Friday, March 20, 2015

Those Tits won't be Necessary part III : The Great Succubus Cover-up!



[This is part 3 of an 8 part series for part 2 click here for Part 1 click here]

It's said there are certain things you just don't do. Like the song says; "you don't pull on Superman's cape, you don't spit in the wind, you don't pull of the mask of the Ol' lone ranger, and you don't try to over-clothe a succubus". Okay, so that last one was altered a bit, but the prospect of putting clothes on a demonic creature aimed at seducing men in the dead of night just sounds silly doesn't it? So why on earth would someone try to do such a thing?



Swiggity Swooty I'm stalkin' dat booty!

For the layman, A succubus is a demonic entity who are feminine in nature who seduce men in the dead of night usually to relieve them of both their life force and their "male burden" (if you know what I mean). In folklore, a Succubus has many of the features of an attractive woman, but with a slight difference; This difference could be long claw-like fingers or animal appendages, or both. The Succubus has been known to be an old world explanation for Sleep paralysis, and can be traced back to the middle ages. Now we bring you back to your regularly scheduled program, already in progress...

If we were to wager a guess, we could claim ignorance as a factor; Peradventure The writer had no inkling of an idea of the nature of a demonic entity with designs on seducing men for their life force, then would we take her design a little more lightly? Most would, yes. However that would lead us into a bevy or problems. Considering the Succubus has been a cultural mainstay that has been used in folklore and media since the Middle Ages (Even hack sites like Jezebel.com use the term in their headlines), ignorance would be a strange (and short-sighted) claim to make. Even then, it would take at least some form of ignorance to not only cover up a character such as Morrigan Aensland, but misappropriate the design of characters like sorceress Edea from Final Fantasy VIII to do so. Or could we just attribute this to outright laziness?


The female of the Species... 

For our next endeavor, let's start with the authors words, which are incredibly confusing in translation. We'll try to figure this out as best as possible.
This outfit and the design really gives us a maximum of everything. Darkstalkers Morrigan offers lavishly on both wrote that ass like breasts. Since she'll look like a classy character so I thought a long dress could be suitable, with a hefty slot for variable sake. I often thought Edea from Final Fantasy 8, a lady who was both stylish and sexy, but without being an object. Fixed Edea had not Morrigan amazing Batman leggings, a detail that certainly did not 
First, and foremost. Let's talk about that statement about Sorceress Edea. Edea is the primary Antagonist of the first half of Final Fantasy VIII, and a sorceress/Ambassador of the game's fictional country of Galbadia. She wears a sleek black gown with a plunging V neckline, which is very classy to say the least. However, it is revealed at a certain point of the game (SPOILERS) that she's actually being possessed by the game's true antagonist in order to enact a time compression spell that would destroy life as the protagonists would know it. In the realm of the dreaded "Subject-object dichotomy" (Oh, Anita..),  That would definitely place her in the realm of "object" would it not? If Ultimecia, the true antagonist of the game, who has an even deeper plunge in her neckline than Edea, Is the subject and is acting upon our dear Edea, Then the statement this writer makes seems strangely confusing, but par for the course of the type of reasoning we've been dealing with all along.

Because Final Bosses don't give fooks about modesty


At the risk of temporary derailment, might I add that in Final Fantasy VIII, We see a huge theme of women being the ones objectifying men for their own means in the game? Quistis instructing Squall and aiding him in passing his exam only to reveal later that she has feelings for him. Rinoa using her charms to enlist SeeD to help her resistance group, "Forest Owls". Poor Seifer (Who was also used by Rinoa privy to her meeting Squall), and his dreams to become the Knight of a Sorceress, only to become Edea and Ultimecia's pawn in the process. Headmaster Cid being forced to seperate from his wife in order to enact her plan of using orphaned children in order to stop her possessed form from accomplishing Ultimecia's objective of capturing Ellione. However, let's not digress any further and turn this into a "objectification festival".

Look at mah goods while I cast this ice spell..

