Save the Boob-plate!

5 min read

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orogion's avatar
By orogion
157 Favourites

The reason for making this journal entry is because there is something that has been on my mind since the past three months. And not on my mind alone as it seems more artists are confronted with the same thing I'm about to say. While in most cases time dissipates the issue in my mind this time it is something that keeps bugging me over and over again to a point it irritates the hell out of me. Afterall it is a hot topic that has gone completely viral for many months now.

This journal entry is all about judgmental journalism, offended-by-design opinionators and the fearsome white knights that the first two bring in its wake. Surely this is something that has existed since the first written word on the internet, and for as long men could express their thoughts behind a pseudonym charade.

Recent events and a large exposure to unhealthy criticism had gotten me thinking and checking with my fellow artists. I'm sure people will say that as an artist we should learn how to deal with harsh and often unfair criticism, as if this is mandatory to being an artist. Yet at the same time artists have to be more and more careful of all those people out there we might possibly offend.

In a lot of ways you're forced to self-censorship when it comes to publishing your work.

Our kickstarter campaign for Divinity: Original Sin has gotten quite some criticism on its original poster art. Apparently it was deemed to be sexistic and women unfriendly by the way the female protagonist was portrayed: with a bare belly.

A bare belly was for some enough a trigger to send our company enough hate and threatening mails to persuade my boss to ask me to change the cover. I did, but did so reluctantly. Disagreeing wholeheartedly with the claim of the artwork being sexistic, the better half of me decided to meet "offended-by-design" people somewhere in the middle.

In the world of journalism there are channels that take an aggressive stance against everything they judge even remotely sexistic and in many instances denying the word of opposition by disabling criticism and reactions on their articles or blogs. Also blackmails in the form of "change your game art or we won't publish a single word about you." is a common behavior found among those.

Fact is, there is a strong lobby going on out there which is holding a very aggressive campaign for women in the games industry. Despite that its root is very well hidden it is recruiting a lot of followers including some big names.

The idea on itself is noble when you consider women should earn as much as men and should be treated as equal employees. And rightfully so they should be vigilant in their fight for a woman friendly work environment within the game industry.

But truth is that things are really turning to the ridicule of it: wanting to censor the game and comic book industry by setting an example of what is accepted as female character art, and what is not. Condemning Red Sonia for being scantily clad, Mario for the "save the princess" cliché to even armor designs that feature curves for the breasts. To them these forms of "objectification" belong in the past and are considered part of the fantasy of a 'certain type of boys'. (*)

What I think is even more a slap in the face of artists is the parade of charlatans behind it reinforcing this lobby and these statements by arguing game/comic art should be realistic and practical, not fashionable. Playing the realism card is totally out of place and absurd when discussing a fantasy setting. When saying that boob plates are unrealistic and a hazard to the wearer, then also fully commit to your stance that a full plate is a deathtrap in most fantasy environment and will get you nowhere.…

Similar invalid argument is comparing the same outfit of female character on male character. If you want to compare a scantily clad Red Sonja with scantily clad Conan the barbarian, do not compare it with Conan in a chainmail bikini. Obviously stated like that the latter will look ridiculous and look like you made a point, but you haven't. Instead you just compared apples to pears.

So here it is, and I'm gonna say: do not yield to this motion!

Do not self-censor your own work, your creativity!

If by all means the opposition feels change is needed, let it NOT be by oppressing others art but by just offering an alternative for those who wish an alternative.

But honestly, let me ask the question to the opposition again:

Why is for instance the attire of Nariko a problem and why is the attire of Kratos just fine?


And for those crying "objectification":

While you're at it let's just ban this also all together. I object to men being objectified like that.. tsk tsk tsk. -_-

(*) I'll make a dedicated journal entry in the near future on the various points of view this lobby is taking on the matter and question their arguments. Here are already a couple of links that show support for the lobby.………

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Voltex12345's avatar
good to know they shut down the videos that prove them wrong,
every time i find someone showing evidence, it's been deleted
WhIppIng-b0y's avatar
You work for a videogame company? Cool :) How'd you get it?
orogion's avatar
By working real hard and realising nothing is achieved without putting effort in it. Even when people tell you won't cut it, you push through and prove them wrong.

Remember, none one ever got anywhere by just wishing they had something, or by thinking others had it easier than you. And even if you fail trying, learn from you failure and try again and again. But never blame your failure on others because if you do, you'll spend your time being angry on others instead of improving yourself.
WhIppIng-b0y's avatar
Thank you so very much for your detailed and helpful response! I'll be sure to keep all this in mind!
So posting a bit later now: ive seen the same kind of nonsense arguments beeing thrown around with Original Sin 2: are you involved with that aswell? You think larian will allow themselves to be bullied this time?
orogion's avatar
Yes, I'm still involved with Original Sin 2, just as much as I was with Original Sin 1. With the only acception that I didn't do any concept art at all for this game. Larian Studios has attracted a lot of awesome concept art talent, both male and female, that did a wondeful job establishing the look for the new races and the new style of the game. In that respect, we try to stay as true as possible to the vision we all have for this game.
AnsgarTOdinson's avatar
AWESOME POST!!!  Absolutely fantastic.  I lament you were forced to censor your art.  I am a graphic novel artist myself who would rather sell less copies and be branded as smut than self censor.  Puritanical values have somehow crept into the liberal narrative and this new breed of feminism has utterly destroyed the ideas of free expression and sexual liberation.  Literally everything that feminists worked for in the past undone in one generation.  I have some videos on this topic which actually break down the history of fantasy armor and the arguments against it.  Just search for Ansgar Odinson on YouTube since it wont let me post any links
orogion's avatar
Hey man, thanks for the thumbs up. I'll definatly go check out your channel.
Diego-Dereshi's avatar
Great stuff, I just hope that boss also sees things like this now.
CrazyDave55811's avatar
The first time I heard of this entry was from a mirror of one of Internet Aristocrat's videos.  This one, to be precise:

