The Real Problem With That Controversial, Sexy Video Game Sorceress

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The Real Problem With That Controversial, Sexy Video Game Sorceress


Two weeks ago, I wrote an article that criticised one of the characters in the upcoming game Dragon’s Crown. Today, the man behind that character has responded to that article.

On April 12, I published a post titled “Game Developers Really Need To Stop Letting Teenage Boys Design Their Characters“. It was a snarky, short article, written to point out that the game’s voluptuous, hyper-sexualised sorceress character looks like it came out of the notebook doodles of a teenage, heterosexual male.

“As you can see,” I wrote, “the sorceress was designed by a 14-year-old boy.”

Today, Dragon’s Crown artist George Kamitani — who is not a 14-year-old boy and in fact is the president of Vanillaware, a Japanese developer known for games like Odin Sphere and Muramasa — took to his Facebook page to respond to me.

Here’s what he said:

“It seems that Mr. Jason Schreier of Kotaku is pleased also with neither sorceress nor amazon,” Kamitani wrote. “The art of the direction which he likes was prepared.”

The blurb was posted next to an illustration of three burly, bearded men embracing one another. The implication, as some have pointed out on message boards like NeoGAF, is that because I didn’t like Kamitani’s female characters, I must instead like an image of muscled men hugging. A gay joke, perhaps?

“I like Kotaku,” Kamitani added later in the Facebook thread. “I will be glad if Mr. Jason Schreier is made pleasant with a Dragon’s Crown.”

I’ve reached out to Kamitani on Facebook, and hopefully we’ll be able to chat about Dragon’s Crown, which, incidentally, I had the chance to play last December, and I enjoyed, character design aside. Hopefully he’ll clarify his response. For now, I’d like to elaborate on my criticism, because this subject deserves more thought and consideration than a few snarky lines below a trailer.

First, I should make it clear that I do not actually believe that Kamitani is a 14-year-old boy, and I apologise for the insult. My point should have been clearer.

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve received a number of messages — some polite, some not-so-polite — about my article and Dragon’s Crown. The most common complaint: “Why are you complaining about the busty females and not the burly men?”

Another point I’ve seen brought up more than a few times: “Why complain about this art when you’re clearly not the target audience?”

Why complain? Because it’s embarrassing. Because I wouldn’t want to be seen playing it in public. Because I love Japanese games and Japanese RPGs and I don’t want them to perpetuate the ugly “boys’ club” mentality that has pervaded gaming for almost three decades now.

Look, the video game industry has a sexism problem. This is not very difficult to prove. Head to E3 and watch hordes of sweaty male attendees trample one another in order to get the best photos of booth babes. Read about “one reason why.” It’s tough to find a woman in gaming who doesn’t have a story about that one time someone said something way over the line, or the industry event that made her feel like she didn’t belong.

So, no, I don’t want to look at this game in a vacuum, or laugh off the sorceress as harmless sexual exaggeration, or accept that this is just Vanillaware’s style (which is typically gorgeous). Not when so many women still feel so uncomfortable playing games, or working in the video game industry, or attending gaming events. Not when so many games seem designed for men and only men.

Some have pointed out that the dwarf character — a shirtless warrior with disproportionate muscles — is just as sexualized and over-exaggerated as the sorceress. That’s true. He’s also straight out of a straight male power fantasy, tailored for men just like the sorceress’s skimpy clothing and ridiculously jiggly breasts. The design comes across as juvenile, like a hackneyed comic book or a God of War game.

But the dwarf isn’t making many people uncomfortable, because men don’t get sexually harassed at PAX East. Because male designers don’t get mistaken for receptionists. Because male reporters are never asked if they really play video games.

Because the sorceress is symbolic of a much bigger problem.

Look, I’m not a censor. I’m not going to say that an artist shouldn’t draw what he or she thinks is beautiful. But just as I champion an artist’s right to respect themselves, I believe that it’s essential for critics — and for regular people — to discuss that art. All art has its fans. And all art deserves exposure to critics. I’m not saying this particular piece of art should not exist, but I have no qualms about saying I think it can hurt this game and gaming as a whole. I think it repels more than it attracts. It doesn’t challenge viewers in interesting ways. And I don’t consider it beautiful.

Comments

    • Exactly. I think that people just need to stop feeling self-conscious about doing things that other people might or might not approve of. It says more about the person feeling embarrassed than the people judging him or her.

      Now, I agree that there is a problem of women being objectified in or by the gaming industry. But there is absolutely no link between this art and the problem. If the game showed the sorceress as being weaker or more vulnerable than the male characters, then sure. But the art itself? Sorry, but you are barking up the wrong tree.

    • I wouldn’t play half the games i play in public lol… maybe that’s just me. Still i think the journalist got back what he gave. There’s always a conan-looking-musclebound hero in games but nobody complains when the male stereotype is overly proportioned. The artist here is just poking fun at the rhetoric this journalist assumed last article cause hes so politically correct.

  • Nicely written. And that dwarf isn’t a sexualised male. Not a single women I know of likes men that are bulging with muscles. Men portrayed as mountains of muscle do not represent the sexualisation or exploitation of the male gender. And I don’t know any men who feel uncomfortable about seeing a powerful muscle bound hero.

    I do however think your original article was a bit too snarky. I think all good artistic criticism should be said as if you were saying it to the artist’s face.

    • I’m sorry, so because no one you know feels that way makes it untrue? Saying that the dwarf is not sexualised is just silly… Exaggeration on this level is equal to both parties and will always make people with insecurities feel this way. I personally really don’t care how the characters look – as long as the game play is immersive and interesting then who cares? How long did people play Metroid before it was announced “Oh by the way – I’m a woman” and no one gave two hoots.

      Just because a character has large breasts and inadequate support doesn’t mean that its exploited… there *are* large breasted women out there – a lot in fact…
      Perhaps you would you rather they were perfectly still and perfectly shaped? That’s a bit unrealistic in itself – or perhaps all video game characters should have A cupped breasts? That’s awfully discriminating as well… may as well go up to large breasted women in the street and yell “FREAK” in their face.

      So where does it all end? When everyone looks the same, shaped the same and wears the same clothes perhaps? Maybe we should selectively create blonde haired characters with blues eyes while were at it – just so that its all nice and gleich……

      • Take a look at the sorceress. Top almost falling off, breasts spilling out, back arched, wide hips, tight clothing that would look out of place anywhere except the bedroom. That’s sexualisation.

        Now look at the dwarf. Bulging muscles, weapon in raised fist, rushing towards you. He’s not sexualised, he’s about to bash something’s head in.

        You’ve picked apart little bits of an argument, but have ignored the argument as a whole.

        Yes, you CAN have sexualised images of men. This isn’t that.

        • Isn’t a “sexualised image” a matter of taste anyway? I am sure there are some people (male or female) that would find those images sexually attractive.

        • So, if the sorceress looked the same, but instead raised a weapon and were “about to bash something’s head in”, would that make her less sexualised?

        • Well what is a sexualised image of a man? All i see in the media is tall, strong jawed, fit, muscled males. The dwarf is wearing significantly less clothes than the female, showing off his huge muscles, and his ability to fight/compete/protect. Not much else to say really.

