Hey, game devs. Knock it off with the corpse tits! [NSFW] [MANY IMAGES]

Yesterday, I had occasion to post the following on Twitter:

File that under the list of Shit I Wish I Didn’t Have to Say. Sadly, 95% of internet feminism seems to be saying shit that really should be completely obvious. (You know, like “hey – women are people”. Stuff like that.)

What prompted the Twitter mini-rant? Well, someone on my Google+ feed happened to link to this:


It’s like the artist was going through a mental checklist. “Okay, we’ve got 4 different skin tones. Staples, check. Rivets and metal plates, check. Creepy-looking veins, check. Just got to make sure I don’t forget the titties!”

Seriously. How ridiculous is it that the stitching and patches are actually more believable than the breasts, which have impossible cleavage (without support, breasts hang DOWN and AWAY from one another), seem to have no areolae, and definitely have no nipples. But then, as referenced in my tweets, this is hardly a new thing in games, tragic as that may be.

This particular gem is courtesy of Louis Porter Jr, who hasn’t bothered to hide the fact that he holds pretty regressive views on the portrayal of women in games. Back when I had just started this blog, he actually commented on a post I had made about Paizo, saying that he was glad that that Paizo was doing positive things with regard to racial diversity, but that sexualized wimmenz were just good business sense.

Uh. No. But thanks for playing, dude.

Still, it would be unfair to pick on LPJ too much, considering that Franken-Tits here isn’t exactly a unique phenomenon. So here is a totally-not-at-all definitive list of corpse tits in games that I had either run across previously or was able to find with only a modicum of Googling.


I honestly don’t know what game this first image is from, but frankly it pretty well sums up the problem that I’m talking about quite nicely:

That was on one of the first few pages of search results for “female lich”, which is an image search you should not do if you don’t want to see a whole lot of gory necro-tits with occasional gruesome necro-crotch.

Disturbingly, but not all that surprisingly, corpse tits are such a common phenomenon in gaming that they can be found in every subgenre of gaming.

It didn’t take much work at all to turn up these images for games funded on KickStarter. The image on the left comes from a game called Hands of Fate, which I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know was fully funded. Phew! I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine the horror of living in a world where a game of such bold artistic vision failed to become a reality.

The image on the right is from a game called Zpocalypse, which also fully funded. Right on! It’s so great to see so many independent creators get to realize their dreams of creating games that feature creepily sexualized women’s corpses.

Now I will give them credit for having a jawless zombie, mostly because I’m still bitter about not being able to play a jawless female Forsaken in World of Warcraft. But they just lose the points again for giving her weirdly pristine (considering the state of the rest of her) corpse tits.

Then we have this gem, which is actually (as far as I can gather) the cover image for Lich Queen’s Beloved – an official, Wizards-published  adventure module for D&D. Of course, on the Wizards site they only use the thumbnail on the left, which an amusing bit of obfuscation on Wizards’ part. Given the amount of embarrassing cheesecake art that I’ve seen in official Wizards’ products, it’s amusing that this is sufficiently awful that they don’t want to include the full image on their website.

But Wizards of the Coast is hardly the only large publisher guilty of this nonsense. Disappointingly, despite that Paizo seems to have been trying to not fail quite as much at female characters lately, they still included this character in some published material released August of last year.


And sure, she’s not as bad as the others. But the fact is that she is dessicated, her skin and muscle tissue are clearly withered and dried out. So WHY in god’s name is she wearing boob plate? Given that her nose and lips rotten and she is clearly giving zero fucks about that, I highly doubt it’s a fashion statement. And if her limbs and lower torso are at that level of desiccation, it’s not like her tits are going to be perky enough to need any support, not unless she’s had some very selective embalming done.

But let’s not forget video games! Because there are so. Goddamn. Many. corpse tits in video games.

One of the elder statesmen of video game corpse tits would have to be WoW, who from the very beginning made it clear that even in death the women in the WoW universe would have supermodel faces and amazing tits.

