It Never Ends

Raioken18

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This last week has just layed into representations of male fantasy in video gaming and anime. Basically graphically designed characters being analysed way too much.

They are meant to pander to male imagination, yes. But they are also meant to be super stylized and show artistic flare, by creating dysmorphic body types that is exactly what they are trying to achieve.

Not to mention, the characters in Dragon's Crown in particular are definitely overemphasized stereotypes and not solely for male ego. There's the giant muscular woman, like with legs the size of actual tree trunks, guy with so much armor he may as well be made of metal. If that stuff is alright... why's the woman with the oversize boobs the problem?

Also... it's Atlus. This isn't new it's basically been part of their art style for the last decade.
 

castlewise

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Jul 18, 2010
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grigjd3 said:
castlewise said:
It is unclear to me why Dragon's Crown gets to be star of the show in this latest round of internet drama but a game like Starcraft 2, for instance, gets a free pass on their character design. Why is the Sorceress over the line but Kerrigan with her impractical zerg heels and meticulous non-chitin covered ass is somehow ok?
The difference is in quality. Starcraft is generally an excellently made game (if completely lacking in innovation in the sequels). I mean, Skyrim on the PC often gets converted to an effective porn sim and yet no one complains about some of the characterizations done there either (note a certain red-head werewolf in the fighter's guild). The truth is, people don't mind hyper-sexualized characters nearly as much as they may seem to. What people really don't like is mediocre and poor games using hyper-sexualized characters as a crutch to up their sales. This problem would go away if people refused to play bad games. On the other hand, many game developers make bad games before they make good games so sometimes it pays to support even the bad games on the idea that the risk could lead to something really good.

Is Dragon's Crown turning out to be bad/mediocre? I don't really know because I haven't been keeping up with it, but I remember hearing good things about Odin Sphere and some of Vanillaware's other stuff.

You may be on to something, in any case. I don't know if its so much that people don't mind hyper-sexualization as that its so prevalent that you mostly stop caring after a while. And I've put up with a lot of terrible story for the sake of good gameplay (and vice versa). I suppose mildly stupid character designs just roll right off.

I still think its all a little unfortunate though. The Sorceress is dumb, but as was pointed out above there is a distinct style to the game. There are so many other examples where the character designs may be more subtle, but are about a thousand times more cynical in their sexualization.
 

Mister K

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Apr 25, 2011
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Hmm... I don't hear many people (both female AND male) pointing out that japanese "bishonen" male characters, with which japanese game market is practically flooded, can be offensive to men. Do I smell... SEXISM???!!!

On a bit more serious note, I agree with Bob about need of diversity. Let's take Blazblue for example. It is one of my most favorite modern fighting games, but I do feel that they overdid it with quantity. What I mean is this:

In Calamity Trigger (along with Noel, Rachel and Taokaka) we got Litchi

Fine, I get it, every game needs one sexualized female character. Plus, she is a nice character story and gameplay-wize.

Then, in Continuum Shift, we got Makoto

Umm... I get it too. She is a beastkin and beast tend to not wear clothing. Plus, as in previous example, she has great personality and is one of my mains.

But, in the upcoming Chrono Phantasma, we will have a chance to play as Bullet

WHY? Her backstory says that she was raised among mercs (who I bet were mostly guys). I don't think that anyone would have worn something as revealing in the same situation.
But then I watched her gameplay videos and I really, REALLY liked her. I like that she is a fast grappler, I like her voice, I like her mannerisms of "tough big sis".

As a man, I like those designs. But as a person, I think that I should at least have a chance to switch them to less revealing uniforms.

I get that sexy girls sell well, but a bit more class is always welcome.
 

Marik2

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Nov 10, 2009
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The game looks cool cuz of the sprites and has a old touch to it or something.

But I don't really like the character designs

The archer and wizard look kinda cool
 

ClockworkPenguin

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Daaaah Whoosh said:
At this point, I really have to ask: if game characters were oversexualized for women instead of for men, then what would they look like? I'd imagine I would still find a woman's idea of a sexy woman attractive, and the men I could probably get over as long as they could wear a shirt.
I suppose, strictly speaking the knight guy in the post above yours counts. Broad shoulders and triangular body shape which are supposedly attractive features in men, taken to ridiculous extremes. I mean for flips sake, it looks like his centre of mass is in his flipping pecks.

On the other hand, probably still not as ridiculous as the video of the sorceress. The jiggling...so hypnotic....so stupid.
 

Aiddon_v1legacy

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Ugh, Kotaku; it's kind of hard to take any chance of them railing against sexism seriously when they let a guy brag about how he convinced women to have sex with him on his Sonic the Hedgehog sheets.

