The Initiation Station for Saint’s Row the Third released today and, being the character creator junkie that I am, I spent (and will probably continue to spend) an inordinate amount of time in it. I always love it when game companies that tout their highly customizable characters give us a crack at the char gen before the actual game launches. EQ2 and Spore did it back in the day, and now SR3 is giving us this delicious preview of their game engine and art.
This is most likely what Zee will look like in SR3. Luckily my favorite color is purple, which the game rewards you mightily for wearing.
The only complaints I have so far come from some of the common pitfalls game developers run into when creating female characters. The most superficially annoying is that in the char creator my boobs bounce more than my hair does. I hate to be the one that breaks out a physics textbook, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how reality works, even a stylized reality where breasts are made out of trampolines and you can shoot people out of a Professor Gengki cannon. Thankfully though, I think the breast jiggle maybe only in the character creation and customization screens. When I went to the animation (selecting taunts/compliments) the breasts still moved occasionally, but far, far more naturally. I am going to take this as a sign that I will not be running around Steelport with independently moving water balloons punching me in the chin. Which is good, because although I like my Saint’s Row absurd and ridiculous, I don’t particularly like it when that ridiculousness turns into misogynistic jokes about women’s bodies.
Speaking of sexism and women’s bodies, SR3 does seem to have gone with one of the more annoying tropes when it comes to representing women and female characters. Like All Point Bulletin and SW:TOR, SR3 apparently believes that a man is considered ‘fat’ when he is very much overweight, but that a woman is considered ‘fat’ at a much lower level of overweightness. Like many games (and the game industry overall) female bodies are kept in a small range that emphasizes a lithe, skinny hourglass shaped body, even when they’re subjectively meant to be fat or muscular, but male bodies are allowed to inhabit a much greater range of body shapes from a hulking muscle-bound he-man to a rotund, portly fellow. Saint’s Row the Third is nowhere near the worst offender out there, but it is dissapointing to see the body customization limited in such way. Of course, they could have avoided this if they had kept with Saint’s Row 2’s character creation innovation: having one body that you could masculinize or feminize and then change the skinny/muscle/fat build of it. In SR3, they sadly did a way with that brilliant design and went with the tired and not-true idea that there is a ‘female body’ and a ‘male body’ and nothing in between.
One of these days, a game is going to actually give me the ability to create a truly fat female character. That day will be a good day.
Anyhow, that’s about all of the negative I saw from the Initiation Station. Everything else was bonafide Saint’s Row kookiness and surreality which I loved. They’ve expanded the wardrobe selection to give more room to create an even larger variety of costumes. And, of course, the best part of this is that, despite taking away the idea of a singular human body, they kept the idea that men could dress in feminine clothing and women could dress in masculine clothing.
Zee if she were a man. Man!Zee sure does make that corset look good. Mmmhmm
They’ve also, in my opinion at least, done a much better job of making the clothes fit the bodies better. Instead of feeling like the clothes were glued on paper-doll style in SR2, the characters now look like they’re actually wearing the clothing. Which makes the fun lil (and I do mean little) outfits in the game much more enjoyable to wear.
Zee on the nights when she's feeling fiesty. I think I fell in love with that corset top.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I got some more fiddling around I want to do in the Initiation Station and about a dozen more characters and outfits to try out.