GMMaS returns with a look at Forsaken World

The hiatus

Hi, folks. It’s been about two weeks since you heard from me. I was off dealing with a death in the family. Now that I’m home again, I can get back to blogging – though the schedule might be a bit unpredictable while I’m catching up on all the real-life stuff I’ve been ignoring since dropping everything to deal with other stuff.

On to the mocking: Clothing disparity

Forsaken World is a new offering from Perfect World Entertainment that is either in closed beta or newly released (the few sites I bothered checking out disagreed and I don’t really care enough to spend time verifying that particular detail). Some of you may remember that I posted previously about Perfect World and its freakish body customization. Thankfully, Forsaken World does seem to be free of that particular feature, although it’s chock full of other problems.

The first and most obvious of these problems is the classic fully-covered male versus wearing-almost-nothing female that plagues so many free Chinese and Korean MMOs. Forsaken World doesn’t disappoint in that department:

The top left image is disappointing in particular because the armor is so great from the waist up. It has the same coverage (again, from the waist up), has a lot of visual interest, and her boobs aren’t humungous. It’s almost like she’s a completely different person from the waist down, what with the spread legs, plate mail stripper boots, and Inexplicable Codpiece. (What purpose do codpieces serve on women? To call attention to the fact that they’re not wearing pants?)

On the bottom we also have a classic example of how female vampire = SEXAY while male vampire = modestly attired, which is another stereotype that I wish would die in a fire. What is it about vampirism that makes women dress in as little clothing as possible? I mean, I get tired of men staring at my boobs when I go to conventions and I’m dressed normally. You’d think that after a few centuries the lady vampires would be about ready to kill anyone who stares at their tits when talking to them, but maybe they’re newly undead and playing around with the stereotypes. Who knows.

Anyway.

The worst comparison is this official wallpaper here:

Seriously? What the hell is this? Okay, sure, the guy on the right isn’t wearing pants. And he’s even showing some nipple, that is, if I could FIND the nipple. (Srlsy, where is it? Does everyone have weird Barbie/Ken-doll anatomy in Forsaken World? And if so, how do they reproduce?) But you know what, that’s a far sight from the chick on the right who’s got a thong and some art-deco nipple pasties. Wtf.

Then again, I’d have trouble taking any game seriously that had this character as a quest-giver:

Additional fail: creepy sexless breasts

Something else I found irksome is the prevalence of creepy sexless breasts like one would find on a Barbie doll. Now a lot of artists do try to ride that fine line of just barely covering up the nipple with some cleverly placed hair or a strap or some such, but there’s something else you asshats are forgetting about. THE F*CKING AREOLA.

In both of these outfits, there should be partially visible areola on at least ONE tit. So please, for the love of god male artists out there, learn how breasts work, okay? And don’t use porn as reference because, guess what? WE CAN TELL. (Try consulting this awesome Tumblr for examples of shit NOT TO DO when drawing breasts, too.)

A (lengthy) aside: artists aren’t the only problem

I just wanted to mention that I pulled the screenshot on the right from a blog hosted on IGN.com. It doesn’t appear to be an official IGN blog, so I won’t link, but suffice to say that the post in question described how they rolled up a new female vampire character and promptly got harassed by two morons who followed them around and yelled “BOOBIES” for approximately half an hour, making enough of a nuisance of themselves that they had trouble questing. And yet, at the end of the post the author concludes that they want to see more skimpy armor and cleavage because the art style is JUST SO PURDY.

/facepalm

A lot of the time I reserve judgement for the artists who, frankly, should really know better. If you’re getting paid to draw tits for a living, you should know how they work. But at the same time, I can’t deny that some users really are part of the problem.

/end aside

The worst fail of all

I found this gem while going through the wallpaper section of the Forsaken World website. Originally I had only intended to do some comparisons and mock screenshots, but I was stupefied by how bad the anatomy in this photo is. I mean, sure you have a mostly naked mage doing some Butt Wiggling Spell Casting, and sure the naked chick ON HER SPELL BOOK is a “nice” touch, but the anatomy is just so bad that even Crapping Frost Mage just can’t compete. I realized that I simply had to do an anatomy correction on her to point out just how terrifying she is.

So here in green (without the underlying image, since the colors are too varied to make it show up well) is a trace of the figure as it would be underneath the clothes/hair:

Oh my god, people. Had I ever turned in anything this bad, I would have been failed out of art school. I know I harp about artists who refuse to draw breasts as objects affected by gravity, but this poor woman has the breasts of an 80 year old. Even worse, she has 80 year old breasts on an anorexic torso, an obese butt and thighs, and freakily distorted Dhalsim arms.

Just to make my point, let’s throw our freaky fat/anorexic/elderly Dhalsim-elf up next to what is surely a photoshopped photo of Selma Hayek:

Now look at how absolutely perfect Selma Hayek’s abs are, free from any wrinkles, ripples, or hints that she might have fat cells anywhere other than her boobs. (Like I said, photoshopped.) And even our artificial Selma Hayek has a waist that is MUCH WIDER than her head. I’m not sure why this is so hard for artists to grasp, but if your waist is skinnier than your head YOU ARE NOT SEXY. You’re just a freak. Also, the human arm is approximately the same length from shoulder to elbow as it is from elbow to wrist. There’s variance, sure, but not that much.