Edea's costume wouldn't work with Morrigan for one primary reason; One is a character from a RPG and the other is a character created for a Fighting game. There's absolutely no range of movement in that outfit what-so-ever. If she were say a boss character where she could be stationary and spam projectiles, then that's fine, but as a playable character that just isn't going to do. Before we go full-on, though, let's save our critique for the last half of this article and go into what makes Morrigan unique.

A sight for Sore Eyes...



When observing the original design pieces for Darkstalkers/Vampire, The first thing you notice is that despite being in a somewhat seductive posturing, she's rather covered up; Morrigan has leggings under her leotard and arm coverings, and only really shows skin via the heart on her mid-drift and generous amounts of cleavage. Compare this to say Ayami Kojima's Succubus design, or a few of the other designs that have graced other games, and that's actually saying something!

If you're wondering, yes they do shoot lasers...

On first glance, you can see her long flowing hair, which symbolizes freedom. Long hair also  symbolizes physical attraction and is noted as an element of female seduction. In Witchcraft, hair also symbolizes magical power and mysticism, an element that plays a large part in characters such as Bayonetta. The fact that she's smiling as opposed to the serious straight face of other fighters indicates a playful natured personality.

The bat wings and bats that surround her could mean different things; Bats are notoriously known as creatures of the night, which is a heavy theme in Darkstalkers (It's labeled right there in the subtitle: "The night warriors" ) Bats are also known as the "guardians of the night" which also plays a large part in the plot of  the sequel game Night Warriors: Darkstalker's Revenge. Bats are also associated with witchcraft and Vampiric lore, due to their nocturnal nature. This is often why demonic creatures are depicted with the wings of a bat, but I'm sure you already knew that. Could high heels mean anything? Sure.  It could symbolize power, attractiveness, and empowerment. Domanatrices (secondary plural of Domanatrix) wear high heals as a symbol of power over whom they are .

Most of all, this is simple, clean design. Not sullied by intricate details.

Let's take a quick look at the design notes for the character, to see what matches up between first glances and actual intention of design...

Beautiful, sexy, confident, conceited, and playful, Morrigan may be called many things given that she is a succubus, but she is not really evil like the other demons of the Makai realm are rather, she is strangely friendly and approachable despite her beauty and sexyness (sic) which might be due to her spending most of her time in the material world enjoying hedonistic delights. She's just always out to satisfy her own hunger and shirking her responsibilities as a member of the Aensland family. 
Morrigan usually appears as a beautiful young woman with long sea-green hair, usually wearing a sleeveless black bustier-like top adorned with white feathers and a small heart cut out of the midriff; purple nylons emblazoned with bat patterns; black boots; and conspicuous batlike wings protruding from her back and the sides of her head. She can reshape these wings and her limbs into many forms, including spikes, blades and drills, or even into a jet pack or a handheld laser cannon, as well as using them to shield herself from enemy attacks. Her wings can also separate from her, forming into an army of bats that can aid her in battle, and her outfit itself is actually made of a swarm of 
supernatural bats too. She is also able to teleport, to fire blasts of magical energy, and to split herself into two different mirror images that remain her physical forms until joined into one again. Her human form is similar, but wingless and sometimes with blonde and not green hair. Morrigan preys on stolen dreams and life essences of sleeping men, and just a kiss can be enough for Morrigan to completely drain energy from her victims.
Concept art pictures showing several design ideas for the character prior to Morrigan's introduction in Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors 
The character was originally envisioned as a female vampire but Darkstalkers creator, Capcom producer Alex Jimenez, changed her into a succubus because they already had a vampire in the game. She was designed by Akira Yasuda (Akiman). Early in the development of Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors, the team decided to have two female characters: a catwoman and a female vampire, characters who would become Felicia and Morrigan, respectively. Initially, Felicia was intended to be the "sexy" female character of the title, while the vampire would be the "cute" female character. However, Morrigan's design took on a tone that emphasized sexiness, causing Felicia's character concept to be altered accordingly. Her costume mirrors "her personality: somewhere between a batlike demon and a charming lover. "Kotaku called her one of Capcom's "least-dressed female characters" and "one of the most fan servicey".

