Important Stuff!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Warframe's Gender Depictions, or, "Wut r u doing?"

So I've been enjoying Warframe quite a bit since I was introduced to it at PAX this year. Given my post history, I figured that at some point I would want to examine it for how it deals with gender issues. Overall the game isn't sending any messages, and it's depictions are actually better than I thought at the lets dive in.
Initial disclaimer: Nothing below is meant to indicate that Warframe is a bad game or should not be supported, I only aim to critique some of its elements for where they might be improved. This is still a critique though, so it's sort of meant to be nit-picky!

Warframe currently has 15 frames (classes) available to players, and of those 15, 7 are female, a nearly even number. I have not found any evidence that the developers are going out of their way for this, but generally speaking they have kept a nice ratio. Furthermore, the female figures are not especially sexualized; most have curves certainly, but none of them are randomly missing armor or have elements that draw excessive attention to sexual characteristics.

Sadly, Warframe still has some level of "Girl = support/mage" in its female frames, the majority of which are some form of "caster" or supportive. That said, one of the female frames, Saryn, is actually one of the tougher frames, though still is behind the two male-form tank frames. So there is some room for improvement, but I think DE can still fix this by introducing more frames.

There is only one issue I encountered and it was one of the animations. Each frame comes with 3 animations and I like to switch between them to keep things interesting. I had my Ember frame equipped and turned away for a moment, when I looked back she was doing something I would describe as a "sultry" stretch. Fumbling for the screenshot key I didn't get it the first time around, but the next I did...

Up until then, Warframe had been fairly asexual in its presentation so my reaction was a bit along the lines....

Does anyone actually DO this stretch outside of a sexual context?

Admittedly, it's not the worst thing in the world, but still was a little cheesecake-y in a game that had otherwise seemed to be avoiding that kind of thing. So Warframe gets a solid B+ for such things, losing points for it's "Girls = Caster" mentality and the "Noble" (uh huh...) animation.

1 comment:

  1. What's wrong with stretching? :/ My wife does way stranger ones than that (she's like a cat)! Also, girls = caster maybe but holy crap they are some strong frames. Try a defense mission in a Loki and see how much harder I have it with no damaging or protective AoE. :P