Warface Producer Defends Female Designs as "Cultural Relativism"

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Warface Producer Defends Female Designs as "Cultural Relativism"

The female character models in Crytek's Warface are different around the world but still unrealistic.

Every region in the world has its own cultural differences, but the male gaze in gaming feels like it's doing its best to stay. Crytek's free-to-play online shooter Warface is a game that differs around the world, keeping in mind that different cultures expect different things in life and in games. For example, weapons have different recoil levels in different regions (high in Russia, low in Asian regions). Furthermore, the design of female character models changes by region. In a set of images, one can see the male character models are completely covered in a more realistic set of military gear while the female models for the same classes draw attention to their cleavage.

"The female skins [are] a good example of how we see how culturally the different regions approach the same game in different ways," Warface executive producer Joshua Howard said. "The skins we're showing right now are the skins that basically came out of our Russian region. They're not what our players at first requested in the Russian region. They tended to be considerably more extreme than what we ended up shipping with."

Howard compares the Russian character models to the Chinese character models. He fails to come up with a good description of the difference, but he insists the Chinese models are "also disproportionate but in a way that's more...Chinese?" The concept of different designs for different regions based on that area's feedback is interesting until it falls to an unnecessary level of pandering to the audience that many game studios still can't leave alone.

Howard mentions that there was tension between making the game cohesive and also making it appropriate for different regions. He compares the decision to change female character models and weapon recoil levels to the recipe for Coca Cola, which changes slightly in every region but is still Coca Cola. However, as Wired puts it, that "highlights the fact that the lady skins are being considered very differently than their male counterparts." While this problem is rampant in media today, it's disheartening to see it defended as "cultural relativism."

Source: Wired UK

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Nothing we can do is wrong! Someone approves somewhere! - people who do ethical relativism wrong

I don't see the problem with the female rifleman honestly. Though I do see what they mean with the sniper.

The fuck is this guy babbling about? Will female soldiers in Muslim regions be wearing burkas?

lord canti:
I don't see the problem with the female rifleman honestly. Though I do see what they mean with the sniper.

Dunno. The boob plate is still annoying. As is the fact that she seems to thrust her ass out in every picture. Flanking: you're doing it wrong.

The Plunk:
The fuck is this guy babbling about? Will female soldiers in Muslim regions be wearing burkas?

Female soldiers? Nonononono, my friend. If driving causes birth defects, then what must military work do?

...I wish I was making up that claim, but....Yeah....

Oh please, if they are going to do stuff like this they could at least be honest about it. I don't mind "sexy" female designs when it works within the context of the fiction, but this is the kind of thing I cannot stand, when you get the guys all looking sensible and normal and the girls have the cleavage and the tight clothes. Try a little consistency.

It's even more irritating when they try and pretend there is a reason for it other than the obvious one.

Zachary Amaranth:

lord canti:
I don't see the problem with the female rifleman honestly. Though I do see what they mean with the sniper.

Dunno. The boob plate is still annoying. As is the fact that she seems to thrust her ass out in every picture. Flanking: you're doing it wrong.

If we are going by the picture with all four designs it isn't a breast plate. She has a strap just under her chest like the female sniper, it is a normal jacket.

Can't disagree with the camera angles and stances though.

Does every damn female model in a game have to be sexy with their tits hanging out? If your going to try and go with a realistic military look then don't have your females tits hanging out and don't put them in skin tight cat suits. Or if you do, at least give the option to put your males in speedos or something just as stupid.

Zachary Amaranth:

lord canti:
I don't see the problem with the female rifleman honestly. Though I do see what they mean with the sniper.

Dunno. The boob plate is still annoying. As is the fact that she seems to thrust her ass out in every picture. Flanking: you're doing it wrong.

The Plunk:
The fuck is this guy babbling about? Will female soldiers in Muslim regions be wearing burkas?

Female soldiers? Nonononono, my friend. If driving causes birth defects, then what must military work do?

...I wish I was making up that claim, but....Yeah....

Granted this is the only pictures I've seen of the game so for all I know the other ones could be much worse.

I honestly do not understand why it is so difficult for devs to make their female characters non-disproportionate.

Do they die a little inside if they make models that don't show off skin?

Especially when you consider that this is an MMS, so where the hell did they see female soldiers like that?

As long as the male counterparts also get their design changed to suit the region the game's being played... Feminism being feminism, the cultural relativism that is being discussed here in undeniable, if it's valid or not as a justification for this game is another matter entirely. I've always defended that women in the middle of a war wearing nothing but a bra is ridiculous (in a "serious" setting, mind you), I understand a different, more sexy armor, but an armor nonetheless, however, I just can't bring myself to point this sort of non-sense when it comes to Japanese games, simply because, it seems to me, that they have a cultural thing going on there, a cultural thing that clearly draws the line between entertainment and "serious business" (such as, you know, real life), which is why reading a Manga isn't a niche/nerdy thing to do there, it's just another entertainment option, and as a work of fiction it can pretty much display anything, including stuff that for us westerners might get the artist in a bad spot with justice (if not downright arrested). Just the same, the women in the game, for them, is the women in the game, as non-real even if it's a realistic game, thus they simply reflect both the artists feelings and the commercial needs.

