Halo designer says MGS character is disgusting, not sexy


Disgusting, sexy, erotic or something else?

In the past few years, it seems that discussions about games and overt sexual themes have become more common. While the industry hasn't shown much change from these discussions, it appears that the topic is at least making everyone think about game content a little more. Sometimes this spurs conversation, and sometimes raw emotions come through.

The latter is what happened late last week when Halo designer David Ellis tweeted that the design of a character in the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 5 game was "disgusting."

At the center of the controversy is that Hideo Kojima directed the team working on MGS5 to make the sniper character, Quiet, "erotic" so that people would cosplay her at the upcoming Tokyo Game Show. Although he later corrected himself by saying he meant "sexy," the model for the character shows a woman wearing a bikini, some torn stockings, and not much else.

Ellis went on to say that the industry is "full of man babies," and that while he likes breasts as much as anyone, that this character "felt icky."

It seems that video games are always the target for complaints about sexualization of women and over the top violence. Is this  something that needs to be changed or, like in television, movies, and magazines, is it something that we should accept?

Source: GameSpot | Image via Konami

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Google in lawsuit over a Gmail scanning scandal

Next Story

Tablet-optimized Twitter app for Android leaked

126 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

funny that for me that model's face is ugly and not realistic at all; too much uncanny valley, eh?

Also if it's in the story context it will make sense, but a semi naked sniper character doesn't make much sense to me.

He does know that they scanned in an actual human being though, does that mean she's disgusting too? I think she's hot, but maybe I'm partial because she looks like an ex-gf.

You know I think I'll run around Saints Row IV as the woman of my dreams of course this will be with the skimpiest and tightest outfit I can find that shows off massive ammounts of clevage

I don't think her apperance will subtract from the game at all. Ellis doesn't have to buy the ****ing game, he's not being forced into it.

I honestly don't see the problem. I hope Hideo doesn't do anything and leaves it like that. I agree with Mashiro, stop taking it soo seriously its just a video game.

I guess Quiet's design is just a part of the "taboo" that Hideo Kojima was referring to in his plans for the game. MGSV is simply the biggest, boldest and the most controversial game to the series and for Hideo Kojima.

I'm pretty sure that there must be a concrete reason why Kojima wanted Quiet to look like this; just like the way why he wanted Big Boss (now Punished Snake) to have a prosthetic left arm and a shrapnel wound in his head.

And seriously guys, if you were a character designer you should always know that "common sense and character design don't mix". If I were a character designer, I'll not just make a design that stands out; I'll also make a design that fits the character's personality - and that's what long-time Metal Gear Solid Character Designer Yoji Shinkawa did with this one.

Last but not the least, this is just a videogame for goodness' sake! People nowadays are so busy in taking everything too seriously.

Oh the stupidity of mankind!!!

Everyone is busy arguing over a girl is showing to much skin and ignoring the fact the game is all about killing people!!

Get your priorities straight people!!! For pities sake!

The human body is natural, and there is nothing wrong with showing it off.

Trivialising killing is the real wrong here!

Nudity should have an age rating of about 5, killing should have an age rating of 21.

I think that he should be more worried about the quality of the incoming Halo than to worry about the female characters of Metal Gear.

For instance, Halo 4 was a step back. In fact, any version after Halo 3 was a step back.

Hahaha is he a feminist or something?

Its not like Halo doesn't objectify men. We're ofcourse all giant strong tough guys that look cool, right?

Guys in videogames are always made like their real life counterparts right?

Stupid feminists among men, stop crying rivers you pancy losers, both sexes get objectified, but it is only bad when it is about women.... get REAL.

I dunno what the big deal is. Sure shes sexualised, but most girls in Japan are. That is where the game will sell most as well.

Dissing work of other game studios just says to me, as a game developer, that he is just a douche.

Maybe it is a bit too much, but I have faith in Kojima making her a great female character. The entire MGS series has depicted many a woman in a sexy and erotic light, but the important part is that they are all strong characters.

He isn't just making a Dead or Alive game and focusing on those bouncing bosoms, he is one of the few devs that actually treats his female characters with respect, odd clothing clothes aside.

At least they didn't make her big wearing clothes she has no place wearing in the first place. I don't care what crybaby Ellis says, I be he secretly wants to blow her pixelated back out with authority.

The bottoms I'd have to say could be different black leather or camo...other then that I see nothing else wrong with this picture.

