ME:Andromeda artist: "there are sensitivities within the company [...] about representing women"

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There has been a lot of talk about the animations and facial designs of Mass Effect Andromeda's characters. Most of this discussion has been speculatory in nature, but recently gaming historian Liam Robertson spoke to a number of people involved with Mass Effect Andromeda and claims to have uncovered some interesting revelations.

Robertson claims that EA had contracted a third-party animator, Cyberscans, to handle the animations for the game and that it wasn't done in-house. Robertson learned that BioWare and EA pushed Cyberscans to make their human characters "more realistic." Robertson also claims that an artist who worked on the game suggested to him that there were "sensitivities within the company about representing women a certain way."

https://techraptor.net/content/report-bioware-outsourced-mass-effect-andromeda-facial-animations

Discussion Questions
* What are your thoughts on the allegations that female characters in Mass Effect Andromeda were intentionally made "less attractive"?

* Do you believe that Robertson is being honest about his investigation into the situation?

* Do you believe that feminism or social justice played a role in the portrayal of ME:A's female characters as "less attractive"?

* If you believe that feminism played a role, do you believe it was done to avoid backlash or because the heads at EA/BioWare are true believers in feminism? A combination of the two?

* What do you think the artist meant by "sensitivities about representing women a certain way?

* Why weren't there sensitivities about representing men?

* Why do you think that the female default ryder looks very different from her model, whereas her male counterpart looks almost exactly the same? (images)

I think the two things presented in that article have absolutely nothing in common, that one artist in a team of hundreds of people represent nothing but themselves and that their word is worth nothing without any form of supporting evidence. Further, I think that suggesting there are "sensitivities" about "representing women" is like catnip to the vilest parts of gaming culture. Especially when the conjecture is that said "sensitivities" supposedly meant not making female in-game models into hot supermodels*. Techraptor: clickbaiting GamerGate since 2014.

* But for real, have you seen the racks on the women in ME:A? The first cutscene out of cryo made me wonder if Lexi, the doctor, had injected helium into her own bosom. Ryder and Cora also have endowments to kill for and every woman in the game has an ass so tight and firm that I bet you could bounce quarters off of it. The female models in ME:A are the usual levels of ideal body, just like the men.

omg they made women look normal

what am I going to jerk it to now?

for a group crying about sensitives and triggered people Netscape, you sure are triggered a lot

Netscape:

* Do you believe that feminism or social justice played a role in the portrayal of ME:A's female characters as "less attractive"?

* If you believe that feminism played a role, do you believe it was done to avoid backlash or because the heads at EA/BioWare are true believers in feminism? A combination of the two?

Dunno, is feminism also to blame for the fact that male Hawke in Dragon Age II sounded like he was auditioning for the part of Guard #3 in his group-home's stage production of Robin Hood? Or that the "smile" on the default male Shepherd in Mass Effect always looked like an amber alert waiting to happen? Or is it just in this one case that a company that has always been shit with their protagonists has a shit protagonist because feminism?

* Why weren't there sensitivities about representing men?

Because it is hip and trendy to bash men all while explaining power dynamics make it ok to be callous about the issues men face while bashing men. Yet if someone tries to treat a woman the way they think it is cool and hip to treat men then they are misogynist monsters while ignoring all the other power dynamics that act on us that make no one group solely victims or victimizers.

It really seems like some people are just Neo-puritans who openly mock people who wish to see some portrayals of women as something they are sexually attracted to. Look a bit higher in this forum and you will see someone mocking others for wanting to see a certain portrayal of women while touting their version as the true and best one. Nothing wrong with making some of the women and men not appear as they are traditionally depicted in many games (a depiction many people actually LIKE btw) but there is also nothing wrong with desiring depictions of some members of either gender as something that is a bit titillating. Sexual attraction is not solely objectification and those that try and make that false equivalence sure seem like Neo-puritans to me. Mocking those of us who enjoy seeing characters with "unrealistic" figures is mocking the sexual proclivities and attraction of another group. I thought shaming people for what they were attracted to and desired was horrible or is it only acceptable when the target is from a particular group that keeps seeming to be an acceptable target for derision and shaming?

It seems like the people that mock those of us that want big boobs or skimpy clothes in games are Neo-puritans who wish tio shame certain forms of sexuality while dismissing it as objectification while trying to defend the sexual inverse because of "power dynamics."

FriendoftheFallen:
It seems like the people that mock those of us that want big boobs or skimpy clothes in games are Neo-puritans who wish tio shame certain forms of sexuality while dismissing it as objectification while trying to defend the sexual inverse because of "power dynamics."

I am not mocking you for liking those things. I love those things too!

I do, however, have a problem with the fact that while male gaming protagonists (and characters in general) can come in all shapes sizes and ratios of handsomeness to gruesomeness, female characters fit into a very narrow range. Not always, but usually. If it were to turn out that Bioware intentionally made the default femryder character a bit less attractive than they could have, would that be so bad?

