I feel the same way. In fact, while I have found I'm excellent at outlining a plot and developing some basic character personalities, I'm not the best at writing a story or dialogue. I think I'd need to team up with someone when working on a story, and partly for working on female characters that are convincing.

I did enjoy this article much, and I agree with a lot of it. It's amazing how little time I've been here and have already mentioned my want to get into game design, but this is a perfect example of why. I have a game in mind where, when I was thinking of who the main character should be, it just seemed right to be a female. The funny thing is, the idea of the game is to go from complete thick and full bodied combat armor to bulky power armor, so you never get to see much of the heroine. At best you'd see her in a muscle shirt with all of the other soldiers in her unit, but she'd basically be wearing they same thing they are. After all, she's a soldier.

One of the more amusing ideas I have is for a (J)RPG parody game where the female token love interest is under a "curse" where, no matter what size clothing she puts on, it shrinks to be the most revealing cleavage and mini-skirt outfit. However, she's an incredibly conservative girl, and when people keep hitting on her she constantly freaks out. The whole idea is to make fun of not only other games for this, but to also poke fun at the industry for thinking so many female characters WANT to dress like that, even if they do have the body.

Of course, as has been seen in this thread, some people have wives that DO like that sort of thing. So obviously we need a balance.

But the thing the industry needs is simply writers to begin with. For example, Quake 4 had some great ideas, and I like the setting a lot. The problem? The plot. It needed a writer to be hired to come in and do something good with it. We need our heroes in general to be more convincing, let alone our heroines. Of course, the industry is hard to break into if you aren't a master of programming or aren't a prodigy level designer. The best game designers are jacks of all trades yet masters of none, yet these are the people that have the worst chance of breaking into an industry that DESPERATELY needs them.

Now, in response to the discussion.

Stop bringing up Samus, please. Yeah, I like her too, but not only is she silent, she's only a heroine because a member of the development team thought it would be a funny joke that it was a chick at the end. The team rolled with it. Yes, they did interesting things with that in Metroid II and Super Metroid, where the last Metroid imprinted her as its mother and, simultaneously, brought out a bit of Samus' own maternal instinct, but the nature of the games prevented much further depth than that. So, while in the age of the NES, GameBoy and SNES she was a fantastic foundation for developing a heroine in the future, she is not the example we need now. Especially since my roommate noted, as I was playing Metroid Prime 3, she doesn't even move in a feminine manner. She moves like a dude.

Also, someone brought up to me today how, when I was ranting about how every "top female game character" list degenerates into "hottest game chicks", that other media do it as well and referenced how the teen-girl and women magazines have "top hottest men" lists. First response: other media have sex appeal in many lists, sure, but you see plenty of lists still focus on merit. Second:

Ok, gamers are, traditionally, geeks. At least, to some extent. Geeks are supposed to be more intelligent than your average joe and jane. That's why, while Hollywood is becoming nothing but remakes and adaptations, original ideas like Bioshock and Assassin's Creed are bursting forth in video gaming. Hell, even if you don't like the story, Halo has influences from all kinds of LITERATURE, bringing various books to life in an original setting and world. So, why are we going to be referencing magazines aimed at the less intellectual human being when we are supposed to be smarter than them? I don't read magazines aimed to your average 18-25 year old male, and I'd hope any gamer girl doesn't read Seventeen and Cosmo. So why bring them up when it comes to video games? The low brow video games are supposed to be restricted to the likes of Doom, which even that has more thought put into it than, say, the Friends sitcom or the xXx film.

Now then. I don't so much have a problem with scantily clad women in games. What I DO have a problem with is that they far outnumber the non-scantily clad women in a way they should not. I want more depth, dammit!

Ok,I'll grant the armor is skimpy. I'd also like to point out Blizzard thinks it's cool to have male characters run around in furry undies and iron boxers. Or maybe the real reason you don't see a lot of flesh on male characters is they have the sense to wear shirts. Look up Ironforge Breastplate and Barbaric Linen Vest some time. Try 'em on a male character without a shirt. Result? Lots of shown skin. And these aren't the only armors that do it! Seriously,if you want your night elf covered,buy a shirt and a tabard and you at least have something along the lines of a short dress. It's not a perfect solution,but it's a start. It's at least better than running around in a metal bikini. So until you "too exposed" girls start wearing shirts,I'm not going to take your complaints too seriously.

I mean,in all honesty,as much as women complain about how scantly clad female characters are,half the time women come up with characters who are JUST as scantly clad as male writers/artists make. Worse,I got to cons and see girls *gleefully* dressed up,in real life,like these "unrealistic" girls. I'm not talking about booth babes either. I'm talking about female fans. Did it ever occur to you that maybe these barely clothed vixens might appeal to women because they're not afraid to be sexy and kick ass?

And do you have any idea how hard it is to create and write for a believable character? Making a concept come alive is hard at even the script level. Then you got edits,marketing,and "crap we just can't do". If you think your paragon of feminine power is going to get past the marketing department without showing at least some skin,you're deluding yourself. About the only female characters who get through that are either cartoony as all get out or small children. If it's so easy to come up with a female character who's strong,emotional,feminine,and dresses decently,do it. Cause it seems like quite a job to me. It's easy to demand someone else do it,it's harder to do it yourself.

