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View Full Version : [LR] Editorial: Lightning Returns to Sexy: Why SE Risks Destroying Lightning's Strengths



Raistlin
08-01-2013, 09:17 PM
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If there’s one thing the Final Fantasy VII Compilation taught us, it’s that Square-Enix knows how to beat a dead horse. Of course, this isn’t anything unusual about SE relative to other game developers (or any other business, for that matter), as businesses are designed to exploit merchandise until it stops being profitable.

But the current way Square-Enix is exploiting Lightning risks ruining what was originally so good about her.

Lightning has been a pretty big deal for the Final Fantasy series. She was the lead character in a main-numbered game, and Square-Enix has pushed her as the biggest thing since Cloud Strife, creating the entire Final Fantasy XIII mini-series around her, the latest and final one being Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (http://home.eyesonff.com/content/category/132-lightning-returns.html).

She’s also been cropping up everywhere, most lately in a crossover (http://home.eyesonff.com/content/2665-ffxiv-arr-lr-ffxiii-cross-over-bonanza.html) planned with Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (http://home.eyesonff.com/content/category/101-final-fantasy-xiv.html). Lightning will make an appearance in an FFXIV event (http://home.eyesonff.com/content/2732-lightning-appear-fate-final-fantasy-xiv.html) and has appeared as a scantily-clad Miqo’te (http://home.eyesonff.com/content/2706-lightning-get-miqo-te-treatment.html), a popular race from the MMO.



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Lightning will be making an appearance in a small quest event in Final Fantasy XIV


So why is any of this a bad thing? Well, it’s not -- by itself.

Let’s examine, for a moment, why Lightning was such a big deal to begin with. She is the lead protagonist in a Final Fantasy game. She was the first female of that stature since Terra Bradford way back in Final Fantasy VI (while Ashe is widely regarded as the real main character of Final Fantasy XII, the lead playable role was still Vaan). We first met her in Final Fantasy XIII, where she was portrayed as a strong, independent, and fiercely competent soldier, who managed to overcome incredible odds in her quest to save her sister, and later the world. In Lightning Returns, Lightning will again have to save the world, and this time the game is focused even more on her character.

Lightning represented a positive step for the Final Fantasy series. I have previously criticized (http://home.eyesonff.com/content/2256-final-fantasy-sexism-part-i-why-matters.html) many Final Fantasy games for their reliance on sexist feminine tropes in their female characters, but I also largely praised Lighting (http://home.eyesonff.com/content/2487-final-fantasy-sexism-part-v-women-charge.html) and Square-Enix’s current trend of creating stronger and more varied female characters that are less cut-and-pasted from previous molds. She was not a weak damsel in distress, her purpose in the plot did not revolve around the male lead’s love for her, and she generally broke free from the stereotypes that have littered not only Final Fantasy, but video games and media in general. Not everyone liked Lightning, but even for those who didn’t, she still represented progress in at least this area.

And that progress is threatened by Square-Enix’s own marketing campaigning on her behalf.

Take a look at Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII as she appeared on the game’s cover side-by-side with her in that Miqo’te outfit, which will be making an appearance in Lightning Returns.



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Can you see a difference? The first comes off as strong and confident, and the second is designed just to be sexy. The latter suffers from the all-too common trope of over-sexualized poses by female characters, a phenomenon I have taken to calling Hawkeye Initiative syndrome, after the website (http://thehawkeyeinitiative.com/) that shows how truly absurd these poses are by drawing Hawkeye in the same fashion. I discussed other examples of that phenomenon here (http://home.eyesonff.com/content/2256-final-fantasy-sexism-part-i-why-matters.html).



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When male characters are put in the same sort of poses, the absurdity is fully revealed.



Some may say that the Lightning image was just promotional, or that it was insignificant in the larger picture. But this shows that Square-Enix’s marketing still considers one of Lightning’s most important features to be her sexuality.

This isn’t just an isolated incident, either. In a recent Q&A session (http://kotaku.com/for-some-reason-lightning-returns-has-boob-jiggling-947463805) with some Lightning Returns developers, director Motomu Toriyama stated that the LR team made the conscious decision to make Lightning’s breasts bigger, and, depending on what she’s wearing, even jiggle. I can only imagine the upcoming bikini DLC to really emphasize the boob physics.

These sorts of exploitations, if continued, risk losing what was so significant about Lightning in the first place: a strong female role model, breaking free of the most common sexist stereotypes that have littered all forms of media for decades. She’s not just a pretty face, or a set of boobs, but a character. Square-Enix should stay true to that character, and resist turning Lightning into just another sexy body to turn into fan service for horny teenagers.

So go ahead and exploit Lightning, Square-Enix. We can’t stop you. You’re a business, and you’ll continue to do so until it’s not profitable anyway. But at least try not to do it in such a way that diminishes who Lightning is and gives us less hope for progress. Stay true to Lightning’s character and strength.

Skyblade
08-01-2013, 10:16 PM
I do think that the Mi'qote outfit picture shouldn't get nearly the hype it does. It's a promotional outfit taken directly from FFXIV, as is the pose she strikes in it. It's part of a crossover with the MMO, and is no different than Lightning sharing Cloud Strife's outfit and victory pose from FFVII, which is also from promotional material.

The Mi'qote outfit and pose say far more about FFXIV than they do about Lightning Returns.

Granted, Square could have chosen almost any pose or outfit from FFXIV to use, and this one, which is both out of character and needlessly over-sexualized, would not have been my first choice, but I still think it reflects poorer on the Mi'qote and FFXIV than it does on Lightning.


The interview is another matter, and I don't disagree that it's not something to be worried about. However, I haven't exactly noticed jiggle physics or a plethora of scanty outfits in any of the gameplay videos or promotional items I've seen, outside the FFXIV crossover pack.

If they leave this sort of thing to promotional items or, as you suggested, bikini DLCs, I really won't mind. It'll be easy enough to ignore. I'm already pretty sure I'm not going to use the Mi'qote outfit. As long as, in the game, she's still who she is, I don't really mind the extraneous bonus material they produce.

