>Clothing damage being exported to North America? (VERY NSFW)

>[Note: It’s been a shittastic week, hence the lack of posting. I’ll get back to three posts for next week. Meanwhile, I’ll try to hammer out a linkspam in addition to this post. Sorry, folks.]

While I wouldn’t exactly call clothing damage a hallmark of Japanese/Asian games, it’s something that is common enough that (for the most part) it doesn’t raise any eyebrows. However, it’s not exactly something that’s been too common in North American games. Unfortunately, it looks as if that trend may be changing, thanks to games originally made by Asian companies and translated for North American players.

So here for your, um, edification are screens from Kabod Online, Soul Calibur IV: Broken Destiny, and Parasite Eve: the 3rd Birthday. I wanted to confine this post to titles that have gotten more hype than others – but there are certainly smaller titles featuring clothing damage as a key feature that are being translated as well: Ikki Tousen Xross and Queen’s Blade: Spiral Chaos are just two that I’ve stumbled across recently. I’m sure there’s more.

Kabod Online

Kabod Online is a translated Korean MMO from Kabod Entertainment. As far as fanservice-y models go, they seem to be pretty standard as far as free Asian MMOs go:


Fully armored dude? Check. Standing next to a chick in cheesecake armor? Check. Le sigh.

When you go to Kabod’s website, there are apparently only three character classes to choose from, with only two specializations for each class – so it doesn’t look like there’s a whole lot of gameplay diversity. K-MMOs are pretty infamous for not even trying to disguise the treadmill, but this seems perhaps more egregious than most.But Kabod Entertainment doesn’t seem too worried about that. They’ve got a sure-fire plan. Sell their game with breasts! Only, since that’s what ALL of the free Asian MMOs are doing, they had to take it to eleven – hence the introduction of clothing damage. In Kabod, both players and monsters take clothing damage as they engage in combat. There’s a base level where clothing/armor is undamaged, a middle level where it’s mostly off, and a bottom level where you’re in your skivvies and, if the character is female, your gazongas are hanging out:


So Kabod has this neat combat simulation feature called clothing da… BOOBIES!!
Unsurprisingly, the clothing damage feature is what has gotten the most attention and what Kabod Entertainment has been advertising most heavily. Way to pander to the lowest common denominator guys. From what I read while searching for screenshots, it’s pretty common to play a rogue (one of the least clothed classes) and let her get down to mostly naked just so you can ogle her while you play. I mean, check this out:
LEFT: One breast in, one breast out? That’s gotta be uncomfortable. RIGHT: Oh god. They modeled ladybits, didn’t they? That’s just gross.

Will this be the game that launches a thousand faps?
So. Moving on. Shame on you, Kabod. Etc, etc, etc.

Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny

The studio behind Soul Calibur is apparently having a competition with Dead or Alive to see who can make the skeeviest game – it’s the only explanation I can think of. Soul Calibur IV is getting a PSP release, with the addition of – you guessed it – clothing damage! Because, really, we weren’t seeing ENOUGH of these ladies, amirite?

Also, there is a character creator that will not only let you create new characters, but will also let you customize existing characters, in case you’re feeling like some of your wimminz are too covered up.

Anyway. I’ve ranted enough about Soul Calibur here, so here’s some screens:


FLAWLESS… um… nudality?
Parasite Eve: the 3rd Birthday

So we have yet another entry in a series of female characters who used to be mildly positive strong characters and who have been turned into walking fapfests designed to please male gamers. Poor Aya. I’m not saying that Aya Brea was ever on the level of Samus, but she’s a far cry from Princess Peach!

It should be noted that there was a fair amount of buzz about the fact that the beginning of 3rd Birthday features a shower scene. OMG! Color me excited!

So the shower scene is bad enough, but series creator Nomura decided from the outset that there would be clothing damage in this title, and that Aya would take more damage as her clothing got damaged further. This would make sense if Aya was walking around in plate mail, but since she’s wearing just normal clothes, the only possible explanation is “sex sells”. So here’s the progression that Aya goes through:


LEFT: Very slightly damaged (jeans start out distressed) MIDDLE: Medium damage RIGHT: Max damage
Now, Aya can get changes of clothing to cover herself up again by going back to base – but it doesn’t really seem like that’s a feature that’s being heavily encouraged, since Nomura has said in an interview (unfortunately, I can’t find the link anymore) that you can get Aya to max clothing damage quickly by dropping a few grenades nearby. “Not that anyone should play that way” – he hastened to add.

