Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Male Fantasy Fanservice

or: What do women want to see men wearing in fantasy games? (Brought up elsewhere but my answer was long so I thought I'd post it here)

other than the obvious disclaimer of my being only one woman rather than All Women Want This:

In games or game situations that aren't actually about fighting, I can possibly enjoy bare chests and flowing manes. Or if the game art style is such that everybody male and female alike is bounding around in next to nothing, I'm actually okay with that. But for the most part if there's a battle I want my boys in armor.

_Pretty_ armor. There are all sorts of ways to make armor attractive. Details, color, gleaming expanses of metal... I hate having to put Alistair in the ugly old early-game chainmail, which iirc is brown and lumpy and looks poorly modeled. But I feel guilty making him battle naked until I can find him something prettier to wear. :) There is some amusement value in making characters that you know you're about to kill off for plot reasons fight naked, but that's different.

Helmets are generally a bad idea from a design perspective because they cover faces and making a helmet look really good requires more effort and detail than the game engine people are likely to want to put into something as minor as a helmet. Like, you know, plumes. And jewels. And enameling. This is a cool helmet. So is this. So even though it's kinda stupid to go into battle with your head uncovered, from a visual perspective I don't want to stick an ugly pot on the head of my hero. Unless he's already hideous and I'm covering that up. Some of the DA helmets were terribly embarassing. Maybe a toggle to make them invisible, so I can know it's there for stat purposes but not have to see it?

In games with plot, it might be nice if my heroes also had a completely separate out-of-armor outfit to wear for going around town, and options to dress them up in these things. Part of me still loves old romance novel covers, tight pants, frilly open-chested shirts, and all. It is likely to be too much hassle to make the player actually take off the armor and put on the display clothes - it might be best to have them all on the paperdoll at the same time. Then either the game engine can pick what's relevant, so you're automatically displayed in civilian clothes when walking through the palace (this only works if combat and civilian life are strictly segregated though) or again a sort of toggle so that you can choose to SEE your character in these clothes while still having the stats from the armor.

I like men with hair. Long beautiful hair. Or at least SOME hair. No shaved marines for me. :)

In games that aren't about slugging through the battlefield I am happy with bishonen everywhere, in bizarrely overcomplicated final fantasy clothing!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for responding to my question! Speaking as a guy, I'd like to see a lot more of what you mention in games. Good male hairstyles in RPGs are definitely in short supply. I understand that those flowing locks are a big drain on resources, but that isn't an excuse for rubbish hair.

I love the idea of having clothing for walking around town. Even better would be game mechanics based around wearing different clothes, like some places refusing to let you in wearing full plate.

Absolutely agree with the colourful, enameled armour. I don't know if you've read any of the "A Game of Thrones" books, but they contain some fantastic descriptions of ornate armour that uses enamels and different metals.

David said...

I can't stand helmets that cover the face too! It makes them look so impersonal, like stormtroopers. Fine for grunts going to battle in the thousands, not so much for charismatic RPG characters.

Mindy said...

Ha ha! I suppose this is where I can confess that one of the things I loved about Kingdom Hearts was that the characters would get different outfits as they visited different worlds? And that you could actually see the differences in the various Keyblades as Sora was walking around?

Lexington Alexander said...

So many helmet haters! Come on, there must be some people out there with a helmet fetish!