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Mad toxic discourse about character art appeal

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NikhilR polycounter
So there's this recent situation on twitter which has steadily been turning into a dumpster fire and concerns the appeal of character art, and I thought to share a few threads from character artists and x users analysing the situation.

The character in question is Kay Vess, the protagonist from the Ubisoft game, Star Wars Outlaws and the discourse pertains to translating scans of human actors into character models that many feel don't come across as appealing because they have been modified for reasons of DEI making them seem less appealing (based on a variety of standards and prejudices)

Some are insisting that the character modelers are not being competent enough in execution, meaning its a techinical or skill issue that is more evident because rushed production milestones and post release downgrades.

Now art is subjective and and there is an artistic license to how the character team might interpret the scan data, if they would modify it and what influences these changes.

The character in question,
seeing the many pictures, it really is interesting to learn how light, shadow and camera angles affect a characters appearance, but the scan has definitely been altered 



This character is contrasted with characters from death stranding, which are considered much closer to their real life counterpart.



And stellar blade's eve (now considered the gold standard when it comes to female character appeal alongside Bayonetta and 2B from Nier Automata)



There's a lot of emphasis that portfolio character quality must compare to a studio and I've tried to hit that mark, but then you have situations where the studio seems to have taken a scan and modified it to make it more custom for various reasons which is then received badly by gamers.



I currently have 2 female characters I am working on and the faces of the actors are androgynous and sometimes I feel that maybe I should modify this aspect to try an find a balance between reviewers that find characters like Eve appealing and reviewers that prefer Kay's appearance?

I'm not working from scans, but is it acceptable that my model doesn't match my photo reference as long as it is appealing?

I'm assuming that ideally a studio should consider a more thorough assessment of a candidates profile and ability since the appeal aspect is widely subjective.

Maybe characters artists that worked on Kay had something else in mind and were overriden in their perspective so what really mattered was their ability to meet an expectation that was decided against their better judgement?

I do like Kay's scruffy look but I am seeing several issues with her model and lighting and don't entirely agree with several modifications to her face (like the chin cleft) 

This was one perspective that considered context,





here are some links on the matter regarding the Star Wars Outlaws character. 

https://x.com/GalacticaDrama1/status/1778037563585949818

https://x.com/Iron_Stylus/status/1778190747453555074

https://x.com/EZE3D/status/1778412785728098795

https://x.com/thicc_stick_boi/status/1777867779154288814

https://x.com/AuraStorm34/status/1778163414105247865


Sometimes I wonder if this is because there aren't that many new character artists hired, its the same ones jumping from studio to studio, so their approach to faces follows them.

And new characters artists work on retextures, clothing and assets with very little input on anatomy
(maybe this is dependent on their portfolio's I'm not sure how character work is distributed or how a senior/leads output is assessed, I'm assuming all the models above received final approval from an art director prior to release)


Or its the same outsource studios hence the quality parallels.

https://x.com/thatstarwarsgrl/status/1778162956649570497





Honestly it isn't fair to pause an animation midway and compare to matt damon puppet from team america...



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  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter
    I'm seeing this situation being complicated by the recent conflict between gamers, game devs, community managers and game journalists around DEI in videogames

    https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/sweet-baby-inc-detected-controversy

    The impact so far

    - Around 360,000 gamers will be boycotting star wars outlaws once its added to the SBI detected Steam curator list. Several other games worked on by Sweet Baby Inc have already been boycotted.

    - Elon Musk took a stand against SBI rallying several million people in favor of SBI detected, amplifying the harassment against SBI to alarming levels.

    - Most of the SBI's team has set their social media accounts to protected and are facing ongoing harassment that includes death threats and calls to fire employees. They claim support of game studios though it isn't clear how the studios plan to counter the backlash against their products.

    - Journalists (led by kotaku) and developers (various) are also facing harassment and are retaliating in a manner that doesn't come across as professional.

    - There doesn't seem to be a comprehensive PR policy in place to de-escalate. Rather this is being heralded as the second coming of gamer gate so there is more mockery and racist insults between both camps.
    See Alyssa Mercante vs Mark Kern above.

    - The resulting loss of sales revenue makes the current situation in the game industry much worse for devs.
    Several studios are releasing their first game (Unknown 9 from reflector inc) and this conduct could be a death sentence to their longevity.

    - The issue is also being connected to the War in Gaza relating the prospect of "can't be racist to white people" to "settler colonialism against palestinians."
    This was prevalent at GDC 2024 during the awards ceremony where a game openly said "fuck the idf" and "free palestine"
    https://www.vg247.com/gdc-awards-didnt-shy-away-from-industry-layoffs-gaza

    - Twitter has become a cesspool of violence, death, destruction and porn.

    - People on twitter have the worst PR I've ever seen in the professional space and very little awareness about how what they say might impact the companies they work for. There is little to no discretion or willingness to refrain from or de-escalate toxic discourse.
    The  "opinions are mine and not _______ company" really isn't doing anyone any favors.

    - Stellar Blade will likely be hugely successful and be awarded game of the year.
      
       - An article in IGN france accused the director of stellar blade of never having seen a women, only to learn that the character of Eve is based on a body scan of a Korean model with her face based on the directors wife.

        IGN put a disclaimer and tried to hide the name of the journalist behind the offending article.

    https://www.gameleap.com/articles/stellar-blade-controversy-are-attractive-female-characters-unrealistic
    https://esports.gg/news/gaming/ign-france-apology-on-stellar-blades-opinion/ (possibly NSFW because of model photo)
  • Joopson
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    Joopson quad damage
    The character doesn't really look a ton like the scan, but I think the character looks fine-- I like the character's vibe, which fits right in with the retro futurism of starwars-- and not really sure how you can "disagree" with a chin cleft. People have them, they exist. It's just a choice.

    Idk. I try not to read much about the broader gaming sphere exactly for these reasons. I just don't understand all that outrage over small artistic and/or development choices.
  • sacboi
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    sacboi high dynamic range
    ....absolutely ghastly! makes ones stomach churn
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter
    Joopson said:
    The character doesn't really look a ton like the scan, but I think the character looks fine-- I like the character's vibe, which fits right in with the retro futurism of starwars-- and not really sure how you can "disagree" with a chin cleft. People have them, they exist. It's just a choice.

    Idk. I try not to read much about the broader gaming sphere exactly for these reasons. I just don't understand all that outrage over small artistic and/or development choices.

    I'm mostly curious about why they added those changes, maybe it builds into the story of the game.
    I disagreed with it because with the game character being based on the scan of an obviously attractive actor who doesn't have a chin cleft, it really stands out and not in the most positive way.

    Like I wonder what research goes into these decisions, do they run a concept through QA and internal game testers to check if the appeal holds up or is it entirely based on the art directors discretion.

    With Eve for example, the director was very candid about the characters sexual appeal and criticised and praised for his honestly.
    In that sense I'm assuming Kay's character has more appeal beyond her physical attributes, what gamers are maintaining is why not have both (like eve)

    I too feel the character looks fine and a comparison to eve isn't warranted.
    Though technically there are problems and it doesn't hold up to Léa Seydoux's model

    Some are making it a cultural thing, I don't really agree with that but its an interesting perspective.






  • Joopson
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    Joopson quad damage
    It could be as simple as "We have a cool concept, so choose a scan model from our database to start from, and modify it to match the concept"-- for all anyone knows.

    I don't see why attractiveness on its own would even be a consideration; the vibe is the thing. Unless it's just meant to be a sexy hot character, which as artstation tells us, there's definitely a market for... but should games only strive for that kind of bowing to the masses? Clearly that's what gamers both want and reject with all their might. They want all their demands met, and no one else's.
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    Perhaps an overreliance on scans, automation, and the lack of proper perspective in Zbrush are more to blame than any conscious decision from the devs ?

    There are many, many ways a head model can go wrong - and even details as seemingly insignificant as the lack of cast shadow on a eyeball or a hairline being a few centimeters off can completely ruin a character. The tech (and expertise) to make attractive characters based on actor likenesses has been here for years though : Death Stranding came out in 2019 with development started years before that, that's about 10 years old. MGSV came out in 2015. And the characters from the RE remakes are flawless.

    This could also be a case of lack of ingame testing : maybe the priority has been given to non-realtime beauty renders for approval, as opposed to checking how the character actually behaves ingame ? Perhaps the animation system is to blame too ? Even just a lightsource being just a bit too harsh or angled just a bit too much can make a great model look bad. As a matter of fact the shot where she is lit from the front (similarly to a glam photoshoot) looks great.

    She does suffer from a case of "not quite looking like the same character depending on the angle" that's for sure - and for that, Zbrush shift-snapping to front view (which is not necessarily matching the actual front plane of the face, hence potentially causing the chin placement/depth to be completely off) could definitely be to blame.

    At the end of the day this goes to show that going full-on realistic isn't as simple as it sounds. The game would have been perfectly fine with a Clone Wars look ... and would probably have cost much, much less to produce :D
  • Joopson
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    Joopson quad damage
    Also that fable screenshot is VERY misleading. Like, the worst possible moment, which definitely doesn't look good, but even in a short trailer, there are moments that look very well done.


  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    maybe after great research it was discovered that there are more gamers who want slightly more realistic looking characters that they can relate with rather than babes or something. who knows? could be anything. 

    the people complaining that their favorite games 3d characters aren't hot enough are clearly enormous losers. Whether or not the artist job was to get a likeness and they failed, or the scan was only used as a rough base (not sure why you would bother scanning person for that, but who knows people have a lot of money to burn) and the 3d character did indeed match the intended concept, nobody but the devs would know. 

    it is definitely a lot easier to make an ugly or normal looking person compared to a beautiful one. Also a single airbrushed beauty shot is much different compared to a "real" person in motion. never looks the same. From a certain angle even I am beautiful. hehe. just got to spend a couple hours with the mirror to find that exact angle. 


  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter
    I do wonder if the games industry should take a more involved approach with fans during development.
    At the moment its very NDA limited, we never really get to see what a games development is like behind the scenes or have any real input during production.
    Like interviews with character teams would be great to follow along with the games development progress. 
    I certainly enjoyed seeing that when I was at EA, but it was confidential and I do feel that it was public, it would be well received.
    Like a studio would consider the wolverine leak as devestating from an ip/competitiveness perspective, but I really enjoyed seeing the in development footage and I'm more excited for the game as a result.

    Studios follow the film industry approach, releasing trailers to keep up the hype, so the development is very marketing focused and the marketing budget is far higher than the development one (which marketing feeds into)
    For this character, marketing should have indicated possible backlash. Maybe they have metrics that show that in the end it won't matter when it comes to revenues.

    Not saying every game should have the appeal of stellar blades character, its good if there's a healthy balance and I don't feel that this character is un appealing just that the studio is brute forcing through criticism instead of approaching the matter with PR which does may business sense.

    It is after all a star wars license which guarantees sales imo.

    At the very least PR should restrain employee participation in any toxic discourses, and there is a code of conduct for this purpose.
    I haven't yet seen any input from Ubisoft employees on this confrontational or otherwise, hopefully it stays that way until the game sees release.

    Also this trailer (criticised for the character) (Ubisoft/Massive) (official story trailer 2024)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcdKEy-aJ6o

    is being compared to this one, (seen as a cinematic, so understood to not look like gameplay) (Platige Studios) (cinematic trailer 2023)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymcpwq1ltQc 

    Which is compared to this one, (appreciated for gameplay and scope, widely understood to be a downgrade and does say that the quality isn't final)  (Ubisoft/Massive) (gameplay walk through trailer 2023)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7K2TA0bBpY

    They did the exact same thing with Beyond good and evil, though that game didn't see the light of day.
    It really seems like the story trailer release and development was purely marketing, seeing the other 2 trailers makes me wonder if it was even necessary to develop and release the story trailer.