The hips I’m going to make a bit more of a tentative note. Hip width as compared to shoulder width varies quite a bit in humans, especially in women. However, it is entirely impossible for our freakish elf to have these proportions and be a living person rather than a Barbie doll. You can’t go from a waist narrower than your head to hips that are 1.2 times the width of your shoulders without enough corseting to risk serious internal injury. It’s just not anatomically possible.

So let’s look at the original traced figure with corrections:

On second viewing, I think I may have made her boobs slightly gravity-defying, but other than that I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. not only does she have room for organs, she also has enough arm muscles to lift things heavier than a newspaper. And happily, she has normal human proportions. Granted, the pose is still complete garbage, but you can’t exactly make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

69 thoughts on “GMMaS returns with a look at Forsaken World

  1. OK the first part: the chastity belt joke was well done(I giggled) and the rest of it is you cranking your cranky and griping about the usual stuff this blog was made for and I agree with you there and have nothing else to add.

    OK the breast thing I haven’t even noticed before or looked for it but now that you pointed it out I will keep an eye out for that drawing/animation blunder, but only in characters that are supposed to be human beings. I mean who said that the breasts of an elf or an older vampire have to be anatomically the same as the ones in human beings?

    And finally you are correct: the red lined picture has proper human proportions compared to the green lined one, but here is my question: is the girl in the picture a human being or something else?

    • Humans are hard-wired to find other humans attractive. You can’t just say “she’s not human” and handwave past her utter freakishness, because she’s still going to look WRONG.

      • no I’m not say she is not wrong in the original look, but I am asking you are you sure she is flesh and blood and not a construct?

      • “Humans are hard-wired to find other humans attractive”

        I don’t, and I’m pretty sure because I spent most of my adolescence trying to find anyone that would do it for me. I’m a bit annoyed at you pathologizing asexuality.

        “You can’t just say “she’s not human” and handwave past her utter freakishness, because she’s still going to look WRONG.”

        See, the problem with this argument (Please do not take this as my support for these abominations) is that the people you are making it to do not hold your axioms, namely that the value of art is to represent something and be beautiful. (this doesn’t mean happy, necessarily. Goya’s works, for example, are beautifully grotesque) Their definition of art is “shut up, that’s just your opinion. It’s art because I say so”. You are essentially arguing “but it doesn’t even represent anything real!” and they are essentially replying “Of course not, reality is primitive. This is hyperreal. So much better.” So yes, they can handwave utter freakishness, they have done so, and the artistic community has outright endorsed that for a very long time. Thus, these… things are more attractive to the average person than, well, the average person.

        • OK not the point of view I took when I was asking the question: Is she a living being or a construct? You see to me she looks like a statue so I have to ask are you sure that piece of art does not refer to a statue animated by someone and not a living being?

        • I’m not discounting people who are asexual. The existence of people who are asexual DOESN’T change my point that people who are sexual are hardwired to be sexually attracted TO HUMANS.

          • OK seriously? People who are sexual are hardwired to be sexually attracted only to humans? OK so I’m taking a guess here but you are not talking about pedophiles or the guys and girls who like corpses when you said that. Now besides them you have people who prefer animals and then there are people who prefer statues (type in agalmatophilia into wikipedia and see what you get) and all sort of other sexual attractions that human beings can have towards this world and you are telling me that it is not possible that the girl in the picture is a statue animated by a mage with odd and/or freaky tastes?

          • “people who are sexual are hardwired to be sexually attracted TO HUMANS.”
            So, not a regular web surfer, I take it? Because god damn do I have evidence to falsify that hypothesis.

            But seriously, I have a feeling that you’re not one of the sorts that would agree with me on the hyperreality stuff, so let’s just focus on the fundamentals here: I don’t think that this art is CLAMPy or surrealist, so it’s definitely a failure. A person being attracted to a deformed representation of a human being is a very high stage of decadence, but that, sadly, does not make it impossible to occur as you assert. Further, the art is more human than you are, for the same reasons that, say, Batman, no matter how he’s drawn, is more of a human than anything made of meat could possibly be. (and do note that being a human is a very bad aspiration, not to mentinon an impossible one)

            Honestly, “people are hardwired to do X” is something I thought you’d know better than to invoke. It’s irrelevant in either case; people are also wired to multiply, and we’ve no shortage of childless suicide bombers. Nature is reality, and we’ve, to our detriment, long abandoned that.

        • So, your whole comment is: Hey wundergeek, I agree with you, but I’m going to write a large paragraph explaining to you why you’re wrong anyway. Same goes for Ivan.

          Do you guys have a life outside this blog? Something to do other than explaining to wundergeek why she’s wrong even if she’s right in absolutely every single post?

          • Suppose we are both Christians and trying to proselytize. Your argument for god is “Banana’s are shaped like hnads therefore god must have created them for us.”

            I am well able to tell you that is a terrible argument for the thing we both believe, yes?

  2. Love your analyses. I live in Japan and see some… disturbing artwork on a daily basis, usually in the hands of a mouth breather next to me on some form of public transit. Keep at it wundergeek. I’d like to see you writing for The Escapist or a gaming company some time, but I suppose that’s asking for too great a leap in human consciousness.

  3. I was pondering another game ad (Eudemons, I think) featuring female vampires with massively exposed chests and thought to myself, “Isn’t a stake to the heart one of the traditional ways of actually killing vampires? Wouldn’t they want that particularly well armoured, just in case?”.