So in summation,put some damn clothes on,start designing better female characters yourself,and if you come up with such a character and can make them interesting,you could always start freeware and work up. Free mod community you by-pass the publisher,set up a donatation thing,some t-shirts,etc. Before you know it,you've got fans and a better chance of getting your property picked up by a major publisher. It's not perfect,but it's a start.

bigjonno:
I just discussed this article with my wife who found it quite offensive. She plays games for escapism and doesn't want to escape into a world of sensible footwear and practical armour. She can't run around fighting evil in six-inch heel thigh-highs in real life, what's wrong with doing it in games? I think it applies just as much to men, but we just have different priorities. My wife wants to be sexy first, I want to be badass and I have just as many ridiculous affections displayed on characters I play. Huge, unwieldy swords, billowing trenchoats, pauldrons that you could land a Harrier on and flowing locks that would get grabbed in every single bloody fight are all commonplace. Just don't get me started on spandex.

What about men who want to look good from time to time? Every single male character model in WoW looks like he's been hit with the ugly stick or is a blood elf. I'm sure I can't be the only guy who felt cheated when he realised that black mageweave leggings are, when donned by male characters, Adidas jogging bottoms.

The gripes that we do have with regards to female characters in videogames often apply to both sexes. Forced choice of gender such as Diablo-style "one class, one sex" or being forced to play a character of a specific gender for no apparent reason. Deus Ex: Invisble War's idea of calling the protaganist "Alex" was genius, as it allowed players to choose either gender without compromising on voice acting.

Ridiculous fixed body types, World of Warcraft, I'm looking at you (again.) Male characters are all huge and female characters are all stick thin. Those skimpy outfits would look much better on models with CURVES! Check out the female gnomes and dwarves, much better, more realistic (and in my opinion, sexier) figures than the majority of the female character models. Of course, you hardly see any female players playing those races because they're not pretty enough.

If you want a good indication of what people, both male and female, want from their videogame characters, jump into Second Life. I doubt you'll find many characters with sensible shoes there, even among the genuine female players.

Someone give this man a cookie...

Really I've wasted a good hour reading this thread but basically what it boils down to is that Erin wants more choices. Well guess what Erin everyone wants more choices, for every nit pick you can come up with for female character designs there is a counter for male character designs. And really don't developers usually go with the majority for business' sake? Well I'd have to say that the majority wants sexy females, even excluding the males. I mean when was the last time you designed a female character that was 200+ pounds (without armor) and ripped? Truthfully this whole thing feels more like a [stereo]typical woman thing to me. Which one? The one where a woman dresses sexy then gets mad when people look at her.

"I want an emotional heroine, one that feels and has compassion, one that perhaps changes her own actions because she is aware of the harm they may cause others. Give my heroine a PMS day where she, unexpectedly and without reason, decides to pull the ears off small bunny rabbits. Have her try to leave the house and go back to change shirts four times. Let her have some upper body limitations and figure out how to manage using her legs. Make her a woman, not a man with boobs. That's what I want in a heroine."

This part of the article really caught my attention, right up there with the constant 'realism' harping. I'm sorry but I don't have the patience to deal with a character <male or female> who spends the first 2 hours of the game worried if their colors are coordinated. Nor do I have patience to deal with complete absurd and random mood swings, this is one of those things that are better off left in reality. Sleeping with every male character in the game and manipulating them to fight, sue, and kill each other also does not make for a very good plot point. (typical soap opera story line in a nut shell)

Quite frankly I'm of the opinion that if you want such things then you need to stop playing WoW and start playing this hip new game:

image

Man, it's amazing how often everyone either completely agrees or completely disagrees. Hasn't anyone ever agreed with some points and disagreed with another? Granted I don't agree with some things (such as the PMS statement: I have no interest in playing Sex and the City the video game), but others I do.

Merlynn:
Worse,I got to cons and see girls *gleefully* dressed up,in real life,like these "unrealistic" girls. I'm not talking about booth babes either. I'm talking about female fans. Did it ever occur to you that maybe these barely clothed vixens might appeal to women because they're not afraid to be sexy and kick ass?

The problem with the vast majority of those girls (not all, but most) is that there's no depth to them. Those types of gamer girls open their mouths and nothing comes out but "PAY ATTENTION TO ME IM A GEEK WITH TITS!". They clutter my school, in fact. Girls like that have about as much depth as a cheerleader and aren't looking for intellectual stimulation. In fact, they're probably seeking more to stimulate and get people to look at them. Frankly, they are usually a bunch of attention whores.

Of course, there are some that are intelligent, have depth and are aware of their physical appeal and like to show it off. However, this is not common. The most common intelligent woman simply tolerates how the vast majority of female characters are scantily clad. Now, I know that, in the case of male and female, characters are always idealized, but males are not always scantily clad. Look at Gordon Freeman, or even the Master Chief. Even the Gears of War guys, who are totally ripped, show no more skin than their heads and maybe their arms. The most undressed male character in recent games I can think of is Conan, and that, well, that's Conan. I mean, come on.

Now, before I seem like I'm a sexist for claiming most gamer girls are more attention whores than intellectuals, the same can be said for male gamers. They have this complex that makes them think they're smarter than the rest of the world, but try and get into an intellectual debate over the merits and flaws of a game and you'll usually come back feeling the sudden urge to rip someone's intestinal track out.

I bring this up because, as stated with the magazines earlier, the Escapist is supposed to appeal to the more intellectual group, right? We're supposed to be above not only your average joe, but think more intelligently about what makes a good game and what the industry needs than your average gamer. So, the way I see it, bringing up the vast number of girls that dress up scantily clad isn't helping your argument. Plus, how many people DON'T dress up at conventions, and WOULDN'T dress up like that even if they had the option? You can't just say "these girls like sexiness so you're wrong". The fact of the matter is, the girls that like that sort of thing have someone to dress up as, but who do the intellectual girls go for?

It's very rare that male characters are unclothed in an attempt to look "sexy." Usually if they are scantily clad it's a statement of strength or brutatlity (Kratos?)