I like women dressed like that as much as the next guy, but if anything its just going to hurt the experience for me. Why would a sniper dress like that, it makes no sense what so ever. Oh well, guess they are just keeping the MGS theme of making no sense what so ever.

What I've discovered from this article is that computer graphics have came a long way. That looks quite realistic... brb.

fobban said,
Did a complete thread in the comments just get deleted?

Yes.

I'm glad that this happened. A lot of the comments were unprovoked, immature personal attacks.

This is going too far. There is no way any woman with half a brain would go into battle like that. She's wearing gloves to protect her hands, but forgets to wear any other kind of clothing to protect the rest of her exposed skin? Give the poor girl some clothes! Make it short shorts and a low-cut top if they want to keep her "sexy," but IMO her design detracts from the believability of the character, let alone the sexist implications. How would they make this ridiculous outfit even make sense with the character in the game? I guess maybe if "Quiet" is a former stripper that decides she wants to go into battle with 0 training and gets shot and killed within the first 5 minutes...

JonathanMarston said,
This is going too far. There is no way any woman with half a brain would go into battle like that. She's wearing gloves to protect her hands, but forgets to wear any other kind of clothing to protect the rest of her exposed skin? Give the poor girl some clothes! Make it short shorts and a low-cut top if they want to keep her "sexy," but IMO her design detracts from the believability of the character, let alone the sexist implications. How would they make this ridiculous outfit even make sense with the character in the game? I guess maybe if "Quiet" is a former stripper that decides she wants to go into battle with 0 training and gets shot and killed within the first 5 minutes...

Ya, why couldn't they just do things in video games that are only rational? You know, like they do in Grand Theft Auto and WoW.

Ellis went on to say that the industry is "full of man babies," and that while he likes breasts as much as anyone, that this character "felt icky."

It's not just the video game industry that's full of "man babies", it's the entire world...

I don't even think that this is a relatively good example of the proliferation of "man babies", because it's tame compared to the great examples.

for the love of god the PC world strikes again. Its a game. I for one am impressed how far the technology has come to render, sexy or not.

While I agree to the general sentiment against the objectification of women, I absolutely abhor the lowest-common-denominator the advocates for this philosophy seem to want. It's like fundamentalism in feminism -- you have to show no skin at all anywhere, or it's "disgusting".

I absolutely disagree with that, especially when the vast majority of women dress in short shorts and tight tops all over the place. It's people like David Ellis who, if setting the standards, would say "well, we need a minimum skirt length, and no showing of any cleavage..." yeah, right. Women want to feel sexy too, believe it or not.

Context is always everything. My wife used to berate me for wanting to play Everquest back in the day, because she was convinced I was only doing it for the sexy girl on the cover of the box. Then she saw the game. Seriously, stop judging the women on what they wear, but what they're *doing*.

There are Christian girls in bikinis and there are sluts with office suits. It isn't about what you wear. People like David Ellis disgust me ... morally all our women would be wearing burqas before he would be truly happy. This argument comes up all the time whenever a new Lara Croft game comes out and it's just as ridiculous every time. We can see boobies. So freaking what... get over it.

Context is always everything.

The context here is that Quiet is a sniper. Going sniping. In the desert. No sane woman would wear that to go sniping in the desert. So I guess we're to assume that Quiet is insane?

JonathanMarston said,

The context here is that Quiet is a sniper. Going sniping. In the desert. No sane woman would wear that to go sniping in the desert. So I guess we're to assume that Quiet is insane?

The context here is we are talking about a game were there's stuff like a male cyborg ninja on high heels.

and why's she even wearing holy ass stockings right lets just send her out naked I mean who in their right mind would shoot a naked woman am I right

thomastmc said,
It's sexier when something is left to the imagination...
no it's sexier when they come to life, climb out of the tv and devote themselv.......
Damn forgot my pills again, nevermind, ignore this post

Dushmany said,
no it's sexier when they come to life, climb out of the tv and devote themselv.......
Damn forgot my pills again, nevermind, ignore this post

That actually happened to me once on acid. It wasn't as fun as you might think

Nope, we have to go deeper, lets wait till PhysX is updated to PhysXXX.
Maybe 'wonders' will be revealed then.

Shut up. Gamers are mostely male and they do like boobs...Thats all! This is not sexism, they just like to watch virtual boobs, its not real, so come down. chippendale are naked too, but no-one complaints about that game (there is a chippendale game for those of you dont know).

It doesn't matter if gamers are "mostely" male, because you still have females that play too.