          • I asked my wife and it’s something I’ve been curious about for a long time. What is a sexually exploited man, what is the female power fantasy. But the problem is most media is male dominated. We have very few examples of the female power fantasy. Most women’s role models are Disney princesses.

            I asked my wife what a sexually attractive male video game character is. She said Nathan Drake. She said forget about huge muscles and such. An older guy, with stubble, rugged looking, fully clothed.

          • You can’t tell me Drake isn’t muscly though, all that climbing has got to keep him ripped under that half tucked shirt! He’s definitely not overweight or scrawny.

            I think a sexually exploited image of a male is probably one that isn’t very smart, follows orders and does all the heavy lifting, which are all exaggerated versions of traits exhibited in our base tendencies.

          • That’s a good point if you look it from the other side, though: If the Nathan Drake-type is a sexualised female fantasy… media is chock-full of it!!! And no one makes a fuss of it!

            The main problem is that we men are wired differently and we are attracted to secondary sex traits rather than the psychological and behavioural traits hinted by the physical traits that girls find attractive. In other words, we are naturally conditioned to find attractive the explicitly sexual physical traits… which have also been conditioned by society to be seen as vulgar/private/dirty/etc. The result is that when our fantasies are catered to, the product itself is deemed trashy, overly sexualised and reproachable… but it’s in reality not different (or more/less morally correct) than the result of female desires being catered to.

          • I think objectified is a better description than sexualised cause fictional males are less likely to be sexualised in order to appeal to a women. When it comes to reaching a male audience, sex sells, yet it’s less often the case when reaching women.

            But you have a good point, media often portrays men that are unrealistic and play on men’s insecurities but as with my earlier point, men get the better end of the bargain. An objectified man is at less degrading than an objectified women. An objectified man is powerful but kind, strong yet sensitive, rich but generous, hard but soft, he works hard but still cooks dinner, he’s perfect with kids, he’s sensitive to a women’s every need, he works hard bit still does house work, he’s a rebel but he’s also a nice guy, he’s also a fireman with firm abs, y’know, he’s an impossible standard just like an objectified women is. But it’s far less insulting for men

          • Hmm, that’s true, but I also believe that the “better end of the bargain” as you call it is also a perception bias that’s been, yes, played by society upon our original natural roles. An objectified woman role in media has her own powers: she makes all heads turn around, is desired and courted by the wealthy and powerful, from whom she takes the pick, while lesser men can only dream to be given the time of the day by them, etc. It is only deemed as a more degrading role because the societal taboo in sex: An objectified woman is a sex object and sex is icky and bad and we all need to speak in shushed tones about it and frown upon he who doesn’t. An objectified man is a procurement object, which is deemed noble and right and made an ideal. Again, the issue lies in the ways each gender is wired against the labels that society imparts on those traits.

            As an aside, the other problem with this perception is that the original role of a woman has been demonised: Today, a ‘successful’ woman is she who, in spite of the societal obstacles, manages to make her own name and position of power among the male-dominated top disregarding all the expected behaviour… while she who wants to get married, have kids, and stay home to be able to raise them is a dreamless loser; a poor, soul-atrophied wretch that sheepishly takes her place where the intently subjugating patriarchy has decreed.

          • Kotaku seems to limit replies beyond a certain point but in response to your reply that begins with “I also believe that the “better end of the bargain” as you call it is also a perception bias that’s been, yes, played by society upon our original natural roles.”

            You make an excellent point that I hadn’t considered. I find it hard to disagree with you because we are a culture that applauds violence but places a taboo on sexuality. So it stands to reason that a feminine attributes of a female hero might be shunned as a dirty thing where as a masculine traits of a male hero are something to be proud of. Obviously no women I know wants to be ogled like a piece of meat and I have a friend with extremely large breasts who gets tired of guys starring at them so I’m confident women aren’t thrilled about being purely eye candy. But you might be right that in a less male skewered culture, a woman’s sexuality might be just as healthy in a female heroes repertoire as a man’s physical strength is in a male hero’s repertoire. Thanks for the insight there.

          • As a girl, I agree with that. David Tennant in a tight suit? Purrrr….
            Let’s add Tom Hiddleston and Bendeict Cumberbatch to that.

      • Dude, those aren’t large breasts. The character is essentially designed to be a fetish tool of unrealistic proportions. That’s not celebrating our differences that’s reducing the female character to jerk-off material.
        If you like that sort of stuff that’s fine. I’m not going to put you on trial for it, but you’re defending it on some pretty shaky ground. No matter how you slice it it’s not something that’s been done to bring some diversity to the game.

        • I think unrealistic proportions are the name of the game here. The Amazon’s got massive thighs, and the Dwarf’s got massive arms etc. I think Jason’s just hyperventilating a bit, as an unsettling number of people are wont to do these days.

    • I don’t agree that overly muscled men aren’t sexualised. Sexualisation is an exaggeration of the physical aspects of the body that appeal to our attraction of the opposite sex, signs of fertility and virility. It doesn’t matter whose taste it is, everyone has slightly different tastes, but there are underlying points that are common at a subconscious level across all humans. The aspects of the human body that are focused on in mainstream media ( and then exaggerated in things like porn, which appeals to more base desires) are things that relate to our ability to function as human beings: women need to give birth and men need to be attracted to them in order to fertilise the egg, men also need to be strong to protect the family and hunt for food. This is an extremely simplified view of human interaction no doubt, I’m not suggesting that it’s like this today (or should be), but it is encoded into our DNA in order for the human race to prosper, and has been since before we evolved from apes.

      Obviously this over-the-top, comic book exaggeration is taken to the extreme in this case as it isn’t intended to be taken literally, it is a game after all, and the men are just as exaggerated as the women, which really needs to be taken into account. By failing to acknowledge that both genders are treated equally in terms of representation in an exaggerated way, sexually or otherwise, it skews the discussion and presents and unfair view of something that could be construed as sexist, when it’s actually trying pretty hard not to be.

      • I agree completely. The exploitation of men and women is there but it’s not as degrading towards a man. At our base level, men are attracted to women for their ability to provide offspring and men are attractive to women for there ability to provide. So when both genders are exploited, women are reduced to sexual/nurturing objects, their hips and waist and breasts and youth being their assets while men are ‘reduced’ to being providers often represented by large chests, powerful arms lots of money and power and authority. The problem is that men get the better of this deal. Men don’t often feel degraded by being represented as powerful and strong and rich.

        • I think you’re attaching too much to the male side of things to skew it again. “At our base level, men are attracted to women for their ability to provide offspring and men are attractive to women for there ability to provide” that isn’t strictly true, as in that instance the family dynamic would be a hunter/gatherer situation; where women ALSO provide by gathering. Money and power doesn’t enter into it at this point, that is a societal concern that came later with the development of more advanced civilisations. The male’s most base role is to compete for the right to impregnate women, inorder to create children to further the survival of the human race, and also protect the family.

          So you could say men are brainless mountains of muscle who fight each other and are attracted to women like moths to a flame and women are seen as the object of desire, who are also capable of giving birth and raising children as well as gathering food (multitasking), so therefore are not only physically attractive, but also intelligent. While it is somewhat true, it’s not the whole truth and that should be noted.

