Avoid fanservice graphics
In too many video games, women are portrayed as scantily-clad, cleavage-showing, supermodel-waisted objects of fanservice than actual people. I'm all for real-life women dressing any way they please, including flaunting sexiness if they want to - but I'm very much against the video game industry continuing to reinforce images of women varying from "unrealistic" to "just this side of soft porn".
From what I've read, I'm guessing this is your intent, but it's something I wanted to call out - especially because the illustration of the female jack at http://shannagermain2.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/why-i-love-building-the-ninth-world/ still portrays a lot of the standard objectification tropes. Cleavage in an arctic clime? Heels that high for running and sneaking? The twin straps converging down to the crotch? It's much more understated than many games would do - a step in the right direction - but make no mistake, it's still there.
(And yes, I've read Shanna's comment: "And my argument would be: because it’s her choice." My counterargument: sure, it's entirely plausible that that's her choice. But this woman is being presented as an iconic image, and the "choice" she has made (as actually chosen by the artist) reinforces classic sexist tropes in video games and art - merely less badly than it otherwise could. If those tropes didn't exist, and didn't feed into real-world problems, I wouldn't bat an eye at the picture - but they are, and they do.
Thank you for calling it out. This is something we are explicitly trying to do.
No. No way in hell. Let kids have kids' toys, let grown people have grown people toys.
The point of the graphics and story and the whole game is to be interesting. If it's sexism but it's interesting, I say let it be. If it's racism but it's interesting, I say let it be. Stop fishing for offense. Just stop it. Let developers make a quality story, whatever it will be. I'm a grown woman, I can deal with some insulting content if the story is worth it, and I refuse to be denied it if some can't.
Dark Jaguar commented
Remember, sexualized men are still the minority (and let's face facts, that man in the image is not nearly so sexualized as you think, that's a "bravado" pose, not a "sexy time" pose, that is, it's STILL aimed at men). This is talking about sexism as an institution, not just one time instances. A single instance of a woman in some sexy outfit, perhaps sexy outfits are entirely new to this alternate reality leaving everyone confused, is really not a problem.
Think of it like littering. No, a single piece of garbage isn't going to ruin the world, but if everyone thought like that about their own trash, collectively it would become a big problem.
But the man right next to the woman in the picture this thread is complaining about is even more sexualized...
Personally I hate seeing people engage in combat wearing "armor" like that (unless they have a reason to, as in the case of magic-users or rogues who may try to distract people with their appearance), but to complain just about the woman and then pretend that this is some sort of horrible trope that targets females exclusively, while the context clearly demonstrates that this isn't true, is extremely disingenuous.
How about women with actually more weight on their body? I get the impression this discussion is all about big/small boobs and if/how they are or are not presented. But female bodies differ greatly and the concept of beauty remains to be subjective.
I would love to see the females ingame having a believable physique, which includes ALL varieties and nuances. Different female bodies are all beautiful in their own way and the classically voluptuous and well rounded examples are not always considered to be attractive (as in attracting).
A perfect body is actually a very boring thing if you think about it. I'd love to see a nice variety of female NPCs and a nuanced look for the PC. Hell I wouldn't bother playing an overweight/skinny female or having such a character in my group.
Wow, this discussion really is an orgy of strawmen. Obviously a touchy subject to some.
@Timespike - Good and interesting post.
@Kamos - Wasn't that a strawman as well?
While I agree style of dress is an important vehicle for showing a character's personality, there is a certain societal baseline. Most people are not over-the-top attractive. Here in the US, a lot of folks are at least a little overweight, especially those in their forties and older. Most men don't have perfect chiseled jaws and defined, muscular physiologies. Most women don't have perfect supermodel faces, long, slender legs and hourglass figures. Normal people look, well - normal.
But here's the thing: a lot of those normal-LOOKING people are anything but normal acting. Look up some of the great achievers in any field you chose - they don't always LOOK like anything special. General David Petraeus - a solid military commander whatever you think of him personally, has "dumbo ears" and a kind of haggard-looking face. Albert Einstein looked like a Koala. Marie Curie looked like just a typical middle-aged mom. Even Teddy Roosevelt was portly and had a squeaky high-pitched voice.
These are/were all extremely notable, formidable people. And yet they weren't massively physically attractive and idealized looking. Neither, by the way, is your average person with a doctorate, your average multiple black belt or your average SWAT team member.
Sure, sometimes people who are notable in other ways are also very physically attractive (Hedy Lamar and JFK spring to mind) but not always; not even usually. Rather than veering toward the sexiness end of the spectrum or the mannequin/burqa end, why not try to figure out what "normal" looks like in the ninth world and dress people of both sexes in THAT? That will probably mean some people (including some you really wish WEREN'T dressed that way) dressed provocatively (I certainly see lots of women ages 16-35 dressed in revealing/tight/alluring clothing) but it will also mean a the overwhelming majority of people just dressed in whatever the 9th world's equivalent of jeans and a t-shirt is.
Why? Most people, even very sexual people, do not go about their daily lives in evening dresses and lingerie. They might pick clothing that's a little tighter or more revealing than the norm, but unless they make their living taking that clothing off, they're going to wear stuff that stays on and stays comfortable.
Furthermore, no matter HOW sexual a woman who fights for a living (or as part of her living, like a police officer) is, the combat efficacy of her wardrobe is going to trump its sexiness, because anything else will get you killed.