No one smart is calling this sexist because it's not. The outrage is over the objectification of women. It's like where people said that Leia was in slave attire because that's what Jabba the Hutt wanted in the story, but in reality it was just so Carrie Fisher would be on screen almost naked.

Everybody's discussing this like adults so I don't think anybody needs to "come down". Perhaps they'll need to calm down if the discussion gets too heated.

Chippendale dancers are naked because they're strippers. No one "complaints" about that because they're supposed to be naked and objectified. That is their job.

This is nothing more than pandering to adolescents and manboys. Not surprising considering who it's coming from.

Davo said,
It doesn't matter if gamers are "mostely" male, because you still have females that play too.

No one smart is calling this sexist because it's not. The outrage is over the objectification of women. It's like where people said that Leia was in slave attire because that's what Jabba the Hutt wanted in the story, but in reality it was just so Carrie Fisher would be on screen almost naked.

Everybody's discussing this like adults so I don't think anybody needs to "come down". Perhaps they'll need to calm down if the discussion gets too heated.

Chippendale dancers are naked because they're strippers. No one "complaints" about that because they're supposed to be naked and objectified. That is their job.

This is nothing more than pandering to adolescents and manboys. Not surprising considering who it's coming from.

objectification of males in Chippendales game is ok, cos its their Job, while objectification of woman in a game is not ok...

ok your logic seems to be deficient

Agha said,
Shut up. Gamers are mostely male and they do like boobs...Thats all! This is not sexism, they just like to watch virtual boobs, its not real, so come down. chippendale are naked too, but no-one complaints about that game (there is a chippendale game for those of you dont know).

I'm sure there are plenty of women who find this attractive too, don't pin it all on the men. Some women are attracted to women you know!

I have to admit, this issue always boggles me. I'm confused because on one hand you have people that hate the objectification of women (and rightfully so, duh). On the other hand just do an image search for "sexy cosplay". Have fun sorting through the limitless supply of women (or men!) that willingly dress up the very way that critics say objectify them. *shrug*

Also, that render doesn't bother me but seems like something is off.

...Phrasing.

I don't normally say things are old but this is old and kojima already indirectly responded to that tweet. Check his Twitter history.

I would report a problem but there's no button for that on the mobile version.

I can't wait for some nice foot in mouth action.

Dude must not like girls or something. Nothing wrong with chicks looking like that in games especially when 90% of the audience is male. Give us something nice to look at please.

Barely anybody is capable of not being one-sided on such an issue. You can't just look at a picture of her and make up your mind without the context of actually knowing the character and her story and her role in the game. Not to mention this is a Metal gear / Kojima game. I wouldn't be surprised if her attire of choice (as in, within the game) is chosen by her for a useful reason. As for "unnecessary" sexiness, I'd like to know how people decide what necessary sexiness is then. What makes sexiness necessary in any context? MGS5 is gonna be a pretty messed up war themed game. I'd say some sexiness would pose as a welcome relief, both to the player as well as within the context of the game world.
There's no use in always jumping the gun on this issue and calling things sexist, unnecessary, etc. or making it about feminist agendas. Yeah, she isn't wearing much but considering the game she's in we can safely bet she's gonna be an intriguing, interesting and deep characters and I'd say such are allowed to be sexy. It's wrong to assume that sexiness equally "dumb" and that non-dumb should equal non-sexy.

jealousy or racism. i can never tell. i'm sure ellis has no problem if the character is asian. or that it was a blondie not designed by a japanese company.

Albert said,
jealousy or racism. i can never tell. i'm sure ellis has no problem if the character is asian. or that it was a blondie not designed by a japanese company.

...haha no.

It's heavily implied Quiet has the ability to alter her skin pigmentation to her advantage - becoming walking adaptive camouflage. So there are in-universe reasons for her appearance.

At the same time, this is the game series which had Raiden running around naked in Arsenal Gear, Col. Volgin grabbing people's crotches, and Vamp licking a giant knife holstered over his crotch. So this isn't anything new for the series, but I guess something can only be "sexist" if a woman is involved.

Yeah, but you see, if they wrote her character and place in the game that way, they purposely made her "unnecessarily" sexy. /s

It's like people can't be reasonable about sexuality at all.

coth said,
Let's hope Fate will show us something interesting in Mirror's Edge 2 )

She's called Faith…

Chicane-UK said,
Utterly ridiculous. The folks who decided to put her in a game should be ashamed.