I mean the facial animations are just kinda awful but it seems Bioware is going to patch that up. At some point. Maybe.

jademunky:

FriendoftheFallen:
It seems like the people that mock those of us that want big boobs or skimpy clothes in games are Neo-puritans who wish tio shame certain forms of sexuality while dismissing it as objectification while trying to defend the sexual inverse because of "power dynamics."

I am not mocking you for liking those things. I love those things too!

I do, however, have a problem with the fact that while male gaming protagonists (and characters in general) can come in all shapes sizes and ratios of handsomeness to gruesomeness, female characters fit into a very narrow range. Not always, but usually. If it were to turn out that Bioware intentionally made the default femryder character a bit less attractive than they could have, would that be so bad?

I mean the facial animations are just kinda awful but it seems Bioware is going to patch that up. At some point. Maybe.

You're not one of the people I was thinking was being mocking.
I'm attracted more to larger women than petite women. I prefer curves. I would love to see more chubby gaming characters. I also understand why others may not. I think doing it on purpose is an issue but not a large one.Well it depends on why they made them less attractive. If it was a big f* you to fanboys then yeah that is hostile and pretty bad. If they deliberately removed any depiction of women that others may stereotypically find attractive then I can see why others would be bummed or irked by it. Some people do like to see characters they find attractive. Wanting sexualized depictions of characters shouldn't be any more subject to mockery than being attracted to a particular body type or gender. Trying to deliberately slant portrayals one way to counter portrayals elsewhere is still slanting portrayals. Couldn't they show depictions on both the fringes and the middle of the spectra? What if a gaem gave you the option of how you wanted a lot of the npc's to look. Is there anything wrong with some people setting their meter to huge boobs small waist? Is that any better or worse than me wanting to set my meter for many characters to zaftig? Some people seem to want to have media depictions deliberately made to make men attracted to women uncomfortable like when mcintosh ranted about tracer being too "sexy" and then said; I?m advocating for creators to really make straight guys uncomfortable." That is openly hostile and certainly a noninclusive view. If this is another instance of that type of retributive thinking then yes it is a bit of an issue. If its just how their algorithm came out that's different.

Ultimately it comes down to why they did it and how much of it was intentional. It is their game, they can do it how they want. Others get to react to that how they wish so long as they're not doing retributive witch-hunts or trying to put people out of business for their opinions.

Do you know what I find offputting about this?

We have explicit confirmed proof that the reason that Andromeda's animations aren't up to par is that outsourcing was carried out. Some of it on EA's part, some of it on BioWare's part (if BioWare can be said to exist in any cohesive form nowadays). We have here the unfortunate reality that game development costs money, but on the other hand, outsourcing has generated (supposed) lacklustre results. This being EA, who has a history of gutting development studios that come under its wing.

That, however, isn't what I find offputting. What I do find offputting is that here, and in other areas, the conversation's been shifted towards perceived "social justice" issues, the crux of said issue being facial animations and females not being attractive enough. Netscape's discussion questions are all about these 'issues,' when I'd thought the actual issue would be business practices such as EA's acquisition of studios, outsourcing, etc. Because, true, the report does mention "sensitives within the company about representing women," but these are two paragraphs out of ten. Roughly 20% of the article is dedicated to the "PC issue," but Netscape presents it as being 100% of the issue.

So, what do I think? I dunno - haven't played Andromeda. I do think that default Sara Ryder is reasonably attractive (certainly more than FemShep). I do think that the likes of Cora and PeeBee are less attractive than, say, Ashley and Liara, but still, I like Ashley and Liara as characters, first and foremost (yes, I like Ashley's character, bite me) - them being attractive is just a bonus, while I can't comment on the characters of anyone in Andromeda, because, hey, haven't played it.

So, at the end of the day, I think it's sad. I think it's sad that indications are that the game suffered from corporate management, but that "social justice warriors" are somehow the crux of the issue. I think it's sad that people are lamenting that the characters in Andromeda aren't attractive enough, rather than actually commenting on who they are as individuals. I think it's sad that...well, a lot of things are said, nowadays. So, in conclusion, all I can say is that I'm far more ready to pin Andromeda's faults on corporate mis-management than a supposed agenda.

Remember when EA was the villain? Ah, good times.

Anonymous person makes a generic claim about "sensitivities" that makes no sense? I have no idea what "sensitivities" could lead someone to support bad animation, but somehow I don't think it is the result of a push by feminists to have women portrayed as androids in games. The more likely explanation - far, far more likely - is that Bioware felt that the outsourced animations were adequate, and wanted their internal team to focus on other aspects of the game.

What's the bet that they related not to some evil feminist push, but to not pissing of your publisher who had chosen to handle the animations separately? Almost always these issues come down to politics or complexities in prioritizing resources.

Please, everybody knows single anonymous sources on the internet would never troll or lie about things like certain feminists working on big budget titles and the crazy things they say about otherwise innocuous aspects of game development. And if they did, certain sections of gaming culture would react with skepticism instead of believing the whole thing for literal years.