Even worse is that the clothing damage is, again, pretty much how they’re promoting the game. I mean, check out this promotional art.

Look at that! Half her ass is just hanging out there! Oh Squeenix. I know that you can be pretty sexist, but why do you have to do shit like this? You want to give me well written female characters with no pants and very little clothing? Fine. I’ll roll my eyes and pony up. But this? This is not okay.

Perhaps the most depressing thing of all is that you can switch Aya’s costumes. There’s a loooong list of options, including a Lightning costume aaaaannnd…

Fetish wear! Because who doesn’t want to watch a maid get her clothes torn off while fighting monsters and stuff?/headdesk

>Boobs: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG (Taki)

>Sometimes it’s easier to show what’s wrong with an image by drawing directly over it, so that’s what I’m doing today. (Every once in a while, my degree in Fine Arts does serve a practical purpose…)

I know I’ve been picking on Soul Calibur IV a lot. I promise I’ll move onto other targets, but for the purposes of what I’m doing here the freakish anatomy of the Soul Calibur IV women helps me make a point a bit better.

Okay, so today I’m going to pick on Taki, the boobtacular spandex ninja:

Her boobs in addition to being unnaturally huge are also POINTY, which is just kind of freaky. There must be some serious architecture to that spandex suit that we don’t know about, because… yeah. Boobs don’t do that. So let’s go in there and do a little correcting…

Now, I didn’t make Taki small-chested by any stretch of the imagination – she’s still rocking somwehere between a C and a D cup. See the difference there? But check this out -In the designer’s quest to make Taki a walking fetish, they’ve turned Taki into something actually not human:

The red lines are how Taki was drawn, and the black are my corrections. When you compare the two, you can see that they’ve given Taki so much of an “hourglass figure” that her rib cage is practically inverting itself, as is her stomach. This begs the question, where does she keep her organs? Also, you’ll notice that I fleshed out Taki’s ass a bit. That’s not me making Taki a bit fatter, that’s me giving Taki the musculature needed to connect her legs to her torso.

Considered from this angle, this makes the Soul Calibur IV women even more disturbing. Namco has gone from fanservice-y idealized women to women that are demonstrably not human. Considering that the Soul Calibur series is aimed mostly at young men, should we be surprised if the segments of the target audience partially internalizes some of these attitudes, even if only to a small degree?

>Better character designs: Sophitia

>My plans are to make this a semi-regular feature. I won’t promise a regular schedule of these, since my muse is a fickle creature these days, but I will promise that this won’t be the last.

Okay, remember Soul Calibur VI’s freakishly proportioned jiggle-fest Sophitia? Of course you do. (Who could forget? Brr.) But just for the sake of comparison, here she is again:

If one considers that the human head weighs around eighteen pounds (thank you, Google), then it looks like she’s carrying around 54 to 72 pounds of boob around there. Just for a little perspective, guys, you can understand how difficult fighting with those bazookas would be by strapping a nine-year-old to your chest and trying to swing a sword while so encumbered. At that size, the boobs would be about as rambunctious as the nine-year-old.

So here’s my take on Sophitia as she should have been. (And apologies for the sketchiness and the somewhat ghetto coloring job. I didn’t feel like taking the time to make it a finished piece.)

(CLICK FOR LARGER VIEW)

My Sophitia is regularly proportioned, but still quite sexy. Her proportions are athletic without being waifish. My Sophitia has never had breast enlargement, and she isn’t averse to eating a freaking burger now and then.

The other huge problem besides the anatomy is the white-washing. How about the fact that she’s explicitly Greek by her story and costume, and yet she’s a paragon of Aryan beauty? Seriously, wtf? Mediterranean people are brown. (In fact, my Sophitia might not be quite brown enough. I struggled getting the right skin tone with only photos for reference.)

Lastly, I also changed her costume. If she’s a Greek warrior, why invent some bullshit faux toga for her to fight in? Why not clothe her like an actual hoplite? Hell, the hoplites pranced around with no pants on and short sleeves, so you’d have a historical excuse to put her in a fanservice-y outfit. Make the skirt on that bad boy a little shorter and you’d still be within the realm of accuracy.

So that’s Sophitia. Any suggestions on who I might tackle next?

>Jiggle Physics Has Not Been Good For Fighting Games

>Back in the dark ages when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I had a huge addiction to Soul Edge for the PlayStation 1, which later became the Soul Calibur series. I played the subsequent games – Soul Calibur 1 and Soul Calibur 2 as well. And sure there was fanservice – what fighting game didn’t have fanservice?