What makes it even more frustrating is the fact that apparently there are a few artists who work for Blizzard whose heads aren’t completely up their asses:

I have pretty much zero interest in playing a character like Barbie McCorpse-Tits, but I would totally play the shit out of her! Look at her! Rotten nose and face, not sexualized, just getting shit done. AWESOME. MORE OF THAT PLEASE. And less of this shit:

How sad is it that Resident Evil has the least sexualized female zombie? What the hell? Why is this a thing that game companies are competing over? Still, if I had to give an award I would give Guild Wars the trophy for the grossest corpse tits ever. Seriously, look at her. The skin on her face is leatherized but she’s still got fucking basketballs pinned to her chest. I’m surprised they didn’t put nipples on her for gods sake.

But wait! There’s more!

Even Facebook games just can’t resist getting in on that sexy necro-boob action. Look at miss Zombie Prostitute here. Sure her face and arm are all decayed and gross, but don’t worry, the important stuff is still perky and fleshy. (Also, the contrast here just underscores everything I’m saying here. Why do female zombies never get to wear any fucking clothes, but male zombies walk around in three piece suits and the like?)

The Bottom of the Barrel

As bad as all of that is, it actually gets worse. “But, wundergeek!” I’m sure you’re asking. “How could it get worse?”

Well, gentle reader. As bad as the above examples are, they aren’t generally being used to promote the brands that the represent. As awful as corpse tits are, most companies still have the sense not to use them to promote their products to a wider audience.

Of course, some companies aren’t put off such tactics by things like “common sense” and “taste”, which is how you end up with things like this promo image here:

Aww, yeah. We’re getting a first look all right. RIGHT AT HER TIIIIIITS! HIGH FIVE BRO!

…bad enough that you’re using Valindra Shadowmantle, the most boobular of all video game liches, as the promo for your game. But did you really need to make it worse by making an arrow pointing right at her necro-cleavage? Her impossibly fleshy and perky necro-cleavage?

However, I’m afraid that Valindra loses the crown for Worst Promotional Necro Boobs to Dead Island, whose publishers also net themselves an award for Shittiest Human Beings In Game Development:

That’s right, folks. For this box set, they actually included a promo figurine of a mutilated and disembodied torso with big, weirdly compressed fake tits. And then advertised the fact. AS A SELLING POINT.

Now given that Techland is the same studio that caused the uproar over their inclusion a skill named “Feminist Whore” in a test build of the game, misogynist promotion shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. Still, publisher Deep Silver really went for the misogyny gold with this one. I can only imagine the conversation that led to this being a thing that actually happened:

The Boss: We need a promotional item to include with the box set. Ideas?

Operations Exec: A toy? Maybe a figurine?

Marketing Exec: Figurines make excellent limited edition items. They’re very collectible.

The Boss: Very good. Talk to me about how we can make this a quality, value-added proposition for our customers.

[Marketing Exec and Operations Exec look at each other]

Operations Exec: Well I was thinking a mutilated torso.

Marketing Exec: What a disembodied torso?

Operations Exec: Oh, yeah. Obviously. No limbs or anything. Just a torso. A mutilated lady torso.

The Boss: Interesting. I like your style. Do go on.

Operations Exec: [to Marketing Exec] So her torso should be totally mutilated, right? Except for her boobs?

Marketing Exec: Oh, totally. You can’t mutilate the boobs.

The Boss: They should be large and round. And firm. Very firm. There’s nothing I hate worse than saggy tits.

Operations Exec: [taking notes] Uh-huh. Got it. Does it have a face?

The Boss: Does what have a face?

Operations Exec: The mutilated torso figurine. Does it have a face?

The Boss: No. No face.

Marketing Exec: Why would it have a face? It doesn’t need a face.

Operations Exec: All right. So the spec I’m handing to my artist is mutilated torso, no limbs, with very large, very firm breasts, and absolutely no face.