Incidentally, Anita Sarkeesian sure ruined Mirror's Edge 2 when she was consulting the development team and convinced them to make the game easier and get rid of the controls she thought were sexist. That's a real thing that totally happened.

altnameJag:

Incidentally, Anita Sarkeesian sure ruined Mirror's Edge 2 when she was consulting the development team and convinced them to make the game easier and get rid of the controls she thought were sexist. That's a real thing that totally happened.

http://segmentnext.com/2014/12/17/anita-sarkeesian-no-part-mirrors-edge-2-development-says-ea/

Hawki:

altnameJag:

Incidentally, Anita Sarkeesian sure ruined Mirror's Edge 2 when she was consulting the development team and convinced them to make the game easier and get rid of the controls she thought were sexist. That's a real thing that totally happened.

http://segmentnext.com/2014/12/17/anita-sarkeesian-no-part-mirrors-edge-2-development-says-ea/

I knew I should have added more sarcasm words to that last sentence.

altnameJag:

Hawki:

altnameJag:

Incidentally, Anita Sarkeesian sure ruined Mirror's Edge 2 when she was consulting the development team and convinced them to make the game easier and get rid of the controls she thought were sexist. That's a real thing that totally happened.

http://segmentnext.com/2014/12/17/anita-sarkeesian-no-part-mirrors-edge-2-development-says-ea/

I knew I should have added more sarcasm words to that last sentence.

Heh, whoops!

(Though to be fair, I'm in debate with Zontar, who'd say such things unsarcastically.)

Hawki:

altnameJag:

Hawki:

http://segmentnext.com/2014/12/17/anita-sarkeesian-no-part-mirrors-edge-2-development-says-ea/

I knew I should have added more sarcasm words to that last sentence.

Heh, whoops!

(Though to be fair, I'm in debate with Zontar, who'd say such things unsarcastically.)

Field example of Poe's Law in action.

OT: Damn! These rhetorical assumptions are stretching beyond believe more and more each time.

This is some flat earth society conspiracy theory shit.

I'm pretty sure that gamers themselves are to "blame" for this supposed SJW invasion or whatever you wanna call it. They have a way of bringing a lot of positive attention to people they hate, while getting all the negative attention. It's kind of funny.

Anyway, the animations are bad but besides that, I don't see anything wrong with the characters. So there's a trans character, and the chicks are "ugly", which is debatable and it's down to personal opinion. Personally I find Cora attractive. Animations ruin her and everybody else's faces though. And like someone said above, for a company trying to push their SJW agenda, every female has a perfect body. Maybe it's a slow process. Maybe next we will have Mass Effect: Fatties in Space.

It's frustrating where I have to simultaneously defend a shit game and tear apart a shit game.
All the issues with ME:A being trash has everything to do with EA pulling a Assassin's Creed: Unity in space than some radfem on Tumblr somehow having massive influence over a multi million dollar company.
Since the dawn of the second fucking game Bioware has been screamed at for being a sjw shit hole because they Jack looks like a goth Tumblr or they added in a gay character somewhere. And yet despite all that ME3 was bad because of the piss poor ending. Not because the landing ship pilot was gay.
It's upsetting how fucking dishonest gamers are. If this was another generic bro shooter the focus absolutely would of been on restrictive development time, poor quality control, and disregard for the spirit of the franchise in favor of adding in nonsense like multiplayer.

But no. Because Girl Ryder can fuck the alien reptile lady and Angoras have different pronouns this is apparently what killed the game. Not the animations looking like Gumby or animatrons.

I'm glad though- given the patch notes that Bioware/EA can see what's bullshit and what's real and are focusing on fixing the game.
When the animations at least exceed the first game they will get my money.

Christ, that you're even positing the question as to whether or not feminism is involved in this is depressing. This couldn't be a more explicit example of the shit-show that is the AAA games development process, yet somehow people still find a way to drag feminism into it like a fucking boogeyman. I gotta ask, what's with all the 'sensitives' around feminism these days?

undeadsuitor:
omg they made women look normal

what am I going to jerk it to now?

for a group crying about sensitives and triggered people Netscape, you sure are triggered a lot

...you mean you don't jerk it to the Krogans? 'S fuckin' weird. I mean, whatever floats you boat, but why jerk it to a lady when there's an 800 pound lizard standing right next to her?

Wrex Brogan:

undeadsuitor:
omg they made women look normal

what am I going to jerk it to now?

for a group crying about sensitives and triggered people Netscape, you sure are triggered a lot

...you mean you don't jerk it to the Krogans? 'S fuckin' weird. I mean, whatever floats you boat, but why jerk it to a lady when there's an 800 pound lizard standing right next to her?

I admit, the thought of a creature with four testicles does sound enticing.

Default Fem Ryder is super cute, it's the fact she doesn't look like a blow up doll that seems to bother some people.

Now default male Ryder... well, I don't want to be demeaning, but I want to punch his stupid face every time he talks.

Also, does anyone else hate the new alien designs? Anyone else miss the Hanar and Elcor?

Wrex Brogan:
I gotta ask, what's with all the 'sensitives' around feminism these days?

I believe 'sensitivities' suggests women need 'special treatment' because they might be 'on' their 'mensies' and may literally 'blow up' at any 'moment'.

