"Beauty" of female characters in video games

This topic pops up all the time when it comes to female characters in video games, but due to recent discussions on here, and since I stumbled upon this post I read just now (see below), I thought it relevant to take up here.

I saw this on my dashboard just now and found it relevant to this discussion:

"I hate the fact that both men and (more unforgivingly) women are hating on female-Ryder in Andromeda. Lo and behold this is the vitriol we see the second a not-ridiculously-attractive (and yet still somewhat attractive) female appears in a game.


It’s like we’re getting almost the same diversity men have had in every single game since the dawn of somewhat realistic graphics.

But let’s complain she’s ugly :

This news just in: deliberate “ugly” design not ok for female characters. Deliberate “beautiful” design is ok.

F### you, guys. No seriously. Cut this bullshit.

We should be allowed to be “less than perfect” in games, like what men get. Fat, ugly, spotty, skinny, weak, massive, strong. Whatever.

Complaining about female Ryders looks is basically telling Bioware they’re wrong for making a good and refreshing call.

More news: Women in games have to be sexy.

It’s so frustrating… like people really want to continue the perpetuation that women only get the default “thin, beautiful” template in literally all games whilst men get all body and face types.

It’s attitudes like that which allow games designers to get away with this kind of bullshit double standard (Both “fat” choices in SW:TOR - why aren’t we talking about this)

I’m sick to f###ing death of people associating women with beauty. We’re just people.

I’m also sick of “fat” and/or “ugly” being used as slurs against women in particular. We’re blind to the fatness and ugliness of men in games, we need the same acceptance for women. And so, we need fat/ugly women in games."

It’s pretty scary that people think like this. The fact that people complain about some virtual character in a game does not reach their standard for tittilating their sexual wants and needs.

I am all for sex-appeal and I hate all sorts of censorship, but that doesn’t mean that all female characters in games should look like sexdolls in order to please people.


And knowing that there are people who disagree with this… it’s scary.

But what do you think about this? What are your opinions on this subject?


I honestly didn’t notice any truly ugly female characters in andromeda, keep in mind though when it comes to mass effect I never pick the default character design anyway but yeah I do get tired of seeing nearly all female leads in video games look like they were prepping for a model shoot.

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Well, I’m not sure I agree with how angry the person you are quoting is, but I definitely agree with the larger point. The issue is somewhat complicated because men tend to be primarily visual while women use a variety of inputs to determine attractiveness so a straight up comparison of how pretty male and female characters are is somewhat off base. I also understand that both male and female characters in games tend to have exaggerated qualities - it’s certainly fair to say men tend to be portrayed as rugged and exaggeratedly masculine in games.

But it’s definitely a false equivalence. Women in games are ■■■■ stars and sex goddesses, with very few exceptions. Despite being politically correct in some areas Mass Effect as a series has been pretty bad this way. Even the alien women are beautiful with huge chests, small waists and well proportioned hips. Don’t even get me started on Miranda’s outfit.

KI stands out as a game that has toned down the standard treatment of women in a genre that is perhaps the most blatant and unrepentant in its depiction of women (fighting games). But even in KI there are no women who wouldn’t turn heads with their proportions if they magically popped into the real world.

The “solution” to this isn’t necessarily suddenly inserting realistic characters into games. But I think toning things down is definitely a good step. There are positive examples- Ellie in The Last if Us is pretty but not oversexed. The latest Lara Croft remains georgeous but generally toned down in both proportions and attire from earlier iterations.

Sadly, I suspect this thread will rapidly be filled with a bunch of desperate and lonely dudes making false equivalences and claiming that hot Ryu somehow balances out R. Mika and that anyone who says otherwise is just out to ruin their fun.


A character should only be made ugly/attractive for a specific reason. Does the creator want them to have a relationship, does he/she want their outside to reflect their inside? There is no reason to make an important character ugly for the sake of having diversity, especially when it doesn’t make sense within the context of the story. Seriously, how can people expect an overweight Lara Croft to work? There’s no way she’d be able to do half the stuff she does when she looks like that.

In short, let creative license ensue.

So you say that ALL female characters should be pretty sexdolls, UNLESS they have a reason not to be?

Lara Croft can be a fit woman and still look normal though.

How about developers just make characters look in a way that fits the character? That makes sense right?


It should make sense, yes… but in reality, that’s not the case, as a lot of people will rage if a character does not fit their standards, as proven above. People complaining about there are female characters in Mass Effect: Andromeda who isn’t “beautiful” shows that.

I would like to leave that first part up to each artist or creator.

As for the second part, I vote with my wallet rather than forcing my beliefs onto content creators.

“Do what you like but keep it away from me or allow me to stay away from it”, does that still work in this day and age?