Marketing Exec: I’ll get to work on promotional branding right away.

The Boss: This is some damn fine work, people. Damn fine indeed.

Operations Exec: Thank you, sir.

A Depressing Conclusion

Corpse tits in games go from depressing to outright scary once you consider the logic and carry it to its natural conclusion. Gaming culture is one that demands that all game women should be attractive and entirely available for the sexual gratification of a presumed male viewer. Game culture also objectifies women, breaking women down into their pleasing and less pleasing parts, emphasizing the pleasing bits and de-emphasizing the less important bits. When these two concepts collide, that’s the kind of thinking that leads to necro-tits.

At no point during the design of these characters are they ever considered to be people. They are designed piece-by-piece, carefully degrading their not-sexy parts while preserving the holy trinity of boobs, crotch, and ass. Often the face is allowed to be shown as decayed, because who cares what comes out of women’s faces? Ladywords? Ladyfeelings. Boring. Heads aren’t even mandatory, as evidenced by Dead Island.

Some of them might have story tacked on as an after-thought, but most won’t even get that much. Because the category of “woman” trumps that of “human”, and even in death women must be rendered as sexually pleasing objects, not people. Never people.

But that begs the question – why is there such a need to have sexy corpses in so goddamn many games? Why is no one taking a moment to be like “dude, that’s a corpse“? Frankly, if you’re capable of finding any of these images sexually appealing, I don’t really want to know you. Ever. But the dehumanization of women in games is so rampant, so systemic, that even the concept of FUCKABLE CORPSES doesn’t raise eyebrows.

Reasons Why It’s Too Hard to Include Playable Female Characters In Games

There have been some really great takes on just why Ubisoft’s proclamation that it was just a “reality of game development” that their newest title in the Assassin’s Creed series wouldn’t include playable female characters, many of which I covered in Friday’s link roundup.

However, some conversations on Google+ inspired me to do some silly drawings of some only-slightly-less-ludicrous reasons why it’s just too hard for studios to include playable female characters. A picture is worth 1000 words and all that:

It was nice to get a chance to return to my roots, as it were, by doing something silly for once (not to mention taking a bit of a break from Princess Charming); a lot of my posts recently have been rather serious, but sometimes it’s nice to just be silly.

Still, I think it’s worth using this post to make a serious point. Given that Ubisoft has already had female assassins in the series, including Aveline, a title character in her own AC game, it stretches my credulity beyond the breaking point for me to believe that it’s honestly that hard for Ubisoft to include a playable female assassin.

There are existing development assets already, including Aveline’s model and all of the motion-capture done for her animations. Would it really have been so hard to do some color-swapping of Aveline’s model and port her into the game? It certainly wouldn’t have been anything budget-breaking, given that this is a AAA title with a AAA budget. Frankly, female moon pixels and fire-breathing dragons are about as easy to believe.

Ubisoft would have done a lot better to own up to the truth: either they didn’t want to make a playable female character, or they just didn’t think of doing it. Instead, this gutless prevaricating has cost them a lot of goodwill. I’ve seen many long-time fans of the series who had appreciated the diversity of the series and its’ development team saying that they’re not going to put any more money into purchasing future AC games.

All in all, it would be hard to imagine a more bone-headed marketing ploy for a game that needs a large audience to recoup its astronomical development budget.

Self-Promotion Sidebar:

Do you link this post? Do you wish you could buy a print of these cartoons? Good news – you can! And honestly, who wouldn’t want to hang such beautiful satire on their walls? (Don’t answer that.)


Friday Freebie: the Ubisoft is full of shit edition

Well, this week is E3, that hallmark of entitlement and sexist bullshit, where the same old shit is paraded by industry insiders as “what to look forward to” in the next year of gaming.

In such an environment, it really takes some effort to distinguish yourself for bullshit sexism. Yet Ubisoft went the extra mile and claimed that the reason there were going to be no playable female assassins in their upcoming Assassin’s Creed title is because it would double the development cost and it was “a reality of game development”.