  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter
    Recommend going through this thread, 

    https://www.neogaf.com/threads/star-wars-outlaws-main-character-already-hit-with-criticism-due-to-ubisoft-changing-actress-apperance.1669385/

    While some of the comments may come across as insulting or trolling, its a good way to understand about appeal and why this character isn't quite hitting the mark

    Going through the 3 trailers, I like the environment, the vibe and that its star wars.
    I also like her pet, but there is nothing about her that stands out (besides her chin cleft)

    She basically feels han solo with a bit of Cara dune, and its probably the appeal of the character, but its not the same feeling like this trailer.

    https://youtu.be/0GLbwkfhYZk

     I could resonate with Cal Kestis immediately, he felt very original.
    Its not because he's male or white, his purpose, motivations and personality come across very well in the trailer. The scan also translates very well to the model, I like the hair which is similar in style to what the actor sports.



    The actor for Kay keeps her hair long and away from her forehead, I only found 2 pictures of her hair in a pony.
     so I'm not understanding the choice they made for this hairstyle. It doesn't compliment her face very well.
     



    She has a nice tall forehead that sits atop trimmed eyebrows that accentuate the base like they are receiving it.
    When you take her hair parting above it fits neatly near mid and the bangs round out her face.

    The strange mop with pony at the back takes this away and makes her face appear very square.
    They have also accentuated her cheekbones, widened her jawline and chin and given the chin a very prominent cleft.

    Her eyebrows have been made more straight
    Eye shadow and eye liner are missing,

    Honestly she looks like she just got out of bed, which can be appealing to some people, but I don't see why I should root for her at all. (from the trailers)

    I also don't understand what she see's in her pet which is a bit like a salamander cat.
    She would do well with a doberman or a large pitbull, since she looks like the homeless drifters I see sitting at the subway station entrances who always have big dogs.

    They also made her a shade darker and gave her freckles which doesn't go well with her complexion
    And the hair color is brown which would have been better as black (like the actress)
  • Neox
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    Neox godlike master sticky
    They likely just wanted a certain type of character and the actress is just that, an actress acting that cg character. The intent was clearly not scanning and using her likeness 1:1, it's not intended to be the same approach as death stranding.

    What a cumbersome discussion.

  • Rima
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    Rima greentooth
    Let's be honest, most of the people bitching about it aren't going to be able to point to a technical fault or anything, because that's not their problem.

    They're just pissy they can't get their dicks hard because they're looking at female characters who weren't designed with male gaze at the forefront of their designs. It happens to every female character in big games these days that dares to diverge from that in any way. Too muscular? Face looks like a normal woman's face instead of a supermodel? Distorted expressions like rage, shouting or despair look distorted instead of looking beautiful and poised on every single frame, no matter how unreasonable and unrealistic that is? Is a PoC and looks like a PoC instead of having eurocentric beautiful features? Is Asian but dares to look like an average Asian instead of looking like a model who's most likely had a load of plastic surgery in the first place? Has an average physique instead of being super slim, or instead of having an unattainable body like one with low fat but somehow also a fat arse and big boobs?

    They say they want realism, but if you give it to them, they complain that it doesn't look enough like their fantasy. You just can't win with those kinds of people, and if you ask me, it isn't worth it to try. Gaming, and the world, would be better off without them.

    I don't really see any point carrying water for those people by trying to nitpick her design. They're not complaining because it has faults in the first place, they just don't like it because they want to go back to the "good old days" when women in video games were male fantasies.

    Also, seriously? Stellar Blade, the gold standard of female character appeal? Give me a break...

    NikhilR said:
    I do wonder if the games industry should take a more involved approach with fans during development.
    At the moment its very NDA limited, we never really get to see what a games development is like behind the scenes or have any real input during production.
    Like interviews with character teams would be great to follow along with the games development progress. 
    I certainly enjoyed seeing that when I was at EA, but it was confidential and I do feel that it was public, it would be well received.
    Like a studio would consider the wolverine leak as devestating from an ip/competitiveness perspective, but I really enjoyed seeing the in development footage and I'm more excited for the game as a result.

    Studios follow the film industry approach, releasing trailers to keep up the hype, so the development is very marketing focused and the marketing budget is far higher than the development one (which marketing feeds into)
    For this character, marketing should have indicated possible backlash. Maybe they have metrics that show that in the end it won't matter when it comes to revenues.

    Not saying every game should have the appeal of stellar blades character, its good if there's a healthy balance and I don't feel that this character is un appealing just that the studio is brute forcing through criticism instead of approaching the matter with PR which does may business sense.

    Consulting with Gamers on character designs is the last fucking thing video games need. What's the point of a character designer - or literally anyone in the development process - if you're going to turn around and say some randomer whose only qualification is he jacks off to too much porn and is completely out of touch with what women look like - is just as qualified to have input on what the characters should look like, or the game should be like? That's absurd.

    Also, sadly, I think if you did give out interviews with the character team, in this climate, all you'd be doing is putting a target on their faces instead of just their names. The kinds of capital G Gamers who are getting their knickers in such a twist over female character designs are the kinds who are all primed and ready to go and harrass someone. Usually a woman, or someone too brown or gay or too much of an advocate for gaming to include people who aren't straight, white, cis and male. Just look at what happened with TLOU2 because they got so pissy over Abby's entire existence; that mess started entirely because she was a muscular woman, and they used the game's plot as an excuse to get even more toxic.

    If you trot your character artists out in front of those kinds of gamers, you're just signing them up for harassment and death threats.

  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    if you want a job done right you have to do it yourself

    it is more accessible to make your own games now than ever before
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter
    Neox said:
    They likely just wanted a certain type of character and the actress is just that, an actress acting that cg character. The intent was clearly not scanning and using her likeness 1:1, it's not intended to be the same approach as death stranding.

    What a cumbersome discussion.

    I do wonder why they didn't consider a 1:1 scan over the modifications done.
    Or if they tried to look into feedback before making this decision which turned out to be quite polarising.

    Many do maintain that her appearance in the 2023 trailers (reveal + gameplay) seems to have been further modified.
    I also wonder if its a good practice to have the model constantly compared to the actual actor who is understood to be more conventionally appealing.



    They are 100% going for a female han solo/amelia airheart vibe as you can see in this image here, 




    and in doing so, given stylistic choices many are seeing her as a more masculine, with some going much further to lable her as trans/lesbian.
    Though besides her sexual proclivities, I just feel that the hair style she sports is throwing the face off since the actor has sported just one hair style which really draws attention to her forehead and makes the face look rounder.

    I found more material on the characters design in the form of a fan kit,
    https://www.starwarsnewsnet.com/2023/08/ubisoft-shares-details-about-kays-backstory-and-hint-at-more-game-mechanics-in-star-wars-outlaws.html

    the reason she has a bun at the back is because she inserts a data spike device into it. Must be very light since that looks mad uncomfortable and this is likely what influenced their choice of hair style.

    One other way I analyze character models is looking into cosplays and I found a great one whose face really works better with the hairstyle 

    I felt that this cosplayers facial profile, eye color, hair color, hair size and complexion does attribute more personality, freckles also work better on lighter skin.  

    A comparison, I found a picture of the actor with minimal makeup for a better comparsion

    You can see how by making the definition more harsh than soft they have made the character more androgynous 

    The 3d model definitely looks like a vagrant, which is probably the intent so I do hope she has a good story line and makes some friends instead of hanging out with a droid and a cat doing criminal activities for most of the storyline.

    Han Solo excuded charm, which I haven't yet seen with Kay in a manner comparable to other star wars characters such as Ahsoka, Cara Dune and Sabine Wren.
    In face what they really should have done was followed the theme of star wars rebels, make an ensemble cast though I am struggling to see who would partner with her, maybe they might throw in a Wookie for her.

    Why did you feel it was cumbersome?
     I felt it was really great to have all this insight into character appeal from so many sources.
    As character artists we do tend to beat ourselves up about character art appeal in portfolios and there is no limit to the criticism we face so this does come across as reassuring considering what is expected in portfolios.
    Though with this Kay model, I'm not entirely sure if its a standard to aspire to. There's definitely some stylistic choices that have impacted the characters appeal to the wider audience.






  • Neox
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    Neox godlike master sticky
    Yeah i bet a hot beauty babe instead of Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Alien would have been a better casting for some as well.
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter
    Rima said:
    Let's be honest, most of the people bitching about it aren't going to be able to point to a technical fault or anything, because that's not their problem.

    They're just pissy they can't get their dicks hard because they're looking at female characters who weren't designed with male gaze at the forefront of their designs. It happens to every female character in big games these days that dares to diverge from that in any way. Too muscular? Face looks like a normal woman's face instead of a supermodel? Distorted expressions like rage, shouting or despair look distorted instead of looking beautiful and poised on every single frame, no matter how unreasonable and unrealistic that is? Is a PoC and looks like a PoC instead of having eurocentric beautiful features? Is Asian but dares to look like an average Asian instead of looking like a model who's most likely had a load of plastic surgery in the first place? Has an average physique instead of being super slim, or instead of having an unattainable body like one with low fat but somehow also a fat arse and big boobs?

    They say they want realism, but if you give it to them, they complain that it doesn't look enough like their fantasy. You just can't win with those kinds of people, and if you ask me, it isn't worth it to try. Gaming, and the world, would be better off without them.

    I don't really see any point carrying water for those people by trying to nitpick her design. They're not complaining because it has faults in the first place, they just don't like it because they want to go back to the "good old days" when women in video games were male fantasies.

    Also, seriously? Stellar Blade, the gold standard of female character appeal? Give me a break...

    I just feel that given its Star Wars, the game has appeal by default.
    So they can certainly be flexible with their character'd design and narrative and take risks.

    That said, I don't know if this game is being used to promote advocacy as suggested in this video which gives more insight behind the motivations of the team responsible
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi5XLdgP3Qg&t=3s

    And on the other end saying that the character doesn't appeal because she lacks sexuality is probably more a social media phenomenon, but as stellar blade, bayonetta and neir automata show, it 100% helps sell a character provided they have good story and gameplay to match.

    The issue here is why they've considered those stylisitc choices.
     Kay Vess looks very plain and uninteresting to me personally.
    Like when I was watching the gameplay, I kept seeing Han Solo and the environment seemed more interesting, there was very little about Kay Vess's appearance that made any difference.
    Suppose they had made her a different species, that could be something. 
    Her relevance is going to hugely depend on her backstory and the choices she makes with the people she associates with.

    Seeing that the team behind this game was behind far cry, unless they take creative license from Far Cry Blood dragon, Kay is going to be pretty much identical to most other far cry protagonists. 
    You'll be doing side missions for NPC's while slowly delving into more of the story.
    There is talk of Solo movie characters showing up and I do hope they have the sense to add Han Solo himself (we do see him in carbonite)

    Being set between Empire strikes back and Return of the Jedi is a good time period to be in so exploring those stories and giving Kay a redemption arc is likely the direction this game will take.

    But Ubisoft is definitely banking on the themes it knows how to do, hence the open world aspect of this game which I felt would have been better limited like EA's Jedi series.

    The reason stellar blade works isn't just because of the design of the character, but because the dev stands behind the design.
    Any discussion around Kay doesn't have anything to do with Kay, she's a vagrant nobody which literally is the story.
    And with no PR awareness, any criticism of her character leads to allegations of misogyny, transphobia, patriarchy.etc which really shouldn't factor in the discussion unless this game is seen as a game for change which seems to be a western trend.

