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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

“how Sony made sure everyone would see uncanny CGI nudes resembling Ellen Page”


Hollywood Hates Women, Part 544,654: Videogame Edition. From Rob Beschizza at Boing Boing:

Ellen Page recently starred in Sony’s video game Beyond: Two Souls, her likeness and performance captured and used for the CGI epic’s protagonist, Jodie Holmes. The game was a hit–popular enough for nude images of Jodie, generated by removing steam from a shower scene, to end up “leaked” online. As puerile as they were uncanny, however, no-one took much notice.

But then Sony did something really, really stupid: it threatened anyone publishing the images and ordered them to take them off the internet.

Boing Boing then links to FastCoDesign, where John Brownlee explains why it’s difficult to believe that getting these images out onto the Net isn’t precisely what Sony intended:

[I]f [game developer] Quantic Dream never meant for players to see Jodie Holmes naked, why did a Quantic Dream artist spend time painstakingly modeling her breasts, nipples, vagina, and pubic hair? A 3-D model is usually as sexless as a wax doll underneath its clothing, because designing games is expensive, and creating assets for things players aren’t going to see is a waste of time. That a Quantic Dream artist would unnecessarily create a sexually realistic body for a 3-D model, then task Ellen Page to bring it to life without her knowledge, seems creepy at best, and a violation at worst.

Brownlee is exaggerating a little: the nude images — which I won’t link to but which are easily found if you want to see them — do not appear to include a realistic vagina or pubic hair. But there’s still the matter of why there’s a shower scene in a video game for a female character, but not for a male one.

As an interesting side note, Brownlee goes on to speculate on the likelihood that Page’s contract included a non-nudity clause, and then to examine what exactly constitutes nudity in light of today’s cultural norms and technological capabilities, considering that these imagines are not actually of a nude Page but an artist’s rendering based on her non-nude performance capture. It’s startlingly reminiscent of some of the themes explored in the film The Congress.

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