So it is with great personal satisfaction that I use Dante's alternate costume from Devil May Cry 3. http://l.yimg.com/eur.yimg.com/xp/gamespot/image/devil-may-cry-3-special-edition/0/931852_20061121_screen004_image.jpg

Capcom does have a history of creating female characters that have some worth. Someone already mention Clock Tower 3, although the heroine does wear the obiligatory short skirt, she is quite strong and determined.

Devil May Cry 3 has Lady, a young woman determined to avenge her mother's death and avoids the advances of oh-so-bishi Dante. She is not playable, but she gets good screen time and is a boss battle.

The Onimusha series has a trio of female characters that are playable: Kaede from Onimusha Warlords is a female ninja, Oyu from Onimusha 2 is looking to stop her brother from completing his demon conquest (eventually she returns home to her children), and Michelle from Oni 3, a French army lieutenant and love interest of the second hero, Jacques. She actually rescues the primary hero and face of the Onimusha series, Samanosuke. (OK, he does return the favor later. ;) )

Let's see,scantly clad men. Maximo from Maximo: Ghosts to Glory and Maximo vs. the Army of Zin will,after taking so much damage,lose his armor and have to fight in his boxers. Viewtiful Joe for the PS2 includes Dante as a secret character who,when he's depowered,runs around in a thong. That's right,a soul scarring thong! I still have nightmares about it. Kratos,of course. And tons of shirtless samurai gadding about. So,yeah,not a real lack of man flesh going on.

And frankly,I find most girls who dress up are at least as intelligent as the ones who don't. But you know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see you walk up to the bodybuilder types who dress up convincingly as He-Man and his overmuscled ilk and tell them what you think of their "attention whoring". I'm sure security will enjoy telling the story of how that turns out over and over again. :p And,frankly,I'm of the opinion that most people don't like scantly clad characters cause it makes them feel insecure about their appearance. And I'm tired of hearing it.

I'd have to say the #1 complaint I hear from female gamers is about the "lack of clothing" issue. And you know what? It's a non-issue. Let me give you an example. My favorite female video game character is Princess Peach. There,I said it. She's cute,she's funny,and even though she's covered neck to ankles,she's still sexy. Meanwhile,there's plenty of bikini clad warrior women who,despite being practically naked,don't do a thing for me. Frankly,I'll take the goofy airhead over the angry lesbian any day of the week. But my favorite fictional female is Velma Dinkly from Scooby Doo. That's right. The "smart ugly girl". And considering how much porn of her there is on the internet,I'm not alone in this.

You know,it's really very funny. Conservatively dressed women like Velma and Peach,I can find tons of guys (and some girls) who got a thing for them. Meanwhile,how many pics of,say,the DOA girls do you think there are? No where near as much! Even all together I've seen more Peach pics than the entire cast of DOA combined. And while you might say that my bringing porn into this is unnecessary,I say it is because there really isn't a better measure of how sexy a character is than the amount of porn they inspire.

And have ANY of you been to a beach lately? There are women there who make those barely dressed girls you complain about look over dressed! And you're complaining about some fictional chick? Take a step out into real life some time. People who look good LOVE to show off. It's one of them fact o' life deals. So my advice is this. Don't worry about the scantly clad. At the end of the day,most of them are being played by guys anyway.

And none of you have explained why you won't put on a damn shirt if it bugs you so much.

Merlynn,

I appreciate the fact that you're irritated with other people's arguments, but you're being really really dismissive. That's not exactly the nicest way to go about making your argument.

And no, I don't believe that the 'lack of clothing' issue is a non-issue. You may have the opinion about insecure people and a lack of clothes, but we have no way of knowing if that's representative of the whole.

Really, I think a bigger question is whether or not scantily clad female characters represent an unhealthy form of objectification. And that, in my opinion, is a serious concern.

To those who don't want to bother reading Merlynn's post, I've summed it up for everyone.

"Well, that's not the way it is for ME."

Merlynn:
Let's see,scantly clad men. Maximo from Maximo: Ghosts to Glory and Maximo vs. the Army of Zin will,after taking so much damage,lose his armor and have to fight in his boxers. Viewtiful Joe for the PS2 includes Dante as a secret character who,when he's depowered,runs around in a thong. That's right,a soul scarring thong! I still have nightmares about it. Kratos,of course. And tons of shirtless samurai gadding about. So,yeah,not a real lack of man flesh going on.

Sorry, but poorly proportioned cartoon men like Maximo sporting polka-dot boxers is not in the same league as Rachel in Ninja Gaiden. Neither is a big-headed cartoon Dante. Both are not intended to be eye candy for the girls so much as a way to make the game *cough* humorous. Kratos may be bare, but he's hardly meant to be sexy or appealing to women (despite what the minigames in GOW would lead you to believe.)

Your beach analogy falls short as well. A bikini is appropriate attire for the beach. A bikini is not, however, proper attire for martial arts or armed melee combat which is why women complain about it. Contrary to what gaming would have you believe, the first step to avenging your family is NOT flossing one's butt.

I don't play MMORPGs; I play third person action adventure, so there is always a distinction between myself and the character. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that in an RPG a chararter is more a representative of the player, therefore how a character looks is much more of a concern since that is how the player is represented in the game. The character is the "face" of the player, so I too would be a little put out to find out the costume options were all scanned out of a Fredericks of Hollywood catalog.

I mean, if someone wants that, great, more power to him/her. But it seems quite sexist to think that would be only way a player would want to dress their female character.