          • Well, I saw an interesting documentary about gender roles and how they relate to humans and it was showing how male birds have flashy feathers to attract females and they build elaborate homes to show how well they can provide for their family. It’s my belief that this translates to money and fashion. A well dressed man in a nice car is attractive to a women not because they are money hungry but because his what status, money and authority represent, that is to say his ability to provide and create security. Obviously most of us no longer hunt our food or build our houses so wealth kind of replaces that aspect. That’s why women seem to swoon for cowboys and stuff like that. Cause they’re actually doing that hunter/gatherer stuff.

            This is why I think women get a bad rep for being money hungry when they’re hard wired to find a provider.

            But that’s just my opinion.

          • I’ve read about similar instances of males attracting females and then looking after the nests while the females go elsewhere to do it all over again, but all that is, is a traditional gender role swap. This can happen in any species, but the fact remains that the human race has stuck to the traditional gender roles of women being the carers and men being the hunters.

            Obviously modern society continues to perpetrate these roles in order to cash in on sex appeal to sell products aimed at specific genders etc which further perpetrates the stereotypes. It’s hard to say to what extent, but it is everywhere.

            There are definitely negative connotations relating to the friction between traditional gender roles and modern society, like you say, women being called money hungry for searching for a stable provider, and also men being called womanisers because they are looking for suitable partners.

      • Very well said. The other side of the argument is also somewhat true: Depictions of well-endowed women are also fantasies of empowerment for women. The majority of women I have met have confessed to wanting to have larger breasts or being envious of those who have them… in spite of much reassurance that they are just perfect as they are and that such thing is not needed. Why else, then, would the business of breast-augmentation be such a successful endeavour?

        • The question then is do women fantasise about having larger breasts as a natural extension of their gender role? Or is it based on insecurities perpetuated by media to begin with. Do women want big breasts because they’ve been taught from a young age by media that large breasts make a women more valuable or desirable? Do women in countries devoid of any media want to increase the size of their breasts? When a young girl grows up flooded with images of large breasted women do they adopt that image into their own perception of beauty and power? Is an industry revolving around artificially cosmetically altering your appearance evidence that women naturally strive to appear more sexually desirable? Or is it a symptom of a culture of personal insecurity?

          I’m not saying I know the answers, but it’s interesting to think about.

          • Thanks for the intelligent discussion. I have wondered that myself and I’ve come to this conclusion: Women naturally seek to adapt to whatever ideal is prevalent for their time and location. Sure, African or Amazonian indigenous women could not care less about larger, round breasts. Their culture and standards don’t demand it. But you can see them doing other kind of things (extremely weird for us) to attain whatever ideals of beauty have been passed down in those communities.

            Obviously, some would say, this is a conscious effort to meet the standards created by the male-dominated societies, but I’d like to point that these standards weren’t simply committee’d some afternoon by a group of alpha males some hundreds of years ago and then, enforced with violence immediately. Rather, such standards emerged naturally among a given cultural group back in the times when the naturally stronger body of men conferred him the justifiable role of protector and leader, and then evolved along with that group and now are deeply ingrained in its social conscience. The paradigm shift necessary to revoke a behaviour accrued over centuries is not a thing that will happen from day to night as some seem to expect.

            The bottom line: You like it or not, exaggerated female secondary sexual traits will have an effect on the purchase habits of a man, whether he’s in a position of power or not. If you are an intelligent, mature man, you may roll your eyes and even condemn such transparent and cheap appeal to instinct, but deep inside, your genes are thinking “Look at those mammaries! They could feed my spawn forever!” and your sexual instincts (which evolved and are conditioned to /like and seek/ the traits that promise a healthy, numerous offspring) are whispering “Man, I bet those would feel so good in my hands!” In the meantime, women have learned that men (at least those in our western societies) feel that way and their own instincts are whispering “Girl, if you had those, you’d basically have your pick of the best, most stable provider and protector among the cream of men. You’d live the life of a queen and your offspring would be lords and ladies among their peers.”

          • That is something I’ve understood for a long time now, that so many of our behaviours stem from the basic birds and the bees stuff. I’ve mentioned it before but men often get a bad rap for being perverts and women get the same rep for being gold diggers or money hungry when we are in fact just responding to our genetic roles. But I just can’y help but think, in the context of the gaming industry, that we can do better.

            I think we’ve come a LONG way and you don’t have to look far to see examples of respectable female video game characters that appeal beyond our basest animalistic needs. There’s now ladies in gaming who have lots of characters and depth and also men who are capable of doing more than just cleave and shoot their way through obstacles. We’ve come a long way but we still have roads ahead. I have two sons and my wife and I are going to try for a girl this year and if our current progress is anything to go by she (or he) will be grow up in a world where games portray a wide, balanced spectrum of male and female characters, some that inspire philosophical thought and some that arouse.

            I think that the ignorant mind set of “no there isn’t a sexism problem in gaming” is an obstacle to this unattainable gaming utopia of which I speak but as long as we keep having these open discussions we’re moving in the right direction and things are changing for the better.

          • Agreed. Pretending that there is not a sexism problem is absolutely toxic. However, I’m also wary of the knee-jerk reactions (such as Jason’s original ‘haha, the artist that drew this must be a 14 year-old dude” article) that are common in media that wants to appear as progressive and that thrives in polarising statements and generating controversy (read, page-views) and that ultimately caricaturises the issue.

            The result is that there is much animosity and much pointing of fingers instead of the mutual understanding of what makes us different and how to celebrate and build upon those differences towards a common, superior state rather than pretending to erase or disregard said differences.

            The day when a man can frankly speak to a woman saying “Look, you got breasts and I have a subconsciously enforced prime directive to like breasts; can you help me find a common ground where I’m not demeaning or objectifying you, but neither I have to feel ashamed of or forcefully repress my entirely natural desires?” and the woman won’t recoil in disgust or think that the man is vile or a childish, animalish brute, productive dialogue will be had.

        • What I failed to articulate properly is that I think there’s a major unhealthy element in our culture of chasing unrealstic images and unnatainable physical/sociatal standards. We clamour to belong and measure up. How much of that is natural and how much of that is manufactured by the media?

    • I agree, especially with the ‘this should have been said the first time’ part but I think the point those people are trying to make, and I don’t really agree with it, is that the dwarf is sexualised for (heterosexual) men not women. It is sexual exploitation of the male gender, it’s just being sold to men not women.
      It’s sort of like how in some women’s magazine you’ll find disgustingly thin women that no man would want to take home and men who look like overgrown eight year old boys. It offers a warped over compensation of the things you’re insecure about, while also showing you someone you’re meant to be attracted to completely reduced to their psychically attractive traits.

      However like I said I don’t agree with that. Even in something like Gears of War where the guys are towering sacks of muscle I think the exploitation of the male fantasy is in the story/environment not the actors. The fantasy isn’t to be huge, it’s to be a badass warrior fighting the Locus hordes in the ruins of a world torn apart by an apocalyptic war.

  • A lot of this could have been elaborated on in the previous article, rather than just a snide remark about the artist.
    I agree there needs to be change, but it will take time and sniping at individuals won’t make it happen. Jason would have been beter off contacting the artist and discussing the design choices if he felt so strongly about it.

    • I agree, although I do think he’s done the right thing by posting this update and trying to contact George Kamitani to talk about it.

