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The Trap that is Scarlet Blade

Sex sells. So do robots. Alien invasions, while cliché, have proven to be tried and tested selling points for movies and video games alike. So if you put these three factors together, you should have the formula for a blockbuster MMORPG, right?

This is what Aeria Games seems to be thinking with their new upcoming F2P “Mature” MMORPG title called Scarlet Blade. Scarlet Blade is chockfull of sexualized, beautiful heroines with enough firepower and weapons acumen to conquer a small country. And of course, they’re dressed in dubiously skimpy armor most of the time. In South Korea, the game is called Queen’s Blade Online– any anime enthusiast would know what that title means. The Queen’s Blade anime is not for the faint of heart.

 Defender Class of Scarlet Blade

  The game’s storyline is set in a future where an alien invasion force has all but destroyed our home and our last hope is a force of genetically modified babes – hence the superior physique and fighting prowess, probably. That’s it as far as the plot goes. It’s like Dead Or Alive meets Metroid meets Halo, and it’s an MMORPG. So, “where’s the depth?” one might ask.

The good news is that Aeria is throwing in a lot of PvP goodness with the game – from 1v1 to 6v6 to even 80v80 epic clashes between factions, or between different factions and game bosses, and there’s all the standard dropped loot fun MMO players always crave. The depth, it would seem, will focus on the technicalities of the gameplay. This, however, is offset by the reality that in higher levels, the technicality decreases dramatically. We’ll see how Aeria deals with this inherent MMO challenge when the time comes (the game is currently accepting requests for inclusion in its beta). But Scarlet Blade’s got everything covered right – sexy women, overpowered and overhyped battles, cool robots, and bad aliens?

Scarlet Blade's PvP

While we’ve seen all of this before, we also know that despite how overly used these same elements are, they always sell. The bigger question, however, is how bankable this sort of MMORPG is in the long run. Research on MMO loyalty indicates that a mere 5% increase in retention can boost profits up to 95%. Is the market segment targeted by Scarlet Blade the sort that stays loyal? Here’s an idea of the bigger picture: the average gamer is 30 years old. How many 30-year old gamers would most likely stay loyal to this MMO?

Of course, games like Lollipop Chainsaw have had their fair share of success – even with older gamers. But games like Lollipop Chainsaw do not share the challenge of a persistent-state-world where massive numbers of players are required to keep the game running. The success of the MMO model rests upon the requisite requirement of massive numbers of players and a story that basically never ends. Then again, Scarlet Blade will undoubtedly attract a slew of younger, particularly male, gamers who spend hours on end on games like WoW. Mecha from Scarlet Blade The droves of players that may flock to Scarlet Blade, however, may underlie a more serious dilemma. Every so often games like Spore, Minecraft, and Portal come in to show us that gaming is changing for the better. Even standard shooters and RPGs like Battlefield 3 and Skyrim are developing and showing us something new to play with and wonder about – we’re moving forward. With each small step and the occasional leap, we’re steadily making gaming more than just the sum of its shallow elements. And then Scarlet Blade comes along.

The MMO plays on elements that always sell, but while these aspects are a constant lure for new gamers, how long can they retain the interest and loyalty of existing ones? How long until the majority of these gamers tire of the pretty faces, the ubiquitous moves, the tiring grinding, and the same old plot? And perhaps a bigger question is: does the game offer anything that can help the gaming industry as a whole move forward in terms of gameplay, immersion, design, and plot?

 

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  1. Kleopo

    Gaming has come a long way from the time of tetris and polygons but I also believe that gaming itself is essentially a tool. A tool and interactive storyline that can demostrate whatever scenario the developers, script writers, authors and designers want of it layered out by a program. The problem i’ve seen with politicians, even some game-reporters is that gaming is being placed in a self-categorized box. To the politicians games are nothing more than menacing tools of violence, to some game reporters video-games are nothing more than obscene or belittling of supposedly the “entire (and i use this term loosely)female gender.
     
    This negative outlook happens too frequently agmonst gaming when it comes to the issues of sexuality period, an issue I believe that runs deeper in the puritan traditional and religious rooted west and how the issues of sex or sexuality are even viewed.To top off Scarlet Blade is Mature because of the reasons of a game that was designed for an older audience(the game is 18+ in South Korea). This is not a T rated Guild Wars 2, it is not an E-rated Minecraft. So yes it will have elments in it that are again, not advertised to or meant for a younger audience. If other media types like books can have similar themes and movies with similar ratings, why not video- games?
     
    There is nothing wrong with the existance or creation of games like Scarlet Blade. There is nothing wrong female sexuality or sexuality in games.What can be considered sexism or “bad” is the outlook that a completely and fictional female character isn’t allowed to be sexy or should be ‘shameful’  to be sexy in a game. That unfortunately I’ve seen given the worst especially for the female body type that is A/B cup-sized and short in size.
     
     As a petite young woman (in real life) myself I find it very disappointing that the game-industry and even some gamers do stereotype these big-breasted 7-foot tall hollywood given female as the standard of what a fantasy female is suppose to look like. To the point that it has become almost a demonizing attitude to any female build that does not equalviant these exaggerated and often outed portions in gaming world. It gives the attitude that females with small breast and shorter height are disgusting and guys who like small breasts and petite builds as freaks.
     
    If the game industry is going to further expand it’s creativity then including different body-types of females instead of the same and used jumbo-jets implant nation ones.

  2. Dreammer

    Kleopo 
    ”the game-industry and even some gamer’s do stereotype these big-breasted 7-foot tall hollywood given female as the standard of what a fantasy female is suppose to look like”
    Agreed ! besides I found this very disgusting and abnormal even as a boy ! really  but there is a limit, Idk how other feel about it or like. But for a gaming character, if u really wanna make a human character please make it decent , natural and human alike.don’t over do it. Idk how people e even like this huge unnatural breast, but i am telling u @http://www.livefyre.com/profile/11186079/ they never can be someones fantasy standard. At least for me as gamer. Beside there is nothing wrong small breast and shorter height.
    so yes +1 to your post

  3. vampiricus69

    Kleopo Most MMOs now you can change the complete height and body sizes of every aspect of a character, so the tall voluptuous characters as females are no longer the only standard, also this game scarlet blade does have a class that is smaller “loli-ish” almost one could say, plus this game is targeted to more of the “anime” “manga” style where the “norm” there is boobs, i do like your post and agree too that the media and politics view games in a negitive lighe

  4. Manases

    Been playing this game for some time now. Sure, most peeps come for the , ahem. “artwork” and some stay for the fun large scale PvP ( ingame referred to as Janus/Turnpike/Nuclear Bunker/Al Kasava).

    But you do have a point there. Strip away ( pun intended ) the sexy anime style toons, and all you get is another run-off-the mill korean grind fest. Also, Aeria is notorious for it’s bombastically over-priced cash shop/ mall items with its gambling style “boxes” where you “may” get the item that you want but odds are you will be blowing away tons of real world money before you do.

    Someone in the SB forums said it right. Scarlet Blade is just another train ride, a particularly short one. Most people come and go, very few stay. I’m still on that train, but it will take more than a sexy doe-eyed “well-endowed” anime chick to make me stay for long. I may just be getting off real soon and go back to another generic FPS where you don’t need to cry blood just to reach one level after weeks of grinding.

  5. Public123

    Late comment, but it’s important to note that the Queens Blade game and the Queen’s Blade anime have nothing in common but name – and scantily clad ladies. Beyond that, they’re not associated in any way whatsoever. Just a correction.


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