South Korean video game director Hyung-Tae Kim has been accused of making the design of his female character too much of the focus in his latest project, “Stellar Blade.”
The role-playing-style video game focuses on the main female character, Eve, one of the few remaining humans left standing in defense of Earth after an alien takeover.
It is the character’s design, however, that has some gaming critics seething over the apparent sexism.
“I play Stellar Blade for the plot,” account ReignOfPride sarcastically noted to its 287,000 followers with an attached picture of the character.
Video game journalist Karim Jovian said that “Stellar Blade just has a stellar ass that’s about it.” Of course, the game had yet to come out.
The game’s developer spoke to Games Radar and noted that his character design has actually “become somewhat of a brave thing to be going for or attempting.”
“I personally think that compared to movies, animations, manga and so on, people are especially strict towards games. In games, there’s all the views that people have [which are] not always positive about unrealistically beautiful characters,” Kim continued.
“Honestly, when I play a game I would like to see someone who is better-looking than myself. That’s what I want. I don’t want to see something normal; I want to see something more ideal. I think that is very important in a form of entertainment. This is, after all, entertainment targeted for adults,” he added.
“She looks 14,” a woman with green hair told the reporter. Another woman said that developers had “messed up” for focusing on the physics of “how the character moves.”
Two other respondents claimed the game had “over-sexualized” the character.
Despite the disdain of the critics, the main character is actually rendered from a real woman, Korean model Shin Jae-eun. The collaboration between developers at Shift Up games and the model have been quite public, in fact, with the production team even releasing footage of the motion capture/body scan of the 32-year-old.
Shift Up games has faced allegations of butting heads with feminist employees recently as well. In August 2023, the company was accused — by a person purporting to be a former employee — of firing them for being a feminist.
“The company that made the game (SHIFT UP) removed the work of two women because they were FEMINIST. I’m a victim and a former employee of this game company,” the now-deleted account wrote on X.
Developer Kim is known for producing content in an over-the-top anime style. His X account is full of age-restricted content and sexual images.
“When it comes to the design,” Kim explained, “we put special attention on the back of the character because the player is always facing the back of the character when they’re playing.”
“That’s what they see the most of, so we thought this was pretty important.”
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