Plus we're talking about Vanillaware here; EVERY design in their games is stylized and exaggerated, so of course sometimes they're going to have women who are outrageously curvy and sexualized. Though the Sorceress and he Amazon are oddly a minority for playable characters in terms of their titles. Before Dragon's Crown the most sexualized playable character was Velvet in Odin's Sphere.

VMK said:
Hmm... I don't hear many people (both female AND male) pointing out that japanese "bishonen" male characters, with which japanese game market is practically flooded, can be offensive to men. Do I smell... SEXISM???!!!
No, no they're not. Why? Because "bishounen"...is actually considered the male standard over there. Seriously, a dude the West looking pretty or even downright effeminate is actually the epitome of male physicality in Japan. Usually "rugged" men (which the West prefers) are not considered the ideal. That archetype is usually associated with older men, silly dudes, or outright gay (and that's before I get into the psychos like with Azrael in Blazblue)
 

Tumedus

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The problem isn't, and has never been, that The Sorceress (or Ivy, or Cammy, or Lara, or Daphne, or whomever else) look like they do... it's that everything looks like they do
I'd just like to point out that if you look at the character roster for the game, it actually has quite a bit of variety in character presentation. All of them are way over the top fantasy concepts, but within that bubble they include a lot of choice:

The Amazon has the same waist and boob "issue" as the sorceress but her butt has been made this distorted mass of granite-like musculature. To some extent that alone should be considered an indication of progress because, years ago, the idea of having a muscled female avatar was pretty far out there. You also have the elf which is, for the most part, a very normal looking female form.

On the male side, you have a similar scenario with two totally over the top physiques, the Dwarf massive sinewy chest and the Fighter with shoulders as wide as the character is tall. And you have the Wizard, a male with a fairly normal from.

I point this out only to illustrate that diversity doesn't entirely solve the problem. We have become so quick to condemn that one instance of the offensive in a collection, game, series, entire company library potentially, is enough to label the whole thing as distasteful.

Any attempt to appeal to that aesthetic seems to bring the whole house of cards down in the PR sense, yet that market, while shrinking, is still a big piece of the pie.

And, while I don't want to meander too far into another topic that could easily consume pages of debate, I will say that there is no character ideal for females that is so different and distinct from the male ideals that it would deter the criticism because it had both. Could anyone honestly distill the female ideal to such a point that it would have more counterbalancing impact than those "plain" characters already in the game do?
 

soul_rune1984

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I'm not offended by how the sorceress looks but seeing her boobs flop around like that makes me cringe with sypathy pains. Why couldn't they have had her wear a bra or some thing?
 

grigjd3

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castlewise said:
Is Dragon's Crown turning out to be bad/mediocre? I don't really know because I haven't been keeping up with it, but I remember hearing good things about Odin Sphere and some of Vanillaware's other stuff.

You may be on to something, in any case. I don't know if its so much that people don't mind hyper-sexualization as that its so prevalent that you mostly stop caring after a while. And I've put up with a lot of terrible story for the sake of good gameplay (and vice versa). I suppose mildly stupid character designs just roll right off.

I still think its all a little unfortunate though. The Sorceress is dumb, but as was pointed out above there is a distinct style to the game. There are so many other examples where the character designs may be more subtle, but are about a thousand times more cynical in their sexualization.
I don't want to prejudge the game itself. I've never played anything from Vanillaware and I certainly haven't been paying attention to this title. It is clearly not, however, of the high-minded style that generally gives these things a pass. Think about Monster's Ball or Midnight Cowboy (now heading into movie territory). These were movies where there were fundamental statements made about society and the ills we create in them and so they are forgiven for their explicit content.

Vanillaware isn't just using sexualization to up sales, they are reveling in the practice. This isn't necessarily a bad thing either. However, when one clearly creates this type of material with intention and even revels in it, it seems one should expect the reaction it brings and be ready to handle it better. Yes the author at Kotaku took a cheap shot, but the cheap shot was responded to with insincere, almost embarrassed (and certainly embarrassing) homophobia. I mean, (back in movies) Bad Santa was released to all kinds of negative press and yet the responses given by the studio and indeed, even Disney were entirely professional. The thing is, that's where the industry stands right now: knowingly doing childish things they shouldn't be doing. This kind of crap isn't tolerated in any professional setting which tells me that the gaming industry isn't very professional.
 

Lono Shrugged

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Art has a right to exist but people have a right to be critical. If the art is good the market will decide. So I think people should go crazy to defend/ attack art. It's why it's there. To inspire feelings and passion. This work doesn't really do anything for me to be honest. I think the designs are ugly over anything else. It's like Frazetta and Froud had a one night stand. And not a good one. Also the artist sounds like a prick.