Okay, so sure in Soul Calibur 2 Sophitia and Cassandra’s skirts flipped up into panty shots when they moved. Whatever. The thing I love, love, love about Soul Calibur is that the gameplay is actually affected by a character’s chosen weapon style. I took enough tai chi to appreciate how Xiang Hua’s sword technique works, and I enjoy playing Seung Mina and Kilik since they use staff techniques that I learned in tae kwon do. The various martial traditions appeal to the martial arts geek in me.

But Soul Calibur 2 was the last game in the series I was able to tolerate. The fanservice was moderate in Soul Edge, a bit more in Soul Calibur, and actively irritating in Soul Calibur 2, but after that it was actively intolerable. And the most recent game, Soul Calibur 4 is downright ridiculous!

So, first of all, Soul Calibur introduces several new female characters:

(From left to right: Setsuka, Angol, and Tira) All of these characters have pretty ridiculous character designs. How exactly am I supposed to find a woman with an umbrella and platform flipflops intimidating? With those breasts and those shoes, she looks like she’s about to fall on her face. And what about Angol? What the hell is with the crotch floss and the stripper boots? And Tira’s costume can’t even be called a costume, really. It’s just a few pieces of torn fabric.So all of these are pretty bad. But what makes all of this worse is when you compare pictures of existing characters from Soul Calibur 2 and Soul Calibur 4…

So on the left, we have Sophitia from Soul Calibur 2. And yes the costume is ridiculous. She’s going to prance around in that ridiculous top with no bra and just a few pieces of string holding her in? And the built-in panty-shot physics? But as ridiculous as the Sophitia from Soul Calibur 2 is, she is still within the realm is what physically possible in a human being without surgery. She’d be a genetic lotto win, but it could still be possible.Compare that with the Sophitia on the right from Soul Calibur 4. We’ve gone from “extremely improbably but still possible” to absolute abomination. Her breasts are twice as large as her head, for Christ’s sake!

We see pretty much the same thing with Cassandra in terms of proportions, but her costume has also gotten much worse as well. In the space of two games, she’s gone from supermodel in a short skirt to a total freakshow. The skirt is gone, there’s a giant cleavage-hole, and her boots have gone from ankle boots to stripper boots. And as awful as these transformations are, Sophitia and Cassandra weren’t even “sexy characters”!
(I wasn’t able to find anything showing all of Seung Mina’s costume from Soul Calibur 2.) Is the economy that bad in the Soul Calibur world that none of these women can afford to entirely cover their breasts? Do they use cloth as currency? Because what’s with this costume? This is just awful, especially since Seung Mina is one of my favorite characters. But this still isn’t as horrific as…

Taki is one of “the sexy characters”. The body paint outfit was introduced in Soul Calibur 2. Taki’s proportions on the left are definitely problematic, but the Taki on the right is just cartoonish. What woman has boobs that pointy? They’re like bazookas attached to her chest – and just look at the camel toe! I imagine she winds up pulling spandex out of her crotch after every fight.

Last we have Ivy. Ivy’s dominatrix outfit (her default, btw) was pretty ridiculous to begin with in Soul Calibur 2, but it’s gone from an outfit to a few pieces of dental floss. Her breasts are bigger than even Taki’s, and whenever you Google Soul Calibur 4 images of Ivy are usually the first ones to come up.

I just don’t get it. I mean, what about any of these women is attractive? I mean, if I was a man I’d be insulted by shit like this. Clearly the design team made a decision that big breasts move product, but do they really think that male gamers are so shallow that they’ll buy anything with huge tits all over the cover? Game developers have made that mistake before – just look at Acclaim and BMX XXX.

The really sad part is that it didn’t have to be this way. Check this out:

This is one of the new characters, named Hilde, and she’s awesome! The armor, the expression – they’re fantastic! She kicks all kinds of ass! Why couldn’t they have designed more female characters like Hilde? Why stuff the game full of walking freak shows? I really wish I could understand the decision making process here. If any of these women were real, they’d look like Maxi Mounds. They certainly wouldn’t be able to swing a weapon, much less fight effectively.

It’s disgusting, and it’s disappointing. As much as I love the gameplay of the Soul Calibur series, I’m certainly not about to buy any future games in the series. And I certainly hope that gamer men aren’t as shallow as Namco’s marketing department seems to think they are.