Vague Talk About Character Models in Space

Over the weekend there was a beta stress test for an MMO. This MMO takes place in space. People who participated in this beta are not allowed to discuss what they saw under pain of not being invited to any more betas, and also the taint of being unprofessional.

I myself have nothing against a bit of professionalism, even in the more laid back world of blogging. Sometimes, though, I bet someone participates in a beta and finds the whole experience quite good and something they would recommend to friends, except there is one aspect that is so overwhelmingly terrible that it is hard to ignore.

Way back in February I wrote a post titled “Not Feelin’ the WildStar Character Models”. While many months have passed since that post was published (and a lot of people have disagreed with me since then), everything I have recently seen of WildStar has just furthered my concern, particularly with the lady characters.

aurin1 Vague Talk About Character Models in Space

See that bunnygirl? That’s one of the official shots of the Aurin, a race of animal people who love nature. Notice how she has a big bust, an irrationally tiny waist, and big hips (and one can assume a booty to match). Also notice how her neck is really really long, which is unrealistic but a legit stylistic choice.

So a bunnygirl race is pretty silly, but diversity and choice are good and that includes having a sex bomb option, right? But what if… the women of every race had the same proportions? What if the zombie ladies, and the robot ladies, and the rock ladies all also had the exaggerated hourglass figure and really long neck? And what if the female version of every single race waggled her butt while she ran? Why, that wouldn’t be very much diversity at all, would it?

I got a bit of pushback about the idea of similar character shapes when I wrote that post back in February, so let me give an example from a game that I am sure most of us have played at some point: WoW.

gnomewow2 Vague Talk About Character Models in Space

This cute lil’ gnome has a bust-line but is pretty boxy around the waist and has straight hips.

pandalady2 Vague Talk About Character Models in Space

This pandaren lady has larger hips and a larger bottom, as well as being stockier overall than the gnome.

drannielady 248x500 Vague Talk About Character Models in Space

This draenei lady has a much larger bust than the other two, proportionally.

A game that seems quite good in both mechanics and lore is a pretty special thing, but that specialness would be severely impacted for me if I had no option but to play a sex bomb lady with a tiny waist who waggles when she runs. Playing such a game might feel as though little thought was put into the character models themselves, even if they have a neat backstory or environment. It certainly might feel as though the game devs had never even considered the lack of diversity in female models.

Those are the kinds of thoughts someone might have after playing a game in beta this past weekend, and I bet they would want to talk about it and maybe even spread the word that this game is really fun but could be a lot more appealing if the models were tweaked before launch.

Maybe.

Author: Jessica Cook

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7 Comments

  1. From the images I’ve seen, such as: http://oyster.ignimgs.com/ve3d/images/09/16/91621_WS_Aurin02.jpg http://jolstatic.fr/www/captures/648/2/59312.jpg and http://img.4plebs.org/boards/tg/image/1370/73/1370733419318.jpg

    I suspect the body shape art trend is going to stick to sex bomb w/ tiny waist + waggle. I like the cartoony style, but designers really need to learn that “cartoony” is not a blanket excuse for “Lets make every female character a supermodel”
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  2. Well, and that mechari medic model just makes me want to gag (Wildstar’s official page, >Classes>Medic>Mechari image. Robot nurse! Robot. nurse. with hearts for eyes, wearing a robo-skirt.

    The engineer female models have a similar problem (again, on the official website), with one _possible_ exception. Does anyone have a shot of a female Chua?

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    • Female Chua don’t exist. Or, rather, they are the same as male Chua – I think they’re intended to be androgynous.

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      • Yeah, after I posted this I started looking around and watched https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bQxAcfxfwg . It’s interesting that they’re meant to be “androgynous”, because I agree with some of what’s been said that they read heavily male to me in almost all of their configurations.

        Moustaches? Beards? Goatees? Check. And while obviously some of these features could, in an alien race, not be indicative of sex at all, in the mileau that Wildstar has (sexy robots, etc), they’re clearly gendered, and clearly male.

        An all-male race wasn’t _quite_ what I was hoping for, needless to say. And it’s amusing (and obvious) that, since they couldn’t figure a way to make female Chua Mrs. Sexy Smallwaist, they just… disappeared them.

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        • That last comment was me, but Liore changed her comments and my info didn’t get saved like it used to.

          Anyway, yeah, I agree. The Chua definitely do read heavily male, which is unfortunate. I actually don’t hate that explanation in concept – it worked okay in my head for Lord of the Rings, even though the movies (at best) didn’t address it – and a truly alien creature race is a good place for that to happen.

          But given the context, here, it’s hard to see it any other way than what Orpho said: they built the (default) male chua and then couldn’t figure out how to femininize(?) it properly. Although, I guess a part of me is glad that they didn’t just throw boobs on the model and call it a day.
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