Video game artist confirms it’s ‘very difficult’ to pitch beautiful female characters without them being turned ugly

A video game character artist seemed to confirm the assumed industry bias toward female beauty and femininity.

Del Walker, an artist who has worked on Star Wars and Batman games, admitted that he has found it difficult to pitch beautiful women in the industry without them being finalized into less-attractive versions.

Walker was responding to an image of a soccer player’s girlfriend, a black woman named Tolami Benson, and remarked that many of his proposed characters have their “original beauty” removed.

“There’s been a handful of times I’ve pitched black women characters that look like this, then after 10 iterations the concept or model comes back without a speck of the original beauty I pitched,” he wrote on X.

He then shared another picture of the woman compared to a black, female video game character. Walker revealed it wasn’t only the face of the characters that have been changed, but their entire likeness, age, and attitude.

‘They also assume adding stereotypical ethno-features with a blunt force is some sort of hail mary.’

“I’m not taking about mild changes. I’m talking about pose, aura, style, softness, age, flair. I hate giving gamergate men fuel — but it’s very difficult to pitch beautiful or vain black women in games without them coming back like grocery store aunties. There is room for both.”

Western video game developers have been increasingly accused of making women less attractive in games, while still pushing stereotypical character models for men.

Gamers have pointed out the many examples of dampening beauty, such as Star Wars Outlaws character model Humberly González.

A recent remake of the classic Perfect Dark video game was also dragged for hardening the jawline of beloved character Joanna Dark.

At the same time, Japanese and South Korean gaming studios have declined to go down the same route. Examples include the 2024 hit Stellar Blade (South Korea), which was accused of sexism for its lead female character, despite the developers simply staying true to the look of the model they used.

Model and singer Stefanie Joosten was also nearly identical to her in-game version in Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid 5 (Japan).

An indie developer named Richmond Lee added his own anecdote and responded to Walker that this seemed to be a problem consistent at Western development studios.

“Dude, a friend of mine, an Asian woman, was just telling me about how this happens to her when she designs Asian women for Western games! They always have her work redesigned by a Western artist to look more stereotypical then pat themselves on the back for good representation!”

“Yes. They also assume adding stereotypical ethno-features with a blunt force is some sort of hail mary, when a range of diversity exists inside diversity,” Walker replied.

Walker also worked on Warner Bros. video game Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, which lost the studio a reported $200 million. The game worked with diversity consultants and was widely criticized for its storyline and hypocritical DEI-focused approach.

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