I haven't played this game. Still trying to get to the Mun.

undeadsuitor:
I admit, the thought of a creature with four testicles does sound enticing.

OT:

I'll do something different and put some effort into this.

1) It would be great if it didn't just mean they would look less rendered than the males. They're still supermodels in tight clothing striking sexy poses. This is sufficient to raise the alarms and yet it still confounds a considerable number of gamers when people point out the issues we have with depictions based on gender. It's especially bad here when most of the article is dedicated to the difficulties caused by the burden of making the game that have nothing to do with what you laser-focused on.

2) Don't see why not.

3) Feminism definitely played a role in the policies being enacted at EA. Don't see that as a bad thing or something I should be shamed for saying. They want to be diverse. I realize that's like saying they want to throw acid on the faces of puppies around these parts, but there it is. It sucks it didn't amount to anything as, like I said above, they're still variations on Waifu Samus Aran (if she spoke).

4) They took notice that there are gamers (yes, gamers) who want to be better represented and others who would like their peers to be better represented. The company listened. It didn't get it right, but that's not a reason to say it shouldn't happen. Progress is made in baby steps and you have to start somewhere. Far too often I see the claim that since we didn't go from 35% to 100% instantly we shouldn't try. That's either defeatist or dishonest.

5 and 6) We're pretty well-represented. There's also a total lack of demand for less attractive male characters with the male gaming community. Every time I see the issue of male models brought up, it's a counter-point to the desire for better representation for women in the hopes they'll shut up rather than something that's genuine.

As for me personally, I'd be glad to have non-supermodels be much more common. Something other than people who look like Adonis or Aphrodite fighting people who decidedly don't.

Are people really this angry that the female LIs aren't ?hot? enough, or that there are LGBT characters...in a BIOWARE game?

Jesus fucking christ. Queer people have been complaining and asking for honest representation for years, literally years, and yet the internet loses its collective shit because Cora has a certain haircut and doesn't look like a barbie doll.

This is what entitlement looks like. For real. Games don't exist solely for the entertainment of straight guys, even though there are plenty that find the women in the game attractive.

Netscape:

* What are your thoughts on the allegations that female characters in Mass Effect Andromeda were intentionally made "less attractive"?

Blame poor modeling and animation, not feminism.

* Do you believe that Robertson is being honest about his investigation into the situation?

No because this is something EA has been doing as their MO as a company for as long as its been around.

* Do you believe that feminism or social justice played a role in the portrayal of ME:A's female characters as "less attractive"?

No because whether if someone is attractive or not is purely a matter of personal preference. There are men, and women, that like harder, tougher women.

* If you believe that feminism played a role, do you believe it was done to avoid backlash or because the heads at EA/BioWare are true believers in feminism? A combination of the two?

Bioware has always been a progressive company and EA will use any cause or means to make more money, but feminism is not behind the bad stuff in Andromeda.

* What do you think the artist meant by "sensitivities about representing women a certain way?

Not representing women as objects for male plays to gawk and virtually fuck, but representing them as human beings. Cora is basically psychic space-Rambo. Peedee is a Lora Croft without fanservice. That's how a lot of women are in real life.

* Why weren't there sensitivities about representing men?

So far the only complaints from men have nothing to do with the men in game.

* Why do you think that the female default ryder looks very different from her model, whereas her male counterpart looks almost exactly the same?

EA is EA and you can literally make female Ryder as attractive as you want her to be?

NemotheElvenPanda:
Are people really this angry that the female LIs aren't ?hot? enough, or that there are LGBT characters...in a BIOWARE game?

Jesus fucking christ. Queer people have been complaining and asking for honest representation for years, literally years, and yet the internet loses its collective shit because Cora has a certain haircut and doesn't look like a barbie doll.

This is what entitlement looks like. For real. Games don't exist solely for the entertainment of straight guys, even though there are plenty that find the women in the game attractive.

I've never heard someone use the term "Check your privilege" in a non-ironic context in real life but honestly, those complaining about their female video game characters not being hot enough are exactly the kind of people who need to.

I find it interesting that being sensitive to women who want a power fantasy videogame to enjoy is to make the characters uglier. It's not as though women fantasize about being a better version of themselves when they play games like this like men do, no, they lack that part in their brain that makes men able to enjoy games where the chars are infinitely more desirable/cooler/stronger than they are. Women need their fictional characters to look as dull and plain as real women are or they feel threatened.

Now with that sarcasm out of the way, I don't think the sensitivities of the women playing these games are the ones minded here. No, it's the sensitivities of all women, in general, in the context of women wanting to have realistic portrayals of women in media because that advances some kind of cause. Well, yeah, sure, but it comes at the cost of the power fantasy of the women who are actually playing these games when they do that.

Either they don't care about their female customers or they think not enough female customers play these games so might as well pander to those who simply comment about the games but don't actually play them.

Dreiko:
Now with that sarcasm out of the way, I don't think the sensitivities of the women playing these games are the ones minded here. No, it's the sensitivities of all women, in general, in the context of women wanting to have realistic portrayals of women in media because that advances some kind of cause. Well, yeah, sure, but it comes at the cost of the power fantasy of the women who are actually playing these games when they do that.