  • I have memory of articles (perhaps on Kotaku) of the Japanese gaming market being driven by the consumers; mainly young, single men who want overly-sexualised portrayals of the female characters. You can’t blame the artists if thats what the consumers want?

    Also, I love the three, naked dwarves hugging each other hahaha. I hope it makes it into a game! Actually, any game that involves in-your-face (doesn’t have to be graphic) Dwarven homosexuality will get my money, just because of the balls you’d need to publish something like that haha

  • I’ve read this idea of the muscular male hero actually being a “male power fantasy” instead of being a sexualised male character thrown around quite a bit. I’m curious, would would a non-sexualised, female power fantasy look like?

      • Okay, I had to look up some images, because I haven’t played Diablo 3. That’s certainly an interesting choice, because it seems to me that with the armour designed to expose the cleavage and thighs like that (instead of you know, being designed to protect her flesh from sharp objects), I’d argue that she to is quite sexualised. Are you saying that the female power fantasy actually has a sexual component? Because I think it does.

    • That is a really good question, one that I asked my wife this afternoon after talking about this article and her answer surprised me.

      At first she was really unclear and I thought that perhaps media had failed to provide her with any suitable examples of the ultimate female heroine. She was more clearly able to tell me the things that weren’t part of the ultimate female power fantasy.

      Firstly it had nothing to do with her body, none of her physical attributes contributed to her self image of power which I found really fascinating because most male power fantasies are largely tied to a man’s physical attributes and capabilities. Her ultimate heroine was not an object of desire and had nothing to do with being able to sway men with her womanly physique or manipulate the weak with her body. It also didn’t involve skimpy clothing or knee high boots, not even the dominatrix kind. But it did however involve elaborate outfits and style and jewelrey. And it didn’t involve being a physical badass, the ultimate female heroine wasn’t afraid to fight or stand up to enemies but it didn’t involve the whole ‘hey I’m a girl but I can fight just as well as a man’ kind of flavour.

      To my wife, the ultimate female power fantasy was a women of great style and grace who used brains over brawn and was smarter than any man. She displayed unlimited reserves of cunning and wit and cleverness and was not to be underestimated. She was resilient and unwavering and kind and valued and loved. Although she was capable of combat she was still beautiful, not a brute. Overall she was a woman in control.

      This got me really curious cause there’s few representations in movies or games of women like this. I guess a Disney princesses come close. But then I realised that I was thinking in visual mediums and I thought of just how many books were filled with the kinds of female heroines that fit my wife’s description and my wife is a huge reader. Obviously men are really stimulated by visual imagery so perhaps this is all a case of visual mediums being more suited to presenting the male power fantasy since a woman’s was more of a layered affair. And it got me thinking just how much I wanted to tap into every woman’s brain and see how varied their idea of a female power fantasy was. Are they all severely coloured by the media they’re exposed to or would there be a similar pattern? Would some of them involve a well endowed acrobat heroine in a figure hugging bodysuit able to break men’s necks with her thighs one minute while charming other’s with her hips the next?

      Who knows, but like I said, that’s a REALLY good question.

      • The female heroines I’ve admired on the silver screen are:
        Evelyn Salt (Salt)
        Samantha Caine/Charlene Elizabeth “Charly” Baltimore (Long Kiss Goodnight)
        Trinity (Matrix)

        Whilst not falling firmly into the category of heroine, I liked her act of heroism when it mattered – Sara (Looper)

        And before anyone starts quipping how it’s a short list, there are even less male heroes I admire, mostly because they are so overdone, and /or are just completely unlikeable.

        There is a dearth of strong female heroines, but it may be partly that the strength that women portray is often fortitude and endurance, or simply strength of character, rather than psychopathic levels of violence.
        When I asked my partner who her heroine was, she picked Vianne Rocher (Chocolat), because in her own way, she was able to make people lives better in her own quirky way.
        No explosions, loss of life or post mortem one-liners, and yet still someone who saved others in a quiet, understated way.

        Her response made me think about what actually defines a hero/heroine ?

      • I hadn’t been on here for since the other day and there have been a slew of really interesting and intelligent comments since!

        Really interesting insights, especially this ^ comment.

  • Sometimes I think the only way we’re going to please anybody is to just have androgynous characters in every game. Even that’s not enough though, you can’t make your men too girly, and you can’t make your ladies too manly otherwise people (both female and male) will be turned off it because neither side likes how either sex is portrayed. That being said, the number of slashfics, shipping and yaoi fanarts out there done by females is probably an indicator that there are more than a few male characters in games whose sexualisation strikes the right chord with the female audience.

  • men don’t get sexually harassed at PAX East.
    Uhh… what about that article not too long ago with the video of the guy cosplayer talking about his sexual harassment experiences at conventions? Would link it but I can’t seem to find it.

    • That’s anecdotal, yes it does happen but compared to the statistical evidence of sexual harassment against women its 1 case against millions. Since we can do it this way now, i would link the data but i can’t seem to find it.

  • How would you be seen playing this in public? Don’t you play video games in the safety of your own home? Unless it’s portable. Even then, I really don’t think you will have many people, if any, looking over your shoulder to see what you are doing.

  • Why complain? Because it’s embarrassing.

    It could be argued that merely playing games in public is seen as embarrassing, not sure if linking other sites is cool or not, but a quick glance at the comment section on the below article proves this. The amount of “gaming is a waste of time and for children and losers” comments is astounding. Your definition of embarrassing is not universal, I’m embarrassed to be a Kotaku reader when articles like this are posted.

    http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/ultimate-revenge-i-saw-his-face-crumble-20130423-2ibnt.html

    Because I wouldn’t want to be seen playing it in public.

    Then don’t play it in public. If you are not comfortable with how society purveys your enjoyment of something harmless then perhaps you need to reflect on your own feelings.

    I’m not denying sexism exists in this industry, nor am I saying it should be ignored, what I am afraid of is the issue being seen as blasé due to overexposure of mole hills being viewed as mountains. If this busty woman was the only fancifully disproportionate character in the game I would agree with you, but it’s not, all the characters are, it’s the art style the game has chosen to represent it, you and everyone else is more than welcome to dislike it, I just don’t see how this particular example adds to the sexism and you are yet to convince/show me otherwise.

    • I think other people (myself included), see it the opposite way – that seeing ‘small’ things as being unavoidable or acceptable is downplaying the issue. To ‘us’, every time something like this happens and people say it’s harmless or all in good fun they’re ignoring that this is something that makes other people feel uncomfortable and teaching others, who may not realize that this IS an actual issue, the wrong message – that it’s OK to objectify women. And those people then go on to act in an inappropriate way.

      And if this game had made them ‘Amazon’ women or disproportionate in a different way this wouldn’t be an issue, ‘course, so why not do that?

    • +1
      I still don’t understand why people complain about developers artistic choices.
      If you can’t stand the artwork, don’t play it, and don’t buy it. If no one buys it, they’ll have to learn what people are looking for when it comes to game art.
      Is the sorceress over the top, sure. But from what I hear so are most of the characters (and yes the dwarf is over the top). If you want to complain about overly sexualized video game art go start the fight with the developers of Dead or Alive for their skimpy outfits (let alone the volleyball thing).
      As Shadwell said Sure there are issues in the game industry, and they shouldn’t be ignored… but in this case it strikes more as an excuse because you don’t like the art style. I mean Maya and Mia in the Pheonix Wright games are a bit over the top too, but I have never head any-one complain about it.