    The above vampires raise the same questions.

      • Given the natural strength and speed of most vampires in fiction, I don’t think they need extra protection for that specific point. Heck, vampires in general are supposed to have a sort of ‘classy’ look, not bothering with armor because they simply don’t need it.

        Doesn’t mean that you’re wrong about their particular attire in that pic though. Why is the man keeping up with the ‘upper class’ kind of clothes, while the women are dressed like a very specific kind of ‘commoners’? It doesn’t make sense!

    • Oh god, this is such a pedantic pet peeve of mine but, I mean, if we’re talking common sense here… do you have any idea how hard it would be to drive stake through a regular human’s heart even if they weren’t actively trying to kill you? the rib cage is a tough bastard. Ignore that Buffy stuff where vampires have the consistency of butter (and never think to bring a gun, but that’s another rant). It’s hard enough to do it with a mallet on a corpse, hell, hard enough to even hit the right place on a corpse, let alone all that with bare hands in a fight! There is no way in hell that someone is going pull that off on you when you are trying to kill them, much less if you have inhuman strength, unless they’ve got one of those Painkiller stakeguns. Considering that this is presumably a fantasy universe, that’s probably a safe bet.

      You would still probably want to wear something fireproof, though. I’m pretty sure one of the rules of being undead is that you catch fire like a car in an action movie.

      • Right, that’s the reason why male vampires have their chest covered while female vampires haven’t. It has everything to do with rib cage consistency and nothing at all to do with boobs, because apparently males don’t have a sternum and ribs.

        • …You are aware that the existence of ribs was my entire complaint, yes? There’s no reason for something that isn’t human to wear or refrain from wearing clothing, so it still sends a particular message if one gender does and the other doesn’t, and I ‘m fine with that argument, alright? Hell, I’m not even upset about bringing realism into a question of vampires, hence my comment on fireproofing, which would also involve a much less revealing outfit, something you seem to have missed.

          However, we can’t in good conscience say we’re arguing from realism when we’re talking about the threat of someone impaling you through the heart with a piece of wood in a sword fight as if it were legitimate. That’s completely absurd.

          • I never understood why they used stakes, why not just use a spear like you can on humans but ram it in deep enough that the wooden shaft goes through the heart, the sharp metal head of a spear is intended to go through annoying things like bones and armour.

            On the topic thats not ‘the best way to kill a vampire’ …. I have little to say beyond, yes you’re right WG🙂

            • Well, originally in Dracula it was because they had a sleeping vampire right there and they weren’t exactly prepared for it. so they got a mallet and a stake and hammered her dead quick. So, since everything was slavishly imitating Stoker for a while, (and Twilight will probably send us back, considering what it’s innovations are) so it had to be a wooden stake, even though Dracula himself actually died to a Bowie knife to the heart.

  4. Good post overall as per usual, just one quibble– not sure where you’re getting “obese” for the lower half of Mutant Angel Girl. Her thighs are weirdly shaped and heavier than the rest of her, certainly, but “obese” seems a bit much.

    • wundergeek he has a point the thighs in and of them self are not obese, the rest of the girls body makes them look fat, also I missed this so let me point it out now:

      What is your problem with Dhalsim? He is one of my favorites in the Street Fighter franchise and your telling me that what is wrong with her arms is called Dhalsim arms? No, just plain no. What is wrong with her arms is that they look like the arms form Venus de Milo and also the reason why said arms are no longer attached to said statue (at least in most of the jokes involving the removal of said arms from said statue that I’ve read and watched).

      Also the whole naked chick on her book thing: It is a decoration style that was mostly use by shipbuilders at one point or another in our history for good luck so that might be another reason that little mess made into the above mentioned and shown picture. You know: they thought that it could be put on a mage’s book because it was a symbol of luck… and sexy….. and some one had done it for real at some time in our history, I mean it was on freaking ships but what are artistic liberties for if not for moving sexist symbols from ships to books right? Headwall.

  5. Hey, I’m the girl who runs Boobs Don’t Work That Way, and I wanted to thank you for linking to my tumblr. I love your blog even if I just found it recently.

  6. Every time you “correct” the anatomy I can’t help but wonder, why does the anatomy have to be correct (especially in cases when what is depicted isn’t even human)? Since when does art have to be realistic?

    • Realistic anatomy isn’t necessary, but the anatomy of human/humanoid characters ought to at least be based in the artist’s firm knowledge of the human form. “You have to know the rules to break them,” and such.

      It’s possible to make a highly-stylized and impossibly-figured character look natural, if you understand how the human figure works. It’s also possible to make an unnatural figure intentionally, with the explicit purpose of being freakish and weird to look at.

      However, I do think it’s a problem when the “freakish and weird” proportions are used for a character who seems to have been designed to be visually appealing — it suggests that the artist just doesn’t know what they’re doing.

      • “However, I do think it’s a problem when the “freakish and weird” proportions are used for a character who seems to have been designed to be visually appealing — it suggests that the artist just doesn’t know what they’re doing.”

        Either that or the artists know EXACTLY what they’re doing. there are a lot more people attracted to the unnatural than there are to the converse. It’s the reason for make -up and implants and hair dyes and corsets and body modification and so on. For a specific game related example, recall how big the market is for dating sims with “crippled” love interests.Or just how many people are aroused by the monsters in silent Hill.