It is nice to see you're clearly enjoying the Hawkeye Initiative's works. :)

Jinx
08-01-2013, 10:23 PM
I agree with what you're saying. I think it's a big ridiculously they made the conscious decision to make her breasts larger. Lightning was fine as-is. I don't really care for her much, and I'm annoyed with all of the attention she gets, but I recognize what she means for the gaming industry, and on a much smaller scale, the Final Fantasy Franchise.

I'm really disappointed in what Square Enix has done, and I hope that enough fans are outraged or upset enough that Square Enix will listen.

Goldenboko
08-02-2013, 12:31 AM
I'll be honest, if FFXIII: LR isn't the crap that FFXIII-2 was, I don't care. :lol: Game companies do way worse fan service on a seemingly daily basis.

ShinGundam
08-02-2013, 12:41 AM
Nothing strike me as big deal so far. Most of outfits aren't revealing or that skimpy and there is like just one T&A interviews compared dozens of interviews discuss the main game.

DMKA
08-02-2013, 03:05 AM
The hullabaloo over this is so dumb. I swear people just look for things to get bent over anymore.

http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110312155014/finalfantasy/images/9/90/Rikku_the_Thief.jpg

It's like people really think cleavage and sexy, revealing, absurd outfits are somehow new to the Final Fantasy franchise.

Raistlin
08-02-2013, 03:24 AM
I do think that the Mi'qote outfit picture shouldn't get nearly the hype it does. It's a promotional outfit taken directly from FFXIV, as is the pose she strikes in it. It's part of a crossover with the MMO, and is no different than Lightning sharing Cloud Strife's outfit and victory pose from FFVII, which is also from promotional material.

The Mi'qote outfit and pose say far more about FFXIV than they do about Lightning Returns.

It's true that the pose and outfit was originally designed by the FFXIV team (though that still justifies the SE criticism). But they still made the conscious decision to shove Lightning into it, and not any other picture of a Miqo'te, regardless of how that fit into Lightning's character. Cloud's SOLDIER outfit was consistent with Lightning; the FFXIV outfit was not. That was my only point.


I'll be honest, if FFXIII: LR isn't the crap that FFXIII-2 was, I don't care. :lol: Game companies do way worse fan service on a seemingly daily basis.

I can understand this perspective. When I judge a game as a whole, I value a number of things much more highly than positive portrayals of women. Some of my favorite FF games were some of the worst offenders in my Final Fantasy Sexism series. But I still think the issue is worthy of note and criticism -- as it's never going to change unless more people acknowledge that it's a legitimate concern.


Nothing strike me as big deal so far. Most of outfits aren't revealing or that skimpy and there is like just one T&A interviews compared dozens of interviews discuss the main game.

It's not a massive deal. Yet. The editorial was asking SE not to make it a bigger deal, as what has been done so far has simply been a cause for concern about future marketing choices.


The hullabaloo over this is so dumb. I swear people just look for things to get bent over anymore.

It's like people really think cleavage and sexy, revealing, absurd outfits are somehow new to the Final Fantasy franchise.

It's not new at all. In fact, that's the entire point. Lightning was supposed to be different from Rikku and Tifa and the other scantily-clad girls used for fan service and token love interests/spunky teens. The concern is that Lightning will instead be turned into more of the same.

Goldenboko
08-02-2013, 04:08 AM
Although I understand the concern, FFXIII: LR itself doesn't look like it's going to change much of Lightning's formula of a strong independent woman who don't need no man and will somehow save the world all by her lonesome.

Freya
08-02-2013, 06:46 AM
I don't think it's so much about there being absurd outfits and more that they are dramatically changing a character to appeal to what's "sexy". Lightning didn't need bigger breasts, what's the point of that? What does that have anything to with her character or character development? It doesn't.

As of 2012, in a study by the ESA (http://www.theesa.com/facts/pdfs/ESA_EF_2012.pdf), 47% of gamers are now women. While many of these women are playing social games or puzzle games, they are actually playing them. Now if the industry would like to get more women playing AAA titles then they should probably stop enlarging breasts and adding jiggle affects just cause.

Honestly it's not a hard market to sell to if they'd just stop doing things like this sexualization of lightning.

Pumpkin
08-02-2013, 06:52 AM
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When male characters are put in the same sort of poses, the absurdity is fully revealed.




Whatever, that looks pretty hot to me :greenie:

Mahad
08-02-2013, 07:26 AM
After trying to type a long reply and failing, I'll just summarize my thoughts as follows:

I hate this. All of this. I just can't stand it.

CimminyCricket
08-02-2013, 07:30 AM
45404
When male characters are put in the same sort of poses, the absurdity is fully revealed.




Whatever, that looks pretty hot to me :greenie:

I'm enjoying it, too.

Jiro
08-02-2013, 08:07 AM
It's just frustrating to see SE undermine one of the better received characters, and one of the most positive female characters in their entire series. I know I'm a part of the machine that helps to propagate this, but even with all my red blooded maleness, I still would prefer to see a strong and confident and still sexy in her own way Lightning than the "Look at me now, I'm a cat girl meow!" that we have now. Increasing her breast size is just stupid.

maybee
08-02-2013, 12:33 PM
It's stupid because Lightning is popular and well liked by many Final Fantasy fans Male and Female because she's tough and not a damsel in distress type female character or even a sex object. So they are completely destroying the reasons why Lightning was so loved in the first place.

It was like Lightning was in a role that you would usually place for a male character, expect she wasn't.

It's just so much stupid.

" How to destroy a well loved Final Fantasy Character " A Book written by Square-Enix.

Jinx
08-02-2013, 03:24 PM
But what if she really IS pregnant guys?

And what if that is why Hope is a child again?

Because since the FFXIII world has time travel, she actually turns out to be Nora, and goes back in time and gives birth to Hope?