Either they don't care about their female customers or they think not enough female customers play these games so might as well pander to those who simply comment about the games but don't actually play them.

Dude, maybe talk to actual female players more often before deciding you know what we want?

I can't speak for all women, but a lot of the women I know do prefer the more natural looking (and acting!) female characters. You might now think they're hot enough to stick your dick into, but the fuckability factor as decided by men has nothing to do with designing a character women find cool.

BTW female default Ryder is totally cute and yes, she does look like the model. Of course someone's going to look different in a sexy glamour shot. That's why they're called glamour shots. No woman just walking down the street with no make-up on and her hair in a pony tail is going to look like that.

Dreiko:
I find it interesting that being sensitive to women who want a power fantasy videogame to enjoy is to make the characters uglier. It's not as though women fantasize about being a better version of themselves when they play games like this like men do, no, they lack that part in their brain that makes men able to enjoy games where the chars are infinitely more desirable/cooler/stronger than they are. Women need their fictional characters to look as dull and plain as real women are or they feel threatened.

Now with that sarcasm out of the way, I don't think the sensitivities of the women playing these games are the ones minded here. No, it's the sensitivities of all women, in general, in the context of women wanting to have realistic portrayals of women in media because that advances some kind of cause. Well, yeah, sure, but it comes at the cost of the power fantasy of the women who are actually playing these games when they do that.

Either they don't care about their female customers or they think not enough female customers play these games so might as well pander to those who simply comment about the games but don't actually play them.

Or even when I want a power fantasy type female character (as oppose to a more grounded one), how much guys want to stick their dick in it is not the main factor. In fact most of the features of "sexy" characters are not desirable to me at all.

I get that how sexy a char is isn't a main feature of the power fantasy, but it being so, making the chars less sexy also aught to not affect much, at best. It's not as though making the chars uglier is gonna make the game better for you if them being sexy or not outright doesn't matter much.

That being the case, clearly, making the chars uglier won't actually help the female players enjoy the game more, so who is it aimed at appeasing then? I think the only group left is the people who care about "representation in media" and all those things but aren't actually playing the game.

I think the setting matters the most in these types of things. If you want a plain Jane style character in a game like GTA, that's fine, it's a realistic game. When this is a scifi rpg however, you want everyone to be kinda bigger than life, in all aspects.

Dreiko:
I get that how sexy a char is isn't a main feature of the power fantasy, but it being so, making the chars less sexy also aught to not affect much, at best. It's not as though making the chars uglier is gonna make the game better for you if them being sexy or not outright doesn't matter much.

Maybe not to you, but some people get kinda tired of female characters being designed with their fuckability sorted out first, so a character who doesn't look like they have been specifically designed to be fuckable in the very narrow definition that's come to inhabit in games can be a breath of fresh air.

Dreiko:

That being the case, clearly, making the chars uglier won't actually help the female players enjoy the game more, so who is it aimed at appeasing then? I think the only group left is the people who care about "representation in media" and all those things but aren't actually playing the game.

I don't think Ryder is ugly. I think she just looks like a person. I think if we're calling that ugly then yeah the spooky "representation in media" (ghost noises) have a point. And I'm kind of one of those people. And I spend all my time playing video games.

Dreiko:

I think the setting matters the most in these types of things. If you want a plain Jane style character in a game like GTA, that's fine, it's a realistic game. When this is a scifi rpg however, you want everyone to be kinda bigger than life, in all aspects.

Not necessarily. Ryder isn't supposed to be a supermodel who is now a Pathfinder. She's supposed to be an incredibly capable space badass who is now a Pathfinder. Her looking like her appearance is not her number one priority is not a loss.

Dreiko:
I get that how sexy a char is isn't a main feature of the power fantasy, but it being so, making the chars less sexy also aught to not affect much, at best. It's not as though making the chars uglier is gonna make the game better for you if them being sexy or not outright doesn't matter much.

Except, you know, that for many of us women it is a power fantasy in and off itself to not be sexy/hot/fuckable and still be given positive attention, credibility and power. Making the PC super hawt detracts from that, because it is not what I want, it is what you (the male game) wants.

This is also, incidentally, one of the codifiers of patriarchy. That even when we are discussing women's wants, needs or things designed for women, the needs and wants of men must always be considered, sometimes even at the expense of women's wishes. On top of that a man's perspective on what women wants is somehow just as valid as a woman's perspective on what women wants.

Dreiko:
That being the case, clearly, making the chars uglier won't actually help the female players enjoy the game more, so who is it aimed at appeasing then? I think the only group left is the people who care about "representation in media" and all those things but aren't actually playing the game.

If your first statement had been correct, maybe. But this is not the case. The suggestion that the female characters were made uglier is an unverified rumor from an (allegedly) anonymous designer who was (supposedly) quoted by a website known for its' dubious reporting on issues even tangentially related to feminism. It might also all be bullshit, seeing as how no other gaming media has picked up the story.