      Personally I am not a big fan of what artwork I have seen of Dragon’s Crown (nor do I find it offensive, I actually think its kinda boring… Boris Vallejo has a lot to answer for), but it’s a new side scrolling beat-em-up, so I’ll probably buy it.

  • The entire game is looking like it is going to have an out there art style so I really see nothing wrong with the sorceress. It’s clear that it is done in a joking tone. Now if it was using hyper realistic graphics then I would be worried.

  • Now for my own snarky comment. If you dont like it, go away, play something more to your taste, and be sure to take your suit of white knight armour with you.

    Ignoring for the moment that you sure as hell dont speak for all women. You arent doing any favours to the ones that may actually share your point of view. Your previous “article” was little more than bait to secure page hits and create a controversy. If you wanted to continue the old stereotype of whiney women and their white knights on a leash then congratulations.

    Next time, make your case without demonising the opposition. Most of us are willing to listen believe it or not.

    • Nice Straw man. Also you did the exact same thing you accuse him of. The “white knight” attack is demonizing him to anyone on your side of the argument.

  • Jason got caught out and made fun of. It’s not nice when it happens to him so he tried to make himself appear as the “right” opinion. That’s all this article is, a pathetic attempt at defense and deflection.

  • Stop using one issue to push forward another that’s scarcely related.

    Most women don’t care if there exist characters that are largely mastabtory aids for men. It’s not like females AREN’T catered to in that regard, because they certainly are. It’s just not quite as overt.

    There’s a world of difference between a GAME featuring busty characters and the REALITY of the harassments women endure whether in the industry or cosplaying or on forums or whatever the venue.

    • It’s less that there exist female characters that are mastabatory aids and more there are so very few female characters that are not a male mastabatory aid.
      Off the top of my head I can think of…uh…some of the player characters created in Skyrim?

  • The ‘ugly ‘boys club’ mentality’ is always going to be in gaming, it’s prevalent in any male-oriented hobby too, so don’t get too upset about it. Videogaming just happens to pander to it in a more obvious manner. For every ‘Oh this is a terrible depiction of the female form, I’m offended” theres another twenty “LOL boobs, are you a gay?” sniggering to themselves in the background.

    This isn’t a ‘bad’ or ‘good’ discussion, it’s someone trying to qualify their hobby as something it isn’t.

    I’m really not a fan of this faux intellectual style of legitimising gaming as art and a higher form of entertainment than what it’s perceived to be given credit for.

    • Your Ugly Boys Club excludes half the population from a hobby that is not and never was and never should be owned by men.
      Like comics, we girls are here, we’re here to stay and we have every right to be upset when a medium that we enjoy tries to tell us that all we are is a pretty visual and a couple of holes. No, we are more than that and thus the so called female characters should be an accurate representation of females. Not your dirty fantasy.

  • The most embarrassing thing is the attitude that the top image of the so called “highly sexualised character” is somehow wrong or bad. Sexual equality and putting down sexism does not equate to white knighting and some sort of puritanical reversion to the social mores and attitudes of Cromwellian Britain or Iran under the Ayatollah.
    This New Puritanism is worrying, disturbing, and disgusting and does nothing to make us a more equatable society- quite the opposite.

  • If you think that men with bulging muscles is sexualisation of male characters for female audiences, my condolences as clearly you know nothing about typical female tastes.

    For an education on typical women’s taste in sexualised men, do a quick google search for Yaoi – probably NSFW btw. (The term describes the popular erotic manga for females).

    For the women out there who actually do like big muscles and/or beards etc, congratulations, enjoy your sexy muscled men in games/comics/everything – but know that you are in the minority and the men were not muscled up for your benefit.

    • What is and what is not sexually attractive to one is not the same for all – but to say that the typical female taste is not a highly muscled man in no clothes seems a bit over zealous…
      If this were true then why would we make and buy calendars with firemen in them with no clothes, muscled AND oiled and why would so many many men go to the gym and beach to get toned and/or “ripped” then?

      Cause its the “typical” attractive look…

    • It’s been noted many times that the younger the woman the more feminine their taste in men. That tends to change with age.

  • I don’t mind the artistic design of the sorceress – but that’s just my opinion. In japanese anime they often exaggerate such aspects, men with muscles, women with enormous breasts. for me, often its just part of the charm. i love anime, and i take the good with the bad. i don’t think i would be embarrassed to play a game like this is public, just because of raunchy character design, but that’s just me. i don’t think there’s anything wrong with that character design, you just gotta stop worrying about reading too much into it 🙂

  • Hahah George got ya good buddy, at least concede that.
    Kronosah and Roh pretty much said everything worth saying,

    “I’m not saying this particular piece of art should not exist” No, you’re not saying it shouldn’t, but you’re saying you wish it didn’t.

    “Look, the video game industry has a sexism problem.”
    The human race has a sexism problem, the ‘boys club’ mentality isn’t exclusive to the video game industry, and forcing people to depict women in a certain way in any medium won’t change that anymore than closing the curtains fixes a broken window or putting on headphones stops that tap from leaking, in fact doing that instead of educating people on how their minds work does exactly the opposite, you’re sending the message ‘Women should only be depicted in a way that doesn’t appeal to heterosexual males,’ this is also sexist, not to mention extremely arrogant.

    “But the dwarf isn’t making many people uncomfortable, because men don’t get sexually harassed at PAX East. Because male designers don’t get mistaken for receptionists. Because male reporters are never asked if they really play video games.”
    This is not a reason to change the art design in Game X, this is a reason to devise a better system for educating people on why it’s wrong to treat women like inhuman ‘things,’ as it turns out being an F cup doesn’t disqualify women from humanity, nor does dressing in a way to appeal to the opposite sex (which by the way is utterly subjective).

    PS: “Some have pointed out that the dwarf character — a shirtless warrior with disproportionate muscles — is just as sexualized and over-exaggerated as the sorceress. That’s true. He’s also straight out of a straight male power fantasy, tailored for men just like the sorceress’s skimpy clothing and ridiculously jiggly breasts.”
    That red herring, they’re not mutually exclusive, here in logic land we like to call it affirming the disjunct. Hint: It can be both, and being one doesn’t magically make the other irrelevant or redundant.
    PPS: It’s also subjective, there’s no objective criteria for ‘male power fantasy,’
    Argumentum ad populum doesn’t make it true.

  • It’s interesting question. The reviewer doesn’t like the art, so he’s calling out the whole genre. He has a point, but I gotta say, in the games i play? I don’t think there’s that much sexism. Tomb Raider, Batman Arkham Asylum, Mass Effect, Street Fighter. In all of these games the girls give as good as they get. And yes there’s some nice outfits, but the guys get that too.

    As someone above said, where does it end? Do all of our characters need to be in some sort of burkha costume so noone gets offended or titilated? That sound pretty boring to me.

    Vote with your dollars. If you don’t like the style, don’t pay for the game.

  • Jason, as to the part of your argument which represents your personal reaction to the design, you’re essentially saying: “I am embarassed by the existence of a consensual activity which I am not engaging in nor expected to engage in.” That’s a bad argument, and I’m sure on reflection you can see why it’s a bad argument. If not, you could take a short trip through the history of censorship and oppression over the last couple of centuries.

