[Sorry, no pictures with funny captions, no well-planned structure. I wrote this as a stream-of-conscious rant, that I originally intended to merely be a 140-character angry Tweet but which spiralled out of control. Posting it here because why not, we don't get angry enough these days.]
I can't believe I am the only person sick to sodding death of games' promotion being built on tits. And I say this as someone who buys consoles and even new TVs solely for Dead Or Alive, has played every Tomb Raider and never plays as a male character if he can help it.
Bullet Witch had a cool design. The only promotion for the game being having the character rendered in Playboy wasn't cool (the game sucking is irrelevant).
Soul Calibur 5 was looking great, then Namco decided the best way to advertise the game was a full-page close-up of Ivy's tits and arse. Because apparently they think so little of their game that they believed the feature that stood the best chance of selling the most people on the game was some CGI breasts (again, the game being sub-par is irrelevant; it looked like it was going to be great).
Lollipop Chainsaw looks really fun and I've been prepared for months to name it my 2012 GOTY before I've even played it, but good job Warner Bros you've fucked up, resting the majority of your public promotional material on the shoulders of a half-naked girl. And yes, I know Jessica Nigri's whole MO is she turns up at conventions half naked, but before that was just her doing her thing and whatever, there's lots of people that do that big deal. This time it's a game's primary promotion. This is the thing Warner Bros believes has the best shot at generating interest in the game. Not the crazy trailers, not a demo. Nope, paying a cosplayer to get a little more naked is apparently what Warner thinks is the best advert for the game.
Yes, I know this is nothing new. But it feels like this generation has been far worse than before. Rayne was in Playboy, but at least that was the first and it was done after the fact, it wasn't the big driving force behind Bloodrayne's promotion. Romero carted Killcreek around every chance he got, but at least when it came to promoting Daikatana they kept her out of it (sure, they fucked up that game and its promotion in many other ways, but the point remains). Tecmo ran some shadey ads for Dead Or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, but you look at that game and it's no surprise, in that context it was almost a surprise they didn't try and get a deal with Playboy too.
This generation has been much worse. Has your game got a female character in it? Better flog that busty horse for all it's worth then. Is your game lacking a female character? That's okay, as Bungie found out with Halo Wars, you can always just hire some random girl to stand about in her pants to promote the game.
It's insulting, more than anything. It's insulting to the customer, who is being told by the publishers that I'm too stupid to pay attention to anything which doesn't have a massive pair of breasts slapping me around the face. It's insulting to the developers, as publishers tell them that they have so little faith in their work that the best thing about it they can think to promote the game with is some bird's arse. It's even insulting to the publishers, as the MO is no matter what great ideas anyone might have to advertise a game we're going to ignore it all and just cash in on the boobs again. It must really suck to work in PR for a publisher when you are told you're going to be working on promoting an exciting new title and oh no wait it's just tits again. Cram as many pictures of breasts into as many magazines and blogs as you can because god knows the game won't sell a single copy otherwise. Warner must really think Lollipop Chainsaw is a steaming pile of shit if they're stooping to paying Jessica Nigri to get her tits out at PAX to advertise the game. It's a good thing she got thrown out. Well, it's not fair on her that she personally got chucked, but it's damn right that Warner should have their shitty advert removed for being too damn shameless.
I get it, sex sells. I'm a heterosexual male, I appreciate an attractive female just as much as the next straight guy. But I have some fucking respect for myself, I like to think of myself as being, at the very least, bright enough to not be tricked by and solely focused on the sight of a bit of cleavage. I don't appreciate publishers telling me that I'm a gamer so therefore I must prioritise digital T&A above all else. I can't believe it is so hard to come up with ways of advertising video games that every publisher has to fall back on tits to get them through every time. No, this is a choice they make, this is what they go for above other options. This is what they think is best, this is what they're saying we gamers need, this is what they're saying their games must rely on. God forbid you advertise gameplay to the masses. God forbid you show some support for a developer's hard work, for the months and even years the creators have put in to a game. No, no. Tits it is. Every time.
It's a pathetic state of affairs when EA and Activision are two fo the few publishers doing things right. They make slick trailers for Mass Effect and Call Of Duty and get them on prime time TV slots. EA could very easily fall back on ME's tepid sex scenes and army of tightly-clothed, well-proportioned female characters, but they don't. CoD doesn't have the slightest sniff of skin anywhere near it and look at that, it's the best selling series around, breaking sales records constantly.
Bayonetta had the most hilariously over-sexualised character possible, but good on Sega for leaving that as the game's joke and not making it the focus on the advertising. DOAX2 relied on tits in its adverts, but that fits because you know what, the gameplay is just tits too. Resident Evil 3 has Jill Valentine running around sewers in a tube top and miniskirt with no explanation why, and it was amusing, but Capcom still had the decency to fill the adverts with the Nemesis looking scary and wrecking shit and that was grand. There is a time and place for these things. It's absolutely fine when it's handled well. But nine times out of ten in this generation it hasn't been handled well. Publishers stamp all over the joke, they ignore what the game is really about, they take this one element and abuse it for all it's worth.
Tits are great. I like 'em. Playboy should be advertised based on tits. FHM should never pretend anybody buys their magazine for the articles. Hentai games? Go wild, put tits everywhere. Just having a bit of a joke? Fine. Telling us that your game is worthless without tits? Not fine.
Publishers, stop insulting consumers, stop insulting developers, stop insulting this industry. Have some respect, have some standards, have some fucking faith in your products, your audience and your medium. Stop telling your developers that their latest, probably very fun game, has no value beyond the CGI chest hams. Stop telling us that we're dribbling morons who are so desperate to see a bit of arse that we will pony up £40 on launch for the newest bit of digital bum. Stop telling the industry and everyone else in the world that video games are so shallow and worthless that a virtual approximation of a female body is the best they can offer society.
Publishers, show us how fun a game is, show us how beautiful video games can be, show us you have some respect for your customers and your staff.
Or at the very least, show us some digital cock too.