Dreiko:
I think the setting matters the most in these types of things. If you want a plain Jane style character in a game like GTA, that's fine, it's a realistic game. When this is a scifi rpg however, you want everyone to be kinda bigger than life, in all aspects.

To be as concise as possible: Speak for yourself. I know of several people, both men and women, who prefer it if the protagonist looks like they could do the job they are supposed to have, not as if they are ready for a glamour shoot.

Phasmal:

Maybe not to you, but some people get kinda tired of female characters being designed with their fuckability sorted out first, so a character who doesn't look like they have been specifically designed to be fuckable in the very narrow definition that's come to inhabit in games can be a breath of fresh air.

See, I think that's a real issue, but the way to solve it isn't to make the chars uglier, that's like taking your ball away because people don't follow the rules of the game. You can simply broaden the definition of fuckability. That way it's a positive change.

I don't think Ryder is ugly. I think she just looks like a person. I think if we're calling that ugly then yeah the spooky "representation in media" (ghost noises) have a point. And I'm kind of one of those people. And I spend all my time playing video games.

You can be made uglier without ending up ugly. You can turn from a 10 to a 8 and still be both decently cute and uglier, which is the case here. All in all, I see no point to having a medium which can create perfection and purposefully adding spurious faults that don't add anything. I'd be more into a backstory of her having had some kind of injury which resulted in her face being deeply scarred or something that has some meaning beyond that of "in this fictional scifi world where nothing is realistic, women must be the singular realistically depicted element" which makes no sense.

Not necessarily. Ryder isn't supposed to be a supermodel who is now a Pathfinder. She's supposed to be an incredibly capable space badass who is now a Pathfinder. Her looking like her appearance is not her number one priority is not a loss.

You don't have to have her looks be a priority, it's just a thing that's there, if you're trying to figure out personality traits or life habits from how a char looks you're kind of adding your own preconceptions onto the character and while people are allowed to do that it isn't something inherently there.

Gethsemani:

Except, you know, that for many of us women it is a power fantasy in and off itself to not be sexy/hot/fuckable and still be given positive attention, credibility and power. Making the PC super hawt detracts from that, because it is not what I want, it is what you (the male game) wants.

This is also, incidentally, one of the codifiers of patriarchy. That even when we are discussing women's wants, needs or things designed for women, the needs and wants of men must always be considered, sometimes even at the expense of women's wishes. On top of that a man's perspective on what women wants is somehow just as valid as a woman's perspective on what women wants.

Being in a deserved position of power despite being ugly is factually inferior than being in a deserved position of power but also looking good. As long as they show that the position was not granted to her because of her looks, you wouldn't have any reason to worry about that issue.

If you wish to claim that being attractive is not a form of power, I think you will have a hard time making your case. Someone's vanity is for themselves, not for the sake of the people who grant them self-satisfaction.

Anyone's perspective is equally correct as anyone else's as long as they use logic and reason to reach that perspective. Nobody ought to be disqualified from opining about anything.

If your first statement had been correct, maybe. But this is not the case. The suggestion that the female characters were made uglier is an unverified rumor from an (allegedly) anonymous designer who was (supposedly) quoted by a website known for its' dubious reporting on issues even tangentially related to feminism. It might also all be bullshit, seeing as how no other gaming media has picked up the story.

Yeah, of course, if the article this is all predicated on turns out to be false, the comments based on it being true will be nullified. I'm gonna act in good faith and hope the same of others here, personally.

To be as concise as possible: Speak for yourself. I know of several people, both men and women, who prefer it if the protagonist looks like they could do the job they are supposed to have, not as if they are ready for a glamour shoot.

There's a nice medium between someone looking like a boring regular human you could meet on the street and like an actual supermodel. I think it is a waste of potential to use this medium for replicating things already-existing. It doesn't even have to be purely looking prettier, you can have some smaller touches like heterchromia (differently colored eyes) or something like that.

Dreiko:

Phasmal:

Maybe not to you, but some people get kinda tired of female characters being designed with their fuckability sorted out first, so a character who doesn't look like they have been specifically designed to be fuckable in the very narrow definition that's come to inhabit in games can be a breath of fresh air.

See, I think that's a real issue, but the way to solve it isn't to make the chars uglier, that's like taking your ball away because people don't follow the rules of the game. You can simply broaden the definition of fuckability. That way it's a positive change.

"No, no you can still be fuckable! Let's just broaden the definition of being fuckable!"


Maybe female characters don't have to be fuckable all the time. What a wild concept. A+ listening to women dude.

Dreiko:

You can be made uglier without ending up ugly. You can turn from a 10 to a 8 and still be both decently cute and uglier, which is the case here. All in all, I see no point to having a medium which can create perfection and purposefully adding spurious faults that don't add anything. I'd be more into a backstory of her having had some kind of injury which resulted in her face being deeply scarred or something that has some meaning beyond that of "in this fictional scifi world where nothing is realistic, women must be the singular realistically depicted element" which makes no sense.

Oh fun now we're ranking women out of 10 this just gets better.