    The feminism argument is a much stronger one, and certainly we don’t have enough – or even close to enough – realistic, interesting female characters in gaming, or in media generally. But that doesn’t make it wrong to depict the other kind, nor is it anyone in particular’s responsibility to wear the financial risks of being that kind of leader. And this game in particular has chosen an aesthetic which could best be described as “exaggerated”, which already rules out the possibility of realistic characters of any gender before character design even starts.

    Rather than panning design choices that disappoint you, you’re much better off lauding the choices that excite you – and with a huge audience of consumers available to you, you’re uniquely placed to make a difference by doing that. Instead of, say, making about a billion people aware of Dragon’s Crown and showing them a great reason to (ironically or otherwise) add it to their “must buy” lists.

  • Sexism isn’t just a problem in the video game industry. Feminist call to arms like this, plus size models, women in boardrooms, female prime ministers, front line soldiers, slut walks, body positive dove soap ad, master chef…

    It’s spice girl feminism, people make a big deal about girl power and get angry at pointless immediate hurdles in front of women, instead of dealing with the iron fortress of oppressive judeo-christian capitalist patriarchy that has continued to surrounded us at all levels of government, business, education and culture. Not just a new electronic entertainment products marketing direction.

  • Oh wow, somehow I actually missed that this was Vanillaware when the thing first came up. That or just didn’t make the connection with Muramasa.

    Now I want this game.

  • Ugh, you DO NOT GET TO COMPLAIN when the site you write for is guilty of postign half naked women in the cosplay section.

  • I stand by my comment on the previous article: Schreier is a tool.

    Now, the art guy’s implication that he’s gay because he doesn’t like those women is a bit childish, wrong, but still pretty funny. But in a game where everything is ridiculous, his complaints are just whiny and dumb.

    That fucking hat.

    • I hate the fact that this Schreier fellow said it was controversial. I think he’s the only one that cared about it. So I guess that means it really IS controversial. But only for him.

  • I do not anyone complain about the fact that her hand and the frog is larger than her face or the fact of the battle fire tan that shows on her skin. This is nothing compared to Maria Whittiker on the cover for the Game Barbarian. Let’s face it whatever sells shall be exploited. When it gets out of hand, it will need to be stopped, right now, does t really matter.

    How about a little information about the game-play, the UI, handling, response, playability, etc?

  • I’m so sick of people being embarrassed by things. Is the writer 14? Actual adults show know not to give a crap about what other people think. I don’t care what other people think out my interests and I’ll happily show them in front of people as long as they don’t harass me about it.

    In fact what they hell is not embarrassing to play in public? How is it more respectable to play a game about shooting people or beating up animals in public, than to display our fantastic aspirations. Oh wait cause it’s about sex right? Do people still get all embarrassed when a nude scene appears in a movie when watching with friends?

    • Well said! The writer’s problem is not with sexism in art it’s with his own sexist attitude that causes him to believe he should act like some sort of arbiter and protector for women in maters of artwork.
      The fact that he’s embarrassed shows his immaturity.

  • The Real Problem With That Controversial, Sexy Video Game Sorceress

    There is none.

    On April 12, I published a post titled “Game Developers Really Need To Stop Letting Teenage Boys Design Their Characters“. It was a snarky, short article, written to point out that the game’s voluptuous, hyper-sexualised sorceress character looks like it came out of the notebook doodles of a teenage, heterosexual male.

    This is the newest trailer for Dragon’s Crown, the Vanillaware-developed game that will be out this year for PS3 and Vita. It features the sorceress, one character from the game. As you can see, the sorceress was designed by a 14-year-old boy. Perhaps game development studios should stop hiring teenagers? At least they’re cheap, I guess.

    I wouldn’t call it an article. More like a post with a personal distaste for the Character design.

    I’ve reached out to Kamitani on Facebook, and hopefully we’ll be able to chat about Dragon’s Crown, which, incidentally, I had the chance to play last December, and I enjoyed, character design aside. Hopefully he’ll clarify his response. For now, I’d like to elaborate on my criticism, because this subject deserves more thought and consideration than a few snarky lines below a trailer.

    Did you even enjoy any of the Character designs?

    First, I should make it clear that I do not actually believe that Kamitani is a 14-year-old boy, and I apologise for the insult. My point should have been clearer.

    Yes it should have either a) left out your personal distaste or b) written as a proper article with actual critique about the choice of art style and not a snarky dig at the art direction.

    Over the past couple weeks, I’ve received a number of messages — some polite, some not-so-polite — about my article and Dragon’s Crown. The most common complaint: “Why are you complaining about the busty females and not the burly men?”

    Because only women are ever sexualised in this world, right?

    Another point I’ve seen brought up more than a few times: “Why complain about this art when you’re clearly not the target audience?”

    Why complain? Because it’s embarrassing. Because I wouldn’t want to be seen playing it in public. Because I love Japanese games and Japanese RPGs and I don’t want them to perpetuate the ugly “boys’ club” mentality that has pervaded gaming for almost three decades now.

    Where you choose to play your games is not the concern of the the Game Developer. Keep your petty insecurities to yourself.

    Look, the video game industry has a sexism problem. This is not very difficult to prove. Head to E3 and watch hordes of sweaty male attendees trample one another in order to get the best photos of booth babes. Read about “one reason why.” It’s tough to find a woman in gaming who doesn’t have a story about that one time someone said something way over the line, or the industry event that made her feel like she didn’t belong.

    Are the character designs in this game directly responsible? I don’t see how the character designs forced these women to go to work and be sexualised…

    So, no, I don’t want to look at this game in a vacuum, or laugh off the sorceress as harmless sexual exaggeration, or accept that this is just Vanillaware’s style (which is typically gorgeous). Not when so many women still feel so uncomfortable playing games, or working in the video game industry, or attending gaming events. Not when so many games seem designed for men and only men.

    Because women aren’t capable of thinking for themselves and changing their environment?

    Some have pointed out that the dwarf character — a shirtless warrior with disproportionate muscles — is just as sexualized and over-exaggerated as the sorceress. That’s true. He’s also straight out of a straight male power fantasy, tailored for men just like the sorceress’s skimpy clothing and ridiculously jiggly breasts. The design comes across as juvenile, like a hackneyed comic book or a God of War game.

    So everyone else’s interpretation of the characters is wrong unless it agrees with your own? If they were all hypothetically designed by a woman, then what? She’s betraying her own gender?

    But the dwarf isn’t making many people uncomfortable, because men don’t get sexually harassed at PAX East. Because male designers don’t get mistaken for receptionists. Because male reporters are never asked if they really play video games.

    have you researched this? you are not all seeing or all knowing. Just because you haven’t heard of it happening, doesn’t mean it hasn’t. A lot of victims don’t go publicly announcing their grievances and it isn’t cool to say it doesn’t happen.

    Because the sorceress is symbolic of a much bigger problem.

    Look, I’m not a censor. I’m not going to say that an artist shouldn’t draw what he or she thinks is beautiful. But just as I champion an artist’s right to respect themselves, I believe that it’s essential for critics — and for regular people — to discuss that art. All art has its fans. And all art deserves exposure to critics. I’m not saying this particular piece of art should not exist, but I have no qualms about saying I think it can hurt this game and gaming as a whole. I think it repels more than it attracts. It doesn’t challenge viewers in interesting ways. And I don’t consider it beautiful.

