This week, Italian developer Milestone released a development diary for MXGP – The Official Motocross Videogame. That’s its full name. It will release in Europe on March 28, 2014 for Playstation 3, PS Vita, Xbox 360 and PC.
Its first priority in this video is to highlight how motion capture works in the racing game. That adds to the realism and such, as the company recently picked the banner back up to produce racing titles. It previously came back to the MotoGP series.
Next to the motion capture element, the release has some more kind words:
The [second main] plus is the inclusion; for the first time ever there will be a Monster Girl in the game that will give a special touch and authenticity of the Motocross’ atmosphere.
Later on, Milestone’s game director even states:
Particularly this year, using a female character, as the Monster Girl, will enhance the game’s realism if compared with the previous one; we are also confident she will be appreciated by all Motocross’ fans.
While that does sound enticing, that inclusion isn’t exactly what your first thought would be for a racing game. Rather, the job of the Monster Girl, which kindly gets a spotlight in this video, boils down to this:
That’s the gist of what the developer thinks “using a female character” as a noted positive entails: Acknowledging their existence for eye candy. I don’t even think she comes close to a bike at any point in the trailer, because obviously that’s a man’s job. Ok, that’s too far of a jab, so let’s tone it back down.
Now, we’re not a publication that’s hard on the use of sexualized imagery; that’s apparent from our other posts. Nor do we condemn the use of promotional teams, whatever they may be, as an aesthetic value. Show ‘em if you got ‘em, in terms of body positivity and all that. Everyone is entitled to use the people and styles they want, as long as everyone’s having a good time.
What picks our brain is how Milestone here tries to actively endorse this as advancement, somehow. Because, naturally, women haven’t been used as objects in video games, as that’s what this eye candy is here, since the conception of the interactive medium. To put it clearly: Simply acknowledging that women are actually an entity that exists on this planet isn’t enough to start bragging on for kudos. If you’d want that, why don’t you actually try, I don’t know, have them be a playable character?
Giving it one final shot at redemption though, we decided to dive into the Monster Girl site; we’re gladly prompted in the Milestone release to visit. It’s presented in the most standard of Playboy fashion, where you pick your favorite candy and then have them put up a blurb of how they like long walks on the beach and all that. It starts with “The Twins” from Ukraine, who don’t even get to have a name or a separate entity. This is the first thing you get to know about them:
Food: Ukrainian borsch is the best. But desserts we can eat all the time. We like to try something new. And of course we love to cook.
Again, the point here isn’t that these women choose to be models, as there’s no shame in that or anyone who wants to perform whatever task in life. If you can, go for it! They probably enjoy their work greatly. Rather, it’s the fact it’s clear that the outline is set to only show a bare minimum of a person, a mere shell, so that the wrapper looks as appealing as possible. That’s not “a special touch and authenticity,” no more than it would be to add an additional sign with marketed branding. That extra sheen wasn’t there last year either.
So, congratulations, Milestone. It’s 2014 and you’ve realized there may actually be women existing in your immediate area, somewhere a decent distance away from where the actual events are. That’s really great of you.