Sunday, 6 July 2014

Artix Entertainment review, Part 4.0 (NSFW)

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First section: Click here.

Disclaimer: This post (and the next) might not be safe for work. Nothing explicit in the images or links, though.

4.0 Fanservice and Its Overuse in AE
This section describes fanservice as used in two Artix Entertainment Games, AQWorlds and OverSoul. Fanservice refers to content that is added to please fans. This includes random musicals to pander to audience members that would like a Broadway  experience. In common parlance however, it refers to erotic content such as skimpy clothing or suggestive scenes, regardless of whether it is appropriate for the situation or character in question.

4.1 “Sacrifice personality for looks? Sure.”
AQWorlds has been a vehicle for fanservice since its creation in 2008. The main reason is because the former lead artist, Miltonius a.k.a. Nulgath, had made an explicit web series before being hired by AE. His style of drawing young women as very young girls with large breasts and no hips was accepted at first, along with his revealing designs.

2008 male Mage.
2008 female Mage.

Where men had full coverage in their armors from neck to knees, women had to make do with skirts that exposed their legs, leotards that emphasized their lordosis and too-childish-physiques, and contend with drag-queen makeup. It wasn't until several players protested the portrayal of women in the game that AE finally decided to do something about it. For a few years after 2010, armors were less skimpy compared to the previous standards set by the game.

Although AQWorlds has been slightly better at armor coverage in recent years, Nulgath chose to continue his drag-queen look in OverSoul, believing that the game's mature rating would allow him to indulge in distorted fantasies. Examples include a Light Fairy and a tutor NPC. Below is a typical face with Nulgath as the makeup artist:

Too much: a) eyebrow penciling, b) dark lip liner, c) eyeshadow, d) mascara.
The first change in AQWorlds' attitude towards fanservice after 2010 comes in the form of Gravelyn's makeover by Diozz, a recently hired artist as of this post. Gravelyn is a major character in the game, being the new leader of the Shadowscythe and holding opposing views to Alteon, the king of Swordhaven. Her makeover reduced her armor from a long-sleeved bodysuit with armor plates and thigh high boots to an armored tube top, a loincloth (possibly without undergarments), and plenty of exposed flesh for the weakest of reasons.

Casual Grave
"Do we really have to remove this much?"


The game claims that Gravelyn currently dresses like a club dancer in order to appear weak, but this simply looks like AE forgot that female villains do not necessarily have to dress like strip dancers in order to be strong or attractive, nor to put on an act. Even Diozz's explanation that Gravelyn's armor can transform into a full bodysuit in combat appears to be a last minute excuse. Under the assumption that neither version of the new armor provides a padded layer to cushion the metal, Gravelyn would be feeling pinched in a number of places!

There was also a time in the Doomwood storyline when Noxus made sexually-charged advances towards Gravelyn, reaching its peak when he forced her to wear an outfit that directly referenced Leia's slave outfit.

Other AQWorlds non-player characters (NPCs) have been revamped, but none to the borderline explicit appearance of Gravelyn. The so-called justification that Gravelyn grew up still looks like a double standard where women have to be sexually enticing and bare a lot to be attractive, especially for female villains.

Next section: Fanservice in another AE game.

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