    I think the bigger problem is that you didn’t know or remember how to be professional with this game. You spouted a bunch of bullshit that had had nothing to do with the game and tried to deflect on your earlier digression.

    A simple “I don’t like the character designs’ would have sufficed.

  • I love how in that last piece of writing you talk about how you think as critics we should discuss this form of art. When clearly in your last article about this game all you did was bad mouth it and then wonder why you got the responce you did. Sexual harassment happens every day and its not the revealing bosoms fault for the troubled individuals. If you feel embarrassed about playing this game in public then I suggest you don’t continue to play it in public.

    • >Jason ‘criticises’ game; implies that designers are horny teenagers
      >artist gives no shits.
      >artist responds with tongue-in-cheek humour. It’s super-effective!
      >Jason faints.
      >Jason regains consciousness and attempts to write self-gratifying journalism.

      Anyone else think the artist is a little more clever than Jason gives him credit for? Do remember that Jason is the one whose pride was just severely wounded.

  • It’s very tongue-in-cheek, maybe not intentionally childish – but ultimately pretty damn funny. 😛

    This article was only written because Jason couldn’t laugh at himself, nor take a humerous jab at his rather snide/whiny comments, lol. He’s like an octopus that has just inked itself after feeling threatened. I mean, he took a shot at the game’s art style, and the artist clearly showed how very few shits he gave.

    Now, throw in some white-knighting and you have an attempt by Jason to prove himself to be in the right, and the artist in the wrong. Could call the artist’s response childish, but both Jason’s original article and this pathetic attempt at defending his clearly wounded pride are far more infantile.
    I don’t even think the artist meant to incite so much drama, to be perfectly honest. As I said, it was pretty tongue-in-cheek. Jason can either take it like a good sport and laugh because it was legitimately funny, or he can- … Too late. He’s taken it incredibly personally.

  • So have many women actually complained about this game? or has a man decided he needs to shield the weak little girls from something he deems offensive for them again?

  • Jason, I respect the fact that you’ve taken the time of day to pay a little more sentiment to this and clarify what you meant with your prior article. However, I feel as if this article was something that was done more for your own personal reasons, as opposed to the right reasons. A cheap shot of sensationalism, why? Because media outlets know the topic of sex sells. That is the difference between journalism and sensationalism. This is something a colleague of yours, Patricia, does quite often.

    More for Patricia’s sake than yours, but can still be equally applied to your ideology: Sexism swings both ways, and yet we only ever receive the female side of the coin. I won’t deny that sexism towards women isn’t an extremely pressing issue, something that needs a speedy resolution; something that shouldn’t be a problem to begin with, but sadly is. But it doesn’t mean that sexism towards males is non-existent. Focusing solely on women is sexist in itself and is only widening the divide between the difference.

    Your second last paragraph is where your article really began to lose merit and its true colours shone, as it was using an external issue in society for clearly personal reasons. Just because your perception of sexism is one-sided, does not mean that sexism itself is one-sided. Please remember that next time, as your reasons are not a justifiable explanation for the exemption of sexism on the overly-sexualised dwarf.

    You may not have intended to come across that way, but you were listing off excuses as to why you were right in focusing on the sorceress and not the dwarf also. That is sexism.

  • While i agree with you to some extent, in all honesty, you had that reply coming. Put on the other hand, the art style of all main characters is what is putting me off from this game, the proportions of the characters bodies, woman and men are just too bizarre and is purposely done so to bring attention to mostly the sexual appeal of the females. Seriously boobs like that , twice the size of there head, would frigging knock you unconscious if you jumped around with them. Where the guys, i don’t see them over exaggerating big packages or anything that could knock someone out of the screen. Thats where i see the sexist part of it, but as the guy i am, who gives a f***. Its a game.

  • Jason, I’m going to put this as politely as I can. It’s very unlikely you have the necessary perspective on offensiveness to women to make the kind of call you did in the first place, or to continue pushing it even now. You’re not a woman, you’ve likely never experienced first-hand the prejudice and inappropriate behaviour that women are sometimes subjected to. You can’t take observation and equate it to experience, and then decide that something is offensive to a group you don’t represent. Aside from the obvious problem of you soapboxing about something you don’t know enough about, you being offended ‘on behalf of’ someone else strips that other group of the ability to weigh things and decide how to react for themselves.

    The muscled dwarf picture is a good example. I don’t think any male in this thread, yourself included, found that picture offensive. Some have argued it’s sexualised, some have argued it isn’t, but nobody has argued it’s offensive. We males are free to examine the image and decide for ourselves. But if a woman came along, arbitrarily declared the image was ‘offensive to men’ and started trying to fight on your behalf over something you don’t agree with, how does that make you feel? She’s stripping you of your right to decide for yourself, taking away your voice and replacing it with hers. It doesn’t matter what you think, only what she thinks. And she thinks she knows better than you.

    This point isn’t a basic ‘replace female with male and see how you feel’ one, because the reality of the situation isn’t balanced like that. The point is far more fundamental – every time you get offended ‘on behalf of’ someone else, whether it’s women or black people or your best friend someone just made a joke about, you steal their right to decide for themselves, from their own experiences and with their own sense of appropriateness, whether to be offended. White knighting is categorically not a good thing for the pursuit of equality. If anything, it exacerbates the problem instead of combating it.

    All that aside, you also make a fairly fundamental error by conflating the depiction of women in video games with the treatment of women connected to video games. The two have very different objectives: the former seeks balance, while the latter seeks equality. By confusing the two, you make the argument that the depiction of women in video games must have equality as its foundation, which is a fundamentally flawed notion: Fiction should be free to embrace difference, conflict, exaggeration, the absurd and the fantastic. It should be free to tell whatever story it likes, safe from interference by people who don’t like the story being told. Just because the depiction of realistic women is under-represented in video game fiction does not in any way justify the censoring of depictions that are over-represented.

  • There’s nothing wrong with your point, anyone who denies that there is a problem with sexism in the game industry is sticking their heads in the sand. How it is said though may help or end up adding more fuel to the fire.
    In an ideal world, a man or woman should be able to dress however they want without judgement so sexy is fine unless put into the wrong context. Isabella from Dragon Age is a good example; her revealing dress is a reflection of her bold and well developed character- she lets no-one, man or woman to take advantage of her. For me at least, I developed a appreciation for both her badassery and flaws which is enriching not just in a game experience but in all creative forms like film and literature. These things aren’t just fantasies or mere entertainment; the values presented are a direct reflection of the world and of yourself (especially when you have made a choice to engage in it). Whether you do it consciously or not, it has the power to confirm or form new values, so getting female characters right, amongst other things does matter.
    But from the game industry point of view, the quality of the design is usually a indication of the quality of the game overall. This sorceress seems generic and uninteresting even with a disregard for how much skin she is showing. Considering that it is in a fantasy setting, there’s so much room for visual creativity. If decently funded, it’s the least they can do if it’s not going to develop character.

    • I wouldn’t have a problem playing either of them, but that’s beside the point.