But you know what I'd like to see? I'd like to see you walk up to the bodybuilder types who dress up convincingly as He-Man and his overmuscled ilk and tell them what you think of their "attention whoring". I'm sure security will enjoy telling the story of how that turns out over and over again. :p

Why would I ever walk up to someone to tell them what I think of them? Also, again, it's not like that's how they all are. That's just how most are in my experience. I'm not going to guess who fits into the common mold and who doesn't.

Plus, I don't really care if they are an attention whore, as it doesn't actually effect me.

And,frankly,I'm of the opinion that most people don't like scantly clad characters cause it makes them feel insecure about their appearance. And I'm tired of hearing it.

In that case I must be awfully insecure, because if I ever have the option I choose the reptilian biped or the robot character over the human. UT2K4? I play the lizard guys. Soul Calibur? First character I tried was Lizard Man. Morrowind/Oblivion? Argonian. I guess I must be really insecure about being a human, huh?

I don't care if all of the characters in Gears of War look like they could tear me a new one in their sleep. Yeah, I'm fat, but they're a fucking game character. I also don't think female characters should never go scantily clad, either. Hell, someone earlier was complaining about Rachel from Ninja Gaiden, yet for some reason I find her more enticing than most scantily clad heroines (I think it's the Ninja thing, plus I like how her face is modeled...and yes, the outfit does a lot, too, though usually I don't care about such a thing). In the end, though, I don't think there's enough balance between the sexiness and the personality, nor in the realistic.

These women aren't asking for people to put an end to the scantily clad female, and I think people always assume that's the ultimate goal. No, the goal is to simply increase the amount of females that are covered and are full of personality so that sex vixens don't have a monopoly on the market.

LisaB1138:

So it is with great personal satisfaction that I use Dante's alternate costume from Devil May Cry 3. http://l.yimg.com/eur.yimg.com/xp/gamespot/image/devil-may-cry-3-special-edition/0/931852_20061121_screen004_image.jpg
Devil May Cry 3 has Lady, a young woman determined to avenge her mother's death and avoids the advances of oh-so-bishi Dante. She is not playable, but she gets good screen time and is a boss battle.

I was just thinking of DMC3 as a good example of characters represented as sexy without being identified as purely sexual objects. Dante definitely looks the part of an airhead male playboy, but he's an actual character with a history, emotions, personality, and growth as well. There's also a merciful lack of "crotch-bouncing technology!"

In my mind, this boils down to game writers needing to grow up a bit. Characters of the female persuasion can dress provocatively, but they also need to be good characters in their own right. Rachel from Ninja Gaiden, what was she like again? Boobs and... umm.... some... thing else? Wasn't she avenging someone for something? Boobs? That the character looks like some mutant circus clown is bad enough, but the character's only defining attribute is her gigantic breasts. That's it. You could replace her (and a good deal of other modern female characters) with a floating pair of breasts and have absolutely no meaningful impact on the plot. For all the (arguably deserved) hate Lara Croft received, the game designers at least had the decency to give the poor lass a shred of style and individuality before marketing her as a pubescent sex toy.

I don't know how I feel about the entire "feminine" female characters being added to stories. There's merit to the argument that a woman should be more than a man with boobs, but that falls under character development and good writing. Trying to cater a female character towards feminine stereotypes runs into two hazards: Potentially stereotypical characters and qualities that rarely fit within a heroic game narrative. Would Far Cry have been a better game if the hero was female and spent time in between jungle firefights trying out different colors of body armor? Is the best way to bring heroines into gaming by having them identified as clothing-oriented, PMS-ing crybabies? Plenty of feminine traits are left out of traditional gaming heroes because plenty of HUMAN traits are left out of heroes in general. Does Master Chief awkwardly ask female marines out on dates? Does Mega Man use a facial scrub?

I'm not advocating that all feminine traits are negative or that female characters shouldn't exhibit anything female, but you have to remember that character traits for any gender need to work within the context of the gameplay and story. Videogames are best suited to certain types of stories and scenarios, does an Austen-esque socialite fit within those frameworks? Having female characters identifiably female through more than their character model would be great, but some of the examples I see suggested just don't seem plausible. Plenty of masculine traits are ignored or marginalized by games and heroic game narratives, it's part bad character design and part good editing.

Another topic to concider is 'what is sexier to males and females'. For instance it's pretty obvious that many guys want tits. However in my escapades across the net I find that there is not a lot of 'bad nudity' for porn appealing to females. Yaoi for example, an enourmous portion of it is just two bishis snuggling or posing in an 'intimate' way but most of that is from the waist up. Therefore a shirtless guy [and some atmosphere] is just about the most extreme thing that most females need to find a guy sexy; and there's no big deal about that many guys do their friggen yardwork topless. Conversly however it's pornographic to have a topless/revealing female. :\

I find it neccessary to point out that breasts are not sexual organs and that males have breasts too. So basically it's porn and bad for girls to be topless (and thus [sexually] appealing to males) but it's okay for guys to be topless (and thus [sexually] appealing to females). Now who's being sexist?

Sentios:
I find it neccessary to point out that breasts are not sexual organs and that males have breasts too. So basically it's porn and bad for girls to be topless (and thus [sexually] appealing to males) but it's okay for guys to be topless (and thus [sexually] appealing to females). Now who's being sexist?

I believe the male attraction to female breasts, however, ties in to a very primitive base psychology. When you get right down to it, you are attracted to things that confirm the base, animalistic instincts in searching for a mate. Females look not only to physical prowess, but largely to personality. Women are attracted to confidence, as a confident man will always believe in himself, and such a man can be a good leader for a family.

As for dudes, we like boobs and hips. Why? Well, there's a term called "birthing hips". Boobs are also used to feed children in early infancy. So, males are attracted to traits that say "this woman can have my kids and feed them".

