6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist Costumes

Video games feature more scantily-clad women than a ladies' gym changing room, and worse excuses than a cameraman hiding there in the corner. The average male hero's costume could outfit an entire football team of female characters, and then the designers would replace the field with a mud-wrestling pit during a rainstorm and a particularly jiggly earthquake. Which would still be fine if they were making Jiggly Mud-Wrestling 2016. But instead we get ridiculous bullshit about how issuing women three shoelaces as a uniform is nothing to do with sex.

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Metal Gear Solid V: Quiet

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesKonami

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The Costume:

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesKonami
Her gun gets more cloth for its holster

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Metal Gear Solid V is set in 1984. Most '80s action heroes wore more cloth on their foreheads and biceps than Quiet does on her entire body.

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The Excuse:

Creator Hideo Kojima crowed that her costume's explanation was so good it would make people feel bad about mocking him.

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesHideo Kojima
Translation: "I'll show you. I'll SHOW YOU ALL (her tits)."

The explanation? Quiet was burned almost to death. Great start! She only survived thanks to parasites making her photosynthesize and breathe through her skin. She must remain nearly naked at all times, or she'll suffocate. And if she ever speaks English, the parasites will start multiplying to kill her and every other English speaker in the world.

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Why That's Bullshit:

She can totally wear clothes.

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesKonami
"What, this old thing?"

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You can research the "Gray XOF" suit, but it's expensive, occurs late in the game, and requires that you watch Quiet being tortured in a bikini. You need "Quiet's Examination Report," which comes from a cutscene in which she's black-bagged, manacled, heavily electrocuted, and chemically burned in her boobkerchief.

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesKonami
Kojima brings his perfect woman clothes-shopping

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This costume isn't a cheat or DLC; it's researched the same way you get new guns and tools. You can absolutely clothe Quiet, but Kojima wanted to make sure you took a good long look at her jiggling in agony first.

It's more kinds of bullshit than an organic fertilizer research station. If she has to expose skin, why doesn't she know about sports bras or swimsuits? Why don't we have any burly dudes infected by the parasites marching into combat in posing pouches? Because you can equip Big Boss, the main character, with the same parasites to gain special abilities. Let's see how that looks.

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesKonami
That doesn't look like a mankini.

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Huh. And there was a photosynthetic guy in Metal Gear Solid 3, set 20 years earlier. Let's see how he dressed:

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesKonami
Still no Ram-Borat thong.

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It's almost as if the guys don't need to get naked.

Kojima's excuse is so much worse than a girl soldier just giggling that the armor doesn't go with her high heels. At least that kind of character makes her own choices, enjoys herself, and is allowed to talk without ruining the world. If there's a Nobel Prize for misogyny, Kojima just won it. The only reason Quiet doesn't yell "FUCK THIS" is because she was designed by a man. Who was thinking the exact same words while doing so.

5
Soul Calibur V: Ivy

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesNamco

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The Costume:

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesNamco
This is the most she's ever worn, and it still looks like she's already lost most of a blade fight.

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Ivy is the most infamous Soul Calibur combatant -- the woman who arrives for bladed combat despite looking like she could be popped by a pointed stare. And being almost explicitly designed to attract exactly that.

The Excuse:

By Soul Calibur V, Ivy is 49 years old in the series' world. Why does she still look like she's generating her own gravity instead of sagging under it? Because the evil Soul Edge is keeping her young.

Why That's Bullshit:

The Soul Edge is a daemon sword soaked in blood which infects its wielder's mind to turn them violently insane. This cursed blade is the crux of every character's quest, and has done nothing for four games but murder, drive people insane, and corrupt them with evil power. It transforms characters into daemonic monsters, and even major series antagonists.

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesNamco
The Soul Edge: a huge fleshy wrinkled prong with a big eye on one end.

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Apparently, the evil blade of endless horror part-times as a plastic surgeon's scalpel for Ivy. Because she's needed for advertising.

