Crytek, the developers of online shooter Warface, probably wish they’d never asked. Polling users across the world what they wanted to see in terms of female soldier design, the results are…well. See for yourself.
What you’re looking at here is some optional downloadable content for Russian players of the game. In an interview with Wired, Crytek’s Joshua Howard tries to explain the motivation behind the designs, tries to ally them with the game’s otherwise “authentic” approach to military hardware, and in the end comes across as a man caught between a rock and a bad decision.
“The female skins [are] a good example of how we see how culturally the different regions approach the same game in different ways,” Howard says. “The skins we’re showing right now are the skins that basically came out of our Russian region. They’re not what our players at first requested in the Russian region. They tended to be considerably more extreme that what we ended up shipping with.”
He goes on to talk about how Chinese players gave similar responses, which were “also somewhat unrealistic as compared to the males but differently than the Russians…You look at the Chinese models and they’re also disproportionate but in a way that’s more… Chinese? I don’t even know what language to use for that but they’re different.”
That’s about the point in the interview where it’s clear Crytek should have either thought this process through, or not given any interviews to Western press about it.
So, to recap: video game company asks predominantly male audience of shooting game what it wants to see in female characters. Has to moderate the results (see below), which are still hilariously awful. The sniper covers her head, but not her chest? Look below, the dudes are covered in body armour!
The game’s not even out in the West yet, so it’s not clear how Crytek will be tailoring the content for American and European tastes, or even offering it at all.
Below is a comparison shot showing the differences between the male and female character skins in the Russian version of the game.