      As Jerry points out in his post for that strip, “it’s very weird to […] hear why it shouldn’t exist, or to hear what I supposedly fantasize about, or what kind of power I supposedly revere, and any attempt to defend oneself from these psychotic projections or to assert that creators may create is evidence of a dark seed sprouting in the heart”. His point is very similar to mine above, which I notice you kindly downvoted.

      The PA Report article says something very similar, that the problem isn’t that art and games like this exist, but that alternative depictions are under-represented. That sounds familiar, I think I made that same point above.

      The problem with this exchange between Jason and the artist is that Jason took it upon himself to fight a battle he didn’t understand that turned out to be the wrong battle. Again, the problem isn’t that art like this exists, because it has every right to. The problem is that more realistic portrayals are under-represented. You don’t fix that problem by attacking artists who do over-represented art, and Jason should have known better, if he hadn’t been so eager to make a public display of how gender-conscious he thinks he is and make an article out of it.

      • I agree with you, Zombie. It seemed more like a Kotaku ego boost, at belittling the artist and striking up ratings under the ”sex issue” card at someone else’s expense. That isn’t journalism. Journalism was never about humiliating the persons involved when writing or researching a story. It all seemed a little too personal, to which I think if the story was going to be run with, it should have been someone more clear-headed than Jason at the time. This is why to a lot Kotaku is perceived as a joke, it’s conventions & etiquette like this that seem to fall through the cracks just because it’s a news site that follows a topic that’s considerably more casual than world affairs.

        In addition, editor in chief, Stephen Totilo then made this remark on Twitter:

        https://twitter.com/stephentotilo/status/327207200642719744

        ”Dragon’s Crown, I’m puzzled by claim Jason didn’t apologize for his ’14-year-old’ jab, given that he wrote “I apologize for the insult.”

        So disingenuous apologies make everything better, do they?

        Dear Stephen, actions speak louder than words. Jason’s actions spoke the exact opposite of his words, that is where the problem is deriving from. I read this post coming into it as an apology of sorts, as yes, Jason was indeed in the wrong for being so unprofessional. I was going to commend him for being earnest & honourable, but then he did a complete 180 and spurted off reasons for for why he shouldn’t have to aplogise, wait what? Clearly he doesn’t mean the apology at all, so why even bother apologising ? That is a waste of his time, and my time. Unless he just uses Kotaku as a personal venting diary.

        I hope you’re aware that it is equivocal to extending a ‘sincere’ hand over to George Kamitani after you have kicked him down, and when he goes to reach for it, you kick him once more, ”Just joking!” as you proceed to flip him the bird and run off. Atrocious. Jason needs to lose some of that pride and just accept responsibility that he did indeed do wrong, not think himself better, a God, because he isn’t.

        What annoys me more is that he’s abusing the ideal of sexism, which is already a big problem! And hiding behind its veil in order to make his point of view seem more ”politically correct”. That’s just wrong.

  • I am a 35 year old male. I enjoy games. I am a strong believer in gender quality. I am not a sexual deviant. I have never even set foot in a strip club (can you say the same, Jason?), nor do walk down the street imagining what women I see would look like with no clothes on. I am however a heterosexual male, and to be honest, I grow tired of people like you generalizing and labeling those of us who enjoy fanservice as degenerate horny “14 year-olds” who are too weak-willed to differentiate between fiction and reality.

  • hahaha, glad Kamitani owned you MR Jason Schreier.

    Your argument is just so senseless, men are comfortable playing muscly men in games, woman should feel equally comfortable playing busty woman. It’s all a matter of perception, if you want realism everywhere in the games then games aren’t for you, period.

    Big guns, big explosions, big muscles, big boobs, and attractive appearances, it comes with the territory.

  • Funniest part about all this is, you call yourselves Kotaku.

    “Otaku” (hardcore anime fan in Japanese).

    Yet you attack anime Japanese artists for sexism, twice now.

  • And the redemption of video game journalism continues to hover around the horizon.

    edit: I’ve been reading the comments and so many of them are far more articulate and relatable than the juvenile article itself.

      • What kind of madness? I dare look myself.
        Is it the kind where they support the author blindly against any and all criticism?
        Because I’ve seen this on previous articles where the author is clearly wrong and it’s just gross.

        • On either side of the argument and for using the thing as an excuse to bring their own baggage to pontificate on, the US comment section is definitely very… ‘passionate’.

          • What’s weird is even the little innocuous ones have been downvoted by one. Every single post on every topic ever. I think I gave someone a hate-boner somewhere and they decided to go looking for all my comments to downvote them! People are weird.

          • Belatedly, in case you weren’t aware, you can click on the number itself to see who voted your comment and how. Took me a little while to realise that was there and I felt pretty derp after I found it.

          • Mm, thanks. I did find that quite by accident. And yes, it was one person with a hate-boner going back through previous posts! People remain weird! 🙂

        • Remember that article about the Iranian family that ended up with the stolen laptop? I argued firmly on the AU site that the family was most likely innocent and they didn’t deserve the treatment they got. For the most part, the comments in the AU version of the article were intelligent.

          I went to see what people on the US site thought, at the time. Here’s a few highlights from that perilous journey:

          “I would report it to the Iranian police and have the entire family executed”
          “Muslims are thieves as well as terrorists”
          “let’s get then iStoned”
          “Allahu Akbar! Theft is by hand chopping.”
          “Yeah, ‘stealing an infidel’s laptop’ is not in the Iranian penal code”

          Suffice to say, with that level of towering intellect and wit on display, I won’t be going back any time soon, and I would urge every other sane person on the planet to do the same.

  • Here’s another perspective: from a gay man’s standpoint, a dwarf with big muscles is not the male equivalent of the dramatically busty and voluptuous female characters we see here. The male equivalent would not only have big muscles, but a giant bulge and big muscular behind also, stretched into a skimpy speedo, loincloth, or codpiece, and both package and ba-donka-donk would swing and jiggle with his every movement.

    I ask my straight peers- would you take these characters seriously then? (Not a rhetorical question)

    Sexuality aside, I happen to be a huge fan of strong female characters and this level of hypersexuality kinda ruins it for me. I don’t mind (in fact, I prefer) a sexy heroine. But this is just too much.

    Then again, this style is super prevalent (dare I say ingrained) in Japanese media so not sure how much good it does to voice such an opinion.

  • You are speaking for people who can speak for themselves, Jason. Sexy females exist in gthe real world and therefore can exist in fantasy games. There are plenty of video game characters who aren’t appealing to look at. What are you going to do about that? Write an article about how they are objectified for being ugly. Stop being a dick.

  • The problem is women are to blame for something immature men can’t handle. The immature boys calling themselves men who are quick to point out female oversexualization can’t handle themselves around female sexuality & It’s made embarrassing because of people like this.

    It’s the female character’s fault that i notice her breasts.
    If the female characters didn’t have large breasts then i could focus on other things.
    It’s not my fault for lack of self control, it’s theirs because they’re attractive.
    Oversexualization of male characters aren’t a problem because i’m not attracted to them.

    OMG SHUT UP!
    It’s your fault if you can’t get passed a woman’s breasts size in order to see the person they’re attached to.

    It’s a ridiculous extremely childish outdated complainant & i find it shameful that female sexuality is so taboo & needed of removal because of 14yr old men lack of a certain maturity level.

    That is the statement made with every complainant of female sexuality over male sexuality.

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