In many ways The Witcher 2 is very much my shit, and in other ways it’s very much not. Specifically, the visual design of the game’s female characters stands out as pretty amazingly awful in a medium known for insanely awful female designs, and by itself was enough to override the good points and put me off getting the next game. You never know though, the developers might have received a lot of feedback regarding their character design and the next game might be more sensible. It could happen, right? So I kept an eye out for news on the game, especially for any clips or pictures featuring female characters. So far, results have been less than wholly encouraging:
To my surprise, there was a brief discussion about this in the Something Awful forum’s thread on the game, though it ended up going exactly how you might think it did:
1: “she actually has story reasons for favouring fashionable dress over practicality, read the books” This is a rare case of that excuse actually being semi-justified. In, say, Mass Effect, a female character might be designed to look sexy because she’s a sex option for the player character, and they then come up with a backstory so fans can say “it’s not sexist, things X Y and Z about her character cause her to look like that.”
baby got backstory
But there is the germ of a point in this case, since The Witcher is legit based on a series of books. Of course that germ is wiped away immediately by the fact that the books were written by a man, but it’s still the best response in favour of rebuttal to complaints about CD Projekt’s character design. Let’s try a worse one:
2: “I think they handled female characters quite well, especially by video game standards. Plenty of the prime movers of the plot are powerful women.” This also has hints of a point- sure, the sorceresses in the game are all manipulative witches scheming to take over the world but then there are a bunch of scheming men who already rule the world and are frankly assholes about it, so it’s hard to see the sorceress conspiracy as especially evil. Still, even ignoring the fact that the main female character is kidnapped offscreen three times, this is just a deflection since a character’s agency within the plot is separate from their visual design. Sabrina Glevissig was impressively resourceful in her method of spilling her own blood with her hands bound so she could curse Henselt, which has nothing at all to do with the fact that she’s dressed like this:
Philippa Eilhart usurped control of a successful populist revolution, not to mention a dragon, pic entirely unrelated:
She usurped control of the leader of the revolution by using a magical kiss, of course. Here’s a couple of male mages for reference:
Look how fucking wrapped up they are in duffel coats and cloaks and shit! It boggles my mind that, never mind the cleavage, they looked at the male mages and the female mages and saw how different they look, to the point that it’s literally impossible to tell from visuals alone that they’re male/female counterparts, and said “good, exactly how we want it.”
Plus there is no nude model for Geralt, the main character of the game who can have sex with a few of the female characters and remains in his knee-length boxer shorts the entire time. You know who there is a nude model for? Said female characters, who are all entirely smooth and hairless down below. The same people who defend the treatment of women in the game or the total lack of non-white characters with “that’s how it was” in the era of history the game’s setting is analagous to, don’t seem to be vocally bothered by the fact that all the medieval Slavic women are waxing on the reg.
anyway, I was going to try to write a structured blog post but it kind of turned into a rant, so I’ll just end with one post that really bothered me.
3: “If you have a problem with women being sexualized and being damsels in distress, I have to wonder if you ever see ads/commercials, TV shows or movies, haved played any other RPG game ever, or anything anywhere involving women or stories, because uh, I have news for you.”
Sexism has completely saturated and pervaded every facet of entertainment media -> X -> there’s no need to talk about it.
i don’t care if it’s a only a joke, please don’t make comments about how someone’s choice of field of study isn’t going to take them anywhere because it can be a great source of stress and your joke won’t help.
also, destroy the idea that we should only pursue…