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesNamco
Yes, this looks like something a giant penis would craft

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It could not be more obvious that they drew Ivy's chest in first, then thought "Uhh, it was magic," then realized they actually had a magic thing and genuinely thought that counted as a good idea. The developers also describe how Ivy's new costume means she's become "motherly." Presumably because after a round of bouncing combat, she'd be able to dispense enough milkshakes for everyone playing.

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Xenoblade Chronicles X: Lin

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesXeno

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The Costume:

In Xenoblade X, the only acceptable clothes are fetish outfits, swimwear, and giant robotic battle suits. Which would be awesome if it wasn't for Lin, the 15-year-old prancing around in booty shorts and a top so cropped she could undergo major heart surgery without taking it off.

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesXeno
"Hi! Welcome to Super Creepy Robo Fighter!"

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The Excuse:

The excuse here is that it's still better than the original. The Lin you just saw is from the Western release. In the original Japanese version, she's 13 years old and wears this instead:

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesXeno
"Konnichiwa! You are already under arrest."

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Even Lin's voice actress was happy with the change. I repeat: Even the fictional character's actress is glad she put some clothes on.

Why That's Bullshit:

The Western version is unquestionably better, but the question is still, "How much naked child can we sell without getting arrested?" Because 15 is still felony-grade underage, and the "improved" top still looks like someone used a pervert's eyes to aim spray paint.

Why not make her 18? Or put more clothes on her? Because this game is marketed on fetishes, including catgirls, amazons, schoolgirls, and nurses-wearing-one-medical-eyepatch (which I'm guessing is attractive to guys who know they could only even talk to girls who can't see them coming). And on that big list of fetishes, Monolith Soft really wanted to tick off "underage schoolgirl."

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Ar Tonelico Qoga: Every Magic User

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesBanpresto

The Costumes:

The cast of Ar Tonelica Qoga: Knell Of Ar Ciel are adventuring to save their world with the power of magic!

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesBanpresto
D'aww, magical adventures!

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Magic which VAPORIZES LITTLE GIRLS' CLOTHES.

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesBanpresto
I really hate the "goddammit, Japan" joke, but goddammit, Japan.

The Excuse:

"Reyvateils" are an artificially-created race designed to utilize "Song Magic." They're only ever women, because the Y chromosome suppresses their racial powers. They absorb song magic power transmitted by "Song Servers," so the more skin they expose, the more power they can harness.

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Why That's Bullshit:

The game reveals its focus (on child-stripping) with the male "Vanguards." These bodyguards can also lose their clothes to wield their giant swords, which is not a euphemism. But the blokes just burst out into boxer shorts in a second and charge forward.

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesBanpresto
Most guys have had nights like this

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The girls get extended stripping sequences which take minutes to tease through each stage of the process. This isn't just a clip, but a multi-level "purge sequence" which requires the player to stare at the screen, grip the controller, and hit the shoulder buttons or shake it at the right times. Because even the game feels bad about this and wants to keep your hands busy. Or it's helping them practice their movements.

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For those who wisely didn't play that:

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesBanpresto
There's a full minute of this.

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And that's a moderate clip. There's a girl who ends with a "bounce" only detectable by pediatricians and arresting police officers. Let's be very honest: This was made by men upset that there wasn't time to finish wanking during the Sailor Moon transformation sequences.

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Halo: Cortana

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesBungie

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The Costume:

This AI started as a cool and sarcastic holographic commander, and as the series progressed, she turned into an animated pinup. Master Chief's computer filled up with pornography faster than a teenager's first laptop.

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesBungie
First Halo: "I command you to kick ass!"

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesBungie
Halo 4: "Or just stare at my tits. Whatever."

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The United Nations Space Command HR departments can't do anything because she's put them into an infinite loop. Every time they open their computers to file a complaint, they have to file another one.

The Excuse:

This one comes right from the horse's ass. Here's franchise director Frank O'Connor talking to GamesRadar:

"She's not really nude ... but that's what it makes you think of ... So one of the reasons she [chooses to appear without clothes] is to attract and demand attention. And she does it to put people off so that they're on their guard when talking to her and she has the upper hand in those conversations."

