As you surely know by now, it’s not just the quality of a game that sells; sometimes it’s the eye candy, the risqué material that gets the game out there and makes it more popular than it sometimes deserves to be. In other cases, some fan service just won’t hurt the success of the best games – in fact it will probably help them. Even if some players find this appeal kind of odd, it’s undeniable that images of beautiful women usually help games find a larger audience, that’s just how it works with videogames and movies.
This is our first volume of a new series that sees how some games try to use fan service to help themselves, please players and ultimately become successful. Mind you, not all of them actually needed the extra help, we can’t stress that enough. Let’s begin with our first 10 games, in no particular order.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!
First we have Scarlet Blade, which could actually be described as Fan Service: The Game. There’s no denying it, this is the MMORPG that goes all the way, trying to capture that audience of teenagers that pay more attention to sexy anime girls running around than to the game proper. It launched with a full cast of barely dressed and voluptuous female characters and only many months later added the first male class – as if to lessen the embarrassment of such a fan service-focused game? No matter what, Scarlet Blade certainly isn’t known for its innovative gameplay mechanics of in-depth storyline – it exists purely to titillate younger players, in the same way that some animes do.
Even before Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft was just a distant speck in Blizzard’s plan to conquer the world, and also before the unexpected boom of online collectible card games, Sword Girls was already out there. This game was released in 2011 and it currently has over 2.500 cards, released or not, all beautiful drawings of girls in manga style. We have to say that most of the cards are drawn in very good taste and what there is of sexy cards is actually pretty decent, far from a lot of the stuff you’ve probably already seen before in manga. The game itself is decent enough, as simple as they come, so don’t expect much – it was actually shut down a while ago but has been revived by a group of fans.
Onigiri is a decent action combat MMORPG and while you can create some interesting female characters, the developers made it more prominent than it actually is with the promo material for the game. The revealing artwork was only beaten by the overly sexual trailers, which included boob size jokes and suitably placed towels. We’re willing to let it slide though, since the game turned out to be kind of fun and deserving of some attention.
Ha! We’re sure you weren’t expecting to see SMITE on this list, right? But while this is an acclaimed third-person MOBA machine that is oiled up to the tiniest details, developer Hi-Rez Studios loves to have a lot of fun with the alternate god skins, and it shows. These are for the most part goofy and lighthearted, but from time to time we see a character card that puts to use the best assets of some of the goddesses. For example, Neith joins in the fun of the Brazilian Carnaval, and Aphrodite turns into a Beach Babe. Nu Wa is also a clear fan favorite. But we can’t even blame the studio for being unfair, since they even thought of the female crowd with skins such as Hunkules Hercules.
Since it was first announced, the poster girl for Peria Chronicles was this blonde girl wearing a short blue and white dress, pretty much a sexy, anime version of Alice in Wonderland. The artists definitely nailed it with this character, using her as the face of this ambitious game, having her introduce the tools and features of the game in subsequent trailers. No matter what her role is in the final version of the game, she’s already instantly recognizable by thousands of players and a potential target for cosplay. The character creation in Peria Chronicles seems deep enough to make similar characters and some players are already mentioning the potential for adult-oriented content, something that developer Thingsoft is very aware of. It would be a shame to diminish this game to a sexy anime girl simulator tool, since with all the sandbox possibilities and the Pokémon-inspired collect and fight mechanics it could turn out to be a massive hit.
For the second time, Soul Worker has disappeared of the face of the earth for a year or so, and counting. It looks like releasing a trailer for this game jinxes it, and then we fall into this complete silence for many months. And then there’s a lot of crying from players who fell in love with the anime artstyle of this game, the third-person fighting mechanics and, of course, the pantsu shots – especially the pantsu shots! A strategically-placed camera along with the way the female characters lean to the front when they run provide all the thrills that many teenage players are seeking. We’re pretty sure it wasn’t a coincidence either; it was thought out in all the tiny details to capture the attention of an unsuspecting playerbase, and it’s clearly working to perfection. Now if only Lion Games would just finish the damn game…
Let’s be quite honest here: Blade & Soul isn’t popular because it’s a revolution in MMO gaming or something of the sort. What makes it stand out from other martial arts MMORPGs, above all, is the unique artstyle created by Korean Artist Hyung-Tae Kim. Slightly exaggerating the human body but putting the emphasis in all the good parts in a way that looks like a fantastic mix between reality and anime, Blade & Soul is as much a game as it is a music video maker – you just have to be talented to make some truly stunning pieces, as our editor Rendermax has already proven quite a few times. Sure, it is still an enjoyable action MMORPG that is finally coming to North America and Europe late 2015, after a long period of the Duke Nukem Forever syndrome, but many players want to try it mostly because of its looks. We could make a real life analogy here, but we won’t.
We’re completely losing it, you’re probably thinking right now – how could this old-school, tiny characters, spiritual successor to Ragnarok Online have any sort of fan service? Well, it’s not the game itself or the cute characters, but the sexy artwork for the game, created by art director Maggi. Most images look great, like they were taken from an old fable book, featuring a very particular coloring style and, of course, an abundance of sexy female characters. Does Tree of Savior need all this cleavage popping up when you talk to NPCs? Most likely not. Does it hurt the game? Hell no! This is great art and deserves a – hopefully – great game like this to go along.
League of Angels is a clear case of putting the artworks to great use in a game that looks and feels like hundreds of others. The promotional images featuring these sexy angels were splattered all over the place and their undeniable charm led many players to give in and try the game. With the angels artwork still popping up in-game, in an admittedly less charming faction but still effective, thousands or more likely millions of players ultimately fell for it. How long they decided to stick with the game is a completely different affair, as League of Angels isn’t exactly the most impressive free game out there, so to speak, and its concept is clearly designed to capture the maximum amount of whales, or players who spend large amounts of cash in free-to-play games.
Black Desert is far from a being a game with a blatant dose of fan service – in fact, it is one that does it in style, with good taste, and besides a short skirt for the female ranger and the unreal beauty of the playable female characters, there’s not much that we can mention. But – and there’s always a but – when you fiddle a bit with the character creation you’ll get to see that Pearl Abyss left you all the tools to make the characters look more in tune with what we usually see from Korean developers. It is, however, fully optional and while it’s still there to please a certain crowd, it’s not unashamed and therefore deserves a big thumbs up from us. Also, Black Desert offers one of the most in-depth character creation systems ever seen in an MMORPG, so it is really up to you to choose what to do with so many options.
Volume 1 is done, so if you enjoyed this we’ll get to work on volume 2 right away. As always, you can leave your suggestions in the comments – we already have plenty of games lined up, but we’re always interested in hearing from you!