It seems more of a touchy subject here in the "west", we seem to make the line between entertainment and real-life ever so tenuous, getting highly offended by jokes in shows, actions in games, characters from movies etc. Not that we are wrong, this is just one of our cultural characteristics, I believe.

If this feller knows how to handle this "relativism" deal with some decency, he's got some potential in his hands, if not, it'll be called sexism. Particularly, not too fond of him only changing the girl's looks, though many countries/regions don't care what the guys look like (or even the girls, while others overlap certain characteristics), many others places will be touchy as to "why only the women"... And I'm not sure I can keep myself from asking that very question...

Worgen:
Does every damn female model in a game have to be sexy with their tits hanging out? If your going to try and go with a realistic military look then don't have your females tits hanging out and don't put them in skin tight cat suits. Or if you do, at least give the option to put your males in speedos or something just as stupid.

Looking at the pictures my main complaint is that the female soldiers have dumped a lot of the gear in order to show off their impressive... tracts of land.

*snrk*

"Cultural relativism" eh? So that's what they're calling it these days.

He didn't specify what region gets what. Was it the Russians or Asians getting the extra boobage? Or does everyone get it?

I'm also actually kind of curious as to why the Russian version would have more weapon recoil. Seems kind of arbitrary.

lord canti:
I don't see the problem with the female rifleman honestly. Though I do see what they mean with the sniper.

I think it's relative to the Male counterpart. Male Rifleman get's full armour set (tactical Vest, pads, Helmet etc.) while the female counterpart only has shoulder and knee pads over fatigues, no helmet or vest.

Same for the sniper, but the boob window makes for an obvious disparity.

If they wanted to do it right, they should have mostly listened to opinions from females along with a few sensible opinions from males. When being asked to make one sex into what is essentially sex objects to the utmost, it should be obvious that the people doing this is opposite sex, and for the most part be ignored as they do not represent that sex.

Zhukov:

I'm also actually kind of curious as to why the Russian version would have more weapon recoil. Seems kind of arbitrary.

The answer is actually the two words that are screwing... well pretty much the entirety of our culture at this point. Focus. Groups. The devs or their corporate masters bring in a bunch of late-teen male gamers (the gaming industry hasn't figured out that you get better results casting a wider net, as something that narrow just confirms what you're already thinking) "Should the guns have high, low or medium recoil?" "Should female characters be showing cleavage?"

all I see when I read this is: "Hey, everyone! Look at the brand new defense we've created for when we're accused of being sexist!! Isn't it grand?"

in all seriousness, in a combat zone, you'd want them flapping around as little as possible

lord canti:
Granted this is the only pictures I've seen of the game so for all I know the other ones could be much worse.

I think that's why he's calling it "moral relativism."

Akichi Daikashima:

Do they die a little inside if they make models that don't show off skin?

No, but their tween fanbase does.

MCerberus:

Worgen:
Does every damn female model in a game have to be sexy with their tits hanging out? If your going to try and go with a realistic military look then don't have your females tits hanging out and don't put them in skin tight cat suits. Or if you do, at least give the option to put your males in speedos or something just as stupid.

Looking at the pictures my main complaint is that the female soldiers have dumped a lot of the gear in order to show off their impressive... tracts of land.

Maybe it's a new form of concealed weaponry.

Ragsnstitches:

Same for the sniper, but the boob window makes for an obvious disparity.

In fairness, what Russian woman wouldn't show off her cleavage?

Zachary Amaranth:

lord canti:
Granted this is the only pictures I've seen of the game so for all I know the other ones could be much worse.

I think that's why he's calling it "moral relativism."

Akichi Daikashima:

Do they die a little inside if they make models that don't show off skin?

No, but their tween fanbase does.

I'm still pretty sure that they die a little inside when they have to pander to tweens.

I'm sure that anyone would.

This is 20 fucking 13, we're at the end of a generation and still developers and publishers are doing this stupid shit. Just fucking stop. Focus groups will be the death of this industry.

Crytek does something inept & publicly responds with something even worse?

Color me surprised

Akichi Daikashima:

I'm still pretty sure that they die a little inside when they have to pander to tweens.

I'm sure that anyone would.

Warning: Soulless monster

Zachary Amaranth:

Female soldiers? Nonononono, my friend. If driving causes birth defects, then what must military work do?

...I wish I was making up that claim, but....Yeah....

Welcome to Iran, Zachary.

image

OT: Fun fact: if you click on the link to Wired, you get catapulted face-first into a female soldier's boob window.

You know what? It's the male soldiers that look out of place to me. If they kept the female designs and made the males into wifebeater-clad athletic guys, I would accept the art direction as being in the same general area as the newer Red Alert games. But it seems like they went the route of "max realism for males, spank material for females".

Yes, spank material. I've said it.

I like girls wielding weapons.

*cough*

I'll get the Israeli edition since that will likely have the most realistic female models.

