Dragon's Crown Designer Apologizes for Exaggerated Characters

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Dragon's Crown Designer Apologizes for Exaggerated Characters

Dragon's Crown designer George Kamitani says he's sorry if he made anyone uncomfortable with his bizarrely-proportioned character art.

George Kamitani took some heat earlier this month when Kotaku pointed out the rather strange appearance of the Sorceress character in Dragon's Crown, who I guess you could say wasn't exactly built to standard specifications. The article stated, facetiously of course, that the character had been "designed by a 14-year-old boy," which led Kamitani, president of Japanese developer Vanillaware, to post what some considered a homophobic response on Facebook.

It was an ugly affair all around, but now Kamitani has dialed things back with a message explaining some of the motivations for the designs and apologizing to those who were offended. "I believe that the basic fantasy motifs seen in Dungeons & Dragons and the work of J.R.R. Tolkien have a style that is very attractive, and I chose to use some orthodox ones in my basic designs. However, if I left those designs as is, they won't stand out amongst the many fantasy designs already in the video game/comic/movie/etc. space. Because of that, I decided to exaggerate all of my character designs in a cartoonish fashion," he wrote.

"I exaggerated the silhouettes of all the masculine features in the male characters, the feminine features in female characters, and the monster-like features in the monsters from many different angles until each had a unique feel to them," he continued. "I apologize to those who were made uncomfortable by the art's appearance, and did not see the same light-hearted fantasy in my designs."

He also apologized for the image of the three "sweaty dwarves" he posted on Facebook in response to Kotaku's criticism, which he said was meant to be "a little joke with a comment. I used an automated translator to try and make a lighthearted joke in English, but clearly that wasn't the case. I was very surprised to see the crazy aftermath."

Fantasy art is often heavily exaggerated but even by that standard, this is a weird looking bunch. The Wizard and the Elf aren't too bad but the Fighter looks like a Rob Liefield character and I don't even know what to say about the Amazon and the Sorceress. But is it worth an apology? And if so, is Kamitani's, with its unmissable "I'm sorry you didn't get it" deflection, sufficient?

Dragon's Crown comes out on August 6 for the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita

Source: Kotaku

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Those certainly are some "exaggerated characters!"

Eh? Ehhhhhhhhhhhh?

Shut up, who do you think I am, Daystar?

I saw that Sorceress and just kind of shook my head, but now that I've seen the other characters and how stylized they are, I'm actually ready to defend this design. I haven't read any of the surrounding controversy and I'm not going to comment on that, but if people have that much of a problem with a clearly stylized and exaggerated art style, it's their problem, not the creator's.

I'm not so sure he should have had to apologize for his creative decisions, but the apology about the Facebook incident was much needed. The art style kind of reminds me of the old Conan book covers, but far more exaggerated.

Now that I've seen all of them it just strikes me as his style, not the usual "Yay tits" things, though that may play into it as well.. So.. Yay, tits?

Also, that archer is bloody brilliant. Great design.

Sounds rational, though he did little to justify the gay-accusation gag that he used, which is in my opinion worse than just the implications of a drawing style.

The joke wasn't mistranslated, *we get* that he just made a little lighthearted joke about suggesting that anyone who doesn't like his exaggerated titty monsters must be gay.

The problem is, that using the claim that someone is homosexual as an inherently hilarious punchline on it's own, is still problematic, no matter how "lighthearted" it was.

You can shout 'STYLIZED' as loud as you like but it does nothing to address the real issue, that the men are designed to look powerful while the women are designed to be wanked over. I'd probably give this game a pass on the basis that all those images (with the exception of the sorceress) look too grotesque to be titillating for anyone, but I've heard the same bullshit used to defend too much actual sexism and the designer guy is acting like a child besides so I'm not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

He had no reason to apologize, the cherry picking Kotaku writer took the sorceress design out of context and attacked the artist and Kamitani responded in kind. I am seriously beginning to hate video game politics, it is really sucking the fun and imagination out of video games.

Seventh Actuality:
You can shout 'STYLIZED' as loud as you like but it does nothing to address the real issue, that the men are designed to look powerful while the women are designed to be wanked over. I'd probably give this game a pass on the basis that all those images (with the exception of the sorceress) look too grotesque to be titillating for anyone, but I've heard the same bullshit used to defend too much actual sexism and the designer guy is acting like a child besides so I'm not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

You have bought up the issue that the musculature of the male characters is exaggerated to make them look more powerful and that the feminine features of the female characters are exaggerated in order to make them more appealing but how else could you exaggerate your character designs to make them stand out from the crowd?

Both the male and female characters are exaggerated equally, I don't see how this is a sexist issue. I have heard the theory that it is a bad thing for female characters to be overly sexualized because it alienates female gamers and it alienates female gamers because of body issues but men also suffer from similar kind of body issues. It didn't seem to hurt the sales of Soul Caliber 5 what with the posters starring Ivy's breasts. I have never seen a forum post by a female gamer or met a female gamer that has said something along the lines of "I didn't buy this game because of the sexualized female characters."

