“Smite” Sets Women Depiction Back a Decade

Hi-Rez Studios, come on now, really?

I thought we were cool about this. I’m not one to get in the way of artistic license, but when your characters have a three bounce breast wobble you should question what you’re doing for women’s representation in games. Because, you know, I heard you should care about that sort of thing.

Smite

For those that haven’t heard of it, Smite is another MOBA style game currently in Beta. In this instance of the genre, it uses religious deities for its pool of characters. It’s USP is a camera tilt to 3rd person as opposed to the traditional top down. We decided to give it a look this weekend.

And I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. But I knew what I saw was an icky hot mess. It felt like I had stepped back a decade in gaming, and overhauls like Lara Croft hadn’t happened.

The developers have managed to depict Gods like Neith as idiotic jiggling puppets. Any attempts at historical accuracy (she’s got a bow… Bravo) are waylaid by these thrusting appalling character models.

 

 

 

It seems they didn’t seem satisfied at alienating some religious gamers out there, using some contemporary gods (Kali for example) and going on record to say they refuse to use others. They’ve come across as not really giving a damn about anyone that takes female representation in games seriously. It reeks of back slaps and hi fives for a “T&A” suggestion at the concept meeting.  When you think about the amount of developers on this project, you know this can’t have been the reality of the situation… but their time and effort to me has been wasted because they have made awful aesthetical choices.

The technical aspects of gameplay are fine. I’m not saying to play it is wrong or not enjoyable. But seriously, I cannot stress how old fashioned this game is.  What is disappointing is Hi-Rez Studios have such a rich heritage to build on, such potential to draw inspiration from. Yet Smite is ambushed due to its own lazy, overt aesthetics. They could have done months of research and then they have trivialised it to naught. (Memo to Lead Artist here – Do not mistake nudity in religious depiction for sexualisation. Nudity is natural, it can be art. Sexualisation is pelvic gyration in an idle animation… aka “Smite”). The developers have actively thrown respect in the bin; the much needed irony that comes with this level of sexualised fluff sadly absent in favour of one more nunga-nunga tremble.

 

Photo by Amazon

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