    But this game is star wars, even if The Last Jedi was garbage it still had sales because its star wars.
    I'd still rather see something more innovative, so far the trailers aren't really highlighting this aspect. 
    It feels like just another far cry game and Avatar Frontiers of Pandora had the exact same issue.




  • Rima
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    Rima greentooth

    NikhilR said:
    They are 100% going for a female han solo/amelia airheart vibe as you can see in this image here, 




    and in doing so, given stylistic choices many are seeing her as a more masculine, with some going much further to lable her as trans/lesbian.
    Though besides her sexual proclivities, I just feel that the hair style she sports is throwing the face off since the actor has sported just one hair style which really draws attention to her forehead and makes the face look rounder.




    I felt that this cosplayers facial profile, eye color, hair color, hair size and complexion does attribute more personality, freckles also work better on lighter skin. 
    In what was does that image show they're going for that? Those images are nothing alike. Is wearing a jacket the smoking gun? Movable eyebrows? Hair colour?

    I'm going to be honest, when you keep posting all this shit like "some people are saying..." You just come off as tacitly agreeing with it.

    There's no insight to character appeal to be found here. It's just incel chuds complaining because she's a woman in a video game and her character designer didn't whore her out to the male gaze. All your analysis is working backwards from the end point of "....And that's why people think she looks bad". It's clouding the way you see it, so basically everything you've ended up saying about it ends up being just slagging it off.

    And has this really impacted its appeal to a wider audience? How can you tell? The game isn't even out yet, so you can't be comparing the amount of people who bought it to the amount of people who said they'd boycott it, or comparing sales to similar-budget products. Do you really think the average person - someone who's not terminally-online and addicted to right wing rage bait - has even looked at the main character's face enough to have it alter their perception of the game? I don't think they have.

    Also, her hair is obviously 80s hair. It's not a conspiracy or anything, they just gave her that style because Star Wars is from the 80s and the styles of hair the characters wore were partly influenced by that.

    Also......Did you really just bring up a picture of a white woman and say that her complexion attributes more personality? Is there something about non-white skin that you think the personality doesn't come through? Explain to me why the "complexion" of this woman, pulling the exact same lack of expression, somehow exudes more personality.



  • Rima
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    Rima greentooth
    Now you're posting links to people who complain that the "far left" are infiltrating video games? How many seconds in do I have to go to find the first "Sweet Baby Inc" complaint? It's on my bingo card.

    I think it's incredibly disingenuous to make a topic complaining about a female character design where basically all your sources are from misogynists who are angry because the character design doesn't pander to the male gaze enough and have - as you yourself have linked - constantly been contrasting it explicitly with a game that's known for having made sex appeal the primary trait of its protagonist - and then saying that allegations of misogyny, transphobia, racism, etc shouldn't be a factor in the discussion. Especially when half the complaints - which again, you've shown and references - are complaints that she "looks trans" or "looks like a man" on top of the sexism.
  • NikhilR
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    Rima said:
    Consulting with Gamers on character designs is the last fucking thing video games need. What's the point of a character designer - or literally anyone in the development process - if you're going to turn around and say some randomer whose only qualification is he jacks off to too much porn and is completely out of touch with what women look like - is just as qualified to have input on what the characters should look like, or the game should be like? That's absurd.

    Also, sadly, I think if you did give out interviews with the character team, in this climate, all you'd be doing is putting a target on their faces instead of just their names. The kinds of capital G Gamers who are getting their knickers in such a twist over female character designs are the kinds who are all primed and ready to go and harrass someone. Usually a woman, or someone too brown or gay or too much of an advocate for gaming to include people who aren't straight, white, cis and male. Just look at what happened with TLOU2 because they got so pissy over Abby's entire existence; that mess started entirely because she was a muscular woman, and they used the game's plot as an excuse to get even more toxic.

    If you trot your character artists out in front of those kinds of gamers, you're just signing them up for harassment and death threats.

    Ideally, the internal design team should be skilled enough and aware that their choices would resonate with audiences.
    When consulting its more with professional consultants in the field while taking general feedback from the audience as an approach to engagement.

    For example I learn a lot from this expression scientist and her posts on linkedin about facial form and topology
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/melindaozel/

    Maybe Ubisoft consults with them and it isn't reflected in their content, there can be many variables.
    But to release a trailer and see a backlash of this magnitude is not something any studio wants.

    I do feel that more than the character model its the attitude and conduct of the team around DEI and advocacy that makes the situation worse and its really imporant that studio codes of conduct be enforced.

    I do see the risk that engagement through interviews might make them targets, and its only natural that people might delve into social media conduct as a result.
    I'm more focused on design decisions that led the team to take a scan and modify it in a way that turned controversial, and if sufficient market research and design analysis was done to avert it.

    I haven't played TLOU2, though I did find this on the Abby character's 3D model
    https://www.reddit.com/r/TheLastOfUs2/comments/jtx1t9/abby_3d_model_quite_interesting_that_they_made/    (NSFW)

    Intriguing to read through the comment, I'm not sure if the character is meant to be trans.
    There is a scene that was widely criticised though I do feel I really need to play the game to understand the context
    https://www.reddit.com/r/TheLastOfUs2/comments/hdbp4n/can_someone_explain_why_the_abby_and_owen_sex/

    It was not a pleasant watch, but likely needs more context to fully understand and appreciate.

    and on twitter someone used AI to make her curvier though I can't find that image (will look)




  • Rima
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    Rima greentooth
    No, Abby is not trans, not meant to be trans, and never was. That was and always has been a pile of transphobic bullshit pushed by men who'd convinced themselves the only way it's possible for a woman to be muscular if she's trans, because they're transphobic and view trans women as being actually men. Because they don't talk to actual women and have no idea what women's bodies can look like, because they're so porn-fried they think that if a woman doesn't have an hourglass shape, has some muscle, has an average face or body, etc, that it must be because there's something wrong with them. And not just, you know, because women just look like that. There are women at my gym who are just as fit as she is.

    I don't think anyone needs to see some incel gamer's AI-generated masturbation fantasy version of Abby.

    Just for your information, as far as I'm aware Abby's body model was created by scanning an actual woman. And in-universe, she's basically a gym bro that works out all the time and eats a lot, which is how she's able to develop and maintain that physique.

    That subreddit is an absolutely dogshit source. It's just a den of haters who hate the game for daring to be inclusive, daring to have a story they don't like, daring to have a female main character that doesn't get their dicks hard, daring to actually have LGBT characters whose LGBTness is integral to the story. Just ignore it.

    Frankly, it seems to me that it's the people bitching about DEI and inclusion who are the ones on the offensive, not the dev team. There's no far-left conspiracy here, or anywhere. It's just a witch hunt being run by people who hate to see any kind of inclusion of people - be they characters or staff - that are, or don't pander to, straight white cis guys.

    Why do you think there's gamers out there making lists of every game that ever had anything to do with Sweet Baby, or singling out writers as figureheads to blame for supposed transgressions?

    It's just Gamergate 2.0. Just another bigoted witch hunt. Studios shouldn't be considering "bigots won't like it" when making games.
  • Neox
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    "I do wonder why they didn't consider a 1:1 scan over the modifications done.
    Or if they tried to look into feedback before making this decision which turned out to be quite polarising."

    Because they probably had the design down and done ahead of casting someone. It's just not a movie after all.
    Why do they have actors voicing and playing the characters in naughty dog games but the characters do not look like the actors? Same reason
  • Alex_J
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    making games is a business. ubisoft and studios of similar size will be measuring numbers, not delving into the underbelly of reddit. 

    nobody gives a shit if somebody thinks abby is too buff or whatever. they do give a shit if sales dont meet projections. Words mean nothing, the numbers are the measure. As far as I am aware these games are selling more than ever before, aren't they? 

    commercial art can never be made for the overly acute consumer. if it was, they'd go out of business real fast. it's made for the broad audience who is not overly picky, and is also becoming more diverse (e.g. more women, more colors, more minority groups).

    it is reason most commercials you see now aren't 100% white people. its not because george soros is trying to destroy the world by treating brown people as humans. Its because the people spending money in the market is colored that way. It's just business. Only color anybody gives a shit about is green.

    as an artist you must have some customer in mind. maybe you want to work at ubisoft. then make characters that look like theirs. maybe you want to make furry porn? then delve into that world and figure out what they like. There are not universal rules for what people like. In some tribes in africa the woman file their teeth to be sharp. They think thats hot. If you want to sell some character art to them, make the teeth pointy.



  • pior
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    I think beyond the rather sterile "she's ugly, not my StarWars lol" VS "she's just a regular woman you biggot" discourse there's definitely something to be said about what can happen when deviating from a realistic reference (regardless of it being photo ref or a scan).

    Human faces are *incredibly* subtle and delicate to work on. So while editing things beyond a scanned source might make sense (perhaps to match an already existing concept put together before the actress had even been cast, as rightfully mentioned just above), editing a face heavily on the fly is bound to be a recipe for a weird looking result.

    I think the Death Stranding characters are quite a relevant comparison here because setting aside the fact that some of the actors are obviously very pretty to begin with, the game models are also incredibly accurate in their representation of these actors. Beyond the obvious movie star appeal I think it also gave the art and techart teams a very strongly defined target to aim for without erring into "edits". This would be true for the models, but also for their facial animations.

    Furthermore Kojima (the studio) has a massive amount of accumulated expertise in how to do these things right. I mentioned MGSV and Death Stranding as I personally consider these to be extremely high standards, but their attempts actually go all the way back to MGS4 as the game bosses in this game were already representations of actual flesh and blood fashion models. The game released back in 2008, so that's a 16 years head start.
  • NikhilR
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    Rima said:
    No, Abby is not trans, not meant to be trans, and never was. That was and always has been a pile of transphobic bullshit pushed by men who'd convinced themselves the only way it's possible for a woman to be muscular if she's trans, because they're transphobic and view trans women as being actually men. Because they don't talk to actual women and have no idea what women's bodies can look like, because they're so porn-fried they think that if a woman doesn't have an hourglass shape, has some muscle, has an average face or body, etc, that it must be because there's something wrong with them. And not just, you know, because women just look like that. There are women at my gym who are just as fit as she is.

    I don't think anyone needs to see some incel gamer's AI-generated masturbation fantasy version of Abby.

    Just for your information, as far as I'm aware Abby's body model was created by scanning an actual woman. And in-universe, she's basically a gym bro that works out all the time and eats a lot, which is how she's able to develop and maintain that physique.

    That subreddit is an absolutely dogshit source. It's just a den of haters who hate the game for daring to be inclusive, daring to have a story they don't like, daring to have a female main character that doesn't get their dicks hard, daring to actually have LGBT characters whose LGBTness is integral to the story. Just ignore it.

    Frankly, it seems to me that it's the people bitching about DEI and inclusion who are the ones on the offensive, not the dev team. There's no far-left conspiracy here, or anywhere. It's just a witch hunt being run by people who hate to see any kind of inclusion of people - be they characters or staff - that are, or don't pander to, straight white cis guys.

    Why do you think there's gamers out there making lists of every game that ever had anything to do with Sweet Baby, or singling out writers as figureheads to blame for supposed transgressions?

    It's just Gamergate 2.0. Just another bigoted witch hunt. Studios shouldn't be considering "bigots won't like it" when making games.
    The subreddit does have some good points about the Abby characters physique not being logical given the apocalyptic setting.
    This post in particular,
    https://www.reddit.com/r/TheLastOfUs2/comments/jtx1t9/comment/jev0z62/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web3x&utm_name=web3xcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button

    Again I haven't played the game so I can't related to the character just yet.
    The reason I assumed she was trans was going by that comment and the sex scene, some said its not PV sex, it happens so fast, usually it takes time so I'm not sure what that was.
    I did see something similar in the 300 sequel, roughhousing so maybe they're delving on fantasy here.