It almost seems like a non issue raised by cherry picking article writers desperate for hits, white knighting male feminists, radical militant feminists who are the vocal minority. Forgive my ignorance but I don't think it is hurting anyone.

Okay, I can see that he over-exaggerated all of the designs, but 10 still looks like fap material

It doesn't really make me uncomfortable (though I imagine most of those women would be in those postures) but it is laughably immature design.

The artist here is TERRIBLE. They have absolutely no idea how to properly do foreshortening XP. Some one please tell the artist to stop taking lessons from Rob Liefeld!

Seventh Actuality:
You can shout 'STYLIZED' as loud as you like but it does nothing to address the real issue, that the men are designed to look powerful while the women are designed to be wanked over. I'd probably give this game a pass on the basis that all those images (with the exception of the sorceress) look too grotesque to be titillating for anyone, but I've heard the same bullshit used to defend too much actual sexism and the designer guy is acting like a child besides so I'm not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

It's absolutely alright to criticize art, and to decide not to be a patron to the artist by not purchasing the product.

But having to apologize for an art style that might offend someone? Isn't that going a little too far?

Where do we draw the line? Will game developers have to apologize to parents for offending them through their violent video games next?

Kamitani had nothing to apologize for. If anything Schrier and Kotaku should apologize for being the bag of dicks that they are. Kamitani was probably better off just keeping his mouth shut, though considering he was mocking KOTAKU it's hard to be seen as the bad guy when the guys criticizing you have become bottom-of-the-barrel as far as journalism goes.

Funny how TF2 starts something, and it eventually ends up being in controversy...

Should have stuck to his guns. This politically correct BS and insistence at taking offense at everything under the sun has to stop.

I would like to apologize. I am thinking about making a comment, and I am fearful that it might offend the sensibilities of some people. If my comment runs counter to your tastes I am sincerely and truly sorry. However, my dedicated PR service has not approved my comment so I can not publicly voice my thoughts at this time. Again, very sorry.

Oh great so now because some people take games way to seriously the artist have to apologize for their work. FUCK THIS CENSORSHIP OF ART! *table flips and walks out*

Seventh Actuality:
You can shout 'STYLIZED' as loud as you like but it does nothing to address the real issue, that the men are designed to look powerful while the women are designed to be wanked over. I'd probably give this game a pass on the basis that all those images (with the exception of the sorceress) look too grotesque to be titillating for anyone, but I've heard the same bullshit used to defend too much actual sexism and the designer guy is acting like a child besides so I'm not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The massive MASSSIVE thighs, six pack abs, and bulging biceps on the amazon does't make her look like she can crush a car? Aside from that all the men besides the wizard look hideous. Forget Stylized, they're deformed. Only the Wizard and Elf look like half way descent designs.

Anyways, each picture is empowering to each character based on classic rpg stats. Amazon and Dwarf are strength, Fighter Constitution, Elf Dexterity, Wizard Intelligence, and Sorceress Charisma. Each stat empowers the specific class. If there was a bard you can bet he would be a week looking pretty boy carrying a harp.

I don't know how to feel about this. A wave of outrage because of an artistic choice? I mean sure, the oversexualization of the sorceress character would probably be something to talk about if it didn't fit in with the rest of the artwork, but it does, doesn't it?

Also, why does he need to apologise? Yes, his clarification (which confirmed exactly what I thought had happened) would clear the water a bit but I don't think he needs to apologise for his choice of art style. Sure, some may not like it from the aesthetic point of view and there is nothing wrong with criticising that, but isn't this taking a bit too far, dragging gender politics and sexism into a debate which purely concerns artistic choice?

I mean, I can get where some may see the issue with this but for the love of god, there's a difference between pushing for more balanced representation of genders in games and shouting bloody murder because someone decided to overexaggerate the feminine features of a character in a game where overexaggeration seems to be a norm for all the other characters as well. If all the male characters were normal-sized and representative of regular men and the sorceress still looked the way she does, then there would be an obvious issue. Similar to the armour rationing based on gender in Tera. Or how about that god-awful insult of a game that is Scarlet Blade. No one seems to be particularly upset about that yet a comically proportioned cartoon heroine, a character that perfectly fits into the style of the game and whose proportions can't possibly be seen as appealing in any way attracts more controversy than a bunch of creepily oversexualised underage girls in a game in which you can purchase the option to have them completely naked. Seems a bit backwards to me.

What a surprise. Jason Schreier, the same asshole that called George a "14-year old boy", can't take a fucking joke in return. I can't believe he actually apologized for the design itself. What a silly circus this has turned into.

I can't remember any other time where there's been so many threads about a game, that doesn't actually discuss the game.