Like, have you played Mass Effect? Women are not the singular realistically depicted element. The men look like regular men. The women can look like regular women. It makes perfect sense.

Dreiko:

Not necessarily. Ryder isn't supposed to be a supermodel who is now a Pathfinder. She's supposed to be an incredibly capable space badass who is now a Pathfinder. Her looking like her appearance is not her number one priority is not a loss.

You don't have to have her looks be a priority, it's just a thing that's there, if you're trying to figure out personality traits or life habits from how a char looks you're kind of adding your own preconceptions onto the character and while people are allowed to do that it isn't something inherently there.

I'm not even sure what this sentence is supposed to mean.
You do realise looking super hawt takes effort right? It's not just something that happens. Ryder is less likely to look like a supermodel because she is y'know, busy Pathfinding.
But whatever, me and other women have already put in our opinions. I'm sure we'll have to agree to disagree.

Dreiko:
Being in a deserved position of power despite being ugly is factually inferior than being in a deserved position of power but also looking good.

In what way is it 'factual'? It is your opinion, let's not dress it up as anything else.

Dreiko:
If you wish to claim that being attractive is not a form of power, I think you will have a hard time making your case. Someone's vanity is for themselves, not for the sake of the people who grant them self-satisfaction.

I readily admit that being attractive is a form of power. You'll even notice that my argument hinges on the perception that being attractive is one of the few forms of power that women have historically been allowed to wield and is still the form of power that women are expected to wield. This to such a degree that we still have ideas like 'women fucking their way to the top'. What many women realizes, but you apparently don't, is that there's a degree of freedom in not being attractive but succeeding anyway, because it means that, as a woman, you've succeeded through ability, not because dudes found you fuckable. This is something that many women want from their power fantasies, because it makes us feel just a tiny bit less objectified.

Dreiko:
Anyone's perspective is equally correct as anyone else's as long as they use logic and reason to reach that perspective. Nobody ought to be disqualified from opining about anything.

No, so let's not even pretend this is true. My perspective on the Syrian Civil War is not as 'correct' as someone who lives in Syria at the moment. Your perspective on living as a woman is not as valid as that of an actual woman. You can have an opinion on anything, but whether that opinion is worth anything is entirely contingent on how knowledgeable you are about the topic. Want more examples? The anti-vaccine movement and flat earthers. Perspectives and opinions can be atrociously removed from anything resembling actual understand of the topic. Just because you have an opinion that does not give it value. You have the right to state it, but that is not the same as being correct or having value.

Dreiko:
There's a nice medium between someone looking like a boring regular human you could meet on the street and like an actual supermodel. I think it is a waste of potential to use this medium for replicating things already-existing. It doesn't even have to be purely looking prettier, you can have some smaller touches like heterchromia (differently colored eyes) or something like that.

You mean like existing gender stereotypes and expectations? Man, I am glad we agreed on that one. As shocking as it may be, for some of us the idea that all women (or men for that matter) in a work of media doesn't have to be pretty and conventionally attractive is exactly the thing we are looking for. Because we are tired of the norm being the expectation that I, as a woman, want to feel pretty and attractive. Some times I do (like, when dating), but most of the time I just want to be judged on the merits of whether I am good friend, good at my job etc., not whether or not I am that and also sort of fuckable.

FriendoftheFallen:
It seems like the people that mock those of us that want big boobs or skimpy clothes in games are Neo-puritans who wish tio shame certain forms of sexuality while dismissing it as objectification while trying to defend the sexual inverse because of "power dynamics."

Out of curiosity, what's that got to do with the Mass Effect Andromeda?

Mocking designs that include big tits and skimpy outfits is typically perfectly reasonable when assessing game's tonal cohesion/internal logic and contexts. That doesn't make anyone a "neo-puritan" (whatever that really is), it surely just demonstrates they can think critically and assess games on a per case basis.

NemotheElvenPanda:
Are people really this angry that the female LIs aren't ?hot? enough, or that there are LGBT characters...in a BIOWARE game?

The same groups of people whined about DA:I's females, so yeah, this is a 'thing'. That said---

Jesus fucking christ. Queer people have been complaining and asking for honest representation for years, literally years, and yet the internet loses its collective shit because Cora has a certain haircut and doesn't look like a barbie doll.

Unfair to say "the internet". A vocal minority of sensitive and egoistic individuals, that's all, and there were always people to say 'Eh, what?' to counter them.

Netscape:
There has been a lot of talk about the animations and facial designs of Mass Effect Andromeda's characters. Most of this discussion has been speculatory in nature, but recently gaming historian Liam Robertson spoke to a number of people involved with Mass Effect Andromeda and claims to have uncovered some interesting revelations.

It is surely "important to note" (quoting from the site whose terminology makes me immediately a tad suspicious): "An interesting tidbit that Robertson mentioned was the speculation as to why the facial animations were also kept. One source believed..." - so yeah, seems we're still very much in "speculatory in nature" territory. Someone speculating and an unnamed source 'believing' isn't much to go on.

* What are your thoughts on the allegations that female characters in Mass Effect Andromeda were intentionally made "less attractive"?

