What Some Male Gamers Want Female Soldiers To Look Like

What Some Male Gamers Want Female Soldiers To Look Like

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.

Cultural relativism: Warface’s exec producer talks girls, guns and global gaming [Wired, via Game Politics]

What Some Male Gamers Want Female Soldiers To Look Like


    • Yeah, I see no surprises here either.

      Heterosexual males like seeing female bodies, and have little interest in seeing male bodies. What did you expect?

      • Probably not, but it happens with both genders. If you’re going to go for realism in a war environment, most likely the male and female avatars would look pretty much the same.

  • So…there’s a market and revenue stream in slightly sexualised female models?

    Given it’s optional, maybe it’s not a big deal.

    • The thing is always what they want out of this “polling”. If they want to appeal to an existing market, they poll their existing market and give them what they want. Fine. If they want to broaden their market, they’re going to have to do a little more work than that to surpass just appealing to their base.

      • They’re running a global game with discrete changes in content based on region.

        For example, the amount of recoil varies depending on regional tastes.

        I’m sure the “Western” market will vote for indistinguishable-from-men skins, right? So they’ll cater to that market, just as they’re catering to others. But they won’t enforce one set of rules on all and potentially alienate a range of customers in all markets.

    • It’s a little more involved than that. These “slightly sexualised female models” do not exist in a vacuum, devoid of any context. They are in a game where their male counterparts are NOT represented in the same light. If the male soldiers were running around without any shirts on and their pants were tight, then I would be fine with it. But as its just the women dressed like that (or I’d it were just the men too) then it becomes an issue. The fact that its optional has no weight.

    • Was there a poll on which male skins would be used? Probably not. I’m up for being proved wrong though

  • So it’s fine for TV, movies,music videos, magazines, advertising etc to use sex, but it has to be mysogynistic if it’s related to gaming?

  • Its disgraceful! Why dont they get sunglasses? Eye protection is equally important for females too.

  • As a male gamer I want female game characters and as an extension all game characters regardless of race/gender/sexuality/home planet/hair colour/*insert anything else you can think of here* to look like whatever their creator wants them to look like.

  • It is a video game…Who caressssssssssssss.
    This has been going on forever. In video games, movies, life in general.

    Males that play video games…Requesting to see a bit of skin does not make them bad people!
    And it is not ground breaking news that males want this!

  • I’m glad you wrote ” some” male gamers and didn’t throw us all under the bus. Thanks Luke

      • I don’t get it, why the hate? I’m just saying, I hate how immature it is where females assets are so exaggerated in games.

    • I don’t mind coming across this stuff late. Where have you been that you missed games from the CoD series’ or the Battlefield series? None of those have female parts exaggerated (mostly they don’t have women at all). Have you ever played a Bethesda game? For the most part their vanilla clothing options completely cover the female form. Some parts of the games (either deal with the apocalypse or a fantasy land) do show a little skin, but the point is to create a realistic atmosphere. Perhaps go play simulators forever if there is such a huge issue with the gaming industry and their portrayal of women.

      Actually, go outside and see that the world is filled with women showing skin. Some don’t, but the vast majority do (not all the time, but at some point they do/will). Perhaps, realize that games are meant to emulate the real world (whether fantasy or ‘realistic’).

      Get over it. (also I gave you titles without boobs)

  • If guys love breasts so much they really should wish for the lady soldiers to have more body armour than the men, not less.

    • Like the article about the armourer who was explaining that hammering out some breast shapes into chest-plates of metal armour was a super bad idea because the indented divot between the breasts could – if the wearer fell forward – pierce the sternum, potentially killing the wearer. ‘Breast’-plate armour = bad.

      But I think the misconception here is that guys ‘love breasts’ in a nurturing caring way which focuses on their well-being. Guys love looking at breasts more than looking after them. Much like pot-plants. (Which is also how I think about say… attractive coworkers. Much like a pot-plant, they’re nice to look at, but I certainly don’t intend to sleep with them.)

      • I just think if they love to see them so much, they shouldn’t wish for them to be shot or sliced off, which is essentially what they’re doing when they wish them exposed on a battlefield like that. 😛

  • I can’t see how people are surprised. If you ask immature dudes to vote on which model they want to see in a game, of course they’ll pick bewbs!

    TBH, pls don’t lynch me, but if I played this game, every now and then I’d use these models as well. I like bewbies.

  • Why are they letting the people who play the game dictate what is in the game? Why don’t Crytek just do what they think works for the characters and the story?

    It looks cheap and tacky to have only certain characters dress inappropriately, especially in a world that’s meant to be grounded in gritty realism.

