Horizon 2: Forbidden West and the Aloy case, why so much controversy?

Horizon 2: Forbidden West and the Aloy case, why so much controversy?

Horizon 2

Horizon 2: Forbidden West showed itself during the last State of Play in 15 spectacular minutes of gameplay, capable of visually stunning the audience. Net of the legitimate criticisms that can be leveled at this sequel, such as its very conservative nature in terms of gameplay, what was really impossible to ignore was: "look how fat Aloy is".

" Why did they give you this big face? " or, "Kill, it looks like Aloy who has magnate Aloy" are some of the comments that those who have followed the State of Play dedicated to the exclusive PlayStation 5 have been able to read: useless and free comments yet capable of uniting peoples since there are different livestreams from different countries. In short, the face of the protagonist of Horizon raised a single and all-encompassing reaction. It is natural to ask why.

A mod to make you more beautiful

As we saw in the video shown during the State of Play, it is clear that we are faced with a protagonist who has changed from the past: several months have passed between Horizon Zero Dawn and Forbidden West, a short time but which marked the face and body of the protagonist. Her face appears slightly more square and seems to abandon the forms of late adolescence; her body is always agile and athletic but at the same time more solid and planted on the ground. A work of great mastery by the artists of Guerrilla Games, able to infuse Aloy with an extraordinary vital essence through many small details: the freckles, the sparkle of her eyes, the texture of the skin. And how did the public react? All the work done by the developers has been labeled with a "she's fat". That our Aloy has not always aroused unanimous aesthetic appreciation from the public had already happened in the past.

Aloy in the Frozen Wilds expansion After all, the protagonist of the Horizon series is a girl with common and extremely normalized features. However, there were those who felt the need to correct all this with a mod, published on the Nexusmod.com site towards the end of 2020. The case of this mod, called "Aloy - Face Rework", is singular because it acts exclusively on the Face of the protagonist: "Aloy's face now has thinner nose and cheeks and the freckles are gone," reads the description. The world of mods is a gigantic sea in which creations of all kinds float, from the most bizarre and fun to those made with care and seriousness. And the female protagonists of video games are well aware of the tenor of certain products since nude mods are among the most clicked sub categories: changes that make the clothes of the female cast more skimpy if not completely undressing them. Aloy's face rework, however, is not a mod in this category, it only serves to make it more beautiful, a sort of Instagram influencer filter that corrects imperfections. Aloy's round face, with an even more marked jaw in Forbidden West, however, is not a blemish, a flaw, and neither is it fat: it is a normal face.

How does Aloy appear in the

mod Normal is not bad

The process of normalizing the physical appearance of the protagonists of video games has been going on for several years now and Aloy is perhaps one of the most significant and successful recent examples: an ordinary girl, with kind and sincere features , face and body devoid of any artifice and created not to wink at the libido of the players but simply to be credible in the context in which it is inserted. Aloy is a young woman who lives in a harsh and hostile world, devoid of an evolved civilization as we know it: there is no time to be pretty, combed and made up. Her is the aspect of a wild woman ready for anything and able to cope with the thousand obstacles in her path. The criticisms did not stop only at the roundness of her face but also at the silhouette of the protagonist, more massive than seen in the past. As already mentioned above, Aloy's change seems to us in line with the physiological change of a woman and dictated not only by advancing age but also by her context. Significant in the demo shown at the State of Play is the moment of the assault on the village, just before the robotic mammoth arrives. Here we see Aloy fighting hand-to-hand with a group of men, one of whom charges her and knocks her down with some violence. In addition to really appreciating the animations of the scene itself, we find the physicality of the fight absolutely fitting and realistic, where Aloy is thrown on the sand, taking the blow and then getting up. Thinking of the same scene with a slender, slender female figure would certainly have made the struggle less credible. This is what we mean when we talk about a physical characterization of the character compatible with the story, the tone and the choices made by the development team.