Of course, we are evolved beyond JUST those things, where we also want someone that shares intellectual interests and other things. Plus, there are other things we'll find attractive that aren't considered porn. For example, I happen to think a nice showing of midriff can be attractive. However, it's not as much of a turn on as boobs are. Why? Because, in my primal instinct, the stomach has no real purpose.

In the end, boobs are regarded as being a sexual thing to males, therefore they are considered pornography. As for females...well, I can't say exactly what they find attractive. From what I learned from an old friend of mine, though, it really comes down to personality. A male can be ripped, sure, but if he's a jerk the woman loses all appeal to him. So in that case, a male physique has more in common with, say, my attraction to a female midriff.

Of course, I'm guessing here as I'm not actually a female.

I like attractive women as much as the next guy, but it just ruins it for me when they are obviously nothing but eye candy. Yes, Rachel from Ninja Gaiden is attractive, but the sheer impracticality of her outfit just takes me out of the experience, not to mention how much it perpetuates the stereotypes of geeks.

I want to see more female characters with interesting personalities, but then again I'd like to see more interesting characters all around. Even if a developer wants a character that's pure eye candy, it's not going to hurt to add a little personality, is it? Heck, maybe just add one characteristic that defies the cookie-cutter stereotyped personality you're giving her.

The main thing for me is that there should be at least some characters with some modesty. If nothing else, try and design some clothing that's at least practical. Believe it or not, women can be attractive while still leaving something to the imagination. And if the character MUST wear a bikini, either don't have her in the ice level, or add another model. I'm just tired of developers thinking they have to pander to the lowest common denominator. /rant

But it's important to understand something: videogame characters are not about dating. It's not like Ryu is going to ask Rachel out on a date or anything. Romance is really not a big portion of video games. Relationships (if any) are usually established before the game starts, so the idea that a female and/or male character needs to be attractive to facilitate bonding it just not applicable in this situation.

The truth is this: female characters are dressed in a certain way to appeal to male *players*, not male characters. And MALE characters are dressed a certain way to appeal to *male* players. If Dante were to sport a speedo in a true DMC game, it would never be used. Guys would never play with that costume, and as someone already noted, what appeals to the female gender is not necessarily exposed flesh. For all I adore Dante, I doubt I would use a speedo. *thinks* Swim trunks probably, but not a speedo. A speedo is just too much.

At any rate, female gamers feel very ignored since it seems that most games create female characters with male preferences in mind.

EDIT: "most games create female characters with male preferences in mind." I have to add "stereotypical male preferences." The above was posted as I typed and clearly he's a guy who'd like to break a gaming mold as well. ;)

At any rate, female gamers feel very ignored since it seems that most games create female characters with male preferences in mind.

Which brings more to my point, what WOULD be attractive to you in that case? Again, my impression is that physical characteristics are kind of brought out more if they like the male's personality. Would you actually prefer the Conan the Barbarian look, where the man goes bare chested with nothing but some lion skin worn in a kilt like manner as he tears people's arms off and takes sword strikes as if his muscles are more powerful than a blade's cutting capability?

You even noted a speedo isn't really attractive (and honestly, who is it attractive to?), so how would you impractically dress a guy and find him attractive?

Tyber:
The main thing for me is that there should be at least some characters with some modesty. If nothing else, try and design some clothing that's at least practical. Believe it or not, women can be attractive while still leaving something to the imagination. And if the character MUST wear a bikini, either don't have her in the ice level, or add another model. I'm just tired of developers thinking they have to pander to the lowest common denominator. /rant

Um...Lara?
Yes?
We're in Siberia.
I know where I am geologically, just where are we on the mountain?
BEAR WITH ME, bear with me...you're wearing SHORTS.
Yes?
And a TANKTOP.
If you're trying to be suggestive, you're not doing a great job.
We are above the clouds, and it is SNOWING. And you are wearing less clothing than people would wear in NORMAL weather!
I'm not sure what you're getting at.
Eres loco, Senora Croft...

I've come across very few female PCs I've cared about or enjoyed playing:

Jade - "Beyond Good & Evil"
Alice - "American McGee's Alice"
Heather - "Silent Hill 3"
Shion Uzuki - "Xenosaga"

Those are four off the top of my head. I'm sure there are more but most female characters could just as easily be men or some sort of droid/cyborg/AI.

I will freely admit that I like to see scantily clad bouncy bouncy as much as any red blooded American male but it does get pretty boring after awhile especially when that's all a game has going for it - "Red Ninja" or "Bloodrayne". This will continue, there's no stopping it - T&A and gore sell and will sell and definitely have their time and place.

In order for a stronger showing of worthwhile PCs - male and female - stories have to become a lot more sophisticated, mature, and take some chances. Plus we have to show our support and buy them.

Ok,I'm going to take one last stab at this.

1. It takes more than a lack of clothing to be sexy. Often times,when I see these over the top depictions of the female form barely contained by dental floss and band aids,I laugh. It's so blatantly trying to be sexy it's hilarious. So in that respect,the Maximo angle still holds,cause I find these girls hilarious. It's the living proof these idiots had a complete lack of faith in their story and characters,that they had to go to an extreme. And frankly,I don't really let it bother me because I can write it off for the basic stupidity it is. My opinion is,you can let it bug you or you can try to enjoy what the game does right.

And in all honesty,Rachel is the LEAST unbelievable thing to happen in Ninja Gaiden. If you think she has it bad,try being all ninjay in a skin tight leather suit that shows off every painful detail of your body. More like Ninja Gimp-Dom! At least she gets some fucking ventilation in her outfit. You want a game that does a more realistic ninja simulator,I'd suggest Tenchu. Ninja Gaiden is a complete leap off the fucking deep end of fantasy,which you should have figured out the second you saw the lead character walk on water.

