Sony’s subdivision for PlayStation is no longer a Japanese company. The PlayStation brand is now a “California” company. I don’t know if you have noticed in the last few years, but PlayStation 4 games, since 2018 and onward have been censored to at least, some degree. Women are no longer projected as the “Dead or Alive” style characters that they once were.
Dead or Alive
For context, this is a Dead or Alive game:
Chloe Frazer from Uncharted
In the following examples (Left PS3 / Right PS4), you will see how the characters have evolved since the 2018 move.
Around this time, the Internet became a dominant force in the gaming industry, which I think harmed it.
Forget the graphical capabilities for a moment; the one on the right is “toned down,” and it appears that the developer actively tried to make Chloe a less attractive virtual female. For those who don’t know, in Uncharted 2, she was sexually aggressive with Nathan Drake (the protagonist) and used her femininity to her advantage.
Freya from God of War (2018) & Ragnarok
Let’s look at another example of a “modern female” character from Sony: Freya in God of War:
While there is nothing really wrong with her model, it is not of the same caliber of the good old “Dead or Alive” days.” Forget for a moment Dead or Alive games, and look to God of War and Tomb Raider. While Tomb Raider is now a Square Enix property, it went from “fan service” to just another action game, but with a female protagonist.
God of War (PS2)
The early God of War games were not censored in any way. They even had a “naughty” mini-game.
Here is an example of the female characters from back in the day:
Old God of War and new God of War are a “night and day” difference.
This is Lara Croft “art” from the first game:
This is Lara Croft from the most recent game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider:
The graphics certainly look more natural than the older games. There is no question there. My only issue is the reason for the change. The models are focused on the “California” mindset. Apparently, that means that women want to play games, but do not to be bombarded with a standard they cannot live up to. That is certainly an understandable reason and I would support if it is true, but the games women generally play are not adventure games; they are puzzle games.
The Truth About Women and Gaming
I knew I saw this chart before and Gamify had it listed:
The whole reason for modifying games to suit the female gamer market is moot. Women primarily play mobile games. Men of various ages are the dominant players. Focus on them, otherwise game companies are pandering.
The few exceptions are the indie companies, or companies that make Japanese games exclusively. Those games now get ports, but they are subtitled, at best.
Look at the Neptunia or Senran Kagura series. Better yet, look at the crossover game, “Neptunia x Senran Kagura.”
These companies should focus on their dominant customer. That customer is young men. Focusing on one group does not exclude another. Watering-down content will eventually piss off the dominant group, eventually result in industrial failure.