Karifean
08-02-2013, 04:01 PM
I don't take this nearly as hard as many people in this thread seem to. For one, they didn't seem to be too proud to announce it, more like a guilty pleasure. And I can't really fault someone for a guilty pleasure of theirs. Second, this doesn't mean they're going to oversexualize Lightning. I'll stand corrected if they do, but I doubt they will. They still know who Lightning is.

Saying they "made the conscious decision" makes it sound worse than it actually is IMO, because they probably didn't think it was such a big deal. Now if they had come out and proudly announced "LIGHTNING NOW HAS BIGGER BOOBS!" it would be a different story.

Freya
08-02-2013, 04:08 PM
Actions speak louder than words.

FifthDream
08-02-2013, 04:56 PM
When i first saw this, i did think it was a bit uncool, and does undermine Lightning as a character a little, but then i wondered if it was intended to be sort of a silly, one-shot sort of thing, being playful with a character that is not known to be very playful. It might be the same sort of thing if they had a costume that made Lightning chibi. It wouldn't be undermining her, really, if it was portrayed as so obviously out-of-character for her that it was laughable. A mild joke, like "hah! Look at how silly this is, Lightning would never be this way!" I'm just waiting to see if there will be more treating Lightning's character this way, or if this is just a one-time deal. I don't take it too seriously - yet, but if more things like this pop up, it will probably bug me more.

That said, am i the only one who doesn't care much about Lightning either way? She's a competent character, and a hero, but she's never been a character i particularly liked. Though i don't hate her at all, either. She's just kinda there. I'm hoping LR makes me feel like she has a bit more personality, that it gives me something to *like*. I want to like her, i just don't feel i know her very well, yet.

Jiro
08-02-2013, 05:12 PM
Second, this doesn't mean they're going to oversexualize Lightning.

http://home.eyesonff.com/attachments/lightning-returns-final-fantasy-xiii/45403d1375384170-editorial-lightning-returns-sexy-why-se-risks-destroying-lightnings-strengths-lightning-miqote.jpg

This does not look like Lightning. I realise that being sexy like this can be a sign of confidence, but come on; Lightning got a knife for her birthday. That doesn't scream "on weekends I dress up like a cat, meow." The rest of the game might portray her as usual, but these changes already undermine the good work Lightning has done.

LadyJuxtaposition
08-02-2013, 07:48 PM
As far I am concerned, I see two differents Lightnings, and I highly perfer the Lightning who is the strong independent beautiful woman rather than the oversexualized kitty hooker. I mean really, the Final Fantasy series had enough of those stereotypes already, and Lightning should not get on that bandwagon if you know what I'm saying. I understand SE is trying to make profits from every single game they make, but they need to stay true to Lightning's character and not to change anything on her that would make people misjudged her.

This may bring an uproar when I said this suggestion... due to possible sexism in LR and changes in Lightning's character by outfit changing to make her more sexy than she needs to be, should we boycott the game and argue about those points?

Skyblade
08-03-2013, 12:11 AM
As far I am concerned, I see two differents Lightnings, and I highly perfer the Lightning who is the strong independent beautiful woman rather than the oversexualized kitty hooker. I mean really, the Final Fantasy series had enough of those stereotypes already, and Lightning should not get on that bandwagon if you know what I'm saying. I understand SE is trying to make profits from every single game they make, but they need to stay true to Lightning's character and not to change anything on her that would make people misjudged her.

This may bring an uproar when I said this suggestion... due to possible sexism in LR and changes in Lightning's character by outfit changing to make her more sexy than she needs to be, should we boycott the game and argue about those points?

If I saw anything even remotely like that from the game's standard material, perhaps. But I've seen nothing of the sort. That pose and outfit are taken from FFXIV. It may have been a poor choice, but that promotional tie-in does not seem to have influenced the rest of the game at all.

There are plenty of screenshots and promo vids out there now, and none of them show Lightning in any sort of overly sexualized pose or outfit.



And, while we're discussing the promotional outfits, I do admit that Cloud's is extremely in character for Lightning (which is hardly surprising, since Lightning was designed as a female Cloud), but I don't think Yuna's summoner garb is at all in character for Lightning, yet no one has complained about it either.

DMKA
08-03-2013, 01:16 AM
As of 2012, in a study by the ESA (http://www.theesa.com/facts/pdfs/ESA_EF_2012.pdf), 47% of gamers are now women. While many of these women are playing social games or puzzle games, they are actually playing them. Now if the industry would like to get more women playing AAA titles then they should probably stop enlarging breasts and adding jiggle affects just cause.

Honestly it's not a hard market to sell to if they'd just stop doing things like this sexualization of lightning.
http://nivelzero.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/kratos_3.jpg

Video games full of burly muscular shirtless men don't fail from men not wanting to play them, nor do tv shows and movies full of scantily clad ladies fail from women not wanting to see them.

Video games are just like any other medium. Most women (at least, most women I know) couldn't care less about this sort of thing, and won't let a sexy "objectified" woman keep them from taking in and enjoying said entertainment. The women who get bent over this stuff are a vocal minority that seem hellbent on focusing on video games as of late, for some reason.

None the less, this is a Japanese game we're talking about here, so any and all female outrage is pretty much a lost cause, seeing as Japan does not care about feminism or appeasing offended women.

Oh, and for all the people complaining that it looks "out of character"...it's an optional costume. That's like complaining how out of character the optional costumes in FFXIII-2 (such as the Ezio and Commander Shepard costumes) and in all the Resident Evil and Devil May Cry and God of War games are.

Freya
08-03-2013, 05:20 AM
Well that's not true.

Quick story: I love mass effect. Woo! I went to the bioware forums, boo. ME3 beta for their multiplayer was coming out. I joined a group to have people to play with and most were females. I have about 20 some random female fans on my xbox live now. Most of them have stated in some form or another that they like the ME series because they are able to play a strong female character who isn't over sexualized and just as much of a badass as male shepard.