Uh huh. Because, as someone on my G+ pointed out, you can animate each individual feather on an eagle’s wing, but women? That shit is just too hard.

As you can expect, people have been having a field day with this. So I thought that I would devote an entire links post to the excellent responses that people have made to Ubisoft’s nonsensical assertion that they can’t include playable women because it’s just toooo haaaaaard.

This is one of the first takedowns I saw and does an excellent takedown of the problems with Ubisoft’s logic.

Is ‘we don’t have the resources’ an OK excuse for keeping female heroes out of games?

A stunning showcase of innovative character design: 40 male protagonists at E3 2014

There were more severed heads than women presenters at E3 2014 #yearofthebeheading

An NPR interview with Leigh Alexander and Aisha Taylor on E3 boy’s club nonsense

BioWare’s David Gaider on his personal tumblr, on why game companies need to do better

Over on tumblr, a great comic dramatizing the difficulty of animating female characters

Other game devs calling Ubisoft on their bullshit

Lastly, some super on-point tweets that pretty well summarize how I feel

This game IS NOT bullshit. It is awesome and you should fund it the end.


Valve licenses IP to Korean developer Nexon to make sexist game

[I had this 80% finished last week, but then I got sick[1] and was too tired to brain well. Sorry, folks!]

Recently, I happened to stumble across this while doing research for another piece:

I was intrigued. I don’t pay much attention to MMOs anymore (partly out of self-defense – I get too addicted[1]), but I wasn’t aware that Valve was releasing a Counter-Strike MMO. Curious, I googled the game to see what else turned up.

And found this.

I’m pretty sure that skirt isn’t regulation.


…I was a little baffled. I mean Valve has made games with some pretty great female characters, like Alyx Vance in Half Life 2 and Portal’s Chell. So what was the deal? I wouldn’t think this was out of character for a publisher like Ubisoft, but this was kind of hard to understand.

But things started to make sense once I did a little more digging. The actual developer behind the game is Nexon, a South Korean game studio. The weapons, maps, characters, and graphics engine were all modified from content used in the original Counter Strike game published by Valve – which apparently has licensed the brand as well as the development assets to Nexon.

In developing Counter Strike Online, Nexon tweaked maps and guns and improved models. They also added a bunch of game modes, some which were downright wacky like Bazooka Battle and Soccer. Now (with the exception of Mass Effect), I don’t play shooters, but I have to say it looks like they put together a good collection of different gameplay offerings.

Too bad the other thing Nexon felt that Counter Strike needed more of was boobs. Lots of boobs. SO. MANY. BOOBS.


These are NOT practical outfits for running around and shooting people. I know that personally, I would have a hell of a time lugging around a bunch of guns and trying not to get shot if I was also having to worry about potential nip slips.

But then again, I really shouldn’t be surprised that this is yet another MMO being developed by a Korean studio that treats women like pieces of meat. TERA and Blade and Soul are just two of the most egregious examples to come out of South Korea in the past few years, but they’re hardly unique. Treating women like shit is pretty much a hallmark of kMMOs. (Unfortunately.)

Still, the inclusion of ZOMGBOOBZ in Counter Strike Online is pretty ludicrous. I mean, if I played a match where this happened I would have trouble taking anything about the game seriously:

Soooo. Dude shows up in sensible clothing with lots of pockets and holsters while the woman shows up in… a maid outfit? With no visible pockets or holsters? And immaculate hair and makeup? And is that machine gun just kind of floating on her back? Riiiiiight.

What makes this even more ridiculous is the fact that Counter Strike is set in a modern or near-modern setting, which eliminates most of the usual excuses/justifications for sexist bullshit like this. ZOMG IT’S FANTASY STFU? Well. No. Nothing too fantastical about Counter Strike. SHE’S NOT HUMAN SO IT DOESN’T COUNT? Nope. That doesn’t apply either. The developers really just wanted to include sexualized wimmenz and didn’t really care how well the ZOMGBOOBZ meshed with the source material. [sigh] At least they were up front about it?