    Sure it may mean the idiots who only like skimpy clothed barbies might not buy it (it’s about how the game plays too you know), but if Crytek hold true to their creative vision they would stand in a lot better sted to gain and keep more followers based on their strong creative principles. Otherwise it just looks like they are selling themselves short by trying to appeal to the idiots and alienating the people with half a brain.

    • they did hold true to their creative vision, their creative vision involved a game that was tailored to the particular cultures and desires of players in different regions, not staying true to their vision probably would have involved ignoring the feedback they got about it.

      • I see what you mean, but it’s still not really their creative vision, it’s the creative vision of the people they are asking. They even said that they had to tailor it to different regions, so they are changing what they are doing based on what feedback they are getting, ie: giving up creative control to the people who were polled, rather than doing what they think is best with their own game.

        I’m sure that the people working on the game had their own (probably appropriate within the context of the game world) ideas, and they should feel like those ideas are worth sticking to, rather than being fearful that it won’t be successful because it doesn’t pander to everyone’s individual tastes, because that is impossible.

        • If you word it right, you can say it’s restricting creative freedom with censorship. Usually people will jump to fight against censorship. But not if it will cover up women :/

        • look at it this way, lego would be deviating from it’s creative vision if they designed the pieces to only fit together in the one specific way, just because it draws from the cultures of the region doesn’t mean they gave up their vision to achieve it, the region tailoring is PART of their creative vision.

          nobody is making them tailor anything to anywhere, they’re doing that of their own accord.

  • I’d be using the female characters! testosterone-enriched player aims down his iron-sight … sees bewbies … pauses … I profit!

  • Oh come on, this one really isn’t even that bad. People are seriously getting worked up over this?

  • They’re for Russia?

    I’d have figured they’d be Australian given that the warmer months are coming and practically every women in this country is wearing really tight short-shorts and singlet.

    (Just remember, it’s wrong to sexualise women in video games… Especially when you go for a walk outside and all you can see is like, ten extremely attractive females all wearing next to nothing, in just the first five minutes.)

    • They’re not engaging in military combat though. I think you’ll find both male and female soldiers dress the same, regardless of the temperature.

      • a stroll down a street in the dangerous down under is practically military combat anyway.

      • I did think of that before making the comparison, but in all honesty, is Warface going for realism here? The game itself reads more like modern, less Sci-Fi Quake rather than a realistic modern war shooter.

    • Those women aren’t dressing for you. they’re dressing for themselves, for their own sense of comfort/attractiveness. In the game, men are asking for stupidly revealing outfits for their own pleasure. Puts me off playing the game, that’s for sure, unless I can have a minimal armour, open-shirt and bare arms dlc for the male soldiers? If you’re gonna cater to one crowd, why not cater to both? Broaden your audience, make money.

  • So, to recap: video game company asks predominantly male audience of shooting game what it wants to see in female characters.
    Here’s your problem right here. Ask either gender what they’d like to see in the other and you’ll get something that is more appealing than the real counterpart.

  • and yet, not one of them thought it might be a good idea to poll women? Reminds me of “Last of Us” where they had to request female playtesters.

    Maybe they should poll guys who aren’t insecure about themselves and their manhood.

  • I wonder if seeing a women on the end of your scope might make some people hesitate to shoot. Could be an advantage? Personally i would prefer kevlar instead, kevlar everywhere.

  • This just in: Sex appeal is a thing and everyone is influenced at some level by the desire to procreate.

    • If their sniper rifles don’t swing all over the place or the shooter can hold their breath for an actually realistic amount of time, I’ll be more interested in that than boobs.

      That’s the one thing I miss from Medal of Honor: Allied Assault.

  • Surely the most important feature has been overlooked. Recoil breast jiggle.
    No jiggle = 1/10 would not even rent

  • Could be a lot worse – they could have polled the girls for overly-stylised male images.

    Reckon it’d put your aim right off as a bloke looking down the scope and copping an eyeful of a pair swinging down past the knees…

  • The problem here is Kotaku’s own monstrous ignorance. They’re embarrassing themselves on a regular basis trying to play white knight for everyone they decide needs it then fumble their way through the actual, pressing issue with arbitrary finger-pointing, accusations and no string at all of active dialog. It does the issue itself no good either if readers can’t decipher the difference between Kotaku’s rubbish and reality.

    The issue here is equality, am I right? It’s sexualisation and potential exclusion of a gender. I’m wondering why there are rules to the portrayal of females and not men? I’m wondering why we don’t worry about the young girls who have chosen time and time again the sexualised image of a young boy? Justin Bieber, Aaron Carter and Taylor Lautner are all depicted to be as attractive as possible to young girls with the removal of their shirts, talking dirty and sexy dancing being a major selling point. Why do you not point out every single day exactly WHAT appeals to young girls exactly the way you try to condemn what appeals to young boys. It’s entirely the same thing but one group has been singled out and generalised while the other is left to enjoy their youth; finding interest in the stupidest things possible just like teens have always done.