Now this isn't some vocal minority. These are just fans of a series. To say that women don't care about it and it's only the vocal minority is brushing off the issue.

Next story: I worked at gamestop for 2 years. Now this doesn't give me any credibility, the douchiest people can work there. I did interact with a lot of gamers though. Of the ones, women that is, I did talk to about it held similar opinions. Now they may still enjoy a game and play a game with a sexualized female character but I often heard the want for more games to have a badass who wasn't the typical "sexy".

Now that's my personal experiences. We, as females, still enjoy games with girls bouncing around with big tits. It's still a fun game. But when you go from a character who is independent and a badass and got a knife for a birthday kinda girl to then put them in random outfits (you do know one of the biggest features in LR is the ability to change her clothing colors and stuff! right?) and increase her breast size and give them jiggle affects just cause, that's when a problem arises.

The only way a change can and will be made in the industry is if crap like this gets the negative reaction. Statistically, it's not just men playing anymore. Just because "it's japan" doesn't mean it's then okay.

Raistlin
08-03-2013, 05:55 AM
And, while we're discussing the promotional outfits, I do admit that Cloud's is extremely in character for Lightning (which is hardly surprising, since Lightning was designed as a female Cloud), but I don't think Yuna's summoner garb is at all in character for Lightning, yet no one has complained about it either.

Actually, several people pointed that out in the thread we had about it (http://home.eyesonff.com/lightning-returns-final-fantasy-xiii/151334-article-lightning-gets-miqote-treatment.html). It is out of character for Lightning and I won't ever use it myself, but I think it's less complaint-worthy for a number of reasons, mostly concerning the motivations for including it. First, it's simply utilizing the outfit of one of the most prominent FF females. It's not limiting Lightning to a sex object, but simply catering to fans of FFX. If SE's going to cater to a group of people for the DLC outfits in Lightning Returns, that's the way to go. The inclusion of the Miqo'te outfit and the use of that particular pose in the promotional material for it is indicative of other motivations.


Video games are just like any other medium. Most women (at least, most women I know) couldn't care less about this sort of thing, and won't let a sexy "objectified" woman keep them from taking in and enjoying said entertainment. The women who get bent over this stuff are a vocal minority that seem hellbent on focusing on video games as of late, for some reason.

None the less, this is a Japanese game we're talking about here, so any and all female outrage is pretty much a lost cause, seeing as Japan does not care about feminism or appeasing offended women.

This is pure male privilege talking. True, most people don't care, including a number of women. Just because most people, especially male gamers, are either too far removed from significant sexism issues are too indoctrinated in gender norms to bother thinking about the issue, does not mean it's not an issue worth discussion and criticism. The "vocal minority" is simply becoming more aware and outspoken about issues that have been around for decades, in video games and in all other aspects of our culture.

As for women not refusing to play games or enjoy other forms of entertainment with objectified women: that's true for the most part, but really, what's their alternative? And I never said that this was such a significant issue by itself that I would refuse to play the game over it; I'm just saying it's a reason for criticism. You seem to think it's all or nothing all of the time, and that women who still watch TV or play video games must not care at all or wouldn't prefer any sort of alternative.

And are you seriously asserting that the fact that Japanese companies, in your own words, generally don't care about feminism is a reason for less criticism over their demonstrations of sexism?

Pumpkin
08-03-2013, 05:58 AM
Why don't we care about sexualized men or men who portray an unrealistic body image for other men?

Not saying this isn't an issue about women having to put up with unrealistic portrayal of women (trust me, I have low self-esteem, I know it's there) but there are men who are sexualized and who have ridiculous amounts of muscles and that might make some male gamers feel insecure or uncomfortable too.

Jiro
08-03-2013, 06:19 AM
I would love to be able to punch boulders like Chris Redfield, but society also doesn't tell me that I need to be Chris Redfield in order to be a man. Kratos is crazy buff, and half naked, but I still think it's different: Kratos and Chris aren't trying to be sexy, they're trying to be cool. I don't know if that makes much of a difference - especially because they're still trying to appeal to male gamers - but I think "oversexualisation of men in video games" is far less of an issue.

You know how they say that art reflects real life? It's kind of appropriate here. You have Lightning, a character who is strong and confident and female. Instead of relying on that to shift copies of the game, Square Enix thinks that they need to add the ability for her to dress up in slutty clothes and increase her breast size. If you told a woman she needs to dress skimpy and get plastic surgery before she could get a job, that would be outrageous.

I know that it's all fiction and sure we can smurf around and play some stupid games once in a while, but as Raistlin has explored in the past, Final Fantasy has a history of being a sexist jackass. With Square Enix undermining one of the most positive steps forward in the series, I think it's fair to say that we have a problem.

I'm all for tits and ass but sometimes I want something serious and don't want to feel like it comes at the expense of a female's dignity, fictional or not.

EDIT: And yes, as much as I hate the rampant cross-overs, at least Cloud's outfit is appropriate for Lightning's personality. Yuna's outfit, the Miqo'te outfit and that purple dress which I have previously complained about are all out of character.

(There is the argument that just because she is strong and confident and an action girl doesn't mean she can't have a girly side; sure, but she's still being a smurfing action girl in the game and should be wearing at least half-way appropriate battle garb.)

Raistlin
08-03-2013, 06:20 AM
Who's saying we don't? There are plenty of one-dimensional, stereotyped male characters and those used as just another muscle-bound hunk, and I would cheerfully point out where those are stupid too. But this issue certain disproportionately effects women, as a women's sex is regularly treated as relevant to any and all things she does (see here (http://home.eyesonff.com/content/attachments/39033d1357526397-xkcd-sexism.jpg.html)); a woman's objectification is more indicative of our culture's treatment of women in general. Men are indisputably privileged when it comes to sexual discrimination. While there are objectified men in various entertainment mediums, women are disproportionately affected by sexism in real life.