    But it was unsettling. 
    I'm sure the character has redeeming qualities which I'll know more about when I play the game, as per that comment the devs seem to have taken liberties with the Abby character and many other characters, so do with it what you will.

    I just felt that it would help to work with consultants and get more feedback especially if there is any indication that a creative decision would court controversy and a studio isn't exactly clear what the impact will be.
    And I agree boycotting Star Wars Outlaws because the main character looks like a vagrant and is assumed to be trans as part of a DEI conspiracy is wild and indicates deeper issues with several people.

    The only thing I would advise is following protocols on PR and codes of conduct by employees so that employees are aware about the impact of what is said.
    The game industry is unique in that many people working in it are quite fluid on professionalism and conduct and maybe its a western thing I don't know, but the whole DEI situation went far beyond where it should have ended with a properly worded PR response.

    The fact that many devs that join in the discourse refuse to even acknowledge these options, preferring instead to fight this crusade, is peculiar since ideally this conduct would go against studio codes of conduct applicable to personal accounts. 






  • NikhilR
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    Neox said:
    "I do wonder why they didn't consider a 1:1 scan over the modifications done.
    Or if they tried to look into feedback before making this decision which turned out to be quite polarising."

    Because they probably had the design down and done ahead of casting someone. It's just not a movie after all.
    Why do they have actors voicing and playing the characters in naughty dog games but the characters do not look like the actors? Same reason
    It would be great to have more insight on this. I do feel that NDA's can be too restrictive and studios should prioritise more audience engagement on development processes.
  • NikhilR
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    Alex_J said:
    making games is a business. ubisoft and studios of similar size will be measuring numbers, not delving into the underbelly of reddit. 

    nobody gives a shit if somebody thinks abby is too buff or whatever. they do give a shit if sales dont meet projections. Words mean nothing, the numbers are the measure. As far as I am aware these games are selling more than ever before, aren't they? 

    commercial art can never be made for the overly acute consumer. if it was, they'd go out of business real fast. it's made for the broad audience who is not overly picky, and is also becoming more diverse (e.g. more women, more colors, more minority groups).

    it is reason most commercials you see now aren't 100% white people. its not because george soros is trying to destroy the world by treating brown people as humans. Its because the people spending money in the market is colored that way. It's just business. Only color anybody gives a shit about is green.

    as an artist you must have some customer in mind. maybe you want to work at ubisoft. then make characters that look like theirs. maybe you want to make furry porn? then delve into that world and figure out what they like. There are not universal rules for what people like. In some tribes in africa the woman file their teeth to be sharp. They think thats hot. If you want to sell some character art to them, make the teeth pointy.



    Generally if you troll the trolls there usually isn't much impact but since they have organised into a 400,000 strong army supported by Elon Musk, maybe its best just to do your job and stay away from toxic spaces instead of galvanising them to do far worse.

    Personally I don't think it makes much of a difference, its star wars so it should sell well I think.
    I feel that there is sufficient choice to go around and games are moddable too so if DEI matters that much there are ways around it.

    Not entirely sure if the market realities reflect DEI in games but I'm assuming most companies have done their research on this. I've understood that most of the vocal audience (minority or otherwise) want fun original games.

    Going through the DEI crusading is intriguing, you learn alot about human nature, psychology and collectivism, and its entertaining too especially the dialog
    Like in forspoken 
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_z77IWOsDA  (The newyorker accent contrasting with old english is wild)

    If I ever play god of war, I'm going to play this version,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh1ax-jnjZI&t=2s



  • NikhilR
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    For my portfolio, I've tried to hit most of the milestones necessary for the level I'm applying for in realistic character art.
    Wouldn't really bother too much about what I wouldn't know from reviews that don't lead to interviews.

    About the female characters I was creating/upgrade, this is what I have so far and it took a lot of tweaking to get to this point,
    I made several alterations to jaw shape, cheek bone height, eye shape, eye size, eye distance, chin shape, mouth angle etc.
     so I understand the complexities behind getting character art right and female faces have more nuances especially if their facial profiles are androgynous.
    Hair and lighting makes a big difference, I still have to alter it to match the character in the TV show (Ro Laren - Star Trek Next generation)
    Probably a good thing to consider making an androgynous female character, seeing how DEI is approached in the game industry. 
    I may look into making a female model similar to the one in stellar blade to hit that style, though fortnite style is probably better since Epic has a studio in Montreal.


    2024 (UE5/character creator) (WIP)



    2019 (UE4, scene lighting - Set from Stage 9 TNG interactive experience)


    2018 (sculpt)


    Reference,

  • Alemja
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    Alemja hero character
    I'm going to try my best and engage with some of the things posed in a good faith manner, even though these conversations tend to be kind of exhausting and go in circles. So just to get it out of the way here is how I generally feel about these conversations:

    secretly a scene kid on Tumblr

    Regarding appeal: It's one of those things that is ultimately subjective and is in the eye of the beholder, a kind of "know it when you see it" kind of deal. There are some general things, like use of shapes, readability and looking like it fits within the universe are more concrete ideas we can point to in whether or not the appeal for this project is heading in the right direction.
    The late 70s, early 80s look of early Star Wars might not be your jam, and it's ok to have that opinion, but if you put your feeling aside and ask yourself "does this game look like it's trying to evoke that feel?" I would say yes, definitely. So in that realm they are succeeding. Like you look at Luke Skywalker from A New Hope and I think they are certainly trying to get that look too, cleft chin and helmet hair and all that. It has a certain ruggedness to it and it works to an extent. If you're making Star Wars that is within that time-frame in cannon, you pretty much have to infuse some of that OG trilogy (now) retro-future space western vibe.
    You could argue that there are things about the faces that need tweaking, like maybe the hair doesn't sit quite right, skin is too shiny in some places or what stands out to me on all of the characters is the mouth animations seem a little "stiff" and that applies to all of them, and it's little things like that that add up and make the characters seem uncanny. However I don't think there is anything wrong with the design of the main character's face, she looks like a normal human, and still an attractive one even with the change of hair and cleft chin.

    Personally I think it's a good thing we're now trying to make characters that are more varied, because human beings are varied in real life. Some women have broad shoulders or square jaws, some men have pear shapes or round faces. It doesn't make them any less interesting or beautiful, you could argue the variance is what makes humans beautiful as human brains do like a little bit of novelty. Are they always done well in games? Probably not because realism is super hard and what looks good in one scenario might look completely ugly in a different lighting scenario. It sometimes seems like due to years of face tuning and idealized character people forget what a normal human is supposed to look like. Even people who are real on instagram or whatever don't look "real" due to the amount of photoshop that is applied to bodies and faces.

    Also women, LGBTQ and people of color have always been here in nerd spaces, some have been playing games or reading comics longer than some of the people complaining online have been alive.

    We have decades of characters, especially female characters, but this applies to male characters too, looking relatively same-y. Hell you could probably pick a year in games from the last 20+ years, throw a dart and hit a character that looks almost exactly like the main character from Stellar Blade. The hyper idealized look was a thing for a long time and it still is a thing, it hasn't gone away. I'm also not sure why the actress is next to the Stellar Blade character Eve either because they look nothing alike, as again Eve is hyper idealized.

    I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to have idealized designs, and I know a lot of people can see the same look a thousand times and never get sick of it, as Artstation and the thousands of AI derivatives that use the same look. However for me and I think a lot of people, while yes it is pretty, no denying that, it's gotten kind of boring. You can only see the same thing so many times where you eventually crave something different. It would be like eating the same meal every day, even if it's your favorite or if you like it, you will get sick of it in time. Not every game works with those hyper idealized designs either.

    I find it interesting that Stellar Blade has been chosen as the beacon and "gold standard" or whatever, since that look has been around forever, so I ask myself "what purpose is this for? Who is this serving?" and with those questions the answer becomes clear: it's to get gullible rubes invested in another culture war. We know from 10 years ago, that Gamergate was a test bed for channeling people into right wing politics. This is not a conspiracy, this is straight from the mouth of Steve Bannnon:

    ... Bannon became intrigued by the game's online community dynamics. In describing gamers, Bannon said, "These guys, these rootless white males, had monster power. ... It was the pre-reddit. It's the same guys on (one of a trio of online message boards owned by IGE) Thottbot who were [later] on reddit" and other online message boards where the alt-right flourished, Bannon said.

    Green postulates that Bannon's time at IGE was "one that introduced him to a hidden world, burrowed deep into his psyche, and provided a kind of conceptual framework that he would later draw on to build up the audience for Breitbart News, and then to help marshal the online armies of trolls and activists that overran national politicians and helped give rise to Donald Trump," Green writes.

    ....

    Bannon told Green. "You can activate that army. They come in through Gamergate or whatever and then get turned onto politics and Trump."

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2017/07/18/steve-bannon-learned-harness-troll-army-world-warcraft/489713001/

    So when I see thing like this, and then gamers once again getting mad at female characters not being hot enough or whatever it is for the week, what I see is the group being played. Their anger is being used as a tool and directed by people and groups who do have an agenda, and it keeps happening again and again on the most inconsequential things that don't matter as much as they make it out to. It's not about "appeal" at all, it's about keeping people mad and in the pointless culture war. It's a pipeline, if you aren't paying attention you can get sucked in and a lot of people do. A lot of people have stories about how they got sucked into the gamergate stuff back in 2014-2016, because they were made to believe that a thing they love was under attack and a nefarious "them" was out to destroy it, that because you like game that has a "bad" thing in it, it means you are also "bad and problematic" (which isn't true). Some people got out from that thought process and have a lot of regret getting fooled by it.

    Which dovetails nicely into the current crusade against Sweet Baby Inc, which is a conspiracy, straight up. What happened there is some game, I think Suicide Squad, gamers were curious why a game (they didn't have a whole lot of interest in even) turned out the way it did, so they looked to the credits. They found this company, who has some mission statements about inclusivity on their website, saw that they worked on a bunch of other games, some good some bad and made Sweet Baby Inc out to be a shadowy cabal out to destroy games, the thing that they love. When they are just a consultancy firm, they offer a ton of services based on the client's needs. We don't know what those needs are for company to company unless they spoke out about it, but it can range from "hey edit our script to make sure everything flows nicely and makes sense" to "hey we're trying to include some marginalized characters in our game and need help to make sure we're getting this right" If the game has inclusivity, chances are that was the client's original doing not the doing of a consultancy firm, they just do what the client asks.

    Diverse characters also makes good business sense, it means that there is an attempt to expand the audience which means you can potentially make more money, simple as that.


    As an aside, twitter is where nuance goes to die and social media is good at stoking anxieties, I think we'd all be a little bit healthier if we get away from it every now and then.

  • NikhilR
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    pior said:
    I think beyond the rather sterile "she's ugly, not my StarWars lol" VS "she's just a regular woman you biggot" discourse there's definitely something to be said about what can happen when deviating from a realistic reference (regardless of it being photo ref or a scan).

    Human faces are *incredibly* subtle and delicate to work on. So while editing things beyond a scanned source might make sense (perhaps to match an already existing concept put together before the actress had even been cast, as rightfully mentioned just above), editing a face heavily on the fly is bound to be a recipe for a weird looking result.