Also complaining about this kind of sexual treatment of ladies in games is like complaining that after the tiger ate your kid it shit on the rug. Kind of missing the point. It's not one character of one game, or even games themselves. It's a social attitude. Again, not for a second saying it's not worth discussing. I just don't think it will change attitudes much
 

itsthesheppy

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Mar 28, 2012
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I feel like this article helped the gaming community grow up a little bit more.

Speaking on the Sorceress, I'm clearly not the target demo. I love pretty women, but her design is actually repugnant to me. If I was in the same room as her, I'd do whatever I could to get out; perhaps by throwing a chair out of the window. She's clearly some kind of deformed stygian monster.

Her character design isn't necessarily sexist. The creator insinuating that the critic was gay because he doesn't like it is completely out of line, of course. Her design just isn't helping. It's potato chips. A single brick added to a gigantic wall a great number of people are trying to tear down.

Why bother?
 

PunkRex

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This is why I love you Bob, agreements all round. I was raised by my mum, little sister and nan but gawd damn if I just don't like me a busty red head.
 

MovieBob

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This is why I can't take anything from Kotaku seriouly. It is a storm in a glasscup. That this Jason Twat (yes, I'm calling him a twat, because that is what he is) is saying that this just a work by a horny 14 year, show how much respect he has for for the artist for that game. You know who also draw in that over the top style? Frank fucking Frazetta! The man who gave us the style that they used for Conan and define a generation of artist. The Style in Dragon Crown is a throwback to that artstyle.
http://lcart2.narod.ru/image/fantasy/frank_frazetta/frank_frazetta_flashmanonthecharge.jpg
http://imgs.abduzeedo.com/files/articles/frank_frazetta/1.jpg
http://frankfrazetta.org/images/frank_frazetta_thebarbarian.jpg
Some of the art that Frazetta made.
http://www.destructoid.com/in-defense-of-boobies-252408.phtml
 

Mister K

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Apr 25, 2011
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Aiddon said:
VMK said:
Hmm... I don't hear many people (both female AND male) pointing out that japanese "bishonen" male characters, with which japanese game market is practically flooded, can be offensive to men. Do I smell... SEXISM???!!!
No, no they're not. Why? Because "bishounen"...is actually considered the male standard over there. Seriously, a dude the West looking pretty or even downright effeminate is actually the epitome of male physicality in Japan. Usually "rugged" men (which the West prefers) are not considered the ideal. That archetype is usually associated with older men, silly dudes, or outright gay (and that's before I get into the psychos like with Azrael in Blazblue)
I know that. Haven't I wrote that this particular sentence is not serious? Must I always type something like "lol, jk" so that people would understand that it's a joke?
 

Eve Charm

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Aug 10, 2011
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Well the fact that we are even talking about how the characters look while the game is 4 months away means the characters hit the mark of getting noticed. Lets face it, dragon crown IS going to be a small crowd rpg, and if you agree with it or not, it being a stylized rpg like this rather then a PR friendly dime a dozen rpg will probably help it sell more copies then it would sell other wise. face it, on looks alone on a shelf, with those characters on the box vs the cookie cuter create your own character rpg character or little anime characters, This game will at least get picked up and looked at the back vs the other same old stuff different game.
 

DRTJR

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I like the design of the Sorceress. I like women who have huge... Tracks of land.
 

tangoprime

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May 5, 2011
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ToastiestZombie said:
What irks me is that all the other characters designs are being ignored because of one OTT female character in a game filled with OTT characters. Here's a picture of all the characters:


The other two female characters are a pretty, but relatively un-sexualized archer and a MASSIVE amazonian woman.

Another thing that irks me is the fact that because of this one character the game hasn't had any other discussion about it, and to be honest it doesn't even look that good anyway.
The Amazon is wearing basically no clothing, and the Archer is clearly displaying Absolute Territory, http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ZettaiRyouiki
So yeah... they're still pretty sexualized.
 

teamcharlie

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Jan 22, 2013
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Interesting take on the situation, Bob. When it comes right down to it I have the same problem you seem to when most of thes issues come up: even if I don't always agree with all the methodologies of all the feminists and "feminists" on the intarwebs, it's still atrocious that video games can make women uncomfortable not only with the state of their bodies but even with being women.

That being said, I am also extremely hesitant about siding with the 'cover your shame!' crowd. That rabbit hole leads to a fuckload more church basements and repressive sexualities than I ever want to see.
 

Blood Brain Barrier

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Nov 21, 2011
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Let's just remove all sexualisation from every kind of media, shall we? Would that be preferable? Looking at the guy who posted that complaint article, it's not at all surprising that he's upset he isn't able to attract good looking women. Yes, this is an ad hominem.