So let’s talk about Quiet’s breasts.
For those of you who haven’t played Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain already and have simultaneously closed your eyes and ears to the hype, Quiet is a new kickass female sniper character who has decided to wear a string bikini and nothing else up top, in order to expose her skin for reasons. The reasons contain mild spoilers so I won’t give it away, but whether you think they are good reasons or not are largely irrelevant to the point I want to make.
We all know that near nude characters are really nothing new in the world of video games. I, and the vast majority of male and female gamers alike, don’t really care so much about what a character wears as whether the character is interesting or not. I haven’t played Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain yet, so I can’t tell you what I think about Quiet as a character. I have only heard good things though, and with my penchant for unapologetically badass, female characters—Bayonetta and Juliet Starling being 2 of my favorite video game characters of all time—I’m sure I would be a Quiet fan. Yet it is her attire alone that has been so thoroughly scrutinized by the press.
It’s no secret that Metal Gear Solid’s creator Hideo Kojima, like most people, loves breasts. I’m sure this very human deep-seeded breasty desire encouraged Kojima to make Quiet’s appearance as titillating for him and his audience as possible. But I am also sure that (to borrow a phrase) titillating a presumed straight, male audience was not the main factor in his decision.
Just look at her. I don’t claim to be an expert on what men like but I’m pretty sure it’s not innocuous detail. A single elbow length glove, artfully ripped tights, her utility belt placed in such a position—this kind of carefully thought out design was not created with straight males in mind, but women, or more precisely, female cosplayers.
With the prevalence of cosplaying here in Japan, it is all too common that developers create character costumes with this form of walking advertisement in mind. Cosplayers love dressing up in intricate, interesting and yes, sometimes sexy creations and the developers love seeing their imaginings made real. It’s a win win. Quiet’s attire appeals to both men and women, so where’s the issue?
Laura Dale, UK Editor for Destructoid, brought up my main qualm: the reasons. Whether you think Kojima’s justifications for Quiet’s semi-nudity are stupid or not, the fact that he brought up reasons at all feels a bit dishonest. Dale points out that exposed skin can be anywhere; shave her head, take off her gloves or tights, but those things aren’t quite as appealing to cosplayers or a titillated audience.
If you create a sexy character: just own it. Developers, even in AAA, shouldn’t feel the need to justify their creations at all, but they do. The press was raging about Quiet’s costume before Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain was even released, and in today’s outrage culture, justification feels necessary.
Personally as a big breasted woman, with the amount of exercise Quiet does, it pains me to not see her puppies snuggled firmly into a sports bra, though that’s just me. Even with that it just a minor thing, and overall I find her outfit appealing, even cosplayable. Kojima, next time you want to make a sexy, female character, breasts akimbo, please don’t feel the need to justify yourself. And more missions where Raiden has to run around naked are also gleefully welcomed.