During these remote sessions, if players shake their Playstation controller the psychologist’s breasts will bounce and jiggle in response. “Memories began to resurface from his childhood,” “when he fought for Solidus in the Liberian Civil War.” Keep in mind that easter eggs are not accidents or glitches. They are intentionally put into the game by the designers,and as a result, indicate the value that the designers themselves place on these female characters. They communicate to players that yes, these women exist for players to exploit or experiment with for their own amusement. Unlockable outfits are additional costumes earned during gameplay which allow gamers to play dress up with player characters or party members. Alternative “skins” as they are sometimes called come in all shapes and sizes and are typically just cosmetic changes to the character’s appearance, although sometimes they add special abilities. Many unlockable costumes are cool, wacky or bizarre. But when applied to female characters we see a distinct pattern of revealing, hypersexualized outfits.
Fetishized bunny, cat, maid or nurse costumes are commonly used by developers as a way to pander to an assumed straight male player base. It’s important to remember that sexualization is not necessarily just about the amount of skin showing, but is instead connected to the question of whether or not a costume is eroticized for the express purpose of titillation. “Hey, why were you wearing that stuffy-looking suit of armor?” “Oh? You didn’t like it? It’s pretty sturdy and protects my body quite nicely… See? Look at this beautiful skin, free of bruises and blemishes!” “Very nice… I’m actually worried where my eyes might wander.” “You don’t look all that worried to me.” “I’ve just got a good poker face. So, you’re okay?… You don’t mind leaving your armor behind?” “It’s sturdy, but it’s heavy. Walking around with that on tires me out.” “Hey, no complaints here. I prefer eye candy to scary armor any day.” These types of unlockable outfits can be especially pernicious since they often end up undermining women who are otherwise appropriately dressed for active or professional roles.
The Resident Evil franchise has been particularly guilty of this over the years. Almost every major release in the series has included the Women as Reward trope. Resident Evil is a bit unusual in that, since its beginnings in the mid 90s, the franchise has featured a large number of playable female protagonists most of whom are skilled zombie fighters and have impressive professional resumés, to say the least. Rebecca Chambers is a police officer and medic in the Special Tactics And Rescue Service. Players can dress her up in “sexy nurse” and cheerleader costumes. Jill Valentine is a high-ranking Special Operations Agent in the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance, and also the master of unlocking. She can be placed in sexy police woman and sexy pirate outfits. Claire Redfield is a member of a human rights organization that provides aid during bioterrorism incidents. She can be turned into a motorsport umbrella girl.