Reverge Labs claims that scantly clad anime chicks with huge breasts aren’t offensive because it was a woman who animated them.
For those of you unfamiliar, Skullgirls is an upcoming 2D fighter in the vein of Marvel Versus Capcom that features an all-girl roster of anime-styled women. Yes, they fight each other, yes, they have breasts, and yes, sometimes when they contort, you can see their panties. Since trailers surfaced earlier this year, some people have started complaining about the game relying on gimmick and sexual exploitation. Peter Bartholow, lead developer, disagrees, citing the complaints as “misplaced and shallow chivalry.”
“Our characters are strong, powerful women who happen to be attractive,” Bartholow said in an interview with Eurogamer. “We don’t have anyone like [Street Fighter‘s] Cammy, who wraps her legs around your leg then beats you senseless with her Kegel muscles – or whatever is going on in that Cammy Super. There was a very conscious decision not to do things like that. None of the characters use their sexuality in any aggressive way. It’s just a thing they happen to be.”
Still, that hasn’t stopped some people from getting offended. Earlier this year at Gamescon in Germany, one fan stopped Bartholow just to tell him how sexist he thought the game was. According to Bartholow, however, the complaint stopped as soon as he explained that a woman had done the animation.
“I’m like, did you know our lead animator is a woman?” he retold. “Then, he’s like, that’s amazing. It’s like I gave him the excuse to think it was okay all of a sudden, or to admit he liked it, which really amused me and seemed emblematic of the entire situation around that.”
Bartholow puts a lot of stock in the fact that a woman, not a man, was the one who handled the animations. “She intentionally lavishes attention on the breasts herself because she thinks it’s cool,” he explained. “All the people who seem bothered by it are guys. It’s a weird chivalry intent thing that’s sort of misplaced and maybe shallow, even, because they see breasts and panty flashes and they go, that’s sexist, but I’ve yet to meet a woman who has complained about it. They’re over-thinking it.”
The game is set to be released on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network in early 2012. Reverge labs has stated that the fighter will launch with eight characters, and will add more in free DLC updates as the community grows. It’s also confirmed that male characters will be added eventually.
Personally, I think some of Bartholow’s arguments are weak, but the better question is, does he need to be making them in the first place? If you’re going to design a game starring nothing but cute girls in revealing outfits, you need to be prepared to own it, not justify it. Skullgirls isn’t the first game to feature big-breasted women, and certainly won’t be the last. What do you think Escapists? Based on what you see in the trailer, do you agree that the game looks like nothing more than offensive fan service?