Gearbox Artist Trashes Dragon’s Crown Design

April 30, 2013 | By | 30 Comments

Vanillaware’s upcoming Dragon’s Crown has garnered a lot of attention for its striking art direction, and a large part of it has been the problematic designs of the Sorceress and Amazon characters. We’ve all heard plenty of outcry from the games press and regular fans, but recently a Gearbox Software environment artist took to the forums on The Escapist to express her dissatisfaction.

In response to user Moonlight Butterfly, Shaylyn Hamm (who posts under the name Chemical Alia) posted the following:

“I wanted to come in here and say something, but then you said basically what I wanted to say but way better. I want to see more women getting interested in games and game development, but stuff like this only serves to further cement the idea that you’re stepping into a male hobby rather than something that is more inclusive.

“Also, this is the first time I’ve seen that character and holy shit, ahahahahahaha. That’s actually something that made its way into a basically finished video game, fucking lol! Some juvenile delinquent kid in my 5th grade class used to draw girls that looked like that (only without the creepy blank, featureless samefaces and wizard hats), and I think he was actually better at it. I also think he’s in jail now. This is amazing.”

Personally, I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment. It’s a bummer that I probably won’t be able to play the game with my buddy and his daughter without having to explain to her that this is the male gaze at its worst.

Source: The Escapist forums

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=687142427 John Mascaro

    While I agree with the sentiment, this bashing is ridiculous. If you want video games to be treated as an artform, then treat it like one. This whole debate is about gamers, journalisms and developpers trying to make a statement :”we’re better than this kind of things”
    Well you’re not.

  • bigshynepo

    How unclassy, Shaylyn Hamm. I can see how you take issue with the character design but to compare the game artist to a kid or a criminal puts you much lower on the respect ladder than someone who put a busty sprite in their game.

    And Joe, no one is forcing you to play this with kids. This game will likely be rated TEEN, meaning 13+. In the age of elementary school kids having cellphones and teenage moms, i’m pretty sure the sorceress won’t have too big an impact on her interest in gaming or adolescent development.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joegarcia23 Joe Garcia

      My buddy’s daughter is plenty mature enough to play T-rated games, and is an avid gamer that doesn’t play trash like Imagine Fashion or whatever the hell. Like me, she started young and developed actual taste in games. When game designers don’t consider female perspectives in their design — you know, literally half of their potential audience — that’s a shitty job by them.

      • bigshynepo

        Maybe the game designers were just giving society more credit than it deserves. When Beyonce wears less on the Pepsi commercial, and teen starlets are using drugs and boning every leading boy in hollywood, I guess I have a hard time accepting the furor you ended this article with. Are you going to be the oversensitive adult that scorns creative freedoms at the bottom of game blog posts or are you going to be the mature, forward thinking example to girls everywhere showing them that if you want your opinion to be heard, it can make more of an impact if it’s done with class and professionalism instead of catty name-calling?

        • http://www.facebook.com/joegarcia23 Joe Garcia

          I’m not sure I understand the correlation between Beyonce’s wardrobe, which she chooses to wear of her own free will, and a male artist giving a female character enormous tits just because.

          As someone with nieces, sisters, and a mother, I guess I’d just like for society at large to treat them as equals and not just slabs of meat for men to ogle at.

          • bigshynepo

            “Beyonce’s wardrobe, which she chooses to wear of her own free will, and a male artist giving a female character enormous tits”… THRU HIS OWN FREE WILL.

            Just like a racy Pepsi ad will be seen by millions, this game will be seen by millions. She wears the outfit, he draws the art. Each artist has done something risque that will be marketed and might affect the minds of some girls.

            What’s not to understand here?

            If you are trying to preach that game culture’s roots of chauvinistic male-centric video games are still haunting us, great, you’re right, but they’ve also come along way too. Think of what they could of done with Tomb Raider if the “evil men” got their way. Women are being considered in marketing of video games more than ever, just as interest from women in video games has been rising quickly.

            Cultural shifts of this magnitude take time so until it happens, let’s just keep watching insecure artists call out other ones without throwing a needless personal slant into things. I really enjoyed the article until your last sentence.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joegarcia23 Joe Garcia

            Beyonce isn’t projecting anything onto anyone beyond herself. Not sure how you’re not understanding that very obvious point.

          • http://www.facebook.com/dan.riley.737 Dan Riley

            Projecting onto anyone? Whether she wants to be or not, a celebrity of her status is a role model and what she chooses to say or wear has a large impact. Sad but true. In that sense, she is in fact projecting upon millions of people. People often see themselves and others through a lens created by popular media. I think you missed that obvious point. Unless, you’re implying that celebrities don’t influence the public.

          • bigshynepo

            Dan Riley below put it very well. I’m not sure what mental gymnastics you’re using to justify your stance here, Joe, but if you can’t see the correlation between these 2 examples I’m comparing then I’m afraid you may never understand the point I’m trying to make. Better stick to hanging with your friend’s kids because, as a future parent, you don’t seem to grasp what environmental influences can affect kids the most. (Hint: It’s not retro-style game characters based on exaggerations.)

          • http://twitter.com/SyrupBuccaneer Aaron Carter

            “As someone with nieces, sisters, and a mother, I guess I’d just like for society at large to treat them as equals and not just slabs of meat for men to ogle at.”

            So our rights end where your feelings begin?

  • Aiddon

    well….Hamm is a freaking prick. Of course in classic idiot fashion she chooses to sink to the level of an internet troll rather than act like an adult. Because that would take EFFORT. Then again, with recent developments I’ve been lowering my opinion of Gearbox as of late. People in glass houses ought not to throw stones.