Aloy posing in a promotional image of Forbidden West The same speech can be done with The Last of Us Part II female trio consisting of Ellie, Abby and Dina. The sense of vulnerability that the player could feel during the gameplay section with Ellie, certainly lethal and determined not a girl we would call a heavyweight, is totally opposed to the physical prowess of Abby, who sports a body tempered precisely by the dangers of the world in where he lives. And then there is Dina, who during a scene raises an arm showing some hair under her armpits: maybe some of them may have been a bit disgusted, accustomed as we are to modern beauty standards, but in a world where it is difficult to find food. edible and drinking water it is highly probable that shaving the armpits is not among the priorities of women. Those who think that this type of normalization is too widespread and maddening may not have noticed that, in reality, we are talking about a very partial phenomenon and aimed at a specific category of characters: Aloy, Ellie, Abby but also the latest version of Lara Croft and other contemporary female heroines are mostly young women, who do not exceed about 35 years of age. A normalization therefore that stops at a certain age threshold beyond which it is very difficult to find significant examples: one of the few is perhaps represented by Selene from Returnal, an established professional in mature age. After all, if a pair of chubby cheeks can disturb the sensitivity of the male audience, who knows what menopause might do!

Dina in a scene from The Last of Us Part 2

Why are you angry?

The Aloy case, if we want to call it that, obviously took a totally crazy drift, disturbing freedom of speech as usual. "So I can't say I don't like it?", This seems to be the defense and at the same time the accusation of the many who did not appreciate the character's appearance. Needless to say, the point is not this, everyone is free to like or dislike what he prefers and it is absolutely not our intention, nor do we imagine that of the developers, to impose a standard of beauty that everyone must appreciate. The point is much more serious and rooted in a social evil that probably goes beyond the video game. First of all, what is perplexing is the way the point of view is presented. Nobody forbids someone to express themselves frankly on a given subject and it is legitimate that someone may not find Aloy pretty.

Aloy in a hunting scene It is equally true, however, that when someone expresses an opinion, in this case for other not required, it should also be able to put itself in a civil way. The hundreds of really unpolite comments read during the State of Play stream show how a large part of the public, gaming and otherwise, has not yet grasped how to behave on social networks, in chats and in digital contexts in general. The dismay arises from the sad realization that today has touched Aloy, a fictional character who certainly will not have felt offended or humiliated by certain observations, but the same tenor of comments is also addressed to players and players, streamers, hosts and so on. Street. When one exposes oneself in decidedly unseemly and rude tones it no longer matters what the supporting thesis is, one is on the wrong side regardless, and there is no possibility of appealing to "I will be free to say what I think ? ". If you learn to say it in a civilized way, yes. Also because it escapes the reason why a person perceives the urgency to express himself in this way by judging the appearance of another human being, whether real or digital. This is why the writer is convinced that all this arises from a social malaise that goes beyond the video game, which pushes people to spit judgments on other people with the presumption that they are entitled to do so only because they can.

Aloy in Horizon: Zero Dawn The second observation is the correlation between a female character who does not physically meet the taste of the mass and the game experience in which that character appears. Okay, maybe Aloy won't meet your taste, but does she change anything in terms of gameplay? Are the fights less spectacular? The flatter exploration? The less exciting stealth phases? It has often been talked about how much players are able to create a relationship of identification with a defined videogame character, therefore with his own story and personality and not a simple editable avatar. We don't always find ourselves living stories of protagonists we share (to say it all was the strength of the second chapter of The Last of Us) but can aesthetic appreciation be an equally valid reason? Really not finding a character attractive can be a deterrent to playing a video game? It seems truly paradoxical to us and it would be difficult to accept as a motivation, it would be like saying that you don't want to see a certain film because the lead actor is ugly. kind of social issues that many perceive as exasperating and exasperating.

Aloy in a scene from Horizon: Zero Dawn Starting from the assumption that taking civilization and education is not an exasperation, indeed it is perhaps exasperating to collide with lack of these, it is normal for a certain type of dialogue to also impact the world of video games, precisely because we are talking about normality. It is normal that there are physically attractive characters just as normal are those with the most common physical characteristics; It is normal for contemporary video game characters to embrace different genders, ethnicities and sexual orientations and to go beyond the usual three or four stereotyped models. It is not normal to expect that everything remains unchanged as it happened twenty years ago, where either the tough macho or the sex bomb (all Caucasian and strictly straight, of course) existed and it is not normal, or rather, possible, to expect that this type of speeches remain out of video games.

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