    I think the Death Stranding characters are quite a relevant comparison here because setting aside the fact that some of the actors are obviously very pretty to begin with, the game models are also incredibly accurate in their representation of these actors. Beyond the obvious movie star appeal I think it also gave the art and techart teams a very strongly defined target to aim for without erring into "edits". This would be true for the models, but also for their facial animations.

    Furthermore Kojima (the studio) has a massive amount of accumulated expertise in how to do these things right. I mentioned MGSV and Death Stranding as I personally consider these to be extremely high standards, but their attempts actually go all the way back to MGS4 as the game bosses in this game were already representations of actual flesh and blood fashion models. The game released back in 2008, so that's a 16 years head start.
    I think this is what is irking most moderate reviewers about Ubisofts approach. 
    They are seeing it as,
    "the scan already had what we felt was appealing so why bother changing the face at all, what did it add to the game?"

    Otherwise you'll have people trying to build connections between employee conduct and the character design like in the video I linked above.
    Better to have a balanced perspective and I really don't agree with boycotts since that doesn't solve anything. 

    Given the scope of these games there's always something that will appeal to everyone, x has a way of farming engagement so things can quickly get out of hand if you're not careful about what you say.


  • Rima
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    Rima greentooth

    NikhilR said:
    The subreddit does have some good points about the Abby characters physique not being logical given the apocalyptic setting.
    This post in particular,
    https://www.reddit.com/r/TheLastOfUs2/comments/jtx1t9/comment/jev0z62/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web3x&utm_name=web3xcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button

    No, they're full of shit. As usual. She's part of an actual, organised army, with a steady source of food and facilities to work out in, which she's shown to be extremely dedicated to. Like, this clip right here.  Whole arse gym. She's even shown to be at the top of the leaderboard for her bench press.

    They're full of shit, and you're eating it too blindly listening to what a bunch of pigs who just hate the game because they're not pandered to have to say as if they have any credibility whatsoever.

    Honestly, you just seem to be getting all your "information" from chuds.
  • NikhilR
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    Alemja said:
    I'm going to try my best and engage with some of the things posed in a good faith manner, even though these conversations tend to be kind of exhausting and go in circles. So just to get it out of the way here is how I generally feel about these conversations:

    secretly a scene kid on Tumblr

    Regarding appeal: It's one of those things that is ultimately subjective and is in the eye of the beholder, a kind of "know it when you see it" kind of deal. There are some general things, like use of shapes, readability and looking like it fits within the universe are more concrete ideas we can point to in whether or not the appeal for this project is heading in the right direction.
    The late 70s, early 80s look of early Star Wars might not be your jam, and it's ok to have that opinion, but if you put your feeling aside and ask yourself "does this game look like it's trying to evoke that feel?" I would say yes, definitely. So in that realm they are succeeding. Like you look at Luke Skywalker from A New Hope and I think they are certainly trying to get that look too, cleft chin and helmet hair and all that. It has a certain ruggedness to it and it works to an extent. If you're making Star Wars that is within that time-frame in cannon, you pretty much have to infuse some of that OG trilogy (now) retro-future space western vibe.
    You could argue that there are things about the faces that need tweaking, like maybe the hair doesn't sit quite right, skin is too shiny in some places or what stands out to me on all of the characters is the mouth animations seem a little "stiff" and that applies to all of them, and it's little things like that that add up and make the characters seem uncanny. However I don't think there is anything wrong with the design of the main character's face, she looks like a normal human, and still an attractive one even with the change of hair and cleft chin.

    Personally I think it's a good thing we're now trying to make characters that are more varied, because human beings are varied in real life. Some women have broad shoulders or square jaws, some men have pear shapes or round faces. It doesn't make them any less interesting or beautiful, you could argue the variance is what makes humans beautiful as human brains do like a little bit of novelty. Are they always done well in games? Probably not because realism is super hard and what looks good in one scenario might look completely ugly in a different lighting scenario. It sometimes seems like due to years of face tuning and idealized character people forget what a normal human is supposed to look like. Even people who are real on instagram or whatever don't look "real" due to the amount of photoshop that is applied to bodies and faces.



    I wish we could see more statistics about what the audience really wants and how much their purchasing power is really influenced by DEI changes (if they actually are DEI changes)
    This video provides some perspective,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfDqm75YGxw
    The actor who provides the mocap for Kay already has a varied face, what ubisoft has done has made it more varied and I'm not sure if its a good thing.
    We'll be mostly seeing her back, so like stellar blade's director said, there could have been some development there, but then again that is stellar blades focus and if it succeeds because of it, its a good thing.

    I wouldn't say these games are competing, star wars games usually hold their own so I'm not sure if Ubisoft even needed to do a face modification to make the game more inclusive.
    There is very little info about what influenced them to do this, the video above talks about designers and narrative team's having employees that have polarising political views which is leading to advocacy

    And it feels like in designing this character they were trying to incorporate several nuances so maybe that is leading the character to not feel as grounded.

    I did see the homage to luke skywalker and han solo in her facial design and the whole 80's aesthetic, she's basically a Han Solo cosplayer.

    Her mannerisms and personality are literally Han Solo, so my thinking is why not just set the game right after Return of the Jedi and play as Han Solo, or set it during the period of the Solo movie.
    Do we need a Kay Vess and since she's basically a nobody, the whole appeal of her story rests on her becoming a somebody.

    Besides the face, for the outfit going through the Visual Character guide,
    Her vest is pretty functionally useless, its purely aesthetic and gives an aviator vibe (like Amelia Airheart) She has a floating belt that holds most of her accessories and weapons and the gameplay has her picking up enemy guns, and then dropping them, so she'll be travelling super light.

    She has reasonable inventory space, they of course gave her a grappling hook since they need to add the AC mechanics.
    And she has a cute pet and a droid companion

    A lot of her appeal is going to come from the universe she's in exaclty like how it was for Cal Kestis, so its not really necessary to have made any aesthetic variations on her face unless they were meaning to have those changes appeal to their audience.

    What matters is how they assessed if this would appeal to players, did they do market research to check for player feedback, I'm assuming this was done but it didn't account for the reaction the character is facing now.
    This reaction wasn't as strong during the first 2 trailers.

    The SBI situation has definitely rallied more dissent against her design.





  • NikhilR
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    Alemja said:

    I find it interesting that Stellar Blade has been chosen as the beacon and "gold standard" or whatever, since that look has been around forever, so I ask myself "what purpose is this for? Who is this serving?" and with those questions the answer becomes clear: it's to get gullible rubes invested in another culture war.

    Which dovetails nicely into the current crusade against Sweet Baby Inc, which is a conspiracy, straight up. What happened there is some game, I think Suicide Squad, gamers were curious why a game (they didn't have a whole lot of interest in even) turned out the way it did, so they looked to the credits. They found this company, who has some mission statements about inclusivity on their website, saw that they worked on a bunch of other games, some good some bad and made Sweet Baby Inc out to be a shadowy cabal out to destroy games, the thing that they love. When they are just a consultancy firm, they offer a ton of services based on the client's needs. We don't know what those needs are for company to company unless they spoke out about it, but it can range from "hey edit our script to make sure everything flows nicely and makes sense" to "hey we're trying to include some marginalized characters in our game and need help to make sure we're getting this right" If the game has inclusivity, chances are that was the client's original doing not the doing of a consultancy firm, they just do what the client asks.




    I don't feel that Ubisoft ought to take stellar blades approach to character design, unless they are capable enough of creating a game that supports it from an environment/gameplay perspective.

    Ubisoft has proven brand identity in properties that have established audiences.
    And from glassdoor reviews it becomes clear that the company is very risk averse.

    So when it comes to what their games actually play like, they are all immediately relatable to previous releases.

    As for character design, its good to experiment, but very difficult to get that appeal in a face modified from an actor especially if the actor is already appealing.
    So I'm not sure if that was a necessary risk to take.

    I also found female faces more difficult to get right than male faces, and I've noticed that there aren't many character artists that get it right.
    There's always a disparity, the male faces are easier to do and the female faces are challening to generate the right softness and capture correct landmarks on bone structures.

    I had to study face anatomy from cadavers, so got to see first hand how different male and female faces are from the skin outside to the bone underneath.
    Not saying they shouldn't make female characters, but having a scan to work with and then modifiying it is going to be controversial for a variety of reasons.

    For a main character that has no backstory and on who's shoulders an entire franchises future might come to rest, it would have been more sensible to keep to the scan, of get another scan of someone that was close to the design they wanted, like the cosplayer I posted.

    How they came to do their modifications and who was consulted isn't clear, and I would love to read more into their design decisions.
    The conspiratorial air comes from videos like this,
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi5XLdgP3Qg&t=3s

    that are referencing polarising social media conduct from narrative and design teams.
    That is why regardless of what caused the SBI situation, what I've tried to emphasize is a lack of good PR to de-escalate situations involving potential customers which wasn't followed.

    I have pointed this out and also tried to reach out to affected employees but from my experience they are very difficult to communicate and reason with.
    Many are very quick to take offense and then refuse to engage so its concerning to think about how this conduct affects workplace interactions if they are so easily triggered by any discourse to the contrary.

    An example,
    https://www.linkedin.com/posts/chris-groves-1b4a4547_community-managers-toolkits-safe-in-our-activity-7182503615368982528-nz69/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop

    This post does provide a mental health tool kit
    https://safeinourworld.org/news/community-managers-toolkits/
     and I wonder if there needs to be more initiatives like this towards mental health and wellness for anyone that needs them to address their feelings before they engage in toxic discourse on twitter.

    What's concerning is that there doesn't seem to be any studio oversight in this conduct to prevent unnecessary escalations which is what happened with SBI, you can read through the developments here,

    https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/sweet-baby-inc-detected-controversy

     a lot of controversial conduct from video game employees and gaming journalists that could have done with more PR initiatives to de-escalate any reprisals (though many comments should never have been made in the first place)





  • pxgeek
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    Wha?? Am I in the minority in thinking the character looks great!?
    I especially like her hair. It immediately gave off 70's Farrah Fawcett vibes, which would fit into the era of the original trilogy, but still looks modern and fresh. Don't know if that was intentional on their part, but felt like a cool design detail to me.
    Combine that with her costume design, she has a really interesting silhouette and loads of appeal.

    Maybe twitter is confusing "appeal" with "girl pretty face"? Sure, attractiveness is part of it, but not all of it.
  • NikhilR
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    Rima said:

    NikhilR said:
    The subreddit does have some good points about the Abby characters physique not being logical given the apocalyptic setting.
    This post in particular,
    https://www.reddit.com/r/TheLastOfUs2/comments/jtx1t9/comment/jev0z62/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web3x&utm_name=web3xcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button

    No, they're full of shit. As usual. She's part of an actual, organised army, with a steady source of food and facilities to work out in, which she's shown to be extremely dedicated to. Like, this clip right here.  Whole arse gym. She's even shown to be at the top of the leaderboard for her bench press.

    They're full of shit, and you're eating it too blindly listening to what a bunch of pigs who just hate the game because they're not pandered to have to say as if they have any credibility whatsoever.

    Honestly, you just seem to be getting all your "information" from chuds.
    I do need to play the game to get the full context, really an outsider looking in a the moment.
    Likely have spoiled much of the game, but this article provides some more info about her design,
    https://gamerant.com/last-of-us-abby-kaitlyn-dever-buff-hbo-season-2/#:~:text=The choice to make Abby,death with a golf club.

    I would be cool if she was any other body type and fit enough to kill Joel with a golf club. 
    The physique she has could kill an army of Joels, so maybe she just likes weightlifting or has strong motivations owing to her vengence. 

    I don't really feel that seeing her as a guy or trans instead of buff female is toxic masculinity, seeing how the character is constructed and what she wears I can see the confusion.

