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Heroines of Video Games Group

Want to discuss women in games besides how "hot" they are? Instead of focusing on female assets, we'll be discussing how much females can kick ass and save the day! Whoever you like, let's talk about the positive female heroines in games!

Femme Fails

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  • I get that it's a zombie beach game, but have a problem with it. I mean, it's basically reducing a woman to her breasts. And I'm tired of companies trying to market like this. It's lazy and it's insulting because to me it says, hey, buy our game and you can have a female chest to put on your shelf! I'm disappointed/disgusted by it.

  • Whether or not it was intentional, the design of the statue frames the breasts rather noticably. Maybe hacking off the head and arms was simply meant to be gruesome, but it also basically reduces the statue to just the chest and stomach. Even assuming it wasn't their intention to emphasize that, I can see why people would interpret it that way.

    On the bright side, SO MANY blog ideas thanks to this.

  • Well its of a females chest and stomach because that's what busts are; either just a chest or a head. So the creators thought; hey, lets make a bust...a zombie bust. Its not a statue at all, if it was than I'm sure that it would have been a full blown zombie.

  • If you don't see any issue with it J, I can't force you to see it, and I'm not trying to. I just wanted to explain a little from an opposing side of view. I get annoyed when people claim those who don't like the statue are prudes or "don't get it". I understand that it's a zombie beach game, but I think there are much better ways to market the game.

    I think we'll just have to chalk it up to one of those issues where we agree to disagree. But I am happy we could discuss this civilly unlike the comment sections!

    And markus, I look forward to those blogs!

  • "...who don't like the statue are prudes or "don't get it"."

    I'm not saying that in anyway. I can understand your point of view completely. I'm saying that I don't think it was intended to be sexist because they are a number of ways in which they can make a claim for making this bust that make sense. I'm not going to say that its the right thing to market, because they are in fact a number of different ways to market this.

    They are taking feedback to see if they should keep the bust which is something a lot of others don't do which also shows me that this was not intended to look sexist.

  • Oh, of course I know you never said any of that, J! I'm not trying to put words in your mouth.

    I was just putting it out there that there are people who actually defend it using those excuses and refuse to try to understand the complaints. I appreciate when people are open-minded about discussing it such as yourself. And while I'm still on the fence about who designed it, I agree that it's a very good thing that they are addressing feedback. It was great to hear how fast they responded!

  • I've been going through what I've missed over the months, and I just had to highlight a few things that caught my attention, despite their age:

    "I might be flamed for it, but I honestly have no problem with the way Elizabeth is depicted in this game. She's a little on the busty side, but a corset will do that to even under-endowed girls and I personally (just to emphasize this is just myopinion here) find the ensemble tasteful.  What I find distasteful is the behavior of the audience. Just because a developer dresses a character attractively does not mean they intend that character to be treated like a piece of meat, which is where some of the gaming community's bad reputation is coming from: mistreating someone's creation seems to be becoming a shorter and shorter step to mistreating people."  - From Theora Craft, and her entire view on oversensitivity.  Seriously Theora, I threw my fist up and cheered when I read this, not just because I'm hopelessly eager to finally play Infinite (just ask J what this game means to me and you'll only get half the story) but because that's where my head is at too.  Label me as a guy who doesn't truly get feminism if you want, but there has to be a medium way between fighting for women's rights and their depiction, and becoming sacred prudes who can't handle even a tank top, but will wear them in real life.  Because in that case, let's outlaw Victoria's Secret! 

    And for anyone who's still looking down at Irrational Games, Elizabeth was always intended to be more than the subject of an escort mission, as they also hate them, and always was going to be a living entity in the world, not just a damsel to gawk at in the corner.  Her character is basically in the middle of an abusive relationship with her captor/guardian, and Creative Director/Writer/Studio Boss/Creative Genius Ken Levine has drawn on his own experience with a friend who was in such a relationship in the creation of her character.  The key being that she wants to escape and rebel, while at the same time she's compelled to return to him at the same time.  There's way more to her of course, but this always made me think that the outfit change from the schoolgirly one is tied to her growing as a character, as another key is her maturity from a naive little girl into a powerful woman, and her desire to rebel is reflected by that outfit.  At the risk of sounding abrasive, if you haven't followed the development of the game then such comments are born from ignorance, not intelligence.