        There are people that like unreal bodies, not because they’re ignorant of proper anatomy, but because proper anatomy is a turn-off. Despite their terrible (and usually sexist) taste, they are the majority of our species, and I’m not sure why so many people here don’t seem to get this.When are you people going to open your eyes and realize that this was intention, not error?

        • I think you’re overthinking the rampant fetishization that you see on this giant echo chamber known as the internet. I highly, highly, highly doubt that the majority of people think that proper human anatomy is a turn-off. -_____- (Also, the “crippled love interest” thing is a terrible example of fetishizing inhuman bodies and you should feel bad for even suggesting it’s equivalent)

          And, sure, the super-thin ideal is intentional and backed up by mainstream culture. But that elf’s anatomy issues go far beyond having the figure of a “hanger” model. Her left arm’s the wrong length, her breasts and ears are in the wrong place, she has a concave stomach and a bizarrely-extended torso, and her legs just don’t make sense — she’s a clear and blatant example of an artist trying to draw the entire artwork accessories-and-all and failing anatomy forever because of it.

          You ignored one very important distinction that I made in my original comment, too — impossible proportions can look natural if you know how to draw. There’s a pretty obvious difference between the elven atrocity that Wundergeek green-lined and, say, a Disney Princess, despite the fact that the latter has even less room for internal organs, not just because Disney characters are more stylized, but also because they’re stylistically consistent.

          • “I highly, highly, highly doubt that the majority of people think that proper human anatomy is a turn-off.”

            Once again: Bodmod, corsets and steroids. These distort anatomy, and their effects are widely prized. True, most people don’t take their line of thinking to it’s inevitable conclusion, but that’s always the case.

            “Also, the “crippled love interest” thing is a terrible example of fetishizing inhuman bodies and you should feel bad for even suggesting it’s equivalent”

            But see, the thing is that it is exactly identical because persons with deformities are not really seen as human. Should they be? You’d probably say so. (As to me, “Humanity” being a goal or even existing as an idea is a problem both economically and ideologically, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it isn’t going anywhere.)

            “And, sure, the super-thin ideal is intentional and backed up by mainstream culture.”

            It’s not about being thin. The point isn’t to modify, but to mortify because being healthy is fundamentally opposed to being human.

            “Her left arm’s the wrong length, her breasts and ears are in the wrong place, she has a concave stomach and a bizarrely-extended torso, and her legs just don’t make sense”

            Okay, putting aside the fact that elves don’t exist and no one can even agree on the shape of their ears, let alone their position… you don’t get that those are the exact reasons that people will be aroused by it? Seriously? Have you never heard of “Erotic Grotesque?” Honestly, I’m feeling like I’m trying to explain colours to the blind here.

            “impossible proportions can look natural if you know how to draw.”

            Okay, here’s the problem: You’re interpreting this through your own sexuality. It’s nearly impossible not to do that without considerable forethought, but trust me here: No amount of skill can make, say, a Silent Hill nurse, look natural. It can make them look fuckable and real (or, more precisely, hyperreal). What you’re doing is saying “me wanting to tap that is natural, therefore it is natural, or at least so natural looking I can be forgiven for my urges.”

            “There’s a pretty obvious difference between the elven atrocity that Wundergeek green-lined and, say, a Disney Princess,”

            Oh god, seriously? Well, at least we agree here, if only in irony: Disney is ground zero for hyperreality (which you guys should really read up on, so I don’t have to keep explaining all this stuff we’ve known since the seventies) so it is unquestionably worse than that image, by orders of magnitude. The fact that you actually use it as a favorable comparison is obscene.

            • Once again: Bodmod, corsets and steroids. These distort anatomy, and their effects are widely prized. True, most people don’t take their line of thinking to it’s inevitable conclusion, but that’s always the case.

              If you’re talking about the interests of the majority, you should refer to things that the majority finds appealing.

              I don’t know many women who are attracted to steroid addicts. And you yourself admit that most people don’t take that line of thinking to its inevitable conclusion (which honestly makes me wonder how “inevitable” that conclusion really is).

              But see, the thing is that it is exactly identical because persons with deformities are not really seen as human. Should they be? You’d probably say so. (As to me, “Humanity” being a goal or even existing as an idea is a problem both economically and ideologically, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it isn’t going anywhere.)

              …the people who find them attractive obviously see them as human.

              Granted, in the case of the disability fetish people, they probably also see them as helpless and childlike, which has some pretty huge issues of its own, but it’s certainly not the case that they have a thing for disabled people because they’re turned off by human anatomy. -____- (I rather strongly suspect that the potential love interests in the games you mentioned are all conventionally-attractive in spite of the disability, or at least not significantly deformed where it counts)

              As for your hatred of the idea of humanity itself… I have no desire whatsoever to engage you on your extreme-but-likely-internally-consistent philosophical positions, because that’s not going to get us anywhere. I will, however, point out that you’re probably pretty isolated in that position if you’re talking to anyone but like-minded philosophers.

              It’s not about being thin. The point isn’t to modify, but to mortify because being healthy is fundamentally opposed to being human.

              This makes no sense. I’m sorry, it just doesn’t.

              Okay, putting aside the fact that elves don’t exist and no one can even agree on the shape of their ears, let alone their position… you don’t get that those are the exact reasons that people will be aroused by it? Seriously? Have you never heard of “Erotic Grotesque?” Honestly, I’m feeling like I’m trying to explain colours to the blind here.

