Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Nudity in Games?

Is nudity in games needed or is it just there to attract attention?
If it is not in a game it takes maybe a month at the most for the nude patches to arrive.

In some games that feature the ability to change the equipment of characters there are some underwear models that represent the naked character. In most cases these models look simple if not ugly, for females they are mostly bikinis and speedos or boxer shorts for males. If they are only there to represent the character without special armour or clothing, they are sufficient but if there are sex scenes with those models it makes them look silly and it might kill the immersion into the world and characters. In a fantasy world that tries the mix a realistic medieval world with elements like magic and fantastic creatures bikinis look out of place imo. To have a nude model there instead is more realistic or the art department has to design more accurate underwear that might fit better into the time. Sex scenes in underwear however defeat the purpose because they show an adult act but make it more appropriate of younger gamers by not showing nudity, that makes no sense because the scenes, in most cases, are there just to attract that crowd in the first place.

Nudity always has a purpose, in most cases it is there to attract attention and get a specific target audience to watch that film or play that game. If that purpose it not there and nudity is just part of the normal game world it changes the matter. By part of the normal game world I mean that it feels realistic in the given setting that there is nudity and not that the game world is full of nude people so that it is normal to be nude. In a realistic world nudity is something private or restricted to specific locations or occasions so permanent nudity is out of place.

Coming back to the topic of nudity in games, the nude patches mentioned above change some models to be nude without regard to the game world. The most prominent example that comes to mind is Tomb Raider (or Nude Raider) where Lara Croft jumps around in a low poly model that has a different texture but the same mesh making the models look ridiculous and just wrong. In more recent games nude patches introduced new models that had the "proper" curves and not just a new texture. The problem with those is the view of female anatomy is quite twisted so that the new models had rock hard breasts bigger than balloons, not sure who might like those. The first game where a nude patch had consequences apart from optics was one of the recent Elder Scrolls games (not sure if it was Oblivion or Morrowind) where the guards warned you to put clothes on or they would arrest you and other npcs refused to talk to naked characters.

So in conclusion nudity in games is not needed unless it feels realistic and the world reacts accordingly. If a player still wants his character to run around naked because he wants to he can do so but not all gamers need that.

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