What I'd argue is the most desirable state of affairs for a game like this one is a world that feels real. And that's going to mean an awful lot of people who don't look idealized. It'll also mean most people won't be over-the-top hideous, either, by the way.
In a serious game designed to tackle heavy philosophical themes like abandonment and a person's legacy, it doesn't make much sense for everyone to look like the cast of Baywatch OR the cast of a circus sideshow. It makes the most sense for people to look like normal people, some of whom are attractive, some of whom aren't, and most of of whom are somewhere in an ambiguous sea of "personal taste" in the middle with respect to their looks. Average-looking people shake the real world to its foundations all the time and have been doing so throughout recorded history. What's wrong with wanting a game where they can do the same as a change of pace?
"Thank you for calling it out. This is something we are explicitly trying to do." what does that mean? What is wrong with the art? NOTHING! I cannot even call it fan service. I am also, keep your political agendas out of games camp!
What absolute double standards, did you even look at that concept art? the man shows ten times more skin
Either way, please don't make a political agenda so incredibly low-brow a theme in this game. The torment setting isn't SUPPOSED to be ideal. If there was slavery in this game, no one would think the game promoted slavery either. In the same manner, I really don't want this extremely dishonest pseudo-feminism to limit the teams artistic range
Of all the games out there a spiritual successor to Planescape Torment is the last one I'd worry about being hampered with lame fanservice. I really don't care much at all about concept art, what matters is the final product of course and these characters will be presented in an Isometric View with a character portrait, ultimately the way we think about these characters will be left in the imaginations of the player due to the imposed visual limits of the genre.
This game is aiming well above the classical DnD fare and going to be a very cerebral thought provoking game. Thus I trust the artists at InXile to put major thought into every decision in the game. If a woman has cleavage it's going to surely reflect her personality. Whether she wears simple robes, a ceremonial gown like the Lady of Pain, or a seducing outfit it will show what type of character she is.
This isn't Dead or Alive, shameless fanservice would almost have no place in such a game, I trust them to make the best decisions for this game.
I have to say I really hate the term "tropes", people use it as an insult, soullessly categorizing every plot detail in a story for some strange sense of authority. If Numenera shows sexism it would be quickly called out and criticized for it, this post frankly is nitpicking.
Please do it. It'd be so refreshing not to have to see grotesque oversexualization in a game, for a change.
Please stop trying to harangue artists into carrying your political agenda into the real world.
Devs, please remove this suggestion. I don't want the game I pledged $100 of my hard-earned cash to become a trojan horse for radical and divisive political ideals.
I think all female characters should be wearing a burqa at all times. Female skin is sexist and anti-feminist. Also, no female character should ever be portrayed as sexy or attractive, since that's just blatant patriarchal objectification. All females should be fat and deformed to express their independence from society's cruel and misogynist ideals.
Males should be allowed to be hot and walk around naked, though. After all, who doesn't love some beefcake?
It's funny that people argue against the idea of avoiding fanservice by invoking Bioware when Bioware is one of the biggest fanservice providers in games.
I like how the woman's clothing is being criticised because she has her tits out and heels on while the guy next to her has his entire chest exposed. Please make him a big fat hairy guy instead that would be more realistic
I think there shouldn't be any part of male body visible, not even face. All characters should be fully covered in loose fabric to avoid any "fan service" if you know what I mean. As we're at it, remove all weapons and replace them with balloons, but only filled with regular air, so it won't offend gravity. Oh, and don't forget to not put ANY voices into the game, since they may strongly suggest sexual exploitation of gender, oh I mean don't put any "fan service voices". Actually, while we're at it, cover all wooden buildings to not offend trees. You know, naked wood is gross... I mean "fan service" wood, sorry for the mixup, I'm still learning my privilege.
Please leave your political agenda out of my video games, this isn't BioWare. UTTERLY removing fanservice is the opposite extreme. I don't want chainmail bikinis, but nor do I want everyone to look like Brienne of Tarth. This is an adult game, with an adult setting, with an adult narrative. There are plenty of real people that are scantily-clad, cleavage-showing, supermodels, and just as many people that aren't. I didn't shell out $130 for a tumblr-level, psuedo-intellectual, social justice blog.
Industrial Scribe commented
We should also remove violence and conflict from the game as those are bad. I think that the new torment should be a 3 hour apology for video games and make sure that "No child is left behind".
It should be U rated, aimed to be completed in an hour by a 3 year old and require no input from the player as that might offend another player.
This is the best type of CHOICE...
"Avoid fanservice graphics"... Hmm, ok, sounds reasonable...
...and then the description and comments go into feminist agenda territory. This forum is a bad joke. I did not pledge to Torment to have inXile pander to zealots who think everything is automatically improved by "not pandering to white straight males".
Damn, you know, I did NOT put money is this game to shove some political correct agenda in my games and that is EXACTLY what this is and nothing more. So what now? I guess we will not have any attractive women since that is OBVIOUSLY designed for mens sexist fantasy and suppresses women. I also guess the will women dressed up head to toe in full body clothing that is so unisex and shows no skin that your not even sure if its male or female. So much for FREEDOM to make games for fans of the old games...oh sorry, I meant only politically correct fans.
Thanks for bringing this up, and in such a polite and educational way.