Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Digital Production Arts
This thesis details the design, development, and creation of variations of more functional female armor designed for games with the female audience in mind.
The goal is to empower female players by designing and creating strong armor that is not sexualized and that women can enjoy. I want to show that women can be portrayed as strong and powerful in games by designing armor that is equivalent to their male counterparts. Due to the gender imbalance in the video game industry and player base, it seems that female players are not catered to when most games are created. Many studies show that female characters are more sexualized than male characters while also being underrepresented. Many times this is reinforced by the female characters’ costumes and armor designs. Female characters are much more likely to expose skin and wear inappropriate clothing than their male counterparts. These design choices can alienate women from playing certain games or getting into video games entirely.
There are negative effects that can arise from the stereotypical female portrayal and under-representation in games, such as lowering self-worth and body esteem. It may also encourage stereotypical treatment of women and lead to negative views towards women's capabilities. Instead, having more inclusive and representative portrayals of female characters can encourage more females to play video games and potentially join the gaming industry, thus balancing both the video game industry and player base.
This thesis researches female preferences in games, highlighting the differences in character preferences between male and female players. Studies show that female players are more likely to choose same sex characters than male players. Female players are more likely to be annoyed by oversexualized female characters than male players, but interestingly enough, female players also are more likely to play games with attractive characters in the game versus male players. This shows how important gender identity, representation, and appearance are to most female players.
This paper will also cover my female armor process from the research, initial concepts, and the entire in-game model creation along with the tools used. The designs are heavily inspired by historical, female armor and female armor in media that has been praised for empowering women, such as Horizon Zero Dawn and Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Fang, Nancey, "Female Portrayal in Games through Costumes: Designing and Creating Appealing Armor for Female Players" (2022). All Theses. 3803.