RyQ_TMC:

You know what? It's the male soldiers that look out of place to me. If they kept the female designs and made the males into wifebeater-clad athletic guys, I would accept the art direction as being in the same general area as the newer Red Alert games. But it seems like they went the route of "max realism for males, spank material for females".

Yes, spank material. I've said it.

I like girls wielding weapons.

*cough*

You know what? This is actually pretty damn on the money for me too.

MCerberus:

Akichi Daikashima:

I'm still pretty sure that they die a little inside when they have to pander to tweens.

I'm sure that anyone would.

Warning: Soulless monster

I feel that this is appropiate.

Back on topic, the style is still off, even if the guys were "designed" in the same way.

But, at least the style would be consistent then.

But then, I would never touch a game with such a style with a ten foot barge pole.

Maybe I misunderstood part of the article, but it didn't seem to me that he was defending the female characters being sexy-fied as being cultural relativism but rather that what sort of sexy-fication would be used in different regions as being cultural relativism. He's not saying, "We make the women hot because cultural relativism." He's saying "We change the way the women are hot because cultural relativism." The first is an excuse the second is an explanation. If anything, the sexy-fication in general seems to be pancultural, it's the form that it takes that is the cultural relativism. The fact that the sexi-fication is pancultural is a whole different issue.

Saying this as someone who sees absolutely no problem with games such as DoA, Dragon's Crown or Scarlet Blade, this is simply bullshit.

If you want sexy then fine, do sexy. But do get a consistent direction for your game. Don't go making a realistic military shooter and then go "Oh? Women? Nah! They're different!".

Way I see it this is the real sexism in games. It's not the games with a clear over-the-top or even sexual tone, you can avoid those if that's not your thing and if it is then that's a perfectly valid desire. It's these games that suddenly change tone when a female character is presented, that you can't easily avoid if it's not your thing because the entire game presents a completely different tone until something with breasts comes along.

They seem to completely dismiss the notion that there might be girls who enjoy FPS games and who might want a somewhat more realistic outfit on their characters. Clearly they never hung out on my old TF2 server where several of the regulars were female.

The part that stuck out to me was this:

roseofbattle:
Crytek's free-to-play online shooter Warface is a game that differs around the world, keeping in mind that different cultures expect different things in life and in games. For example, weapons have different recoil levels in different regions (high in Russia, low in Asian regions).

To be fair, "people in third-world countries get shittier weapons" is certainly more realistic, but I don't see it being very good for game balance.

DataSnake:
The part that stuck out to me was this:

roseofbattle:
Crytek's free-to-play online shooter Warface is a game that differs around the world, keeping in mind that different cultures expect different things in life and in games. For example, weapons have different recoil levels in different regions (high in Russia, low in Asian regions).

To be fair, "people in third-world countries get shittier weapons" is certainly more realistic, but I don't see it being very good for game balance.

I could be wrong but I get the idea that the changes in both recoil levels and character models are for region specific servers. So if you were playing on Russian servers, all the weapons would have higher recoil but if you were on Asian servers they would have less. This would mean everyone who was on a certain server would have the same recoil levels, it would just change if you changed servers.

Anyone ever notice that female soldiers all go to war wearing full make up and with $1000 hair cuts?

Crytek are desperately trying to fling themselves into lowest common denominator cultural oblivion. It's weird how after making Far Cry, then moving to considerably more grown up writing and characterisation in Crysis, from Warhead onwards they seem to have been on a mission to get dumber and dumber with every single game. You'd think the abrupt drop in sales between Crysis 2 and 3 would have tipped them off that there's a limit to even the lowest of the lowbrows.

Oh well, they've been spending too much time around EA executives.

Can't we all just enjoy eye candy without having to bend over backwards to justify it?

I will throw money at a developer who responds to the question "Why are all the female characters sexualized?" with "Fuck you, that's why."

The sniper has a goddamned boob window compared to a draped in camouflage gear and ammo packs male counter part.

Your argument was just lost. :D

For once I'd just like people to unapologetically come out and say "We did it for the sex appeal, we need to sell copies and our demographic is mostly going to be 13 year old boys so what do you want from us? Not make money? For about 5 million dollars we will take the female characters out and dress them appropriately have fun kickstarting that one."

It's what it is! Eye candy meant to attract sales. Don't go making excuses for it, the people you are aiming for are not even going to care about your motives.

The problem is that in a still image, the easiest way to make clear that the character you're looking at actually is a woman is by noting their body shape in general, and breasts in particular. It's a lot more difficult to project this when those features are buried under full tactical armour - this was precisely the stunt Metroid pulled. You could get away with it back then because graphics, but nowadays a woman who isn't obviously a woman will be lambasted as being functionally identical to a man, and a woman who is will be lambasted as juvenile eye candy (because you could make the character look like the frumpiest housewife in human history and I promise you that some guy out there will still want to hit it).

Sniper has cleavage.

I don't mind *too* much developers making their females look sexier than the males... but what bothers me is when they pretend it's OK. Or they say "they were designed by a woman so it's OK".

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