LOL, I am sure the people of Japan are disappointed about your feelings. Maybe you could go there and set up an activist organization to curb their culture to your beliefs.

Patrick Danielson said,

LOL, I am sure the people of Japan are disappointed about your feelings. Maybe you could go there and set up an activist organization to curb their culture to your beliefs.

There's no need for the condescending comment.. that's just my opinion and I don't expect everyone to share it.

Just that every time you think gaming moves past ludicrous depictions of women in video games, another company moves to remind you that they haven't. Yes, you're used to seeing barbarians and mythical figures in torn cloths and barely enough clothing to cover their modesty - but really, a SNIPER? Dressed in torn stockings and barely enough to cover her boobs? It's tragic, it really is.

Let me be clear - I'm not against video game violence or adult themes in games so long as it's "in context" - god knows I spent enough hours on stuff like Grand Theft Auto. My point is purely around the nature of what the character actually is, and the fact that it's such a ludicrous depiction.

Dessimat0r said,
I don't actually think the sexualisation is that strong. She doesn't look like a prostitute.

that's a good thing. nobody wants cold sores around her mouth.

Dessimat0r said,
I don't actually think the sexualisation is that strong. She doesn't look like a prostitute.

No, just someone ready to hit the beach. So all is good.

I have to agree with him. The character is supposed to be some kind of soldier, but she's wearing a bikini into combat?? I've seen people call him a hypocrite and comment on Cortana, but she chose to look that way just as BB (another Halo AI) wanted to be nothing but a box. Cortana was definitely created to look 'sexy', but she wasn't created to make the game more erotic.

coth said,
Tits is good. More tits, more love = less hate and wars in this world.

Ridiculous comment completely unfounded in reality. Why is rubbish like this even posted?

War will happen regardless of tits, and by then, tits are only good for the soldiers raping the women. That's this damn world.

Equalization of Objectification...

Instead of removing content like this, the industry does need to simply move forward and equally objectify men.

Especially in games that give 'gear' options, for every slutty female bikini, there should be a slutty swimsuit option for the male characters.

It is getting better, but there are still too many male designers/leads that are not comfortable enough with their sexuality to offer hot guys in the games. And until they 'grow up', they shouldn't be offering hot girls in the games either.

dead.cell said,
Try playing Final Fantasy XIV, where the men dress just as provocative as the women!

http://i.imgur.com/2y0bHap.jpg

One thing to note, my observation is more about the whole of media, not just video games.

However, as even your sample image demonstrates, the design of 'males' characters in games are often large goonish types, and slapping shorts on them is not the same as well designed female forms in games.

The other day I was on DC Online, and the only choice for males characters are Hulkish, Terminatorish, and childlike. There is not an average build or traditional 'pretty' male form in the game. On the female side, there are tons of well designed and beautiful forms.

There are a few games that do a reasonable job of equally providing 'pretty' male and female designs. SWTOR does ok with providing average and attractive males and females with skimpy armor options for both of them.


There is a trend that is moving to the equalization of objectification in society, but it is slow and it seems that not many people realize the benefit.

Instead of getting upset by the existing objectification of women, society needs to equally objectify men. It can be a self resolving formula.

As male forms are shoved in the faces of men, they might reconsider how they depict women, and if it doesn't, then women won't have to feel like they are the only ones being dehumanized.

Oh I realize that, and I wasn't trying to downplay what you were saying, but rather pointing out an instance where some of that is actually starting to happen.

Personally, I take enjoyment out of games where customization is allowed to the fullest extent, between potbellies, height, and various other things that make us stand out from one another on an every day basis. We're not a bunch of Japanese anime dolls after all. (unfortunately)

Men are not objectified?
So we are all big muscular tough guys huh like in the games?
With giant muscles, a cool voice etc....


Both sides get objectified. stop being a feminist.

Mobius Enigma said,

Instead of getting upset by the existing objectification of women, society needs to equally objectify men. It can be a self resolving formula.

Or maybe just tone down the objectification on all sides. I kind of get tired of hearing my guy always lusting for big built fellows, while I have the physique of a computer programmer. How about some plain-assed skinny guys in games?

Shadowzz said,
Men are not objectified?
So we are all big muscular tough guys huh like in the games?
With giant muscles, a cool voice etc....


Both sides get objectified. stop being a feminist.

In traditional western media, specifically in the USA, men are objectified far less than women. As this changes, many of these type of discussions and outrages will disappear.