I feel like I'm the only one that's actually LOOKED at the gameplay that didn't stop when the Sorceress came on screen.

Personally, the hero designs are hit-and-miss for me. But the actual game's art style as a whole looks great to me, it looks like it'll be a ton of fun to play.

Seventh Actuality:
You can shout 'STYLIZED' as loud as you like but it does nothing to address the real issue, that the men are designed to look powerful while the women are designed to be wanked over. I'd probably give this game a pass on the basis that all those images (with the exception of the sorceress) look too grotesque to be titillating for anyone, but I've heard the same bullshit used to defend too much actual sexism and the designer guy is acting like a child besides so I'm not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

And so what if the artist chooses to design his characters in a way that implies sexism (by simply being an exaggeration of old stereotypes)? It doesn't harm anyone by existing, so why get angry that the artist is potentially sexist?

Really he should be apologizing for the Elf, those pigtails might have led me to impure thoughts.

People who get 'upset' at crap like this need to grow a damn spine and get over it.

See this is what you shouldn't do, if that is your intended design then stand the fuck behind and don't indulge these feckles politically correct trolls because they will just get more fuel for their flamewars.
If you wanted to make these hentai characters then so fucking be it, and people who can't handle it can fuck right off.

I can see the problems in that design, if you are a normal woman. Why? Games have lead characters from both sexes, even when they do not have a "defined sex", like a monster. Rarely we see a character that can ignore this, like Amaterasu in Okami. But the catch is, almost everything Vanillaware does is exaggerated. Just look at Odin Sphere: Almost all the females have almost normal proportions, and also the males. But if you look at the monsters or bosses, you see the craziness go skyhigh. To me, the answer from Kamitani was absolutely stupid, and just dumb: He freely delivered bad publicity for him and his company, he might have mined the game in some extension.
I think Dragon's Crown can keep their style without a problem, but let's face it: How many female characters are fat, hugely muscular, unattractive, or even plain ugly? Really, tell me how many games have a female protagonist with a body that is not that perfect, or a female protagonist that is ugly? Show me a female, playable, comparison to Piggy from Enslaved? To Bob or Rufus from SFxTK? If you search through almost every game, it's possible you will find something here or there, but it's never mainstream, it's never in the cover. I really love the style used in Vanillaware games, and I can accept the female characters as they are. But, the response delivered by the head of the studio was a warning about how bad things still are inside this industry.

No one should have to defend their creative decisions. Don't like it? Don't support the game.

If he wanted to go for "unique" designs, as I think he was trying to imply, huge, burly and muscular men and women with boobs the size of watermelons aren't exactly unique.
Oddly, I'm more curious about the dancing wizard mouse. Why isn't that a playable character?

If he wants to draw characters cribbed straight from a junior high school sketch pad, all the power to him and he doesn't need to apologize.

But he should apologize for his "If you don't like my cartoonishly buxom caricatures then obviously you're gay lolol" anti-joke. Though he should apologize to comedy.

So much for "artistic integrity", huh gaming journalism?

Gameplay for this actually looks like a lot of fun.

Still, honestly my first thought was "good lord look at the teeny tiny heads". It's so painfully stylized all around it's weirdly more balanced than some other fantasy games. That said, his response was tasteless at best... I'm not sure I could get into the art style...it's just too much.

now I can't help but wonder how Rob Liefield would draw these characters... RESPECT THE POUCH!

My God.....that beard.

I really don't think he should apologize. Her design while clearly over the top in terms of proportions does seem to fit the stylized high fantasy vibe they seem to be going for.

I actually like the design and am absolutely prepared to throw money at this game.

It's hilarious to see the Sorceress' bust flop about. If only males knew how absolutely unpleasant this would be... but they don't, and they don't have to, and I like it like that.

It also wouldn't be much fun to have thighs the size of two Rottweiler dogs strapped to your loins.

It's not real. I've got enough real. I want this game, just the way the artist designed it.

The content of the entire web makes this look tame. Hell I'll do you one better the content of MY hard drive makes this look tame. So what the hell is he apologizing for most FICTION is an exaggeration of sorts look at this.

Do you believe the people that made this movie " apologized " over the fact robots don't exist or do you think that was the POINT of the fiction. While gender equality and how it's defined is an ongoing issue in the gaming community it isn't something that requires an automatic apology for an exaggeration of either role or artistic style. If it did then most of our fictional entertainment wouldn't exist.

DVS BSTrD:
It doesn't really make me uncomfortable (though I imagine most of those women would be in those postures) but it is laughably immature design.

Id say more dated then immature, the sexy seductress/burly barbarian have been done to death and this seems like another game using it to set the theme.

OT: I actually like the art style, its old school and looks like a medievil painting (though one drawn by a manga artist). The comments they made however WERE immature and im glad they've both apologised.

We need more class in gaming politics.

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