I'm not saying that men are never objectified; I'm just saying it's not as significant, and I'm not putting forth the effort to get up on my soapbox about it. Nor do I do so on the vast majority of other issues I have an opinion about.

But on the point of how privileged men are: what would you think of a white person who went into a thread criticizing certain forms of discrimination against black people in the US and said "white people are sometimes discriminated against too! Why aren't you protesting about that?" Why isn't that question treated just as silly and offensive in a discussion about sexist portrayals of women?

Pumpkin
08-03-2013, 06:22 AM
I guess I just *personally* think that we should care about sexualization and unrealistic portrails of peoples body's.

Not just men, not just women.

I don't think I was being offensive but hey take that however you want

Skyblade
08-03-2013, 06:25 AM
Ok, how about this, then:

How is this any different from showing Samus in a bikini at the end of Metroid?

Not in character for her, over sexualization, and completely irrelevant to the majority of the game?

Granted, complaints about that have been going for ages, but it hardly destroyed Samus as a character. It took Other M to do that.

Raistlin
08-03-2013, 06:33 AM
I guess I just *personally* think that we should care about sexualization and unrealistic portrails of peoples body's.

Not just men, not just women.

I don't think I was being offensive but hey take that however you want

I didn't intend to call you offensive, and I'm sorry you took it that way. But I do think it's a bit silly to insist that advocates against a minority's discrimination focus equally on the privileged majority who, while they may be impacted on some of the same issues, are not nearly as aggrieved by them. Especially in such cases as this one, because who is making the casting and directing choices that could be argued objectify male characters? Other men. If men were woken up to sexism issues generally, sexist portrayals of both sexes would be less of a problem.


Ok, how about this, then:

How is this any different from showing Samus in a bikini at the end of Metroid?

Not in character for her, over sexualization, and completely irrelevant to the majority of the game?

It's not? That warranted criticism as well. Just because it didn't ruin Samus permanently doesn't mean it wasn't silly and unwarranted.

Jiro
08-03-2013, 06:49 AM
There is a difference between Samus showing up at the end of the game in a bikini and Samus being able to go through the game in a bikini.

Mind you, just because it didn't ruin the Metroid franchise doesn't mean it doesn't ruin her appearance in that game. It's out of character and is inconsistent and ultimately detracts from Samus as a character.

Skyblade
08-03-2013, 07:25 AM
There is a difference between Samus showing up at the end of the game in a bikini and Samus being able to go through the game in a bikini.

Google "Justin Bailey", and then get back to me.


Mind you, just because it didn't ruin the Metroid franchise doesn't mean it doesn't ruin her appearance in that game. It's out of character and is inconsistent and ultimately detracts from Samus as a character.

No, it doesn't ruin her appearance in that game. Does it detract from Samus as a character? I suppose. Enough for me to worry or care about? No.

When I think of Samus, I don't think of the sexualization. I don't play Metroid with the Justin Bailey password. To me, it's not a part of her characterization, it's just an Easter Egg in the game that I can ignore.

maybee
08-03-2013, 09:19 AM
Because since the FFXIII world has time travel, she actually turns out to be Nora, and goes back in time and gives birth to Hope?

So Snow Kills her ?

If that was true then Snow will automaticly become my favorite Final Fantasy XIII character.

Jiro
08-03-2013, 11:25 AM
There is a difference between Samus showing up at the end of the game in a bikini and Samus being able to go through the game in a bikini.

Google "Justin Bailey", and then get back to me.


Mind you, just because it didn't ruin the Metroid franchise doesn't mean it doesn't ruin her appearance in that game. It's out of character and is inconsistent and ultimately detracts from Samus as a character.

No, it doesn't ruin her appearance in that game. Does it detract from Samus as a character? I suppose. Enough for me to worry or care about? No.

When I think of Samus, I don't think of the sexualization. I don't play Metroid with the Justin Bailey password. To me, it's not a part of her characterization, it's just an Easter Egg in the game that I can ignore.

So with one hand they crafted a character who stands at the forefront of strong female leads in video games, and with the other they showed that she could also be nothing more than eye candy. I... don't get what you were trying to argue.

Say you're playing a game with one of those morality systems. Say it's Fable, and say you're a good hero who always does the right thing - that's your choice of character, right - the virtuous hero. And then say you kick your sister into hell just for the sword of +infinity. That seems out of character, and kind of undermines all the "good" that you did.

That's on the basic level, of course, where this is more on the meta level. This is one of the reasons people think video games are a) for kids b) not for kids and c) not a mature or artistic medium.

Samus, and Lightning, are strong characters. Action girls who stand up to the boys and say "no sit down, I'm the hero" and do cool things. They are positive rolemodels for girls who don't want to be a fucking princess or be boy-obsessed or play second fiddle to the hero. Tifa is strong, but she needs gigantic breasts and to be Cloud's love interest. By providing these costumes, you're actively undermining the character. Sure, we can ignore them, but why should we have to? Why are they there? Do you ignore casual sexism in your workplace? Do you ignore the glass ceiling?

Elpizo
08-03-2013, 04:30 PM
What I don't get is why most of you are saying that apparently women can't be strong and sexy at the same time. Care to explain that?

Formalhaut
08-03-2013, 04:44 PM
One thing's for certain: The next EoFF podcast will be very interesting.

Skyblade
08-03-2013, 05:27 PM
There is a difference between Samus showing up at the end of the game in a bikini and Samus being able to go through the game in a bikini.

Google "Justin Bailey", and then get back to me.


Mind you, just because it didn't ruin the Metroid franchise doesn't mean it doesn't ruin her appearance in that game. It's out of character and is inconsistent and ultimately detracts from Samus as a character.

No, it doesn't ruin her appearance in that game. Does it detract from Samus as a character? I suppose. Enough for me to worry or care about? No.

When I think of Samus, I don't think of the sexualization. I don't play Metroid with the Justin Bailey password. To me, it's not a part of her characterization, it's just an Easter Egg in the game that I can ignore.