    In the subreddit there was a suggestion to show her with a leaner frame rather than bulk her up since the athlete they used for the body scan does follow a very distinct regimen for the look which is also important for the game since Abby needs to seem intimidating to Ellie.
    This frame is then emaciated in the last chapter to provide another contrast to Ellie for her revenge.

    Her feminine features do stand out in her face at some angles, but there are no other overt characteristics of feminity (wider hips, prominent breasts) so its not immediately apparent to a person that knows very little of the character if she is a guy or a girl just by looking at the body model.

    Again this is all out of context and there aren't many heavily built women that people know of that have this body shape so forgive them if they felt that Abby was trans. 

    Had Abby been trans, really wouldn't make any difference to me, but maybe to some would explain her physique in more simpler terms than understanding that she is a woman (female sex) who wanted to buff up and followed a strict diet with extreme physical regimen and possibly anabolic steroids to defeat Joel (who doesn't look very strong so I don't quite get that part, and you don't need that much strength to use a golf club to beat someone to death after shooting them in the shin with a shotgun)

    Like suppose it was the Santa Barbara Abby that killed Joel, maybe some people would still think she's trans, but honestly does it really matter?

    There aren't many women with that physique trans or otherwise so people who don't have that physique defending what they might feel for others that do, seeing them as something they are not is well, the internet! <--- this is a maddening sentence.

    All said and done Last of Us has really complex characters!

    Once I play the game then I could understand and appreciate more about the chemistry and dynamic between the characters.

    The character was also designed with the body of an athlete who has a very heavily set face, though they used the head/face of a averagely built model,
    I'm not sure why they did a face swap, I prefer the face of the body model the proportions fit better.

    This is the body model

      

    You can see the face model wearing a body suit to bring her to Abby's proportions.





    And break downs for the Abby 3d model

    https://frank_tzeng.artstation.com/projects/9mevRQ






  • Alex_J
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    i think you've demonstrated why having fewer inputs is probably for the better. you are a single person and have pages of opinions about a character. multiply that by hundreds or thousands of fans and what is the character designer going to do with all of that? 

    a programmer builds a tool to search all the responses and search for trends? and then what, 51% trend that c cup boobs is the best boob? And 64% want a bun and green eyes, but 35% want green eyes but will cry if there is a bun? 

    At end of day they have to publish a game and it is up to the designer in charge to make a decision. If fans dont like it they can: 
    - refund the game
    - make their own game with their own preference for design

    of course they can complain all they want but it seems pretty obvious that listening to that would be a major waste of time and a huge attack on ones sanity. for the designer, unless there was actually a majority of the fans literally not buying the game and there is a clear reason which points back to their decision, it would be better to remain in a bubble and hear nothing.
  • Eric Chadwick
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    A funny side bit.

    When you're actually working on a game, and you're testing your content in-game every day, where everytime you load the game you're playing that main character because it's the default... no matter how good that asset is, the team gets really sick of looking at it, day in and day out. 

    The default player character is probably the single most worked-over piece of content in a game, simply because every single person in the studio has an opinion, and a loud one.

    So no matter how much you as a fan are obsessing over details, I can assure you the dev team is doing it 10x haha!
  • myclay
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    meh, this is intentional outrage marketing a couple months before the product is released.
    Right now the goal is maximum (out)reach, ensuring Brand visibility to get into as many as possible peoples attention spheres.
    The rage part is used to keep longer in the attention spheres.

    Outrage marketing is nowadays common.
    An older example;

    Rockstar games did that with paid bad reviews about their game.
    The goal was to target certain newspapers to ensure moral outrage and get as much attention and sales as possible.

  • Rima
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    Why the hell are you so determined to tear down Abby's physique? Why does it matter to you so much whether she's buff or not? And by the way, ew, no, Abby being trans wouldn't have explained her physique, that's a load of transphobic bullshit that's built on the assumption that trans women must have a big, masculine frame, and that a cis woman couldn't possibly be highly muscular unless she was "actually a man". They didn't think she was trans because she seems trans, they thought she was because a leak told them there was a trans character in the game, and they were a bunch of sexist, transphobic little shit-for-brains. That's all. It was sexism, it was transphobia, and you're just giving them excuses to pretend their complaints had any legitimacy.

    If you can't look at her and understand she's a woman, that's on you. Her face is obviously a feminine face. Look at the brow ridge; look at the overall shape because of the fat in it giving it roundness in a way you typically don't see in men. Look at the cheekbones. Look at the blindingly obvious feminine profile. Look at the shape of her lips. Look at the fact that her neck doesn't have an Adam's Apple. Notice the pair of perfectly existent tits she's got right in the middle of her chest. These things are not tiny details you have to be an expert to see.

    As for them being "hidden"....No, they're not, she's just wearing clothes. Is it a "fault" in female character design if they're wearing loose clothes instead of something that's tight enough to show off their boobs and hips so everyone knows they're female? Talk about sexist...

    I've been really trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but between that and the rest of the shit you've posted here, you might as well just admit you're not acting in good faith and drop the pretense of just having "concerns" about these female character designs and admit you agree with the chuds wholeheartedly. Everything you've posted so far has been from Gamergate 2.0 types, bitching and moaning that the female characters aren't attractive enough, making excuses to justify their complaints by overanalysing characters' faces and hairstyles and clothing in ways that you'd probably never apply to a male lead, and pretending you just didn't know when you were getting all your opinions on TLOU2 from its infamously bigoted and toxic subreddit.

    And by the way, it's really fucking gross to go judging the quality of a female character by whether her face or hips are "feminine enough". It's not a failing for a woman to be depicted with narrow hips or a "masculine" face or whatever - some women just have those! If you want realistic graphics, you have to look at actual humans, and when you do you'll realise there's enormous diversity in body types, faces, even our basic proportions vary a little from person to person.

    I don't think anyone should be a character artist if they can't understand and engage with real humans.
  • zetheros
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    lol the fable one is funny
  • PolyHertz
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    An appealing character doesn't necessarily mean a beautiful / handsome one. But if you're going to focus on realism then expect to be scrutinized far more then with non-realistic characters, since you can no longer claim artistic interpretation as boldly when defending your work. 

    I'm of the opinion that if you're going to go through the hassle of paying someone for a scan of their head then you should try to stick as close to that scan as possible. If you need to change their features a lot post scan then you've simply hired the wrong person to base your work on.
  • NikhilR
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    PolyHertz said:
    An appealing character doesn't necessarily mean a beautiful / handsome one. But if you're going to focus on realism then expect to be scrutinized far more then with non-realistic characters, since you can no longer claim artistic interpretation as boldly when defending your work. 

    I'm of the opinion that if you're going to go through the hassle of paying someone for a scan of their head then you should try to stick as close to that scan as possible. If you need to change their features a lot post scan then you've simply hired the wrong person to base your work on.
    I really feel that this is where they dropped the ball on this one, like people are photoshopping the actors face on the model and asking why didn't you just do this?
    It would be interesting to learn more about their decision making process. So far Ubisoft hasn't claimed artistic interpretation on Kay, though that is likely what has happened and not in a good way.
    I don't feel that ubisoft needs to defend its decision, their artists, community managers might and I hope Ubisoft restrains their comments if its seen to hurt their brand.
    I think that if they wanted to do a han solo style character, they should have gone with han solo and set the game between New Hope and Empire strikes back. 
    They would be competing with the indiana jones game but only for character art fidelity so going with Kay Vess instead does seem to have a DEI component relating to current trends, but why they modified the scan is still a mystery.

    On a personal note, for portfolio artwork, this approach is something that I struggle to justify, 
     if I do an interpretation of a character and not follow the photo reference and state my intention, would that character weigh towards rejecting me if the reviewer doesn't find my interpretation appealing? 
    I assume a competant reviewer would see the full picture (process, breakdowns and technical skill) or I would be judged on an art test with very specific requirements.

    She would look like a different person though. (like Kay doesn't look like the actor)

    For the moment I've only ever done interpretations of cartoon characters, making it a point to capture a realistic character as precisely as I can to match their photo reference.






  • NikhilR
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    myclay said:
    meh, this is intentional outrage marketing a couple months before the product is released.
    Right now the goal is maximum (out)reach, ensuring Brand visibility to get into as many as possible peoples attention spheres.
    The rage part is used to keep longer in the attention spheres.

    Outrage marketing is nowadays common.
    An older example;

    Rockstar games did that with paid bad reviews about their game.
    The goal was to target certain newspapers to ensure moral outrage and get as much attention and sales as possible.

    I wonder if its really necessary though. Being a star wars game people will likely buy it anyway.
    Then again maybe that aspect is what made them take more risk with the character?

    Also this outrage is a boycott, basically atleast 400,000 gamers have vowed not to buy the game, so that's a lot of lost revenue.
    I don't agree with it, when it comes to character design, I would have just done a Han Solo game (younger/older version)

    Basically any game that Sweet Baby Inc or other DEI consultants touch is now doomed which is horrible for devs.
    I am hoping that their marketing data proves otherwise.
  • Rima
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    Rima greentooth

    NikhilR said:
    I think that if they wanted to do a han solo style character, they should have gone with han solo and set the game between New Hope and Empire strikes back. 
    They would be competing with the indiana jones game but only for character art fidelity so going with Kay Vess instead does seem to have a DEI component relating to current trends, but why they modified the scan is still a mystery.
    Don't you think it's bigoted as fuck that you assume this character must be made for DEI just because she's a woman and/or non-white? You're basically saying that the only time a woman or PoC can be the main character is if a white guy took pity on them. I mean, you haven't stated any reason why it should be believed this is a DEI move except that she's not white, not a man, and that her face deviates marginally from beauty norms...

    Maybe the much more common sense reason is that.......

    1. Harrison Ford didn't want to voice Han Solo and he's so iconic that they didn't believe they could get away with using an obviously not-Harrison-Ford replacement for an entire game's worth of cutscenes and voice lines.
    2. Han Solo has a defined start and end point in the Star Wars universe, which kneecaps what they can do in the story. Making her Han Solo would limit them; they could never kill him off, give him significant character development because his character is set in stone already, they wouldn't be able to make many sequels even if it sold well because it would get increasingly implausible that all this just happened off-screen and wasn't mentioned, they wouldn't be able to give him a supporting cast without someone asking why they never appeared in the films, everyone would be asking why he doesn't just ask Chewbacca or Luke Skywalker to help on (whatever the conflict of the game is), it would limit what they could with his character design and abilties.....It would be a stupid, stupid move.
    3. Making a new character gives them much more ability to create new merchandise; there's a million Han Solo figures already, so why would anyone care about one more? But this new character has nothing, so any figures she gets have novelty value.
    4. If you think that they shouldn't have made her because he's a "Han Solo type character", why aren't you applying the same standard to the million and one Jedi they've made that are "Luke Skywalker type characters"? If not, why is this woman the exception? Do you think that Jango Fett shouldn't exist because Boba Fett existed? What about the Mandalorian? Does he get a pass for the development he gets that differentiates him from his identical "stoic mandalorian bounty hunter" character traits he shares with Boba Fett? If so, why doesn't Kay Vess get a chance to show she's her own character?
    As for why they modified the scan.......Maybe they just had a particular look in mind, and she was close but not quite there? It's not a big mystery. Video games frequently have people scanned and mocapped for characters whose faces don't entirely match. Do you think Laura Bailey looks just like Abby? Of course not.

    There's no case to be explained here. They don't owe answers for why she looks the way she does.

    Also, "any game that's involved with Sweet Baby Inc is doomed"? Really? Maybe you should pull your head of your gamergate echo chambers. Most people don't even know what that is, or care. They only have appetite.

