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Some spoilers for the whole bit where Ciri is in the sauna, although discussion of the actual plot is limited 

Feminina:

Regarding some stuff you did while I was gone and mentioned in passing, I wanted to say before we forget about it that I did find it a little weird that they didn’t show Ciri’s breasts in that scene in the sauna…not because I particularly wanted to see them, but because they show every other woman’s breasts in the damn game, so why this sudden prudishness on the part of one character?

I assume it’s because Ciri is Geralt’s daughter-figure and therefore by proxy the player’s daughter-figure, and that the game feels that we shouldn’t be looking at our daughters’ breasts (which, as a general rule, I don’t disagree with: certainly we shouldn’t be WANTING, with a lustful eye, to look at our daughters’ breasts). So I get why they did it, but in practice it really just felt weirdly as if breasts had suddenly become kind of dirty, where before they were just “oh hey, women have breasts (so here, definitely enjoy looking at them, straight male or, we suppose, gay female players!)”

It’s like…the fact that you very clearly and pointedly could NOT see Ciri’s breasts, that the game basically made a big deal out of not showing them even when she’s sitting around in a freaking sauna, made it seem like “oh, this is the only female character we respect enough not to strip down for you” or something, which made the whole “hey, it’s just a friendly, respectful celebration of the female form” justification for showing every other woman’s breasts seem less convincing, somehow.

Again, I think probably the real reason is that they felt icky about having people ogling their surrogate daughter, and I totally get that, but in execution it came across…oddly. I mean…they could have just given us all that information somehow that was NOT in a sauna, and avoided the whole issue, but no, they really wanted us to know that we couldn’t see Ciri’s breasts.

“You think you can ogle your daughter-figure? No way, perv!”

That whole scene felt very strange to me, honestly.

Butch:

It was weird. Maybe cuz she was playable for part of that and they couldn’t make them look right in motion? (Not joking. Making boobs look ok on someone sitting or even walking in a cutscene is easier than on a running person.) But yes. Odd.

They did not show Cerys. Or Corrine. I looked. So not every woman. So there.

Maybe it’s a daughter thing…. but she’s not really that way. Maybe I’m just getting into a rut of wanting to romance my own characters. Fallout should be fun.

I gotta play more. I think this might be part of a larger trend. I mean, looking at the “play as Ciri” bits, they seem, in some way, to mirror growing up. We started running from fairy tale monsters in the woods, now, here we are, feeling awkward about our own nudity, drinking and choking on a shot of firewater like we’re 16, and chastely giving a kiss to a boy. I wanna see where we go next. See if this is a part of an arc.

Also, the tattoo was a plot point. Or I think it will be a plot point. There had to be a way for the tattoo to come up in conversation. I don’t know where we’re going with that, but obviously that coming up when it did mattered. So there had to be some sort of sauna sort of thing. I mean, that or, like, she meets Corrine and decides to go shopping for lingerie.

What?

I agree the whole scene was a strange aside. But I’m going with coming of age/needed to see the tattoo.

But many a writer did point out the strangeness of the daughter figure also wearing a shirt unbuttoned to here and all that, which I think was overkill. She is an ADULT daughter, after all, and the fact she has grown into her own woman is important. The scene where Dudu turns into her and Geralt looks at her and is upset mirrors how we parents feel in real life when we look at how grown up our kids have become. She ISN’T his “little girl” anymore. She’s not SUPPOSED to be. She’s out of his reach BOTH as a witcher AND as a father. This isn’t a “protect the daughter” game. I played that one. It had clickers in it. This isn’t that.

Feminina:

Yes, yes, you didn’t see King Bran’s wife Birna naked either, and there are tons of random villagers who never take their clothes off, so “every single woman in the game” is not literally true. Gosh, sorry, I forgot we never use hyperbolic exaggeration on this blog. Glad you checked for Corinne and Cerys, though. That’s crucial info.

I get your argument about how the parts that we play as Ciri reflect the process of growing up, sort of, even though these parts of Ciri’s life are all pretty close together chronologically and I’m not sure I buy that she was more reserved/less ‘adult’ back at the Baron’s castle than she is now. Also, I’m pretty sure they could have shown us the tattoo stuff without that whole breastacular (from everyone but Ciri) sauna scene. So it was still weird–although props to them for showing an older topless woman, which did somewhat help to make the argument that the sauna is a normal thing people do (true!–though not necessarily in video games). Look! Old women! Young women! EVERYONE enjoys the sauna! And we sauna topless, because that’s just what we all do!

And you’re right that Ciri isn’t any longer Geralt’s ‘little girl’ that he can protect, but that doesn’t make her automatically a person whose naked form can be freely enjoyed by him without ick. There are obviously categories other than “helpless child” and “potential sex partner.” I think Geralt totally doesn’t look at Ciri that way (i.e., doesn’t want to see her naked), and therefore we as players are also not allowed to look at her that way. Sort of a forced identification thing. “You WILL refrain from staring at Ciri’s breasts! Geralt would want it that way.”

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get to see some other random topless women along the way, to take the edge off that crushing disappointment. Maybe THAT’S why it was set in a sauna: they wanted to show us the tattoo, knew people would be disgruntled that the clothes came off that far but no further, so threw in a bunch of other naked breasts by way of consolation.

Butch:

You are such the cynic, you are. Don’t hear you complaining about Geralt butt.

Just doing my job, though. I will scour games for analysis of nudity.

These scenes are close in time (we think), but metaphorically, they can be whatever. She’s not literally coming of age (or is she?) but metaphor, man. Metaphor.

Forced identification with Geralt…Hmm. We’ve talked at length about when this game chooses to immerse us (say, the Hym bits) and when it doesn’t (our talk on we, the players, knowing that his hopeful talk with Triss was a pipe dream). Sure, Geralt wouldn’t look at her like that, but then, are our eyes Geralt’s? They weren’t in the Triss scene, and that was a scene where Geralt WAS looking at her that way.

Hell, we talk about “playing as Ciri.” Our eyes should be Ciri’s, if anyone, in those bits. Or the person telling the story in flashback. Makes no sense for our eyes to be Geralt’s then, especially as there are times our eyes aren’t Geralt’s when we’re CONTROLLING Geralt.

Feminina:

I don’t complain about the fact that Geralt’s butt exists, but I believe I’ve complained on numerous occasions about the lack of more complete nudity. Butt is only half the story!

Also, although I don’t know if I’ve specifically mentioned it, it would be entirely fair to complain about the fact that the only (male) butt we get is Geralt’s. Where are my multiple options for shapely behinds? I mean, yeah, they wouldn’t be in sex scenes, I accept that Geralt’s not into that and that’s fine, but we could at least see some naked soldiers getting dressed in the barracks or something.

Dandelion could strip down once in a while…some of those other witchers could probably use a nice bath…hell, the damn towels could have fallen off in that bath house fight scene! That scene was RIPE for male nudity, and nothing! (I’m sorry, chests just don’t count. Society has thoroughly desexualized the male chest, and you have to accept that this means male and female toplessness are not equal and bare chests–though perfectly nice–are not nudity.)

WORK WITH ME here, game!

Butch:

Physics I tell you! Certain things are hard to code! I mean, it took us this long to get hair right.

If you can’t have running breasts you can’t have fighting johnsons (T SHIRT!). Not without a significant frame rate drop, anyway.

Give the tech some time. Give it time.

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