So with one hand they crafted a character who stands at the forefront of strong female leads in video games, and with the other they showed that she could also be nothing more than eye candy. I... don't get what you were trying to argue.

Show me any FF character who hasn't been reduced to eye candy at some point. Even the guys aren't safe from this, as the thousands of pics of Cloud, Sephiroth, Squall, and Seifer should show.


Say you're playing a game with one of those morality systems. Say it's Fable, and say you're a good hero who always does the right thing - that's your choice of character, right - the virtuous hero. And then say you kick your sister into hell just for the sword of +infinity. That seems out of character, and kind of undermines all the "good" that you did.

That's on the basic level, of course, where this is more on the meta level. This is one of the reasons people think video games are a) for kids b) not for kids and c) not a mature or artistic medium.

But that's kind of a big difference. If it happens in-story, it says something about the character. In the case of Fable, it would indicate that the character is virtuous only when it is convenient, but is a ruthless bastard when it comes to his ultimate quest for power.

Similarly, if this was an actual story event, if they'd drastically changed Lightning's personality or had a quest where Lightning cosplayed as a Miq'ote and struck ridiculously sexual poses, I would be upset.

But this isn't a story event, it isn't a part of the canon (anymore than Samus killing everything without her power suit is), and therefore it doesn't affect my view of her characterization.


Samus, and Lightning, are strong characters. Action girls who stand up to the boys and say "no sit down, I'm the hero" and do cool things. They are positive rolemodels for girls who don't want to be a smurfing princess or be boy-obsessed or play second fiddle to the hero. Tifa is strong, but she needs gigantic breasts and to be Cloud's love interest.

While I agree with you here, I do hope you're just saying that Tifa is a different kind of character, and not arguing that those aspects make her a bad character.


By providing these costumes, you're actively undermining the character. Sure, we can ignore them, but why should we have to? Why are they there? Do you ignore casual sexism in your workplace? Do you ignore the glass ceiling?

Ok, how do I put this?

If I saw a picture of a female coworker in a scantily clad outfit, striking a highly suggestive pose, it would change my view of that lady.

If I saw a similar photo that was Photoshopped, or a sketch, or otherwise not a part of real events, it wouldn't.

It doesn't undermine the character, in my mind, because it isn't a part of the character.

It does color my opinion of the devs, and since they have the potential to actually ruin the character, it is definitely worth noting and complaining about. But as long as this isn't a part of the canon or actual characterization, I'm not of the opinion that it affects or detracts from Lightning's character.

I'll treat it like any other piece of fan art out there. It's there, it's largely unnecessary, but it doesn't affect me, and it doesn't affect the characters.

Freya
08-03-2013, 08:31 PM
But the thing is, it IS part of the game. You can run with that outfit. Her boobs will be enlarge throughout the game with jiggle affects everywhere. So let's take your example again:

Your female coworker is in a bikini and super mega foxy hot. You think differently of her.

She now got a boob job! You think differently of her. She is now walking around in her normal clothing but with huge tits!

So yeah these changes DO affect the character. And the changes aren't fanart. They are canon!

Skyblade
08-03-2013, 08:37 PM
But the thing is, it IS part of the game. You can run with that outfit. Her boobs will be enlarge throughout the game with jiggle affects everywhere. So let's take your example again:

Your female coworker is in a bikini and super mega foxy hot. You think differently of her.

She now got a boob job! You think differently of her. She is now walking around in her normal clothing but with huge tits!

So yeah these changes DO affect the character. And the changes aren't fanart. They are canon!

Running around in a pink leotard in the original Metroid was an in-game option as well. As was wearing N7 Armor from Mass Effect in XIII-2. Does that make it canonical? No. It's just an Easter Egg.

Raistlin
08-03-2013, 09:04 PM
What I don't get is why most of you are saying that apparently women can't be strong and sexy at the same time. Care to explain that?

No one is saying that. I'll take one more crack at explaining. :p

Women can be strong and beautiful. But the various entertainment mediums have focused disproportionately on highlighting and exploiting female characters' sexiness. From the clothes and "armor" they wear (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/12/03) to the poses they're drawn in (http://thehawkeyeinitiative.com/), and especially combined with the frequent dependence on more central male characters for relevance, female characters are frequently utilized as sex objects first and foremost, with much less thought and complexity put into their characters than their male counterparts. Take Tifa from FFVII. Sure, her outfit by itself cannot be fairly considered sexist in a vacuum. But when you consider how inconsistent it was for her shy character and other choices the writers made (such as this badass fighter getting into a "catfight" slapping contest with another woman), one can't help but think that these choices were made because of her sex.

Lightning was different than that. Sure, she's not ugly, but no main characters ever are (though that is another issue). What was different was that her sex isn't exploited in the overtly sexual fashion described above. But these current choices by SE show an inconsistency with that change, and a concern that SE might be returning to form and so exploiting Lightning.

This has nothing to do with "sexy can't be strong." It's how sexy is utilized in conjunction with other aspects of the character.

Skyblade
08-03-2013, 09:14 PM
Take Tifa from FFVII. Sure, her outfit by itself cannot be fairly considered sexist in a vacuum. But when you consider how inconsistent it was for her shy character and other choices the writers made (such as this badass fighter getting into a "catfight" slapping contest with another woman), one can't help but think that these choices were made because of her sex.

While I don't disagree, I'd like to point out that it is fairly in character for a female character who makes a living as a bartender in a slum.

Jiro
08-04-2013, 06:06 AM
Yes, but that outfit is not appropriate to wear in battle.

Lightning is sexy. But she doesn't need to get her tits out to do so. This is not fanart, this is an honest to god part of the game that Square Enix have included. You argue that it's an easter egg, but it's even easier to obtain - there is no Justin Bailey code to input, you're likely able to buy this at a store. Which implies that Lightning has either no reservations or actively enjoys wearing something like that, which has - in my opinion - been demonstrated as false throughout the previous two games.

