Presented Without Commentary: Planetside 2 models stand more feminine now

Before: The female soldier in Planetside 2 stands in full armor, with a similar body type to the male avatars.

After: The female soldier in Planetside 2 stands in the same full armor, but has more rounded and fuller hips and one shoulder is in front of the other. Her feet are slightly closer together.

Sony Online Entertainment’s Planetside 2 shooter game just updated their female character models to stand a little ‘more feminine’.  For commentary, check out this thread on the GirlGamers subreddit.

Do any of our readers play this game?  How do you feel about the change?

About Tami Baribeau

Lead Editor and co-founder of The Border House, feminist, gamer, lover of social media, technology, and virtual worlds. Pansexual, equestrian, dog lover, social game studio director and producer. Email me here and follow me on Twitter!
This entry was posted in MMORPGs, PC Games and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Presented Without Commentary: Planetside 2 models stand more feminine now

  1. Saozig says:

    I don’t play this or any MMO game but I will say as a female gamer I’d rather play the first character. She looks more self-possessed. The second one looks like she’s body-monitoring. Plus the rasied elbow looks clumsy and awkward. The first looks like somene who knows how to handle a weapon.

  2. Korva says:

    I much prefer the first picture — she looks more like a soldier, much more balanced and attentive, ready for action. As someone who also hasn’t played the game but at times been tempted, this change does irritate me. Why on Earth change that perfectly badass posture?

    Generally speaking, anything developers do to make female characters “more feminine” is usually pointless at best and usually pure toxic BS.

  3. SleekitSicarian says:

    I think it’s a really disappointing change, that I don’t see that ‘feminine’ should be inextricably associated with hipsway! , and that Saozig was eloquent in laying out the problems with it.

  4. JackiethePink says:

    I much prefer the top pose. For one thing, the angle of the right (the model’s right) arm on the second picture looks terribly uncomfortable/broken. The stance is much less secure. It has all the hallmarks of a “let’s make this female model more sexually appealing to the guys” design ideology.

  5. dicjacobus says:

    they have changed the animations twice now, the first set were fine, the second set made everyone, male or female look like they had an abnormally large right arm, and now they’ve gone and made female soldiers look like theyre wearing high heels

    they looked fine to begin with, but of course they had to muck it up

  6. Alex says:

    Have they given any context for why they changed it? The cocked-hip stance that almost every female video game character stands in seems weird in this situation…

  7. anna says:

    I play, and I don’t like it. The one-size-fits-all animations worked well enough, and the new ones…. they just make me a little bit uncomfortable. It seems like she’s posing, tbh. Or, given that the art team made these, has been posed.

  8. Matt says:

    I still miss the days of Rune when skeletal animations were still a thing, very specific movements were critical to game balance and every mesh, male or female, had the exact same animations.

    This is very disappointing.

    • Matt says:

      And just in case certain people read this:
      “this is very disappointing” = I had been considering buying this and am now saving the money for booze.

  9. Samster says:

    I don’t play this game, but I think I’m pretty tired of game developers telling me what ‘feminine’ is. It’s all so terribly backwards and there is such an easy fix for it that I don’t understand why games where you can customise your character still do this.

    The fix is this: make things like postures and sitting animations and running animations variables in character creation. Let your player pick their default character animation. Then people who want sashaying male characters and people who want sturdy women characters can have whatever they want without having forced standards of ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ imposed on their character and shoved down their throat in a game.

    Because we don’t deal with enough of that crap in everyday life, amirite.

    Gender differentiation of animations beyond accounting for actual biological differences just needs to stop. I was pleased when dance emotes were the same in GW2 across gender, and only differentiated by (fantasy) race to give a cultural flavour. But I’m still stuck with my sylvari female’s incredibly twee, floppy run, and my female norn’s ‘princess running hands’, and my females across the humanoid races not being allowed to sit in the same way as the male of the species at the same time as having heavily gendered armour in some armour classes (oddly enough it was deemed okay for the non-humanoid females to have the same animations and armour sets as the males).

    Ultimately, why restrict people? Just let people define their own character’s style and remove gender from the equation.

