It may seem odd to a few, but sexualization exists in fighting games, mainly because men dominate the industry. Research shows that only 18% of female characters are protagonists in games, which further signals that female characters are designed as props for the “male gaze.”
Some savvy marketers and gaming companies take advantage of it and persuade people to download their games by showcasing flashy female characters in their advertisements.
Soul Calibur, a game heavily criticized for its over-sexualization of female characters, is a prime example.
In the illustration above, you can clearly see that the female character’s costume reveals far more skin than the male character. While both characters have sculpted bodies, the male character isn’t perceived as sexually appealing, while the female character is perceived sexually. The arousing gesture and the big chest of the female character serve only one purpose. A “prop” for the male gaze.
If we take an omniscient view of the whole situation, we can see that male and female characters are perceived differently and judged differently. There are many fighting games like Final Fantasy and Dead or Alive that exploit the sexual drive. Companies that struggle to find a good storyline or make a good game turn to over-sexualization as their last resort.