Even her "goddess battle armour" was not overly sexualised. If you click here (http://images.wikia.com/ayakashi-ghost-guild/images/8/84/Lightning_FFXIII-2.png), you can see there's a bit of thigh showing, but it is for all intents and purposes still battle-worthy armour, and covers her goddamn breasts up.

Lighting was supposed to stand on the other side of this trope (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Stripperiffic) but including her in revealing and out of character costumes as part of the game is undermining that.

ShinGundam
08-04-2013, 06:48 AM
Yes, but that outfit is not appropriate to wear in battle.

Lightning is sexy. But she doesn't need to get her tits out to do so. This is not fanart, this is an honest to god part of the game that Square Enix have included. You argue that it's an easter egg, but it's even easier to obtain - there is no Justin Bailey code to input, you're likely able to buy this at a store. Which implies that Lightning has either no reservations or actively enjoys wearing something like that, which has - in my opinion - been demonstrated as false throughout the previous two games.

Even her "goddess battle armour" was not overly sexualised. If you click here (http://images.wikia.com/ayakashi-ghost-guild/images/8/84/Lightning_FFXIII-2.png), you can see there's a bit of thigh showing, but it is for all intents and purposes still battle-worthy armour, and covers her goddamn breasts up.

Lighting was supposed to stand on the other side of this trope (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Stripperiffic) but including her in revealing and out of character costumes as part of the game is undermining that.

Again, there is like dozen or so outfits we know about actually aren't skimpy. Especially when that one costume/pose is just taken directly from another game: List of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Garb - The Final Fantasy Wiki has more Final Fantasy information than Cid could research (http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Lightning_Returns:_Final_Fantasy_XIII_Garb)

Jiro
08-04-2013, 07:28 AM
Again, there is like dozen or so outfits we know about actually aren't skimpy. Especially when that one costume/pose is just taken directly from another game: List of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Garb - The Final Fantasy Wiki has more Final Fantasy information than Cid could research (http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Lightning_Returns:_Final_Fantasy_XIII_Garb)

Yes. But all of those outfits still feature her increased breast size. And here (http://home.eyesonff.com/attachments/lightning-returns-final-fantasy-xiii/43854d1371123303t-lightning-returns-shes-dressing-up-you-outfits.jpg) is an image showing several other outfits, one of which is a ballgown which is out of character and terrible as battle wear. My point is that even a single skimpy outfit puts cracks in the positive steps that Square Enix have made when it comes to strong female characters that don't need to be hypersexualised in order to be popular/whatever.

Clearly they've been taking a little too many cues from the folks who worked on Dragon Quest VIII's Jessica. If the one outfit was Viera based (http://planetjinxatron.com/images/2013/viera-film.jpg) or Rikku based (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LLoAOKJXvzI/TWHvdGaTMPI/AAAAAAAACIw/K_nOFy2pRFE/s400/RikkuYikes.png), would that make it any less revealing and out of character? No, it would be stupid and it would undermine the fact that Lightning is a conservatively and appropriately dressed warrior.

I understand that "one outfit" is not a big deal. But do you also see that it's a series full of girls who have to dress slutty and have gigantic tits in order to be popular? I want to see a strong female character who doesn't have to be relegated to the eye candy department and have to have over the top "sex appeal" in order to be considered a good leading female.

Lightning can still be sexy and confident with her clothes on. Adding the Miqo'te outfit is not necessary - you could have added the female hume starting outfit (http://zantetsuken.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ffxiv-lfrpxxxi-rse.jpg) to get the same cross-over content without turning her into a smurfing cat girl who leans forward, jiggly her tits, to celebrate a victory in battle. It's almost the smurfing same as Lulu, which Raistlin already highlighted in his sexism series.

The same thing goes both ways though. What would you think if they remade Final Fantasy VII and made this an option (http://cdn2.dualshockers.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/FFXIV_Swim_001.jpg) for Cloud to wear? Does that fit with his SOLDIER 1ST CLASS personality? (I realise that his personality was stolen from Zack and he was only a Shinra guard but that's not the smurfing point.) By undermining the true strengths of the character and relying on sex appeal to try and gain favour, they have actually ruined everything that make Lightning a progressive female lead.

EDIT: Well, almost everything. If Lightning spends all her smurfing time thinking about boys, I will pack it in and quit Final Fantasy for good.

Del Murder
08-04-2013, 09:02 AM
I don't think having one sexy outfit is a big deal in a game where a core mechanic is changing the character's outfit. The thing that bugs me more about Lightning is that SE keeps shoving her down our throats in these out-of-context scenarios. She was a likable character in FFXIII but not even close to the level of popularity that SE seems to think she is. Maybe it's different in Japan.

ShinGundam
08-04-2013, 09:02 AM
Again, there is like dozen or so outfits we know about actually aren't skimpy. Especially when that one costume/pose is just taken directly from another game: List of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Garb - The Final Fantasy Wiki has more Final Fantasy information than Cid could research (http://finalfantasy.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Lightning_Returns:_Final_Fantasy_XIII_Garb)

Yes. But all of those outfits still feature her increased breast size. And here (http://home.eyesonff.com/attachments/lightning-returns-final-fantasy-xiii/43854d1371123303t-lightning-returns-shes-dressing-up-you-outfits.jpg) is an image showing several other outfits, one of which is a ballgown which is out of character and terrible as battle wear. My point is that even a single skimpy outfit puts cracks in the positive steps that Square Enix have made when it comes to strong female characters that don't need to be hypersexualised in order to be popular/whatever.

Clearly they've been taking a little too many cues from the folks who worked on Dragon Quest VIII's Jessica. If the one outfit was Viera based (http://planetjinxatron.com/images/2013/viera-film.jpg) or Rikku based (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LLoAOKJXvzI/TWHvdGaTMPI/AAAAAAAACIw/K_nOFy2pRFE/s400/RikkuYikes.png), would that make it any less revealing and out of character? No, it would be stupid and it would undermine the fact that Lightning is a conservatively and appropriately dressed warrior.

