Female soldier skins are being cautiously edited to the specific culturally tastes of different regions as online shooter Warface receives the attention of players attracted to its revealing new character models.
Crytek, the Frankfurt studio behind the free-to-play shooter, recently spoke to Wired about how its introduction of female character models sparked fantastical examples of high heels and over sexualised physical proportions on the battlefield have been toned down.
“The female skins [are] a good example of how we see how culturally the different regions approach the same game in different ways,” said executive producer Joshua Howard.
“The skins we’re showing right now are the skins that basically came out of our Russian region. They’re not what our players at first requested in the Russian region. They tended to be considerably more extreme that what we ended up shipping with.”
While Howard said it is Crytek’s job to “maintain that Warface has an authenticity to it that makes sense for us”, meaning the developer has not clamoured to embrace Louboutin-like heels, it hasn’t shied away from ensuring players in specific regions are visually satisfied by the ‘skins’ they see.
“We leaned a little Russian in these characters but we’re doing another set of characters for our Chinese market, for example, and those are leaning in a different direction,” Howard added. “It’s interesting to see they are also somewhat unrealistic as compared to the males but differently than the Russians. […] You look at the
Chinese models and they’re also disproportionate but in a way that’s more… Chinese? I don’t even know what language to use for that but they’re different.”
“You get these little differences you have to adjust for. The idea we were going to come up with one set of female skins across the world was clearly blown out of the water as we started to talk to more of our players and partners from different regions.”
This depiction of sexualised female characters coupled with the fact that female ‘skins’ themselves are currently an optional extra, is something that, one way or another, has called out Warface’s representation of women for good or ill.
Wired’s own writer asked Howard how he considers its has dealt with its audiences’ desire for unrealistic female character models, that some many view as “misogynistic”.
“There’s a tension both ways,” he said. “Early on we said we want to make this game appropriate for the different regions while maintaining a cohesiveness that’s still Warface. Coca Cola is Coca Cola all over the world even though honestly speaking that mix is different in many different countries. […] There are some products that are 100 per cent identical in every region of the world and that was not something we wanted to do with a shooter because people around the world play shooters very differently.”