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Sex, sadomasochism, and robots: That’s one way to sell your MMO

For better or for worse, Scarlet Blade (known as Queen’s Blade Online in Korea),  an upcoming massively multiplayer role-playing game from Aeria Games, is definitely using its unique aspects to attract a specific kind of attention. I originally clicked through the newly opened official site to check out some hot robot-on-robot action (itself not very common in Western MMOs), but what I found was something … else.

For starters, the profile page for each of the character classes reads like a dating site profile. Here’s an excerpt from the “Whipper” bio:

About me:

SBUS-Whi_2

Above: How does that even make sense?

I’m a sexy, classy princess.

You, on the other hand, are a SLAVE.

You will worship me, dream about me, and most of all, do anything to please me. You are a pig. Lower than the lowest whale dung. I am your goddess. You are my plaything. That means that I will punish you. And you will like it.

Obviously, I’m not looking for a normal relationship. I’m looking for someone I can toy with and break. Why do I think I carry around this whip? Oh, right, it’s for “killing Naraks.” But it’s also very fun to, you know, show you who’s boss.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me know if you’re interested.

Likes

  • Dominating
  • Flaying Naraks
  • Submissive men who know their place
  • Obedience
  • Knitting

Dislikes

  • Getting attitude
  • Backchat
  • Unflayed Naraks
  • Men who refuse to be put in their place
  • Ill-fitting clothing

In case you’re wondering, the profiles for the Punisher, Defender, and Shadow Walker classes (all female) are roughly the same, with plenty of phallic and suggestive imagery. The censored-for-America Sentinel assures you that she’s really 18, while the Medic‘s favorite song is “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jespen. I guess that song’s still popular by the time mankind has invented giant mechs and space-age weaponry. Why not, right?

Below: Scarlet Blade promotional images:

Going back to Scarlet Blade’s mixed messaging, the press release issued by Aeria Games describes classes in a far more straight-faced manner:

  • The stalwart Defender, wielding a massive sword with ease to stand between her allies and certain death.
  • The noble Medic, charged with keeping her fellow Arkana’s hearts beating on the battlefield.
  • The deadly Punisher, a cool and efficient killing machine with unrivaled long-range firepower.
  • The stealthy Shadow Walker, who loves to get up close and feel the spray of her enemies’ blood on her razor-sharp claws.

The backstory also comes off like an excerpt from a Gears of War novel rather than an episode of High School of the Dead (which the character bios are so obviously inspired by):

The Narak struck without warning. They opened a gateway from god knows where, and the invasion began shortly after. No attempts at communication have been accepted. No terms were offered.

For the first few days, all I could think about was how the movies got it wrong. Earth was finally under attack, and there was no crack squad of commandos there to save the day. There was no hive mind to destroy. No mothership to blow up. It turns out wars aren’t won by One Man With Nothing Left To Lose. They’re won by armies. And the Narak have an army like we’ve never seen.

As of today, every nation on earth has united to face the alien threat. Each military has been armed with the best its government has to offer. Carriers, guided missiles, assault drones ? they might as well have been bows and arrows. The Narak’s monsters are unstoppable, and their weapons tear through our defenses like they aren’t even there. There are too many dead to bury.

My annoyance (and this is something I can talk more about once I’m allowed to share my thoughts on an upcoming MMO by NCSoft) is that the developer, or more seemingly in this case, the Western publisher, is attempting to juggle two personas for the same game in an attempt to either appeal to a broader audience or to hide the true identity of its game. Scarlet Blade is ridiculous and filled to the brim will skimpy outfits and adolescent male fantasies, but then — oh, wait — we want you to take the story seriously. Look how epic everything is! Save the universe from total annihilation! But please, do it in this thong.

I’m not going to argue the ethics of this type of content one way or another (right now, anyway), I’m just going to suggest that MMO developers grow some balls and just go for it. THIS is what our game is, and we’re not afraid to shout it from the rooftops. We’re not going to pretend our game isn’t 99 percent fan service. That’s what I admire about Tera. It was like, “Most of our characters are basically strippers and they fight giant-ass monsters. So what? It’s awesome. You’ll love it.”


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