              I do get that there will be some people who will be turned on by it, because if the internet’s taught me anything, it’s that everything is someone’s fetish, no matter how bizarre.

              What I find absurd is the idea that this “Erotic Grotesque” is in any way a mainstream beauty ideal, or the kind of thing that fantasy artists aim for when creating elves like the one in Wundergeek’s post. She’s not a Silent Hill nurse; she’s Interchangeable Hot Chick #72635 with pointy ears pasted on.

              Okay, here’s the problem: You’re interpreting this through your own sexuality.

              No I’m not, I’m interpreting it through my own sense of aesthetics, since I have no interest in women in that way whatsoever. (Nice assumption about my motivation, by the way -_-)

              Let me try to explain what I’m thinking again.

              Style, ideally, should “click.” Looking at a well-drawn caricature, you don’t think about how impossible the anatomy is, because it’s stylistically consistent and abstract enough that the exaggerations don’t seem wrong. (In fact, I believe that stylistic proportions are often irrelevant to the attractiveness of a character; fanservicey fanart for stylistic media often chooses a completely different — and often more realistic — style than the source material to satisfy the same crowd)

              However, within any style, no matter how distorted, there’s a possibility for mistakes and inexperience. It’s certainly not the case that every deviation from standard human anatomy is a stylistic decision — it’s unlikely that an artist would intentionally choose to make a character that looks as if she was pulled like silly putty from her shoulders and thighs until her torso was a foot too long and her boobs were several inches lower than they should have been.

              And, in any case, the concept art for this game seems to be using a hybrid anime-realism style given the shading and facial features, which would not in any way mesh with that level of anatomical distortion even if that type of distortion was appealing on more cartoony characters.

              (Something like a Silent Hill nurse can be freaky and inhuman, but still “click” as long as it’s stylistically consistent, though unlike the caricature, it’s going to click as a monster rather than as a human)

              Oh god, seriously? Well, at least we agree here, if only in irony: Disney is ground zero for hyperreality (which you guys should really read up on, so I don’t have to keep explaining all this stuff we’ve known since the seventies) so it is unquestionably worse than that image, by orders of magnitude. The fact that you actually use it as a favorable comparison is obscene.

              Disney World, yes, but Disney animation? I don’t think that’s trying to pass itself off as reality to anybody — it relies heavily on visual abstraction to create universally-appealing characters, which only works because the audience fills in a whole lot themselves (ever read Understanding Comics?). If someone was asked to imagine Ariel was real, they’d probably imagine a human with her general features, not a 3D cartoon.

              In any case, hyperreality in and of itself obviously isn’t the problem for anyone here, because we’re all videogame players. Hyperreality — or, at least, the creation of a secondary, non-existent “reality” to inhabit as described by Wikipedia — is the very nature of our medium.

              In fact, I’d say that one of the biggest problems with these anatomical abominations is that they jerk us out of that fantasyland in much the same way as seeing the cast member playing Cinderella messing with a poorly-fitting wig would destroy the illusion in Disneyland. Stylistic animation, on the other hand, can be natural when done right in the same way that Goofy is natural in Disneyland.

              …which is not to suggest, of course, that creating a realistic fantasy is never a problem; creating an unrealistic fantasy view of women that transfers over to the real world is obviously an issue, too. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to redline Sleeping Beauty, whereas whoever drew that elf that Wundergeek redlined is in desperate need of some anatomic criticism.

              • You think, in spite of more than half a century of post-modern art, that stylistic consistency is what people are favourable to and that people can only be attracted to humans. (which makes one wonder what people were attracted to before the enlightenment saw the invention of “humanity”…)

                You know what? Let’s just end this now. It’s quite clear that nothing is going to be accomplished.

              • You know what? Let’s just end this now. It’s quite clear that nothing is going to be accomplished.

                Yeah, if you keep putting words in my mouth, nothing’s going to be accomplished. I’ll agree to that.

  7. No, anatomy doesn’t have to be realistic, but these artists are clearly going for a realistic style. So it looks uncanny-valley-level terrifying to have such a freakshow of proportions going on. Not to mention the implications of deliberately altering your women so they have the weakest possible muscles and posture.

    • “these artists are clearly going for a realistic style.”
      How do you come to that conclusion? What about a 2D cartoon image of an elf priest/mage screams realism to you? I’m genuinely intrigued by that ‘logical’ connection. The fact that you bring the uncanny-valley into this discussion gives me doubts that you even understand the concept.

      • I understand the concept fine, thanks; there’s no need to insult my intelligence. That space between the clearly human and the clearly inhuman – in this case, a fairly realistic face attached to that distorted mess of skeletal structure. That midsection in particular gives me the creeps.

        As to how I reached the conclusion that the artist was attempting realistic style – look at the proportions of the face, the lack of cartoonishness in the way the features are drawn. There is nothing heavily mannered enough to suggest that this crapass distorted anatomy was a legit artistic decision – and even if it was, it is certainly not a *good* decision. The figure looks ridiculously ungainly. While I’m aware that we can’t exactly read the artist’s mind, the proportions are not aesthetically pleasing and look like mistakes. And if it was deliberate…god help us.

