I didn't want to believe it myself at first, but now I've come to fully accept that when Dragon's Crown was released this week, no women were irreparably harmed.
When the artwork for Atlus' Dragon's Crown first made the rounds of the video game media circuit, it was criticized for its exaggerated depiction of the human anatomy—specifically, its depiction of female characters' anatomies. The characters Elf, Harpy, Morgan, and especially Amazon and Sorceress fall into this oh-no-they-didn't category. Unless you've been avoiding the gaming community's trending topics, you would already know that large breasts, thick thighs, and huge butts are the artistic mark of the beast. When characters are designed with these attributes, the critics would have you believe that real-life women become cursed with a mystical hex that undoes every achievement they have ever accomplished. Since Dragon Crown's release, I was expecting the college degrees of women all over the world to vaporize and their once proud owners to mentally devolve into infants.
Judging by the early response, you'd think that Dragon's Crown's sole purpose was to defile and degrade women.
"I've asked a few of my colleagues if they'd had any urges to shut up and make a sandwich for a man..."To think, with so many obstacles overcome by smart, strong-willed women who continue to defy stereotypes, it would only take five fictional characters in a new video game to turn them barefoot and pregnant. That didn't happen though.
What did happen was that Dragon's Crown came out, people played it, and then moved on with their lives.
There is plenty of work to be done in order to change the female image in video games. In addition to virtual breast reductions and new wardrobes, there needs to be more support of women working in the industry. Let's be real, it's way easier to voice outrage and offense over Cammy's revealing outfit in Street Fighter, Mai Shiranui's bouncing breasts in Fatal Fury, or the bikini-clad brawlers in Dead or Alive. There's no Internet glory in walking up to someone like Dona Bailey after a convention panel and thanking her for creating Centipede. Getting angry over Tifa Lockhart's nipples poking through her T-shirt in Final Fantasy 7 takes less energy than putting up a blog post celebrating Jennifer Hale's accomplishments in blockbuster titles like Diablo III, Mass Effect, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. Apparently, there's less girl power in applauding Rhianna Pratchett for developing Tomb Raider's new Lara Croft than in condemning the old one.
As I look around, it's evident that Dragon's Crown has failed to instantaneously destroy women by its sheer existence. Women are still clothed and haven't given up their careers. I've asked a few of my colleagues if they've had any urges to shut up and make a sandwich for a man—and one simply replied, "Yeah, a knuckle sandwich."
Sorry Atlus, you didn't nail it this time. Guess there's always Dragon's Crown 2....