2. If you got rid of EVERYTHING that was made "for the lowest common denominator",you're eventually going to have to give up something you love. I know you all love to believe you're smarter than the average bears,but the fact remains,we all have a soft spot in our hearts for something that's basically tripe. I like Serious Sam games and Spongebob. Both can be defined as "low brow entertainment". But unlike some of you,I have the simple ability to realize I don't have to hate everything that someone else thinks is "stupid". I don't have to pull the "I'm too smart for this" crap to say why I don't like something. Yes,it would be nice if every character in every game was given the consideration the ones in Psychonauts got. But even that game had looks obcessed bimbos and I think it's high time we started accepting that maybe not everyone who fights evil is especially bright or deep.

Just look at Sailor Moon. This boy hungry,scantly clad bimbo was the star of an almost 200 episode anime legend and yet,everyone acknowledges that she's a complete ditz. So why don't they complain about her? They do. Even with characterization and growth and all that shit,she still gets labeled a "scantly clad bimbo" by the sexism critics. Most of which haven't seen the series. Once you get past the skimpy costumes,you find there's some actual people in them. Granted,it could've been better,the jokes could use punching up,but that doesn't mean it's not a start. And for damn sure beats the skin tight pants off Totally Spies. :p

3. I'm STILL waiting for someone to explain to me why the "shirt/tabard" option isn't used. I get some goofy armor,I try to cover up. I still hate the purple pants of gayness I found once. But to a man,ALL my WoW characters wear shirts whether they need it or not. They're cheap,they're easy to get,they don't take up an important slot. Why the FUCK aren't you wearing one if you don't want to show some skin? HUH?! ANSWER ME,DAMN YOU!!! Seriously,stop ignoring this option and proclaiming it's all Blizzard's fault you don't chose to wear a shirt.

I at least want some excuses or it comes down to just complaining for the sake of complaining. Which means you're just being bitches. And nobody likes bitches. And that includes the guys too. It's one thing to complain about something that can't be changed once the games out,it's another to complain about something you have full control over. We all have embaressing armor,the smarter of us learn to deal or cover up or find something less stupid looking and take the stats hit.

I once put up the idea that if Blizzard made the most powerful armor in the game easy to get,but it looked like a pink dress on men and a leather dom outfit on women,you'd still see a ton of people wearing it simply because it's the best armor in the game. And some people would think it's funny. Probably be entire guilds of 'em with names like "Pretty Little Girls" or "Drag Queens of the Apcolypse". You'd have guys running around in the "panty leggings" just to horrify people. And then you'd have the dom chicks running around saying things like "Someone needs to be punished!" or "Who needs a spanking?" BET ME THEY WOULDN'T!

Ok,I'm done.

What would women find attractive in a male video game character? Well, looks help, natch, but I would say more "intangible" characteristics such as intelligence, humor, and honor go further. I mean, Dante is attractive, but it's really his charm and bravado that gets me going. Or course, charm and bravado alone can be annoying, so Dante's backstory and unexplained rift with his twin brother give more depth to the character. Samanosuke from Onimusha is gorgeous, but it's his discipline and selflessness that attract.

I guess in terms of dress I really want appropriateness for both male and female characters. Historical accuracy if it applies. (And in defense of Lara Croft, after the first game, she did dress for the environment.) If a character is a fighter, then dress like a fighter, not like a pole dancer. Don't have them prance around in outfits that would never behave the way they behave in video games. The sceenshot of the outfit posted in the article is a perfect example of that--magic fabric that never moves to expose the breasts. Or perhaps they're just well-behaved breasts that know better than to wander beyond garment borders?

2. If you got rid of EVERYTHING that was made "for the lowest common denominator",you're eventually going to have to give up something you love. I know you all love to believe you're smarter than the average bears,but the fact remains,we all have a soft spot in our hearts for something that's basically tripe. I like Serious Sam games and Spongebob. Both can be defined as "low brow entertainment". But unlike some of you,I have the simple ability to realize I don't have to hate everything that someone else thinks is "stupid". I don't have to pull the "I'm too smart for this" crap to say why I don't like something. Yes,it would be nice if every character in every game was given the consideration the ones in Psychonauts got. But even that game had looks obcessed bimbos and I think it's high time we started accepting that maybe not everyone who fights evil is especially bright or deep.

I think you're forgetting one of the people who tried defending Halo 3 in Yahtzee's review here. :P

I don't have any problem with "lowest common denominator", and I do enjoy a lot of low brow entertainment. As I had stated, I'm not with demolishing all T&A or all simple things. Far from it. However, being a more high brow site, shouldn't we discuss how things should at least change just a little?

Itagaki of Team Ninja is going to have T&A. It's just a fact. His games aren't exactly the most intelligent, either. However, they're at least fun, which is what matters. However, as stated, there's a lot more female characters with no depth in the gaming world than there are ones that do have it. And it would be nice to have girls that aren't showing off all the T&A, either, once in a while. I mean, honestly, look at the movies. I don't see cleavage and thongs in every trailer, and I'm sure you don't either. Can't there just be more of a balance?

What would women find attractive in a male video game character? Well, looks help, natch, but I would say more "intangible" characteristics such as intelligence, humor, and honor go further. I mean, Dante is attractive, but it's really his charm and bravado that gets me going. Or course, charm and bravado alone can be annoying, so Dante's backstory and unexplained rift with his twin brother give more depth to the character. Samanosuke from Onimusha is gorgeous, but it's his discipline and selflessness that attract.

