Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The new Killer is Dead trailer makes James Bond look like a saint

I kind of thought we were moving past the whole "Tits or GTFO" movement in games.

After an increasing number of people drew attention to the hyper-sexualization of women in fantasy art and games, we came close - tantalizingly close - to kiboshing the idea that female characters needed to be defined by their boobs.

Then Grasshopper's Killer is Dead began leaking trailers.

The moody crime game aims to present the "Dark side of 007", so one would rightly expect that women would receive worse than a pat on the butt when being shooed away from "man talk" by an alpha male secret agent.

Yet even with this in mind, most people were unprepared for the "Mondo Girls" trailer that hit the web yesterday.

In Killer is Dead, the Mondo girls are little more than toys waiting to be played with.  Gamers should give Grasshopper the benefit of the doubt, because the developer has a history of asserting the dominance of their female characters by having them manipulate men for their own ends.

But this... this is a rather long way to go for the manipulation angle.

The hi-lariously named "Gigolo Glasses" allow your inner 8th grader to use X-ray vision and see women in their lingerie without their knowledge which... I suppose is something Bond did in The World Is Not Enough, but it's still rather distasteful.

Mind you, I'm not opposed to a little (or a lot of) skin or vampish, female sexuality in my games.  Atlus' Catherine is a great example of how this can be done well, despite the fact that the titular Catherine is a walking, fetish stereotype.

Catherine doesn't really do subtle...

This is mainly because there's no point in Catherine when the male protagonist has any sort of control over Catherine.  She flirts, she titters, and she terrorizes, but it's Vincent who's feebly grasping for any sort of agency.  At no point does Vincent have anything close to Gigolo Glases, and the game's narrative is stronger for it.

Admittedly, Killer is Dead is something of a futuristic period piece set in the gloriously chauvinistic world of pulp noir... but it shouldn't be let of easily for what it's doing.