Sunday, March 8, 2015

TTWBN (Bonus) - The myth of Selective Diversity

In writing the first part of the "Those Tits" series, I found myself somewhat confused Of the characters of Soul Calibur, I would have never figured that the vitriol being thrown would of been directed to Taki, especially When if there were any of Soul Calibur female characters would be thrown under the bust-er bus, I figured it would be Isabella "Ivy" Valentine, but that's a discussion for another time. Today, Dear reader, I want to talk about diversity. More importantly for this bonus article, I want to talk about this elusive diversity in fighting games such as Soul Calibur and Mortal Kombat.

When the term "Diversity" is thrown about in gaming media, what usually comes to mind? Is it a  notion that there are many different body types as opposed to a few, or is it just allowing for different body types, while excluding the ones that are deemed "unacceptable" to a particular viewpoint?


Let's take a look at the definition for a second.

the state of being diverse; variety.

The definition can't be any clearer than it is, so why exactly is it that when people throw around this term as a means of building up one image, while burying another? Diversity clearly does not deserve the negative connotations that people are giving it, but for some reason things like this actually happen.

In this image we have two people talking about the same thing, and yet Arthur Gies obviously failed to understand the definition of the word. This isn't just limited to him, either. this is something that's spread across many different websites, many different writers (Let's not call them journalists). Take this for instance.

This was an article from "The Mary Sue" (trigger warning: It's a crappy click-bait site) about Soul calibur: Lost Swords' Magic armor, that was designed by popular Hentai artist, Yamatogawa."The folks at Bandai Namco clearly know what it takes to make women feel more welcome in video games: great clothing options!" says the writer, who seems to have very little idea of the vast character costumes available in the game. Of course, much like the article I'm critiquing for the main series, This one also pushes the sentiment that what's being shown is the only thing there, a notion that seems intellectually dishonest, but yet is the norm. It's not about the fact that two costumes out of the entirety of content are optionally yours to wear if you so choose to. it's about waving a magnifying glass at these two costumes and proclaiming that this is worth outrage, and is what is keeping women from playing this game.

Need I remind you that having many different costumes including those that fall into the risque, is the definition of "Diversity" ?

The issue goes from outrage of a supposed lack of body types , to outrage of costumes. But the issue is always and will always be more on the outrage than the actual pointing the finger to what the game does right.

Has anyone shown the art from Soul Calibur, showing the variety in bust sizes of women ranging from smallest to largest? No? Well here you go.

Thanks for the mammories....
Has anyone discussed the character creation mechanic, where you can change the costumes in any way you want? This is a fan created re-designed Taki made using the "create-a-soul" mechanic in Soul Calibur V. She's made using Taki's disciple, Natsu's style as a base (In the fifth game, Taki is in her early Forties, and has apparently taken up a pupil who fights in her style).

Fortunately, this outrage has been limited to the United States. Japan has no concerns about a group of morally inept concerned writers from San Francisco trying to appear to be progressive (despite colluding with each other on stories, and outright attacking the user base in order to remain relevant). Japanese developers just want to continue doing what they've been doing: Make games, and create compelling content. Meanwhile , here in the states, Western developers are being tone policed into dialing back their characters.

"The mantra for this game has always been realism; heading towards a more realistic look," NetherRealm's production manager Spiro Anagnostakos said. "So the same thing applies to the proportions where we try to bring things back in per se to where they should be." 
Another NetherRealm developer said women will look "more like women do" in the game. 
"Exactly," Anagnostakos replied. 
As evidence of this, Anagnostakos revealed a new character model for the fighter Kitana. As you can see above, she doesn't come across as having overly exaggerated features. By comparison, see the image at left of Mileena from 2011's Mortal Kombat.
Swimsuit Models are not realistic.... 
The image of Mileena, surprisingly is considered "Not a realistic Body type", despite clear evidence of women actually looking like her. To prove this, I've taken the liberty of posting an image chart of different body types of women (courtesy of The Chive), which I recompiled into this image below. While it's fine to dial back some designs to offer a sense of variety, the new normal is to push this idea that you can fight demons, hold back emperors from other dimensions from conquering our world, and wage medieval warfare in search of a cursed sword, but you better be a damn Size 14 doing it, or that's clearly not realistic enough for this fantasy to exist. Shocking as it seems, People don't play games in order to play realistic versions of themselves (If that were the case I would be throwing a tantrum that my Level 20 Titan, despite sharing some of my facial features, and skin color, Looks nothing like me). They play games to get away from a long day of being stuck in an office setting, toiling away in a crappy retail job, or just dealing with the rigours of every day life.

But this will never matter in the grand scheme of things. The thing that matters the most is the fact that this game is bad and you should feel bad. Well, as a consumer , a Graphic Designer and a decades long practitioner of Art and Illustration, I will never feel bad for appreciating the human figure. What I will do, however is my part to continue educating more people in character design as well as showing appreciation for great art and a mature understanding of human sexuality. But that's mainly because I am an adult, and I enjoy adult things.

Game On!

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