Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cover that up, missy!

Skip to the last quarter:

Today I’ll be posting something a bit different from usual. I want to say a few things about Irrational Games’ upcoming game Bioshock Infinite. Overall, this game looks very skilfully constructed; flavourful locations, and characters full of personality and texture. Then we have this woman, Elizabeth, who plays the female sidekick. Im horrified at this woman’s appearance! Her design, while possibly appropriate for a different game, does not fit with the rest of the world. I’ve listed off my major problems in the accompanying picture, as well as a minimalist solution.
Regardless of her role in the story, superficially, she’s sending a lot of mixed messages. Firstly, if you’ve heard her voice, (follow the youtube link and skip to the end) it’s very husky, for a young woman; That would imply maturity. In my opinion everything the voice actress sells the intended personality of the character the best. Consider Elizabeth’s face- how old does it look, in the context of a realistic world? And then there’s her assets. In the link I’ve included, her breasts actually get MORE screen time then her face! This...display confuses me. Is she a competent, complex ally? A naive shut-in, or a Halloween whore?
In a recent preview on IGN, Irrational Games mention decision making in moral grey areas, mature themes and a push to hit mature audiences. I don’t understand why they would need to squeeze sex appeal into it so clumsily, especially considering they didn’t need to for previous successes like Bioshock. Moreover this appears to be the only female character shown in the entire game!
The changes I have proposed hopefully keep in mind the ease of changing a character that so far into production. For example, I have not modified any part of the body that would influence the follow-through animation on the cloth. I would like to think the feel of the character is less confusing, and pushes it more towards “ competent ally” while maintaining most aspects of the original design. The head and eyes would be more difficult, since they animates so differently, and so often.
The likelihood of these changes being implemented are slim, considering footage has already been released in a polished, publicised way. So even if the studio was made aware of these concerns, I doubt they would make the changes.
So yes. In conclusion, the current design of Elizabeth does not fit within the feel of the rest of the game.

Gee, writing blog posts is a lot like writing essays...