Quiet is no Lady Godiva: An MGS5 Update

“Lady Godiva entered the royal enclosure at Ascot claiming she had literally nothing to wear.”
Edmund Blackadder (Blackadder Goes Fourth)

According to legend Lady Godiva the infamous Anglo-Saxon noblewoman, rode naked through the streets of Coventry (England) in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants.

Quiet, the new female sniper in Metal Gear Solid is not an Anglo-Saxon noblewoman, but her revealing ‘reveal’ has caused concern. Coupled with this is Hideo Kojima’s initial reasoning behind her appearance, it is possible to conceive that eyebrows, were, ahem, not the only thing raised in the wake of her announcement.

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In the months following the reveal of Quiet, Hideo Kojima and his translation team on Twitter have not helped the situation. Accusations of sexualised female characters appearing in a male dominated media have always been an issue. Mr Kojima and his team have worked hard to build the Fox Engine and anticipation for MGS5 tackle “taboo” subjects in an open world environment. The appearance of Quiet and her scantily clad demeanour looks set to send the series back to a darker age of female sexualisation.

The recent exploits of the rebooted Lara Croft, Commander Shepard (Mass Effect) and all female leads (Tess, Marlene and Ellie) in The Last of Us, have done much to show the strength and maturity that female protagonists can bring to an ever evolving industry that transcends age and gender.

Kojima’s exploits on Twitter recently have enraged some fans (myself included) and industry members. Kojima having stated:

“I’ve been ordering to Yoji (Shinkawa) to make the character more erotic, and he did it well”

“Recently I’ve been making characters this way. I create the setting thoroughly, how he/she spent early life, name, style, favorite phrase, fashion, action, to stand the character out.”

“The initial target is to make (you) want to do cosplay or its figurine to sell well.”

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David Ellis, one of the designers of the Halo series (343 Studios) tweeted his thoughts in the wake of the not-so Quiet controversy. Ellis said “Don’t care if this gets me in trouble. This character design is disgusting. Our industry should be better than this.”

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In an interview with IGN released today Kojima has tried to clarify Quiet’s appearance. Check out Mr Kojima’s reasoning below:

In the interview with IGN Kojima said that “showing the female sniper in Metal Gear Solid V was probably a mistake”. Kojima also said “I try to make sure I’m doing something new, not repeating something that is already in the series”. While he makes a reasonable response to his critics, if one looks at previous female characters in the series, it is hard not to view Kojima’s response with a note of irony and scepticism.

Take a look at Sniper Wolf (MGS1), Fortune (MGS2), The Boss (MGS3), the Octopus Unit (MGS4) and Paz (MGS Peace Walker). Despite Kojima creating some very strong female characters, It is difficult not to notice that some are part of an aesthetic pattern….

Sniper Wolf:

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Fortune:

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The Boss: (Arguably the strongest female character Kojima has created. Beautifully written and realised within the game.)

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The Boss: (The Hot Toys version)

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A great character is undone…by her zipper no less!

The Beauty And The Beast Unit:

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Paz: (in more modest attire)

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Paz: (Date with Paz)

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKIRIeKADUI

What are your thoughts on Quiet and are you convinced by Kojima’s response? Do you think that the issue of an overtly sexualised character still exists in his design? Or will the game clarify any misunderstandings?

words by david rushe

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7 comments
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  2. progeny said:

    Kojima doesnt make sexist games, he created one of the strongest female characters that gaming has ever seen; yet all you want to focus on is how they look.

    The designs aren’t sexist. You are. Judging a character based purely on their looks. Thats sexist and one that Kojima was telling people not to take.

    We know nothing about Quiet; yet people want to judge the book on its cover.

  3. JRM said:

    The fact that you showed The Boss as an example of sexualized characters in the series destroys this entire article for me. Kojima actually writes female very characters well, they’re never just there for their sex appeal – We know next to nothing about Quiet’s character at the moment, so there’s no point in judging her until the game actually comes out. Hell, Kojima has even said that there’s a reason she’s dressed the way she is, and once you find out what it is you’ll feel ashamed of your comments and actions.

  4. Tsitiko said:

    Ok im just saying who the hell dosent like a sexy chick in a bad ass game never really hearing of people bashing on gta sexist themes prosties, chicks always wearing thongs umder there skirt and what not , you should not consider it sexist for showing some skin hideo has made female soldiers more hotter thwn they were before wich is hard to do and they all are complete bad asses in mgs it took me a good month to beat snipe wolf and i fealt like shit agter i did knowing how hL felt about her and your forgetting that love joy mg pw was anotjer strong char the boss was skimpy on her final battle but that was to brandish her medal for going into space and then you got meryl a complete ninja untill the end if you didnt beat liquid in time im sure that quiet is going to be like eva the one weakness that big b and solid have in comon they lust for strong women, but i can understand the veiws and mayne he ahouldnt have made her that skimpy but they are in the dessert

  5. Ryan said:

    What about Mei Ling, Olga gurlukovich, Meyrl Silverburgh, or Rose? The list could go on. I would say his sluttiest character was Naomi Hunter and I hated her. 😦

  6. Earthan said:

    Good article, I love the MGS series like, a lot, but this has always bothered me as well, and with the recent uncessecary sexual assault of Paz, I am rapidly losing enthusiasm for not only the series, but Kojima as well, who was a hero and role model to me. I’m very upset at his casual misogyny and mistreatment of women in his stories. I’ve always cut him a lot of slack over “context” and depth of character, but there is no excuse to sensationalize rape or use it for shock effect, or to display the tortured anguish of a female character as a plot device to develop a central male character. It’s old, it’s cruel, it disregards the female audience, and, ironically for Kojima, there’s no place for it in serious art.

    • Thank you very much for the feedback, whether good or bad I always appreciate it. A very reasonable and well written response. Like you I am a long time fan of the series, I bought a PS1, PS2 and PS3 for the sole reason of playing MGS. As you say “I am rapidly losing enthusiasm for not only the series, but Kojima as well”, I am at the cross roads too. I will judge the series and Ground Zeroes after The Phantom Pain, but as things stand Kojima has a lot to do to change my mind, yours and countless others no doubt.

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