In major cities seeing billboards with both men and women depicted sexually is becoming more common and equal. However outside of LA/NY, a shirtless guy on a billboard to sell trucks doesn't happen and would create controversy.
(Even though women in these more areas are just as likely to purchase a Truck as a man.)

You act like the word 'feminist' is a bad word. Sadly it has been adopted to be seen as anti-men, when in reality all it means is equal rights for women.

Do you not want your wife/mother/daughters to have equal rights? That is what being a feminist means. Men and women can equally be feminists.

I think most people are feminists, if they understand the definition.

There are extremists that go overboard on silly things, and there are extremists that truly want women to be subservient.

____________________________________________________________________
One thing that seems to be a misconception in my comments...

I don't fully agree with the 'outrage' of the Tweet that this article is based on.

The only good thing is that it is opens the door to offer a few more advanced ideas like pushing for equality in objectifying male and female forms in games/movies/advertising.

A game that is directly marketed at young men would be silly to not include sexy women. However, there are gay men and women that play these games too, so throwing in something for them shouldn't always be overlooked as it will benefit the game.

I dunno fellas. With the feminist movement stronger than ever, we must remain ever vigilant in being the sexist pigs that we are. The scales must remain balanced!

Looks good too me

It's not that the cleavage is disgusting, but that a hawt body is more important on women even in war. The mentality is disgusting. It's really pretty childish. Sure, sex sells, but hopefully sex isn't the only thing that sells, but good video games too.

Northgrove said,
It's not that the cleavage is disgusting, but that a hawt body is more important on women even in war. The mentality is disgusting. It's really pretty childish. Sure, sex sells, but hopefully sex isn't the only thing that sells, but good video games too.

They do it themselves, know any girl that doesn't want to be found sexy by guys? The average 12-14 year old school girl dresses similar
It's not disgusting, its today's society and it's not only us guys their faults.

Corrections to the article should be made by clicking the author's name above and from the dropdown menu selecting 'Report a problem with this article' How many times do they have to tell this before people get it?

devHead said,
Corrections to the article should be made by clicking the author's name above and from the dropdown menu selecting 'Report a problem with this article' How many times do they have to tell this before people get it?

Agreed, but if it is to be used more often, it should be made more visible. Like right at the end of the article.

Just wait, this'll probably be explained as some kind of skin-camo that'll be completely outrageous at first glance, but make perfect sense in the context in the game.
It's just Hideo being Hideo. It's a quirk of his games. Let it go.

Now, I definitely don't side with Hideo on this issue, but frankly, David Ellis can't really take the moral high ground here when in his series, Cortana seems to get more and more sexualised with each instalment.

This reply I found on his tweet seems to put the whole controversy into perspective (not the best choice of words, but it still gets the point across): https://twitter.com/iamaloner95/status/376003199900995584

MightyJordan said,
This reply I found on his tweet seems to put the whole controversy into perspective (not the best choice of words, but it still gets the point across): https://twitter.com/iamaloner95/status/376003199900995584
It's not really that much in perspective given that "exploring natural sexuality" swings both ways. Snake isn't running around shirtless with biker shorts and a giant man-bulge.

Ellis' point is clearly that not only is that level of sexualisation unnecessary, but it actually detracts from the game. A sniper that runs around wearing a bikini is hardly fitting the game's atmosphere. She can't hide, nor would she enjoy the rifle's hot brass hitting her (plus one would think that she would be tanner and scrapped up from crawling around, which makes no sense given her top has the tie on the front). If everyone was running around that way, then it would make perfect sense.

As for Cortana, she is an AI that represents a young, nurturing woman for the Master Chief based on its creator, Dr. Halsey. Her design matched the book and the idea, particularly noting that she isn't even human.

pickypg said,
Snake isn't running around shirtless with biker shorts and a giant man-bulge.

I dunno dude, did you see his how Snake's tactical suit is molded around his ass in MGS4?

Pretty erotic.

pickypg said,
It's not really that much in perspective given that "exploring natural sexuality" swings both ways. Snake isn't running around shirtless with biker shorts and a giant man-bulge.

I don't like Metal Gear, but if the main character wore biker shorts and had a huge man-bulge, I might at least play the first level.

rippleman said,
all the girls in military dress that way don't they? /s

Only the girls.. The women of the military seem to dress more traditionally.

Mobius Enigma said,

Only the girls.. The women of the military seem to dress more traditionally.

By traditional, he meant they have flat tops and mustaches.