More Jiggle Means More Empowerment
Final Fantasy XIII had some mixed reactions from critics and fans alike when it was released. However, one thing that a majority of those who have played the game can agree on is Lightning is a strong character. Perhaps to a fault but a strong character nonetheless. Now her design is certainly attractive as well. She has appealing features, a slim frame and nice (pink) hair but if you were to ask me the first aspect that comes to mind when I see Lightning, her attractiveness would not be my answer. It would probably be her stoic demeanor because when I think of Lightning, even with only her outer appearance to go by, I think of a strong character above all else.
Allow Square Enix to change that because after Final Fantasy XIII-2 and it’s more action oriented gameplay didn’t give them the large numbers they were expecting, they’ve decided to resort to what will always attract teenage boys and those with a fondness for anime style women: BOOBS! Director Motomu Toriyama has requested that in the upcoming Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning Returns, the strong empowered female protagonist undergo a breast enlargement procedure. Yes, you read that right. Lightning will be going from a C cup to a D cup in the new game and if that wasn’t enough, her breasts will also now jiggle, depending on what outfit she’s wearing.
In an interview with Famitsu, Lightning’s model designer Nobuhiro Goto demoed how to get Lightning’s chest to jiggle. He even gave tips as to how to see her jiggle in the best manner. “Since everyone can decide what costume she’ll wear, you can make sure it does (laughs). By the way, since Lightning swings her arm when you change her weapon in the menu screen, that’s a recommended action for sure-fire jiggling! To see it even better it could be useful to equip a small shield. Look forward to it!” Nothing pervy about that demonstration.
Unfortunately, this only highlights the video game industries more apparent misunderstanding of females. Whether it be the overly sexualized women of Dead or Alive or the lack of female protagonists in games, women in video games are treated more like objects or a means to an end and are never the star of the show. When they are given such a luxury, it’s either one or the other. Sometimes you get strong female characters who are side characters to the male protagonist like Alyx Vance or you do get a female protagonist but they’re sexed up like Bayonetta.
It’s no secret that sex sells but in the video game industry, often does the integrity of the affected character or game go out the window. Lara Croft is actually a good example as many of her games deal with ancient civilizations and various other interesting trinkets of history. However, her exploits are not what you remember. What you remember is trying to move the camera while swimming just a certain way so you can look at her butt. There’s a reason why in the late 90s they sold a book of nothing but glamour shots of Lara wearing little black dresses, bikinis and sometimes nothing at all.
I’m actually starting to get sick and tired of not having good female characters to play. Either they’re not playable as their secondary characters or the “woman” that passes for a protagonist is either little more than a glorified blow up doll or is shielded away by her gargantuan breasts. Sure there are some good female characters but you can only replay Metroid and Beyond Good and Evil before you need something new. In many games, I hardly ever play as a female character because rarely do them give me a good reason to. They’re usually a weaker, re-skinned version of a male character. Off the top of my head, the only female characters I play consistently are Chun-Li and Cammy in Street Fighter and the Sirens in Borderlands. While Lightning may not be a good character per se, she was at least one of the better examples of women in games but it seems that when you’re in doubt, let ’em out and jiggle about.
As a heterosexual male, I do like looking at attractive women but that doesn’t mean I need to always see that in video games at all times. Sometimes I’d rather see a character rather than a digitized woman trotted out for some fan service. What’s worse in Lightning’s case is her demeanor won’t even fit her new look. It’s jarring to see a woman kicking eight kinds of ass, taking names and handling her business while she’s essentially depending on a strip of boob tape to keep her from popping out of her blouse. It’s sad for me to say this but I would like a new point of view to be represented in video games and I think a female perspective maybe the fresh new idea this industry needs. A perspective, mind you, that’s already experienced from about half of the world’s population. It’s gotten to the point where I see a character like Bayonetta and feel ashamed that this is a thing. I’m embarrassed by my copy of Dead or Alive 4 now.
I am not particularly looking forward to Lightning Returns. The first time I tried Final Fantasy XIII, I fell asleep while playing. However, I’ve wanted to give it another shot (and I tried before my disc started skipping and I couldn’t go on) because I tried the demo for XIII-2 and really enjoyed that. Still, I enjoyed the character Lightning from what I knew about her despite the flaws she had. So unless I missed something, I don’t think Lightning Returns was announced as a sex simulation title where you get to have some “personal, quality time” with one of Final Fantasy’s leading ladies. Square should be concentrating their development time and resources making a compelling game instead of the physics of her breasts. Trust me, there will be plenty of people doing that on the internet already.