I recently found out that Google Play finally has alternate payment models, so I’m equally finally a mobile gamer of sorts now. With paid apps a possibility, it was only a matter of time before I gravitated to my favorite genre in 4X strategy, as that doesn’t seem to be available in free form. Recently, Civilization Revolution 2 was on sale. After picking that up, starting out prompted a bit of a shock. World leaders are, well, different. There’s a reason for that, but not all of the reasoning may just be as sound.
Civilization Revolution 2 isn’t just 4X strategy gameplay for mobile devices; it’s also a simplification of the genre. Therefore, characters are more cartoonish. That’s not really an issue. The series’ progenitor made it clear that there’s value in a conquest mechanism “for kids,” so to speak. More so, it’s the way the characters are simplified; the result of a grasp to more basic ideas around people. In particular, this concerns the game’s four female leaders. No, the number of women rulers is fine. That comes to 19% as there are only 21 figures in total. The strange emphasis of their appearance, however, was enough to make it immediately noticeable that these women are created with a much different idea than their peers. Yes, it’s one of “those” articles. Consider it a way to start the year off strong, though it’s just a coincidence that I bought the game when I did.
Anyway, to make a case on how I was taken aback by this situation, we’ll be providing some reference material how characters were depicted earlier and how they are illustrated in Civilization Revolution 2.
Here’s Egypt’s ruler, Cleopatra:
Check those out. That is an eye-catching model right there. “Oh, but it’s really warm in Egypt,” you say. Fair enough. Here’s the same Cleopatra in Civilization III, which would be made with similar tech limitations:
Not exactly the same, is it? Hatsheput was the leader in Civilization IV and was modeled in a similar art style as this mobile iteration, but you can look up how that was done. There’s definitely a difference. Let’s chalk it up to climate though and move on.
Isabella of Spain is the most covered up of all entries. Someone has to think of the children. Here she is:
Notice a similarity? Here, there’s an argument that Isabella is fully clothed, but I have yet to meet the ancient fabric that has gravity-defining qualities that would amplify such a huge chest, even going underneath it, while hugging the rest of her hourglass shape. Surely, that’s how it’s always been, right?
Clothes might look the same, but the accents are completely different. In Civilization V, Isabella is a nun, through and through. Her figure is flattened; she gets draped and covered up completely, no fancy frills or flashy make-up for suitors to admire. Anyway, there’s no nudity, so what’s the problem, really?
Off to Russia we go then, where Catherine gives us a much warmer welcome than the region is known for::
That is one pinpointed area for the leader who looks like she’s fresh out of college. It seems like the outfit might not be the easiest to breathe either, but that’s what corsets are like. Tough break, kid; that’s historical accuracy.
Well, Civilization V takes that accuracy differently still. Yes, Catherine is the least divergent of all, as she has cleavage in the main iteration as well, but it’s about details in the first place. For one, the leader is slightly older than her near-teenage look, less slathered and in a classier, regal attire. She also adds more layering ruffles, which barriers the high society figure as a lot less attainable than her dolled up girl next door version. Oh Catherine, how you have fallen since your take-no-crap apparition in Civilization IV that made you my Queen B.
Speaking of regal, none are more sophisticated than Queen Elizabeth of England herself:
Well, maybe that’s not the most proper Her Majesty has been. I’m pretty sure the Moulin Rouge is a French scene. Wasn’t there some sort of rivalry there?
In contrast, the Civilization V model couldn’t be more distant towards players. Her cleavage hidden for unworthy visitors, the queen sits on her throne with colder make up, less fairylike frills and a posture that’s a lot less open. This is one frigid ruler who is far beyond the need to impress anyone.
So, what, these leaders’ busts are a bust? Does that mean Civilization Revolution 2 is a game for seedy cavemen? Not necessarily, as Sid Meier games have been rather progressive on proper representation, as can be seen with less important characters in the game:
Still, having these prominent leaders displayed as they are is no coincidence, as seen from their other renditions. Their immediate “eye-catching” value is a thought out design to grab mobile players on their most basic impulses. At its worst, it’s a backwards mentality and at its mildest, it’s just cheap. Who plays a Civilization game, even a simplified one, for gratuitous content anyway? Seriously, there are much more appropriate side ventures for that sort of thing. We know, because of reasons. Just because the game goes back in time hundreds of years, doesn’t mean your art design should do that, too.
Oh, and three of four female leaders give the player a suggestive little wink as well. We might have more on how Civilization Revolution 2 plays once I stop shaking my head.