So I was, for the most part, correct in that personality does it for chicks.

As for the accuracy, I'll be honest, it's nice sometimes, but I like my inaccuracy a lot as well. However, as I noted above, it would be nice if I saw women dressed in more logical war gear more often as opposed to being scantily clad more than 75% of the time. Once more, I want a balance.

ccesarano:
As for dudes, we like boobs and hips. Why? Well, there's a term called "birthing hips". Boobs are also used to feed children in early infancy. So, males are attracted to traits that say "this woman can have my kids and feed them".*

Of course, we are evolved beyond JUST those things, where we also want someone that shares intellectual interests and other things. Plus, there are other things we'll find attractive that aren't considered porn. For example, I happen to think a nice showing of midriff can be attractive. However, it's not as much of a turn on as boobs are. Why? Because, in my primal instinct, the stomach has no real purpose.

In the end, boobs are regarded as being a sexual thing to males, therefore they are considered pornography.** As for females...well, I can't say exactly what they find attractive. From what I learned from an old friend of mine, though, it really comes down to personality. A male can be ripped, sure, but if he's a jerk the woman loses all appeal to him.*** So in that case, a male physique has more in common with, say, my attraction to a female midriff.

*: In the wild it is the females that look for good traits in a mate, the males go for any female that is available (except in those that partner for life)

**: So then if long hair suddenly became the new 'boobs' we'd have to start censoring hair? Come on that's the weakest argument I've ever heard. It's not a sexual organ, it's about as sexual as hands. Now I understand that it's the common misconception to the contrary but since everyone on the other side of this debate is throwing out the 'intelligent board' card I'll do the same.

That's not to say that I care if a female is topless or dressed I just don't see this as a solid enough of a complaint, which is founded mostly by a minority of females feeling that they're being represented by shallow, eye-candy characters. Is it true? Yea. Want to change it then do what the person said earlier and make some games the way you want them, you won't change the world simply by complaining.

***: I'm calling bull shit... and no I won't explain why it should be blaringly obvious.

Tyber:
I like attractive women as much as the next guy, but it just ruins it for me when they are obviously nothing but eye candy. Yes, Rachel from Ninja Gaiden is attractive, but the sheer impracticality of her outfit just takes me out of the experience, not to mention how much it perpetuates the stereotypes of geeks.

I want to see more female characters with interesting personalities, but then again I'd like to see more interesting characters all around. Even if a developer wants a character that's pure eye candy, it's not going to hurt to add a little personality, is it? Heck, maybe just add one characteristic that defies the cookie-cutter stereotyped personality you're giving her.

It's fantasy, practicality really does not apply... at all. I mean I make fully dressed, string bean role play characters that wear freaking cloaks and steel toed boots everywhere. I don't have the suddenly stop to comment on how steel toed boots hurt your feet or how cloaks are inferior to coats. Personality is great, I'm all for personality. That doesn't mean that skimpy clothes will go away though, seriously. Besides the hero hardly ever changes clothes... how practical is that?

LisaB1138:
But it's important to understand something: videogame characters are not about dating. It's not like Ryu is going to ask Rachel out on a date or anything. Romance is really not a big portion of video games. Relationships (if any) are usually established before the game starts, so the idea that a female and/or male character needs to be attractive to facilitate bonding it just not applicable in this situation.

The truth is this: female characters are dressed in a certain way to appeal to male *players*, not male characters. And MALE characters are dressed a certain way to appeal to *male* players. If Dante were to sport a speedo in a true DMC game, it would never be used. Guys would never play with that costume, and as someone already noted, what appeals to the female gender is not necessarily exposed flesh. For all I adore Dante, I doubt I would use a speedo. *thinks* Swim trunks probably, but not a speedo. A speedo is just too much.

No one likes speedos, serious... ass flossing really isn't even a part of T&A either. Besides a man in a speedo might as well just go nude... seriously. At least girls don't have their sex parts hanging out for all the world. (Again boobs do not count, they are not sex parts regardless of what the majority thinks and females seem to love flauting them well fully dressed anyways.)

Merlynn:
1. It takes more than a lack of clothing to be sexy. Often times,when I see these over the top depictions of the female form barely contained by dental floss and band aids,I laugh. It's so blatantly trying to be sexy it's hilarious. So in that respect,the Maximo angle still holds,cause I find these girls hilarious. It's the living proof these idiots had a complete lack of faith in their story and characters,that they had to go to an extreme. And frankly,I don't really let it bother me because I can write it off for the basic stupidity it is. My opinion is,you can let it bug you or you can try to enjoy what the game does right.

Agreed. Atmosphere and personality work just as well for males, it's not always about T&A. Besides theirs some fully dressed females are just sexy and it's always fun to undress them in your mind. Besides as internet rule 34-1 states "If porn of something cannot be found, \B\ will make it.". Welcome to the internet boys and girls. :)

I think it is obtuse to suggest that in order to be sexualized men have to have extraordinarily large genitals. All these men with ridiculous biceps and so forth are in fact being sexualized the only real difference is that (as someone else said.)is that men have virtually the same ideal body image. Go look at some of the pictures of men on sites like cosmopolitan and tell me they are not sexualized in a manner equivalent to that of women in say Maxim.

The article reminds me of a conversation I had with a female friend about pornography. She stated that she hated pornography because it is demeaning to women. Suffice it to say the real reason that she hates pornography is because she doesn't have the same body type as the female performers (Granted she did not come out and say this but it became obvious during the course of my conversation with her.) which has absolutely nothing to do with demeaning a woman in the end.