        • Sorry for being snarky, there was no need to insult your intelligence. I’ll agree that the design isn’t all that great but I still don’t believe realism is the goal in most art of this kind even if realistic features are being used because there is obviously enough talent there to make it realistic if the artist chose to. So with that in mind thanks for explaining your point of view.

          • I have to disagree there…some of these things like the arm proportions and the lack of ear/jaw connecting thing are simply signs that the artist is bad at figure drawing.

            You can certainly debate whether the small waist/big hip thing was a matter of artistic style or beauty perception, but the fact is one of the elf’s arms has normal ratio of forearm/upper arm, and the other arm has the wrong ratio.

            Simply put, that is a mistake. A common mistake actually, with that sort of pose, but a mistake nonetheless. Artistic talent doesn’t always equate into skill in figure drawing, which is to me one of the hardest things to get right.

            So yeah, you can’t assume there’s enough talent there to draw it right, because they drew an elf whose arms are freaking different lengths. That if anything should show that the artist of that particular picture is not talented when it comes to figure drawing, whatever his other strengths may be.

            • Maybe they’re fiddler elves, and need one very long arm and one very short one for…some reason.

              Totally with you on artistic talent not implying figure-drawing talent. I can do wonderful paintings of artificial objects, but have endless problems drawing organics. That, of course, is why I don’t do organics. Duh. This artist should have made the same choice, methinks.

  8. I love everything about this post. Especially the proportioned figure overlaid onto the “art” that looks like it was drawn by a 15 year old boy working with nothing but a mental image as a model.

  9. People here are totally right: Elven mages should all be anorexic, deformed creatures who conform exactly to that sick standard of beauty fashion models used to follow until the media started noticing they were dying because of that and forced the industry to introduce regulations to kinda keep at least most of them alive. Hey, we want eye candy females and they aren’t really women because they have pointy ears so it’s okay to make them look sick, right?

    Seriously. The level of willing obtuseness shown in the comments astonishes me.

    • Okay, several things:

      1. Of course these things aren’t women. Learn to distinguish between representation, simulacra, and reality.This thing could not die from poor health because it cannot die, period. It is made of paint and pixels, not flesh. It’s not a woman either, for the exact same reasons.

      2. You’re confused about what you hate. “Tall, skinny,and fragile” is pretty much the entire gimmick of elves, so it’s pointless to complain unless you’re actually against the idea of elves in general, That’s fine, I hate elves too, but be honest for fuck’s sake.

      3. While this is indeed bad art, your argument is flawed because the moral impact or value of a work is completely irrelevant in an aesthetic discussion. (This is why Birth of a Nation is known as one of the greatest movies of all time, regardless of the fact that it reignited the KKK.) Art is to beautiful, and making beauty as a function of ethics is the height of religious thinking.

      This is not a defence of this kind of art. (I linked to several takedowns of this type of thing upthread, for instance) What it is is an objection to terrible arguments.It is possible to deal with this, but you are not helping.

      • 1. DUH. I’m talking about representation, genius.
        2. Right, right, because deformity and anorexia = skinny.
        3. Anorexia and deformity are so aesthetic! The fashion industry luvs it. We should totally validate and perpetuate that sick standard of beauty by putting it in all our video games as if it was something good.
        4. Another example of “I agree with you but I’ll write a large comment to explain to you why you’re wrong anyway”. Get a life, creeper.

        • 1. No, you’re not. You’re talking about simulacra because nothing is signified and the referent are simply to other signs. This is basic semiotics, guy.
          2. Yes, it does because elves aren’t humans. That’s the entire point of them: They conform to human standards beyond a level that is safe or even possible for Homo Sapiens. This is, again, basic stuff. Stop being deliberately oblivious.
          3. You are equivocating between “this is unethical” and “this is bad”. Only the second is reasonable, and I have no problems with that claim. You might not even be aware of the difference, but you originally argued the first. Now, since you seem somewhat ignorant, I’m going to take pity on you and give you a direct link to the work that demonstrated that ethics and morality are sophistry.
          4. Oh, so we’re doing ad homs, then? Fabulous, because I would never understand loser in his mother’s basement to understand the difference between sound and true arguments. It’s high school debate club level, but you are obviously a dropout which is why you are living in your mother’s basement. God, you are such a loser. You think this took any time at all to write because you’re too fat to work and never learned to type! Here’s a hint, neckbeard: Wundergeek will not fuck you no matter how much you white-knight. etc etc.

          Now, we could keep doing that, or,maybe, just maybe, we could be civil with each other and not pretend that insults are arguments.

  10. Personally, I’m not as bothered by skewed proportions than by the pose. I’ll quite gladly accept some ridiculous proportions (I’m totally cool with Chun-Li for one of your earlier examples) as long as she doesn’t look like she casts spells by farting.

    But if you want to make the proportions even worse, I think you made the thighs too thick if your “before” sketch. Her “loin-cloth” thing is more-or-less hanging straight down, and the shading of her thigh makes me think she has skinny legs with a ten-inch space between them.

      • Unfortunately, the folds in the loincloth make it really hard to tell exactly how wide her thighs are. You may be correct, however my point that her waist is too narrow for how wide her hips are would still stand.

    • Yeah, I think there was some accidental fixing in the “before” sketch. Not surprising, given how way off the hip area is in the original.