  • zetheros
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    sweet baby inc is one of those, 'but why?' companies. Games were already inclusive long before they arrived on the scene. For instance in Morrowind, you have a transexual god, furries, black & white & yellow (high elves), all living in harmony. Meanwhile one of the top modders who made some of my favourite mods of my childhood is a woman, and that's all dandy https://lovkullen.net/Emma/modsbyemma.htm

    The issue with Sweet Baby Inc is that they write bad stories with inclusivity for the sake of inclusivity. If I were to make a game about the 1845 Irish potato famine but had an even split of white, black, and asians, that wouldn't make sense at all as Ireland is majority white by a huge margin - but that's what they're doing. The situation is pretty stupid and overblown, but people also eat cat poop coffee and step in front of buses to try to claim insurance, so who cares. Water is wet and people are stupid. Avoid twitter and you avoid most of the cesspool of humankind

  • NikhilR
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    Rima said:
    Why the hell are you so determined to tear down Abby's physique? Why does it matter to you so much whether she's buff or not? And by the way, ew, no, Abby being trans wouldn't have explained her physique, that's a load of transphobic bullshit that's built on the assumption that trans women must have a big, masculine frame, and that a cis woman couldn't possibly be highly muscular unless she was "actually a man". They didn't think she was trans because she seems trans, they thought she was because a leak told them there was a trans character in the game, and they were a bunch of sexist, transphobic little shit-for-brains. That's all. It was sexism, it was transphobia, and you're just giving them excuses to pretend their complaints had any legitimacy.

    If you can't look at her and understand she's a woman, that's on you. Her face is obviously a feminine face. Look at the brow ridge; look at the overall shape because of the fat in it giving it roundness in a way you typically don't see in men. Look at the cheekbones. Look at the blindingly obvious feminine profile. Look at the shape of her lips. Look at the fact that her neck doesn't have an Adam's Apple. Notice the pair of perfectly existent tits she's got right in the middle of her chest. These things are not tiny details you have to be an expert to see.

    As for them being "hidden"....No, they're not, she's just wearing clothes. Is it a "fault" in female character design if they're wearing loose clothes instead of something that's tight enough to show off their boobs and hips so everyone knows they're female? Talk about sexist...

    I've been really trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but between that and the rest of the shit you've posted here, you might as well just admit you're not acting in good faith and drop the pretense of just having "concerns" about these female character designs and admit you agree with the chuds wholeheartedly. Everything you've posted so far has been from Gamergate 2.0 types, bitching and moaning that the female characters aren't attractive enough, making excuses to justify their complaints by overanalysing characters' faces and hairstyles and clothing in ways that you'd probably never apply to a male lead, and pretending you just didn't know when you were getting all your opinions on TLOU2 from its infamously bigoted and toxic subreddit.

    And by the way, it's really fucking gross to go judging the quality of a female character by whether her face or hips are "feminine enough". It's not a failing for a woman to be depicted with narrow hips or a "masculine" face or whatever - some women just have those! If you want realistic graphics, you have to look at actual humans, and when you do you'll realise there's enormous diversity in body types, faces, even our basic proportions vary a little from person to person.

    I don't think anyone should be a character artist if they can't understand and engage with real humans.
    I really am intrigued by Abby's design process and I'm looking into more articles and case studies from Naughty dog to understand their design decisions.

    They did release this documentary about the game, 
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC3C7GMMfDU

    So I'm going to watch it today and then reply more in depth, since the articles I'm finding on Abby's character design and gameplay/story are very polarising.
    Like I think that its not just her character design that gamers had a problem with, or that they are transphobic or displaying toxic masculinity, the game itself is very controversial and complex in how it engages in storytelling and choices players have to make and how they end up feeling about the characters and Abby's character seems to endure the worst of this criticism.

    The gist I have (before I go through the documentary) is that Abby's design is meant to contrast Ellie, but at the same time come across as "she could have been like Ellie had Joel not killed her father and made different choices"

    Abby and Ellie for example look similar, and there is concept art that basically presents Abby as a leaner, muscular ellie with longer hair.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/TheLastOfUs2/comments/180subd/how_do_yall_feel_about_this/
    She is meant to intimidate Ellie and then present as a shadow of herself in the end and be part of a moral conundrum.

    To achieve this they made her look stronger, though they could have also made her obese since the depression of losing her father can go both ways. For Last of Us part 2, Abby was motivated to bulk up to kill Joel, she could have just as easily turned into something like Charlie from the Whale and the final fight would have looked like this,
    https://x.com/HappyPunch/status/1776741253763178562

    Though I'm certain that Frank Tzeng's input on designing Abby would factor in as well, he likely wanted to challenge himself but I am concerned about discourse like this,
    https://www.neogaf.com/threads/video-game-artist-gets-threatened-to-be-blacklisted-from-the-industry-for-criticizing-tlou2-abbys-design.1552626/
    which isn't healthy.

    like personally I understand the confusion, I had the same confusion during a family visit to thailand, well we all had when we walked through  Pattaya's Red Light District, many of the women there were lady boys (trans women) and there were also many tomboys (trans men) and some were very well built. While we weren't in the market for any of their services, it was well, really confusing and intriguing to see this culture.

    But in that context, in Pattaya, its understood and accepted, in fact it contributes to their tourism industry regardless of how any of us feel about it ethically/morally. There were several sex tourists availing of their services and they seemed to having a good time.

    Not saying Abby has a career in Pattaya, but there were many different ways she could have been portrayed and this is what the dev's went with. 
    If people on the internet react to it negatively it is a risk that their marketing research should have assessed, and maybe it did correctly and they didn't care.
    Its Naughty Dog, there was a highly critical article about the absolutely gruelling working conditions at the studio and still so many artists would do anything to work at the studio regardless of the working conditions.
    https://kotaku.com/as-naughty-dog-crunches-on-the-last-of-us-ii-developer-1842289962

    I'm also a fan of the British comedy Allo Allo, where there is considerable cross dressing and comments on broad shoulders, feminine wiles, german womanhood, being french, kinkiness during the occupation and comedic masculinity, so I'm thinking that also factored in at some level.
    At the time the show was made the extent and impact of the holocaust wasn't fully understood, and german's were portrayed as caricatures in shows like Hogan's Heros and movies like "La Feldmarescialla"  and Mel Brooks "To Be or Not To Be"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhAFR6tfSE0
    https://youtu.be/rqMlVRa4oMk
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfi8WsEE9G8
    Certainly this sort of humor may not see syndication again with the way things are today.

    Wish there was more awareness of this content though, I do feel society was more tolerant and whimsical in those days and its concerning to see all the outrage and intolerance, I think its more an online vocal minority than a organised movement but the crusading, advocacy, cancel culture and ultra left leaning discourse is more apparent atleast in the west.

    From a story perspective, the idea was to have both characters have positive arcs which diverge violently and then have a hollow conclusion,
    Critical drinker/gamer says it perfectly in his review,
    https://youtu.be/OOdFy6AEsyg

    https://youtu.be/OOdFy6AEsyg?t=999
    "the core message of that game (Last of Us Part 1) is a positive uplifting one that the most desperate and terrible circumstances can bring out the best aspects of our natures love sacrifice compassion and Humanity the things that make us who we are, this time around (Last of Us Part 2) we're told that revenge and retribution brings out the worst in people, and while that's true [ __ ] me it doesn't have make for a depressing gaming experience and I can't help but think there's better ways of getting the same message across ways that wouldn't totally compromise popular characters and leave the player questioning the point of their own existence
  • pxgeek
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    With Kay and her pet being obvious riffs on the original characters (Hannah Solo and Nibble-bacca? :P) I wouldn't be surprised if it was a way for lucasfilm/ubisoft to have their cake and eat it too.
    I suspect that disney/lucasfilm would be extremely protective of licensing the Harrison Ford/Han Solo ip (or any of the original characters) to any form of new narrative content without a greenlight of some stringent internal review. (I wonder too if actor-likeness contracts play a part in it)
    By creating a new character they get to ride some of that nostalgia wave while still keeping it feeling like you're experiencing something new.
    And had they made it a male character it probably would've drawn even more negative comparisons like "discount Han Solo" (Hi, Avengers, I see you).

    This is pure speculation on my part. But if we're making assumptions, this could be equally plausible
  • NikhilR
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    pxgeek said:
    With Kay and her pet being obvious riffs on the original characters (Hannah Solo and Nibble-bacca? :P) I wouldn't be surprised if it was a way for lucasfilm/ubisoft to have their cake and eat it too.
    I suspect that disney/lucasfilm would be extremely protective of licensing the Harrison Ford/Han Solo ip (or any of the original characters) to any form of new narrative content without a greenlight of some stringent internal review. (I wonder too if actor-likeness contracts play a part in it)
    By creating a new character they get to ride some of that nostalgia wave while still keeping it feeling like you're experiencing something new.
    And had they made it a male character it probably would've drawn even more negative comparisons like "discount Han Solo" (Hi, Avengers, I see you).

    This is pure speculation on my part. But if we're making assumptions, this could be equally plausible
    That is possible.
    The new Indiana Jones game, Indiana Jones and the Great Circle has a Harrison Ford likeness and he is voiced by a different voice actor. 
    Bethesda was able to afford that license, maybe Ubisoft didn't want to or felt that the comparison would be too great.

    Its great to create a new character, I just feel that Han Solo isn't spent and they really did not do justice to him by killing him off in Force Awakens, even though Harrison Ford wanted the character to die.

    Also there are characters from star wars rebels who could also be alternatives to Kay and maybe she is one of those rebels and we will know more once the game releases.

    Its not entirely clear what Ubisofts long term plans are for Kay, maybe she and the game will be popular enough to explore a sequel, maybe she will end up forgotten like Rey.
    But why they had to alter a scan and risk criticism, we'll never really know.

    Rima said:

    NikhilR said:
    I think that if they wanted to do a han solo style character, they should have gone with han solo and set the game between New Hope and Empire strikes back. 
    They would be competing with the indiana jones game but only for character art fidelity so going with Kay Vess instead does seem to have a DEI component relating to current trends, but why they modified the scan is still a mystery.
    Don't you think it's bigoted as fuck that you assume this character must be made for DEI just because she's a woman and/or non-white? You're basically saying that the only time a woman or PoC can be the main character is if a white guy took pity on them. I mean, you haven't stated any reason why it should be believed this is a DEI move except that she's not white, not a man, and that her face deviates marginally from beauty norms...





    DEI for games does influence everything from who is hired and how what they include, will help in branding.
    I don't have statistics for whether it increases the sales of games, or if people who support DEI buy into games because it is includes it.

    In my opinion it isn't wrong to suggest that DEI has influenced their choice of protagonist, but it does provide credence to the changes they made to the actor's appearance if that's how someone wants to look at it.

    I think its a number of factors and their decision isn't limited to DEI but they haven't made any statement in this regard to promote the character save from the usual trope of "I've been held back my whole life, I just need a chance to finally be free" back story of Kay Vess that is similar to other star wars protagonists.

    There is a heavy Han Solo - Luke Skywalker component and I would assume that when it comes to deciding what the character looks like they do their market research and since that is not public, we would do well to make the most of what we're paying for.

    Many of the narrative team having highly polarising views about diversity and far left ideals as was noted in the video I linked really doesn't help the situation.

    Personally I don't have an issue either way, I would just have taken the simpler option of the two, I'd keep the actors face and call it a day.

