Naked = Evil

When building episodes for Grimm our design team is faced with the constant (and enjoyable) challenge of dreaming up light/dark ideas for everyone and everything Player will encounter in the game. Things like grass, trees, dogs, houses, windmills, and fountains – all must be imagined, then rendered as conceptual images in a light and dark form.

When Grimm runs around the goal is: Make everything dark! And when everything is made dark, the story itself turns dark. Scenes are introduced when Grimm relates the particular story point we’re visiting – for example:

“LRC encounters a Wolf in the deep dark woods. No wonder she’s not afraid. I have cats that look meaner, and more dangerous.”

This is how Grimm sets up the scene where Red Cap meets the Big Bad Wolf for the first time. Player’s goal is then to convert the scene and the setting into their proper dark version.

Sometimes these conversions are obvious, other times they stretch the imagination a bit – and often they are downright hilarious. But then we also get the odd ones:

Naked Man (hearts) Naked Woman

Naked is bad? I don’t agree, but then many (especially in the US) do. I suppose we’re reinforcing the concept by having “darkened” characters that are naked versions of their light selves.

Many have commented on the topic of nudity vs. violence in video games. Why is it OK to gun down armies of terrorists, bad guys, and aliens – but decidedly NOT OK to flash a nipple? Given a choice between real-world streets filled with violence or ones filled with nipples – I prefer the latter (it’s called Bangkok, btw).

Images like the one above are interesting because they’re likely to test the boundaries of “acceptable”. Were the image a concept for a children’s toy, would it generate ire amongst the conservative nipple police? Being a concept image for a video game, I suspect the tolerance for nipple-action is much lower. Note: The female character is stripped of her nippletastic badges of honor – but I’m sure she’ll still do psychic damage on the overly sensitive.

If the next GTA featured a photo-real naked Barbie doll would it be tagged as pr0n and pulled from store shelves? Likely.

Then again, give Ken a ‘gat and he simply transfers to the “action toy” section.


6 responses to “Naked = Evil”

  1. True, true.
    I’ve been nodding my head throughout the whole article.
    The whole violence-in-games-is-worse-than-sex debate really confuses me as a German. (It’s basically the other way round here.)

    The general idea of making the fairytales darker in order to tell them the way they were meant to be told, sounds like an awesome idea.
    Let’s hope this will open some people’s eyes that making certain things ‘child-friendly’ can actually render them meaningless.
    (A release on consoles could be really helpful here.)

    Just make sure it can not be misunterstood as a McGee-just-makes-everything-dark-again-for-no-deeper-reason game.
    (The trailer kind of seems to be going in that direction.)

    In other words: The dialogue has to be really well thought-out to make sure all those great ideas really come across.

    But why am I even telling you this?
    I know you’re good at that sort of thing.
    Do your best! ^^

  2. I don’t like sex in video game because, say, I personally don’t like sex in video games, and neither do I like it in movies.
    So I’m not too sad people think this way, event though it sometimes turn ridiculous (the “Hot Coffee” mod for GTA is a good example. But, really, the picture you posted did not look sex-related AT ALL !
    So, who cares that they are naked ?

  3. There is though another thing declaring that those characters have gone bad/dark.

    Grimm isn’t the only game that uses this mechanic. Just look at Fable for instance.

    But… here we see blond hair as en expression of good. And when the characters are darkened they get a darker hair colour – they are not only naked – but they’re also no longer “caucasian looking”.


  4. There’s something to be said about the blonde->dark hair comment… certainly you see this sort of thing all the time.

    But more interesting: The guy who created that artwork isn’t Caucasian, he’s Chinese. So what’s that do to the “light = good, dark = evil” theory?

  5. I agree with you there.
    While actual sexual content should be tempered to the requirements of the plot and audience (I can see not wanting oral sex instructions on sesame street), there is no reason at all that there should be something wrong with the naked human body.
    And every time that a big deal is made about such things, we’re just reinforcing that paranoia. I could rant here for a long time. Perhaps not.

    As for the blonde vs. dark debate…
    It seems to be a trend I’ve noticed in Japanese media as well. Blonde/blue-eyed tends to be pure and innocent, dark hair and narrow dark eyes is evil. This could simply be because light=good and dark=evil is a convenient system of visual cues. Or it could be a hold-over from Anti-Asian propaganda and the basic brain-washing of post-WWII. China might have been part of the oppressed, rather than the oppressors, during WWII, but Europe and America weren’t exactly great at distinguishing between Asian peoples in their racist war propaganda. I can’t imagine it’s easy growing up in that atmosphere.
    Also, judging from a lot of Chinese, Indonesian and Korean art I’ve seen lately, there’s been a lot of interchange of stylistic ideals within the Asian continent/Islands.

  6. By the way, with this skin tone, I can’t figure out which other “human type” they could be. They definitely don’t look either Asian, nor Indian, nor from any black type, nor Latino, nor native American, nor Inuit, …

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