  11. I know I’m starting to become the person who comes on here just to disagree (Although I must argue it is always in an appropriate, respectful manner.) with every point, but let’s take a moment to consider the current fashion trends in the real world.

    Men are generally covered up, aside from when they are at the beach/at home aside from short sleeve shirts or the ever shrinking shorts that are popular today. Women on the other hand do tend to reveal more skin, and it is socially accepted for them to do this. Short denim shorts are very popular with young women and at times reveal up to 3/4 of their legs. Tops and dresses are low cut at the front and short at the hem. Even exposed midriffs are accepted, although not appropriate in some situations. These women aren’t forced to dress in this way either these are conscious decisions made by the wearers every day. The Saris worn by Indian women often expose this part of the body, almost equal to the amount of flesh exposed on the woman in the top right of the first image, and this is considered the traditional attire, accepted by all.

    These games tend to exaggerate these social norms to appease the interests the fanbase of the game, but they certainly do reflect, at the very least, an extension of what we see every day walking down the street. For example, the Castanics in TERA are a deliberately sexualised race (and there’s nothing strictly wrong with that), of which each gender is exposed in a manner that is naturally appropriated from the standards that exist in the real world. The men are incredibly exposed for the most part as far as male characters go, as are the women, but they are definitely parallel and proportionate to their respective gender “roles”; fashion-wise. And no, the men aren’t as exposed, but any more exposure would remove their defining attribute as the males of the race; masculinity. Men are never as exposed as women in real society, of course this extends to game worlds as well.

    This may have been brought up already but there are also cultural factors that come into play here. In certain African tribes, exposed breasts hold no taboo, but the thighs of women are considered to be highly sexualised. In Korea, Japan, or any of these Asian countries, there may be different expectations/taboos that exist separate from Western culture (of which I am admittedly not an expert). And, like always, while you certainly do have a point, perhaps projecting western ideals onto these games from other cultures is a dangerous move.

    Viewed out of context everything becomes a travesty. Number 2 on this list is a great example: http://www.cracked.com/article_18593_6-classics-despised-by-people-who-created-them_p2.html . Now to compare this to the hardships that man faced in his life after that photo was taken is to do a disservice to his memory, but it does highlight that perspective and information are everything, and that some things do get lost in translation. Heaving breasts probably isn’t one of them, but bear it in mind nonetheless.

    • I think you’re arguing from the wrong position, here. Sure, in the context of modern fashion choices, it makes sense that women wear less than men.

      However, you’re missing the most important thing, which is this: it’s that context itself that’s the real problem here.

      Also, I think you’re making some gender essentialist arguments that aren’t true and simply don’t fly here. For example:

      And no, the men aren’t as exposed, but any more exposure would remove their defining attribute as the males of the race; masculinity.

      You’re suggesting that being exposed is contrary to masculinity. However, I am quite sure that the Greeks would disagree with that assessment.

      In general, though, if you’re arguing with someone who is unhappy with social norms, appealing to those norms isn’t the best way to convince them something’s okay. 😉

      • Well suggesting the Greeks brings up another interesting point, here we have soldiers who deliberately wore less, sometimes nothing, into battle, because it allowed freedom of movement. Speed is a strong counter to strength. So apply that to the women in these games, where they aren’t as strong as the male characters physically, “lighter” attire begins to have a real purpose.

        But you’re right, the Greek male did wear less or nothing and that did not remove their qualities of masculinity, but Wundergeek is writing this from what seems to be a modern western perspective and in the modern western perspective what I said is generally true. Ancient (and even not so ancient Greece) is another good example of how other cultures have different rules, and reviewing games from Korean developers comes with its inherent misinterpretation risks.

        Again, I must stress that I agree with the points made in this article, It seems I really CAN NOT stress that enough.

        You make a good point about the social norms, but so far this has been a blog about video games, not the problems with social norms. Social behaviour becomes a difficult topic because, as I said, more often than not the way men and women present themselves is an active choice.

        • “Speed trumps strength” only works if the outfits are designed for mobility, though, and it’s pretty clear that the outfits on display in this post are not. A giant absurd codpiece is going to impede mobility far more than even plate armor will, and good luck trying to run with your boobs trying their hardest to escape your shirt-with-no-middle.

          And I don’t think it’s possible to separate the problems with videogames from the problems with social norms — if these highly-problematic videogame designs are to be considered merely an extension of real-life trends, as you suggest, then obviously the real-life trends are problematic, as well. =/

          • Real life trends occur through free choice though. What some could describe as problematic others may regard as completely acceptable and vice versa. Is somebody’s choice of attire “wrong”? That is a question with only dangerous answers. Free will exists in the real world, character design is entirely decided by the game’s creators. It is “art” imitating life. Trends are based on opinions, opinions are rarely conveniently right or wrong. As for the cod-piece, I guess that’s just artistic licence, though not without its purpose. The ridiculous cleavage? Well it’s not fitting for the task at hand, as you say, but certainly not outside of the realms of what you could see in day to day life.

            • But free choice is necessarily constrained by societal norms. If someone dresses in a way that shows skin because it’s expected of them, even though they don’t really like it, is that really free? If someone emulates what they’ve always known because it’s what they’ve always known, they might be happy with their choice, but it’s hard to imagine them choosing otherwise.

              And with that in mind, chaining yourself to societal norms for character creation is, at best, unnecessarily-restricting. Why should an elven mage or an armored warrior care about following the norms of a society that’s probably nothing like her own?