     I was just pointing out why so many think that it is a component.
    If I am to give a reason, it would be because it is the current trend, and many studios are promoting female protagonists as leads and want to tap into that market.
    They do go out of their way to promote "women in stem" "Girls in coding" etc so why should it not reflect in their games?
    I don't know if it actually makes any real significant difference.

    Disney did it with the Little Mermaid and many little black girls were overjoyed because she looked like them, but regardless of how I feel about Hailey Bailey, I grew up on Ariel, so that's who comes to mind when I think of the little mermaid.
    People tend to prefer what is familiar to them, and many feel that this needs to change to promote diversity. There's just a lot of controversy around if this is done in a way that appeals to everyone.

    I'm thinking Ubisoft tried to satisfy every camp and came up with a girl that resembles Han Solo and has Luke Skywalkers motivations and for an unknown reason the actors face wasn't good enough, so they modified it and went with a 80's hairstyle resembling the period the movie was made.

    Now that its led to a backlash, not sure what Ubisoft will do, but they have to identify the right reasoning behind it first, if they even care to change anything.
    Many in the audience have connected it to the SBI fiasco and are convinced that its a conspiracy threatening boycotts.

    I'm just wondering why they had to go this far with a redesign since this character is a nobody, but we could just as easily say that this is the reason to go for a redesign.

     Race is a very complex systemic problem in North America and much of it is politicised to the point where its not clear if initiatives like DEI are actually sustainable for upliftment of a demographic that feels disenfranchised.

    Many times it can come across as lip service and attributed disporportionately leaving out people who truly need the initiatives to survive and succeed.

    Also I'm not sure if the actor who they scanned fits a beauty norm. I think she is more attractive than Kay and this comes down to several factors, to how she styles her hair, the make up she wears or doesn't, the lighting.etc.
    Same applies to Kay, and if modding is an option, I'm sure many will jump into give her a different hairstyle.etc 

    Now if an actual bigot goes to make her white then I'm sure there will be backlash against them exaclty like the guy who tried to make Hailey Bailey white citing Ariel's descent as danish as a defense.
    And it is a fact that a white character being made black is seen as diverse representation by several people who support affirmative action.

    Personally I felt that Hailey Bailey Ariel looks like a fish,
    https://images-cdn.9gag.com/photo/aPY5Zrq_700b.jpg

    and when I justified it considering that she lives under water, several people blocked me because I offended them for being racial insensitive and speciest .

    One very angry person, accused me of preventing black people of liberating Atlantis from colonial aparthied, apparently they got this idea from Black Panther Wakanda forever and were convinced that the indigenous populations there had been colonised by the Danes and now by promoting a black little mermaid, black people were finally reclaiming it for their mexican brothers.
    There's some really peculiar people on social media...

    But in the end this is all fiction, so people will do what they want and some will do more controversial stuff for various motivations.






  • icegodofhungary
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    NikhilR said:

    I'm also a fan of the British comedy Allo Allo, where there is considerable cross dressing and comments on broad shoulders, feminine wiles, german womanhood, being french, kinkiness during the occupation and comedic masculinity, so I'm thinking that also factored in at some level.
    At the time the show was made the extent and impact of the holocaust wasn't fully understood, and german's were portrayed as caricatures in shows like Hogan's Heros and movies like "La Feldmarescialla"  and Mel Brooks "To Be or Not To Be"


     Never heard of the show but I googled it and it was made in 1982. What do you mean extent and impact of the holocaust wasn't fully known in 1982?


  • NikhilR
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    Rima said:


    Maybe the much more common sense reason is that.......

    1. Harrison Ford didn't want to voice Han Solo and he's so iconic that they didn't believe they could get away with using an obviously not-Harrison-Ford replacement for an entire game's worth of cutscenes and voice lines.
    2. Han Solo has a defined start and end point in the Star Wars universe, which kneecaps what they can do in the story. Making her Han Solo would limit them; they could never kill him off, give him significant character development because his character is set in stone already, they wouldn't be able to make many sequels even if it sold well because it would get increasingly implausible that all this just happened off-screen and wasn't mentioned, they wouldn't be able to give him a supporting cast without someone asking why they never appeared in the films, everyone would be asking why he doesn't just ask Chewbacca or Luke Skywalker to help on (whatever the conflict of the game is), it would limit what they could with his character design and abilties.....It would be a stupid, stupid move.
    3. Making a new character gives them much more ability to create new merchandise; there's a million Han Solo figures already, so why would anyone care about one more? But this new character has nothing, so any figures she gets have novelty value.
    4. If you think that they shouldn't have made her because he's a "Han Solo type character", why aren't you applying the same standard to the million and one Jedi they've made that are "Luke Skywalker type characters"? If not, why is this woman the exception? Do you think that Jango Fett shouldn't exist because Boba Fett existed? What about the Mandalorian? Does he get a pass for the development he gets that differentiates him from his identical "stoic mandalorian bounty hunter" character traits he shares with Boba Fett? If so, why doesn't Kay Vess get a chance to show she's her own character?
    As for why they modified the scan.......Maybe they just had a particular look in mind, and she was close but not quite there? It's not a big mystery. Video games frequently have people scanned and mocapped for characters whose faces don't entirely match. Do you think Laura Bailey looks just like Abby? Of course not.

    There's no case to be explained here. They don't owe answers for why she looks the way she does.

    Also, "any game that's involved with Sweet Baby Inc is doomed"? Really? Maybe you should pull your head of your gamergate echo chambers. Most people don't even know what that is, or care. They only have appetite.

    *Spoilers for Star Wars Rebels, Mandalorian.etc follow.


    1. This hasn't proven to be a problem for the new Indiana Jones game that's coming out.
    2. I really do feel that Han Solo requires more stories and that was the plan with the Solo movie. Unfortunately it wasn't very popular though I enjoyed it.
       Placing it between Solo: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars a new hope gives plenty of room, as does placing it between Star Wars A new Hope and Empire Strikes Back
       For the period they have chosen (between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) and Kay's relevance to that period, their intent is to keep it to the outer rim, canto bright and crime syndicates and of course there is Tatooine.
      Kay is being pursued by a mercenary similar to how Obi Wan was being pursued by the inquisitor Reva.
      The game is relying heavily on Han Solo as a driving force while attempting to distinguish itself, I hope it is appreciated for this.
       
       For your point about Han, Luke, Chewie being a focus, I don't think its stupid, Luke became relevant again because of the Mandalorian and EA's star wars Jedi Series has already reinvigorated interest in the older cast and period besides Ahsoka.
       It really comes down to if Ubisoft wants to make this story its own thing, which I feel is the intent. I am curious if they will involve characters from Star Wars Rebels, like Hera Syndulla since they are all missing from the original triology 
    https://www.quora.com/Where-was-the-Ghost-crew-during-the-events-of-the-original-Star-Wars-trilogy

       Not sure how much of the narrative team are familiar with star wars lore to pull this off, one claimed that they couldn't care less about it though it was 3 years ago so maybe their perceptions have changed.

    3. I really wouldn't count on merchandising as a reason, especially for a video game. 
    There aren't many successful examples of video games leading to profitable merchandise campaigns and it certainly shouldn't be a deciding factor.
    Also the toy market is very different from video game market and when fans buy toys they are influenced by much more than subject matter.
    Its why Rey Skywalker ended up in the bargain bin.
       But if they do it right, Kay could be as popular as Cal Kestis. (he is a jedi though, and going by sales most fans prefer mandalorians when it comes to gun fighters)

    4. Kay actually is a luke skywalker type character, I'm not familiar with many jedi that have luke skywalkers backstory other than Ezra Bridger and Anakin Skywalker and possibly Ahsoka and they had big shoes to fill and managed it very well because of good writing.
        No idea if Kay will fill those shoes. Han Solo tried to fill his own shoes in Solo A star wars story and that movie didn't do well.
        I don't see Jango Fett to be as popular though the actor who plays him is more popular regardless of if he's Commander Rex, Boba Fett of Jango Fett.
        I watched Book of Boba Fett hoping for a Mandalorian Cameo and didn't really care for the Boba Fett bits.

        The Mandalorian holds his own. Dave Filoni put a lot of love into 
    Din Djarin and the show is really iconic.
        The addition of Grogu was a masterpiece in story telling and marketing.
        Din Djarin's story and the whole premise and development of the Mandalorian put him ahead of Boba Fett which is incredible considering the popularity Boba Fett used to enjoy.
        If it has to be about female characters (that are not jedi), Fennec Shand is a great character as is Bo-Katan Kryze and there's always Sabine Wren.
        Cara Dune is great too, lot of personality and compliments Din Djarin very well. I hope they bring her back regardless of the actors controversial views.
        So yes I held all the above to high standards, and as yet don't really know what to make of Kay.

        Going by the trailers, Kay is Han Solo + Luke Skywalker + Rey Skywalker, and while I feel that Rey really got the short end of the stick, more stories with Luke and Han would be welcome even if the way this happens is in Star Wars Outlaws.
       Theres many characters from the rebels era that Kay could connect to which will make for a very interesting game, no idea how much Ubisoft will play on the nostalgia factor since many are convinced that it might be overshadowed by DEI promoted content given the narrative and design teams extremely polarising and leftist views.

        So far I don't have much to go on to truly care about Kay Vess, maybe that will change once the game comes out.

    The doom comment with SBI is a fact since 400,000 people boycotting a studio and a product because of a consulting firm is something to take seriously.
    Maybe it won't hurt larger AAA companies, but companies like Reflector are hugely depending on the success of games like Unknown 9: Awakening for sustainablity and can't afford to lose that much in sales. (about 28 million if the game costs 70$ prior to steams 30% cut)
    If they lose sales and Bandai walks, the studio shuts down and people lose their jobs. 
    Its not worth it even if the intent is to advocate and fight this DEI crusade to the bitter end.
    SBI has been mostly unrepentant calling its employees victims of white supremacy in a gamer gate 2.0 conspiracy, so its a difficult situation to be in though as a business they are obligated to put out a PR statement de-escalating the situation at the earliest to protect their business and their clients.
    Why they haven't done this is beyond me.


  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR said:

    I'm also a fan of the British comedy Allo Allo, where there is considerable cross dressing and comments on broad shoulders, feminine wiles, german womanhood, being french, kinkiness during the occupation and comedic masculinity, so I'm thinking that also factored in at some level.
    At the time the show was made the extent and impact of the holocaust wasn't fully understood, and german's were portrayed as caricatures in shows like Hogan's Heros and movies like "La Feldmarescialla"  and Mel Brooks "To Be or Not To Be"


     Never heard of the show but I googled it and it was made in 1982. What do you mean extent and impact of the holocaust wasn't fully known in 1982?


    Its with regards to this
    "Today we’d lose these hilarious characterisations. There would instead be tedious, ‘right-on’ attempts to link Nazism to modern politics and regular, none-too-subtle warnings about the dangers of political extremism."
    As elaborated in this article,
    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/the-enduring-appeal-of-allo-allo/

    Extent meaning,
    while it was common knowledge that the holocaust was a horrifying event that should never be repeated,
     its impact on politics and political correctness in the time the show aired was minimal, most of the audience could laugh at the comedic portrayal of the Germans.
    It was one of the rumored reasons about why it wasn't rebooted for a modern audience where people, or atleast the vocal minority that feels offended can cause many problems.
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/699687/bbc-allo-allo-nazi-offence

    Today you have a pretty vocal demographic calling Israeli's Nazi's and blaming germans for the plight of palestinians and many parts of the world are seeing a resurgence of right wing politics because of resistence to immigration and controversial discourse on the spread of islam, so a comedy show involving subject matter that is considered sensitive for syndication is generally not something a studio wants to risk, though laughter is usually the best medicine in these circumstances.




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