First, define 'attractive', then define what 'less attractive' means. Then maybe point out why this even matters...

Some people briefly whined about DA:I's female characters as well, so this seems a pattern with certain people. The world kept turning, and DA:I had far bigger issues that subjective preferences for face designs.

* Do you believe that Robertson is being honest about his investigation into the situation?

I've never heard of him before, so what I "believe" about him is rather irrelevant.

* Do you believe that feminism or social justice played a role in the portrayal of ME:A's female characters as "less attractive"?

You still need to qualify your use of 'attractive' and 'less attractive'.

If feminism (or 'justice for society', which sounds like a universally awesome and empathetic thing) has played any part in BioWare's culture, then as far as I'm concerned (judging from their output up to DA:I, as I've not got ME:A yet - still waitin' on another patch) it's been a positive one, as barring a few eye-roll worthy elements (Miranda Lawson's AssCam3000 being just one) their depictions of female characters has been superb, mostly going from how well they tend to suit their world, background, and environment.

Cohesion of world/aesthetic design is what primarily matters, and on that count I feel the Dragon Age games have mostly been faultless. Mass Effect's always been more conventionally male-gaze-y, but maybe it's fairer to say it just tries to have its cake and eat it, i.e. it's ostensibly subverting the 'blue alien space-babe' trope with some great lore and writing, but in the end they are also still conventionally male-gaze-y, and the galaxy seems to be missing any male dancers/strippers. Apparently everyone's into the asari so much they don't need any other species cavorting around...

BioWare have been an endearingly progressive company since Jade Empire (which included options for same sex romances, regardless of how coy it all was), at least, and so their recent games have simply been a natural, and to me very welcome, extension of that.

Oh, and I find FemRyder more attractive than the default female Inquisitor/s and the default [pre-ME3] FemShep, so, er, they didn't make her "less attractive" [to me].

* If you believe that feminism played a role, do you believe it was done to avoid backlash or because the heads at EA/BioWare are true believers in feminism? A combination of the two?

"True believers"? Yeesh, feminists sound like quite the scary dogmatics when you put it like that...

See above: BioWare have always been a progressive company. Thanks to the world moving on a little, they just don't have to be so coy about it all (when ME1 came out there was a brief, misguided kerfuffle by some about the inclusion of a same-sex romance option. these days it'd be more controversial to exclude same-sex options).

* What do you think the artist meant by "sensitivities about representing women a certain way?

To comment on a few words strung together would be mere 'speculation', particularly as I'm not familiar with the guy or the extent of his connections and research. The article was threadbare, so more's needed.

* Why weren't there sensitivities about representing men?

Who says there wasn't? Also, define 'sensitivities'...

* Why do you think that the female default ryder looks very different from her model, whereas her male counterpart looks almost exactly the same? (images)

A) who cares, and B) it matters whynow?

I think he looks like a smug arse in both pics (decidedly punchable. and those teeth, gah... ), and I have a bit of a thing for brunettes with ponytails so I actually like the female Ryder (when I get ME:A I'll be sticking with the default look, partially as I prefer default designs in Mass Effect).

Jayde Rossi looks like the kind of body/face mods I see blighting Skyrim and Fallout 4 modding (nothing against Jayde herself, mind, I'm talking mod preferences and what best suits Skyrim and the Commonwealth's realistic, quite gritty non-supermodel-y aesthetics), whereas female Ryder just looks like a normal, attractive-to-me woman.

Darth Rosenberg:

FriendoftheFallen:
It seems like the people that mock those of us that want big boobs or skimpy clothes in games are Neo-puritans who wish tio shame certain forms of sexuality while dismissing it as objectification while trying to defend the sexual inverse because of "power dynamics."

Out of curiosity, what's that got to do with the Mass Effect Andromeda?

Mocking designs that include big tits and skimpy outfits is typically perfectly reasonable when assessing game's tonal cohesion/internal logic and contexts. That doesn't make anyone a "neo-puritan" (whatever that really is), it surely just demonstrates they can think critically and assess games on a per case basis.

Because some people (in these forums even) try and mock those who want the skimpy outfits as being immature or puerile. Thus labeling them as Neo-puritans isn't far off since they seem to actively have an issue with anything that appeals to the sexual proclivities of some.

Talking crap about skimpy outfits is not a demonstration of critical thinking skills anymore than talking crap in favor of skimpy outfits is.

If what you are doing is consistently mocking people that like big boobs and skimpy outfits and you object to any form of sexualized representation that happens to appeal to some people then yeah I can aptly use the term neo-puritan. Calling them immature kids (as some here have done) and trying to shame them for liking those depictions is a bit anti-sexual and Neo-puritan. Objecting to outfits because it doesn't fit the story is one thing, objecting to outfits because others find them appealing (as some have actually done) is a different story and is shaming some people for their sexual preferences. You can object to or critique whatever you want but if you are consistently railing against imagery in games that others find sexually appealing it does come across as Neo-puritan. Perhaps you aren't part of that group but some here are and my term aptly describes them.

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