Instead of labeling this content with the quick’n easy THIS IS or THIS ISN’T, I will simply give you a quick non-spoilerific rundown of all potential instances of content that might raise some eyebrows. You can interpret it in your own way, because I will not pass my vision as fact. Some free pieces of fire towards the industry’s situation are also served down here. Let’s use a fine comb, shall we?
(This may be a content spoiler, with descriptions of characters within the game. No story spoilers are actually revealed)
The basics: The amazon and the sorceress are playable characters with lots of animations that move their body parts accordingly. The sorceress’ breasts bounce more frequently while she is running and during attack. The amazon’s buttocks become more evident and volumous in her double-jump. During the slide animation, the amazon’s breasts seem larger than normally displayed, similar in size to the sorceress’ assets. These two characters have advantages and disadvantages just like every other class and are just as capable as everyone else. The same can be said about the Elf. All characters’ stories are the same and they are all treated equally.
The ending artwork of the Elf shows her sitted in front of the camera with her legs closed, but you can see between her thighs. She wears small shorts, so her legs are visible up to the thigh. Nothing risky, but still. Her situation in the ending is honorable and she is treated with the utmost respect.
The artwork for the sorceress in this case has her in a similarly respectful position after her successful mission. Her cleavage is there, but nothing can be seen besides what is already exposed during gameplay.
Some guest artworks on the Gallery section show girls with huge assets as well, but they all have descriptions that extend over the story behind the quests you accept in the game and they all have due context for their existence. These include armed girls posing with huge creatures like sabertooth tigers and a giant muscular genie. Neither all images depict girls like that nor do they only depict girls, so you can enjoy many other different renditions of various artists about many other subjects.
There is a girl walking in the town’s street. She has large breasts, but she is fully clothed. If you hit her with any character, she will flinch and her breasts will bounce to the side she turns. The animation is quick and the girl quickly returns to her activities. Repeated strikes will only repeat the same animation. Two other NPCs are also on the street: a middle-aged man and a child. You can also strike them, but they also flinch shortly before going on as if nothing happened.
This man can be tackled with strong attacks to make him drop his stuff, which will make him angry. Repeated action will result in making you go to jail for a quick event about being scolded by the guards, but everything goes back to normal once it ends. The woman and the child don’t drop their items, so you don’t have the same result by attacking them.
The Magic Item Shop’s shopkeeper has considerably large breasts, but not as big as the Sorceress. She wears a dress with a revealing cleavage. Interacting with the pointer has many dialogue options across her body, such as more information on her character when clicking on her head or information about her staff when clicking on it. Should you click on her breasts, a text appears claiming that you should refrain from touching her lest she turns your hands into stone. There are no animations of reaction with this interaction.
In one stage, you can save three girls from a castle filled with monsters. They are wearing nightgowns and the stage takes place at night. The guildmaster warns you that they were kidnapped. Their bodies are all similar aside from hair color, with small-to-medium sized breasts and hips. They are found tied with ropes and sitted in a corner of their cells. The doors of these cells must be lockpicked by your rogue to be opened. These girls don’t try to fight back the monsters and may be attacked by them. Since the story is the same for all characters, you can save the victims with the Sor / Amz / Elf.
Three bosses have some graphical content: the vampires (huge breasts with animations similar to the sorceress), the harpy (from the torso up, breasts bounce as she flies) and the medusa (nipples covered by scales). Regular ghosts also have big breasts that jiggle when you defeat them.
Along the stages, you will reach the check point to choose your road. Four stages have women with more imagery (these events happen with any character, including the female ones):
A mermaid with big breasts is laid on the water. Her rear is exposed from a sideways perspective, with one side floating above the water’s level. The game’s description states that she lost her bra while fleeing from a creature. Her nipples are covered by her long hair. She doesn’t react to interaction.
A spirit is bound with chains, laid on her back in a helpless position that can be seen as sexually suggestive. Her appearance is completely human. She wears a transparent gown that reveals her whole body, but folds on the fabric cover her nipples. She has her legs positioned in a way that you can’t see her crotch. The narrator describes her as one of many subjects of magical extraction by evil sorcerers. Clicking on any part of her body will make her whimper and slightly move around, which makes her breasts jiggle. The game’s description claims that your fairy companion is “not-so-subtly judging you“.
A female monk warrior lays against the wall, sitting with her legs spread open and a facial expression that may be seen as pain or pleasure. She grunts from time to time. The severed head of a canine monster gnaws on the calf of her leg, which is the apparent reason for her situation. She is fully clad in armor and she also wears some kind armored device on her crotch. I assume this is a chastity belt, but I may be wrong. Two descriptions appear as follows: “Her body is heavily armored to protect her purity” and “Her determination not to succumb is apparent on her face“. Her crotch can’t be interacted with because there are dialog boxes over the area. She doesn’t react to interaction with the pointer.
An Orc Mama is in the kitchen, holding a meat cleaver while looking at you with a menacing expression. Clicking on her breasts makes a text appear stating that you refrain from trying anything funny due to the mere sight of the cleaver.
END OF ANALYSIS
While I can’t say anything about the JP-only Kumatanchi and Grand Knights History, ALL of Vanillaware’s localized works have some exaggerated proportions.
Princess Crown, in which the protagonist Princess Gradriel can temporarily turn into a magically-powered version of herself with an adult body and numerous gems that fly around her, wearing a tight dress with obvious cleavage and large breasts that jiggle as you float during gameplay.
In Vanillaware’s website, you can also see many artworks with women drawn with purposefully different proportions.
Who am I to condemn anyone for the opinions they might have about Dragon’s Crown? What I merely present here is what is inside the game. I have a feeling that any further explanations from this description could be perceived as opinions, and I want to keep my interpretations of it for myself. You are welcome to do the same and still have your reasons to hate the game for its content. What I aim to do here is keep you informed on what exists within the game, not convince you of the conclusions that I may reach about this content and claim that they are exactly what the game is trying to convey. From my side of the argument about what this game offers, I take some liberty to adapt Kain’s words from Soul Reaver 2: “Whose will is satisfied then? The will of the reader or of the reviewer? Let’s drop the moral posturing, shall we? We both know there is no altruism in this pursuit, your reckless indignation led you here. I counted on it! There is no shame in it, reader. Your personal reasons to avoid this content are motivation enough, at least it’s honest. Hate the game, but do it honestly”.
I would not be so dense as to not recognise the importance of plot-relevant female characters to be included in games. But as is the case for black people, the proper portrayal of mental illnesses and many minorities, we need games to tackle these subjects with a suitable focus. There is no point in trying to make a message about important subjects if all you are willing to do is include them just for the sake of existing and be done with it, or even worse, spread propaganda about supporting this decision just to acquire more empathy of everyone who wants to positively change this industry.
Look, for instance, on Capcom’s Remember Me. The protagonist does not need justification for being what she is, as far as the artist went through all the trouble of creating her. What is stopping more games to be made like this? Even more: what should be done to make games in general become free of this necessity of drawing comparisons in search of similar themes? Shouldn’t the devs be more brave to create new ideas and apply new types of characters without fearing the rejection of the big bad young white male demographic? Is this next generation going to change something about this?
We could have tons of indie games covering this, but their reach rarely matches what The Last of Us or God of War can achieve. This responsibility shouldn’t land solely on their shoulders as if AAA development got an incurable disease that prevented them from doing just as much. This is ridiculous, these costs represent nothing if devs simply decide to “play it safe”. The boat is running on circles because of this. The next generation already showed signs of not focusing so much on graphics, thank goodness for that. What could be the next excuse to make studios bite more than what they can chew?
What we need now is evidence that this ecosystem is healthy enough to maintain new small studios inside it. Many were the franchises in this gen that generated frustration due to news such as “new entry on X series is going mobile!” or even worse: “Enjoy this new experience directly on your browser!” Are they trying to make a fool of us or of themselves?Just like Squaresoft mustered courage to trudge new paths outside its RPG department with games like Musashi, Einhander and Parasite Eve in the PS1 era, we need an industry now that doesn’t rely on “safe” projects to keep their profits stable. An industry that spontaneously decides to create “weird” games, like Katamari Damacy did back in 2004.
I say weird, but in fact any game can have that kind of success just by getting out of the usual patterns. We need new franchises, new directors, new studios. Everything. And it starts with new people working on this damn thing! This doesn’t mean that what we’ve got is dated. It would be foolish to ask for something like the Video Game Crash all over again. It would be like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.To actually embrace gaming with all demographics, we need to be more tolerant with content that we might personally disagree upon. Instead of limiting artistic views with self-policing control, how about we pester developers all around for MORE content on what we want to see? How about instead of advocating the need to justify the existence of art that is already a thing, we ask for the next creations to be more inviting for more demographics? Wasn’t the same with “casual” gaming to attract more people into this hobby, making it appear not to be the seven-headed monster that only responded to whoever was already used to it?
And even better, by respecting the right of the artist to create whatever his crazy mind desires? You can ask all you want, but don’t force him for an output that doesn’t feel authentic, lest it ends without a soul and a purpose. This can happen to anyone who depends on his creativity to do his job: the will to create is a joy that only the creator can truly experience. To lose this passion in the attempt to develop something that one can’t put his soul into, is to kill both creator and creature. The best message is the one that comes from the heart, not from the need to forcefully deliver it just to make the voices stop. I give you all of my support to make your opinion be heard after you know exactly what you’re talking about, either through gameplay / walkthrough videos or by actually buying the game and checking what’s inside (if you are willing to give it a try). My review and this article aren’t enough of what you should know of the game, so I invite you think for a moment and give more value to your own personal experience with it.
If you want to talk, no problem. I’m not going to run away or anything.