Needless to say, but creative freedom is under threat.  I think everybody else has said it already though, so I'll spare you the repetition.
BarbarianBabes's avatar…

sexy armor ain't going anywhere.  if you don't like it, you don't have to look at it.  and brainless fools whining about games like Tera fail to understand there is plenty of sexy armor for BOTH genders, and plenty of NON sexy armor for both genders.  if sexy armor makes you flee to your safe space you have mental problems, don't blame the armor.  ART is ART.
androgydroid's avatar
the worst part about this is i very well nearly did not buy divinity: original sin enhanced edition because of the female on the front cover, because my initial thought was: female on the front cover of an rpg game and she's fully clothed? this might be a game by a rad-fem (sjw, whatever you want to call them personally).

i was standing in walmart, staring at the cover and i was honestly there for wolfenstein: the new order. i had no intention on buying anything BUT wolfenstein. but you know, i habitually blind buy games and throw cash at games for no real reason. i had never heard of divinity: original sin before that moment, at 2 am under the fluorescent lights of a dingy walmart ceiling. in that entire case of games, i saw original sin. "angry looking chick fully clothed? probably pandering to sjws" was my thought as i looked at it. it was a pretty grim moment.

i ended up buying it new, full price, for ps4 anyway.

my actual regret, however, settled in after i walked out the door with it.

what oh what had i done? i bought a game i was seriously considering may have been made to pander to the radical censorship brigade... on a whim. and, fuck me sideways, my social anxiety had gotten me to pick up the old blood, not the new order, on top of it.


that regret didn't wane until i got home and, with a sigh of relief, realised it's a good game after all.

these people are potentially making you guys lose sales, is my point.
Just want to get this out here: They are trying the same thing with Original Sin 2 now, all the old claims that its "not realistic enaugh" (same goes for female fighters in general, but hey mental gymnastics) , obviously they dont have the same issues with male armor beeing impractical in different ways.

Do not cave in to them. SJWs dont actually buy games. This trend has shown over the last few years, they only demand others to change their Art, they do not produce anything of value themselves and they wont buy things that adher to their groupthink either.

Ignore them, do not let them dictate what you can and cannot have in your game!
N7Kopper's avatar
Why don't we just use the word "feminist" here, to describe them.
That's what they are. And the sort of lies, misinformation, and stopping at nothing to silence their critics that they're doing is closely in-line with the feminists of old.
dauw's avatar
Still relevant today, I fear. Kotaku has become damn near unreadable. Grievance mongering professional victims are everywhere these days, and they're not helping women in videogames if that's what they're thinking.
RoCueto's avatar
Thanks for letting me know of one more company that doesn't desserve my money.
Avatarbriman's avatar
Just found this post after the mountain of controversies over the last few weeks. Just wanted to say I'm completely with you. Gaming is for everyone, a game is for individuals. If you don't like the design of a game then don't buy it, that is your power as a consumer, only buy what you like. I personally loved Divine Divinity, Ego Draconis and Original Sin and I hope to see many more of the franchise in the future. The problem with most of the hate groups is they want your game in their vision, which is absurd. You should be free to create whatever you like, how you like and those of us who love it will support you.
Your boobplate wasn't even that terrible. 

I can't defend the heels though. ; p
N7Kopper's avatar
Heels were useful for cavalry in real life - alongside bulky leg armour - since the horse does all the moving for you, and if you're dehorsed you're basically dead, that basically leaves your legs with two purposes - spurring your horse, and attacking your enemies when they're not in position for your gigantic spear. (or too close to shoot with your bow, or shoot reliably with your flintlock, or whatever) A high heel will help that kick become a stabby or slashy kick. Sure, it won't be useful often, but there's no real drawback.

For foot soldiers, on the other hand? Best suited for settings where there are dragons and spells and things.
orcus86's avatar
I'm with you.
Stranger59's avatar
Nearly two years later and we're still fighting this fight. Thanks for your thought out words, and I'm sorry you were forced to chance your art. Maybe if we all band together, next time you won't have to.
emikochan13's avatar
I doubt sexy armour is going anywhere. It's supply and demand.
Now with #Gamergate in full swing, could you please have a talk with Swen? 

I and other people NEED to know exactly what kinds of outlets made statements like "change your game art or we won't publish a single word about you." .

We don't want this sort of thing to happen to other developers. I'm sure you guys don't, either.

Please, share the truth with the people who support your products.
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