    Why is it that a women will be championed in wearing revealing clothing on an everyday basis but no depictions of art or creative work may portray them like this? Why is sex the worst thing? Why can we draw a man with a sparkling smile, shirtless, ripped and capable of dealing with any situation but you can’t put a woman in a bikini? Again, why is sex the worst thing? Can’t sex be beautiful? Can’t it be fun? I remember a post on your sister site LIFEHACKER where a female writer boasted about how much she loved using $%&* buddies and subsequently came up with a number of “rules” to stop your (male) partner from getting too attached. It seems like this kind of fun is ok, is it not? Is that because it just doesn’t glorify females? Is the issue the glorification of sex? Because if it is, that’s kind of a moot point because sex is awesome and everyone knows it, regardless of how it’s portrayed. If the point here is the portrayal of a gender then I will counter with logic saying that BOTH genders are represented horribly. I mean, since when have I played a normal guy with a girlfriend, fledgling career who’s in his mid-twenties dealing with life problems or identity? How about a young boy dealing with the everyday whilst facing depression and bullies at school? When have I played a genuine representation of who I am? I haven’t. The closest I’ve actually come are in games made from a female perspective like Gone Home.

    I just don’t understand how you people can consistently put yourselves up on that cowardly, embarrassing moral high horse without ever actually addressing the complicated parts of this issue. Continually condemning every depiction of a woman that accentuates figure or sexuality while simultaneously parading them around in cosplay slideshows happily wearing these very designs makes me wonder.

    I mean, is the idea that males must not make any assumptions or depictions of women at all? Because we clearly see that many women actually do not find sexuality as foreboding or apocalyptic as Kotaku seems to; they’re more interested in not being given a fair chance because of their gender. Is it then ok for females to make gigantic assumptions upon men? To stereotype another gender the way they’ve been stereotyped? Are we to just not draw men or women in anything other than finely-pressed suits for fear of inequality? As being exactly the same as eachother every time? What if it’s clever satire and it goes over your heads? (like a number of times before) I just don’t think it takes much integrity to point your finger at people on the internet. I think it’s similarly reprehensible that the issue itself is almost intentionally veiled so as to increase the amount of sensationalism in the piece.

    Depiction is always a difficult thing to get right, the best way forward – I believe – is to allow artists freedom to express themselves. To some, the idea of sexuality is troubling and to some it’s powerful. To others it’s super fun and I think each idea is worth exploring without bringing politics into it every time. Sex isn’t the issue; Kotaku covering the issue responsibly is.

    • You seem to be missing the point a little bit. The point in this context seems to be that having female character models with revealing cleavage seems to be a bit ridiculous given that the male character model is clearly geared in such a way so as to realistically protect themselves in a combat environment.

      You use terms like ‘monstrous ignorance’ and ‘cowardly, moral high ground’ in an arbitrary and unsubstantiated manner. How is it ignorant to point out an obvious stereotyping of women? While I don’t think the female character model is particularly bad as far as games go, it’s still pretty embarassing that the designers chose to portray the female character this way in this context. I would question the artistry of that particular design given it’s not particularly unique or original, although I concede it is well constructed and aesthetically appealing.

      You point to instances where men have been sexualised for the enjoyment of women. The reason why this issue is not often highlighted is because it doesn’t happen at the level or frequency of women being sexualised in the media. Search Google Images for ‘male celebrities’ and count the number of men who are topless compared to those conservatively wearing in suits. Compare this with a similar search of ‘female celebrities’ and count the number of women who are in bikinis or underwear compared to those in conservative attire.

      The problem is not that women are represented as sexual objects, but more so that this is more or less the only way they are represented in media or gaming. Males characters enjoy a more diverse representation of character models e.g. Trevor in GTA V to Kane & Lynch to Drake from Uncharted (although not touching on other issues obviously). I’m not denying that male characters are typically presented in similar ways, but there still appears to be range. How many main or prominent female characters can you think of, in gaming at least, that were shown as unattractive or sexually unappealing? I can currently only think of one, being Ellie from Borderlands 2.

      Whether you think the best way to address this issue is for the increased sexualisation of men in the media or a decreased sexualisation of women or something completely different, that’s really up to you. However, don’t fool yourself into thinking both genders are approached and treated in an equal and umbiased manner and therefore rely on ‘artistic’ arguments to justify boring stereotypes.

  • to be fair on the developers, girls in real life kinda do stuff like this that makes no sense as well. For example, plenty of women go around with turtlenecks…. with a big hole in the middle to show off their chest. Or they run around with a proper sweater…… and a miniskirt that covers almost nothing.

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