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Is Oversexualization Ever Detrimental To The Games Themselves?

It's the one topic that just refuses to go away, sticking to headlines like bikini glue (that's a real thing btw).

It's sex, or more specifically the oversexualization of characters in video games. People are titillated by the possibility of an NC-17 rating on the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, partial nudity is of course cool on magazine covers, and you won't catch any self-respecting beer commercial on air without its bikini babes. But as soon as a video game tries to cash-in on sexuality it's all hands on deck.

People against gaming automatically use it to say how sleazy and juvenile this artistic medium is and gamers themselves align with one of two camps. Those camps seem to carry the titles “This is an outrage!" and “Everybody should get over themselves.”

Recently we've seen a lot of buzz over the . . . proportions of the Sorceress character in Dragon's Crown, some varying opinions about gigalo missions in Killer Is Dead, and even knee-jerk reactions to Square-Enix's decision to increase the bust size of Lightning in their new Final Fantasy effort. Perhaps the most interesting news on this front of late is Hideo Kojima's stroll down sexy lane with the character Quiet in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

While I'm not one to force my views on anyone I do think I understand that there is a stark difference between how the west and how Japan views the topic and we should respect that when talking about Japanese games. More importantly though I'd just like to ask if you all think that oversexualization of characters (men or women, both are prevalent) ever actually act as a detriment to the video games that host them?

Do the bouncing bosoms of DOA5 detract from the solid fighting mechanics? Did Juliet's hyperactive sexuality drag down the fun factor of Lollipop Chainsaw? Did the sale of swimsuits for Final Fantasy XIII-2's heroes cheapen the game? Maybe you thought Bayonetta herself could have been more suggestive and less blatant and that would have made it an even better game.

Personally I find that more often than not the highly sexual components of video games are just another part of their charm. Whether it's adding to the over the top nature or the distinctive character design it may not be necessary but since when were games about necessity? Just as you are unlikely to find a man or woman in a fantasy film wearing sensible armor over their chest or a female FBI agent in much more than a tank top on prime time TV you are also unlikely to find the goods on display in a game completely in line with reality. Are those pieces of entertainment any worse for being unrealistic?

Some might say that things just go too far in games, but I think what we see is in proportion to the medium. In other words since the characters are made by artists from the ground up instead of culled from casting couches you tend to get somebody's fantasy person. Most importantly though I can't think of many times when it just damaged the game.

Feel free to disagree with me in the comments below. Tell us if you think all this sexiness can be detrimental to the games themselves. Oh yeah, and check out the full picture of Quiet, you might want to see the bottom half before you respond.

Related Game(s): Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Killer is Dead, Dragons Crown

Tags: Metal Gear Solid V, Quiet, Killer Is Dead, Dragon''''s Crown

9/6/2013 7:53:04 PM David D. Nelson

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Comments (33 posts)

Akuma07
Friday, September 06, 2013 @ 11:52:12 PM
Reply

Look, we all know the japanese have a thing for women with big busts, any anime fan will tell you that, but I think what Kojima has done is dodgy. Intentionally making your characters more sexy to appeal to a wider audience and try to influence figurine sales and cosplayers is missing the point. What ever happened to focusing on the characters in game? It's like saying "we are making a gay character so that gay fans will want to cosplay as them".

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 12:05:08 AM

I agree that it's dodgy, but I'd also point out that it isn't especially out of the norm for the female representations in the series.

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bigrailer19
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 1:44:59 AM

I dont ever think its an issue unless it just doesnt fit. Personally it does not fit in MGSV and I think Kojima has lost touch with the series. I think Konami is pushing things on him and for some reason his vision is no longer as important as it once was. Doesnt mean the game wont be good, but making the game appealing to cosplayers could take away from the more important material and the consumers.

