Gaming forums were abuzz earlier today when a new Samus costume was revealed for the hotly anticipated Super Smash Bros. sequel on Nintendo Wii U and the 3DS.
Series mastermind Masahiro Sakurai has been extremely interactive and dedicated to the fan-base, answering questions and posting at least one new image-per-day on the Smash Bros. Miiverse page. This morning Sakurai once again took to the internet to show off a new image from Smash Bros, this time presenting one of Metroid-heroine Samus Aran’s many alternate costumes.
In the image captain, Sakurai posted this:
Pic of the day. Looking at the number of days we have left for development, it would be an impossible task to create this… That’s what I told my staff. But thanks to the determination of her female designer, these Zero Suit outfits got completed in time. From the ending of Metroid: Zero Mission, here’s Samus in shorts!
You see that? Isn’t that cute? It’s like Sakurai is waving away the inevitable outrage this was going to cause with a “no, it’s cool guys, a woman designed this”.
I’m not a huge fan of the forced-sexualization of strong female characters in fiction, take for example for what Alien Resurrection did to Ripley or what perverted fans on the internet do to Mikasa from Attack on Titan. One of the things I’ve always respected about the Metroid saga is that Samus is just as strong, fierce and intelligent as any male gaming hero out there. She is not objectified by the other characters for being a woman. She is a soldier, a warrior and a scientist.
This was pretty rare for a video game series when the first Metroid game pulled back the curtain in 1986 to reveal that the person in the badass robo-gear we were icing aliens with was :gasp: A WOMAN!
Which brings us back to the “sexy” Smash Bros. costume- Why is this considered sexy? Because we can see her stomach? Are we automatically sexualizing someone because they are wearing something that could essentially be gym clothes? There are obviously larger social issues that can be explored here, most of which I am not mentally equipped to be an authority on. I’m just having a hard time seeing the images above in any kind of sexual light. I see Samus. Mother Brain-crushing, planet exploring, pirate-fightin’ Samus.
…but maybe it’s just me. Or maybe it’s the fact that we’ve seen this outfit before. Twice. Not only from Metroid Zero Mission as Sakurai suggested, but from Metroid Fusion as well.
I think this more about “we need more of Samus Aran’s costumes to be available in this game” than it is “we need something sexy in Smash Bros!”.
I hope I’m wrong.
What do you think?
Is this simply “another alternate costume” for Samus?
Or should we be feeling outrage and disgust?