    • Triplanetary says:

      Star Trek Online does this to some extent. You can pick a default “stance” for your character, so you can give your women the same sort of “tough,” “brawler,” etc. stances as your men. On the other hand there are also “feminine” and “cute” options, so it’s not perfect. ^_^

      I mean, I’m not sure what the gender-neutral equivalent of “feminine” would be, but I would encourage the devs to figure it out rather than take the lazy, gender normative route.

    • Rakaziel says:

      I agree with you, making the animation a variable in character creation, and each pose available regardless of gender, would be the best solution. A nice addition would be if the animation set could also be changed as often as you want while playing the game. The same could be implemented for the body proportions themselves, they each are stored as variables after all.

      Just imagine changing to ballerina dance moves when you have found a heavy weapon.

      • Matt says:

        Mandatory mental image of Heavy Weapons Guy here.

        (He is, of course, shooting during the dance)

        (also this post was originally “Mandatory mental image of HWG doing a _____.” where the blank is one of these, but this is far too complicated for me to write anything now without sounding like an ass so I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader.)

        • Rakaziel says:

          XD yes, like that.
          Or like the scene in the first Tim Burton Batman movie where Joker executes his old boss to ballet music.
          Tatarata Blam!Blam! Blam!Blam!
          Tatarata Blam!Blam! Blam!Blam!

  10. Stille says:

    The first pose – feet at shoulder-width, slightly flexed knees is simple and functional. In the second one, she’d fall if someone sneezed on her. No stability whatsoever.

  11. Kaonashi says:

    I play PS2 quite a lot right now. I think the change is completely unnecessary, because there’s very little distinguishing men and women in this game. Even the female curves aren’t very noticable, except for maybe in the lightest armor. Not that it matters.

    Your spawn/loadout screens is the only time you see your own character, and the kill message is pretty much the only time you see an enemy up close. Since SOE have been pretty alright on these issues, I think a generous interpretation here is to distinguish men and women a little bit more in these two places. I can sympathize with the general idea of making a character decision like sex have some effect (what’s the point if noone can tell?), but this change goes in a strange direction for an otherwise no-nonsense game.

  12. Triplanetary says:

    I don’t like either pose, but it’s possible the purple zebra stripes are throwing me off.

  13. Rakaziel says:

    In the first the pose looks definitely better – she looks both more competent and more confident. On the other hand, on the second model the hips definitely look better.

    So why not make the best of both and combine the pose of the first with the hips of the second?

  14. Jambe says:

    Do they stand like this in-game or just at the selection screen?

    A Redditor correctly identified the pose as contrapposto (standing with more weight on one foot than the other). Most humans relax into this pose if standing for prolonged periods, especially if carrying something heavy.

    If the male model was made to stand in a more relaxed position, too, I’m OK with the change. If not, it’s pretty easy to argue that somebody at SOE wanted the female model in a more stereotypically “sexy” pose, which is sad.

  15. Stephanie says:

    Am I the only person who prefers the second picture? She does look more like a woman standing, and I like it. It also looks much more natural and relaxed than the top one. She doesn’t look even the least bit “sexy” and certainly doesn’t look less capable than anyone wearing purple stripes to combat would look. I personally like having my female game characters look and move more like women actually look and move instead of taking the lazy way out and having men do the only motion capture for all characters. It can be hard to walk the line between making gender differences apparent and sexualizing a female character, and it seems to me that this game manages to walk that line, at least in this one screenshot.

    • Matt says:

      This in isolation shouldn’t raise anyone’s alarms, except that this cocked-hip stance is the high-def version of the old 8-bit pink bow. It’s more work to do, but it’s vastly, intolerably lazier on a conceptual level with regards to gender and “what does it say about what we’re doing that we care enough to spend actual resources on this instead of something else like weapon balance or body types”.

      And my experience differs significantly from yours, as I’ve almost never seen a woman who would categorically stand like that as a matter of unmarked course. Plenty of women and men who may occasionally stand like that, or like the first pic, or like anything else as whatever they happened to be doing called for it, but I’d say this particular situation calls for a neutral stance like in the first pic.

      (What I’d like to see, just to see how it would turn out, is if the male and female meshes had the same animations, but you started with the female model…)

Comments are closed.