Beauty is subjective, but it only goes so far. You put me next to pictures of Ana de Armas and Margot Robbie, and no one is choosing me. However, between the two of them, you’ll be seeing a very even split. As video games become more realistic, there is more room for subjectivity, and different forms of beauty can emerge. Baldur’s Gate 3 is a great example of this, especially through Dame Aelin.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Every week I get a dozen or more emails from casino websites that have done ‘research’ to tell me which video game character is the most popular in Texas, or how many Gen Z kids recognize Squirtle, or that my Hometown is the fourth best place to work in the country for game developers. I don’t know of any sites that actually run this ‘research’, which is usually just random facts pulled from a few seconds of searching the internet. They give us the information for ‘free’, on the condition that we join their casino. And in the mix is usually some list about which video game characters are the most attractive – always with some of the same names.
Here’s a slideshow of all the things I’ve learned from these emails over the years
Lara Croft, Tifa, and Samus Aran always top the list, and I’m not denying that they’re beautiful, but they’re basically the only women who have existed in gaming for over a decade. Samus started life as a ‘revelation’ featuring a pixelated woman standing in a vague shape that looked like a bra and rewarding you for winning the game. Over time, with Zero Suit Samus, she has evolved into a bombshell-style character with ideal ‘beauty’. Most female characters in the early era of gaming went through this – they were designated as attractive due to being the only female, and were pre-designed with their stereotypical attractiveness as better graphics.
Perhaps this is why new female characters with more organic, realistic designs are criticized so much. Ellie, MJ, Aloy, and Abby have all hardened to the idea that they aren’t that pretty, even though they all look far more realistic than Samus or Tifa. Then it comes full circle as Abby, who was described by trolls as ugly and manly with her heavy frame at the launch of The Last of Us Part 2, now has Florence Pugh (the current face of Valentino Beauty) in her The number one fan is as an artist.
Spoilers follow for Baldur’s Gate 3 Act 2
This is why I find Dame Aylin so attractive. She’s already one of the most interesting characters in the game – you spend Act 2 looking for Nightsong, believing it to be a weapon, only to discover that it’s instead Dame Aylin, a divine Aasimar who Can provide immortality. She is the prisoner of Catharic Thor, who is cursed to keep her alive. She’s also in love with Thor’s mortal daughter, Isobel, which makes the whole thing very personal.
Dame Aylin Is Not Necessarily Pretty, But She Is Beautiful, Beautiful in the romantic sense, in the 16th century iconographic sense. She has some traditional features – long blonde hair, bright eyes, full lips – but she also has a long face, big nose, blocky chin. No Disneyfication here as her nose has shrunk to the size of a peanut so her eyes can dominate her face. She resembles Cate Blanchett, especially in the role of Hela.
Aylin feels like you asked a woman to design an attractive woman, not a character crafted from male imaginations a decade later, once graphics moved to pixels. Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson, Mackenzie Davis, Evan Rachel Wood and Kate Winslet all feel like Aylin’s ingredients – attractive women who primarily attract other women, and are rarely (and possibly) made up by male votes. , Casino ).
However, it’s not just the looks, it’s the power. Aylin may be saved by you, but she is not a damsel in distress. She is no matriarch, nor does she need to take off her clothes to breathe through her skin or use any other throwaway justification for her body on display. She marches into battle clad in full and shining silver armour, and slays her enemies with the mighty swing of her sword.
Dame Aylin’s beauty isn’t just skin deep, and she’s a highly admirable character who highlights the depth of Baldur’s Gate 3’s story. The subjectivity of beauty and the realism of gaming’s current graphics should mean more characters like her who challenge the beauty standards of our medium and look good while doing so.
baldur’s gate 3
- PC, PS5
- 3 August 2023
- Larian Studio
Next: Baldur’s Gate 3 has a serious shortage of kobolds