I hardly watch ESPN anymore because it’s almost always about politics. Similarly, I stayed away from Andromeda, as there are too many of these discussions. I just want to play an entertaining game…

//End rant

A character should only be made ugly/attractive for a specific reason.
Note: when I say ugly/attractive, I mean the extreme. Vile and disgusting like Mileena/(practically a) Goddess like Bayonetta.
Lara Croft is a character I would consider attractive, but not the embodiment of beauty. It makes sense you would want to make your titular character at least somewhat presentable. I mean, look at Kratos from God of War. He’s no Joestar, but he also doesn’t look like someone who got hooked on that good ol’ Grecian meth, either.

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The whole point is though that a male character doesn’t need to look “hot” or “sexy” to be a badass character, however, that seems to be the main criteria for female characters in games.

If they’re going to complain about something like that I’d say let em, should be no skin off Bioware’s bones. In my eyes, we are all not the same no matter what gender. We have many varieties of body types for both and men and women in real life. Why that can’t be applied to video games? Why there apparently has to be some sort of limitation of how a certain gender should look? Just for someone to get their rocks off too?

But that’s where you’re wrong though, as proven in the top post. People are complaining about these things to a rather large extend. And it is also shown that the character creation of female characters in games where men can be made to be fat, the women can’t… as shown with SWTOR.

Some games do indeed, and that’s awesome! But they are a minority.

Yeah, in your opinion, not mine.
Sonya isn’t hot in MKX, yet I still love the character and so do many others. Makoto from SF isn’t hot, the same can be said for Zarya and Pharah from Overwatch. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. A good character’s a good character even if they don’t rival the looks of someone like Kitana.

And guess what a lot of people have complained about…

Vocal minority.

If you can post any proof of this statement, feel free to.

I think you should be the one posting the proof. It’s kind of hard to find complaints that are well, hardly even there. The most common criticisms from MKX usually come from other things.

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The proof is in the games.
I am not saying that female beauty is the top most talked about topic, but it IS indeed something you see complaints about all the time.

Remember when Orchid was revealed?
Were you around when Sonya was revealed in MK9, talking about her “man-face”? And have you seen the numerous threads and posts about Kitana’s square jaw?
And just now in the Injustice 2 thread about Catwoman’s face? Same topic has just recently been brought up on the reddit as well.

And then there’s the article referenced to in the top post about ME:A.

These things are shown time and time again, and if you follow gaming media, you know this.

There’s another side of the coin as well though, people wanting female characters not to dress like strippers and pornstars, which was especially a hot topic when MK9 was released. Which was the result of the women in MKX are dressed more respectable, but still look like beautiful models and sexdolls, even Mileena if you cover that mouth of hers.

I’m personally a very sexual guy… I love the femme fatale trope. Orchid is my favourite character in KI, Catwoman is my favourite female DCU character, Psylocke my fave in Marvel… all beautiful and sexy female characters. But I don’t believe that ALL female characters should be like this.

Sonya should maybe not dress like a pornstar, since she is a military woman, as long she looks tough. But someone like Kitana and Jade who are trained assassins who works for a man dressed in what looks like bondage gear (Shao Kahn)… it makes sense why they are dressed in sexy outfits.

I’m not on either side. I prefer if there is a balance. There can be beautiful and sexy female characters, but again, it shouldn’t be ALL female charactes who are like that. Just like with the male characters, where some look like sexy hunks and others are nasty and monstrous.

I think there should be more variety for women.

Tho I’d also like to see unattractive, fat protagonists that aren’t jokes or sidekicks in general.


Beauty in video games has always been a weird topic, at least for me. I’m fine with characters being designed however the developers see fit. It’s their creation, let them go nuts. If it’s a design I like, cool. If not, I’ll just avoid the character or property.

I think that people have trouble distinguishing between something looking attractive and something looking GOOD. That’s why I don’t like Dead or Alive or anyone deal of the “beautification” mods for games like Skyrim or Fallout. Sure, they’re graphically impressive, and the rendering is pretty close to how a conventionally attractive female body would look; but they look so uncanny and weird, and the designs get so boring and samey that it just ends up being painful to look at.
I mean I’d like to think that actual human beings have less disgustingly specific standards than modeling agencies, but fracking hell (excuse me while I channel Battlestar Galactica to scoot past censors) they look more like dolls than women!

I do think it screams of conspiracy when people say “they’re intentionally making them unappealing!” That’s just dumb. I personally don’t like the human models for ME:Andromeda (the aliens are fine though) and the animations are pretty wack, but it has nothing to do with whether or not I find any of the characters attractive. I’m not going to say people aren’t allowed to express their dislike for things, but I’m also going to make us of my right to say that their reasoning sounds silly or that they’re taking it too personally.

Edited Note: I try to stay out of these sort of debates most of the time. I just really wanted to put out their that most of the time what’s viewed as “sexy” in games looks fracking dumb. I’m definitely not against titillation if it’s done in a creative way that makes the character look good, but I not going to base my entire opinion on a character on whether or not I’d take them to bed.