    This ties into what ace said about "her creators are designing her as they please", as a smart developer who cares for their characters are designing their character based on their personality.  Its just like when your're writing a character, if you're a good writer they will sort of find their own identity as they grow with you.  A good writer doesn't suddenly decide "this character is going to swear!" out of an individual desire to be edgy, that character's personality develops and the good writer finds the need to make them swear. (BTW, I've written creatively, so I'm speaking from experience too)  Its the same thing with visual design, and Irrational are good developers, so you can't separate any one part from the whole.  And why is there not a Booker cosplayer?  2 big reasons:  Booker is the first-person protagonist, so he doesn't NEED to be thrown out everywhere (the box art semi-controversy is a different matter I can debate elsewhere) and second, nobody started cosplaying him before the cover went out!  All cosplay is based on the cover look, and by then its too late, plus, Irrational aren't the cynical corporation you might think they are, they actually brought Ormeli onto the project out of appreciation over the work she did.  If you haven't seen her work, go do so soon!  Her portrayal is utterly stunning, and if she wasn't that good she wouldn't have gotten any attention.  And she's also not just a 'piece of meat', they altered Liz's in-game face to more closely resemble Ormeli, and when since Liz is such an important part of the game (seriously, if she fails, the game will fail) its only logical that they throw her into people's faces wherever they can.

    *exhales* That was long and passionate! :)  Well, I don't have much of an opinion on the Dead Island thing, besides the fact that Deep Silver's apology was literally the next day after the bust's reveal, so a part of me suspects that it was engineered controversy.  But this video on the topic might be interesting.  The best part is that its not just about the bust.

  • Welcome back, Nikolas! :) Glad to see you back here, no matter how much time has passed! I’m always happy to see more discussion about this topic, or actually, any topic in the group.

    I admit I was pleasantly surprised to be told that corsets were not only worn underneath outfits, but as the focal point as well. That was something I was ignorant about, because up until recently, (excluding current times), I had only known of women like brothel workers in the past wearing them like that.

    I recently read in a GI article, of the latest issue, which said that the Irrational team worked hard with test groups to shift Elizabeth’s portrayal from being whiny, and negative, to a more well-rounded, and realistic person. That is wonderful. And based on that clip Theora pointed out, she seems memorable, throwing those books at Booker. I thought that was a neat scene, and it seems like she is definitely not your typical “damsel in distress” character as you’ve explained, Nikolas.

    As for her clothing, most comments I’ve seen have been more like “hubba hubba”. I can’t speak for everyone, but Theora said it beautifully: how are we supposed to have sexy things, if gamers can’t be mature about them? That’s such a good point and I think applies here so well!

    When I first saw her, and was learning some more about the game, I said to myself, does practicality really have to be sacrificed for attractiveness? As we’ve discussed, running in a corset just wouldn’t work out. So while I have no qualms with there being a sexy character, they don’t have to be. That is something I wish I could say to every developer! It’s something many games are culprits of, and that’s why I like to question things like this. That and the fact that there was an official  Elizabeth cosplayer sent up a red flag. It just seemed a little weird, like they were using her looks to promote the game, when her character details were still kind of murky.

    That video clip where Elizabeth changes to “more battle-ready” attire to head out and escape made me smile. I still don’t really have any desire to buy the game (sorry J and Nikolas :), but I have a more positive opinion of it/her now from seeing that and our discussion here.

    As for Dead Island, recently, markus and I were both recalling the “feminist whore” coding incident with the previous game. It does seem rather fishy, and it did generate publicity for them, but I doubt it would lead to a sales boost. So it seemed pretty stupid on their part to make a decision like that.

    And thank you for that video! Marketing fails like the ones that were discussed make me wonder just how easy it is to get a marketing position. I feel like any one of us would do a much better job!

  • To play the devil's advocate about Elizabeth, when you speak of practicality, what would your expectations be for a woman living in 1911?  Its a fictional world yes, but it is deeply rooted in its history and follows its flow as such, and back then women wore skirts, corsets and dresses.  Even the woman's 'suit' comprised of a shirt and restrictive skirt, as you can see from Wikipedia.  I apologise if I sound bombastic by bringing this up again, but I'm a staunch defender of Irrational's design choices, and the point was bugging me, so I had to let it out. :)

    On a lighthearted note, isn't it hilarious how GI's language filter will censor 't-i-t-s' but not words like whore? 

  • No kidding! Teats are inviting and friendly! Whore is derogatory and caustic.

    But on a more serious note, I wasn't thrown back by Elizabeth's design because of the year it took place and the stylization that Irrational was going with. There would have definitely been a tipping point they could have crossed with the design and we've seen it before in games. But I think they were very tactful.  

  • Haha, no problem! I know they would tweak some things, but I was thinking of something more along the lines of those wiki images. The top part of Elizabeth's outfit is something I'd consider to be more modern (not so much the full skirt). This other outfit is what I think really matches the time period: 


    And I agree, the sensor can be very weird!



  • Sorry, I haven't been around in a while, but I thought I'd come in and comment on Elizabeth's outfit.  I have zero knowledge of this game, so I don't know anything about her personality or anything, but just based on looking at her, the outfit really isn't THAT bad.  I think of it this way:  I've seen much worse.

  • No worries Azure, I know it's hard to believe we all have lives outside of GI! ;) Happy to see you pop back in!

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