              Besides, the idea that I could find a single person dressed like any one of these characters in day to day life is hilarious. The only people I’ve ever seen wear the absurd Absolute Cleavage dresses are movie stars, and their public personae are often just as manufactured as the characters we’re criticizing.

              • If you are doing something because you’re afraid of judgement from your peers or if you don’t do something because it’s expected that you commonly don’t then these are once again choices. Fear-based choices are still choices, it’s just that cowardice is one of the defining factors in their execution. Like I said, challenging these societal norms becomes a very dangerous topic because the suggestion that people should not have their free choice in order to mold society into a certain shape invariably comes up. Or the suggestion that people don’t really make these choices because they are adhering to expectations (Which IS a choice in itself) like what you just mentioned, is used.

                “And with that in mind, chaining yourself to societal norms for character creation is, at best, unnecessarily-restricting. Why should an elven mage or an armored warrior care about following the norms of a society that’s probably nothing like her own?”

                Well they very much are not following the norms of society, they are scantily clad in combat situations, which is not what you’d normal expect in that scenario. It seems they can’t win. If they dress these characters how they want, the developers get blamed for not adhering to your expectations, but as soon as I say that women do dress provocatively in real life, now you say “Well they shouldn’t make these characters reflect societal norms then.” But that’s already the case!

                I’m not trying to change your mind. That’s a fool’s errand. My aim with these comments is to get you really thinking about the positions you have taken, and prove to yourself that you can defend them without creating contradictions in your arguments. You’re dead right when you say:

                “If someone emulates what they’ve always known because it’s what they’ve always known, they might be happy with their choice, but it’s hard to imagine them choosing otherwise.”

                So consider all the things you uphold and whether you uphold them because you’ve made an active choice to do so, or if it is just convenient or expected of you to have these beliefs. And when someone comes in with an alternate view, it’s tough, but if you listen to what they have to say you might end up with a more accurate (and readily defendable) worldview than before, god knows I myself have learned a lot in the short time I have read this blog.

                Also, I didn’t say you’d see people dressed like this. I said these were natural extensions of certain clothing trends that could very well be seen in day to day life. And cleavage is one of those things you can see everywhere in society. Perhaps it’s “easier” to see if you’re a man, but I assure you it’s there.

    • Just… no. You’re wrong.

      This isn’t about clothes. Or rather, it’s not JUST about clothes. Women’s bodies are LITERALLY being distorted past what is anatomically possible for a human being to appeal TO STRAIGHT MEN.

      • Wundergeek, your first heading is titled “Clothing Disparity”.

        I didn’t bring up the proportion section because I wholeheartedly agree with you, although I don’t give these “professional” artists enough credit to assume they are making these choices deliberately. Chalk it up to lack of talent and lack of knowledge.

        “Just…no. You’re wrong.” Doesn’t really make any progress for us, discourse-wise, either.

  12. Some of my friends’ve gotten into Forsaken World, and I tried to join them, I really did, but I was fed up with it before I could even download the thing. I wanted to play a female elf mage, who can make things go boom and ride a unicorn, while still looking respectable.

    This was impossible.

    The stock mage outfit always comes with absolute cleavage. There are fashion outfits that can override the stock look. Every single one of them is a dress, and not even anything reasonably respectable or practical. There were eight options, and two of them looked like fetish maid outfits. The only one I’d call modest made you look like a fucking wedding cake.

    *Sigh.*

  13. I attempted to play this game because I’d been told it was good, and I needed something to play with my friends overseas. I had high hopes, having seen little aside from the dwarf steampunk-esque outfits. I was really excited for those, so I decided on playing as a female dwarf. I played a total of seven minutes of this game. I didn’t even get to any gameplay before I high-tailed it out of there.
    You see, I assumed that, with the female dwarf, I’d actually get a cool dwarf. I had no idea what I was getting into. The female dwarf is actually more of a small, sexy school girl in a short skirt. The skirt rides up directly so that you can see her panties; this is ALL the time because of the view from the back. She has big eyes and small lips and a vacant expressions. The animations she made were awful, showing how cutesy and posey she was. I was already extremely annoyed by the skirt, and had a horrible feeling that I would be catcalled, or accused of being a player who only wanted to look at this little girl. I wanted to be a woman. I wanted to be a warrior. And I wanted to do it in a huge bustle skirt with guns a blazin’. My hopes were crushed.
    The world has indeed been forsaken.
    On a lighter note, If I picked it up again, which is very doubtful, I’d play a male dwarf. I just wish I could wear the girl’s outfits. Is that too much to ask? Do I need to design my own game to get this?

  14. I like the game, but I would be 100% happier if everyone had more clothes. I know it will lead me to end up stop playing the vampire class earlier than I would have otherwise.
    Another minor thing in their series of games is men can lift up women, but not vice versa, women can only be carried.

    I stopped playing one game before we I found out one female character class would never get trousers (warhammer online).
    I’ve also been annoyed with a game that brought out extra costumes but gave panties rather than pants for all the female models (runes of magic). Thats what they wanted me to spend my money on. It really annoyed me.

  15. The pic with the armored top, armorless bottom reminds me of the Knight/Paladin jobs of Ragnarok online. Come to think of it, the 25% clothing in female characters seem to be a trend in the latest classes in the game. Can you do a feature on that?

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