Controversy Over ‘Erotic’ Character Design For ‘Metal Gear Solid V’
While overly sexualized images of women are common place in video games, a recent request from a prominent video game creator to make more “erotic” characters has caused quite a stir.
“Metal Gear Solid” creator Hideo Kojima recently tweeted that he encouraged art director Yoji Shinkawa to design the characters for the upcoming “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” to be more “erotic”. One of those characters, and the prime example used in the backlash, is known as “Quiet”, a female sniper who is set to have a prominent role in the game. Quiet’s outfit consists of a bikini, torn fishnet leggings, and minimal tactical gear.
David Ellis, a game designer at 343 Studios, the studio responsible for the highly successful “Halo” franchise, tweeted his distaste for the designs,
“Don’t care if this gets me in trouble. This character design is disgusting. Our industry should be better than this.” (Followed by a link to the picture of Quiet posted below.)
In a roundtable discussion, Kojima clarified his artistic direction, saying he used the wrong word,
“Maybe the phrase ‘erotic’ wasn’t really correct with what I was trying to say,” Kojima said. “What I’m really trying to do is create unique characters. One is, of course, Quiet, she’s a really unique character.” We wanted to add that sexiness. It wasn’t very erotic, but, more of the sexy.”
Shinkawa also added that he feels the idea of “sexy” doesn’t solely pertain to humans in video games,
“It’s not just the characters, but often I look at a character or vehicle and feel, ‘wow, that’s sexy.’”
Stefanie Joosten, the actress providing the likeness, motion-capture, and voice for Quiet also commented on Quiet’s design, saying it took her off guard at first,
“Of course I was surprised by Quiet’s outfit at first, but, you know, it fits in the Metal Gear universe, I think.”
“I don’t think I’m allowed to say a lot about it,” she said, “but Mr. Kojima has his reasons for deciding, and Quiet has her reasons for what she’s wearing.”
Lara Croft from the “Tomb Raider” series has always been the poster child for the sexualization of women in video games, but even the overly busty Croft never wore anything as skimpy as Quiet’s outfit. For years now the argument for sexy women in video games is that video games are designed for and marketed towards males, but that is a terrible excuse. Doctor Nerdlove wrote a terrific piece about this subject, “Nerds and Male Privilege“.
How do you feel about such character designs in a video game? Is “It’s created for men” a justifiable excuse to use overly sexualized female characters in a setting where the male characters are completely covered?