Does it suck that women are portrayed as they are in games? It sure does, but please don't act like this issue is unique to the female gender.

Sentios:
No one likes speedos, serious... ass flossing really isn't even a part of T&A either. Besides a man in a speedo might as well just go nude... seriously. At least girls don't have their sex parts hanging out for all the world. (Again boobs do not count, they are not sex parts regardless of what the majority thinks and females seem to love flauting them well fully dressed anyways.)

There are so many things wrong with this statement I don't know where to start. Since thongs DO expose the butt, I would have to say that a$$-flossing is most definitely a part of T&A. Perhaps you are unaware that "T&A" stands for "tits and a$$?" Breasts are not sex parts? Where on earth would you get that idea? If breasts were NOT part of sex, then you'll have to explain why exposing them is such a huge part of "Girls Gone Wild." I doubt the subtext there is "I can nurse your baby." Come on, stop making lame excuses. When the outfits resemble things found in Victoria's Secret, it's about sex. Maybe you can lie to yourself, but the rest of the world isn't fooled. Funny you think a speedo exposes male sex parts. They seem fully covered to me. I'm sure you would say, however that despite the speedo-esque definition this outfit provides,(LINK:http://xbox360media.ign.com/xbox360/image/article/803/803748/soulcalibur-iv-20070711053412247.jpg) this female is completely covered and there fore there's nothing to complain about.

Shadow Skill:
All these men with ridiculous biceps and so forth are in fact being sexualized the only real difference is that (as someone else said.)is that men have virtually the same ideal body image. Go look at some of the pictures of men on sites like cosmopolitan and tell me they are not sexualized in a manner equivalent to that of women in say Maxim.

Again, nice try, but you fail. First, if the men have huge biceps it is a product of make them look "super strong" or brutal, not sexually attractive to females. I think you would find in a survey that most women do NOT find such huge muscles sexually attractve. And do not throw out a magazine or web site created by women for women and point to pictures there in some sort of "oh we're victimized too!" bid. No one is complaining about what happens in Playboy or Maxim. We're complaining about what happens in an entertainment medium that considers itself as mainstream, accessible and popular as television and movies, yet it still stereotypes and sexualizes females for the pleasure of its male audience by costuming them in impractical, suggestive and sometimes obscene outfits. Oh sure, she can be a strong fighter and kick butt--just so long as she's wearing lingerie. Sorry. Not good enough.

I'm not saying kill the eye candy. I'm saying at least recognize there are female gamers out there and give us some alternate costume options. We are consumers in this industry and deserve to be treated as such.

Again boobs do not count, they are not sex parts regardless of what the majority thinks and females seem to love flauting them well fully dressed anyways.

Be careful here. You're basically arguing that what you think should be what everyone thinks. However, you can't just tell someone that part of the way the culture views something is wrong. Lisa is right. If boobs weren't so enticing why would they be all over Girls Gone Wild? A guy without his shirt on isn't going to gain that much more of a reaction than a guy with his shirt on.

I know you may feel differently, and I have no problem if you do. However, you can't just tell us all that we are wrong and thus the argument is moot since the majority of people find it very sexually pleasing to see.

***: I'm calling bull shit... and no I won't explain why it should be blaringly obvious.

I imagine you mean the whole "woman in a relationship with an asshole" thing? Yeah, I've known plenty of girls that get into those relationships, and one of the things they always say is "they were different when I started dating them". Fact of the matter is, what really happened is the girl confused confidence with conceit. If her first impression was of the guy being an asshole, she wouldn't have been so attracted.

Or if you want to go the route where the guy acts like an asshole to other people, it could easily be that he's being a jerk to the same kinds of people she's a bitch to. In which case, they are both welcome to cause misery with each other.

Of course, that's well off the subject.

"I'm not saying kill the eye candy. I'm saying at least recognize there are female gamers out there and give us some alternate costume options. We are consumers in this industry and deserve to be treated as such."

You're right. You are consumers in this, but at the same time if every game developed had alternative costumes for every single person whose tastes differ you would never get into the game at all. You'd be stuck trying to figure out what looks "best" on your character. What about the transvestites who may want a male figure with female clothing? or homosexuals who want fashionable material (that's a generalization I apologize for that)? or the dominate male who wants muscle shirts and leather pants? or the gamer geek who wants his favorite T-Shirt with logo on it? Let's be realistic here, you can't please 100% of the people 100% of the time. So you make do with a broad generalization and portrayal of what you would believe the consumer wants in the game.

Just because you feel like pretending that women are not attracted to males with a given body type does not mean this is not the case. According to wikipedia the height of a male does matter on some level to females and males. (See here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heightism#_note-DontWant and here:http://www.atypon-link.com/SJP/doi/abs/10.2224/sbp.1996.24.2.143?cookieSet=1&journalCode=sbp )

You think men are not stereotyped in what is considered mainstream media? Are you serious? It seems like maybe 98% of males in these tv shows and movies are depicted as uncaring jackasses with maybe 5 brain cells active at any one moment. But of course it really is only a problem when its women being stereotyped because women never do that to the male gender in "mainstream" media.

Here's the problem I have with blatantly sexualizing women in games.

I appreciate good-looking characters. I'm not going to try to pretend otherwise. However, there comes a certain point where it is obvious that the woman was just put in there to sell more copies. That, in itself, doesn't bother me either, depending on how it's presented. However, I've seen enough bad games in my time that used sex as a major point of the game, that when I see a woman who was obviously placed to boost sales among fourteen-year-olds, I immediately wonder "All right, what are they trying to distract me from?" It's such a transparent attempt at shipping a bad, broken, or unfinished game that it strikes me as an insult.

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