(WARNING: ARTICLE CONTAINS PARTIAL NUDITY)
By now, most of us have seen this game throughout the internet. If you haven’t seen it, then let me give the quick rundown. Scarlet Blade (or Queen’s Blade in Korea and Japan) is an MMORPG where you play as a female with basically no clothing. You have the basic MMORPG types: Defender, Ranger, Warrior, Thief, and a Mid-Range character called a Whipper. Oh, and there’s Mechs:
I’m not going to go into how this is sexist, how it objectifies women, how it’s perpetuating gamer stereotypes, or how it shows our industry in a very childish manor.
I’m not, because in all honesty, if this game had a bunch of really hot guys running around in banana hammocks and Brazilian trucks, I would play the shit out of that game.
What I really want to talk about is what this game should have been: an Adult MMO. Let me explain.
The game’s fault really lies in its premise. The hook is that you get to play as hot girls and see T&A everywhere…but once you’re past the jiggle-o-meter, it still has to be a game. And that’s where the whole thing falls apart.
To start, it’s really just another Korean grinder. The gameplay is boring and repetitive. You either have to kill a certain amount of enemies to complete a quest or collect items from enemies. That’s it. Plus, you can’t even move when you attack, making gameplay very stiff. You only have a set amount of quests you can do per level, which don’t give you enough EXP, so you have to grind your way to level up.
And holy shit, there are a lot of sex puns. I mean a lot. Every time an NPC contacts you, there’s always some kind of sexual innuendo. It was amusing at first, but then quickly got repetitive. I know that’s what this game is about,but Jesus Christ! This game is so saturated with sex that it does a 180 and makes the entire game not arousing. You want to know how not arousing? I couldn’t even get my boyfriend to playtest it with me.
THAT is where Scarlet Blade missed its opportunity. It could have been a great Dating/Adult MMO. It didn’t need this pretense of being an RPG. The majority of dating games are very un-interactive and mostly text adventures. Click this button. Select this opinion. Oh! I think her love meter is going up! So boring. The only dating sim that was kind of interactive was the Sexy Beach series. It had multiple 3D characters you could interact (and have sex) with, but the game was very linear and text based.
And why not make it an adult game? The market is completely saturated with MMORPGs. In a game where the hook is sex appeal, why not make the game entirely about sex? The graphics were pretty decent and the models looked good. And there really isn’t any decent Adult MMO on the market. Well, there’s one: Red Light Center.
I’m going to briefly talk about Red Light Center, for those of you who never knew it existed. The game is modeled after Amsterdam’s red light district. You can walk around, interact with other players, go into clubs, bars, and dungeons, and have virtual sex with other players. But really, that’s about it. It’s more like Second Life, without the censorship. (I’m only briefly touching on what Red Light Center does, but if you’re much more curious, Google it.)
With Scarlet Blade’s decent budget, they could have combined Red Light Center’s environment with actual gameplay to turn it into the best Adult MMO ever.
Now, I’m not going to deny that making an Adult MMO with such a high profile would cause problems.
First off, Korea has weird censorship and adult material restrictions. Former KPop group DBSK got smacked with a 19+ rating on one of their CDs because the Ratings board found the phrase “Under my skin” too risqué. Rain also got hit with the naughty rating because he used the phrase “Magic Stick,” and the board thought it was too phallic.
Let’s not forgot America’s crazy crusade against sex. America still has its old puritanical streak that we just can’t seem to shake. Remember the Hot Coffee and Mass Effect fiascos where every “Family Focus” group was concerned that both games were porn simulators? And the moral fabric of society would collapse? Okay, I’m hyperbolizing a little, but games with even the slightest hint of actual sex immediately get slammed by the media.
Let’s get back on topic.
Maybe that’s what LivePlex, (the developers) wanted to make in the first place, but they couldn’t get funding unless the game was made as an MMORPG. Or maybe I’m giving them too much credit and the intent really was to just make an MMORPG with naked girls everywhere. If that’s the case, it seems incredibly short-sighted, considering every other MMO does the exact same thing.
Scarlet Blade should really have been an Adult MMO. All the naked girls, the sex puns, and sexual innuendo are really out of place and feel unnecessary for an MMORPG.
Let’s end with some facts. Scarlet Blade is only two weeks old, usually the weeks with the highest subscription base. But when I went on, Aeria could barely fill one of its three servers. Red Light Center, at last count, had over 1.5 million users.
If you get nothing out of this article then at least take away this: perhaps the old saying “sex sells” should be revised to “Sex sells, but only if it sells sex.”
Thanks for reading.