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Why That's Bullshit:

She was a user interface for a human light cruiser, not an offensive weapon. Designing a ship's operating system to sexually intimidate its users is bullshit sexy fanfiction, not a plot justification. Frank's saying that in the future, warships install Windows 50 Shades of Gray.

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist Costumesg-stockstudio/iStock/Getty Images
Both are badly written, frustrating, and made someone lots of money.

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Cortana was never intended to directly face an enemy. The whole first game's plot was running and fighting like hell to make sure she never even MET an enemy, because her data was far too important to fall into enemy hands -- or rather, claws and pseudopods, because Earth's enemies in Halo are insectoid aliens and a fungal species. If Cortana was meant to be sexually intimidating them, she'd have a mandibles seductively stroking hyphae tissues.

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesES3N/iStock/Getty Images
Or appearing like this would have terrified them

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If Earth tech is using sex as weapon, then why doesn't Master Chief's armor have a belly top and Batman & Robin-grade moulded Master-nipples?

1
Bayonetta

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesPlatinum Games

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The Costume:

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesPlatinum Games
Weird, not one of the other characters so far has been smiling

Bayonetta dresses like a human-giraffe hybrid took up goth stripping. She fights enemies with high-heel guns to bring a whole new level to ass-kicking. The longer her attack combo (or the greater the demon she summons) the more clothing she removes. But she never quite gets naked, giving a whole new meaning to ass-ymptotic.

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesPlatinum Games
The only combination conditioner advert / action movie

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Bayonetta is what happens when you get God of War without the desperate insecurity. She still strips off to eliminate everything she encounters, but does it with a genuine sense of enjoyment instead of yelling to try to make herself feel big enough.

The Excuse:

She uses her magical hair to create clothes and conjure attacks. The more hair used for an attack or to summon a demon, the less hair left to cover her body.

Why That's Bullshit:

Bayonetta's ridiculous excuse is that it's not an excuse at all, which is brilliant. The only bullshit here is how it highlights every other developer for the cowards they are. When asked about the sexiness, developer Hideki Kamiya told 1UP:

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"So the whole, the theme of her attacks is 'sexiness.' So, when I was working on Dante's theme, his theme was 'Coolness,' and Viewtiful Joe's theme was 'Beauty.' ... What I want her to do is to use that little space to make herself look sexy."

See, every other developer? How hard was it to admit that you just want sexy? Or is that the wrong question in this context? Platinum Games deliberately and blatantly made their character as sexy as possible. And more importantly, they didn't then patronize everyone in the world by claiming that "guy in full battle plate, woman in two bandanas" was anything but blatant pandering.

6 Ridiculous Excuses Game Designers Gave For Sexist CostumesKonami
"Listen, medically-silenced woman, this is completely equal and not sexist at all!"

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There's nothing wrong with sexiness. There's everything wrong with sexism. Those are different things! And a huge part of sexism is pretending that the one-sided, one-flavor, cis straight guy idea of sexiness is some kind of neutral normal. "Totally blatantly about staring at simulated tits" is absolutely fine if you're honest about it. In fact, that's the entire design document for Dead Or Alive Extreme 3. It's only a pity there isn't an equivalent game about burly lumberjacks and Greek statues of ballet dancers struggling on an island based on lumberjacking and working in a body oil factory. Yet. But there will be, and it will make money.

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If developers would just admit they like looking at naked bodies, they might realize other people do too. Then add a few more options. And then they'd have even more fans, and everyone would be enjoying the sexiness together. Instead of insisting that straight male sexual preference is a fundamental force of the virtual world transmitted exclusively by hard-ons.

Luke has a website, tumbles, and responds to every single tweet.

Get more sex-obsessed video games in The 5 Most Ridiculous Ways Video Games Tried To Be Sexy, and find out why some games should be rated "J" for jerk-off material in 5 Video Game Ratings That Would Be More Accurate.

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