  • el beyonder

    no puedo creer que haya gente tan estúpida en este mundo, no se como hay gente que escribe tanta mierda junta por un maldito juego, bolsón si a ti religión, o tus principios no te permiten jugar ese juego porque te ofende, deja de ser tan maricón y no lo juegues, que le importa al mundo el diseño de la amazona o de la hechicera, por ese juego el futuro de la humanidad no va a cambiar todo seguira siendo igual, si no te gusta el diseño haz lo tu buen bolsa!

  • http://www.facebook.com/justin.konzon Justin Konzon

    From the people who f**ked up Aliens! hahaha that’s rich and look at Grace Jones as a Amazon warrior in the conan movie , nobody complained about that ….

  • Vicerion

    This goes out to GEARBOX – INSTEAD OF CRITICIZING A GAME THAT WILL BE GREAT, YOU SHOULD WORK ON NOT MISLEADING THE PEOPLE LIKE YOU ALL AT GEARBOX DID WITH ALIENS COLONIAL MARINES. SO SHUT UP AND GO MAKE A GOOD GAME, AND PLEASE DON’T RUIN ANYMORE MOVIES WITH YOUR CRAPPY GAMES.

  • Aristides

    …I suppose this is the dark side of political correctness… “Oh look that painting has boobs, hide it! hide it!” Guys Art is Art and hating on DC’s art because of it’s satirical nature is just foolish IMO. This isn’t a Sex sells type of work and to be perfectly honest all that the media outlets have been doing is passing on diffident variants of the same story… How can the world accept Video Games as art when we ourselves only do so based on our comfort level? … Do you truly believe that the artstyle for the amazon and the sorceress look sexy or very visually appealing, do you truly think it’s meant to be that or that it’s catering to an all male audience? As a developer myself I really think our industry and it’s media has a lot of growing up to do…

  • GaySkull

    Exaggeration and Emphasis is a time revered principle in art and design. All artists use it even in Japan. And George Kamitani has done this all in good taste.
    This is my most awaited game.
    Nuff said.

  • Silverstep

    Dear Gearbox:

    So you mock, laugh, and criticize other developers now?

    And that’s against the people who made Odin Sphere & Oboro Muramasa?

    Well I don’t know about your art designer, but good luck. You’re gonna need it a lot with that attitude.

    • jojo

      Remember when Gearbox made this game with a huge fat redneck southern woman who was made JUST to be humorously disgusting ? Remember the incest and inbreeding jokes about her brother ? So that’s not offensive or stereotypical in a bad way, but big knockers on a cartoon sorceress are ? Oh and the prison rape/repressed homosexuality in prison jokes were tasteful? The S&M/murder/cannibalism jokes ? The midgets? You guys want to tell us what’s funny and what’s over the line and tasteless now Gearbox ? Seriously?

      • jojo

        Oh remember when that fat lady started a long bloody feud between her own relatives and a stereotypical Irish mob family just for FUN? So very tasteful and proper yes? And running over animals for an achievement?

        • Herrick

          Remember that barkeep, Moxxi? So thankful that gearbox took the tasteful approach and didn’t have her assets on display. Or a mission where you hunt for lewd photos of her.

  • http://profiles.google.com/neoguardian Brian Coram

    I’m sorry, this is offensive to women how? Cause she’s got a big chest? Do you not also notice how SHE IS KICKING ASS????

    I could understand if she’s another poor, defenseless, good for nothing but her body stereotype. None of the women characters seem to be portrayed that way. So what if they have bog breasts. Is it sexist to be a large chested woman now?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.spillen Jeremy Spillen

    Didn’t Gearbox lose most of it’s credibility after games like Duke Nukem Forever and the new Aliens game that was just god-awful?

  • Ben

    I completely agree with Shaylyn’s quote here. I myself am a male, and I don’t think games should perceive women this way. As an artist in the industry, I can say that this is total shit work, and it’s absurd. What Shay said is true, and I think the devs should hear, and change things up.

    • Bentebent

      I find it very interesting how you can call it “shit” work just because it doesn’t conform to your ideas of art. It’s obviously based upon very famous artists which have been mentioned before, such as Frazetta.

      I find it even more interesting how “industry professionals” are so eager to shit on a fellow developer. I find it disgusting and makes me consider stop pursuing game development as a career.

  • Can-Am

    Hamm just envy Sorceress for what she doesn’t have :D
    Seriously, grow up lady. GROW UP.

  • Bentebent

    That’s pretty rich coming from the company who stole the entire artstyle of Borderlands from Codehunters.

  • BuntCucket

    Woah, a companys that stole art assets and plagiarised visual design while fucking over the artist, employee is ejucating others.

    Also hilarious arguments shes making, as if girls are afraid to be creative because they saw a boob somewhere. Everybodys free to make video games as long as you have a pc, if youre thinking about money right of the bat, then please do and be afraid of boobs and stay away.

  • http://twitter.com/JesterSmiles Ariel

    From the people that brought you Moxxi , falsely advertise Aliens Colonial Marines and much more Lady and Gents!!!!

  • Kirill Pogrebinskyy

    Gearbox? You mean guys who made Borderlands with sex, overweight, violence jokes all over the place? A bit hypocritical if you ask me. I wonder why it’s ok to make overmuscled half-naked males, but not ok to make same with female characters.

  • Peaches

    The most ridiculous thing is that a Gearbox worker made this complaint… doesn’t she realize that when it comes to stupid, distasteful, and misogynist, Gearbox takes the cake? Duke Nukem is evidence enough.