Anyhow. It seems like Counter Strike Online was a success because why wouldn’t it be? It’s unfortunate, but despite the Asian gaming market being saturated with these fap-worthy kMMOs, there certainly doesn’t seem to be any tapering in demand.

Certainly it was enough of a success that Nexon is currently developing a sequel! Counter Strike Online 2! It has new features like new game modes:

  • Pig: Shoot at the enemies to increase your health points. When it reaches 3000, you will turn into a pig that has a very high speed and damage.


And. You know. “The characters are revamped nicely.”

[grinds teeth in anger]

Okay, the woman on the left? That kind of cleavage isn’t remotely possible with what she’s wearing. Breasts hang down and slightly away from each other. It doesn’t matter how large they are – they’re not magnetically attracted to each other. That kind of cleavage requires some serious structured garmenting that just isn’t being provided by that ridiculous vest. Also, screw nip slips. She’s about 30 seconds of running from full frontal, considering that she’s wearing unzipped low-riders with no belt.

And the woman on the right? That latex bodysuit she’s wearing over(??) those leather pants is lodged so far up her colon that I don’t know if she’ll ever be able to take it off. And asses are not that round or that shiny – you certainly wouldn’t get a perfectly round highlight off of one. Even Kim Kardashian does not have spherical ass cheeks.

And of course that’s not even touching on the awful art cliches this art falls victim to. Like the boobs and butt pose, random O-face, and sameface. (Seriously, they both have the same face.)

But as awful as Risking-Full-Frontal-Woman and Latex-Bodysuit-Stuck-In-Colon-Woman are, this is what really made me flip my shit:

OKAY. Latex-Bodysuit-Stuck-in-Colon-Woman? FINE. Sexy Librarian here? WHATEVER. But sexy school girl on the left? Or blue-haired girl in the smaller CSO banner? What the fuck is wrong with you?

Those girls do not look like adults. Not to mention that the schoolgirl fetish is creepy in general since schoolgirls are, you know, children. Sexualizing adult female bodies is one thing. Sexualizing those bodies and then giving them the faces of children? That’s just fucking gross.

So who cares? What’s the big deal?

I mean, it’s another kMMO that treats women like crap. Big deal. It’s not like this is exactly news. Hell, there are plenty of MMOs that manage to be even more awful than CSO seems to be!

Well here’s the part where I get tripped up: Valve.

Here’s the thing. Valve is no Ubisoft[3] – they manage to publish games with decent female characters on a pretty regular basis. Until now, I had always thought of them as one of the more progressive publishers out there that at least puts some thought into not failing at decent female characters 100% of the time. But now that’s starting to look a lot less like actually progressive leanings and more like cynical market analysis.

They won’t release such a blatantly sexist game in North America. But they’re more than happy to license their IP to a South Korean studio to make a blatantly sexist game for them, because money.

No one under 30 got this reference.

Well I call bullshit. Even if it’s not Valve developers injecting the tits and ass into their game, Valve is still profiting from other people boob-i-fying their IP. This is just another awful, cynical cash-grab, and Valve should be ashamed of themselves.

[1] [While saying our goodbyes this morning]

Spouse: [Daughter], can I have a kiss?

[Daughter darts forward to give me a kiss instead, interrupts herself to cough into my mouth, then slobber on my face kiss me.]

…and that’s why I catch every damn cold she brings home from daycare.

[2] Case in point – I’m kind of addicted to Hearthstone right now, which is a bit embarrassing because it’s not even a “real” MMO.

[3] Despite the fact that female character models can only be obtained through a mine deep in the earth guarded by a ferocious dragon. It’s quite progressive of them, really, to have female characters in spite of those obstacles.