“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.
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.”
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.”
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….
The Boss: (Arguably the strongest female character Kojima has created. Beautifully written and realised within the game.)
The Boss: (The Hot Toys version)
A great character is undone…by her zipper no less!
The Beauty And The Beast Unit:
Paz: (in more modest attire)
Paz: (Date with Paz)
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