That jist makes me a little nervous. But as far as oversexualization, I have never played a game and thought "meh, too much sex". In fact this industry has far less than any other medium. Theres more going on in a 3 minute Robin Thicke video thab the industry as a whole.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 9:48:31 AM

amen bigrailer

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homura
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 10:50:16 AM

@Akuma
Missing the point? You yourself said that Japanese have a thing for big busts. That's why Hideo intentionally did this, he wants a character design to appeal to those audiences. And about the gay comment. Let's see. A few years back, Gothic Lolita are starting to get popular and because of that there's a lot of anime and manga that features Gothic Lolita fashion. And of course Hideo will create a story for Quiet that will fit to MGSV.

@Bigrailer
It's just a single character that intentionally want to appeal to cosplayers. Not the whole game itself. And based on Hideo's past games. He can easily fit Quiet in MGS Universe. Well, he did fit a cyborg ninja with high heels in his game.

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Neo_Aeon666
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 7:40:17 PM

*What ever happened to focusing on the characters in game?*

Well it's not because she's hot that she has no personality! lol That way of judging is way more shallow than Kojima using pretty girls on the surface to lure in more fans. I am sure he will dig deep into their story like he always does lol

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booze925
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 1:18:06 AM
Reply

Just another case of the mainstream media thinking they are the all-knowing sentiments of our era.
Sometimes people just need to take a step back and examine the whole instead of the particular what they perceive as bad.

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trumpetmon65
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 2:49:20 AM
Reply

ign (i think?) mentioned that he wanted to stylize and eroticize characters to promote more cosplaying, but I think a cool outfit does more than less outfit. Some cool outfits just happen to be more minimalistic.

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trumpetmon65
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 2:57:31 AM
Reply

oh, and yes, oversexualization is detrimental. Who likes anyone who tries too hard? especially in regards to sex.

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LegendaryWolfeh
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 3:08:57 AM
Reply

Japanese developers know their audience, that's for sure.

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Vivi_Gamer
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 3:40:11 AM
Reply

I don't have a problem with nudity, if it fits the context of the scenario and character I am all for it. But when it doesn't, it really, really backfires. The swimsuit costume from XIII-2 is a prime example. I never found Serah to have any sensual qualities. So to she her dressed in such an outfit was quite repulsive and of course she never did go swimming...

Now to take a few references in MGS, Sniper Wolf obviously had some cleavage on show, which could be seen as questionable. But it work towards her seductive manner towards Snake when she leaves her mark on him and makes her obsession all the more interesting. But, If you recall later on, when She's in the Snowfield, she covers up. So in my opinion Sniper Wolf's sensuality is completely suited to the context of the character and scenario.

Same with Eva, the relationship between her and Snake becomes a passionate one. Which makes the ending all the more convincing. Even in MGS4 they have a few jokes with Naomi - The cigarette drop sequence which was quite funny.

Butt, with this Kojima has previously stated that he has gone out of his way to make the character over-sexualised. So when we see something like that... I fail to see how the context can justify it. I presume it will be hot where she is, still it doesn't justify going to that length. I really hope she is not a sad character which where mean to take pity on. Because it will come across as silly when she is dressed as openly as that. However if she is more open sensually like Eva and the make the context work... who knows...,

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___________
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 4:41:49 AM
Reply

oversexulization is exactly why i just cant play any of sudas games, or even most asian games.
there just SO childish to the point their insulting!
shadows of the damned for instance, how many sausage jokes does that game have?
and 99% of them are not even funny, just crude!
or even lollipop chainsaw, every time you move the camera juiliet pulls her dress down.
seriously?
im trying to move the camera so i can actually see where the %$#@ im going, and you think im trying to get a look at some computerized panties?
right, thats where i gotta draw the line!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 9:52:52 AM

I thought it was funny that she covers her panties and then you get a trophy for trying to peep, clearly a thoughtful response to what (let's face it) a lot of males are going to try with the camera.

That said, I think you probably knew what you were getting into when you got the game. I don't think Suda ever pulls a fast one on people.

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___________
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 10:02:32 AM

not exactly.
just because his last game was made for 12 year olds does not mean every game he makes will be.
no more heroes was no where near as childish and crude as what shadows of the damned, or lollipop chainsaw were!
im all for a little tongue in cheek humor, but theres a BIG difference between silly and funny, and silly and insulting.

not only how over the top it is, but also how repetitive and obsessive it is.
how many times can you make a cock joke before it gets old and loses effect?
same thing goes for the gameplay, to call it repetitive would be understatement of the century!
he needs to learn a little restraint, and also a little creativity and variety wouldent hurt either.



Last edited by ___________ on 9/7/2013 10:07:43 AM

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bigrailer19
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 10:42:23 AM

I still stand by the idea that if it fits, its not a big deal. You may not be confortable with it, and thats completely okay. However, I think you should have known what you were getting into as clearly these games were designed with these things in mind.

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PlatformGamerNZ
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 6:54:17 AM
Reply

um it think the whole sexulization like or oversexulisation is quite overlooked unless it's really over the top as far as i can see anyways.
an in this case i think i when a bit "over the top" 'OTT' so it drew attention for that reason

happy gaming =)

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Lawless SXE
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 7:08:21 AM
Reply

I don't think you can say that it is definitely a detriment to the game. I mean... it's just another facet of it.

If you want to be afraid about something related to MGS, however, just take a look at IGN's impressions of a 24-minute hands-off demo of Ground Zeroes. Now, I'm not a fan of IGN in general, but if they're telling the truth I'm scared that Kojima is too interested in worrying about Western appeal than remaining true to his franchise:

http://au.ign.com/articles/2013/09/06/metal-gear-solid-ground-zeroes-the-splinter-cell-effect

Last edited by Lawless SXE on 9/7/2013 7:08:36 AM

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Huey
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 7:46:58 AM
Reply

What woman would go into to battle dressed like that? Maybe if it was a mud wrestling contest. Now that I think about it, that would make for an interesting side quest!

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bigrailer19
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 10:43:29 AM

Heh, but seriously your right. It just doesnt fit the game at all.

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homura
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 10:58:49 AM

In anime world. I can refer Yoko of Gurren Laggan. But in a realistic stealth game. Maybe not. But the thing is Metal Gear is really not too grounded in reality.

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homura
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 11:08:19 AM
Reply

All I can say is. This is Hideo Kojima, he maybe a tease sometimes but c'mon! he's a freaking genius when it comes to games.

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bebestorm
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 11:09:02 AM
Reply

I think everyone is over reacting about Kojima character Quiet I think he's having a little fun thats all IMHO MGS series has more style,substance and depth than most of the best games of this generation.

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Clamedeus
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 3:54:39 PM

I completely agree.

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pillz81
Monday, September 09, 2013 @ 4:09:17 PM

Look, we've got friggin' Sniper Wolf and Meryl with panties and tank top in MGS, Fortune from MGS2 wearing just a swimsuit, EVA from MGS3 in bra and panties, the Beauty & the Beast unit trying to fondle Snake to death, plus being able to juggle Rosemary's breasts and Old Snake peeping Naomi in MGS4 fer cryin' out loud. Some fools just need to get over it and get off Kojima's d#ck.

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Abidan13
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 11:21:58 AM
Reply

Well, I have two comments. Firstly, if it fits and does not take away from the design, then use it. Secondly, I see no issues with the model itself. This is not the most outrageous design in terms of anatomy. I think the issue, for me anyway, is that design for what Quiet is wearing is too blatantly... slutty (for lack of a better word). Give her some nice khakis and a flak-jacket. Her clothes now are what don't make sense to me. I look at it and I'm not sure if she is a solider or not really.

In MGS4, Meryl was wearing body armour and was extremely sexy. There are a dozen more appropriate designs for the clothes that could have still sold figures and inspired cosplayers.

I agree with what others have I said earlier, it seems lazy.

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ulsterscot
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 12:47:07 PM
Reply

No

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Clamedeus
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 3:54:04 PM
Reply

What Hideo Kojima has to say about the concerns people have of Quiet. http://gyazo.com/9e53125b7c4e865e780775c861a84af6.png

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 10:29:47 PM

Sorry Clam but I don't have the authority to approve your comment.

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Clamedeus
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 10:43:30 PM

All good, I can wait. lol

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Neo_Aeon666
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 7:55:18 PM
Reply

Nope entertainment does not need to be realistic if that is not what it is aiming for.

And to be honest I do buy games just because I like how the characters look in it. That might also be why I am bored with war games (COD and all) soldiers here... soldiers there... Heavy armor... You barely see what you play with... Just a mountain of camo... Testosterone... testosterone... Armor or no armor you die in 2-3 bullets so might as well have awesome doods and busty girls showing their awesomeness with nice booby physics and crazy replays :D It would still make sense for em to die in 2-3 bullets lol... I would buy COD like that XD

Anyway, I believe as long as it's not showing genitals it's fine. I will always buy and support games that use characters that I like to look at. People who whine about how a game character is too sexy shouldn't be playing games. They can't seem to be able to make the difference between virtual//real world and get jelly and hostile and keep crying. Some others just bash on it to try and look good for women by being some kind of white knight... Only thing I find odd is that it is really not often we hear about boys crying about how muscular and manly some Heroes are. Sad that, because a minority of jelly girls cry loud about something, some dumb (probably lonely) doods also start to hate on something they also probably love to look at...

Then people who cry will lure in the media... Then they get even more presence even tho they are so few... They influence even some awesome game developers and ruin the world... Oh How much I wish they would vanish. OR I wish that before making a change to a game due to a couple of whiny babies, they make a poll and let the internet vote. That would probably shut em up :D (I predict a good 99% of people will not mind a girl wearing a Corset over a dress and the people who whine will MAYBE take notice of their own insignificance) (referring to Bioshock)

lol talk too much.



Last edited by Neo_Aeon666 on 9/7/2013 8:05:08 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 10:31:06 PM

Agreed. After other devs have said terrible things about Koji for this all I can do is shake my head. MGS is not trying to be a realistic military stealth game, never has been hopefully never will be.

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Lunar_Miyuki
Saturday, September 07, 2013 @ 11:18:59 PM
Reply

my opinion if the look suits the character then its not really over sexualized
Now Taking an established character and giving them bigger breasts because your taking the biggest backlash in the world doesn't sit well with me

ive heard way to many complaints about characters being over sexualized if Devs listened to every complaint their wouldn't be any Female characters in videogames

1 of the stupidest complaints ive ever heard is Yuffie from FF7 is over sexualized
and shes wearing a shirt and shorts being a female i wear more revealing outfits than that yes i do wear skirts im sure people have looked up my skirt not like i care if people do

and lets be honest ive seen skimpy bikinis at the beach
@______________ Oh no don't ever leave your house during the summer because their are girls who walk around in bikinis on hot days

what alot of people are complaining about isn't really over sexualizing characters its really just reasons to complain because either the character looks to good for them or they just are complaining to complain about something

DOA Is quite interesting because they are working on Perfecting human physics and Motion with their games not to mention Techmo are beauty freaks
which when you have Beauty freaks make a game you get Beautiful characters

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Jonesy555
Sunday, September 08, 2013 @ 11:43:39 PM
Reply

Destructoid had a great right up about video games in the west and how the vast majority perceives them. And some valid points were made, namely the perception that these games (not taking ratings into account) that games are for kids. When looking at it from this direction, I can understand why people would take their stance on oversexualization in gaming, but the fact of the matter is that they are way off base. Games are by no means just for kids, hence the rating system. It is a viable means of entertainment; a movie that you interact with and potentially change its ending. Of course I know this, and you all reading this knows this, but in terms of the US (and probably in Europe) we are the minority and it will probably always bee this way.

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