The interesting portion of that quote was the fact that once again, this just proves that Kotaku have absolutely no idea what the hell they're talking about, but that's par for the course.


Pixlbit had done an extensive look at the Darkstalkers characters and made an interesting point that Morrigan's costume is influenced on Comic book icon, Vamperella, which is actually fascinating. The only difference is that yet again, Morrigan is wearing far more clothing than her influence is.

The dark backward.. 

so again, let's take the writer's commentary and place it with the side-by-side of both the original and the redesign.
This outfit and the design really gives us a maximum of everything. Darkstalkers Morrigan offers lavishly on both wrote that ass like breasts. Since she'll look like a classy character so I thought a long dress could be suitable, with a hefty slot for variable sake. I often thought Edea from Final Fantasy 8, a lady who was both stylish and sexy, but without being an object. Fixed Edea had not Morrigan amazing Batman leggings, a detail that certainly did not 


The character seems more stationary and restricted.  We can say that there's a playfulness of personality in the facial features, but still her pose is more restrained and restricted, as if she's merely just inviting guests in for a dinner party, instead of defending her house and country against an ego maniacal Vampire lord. Once again, the intent is clearly to cover up her cleavage, which is the only thing that bothered the writer in the first place. Going back to the original statement, above, the choice of gleaning Edea's gown as a means of "classing up" makes absolutely no sense due to the use of Morrigan's wide stance and range of motion while fighting. This choice is also not true to the character's personality, nor is it true to her alternate human costumes in her win poses ( Her red short cut cheongsam, as well as her casual slacks and button down shirt). It's with this, that you begin to realize that outside of her fighting garb, Morrigan has class in spades, but even a lady of class wouldn't dare sully her best dress on a common scrap with the knaves..

Still more covered up than most...


 The first most common mistake artists tend to make when designing a fighting game character, is that you have to realize that these characters will be performing some sort of action. This requires that their costumes need to support things like range of motion (Chun Li and Cammy) and possibly enhance physical traits (Felicia, Blanka ). If those physical traits happen to be seduction and beauty, then the traits can and will be enhanced to prove that point. It's actually very common to have caricature-like traits being utilized into the design of a character in order to give insight into their personality or ability. When we see characters with larger than normal hands or feet, or longer legs The reason has more to do with placing emphasis on these traits to demonstrate capability; Longer legs lend emphasis on kicking Larger feet emphasize power behind kicks and stomping, larger or reinforced hands hit harder or indicate a more firm grab, ect.

The second most common mistake is trying to make a design appealing rather than using design to tell a story about the character. Edea was a prime choice to use as a template for a redesign of Morrigan , but in the process, the writer failed to notice that Edea is showing cleavage as well, This indicates failure in understanding that both characters were designed that way to create allure. Remember that the goal is to create something akin to a "Timeless design". Big Mex has more on this.

"The details supporting the character should not date the year of their creation nor should they lock the character into a design that requires constant updating. There should be no element that could be tied to a trend, no clothing choice that could signal a specific era in pop culture. Characters whose design incorporates a caricatured fighting uniform tend to fulfill the elements of timeless design better than a plain clothes character."

There are multiple aspects in designing a character for a fighting game, For the Capcom fighters of olde, a lot of those tend to lend itself to ensuring that the character remains simple, dynamic, aloof from popular culture, and capable of holding their own in battle. Of course there are other aspects such as showing (not telling) personality, while maintaining consistency with the overall design of the entirety of the cast. We've covered this with only three different characters, and we still have so much farther to go.

The only thing we can end this post on is the most important thing any designer must learn; Always be true to the character you're designing. From the clothes they are wearing down to the basic nature of the character's personality!People will squawk at you about how they are dressed, but at the end of the day, those ideals will change with the times. Don't focus on the protests of people who have no idea of what they speak about. Focus on creating good characters that enrapture your audience. Everything else will fall into place.

Game On!

Artists Featured 


Big Mex's references

How to design a Street Fighter Character Part 27: Design Recap

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