Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Anatomy: YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG (or: Body customization in Perfect World)o

Perfect World is yet another Asian free-to-play MMO with a freemium subscription model, published by a Chinese game publisher. And the advertising is pretty much what you'd expect from a freemium MMO:

Wow. Passively posed female spellcaster chick in cheesecakey outfit. Yawn. But then you have things like this promotional wallpaper:

Okay, so you have the mascot, who is practically a fetish checklist. Girls with wings, check. Short skirt, check. Boobage, check. Thigh high stockings, check. Whatever, that's pretty standard. What kind of blows my mind is the stuff they cram into the background. The catgirl with the "come hither" look is pretty standard until you consider the fact that right next to her is Chick With Random O-Face. I mean, what? Random cleavage is one thing, but random orgasms are something else entirely.

And then just to make things even more confusing there's Random Upskirt Tiger in the lower corner. Why is the tiger checking out Fetish Wing Girl's ass? Why??

Hey, look! Seasonally appropriate cheesecake! They obviously didn't spend a whole lot of effort on this, since the outfit is mainly just a color swap with some fur trim added, though I'm a bit distrubed by the reindeer antlers. I mean, catgirls are pretty standard, but reindeer girls? Brr.

The thing is, none of this really seems at all out of the ordinary. Random orgasms aside, it's pretty middle-of-the-road as far as cheesecake goes. No, Perfect World earns a special place on my shit list for its body customization options that can result in characters like this:

Holy shit! Not even ridiculous Ivy fanart can compete with those knockers! How is she even standing upright? Are those things full of helium? Surely this has to be some kind of disturbing hack...

Oh god! There's more of them! I mean, these are so horrific that the bunny girl looks almost normal in comparison, and she's really, really not. Even better if you click for the larger version you can see that the chick on the left is named "WhoreNi". Um. Wow. So, evidence points to these characters being played by men...

So what the hell is going on here?

Well, it appears that in Perfect World there are body customization sliders, including - obviously - for breast size and waist size. What's disturbing about this is that it results in characters that no longer even resemble humans:

The guy who created this character even posted on the official PW forums asking other users to rate his character for attractiveness. When called on the fact that she, uh, kind of looks like a freak show, he responded:

Good point, I think I got carried away with the boob bar. :D

Um. Yeah. Just a bit, dude.

Perhaps an even more disturbing feature is the ability to customize your characters based on a picture, utilized here to creepy effect:

This is all very disturbing and creepy on so many levels. Body customization is not necessarily an evil thing in and of itself. It has the potential to be quite a positive feature, if used to allow for non-idealized body types. The problem here is that Perfect World uses its powers for evil, allowing its users to take it to such extremes that you can generate offensively freakish parodies of humanity, waifish women who resemble nothing so much as poles with two zeppelins tied to them. How any of these women would function in daily life, much less kill things with swords, is beyond me. I mean, just tying your shoes would be a challenge with those titanic ta-tas.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting all of the onus on the publishers. Clearly the men creating these characters deserve a fair helping of blame. Any man who would create one of these characters just because they COULD clearly has some pretty skewed views of women. But the publishers of Perfect World are the ones programming the slider in the first place. They're the ones deciding where to code the limits on breast size, which has equally off-putting implications.