I understand that "one outfit" is not a big deal. But do you also see that it's a series full of girls who have to dress slutty and have gigantic tits in order to be popular? I want to see a strong female character who doesn't have to be relegated to the eye candy department and have to have over the top "sex appeal" in order to be considered a good leading female.

Lightning can still be sexy and confident with her clothes on. Adding the Miqo'te outfit is not necessary - you could have added the female hume starting outfit (http://zantetsuken.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ffxiv-lfrpxxxi-rse.jpg) to get the same cross-over content without turning her into a smurfing cat girl who leans forward, jiggly her tits, to celebrate a victory in battle. It's almost the smurfing same as Lulu, which Raistlin already highlighted in his sexism series.

The same thing goes both ways though. What would you think if they remade Final Fantasy VII and made this an option (http://cdn2.dualshockers.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/FFXIV_Swim_001.jpg) for Cloud to wear? Does that fit with his SOLDIER 1ST CLASS personality? (I realise that his personality was stolen from Zack and he was only a Shinra guard but that's not the smurfing point.) By undermining the true strengths of the character and relying on sex appeal to try and gain favour, they have actually ruined everything that make Lightning a progressive female lead.

EDIT: Well, almost everything. If Lightning spends all her smurfing time thinking about boys, I will pack it in and quit Final Fantasy for good.

You can quit series now for all i care if a slightly noticeable change in a character's render in one game is such a big issue to you.

Personally, the whole thing is blown out of proportion, the increase/physics isn't even noticeable in most outfits nor it is new to FF or any game to have minor changes in renderes. And there dozen, if not more outfits so far that cover her up than her older outfits.

I feel FF threads tend to be a mixture of very opinionated and exaggerating stuff. It feels gamers get more and more insatiable these days...

Jiro
08-04-2013, 09:11 AM
Do you understand what I mean by undermine? The fact that there are a bunch of other outfits that match her personality is good, but the fact that one or more doesn't is the point. Why does it need to be there? It does nothing but alter her character in a negative way. There are enough cookie-cutter 'sexy girls' in the series; we don't need Lightning to turn into one too.

I'm frustrated because everyone is content to hand wave it away as not a big deal when sexism in the video games industry is rampant. That Feminist Frequency series, as flawed as it might be, tried to highlight the issues and the chick was threatened with rape and death. I think that by giving gamers strong female characters that don't need to turn the sex appeal up to 11, we might see a little bit of a shift in mentality as younger gamers grow up.

But even apart from that, retaining a little bit of artistic integrity when it comes to character design would be nice. Why bother giving us Lightning for the third time if she's going to be altered?

And my last comment was intended as tongue in cheek; forgetting to add the appropriate smiley obviously confused it for the tone of the rest of my post. I am just disappointed that Square Enix and apparently its fans are more than happy to reinforce stereotypes without batting an eyelid.

Karifean
08-04-2013, 12:26 PM
Maybe she gets skills like Tantalise, Manipulate or Confuse from it.

Raistlin
08-04-2013, 08:18 PM
While I have criticized Square-Enix's conduct here and hoped that they do not continue down this path to create more serious issues, I want to point out what this is not: I am not saying that Lightning will be turned into a pure sex object, that Lightning's character is at this point forever ruined, or that these decisions mean the end of Final Fantasy. I am simply uttering words of caution.

Contrast that with this hysterical screed (http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-07/31/final-fantasy-is-dead) which claims that "Square Enix has lost the plot" and that "Final Fantasy is dead," based on the same two things I pointed out in this editorial: the Miqo'te outfit and the boob physics. The author (Chris Kohler of Wired UK) gets a lot of things very wrong, and then offers and wildly disproportional reaction to them.

First, the claim that SE "lost the plot" by focusing on Lightning's boobs misses the point entirely. Have you seen Tifa Lockhart? The development team had a poll about whether to give her a mini-skirt (which succeeded) and then gave her a tight, white shirt to cover her ginormous boobs. Focusing on Lightning's boobs is not some derailment, but a return to the status quo. Saying that this is some horrifyingly unique new development misses the sexism issue entirely by giving everything that came before it a complete pass -- while undermining the significant progress SE has made in recent years.

And because it is a return to form, it can hardly be said to be ruining Final Fantasy. FFVII-X were widely celebrated games, despite having a number of sexism issues -- and many more significant than Lightning having a revealing DLC outfit.

There are numerous reasons to be concerned about the Final Fantasy series. The long development times and silences, the lack of epic storylines (FFXIII), or just very sloppy storytelling (FFXII). The increased emphasis on graphics taking away from the RPG experience (FFXIII not having traditional towns and NPCs). But SE has actually been better recently on sexism issues, and a Lightning promo pic involving her being shoved into a silly outfit doesn't change that.

This is not the end of the franchise. It is a word of caution for SE to resist the temptation to revert to form, and instead continue its the progress it has made toward developing and respecting unique female characters. The Wired article, on the other hand, is sensationalist nonsense that manages to do more harm than good, despite essentially agreeing with my conclusion.

Elite Lord Sigma
08-11-2013, 08:13 AM
While I do think that the recent decisions regarding Lightning are pandering to the lowest common denominator, it barely even registers as anything at all for me on a personal level. I believe the reason I feel that way is that Lightning has never been a compelling character in my eyes. To me, she seems to be written as a collection of tropes rather than an actual character, which is primarily because Motomu Toriyama's writing and plotting are middling at the best of times and soporific tripe on average.

black orb
12-07-2013, 05:40 AM
Square-Enix should stay true to that character, and resist turning Lightning into just another sexy body to turn into fan service for horny teenagers.
>>> True, true, we have Serah for that..
Lightning`s job is to bring severe pain by stomping on our balls :colbert:..:luca: