THE BUZZ: An ad for the upcoming Soul Calibur V has now started to make the rounds, one which brings up a question: Are ads like this going too far?
Before I weigh in with my opinion—and before you either think I’m right or a total moron—here’s the ad in question.
Found by Japanese gaming site Andriasang, this ad has appeared in Japanese publications like Nikkan Sports to promote the release of the game. While I’ve seen an English-language version of the ad, so far I’ve been unable to confirm if that is indeed an official alternate version produced for marketing the game in the West, or if it was an edit done by some other source.
EGM’s TAKE: Ads are meant to do one thing—grab your attention. So, let’s be fair: In that regard, this ad absolutely does its job.
It’s also fair to say that while the Soul Calibur series may not be quite on the level of a franchise like Dead or Alive in terms of gratuitous sexual overtones, the games have often featured characters—such as Ivy, she who is portrayed in this ad—with exaggerated body proportions specifically tailored to appeal to male gamers.
Still—I can’t say that I feel comfortable with this ad. It reminds me of video game advertising back in the 1990’s, where marketers thought gamers were nothing but teenage boys who needed to be pandered to with sex, “coolness”, or gradeschool-level humor. The reality is that these days we understand that all types of people play games across all age, race, and gender lines.
Though Soul Calibur has had those elements of sexuality, they were never overtly pushed as the main appealing factor of the game (unlike, again, games such as Dead or Alive). Big breasts alone aren’t what Soul Calibur V is about—so on that point alone, an ad like this cheapens what the game actually is.
I’m also not against the idea that a “sexy” ad couldn’t be done for a game like Soul Calibur V. Ivy is a character who is known for her sex appeal, so it isn’t surprising to use her to promote the game. However, Ivy as an entire character is sexy, not just her (ridiculously) large breasts. Had the ad been done properly, it could have played upon her sex appeal while also staying respectful to her as a character. This ad, on the other hand, tells us that there’s only one part of her that matters—and it’s a part that has absolutely no bearing on the game being sold.
So, what are your thoughts on this ad? Love it? Hate it? Whatever your opinion (or opinion on my opinion), I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.