Street Fighter V's lost the crotch shots - is gaming finally going in the right direction?

Do over-sexualised characters really have a place in 2015?

It turns out people really are getting annoyed that a bunch of creepy camera angles have been cut from a game that's not even out yet.

No, really, this is actually a thing.

If you happened to be correctly unaffected by this obviously world-altering issue, it turns out the current beta (beata?) for upcoming beat-em-up Street Fighter V has received a small update. No reason to chuck your toys from the pram or spill your milk in rage, right?

Oh so wrong, my friend.

Said update stealthily removed an overly gratuitous shot of female fighter Cammy's crotch and another of Rainbow Mika slapping her backside in order to tag her partner in. To say people lost their s**t would be an understatement. Welcome to 2015. What a time to be alive.

There's even a petition. A petition. To convince a Japanese developer that that these animations are important, nay crucial, to the final product being perfect.

The petition, which is disturbingly close to hitting its 2,500 target, takes this issue very seriously

"Some time recently Capcom chose to censor this Critical Art animation," it reads. "The original shows Mika slapping her butt to taunt before grabbing, and the final downward slam brings both legs down as is normal in a great deal of wrestling moves. In the newest version, the camera pans up to hide the slap and the severity of the final downward slam is lost as the legs are untouched."

Yup, someone is really taking this issue to heart.

#Buttgate

This isn't even the first time the voluptuous nature of SF5's female roster has boiled the blood of the game's community. Not so long ago, during the game's first and quickly aborted first Beta, many of the lady combatants had a noticeably frantic case of motion-sickness-inducing 'boob physics'.

Then, like the awful developer that it is, Capcom quietly patched them out.

Of course, some people were not happy. It even made the gaming press smirk enough to cover it.

So much so Eurogamer even brought one character's issues up with series director Yoshinori Ono, who rather wisely shrugged it off: "She's at a Marks & Spencer as we speak, picking one up that fits her," he replied. "By the time the game comes out, she'll be comporting herself. Yeah, she'll be sorted out by the time you see her."

Street Fighter V

R Mika is shaping up to be a brilliant addition to the SF5 roster - even if her wardrobe seems awfully light these days.

You have to worry when a portion of your audience actively wants the game to retain its over-sexualised qualities - especially to the extent they believe it's going to actively dilute the game's gameplay.

The game certainly doesn't need it - yes, having characters practically spill out of their costumes while winking suggestively at the camera is, sadly, ingrained in the mystique of Street Fighter and the like, but it's certainly not imperative to the experience.

If anything having such elements comes across as downright archaic in an era where gender equality is finally being addressed in all aspects of culture and society. So it shouldn't come as a shock to see Capcom quietly massaging its product to suit a transforming audience.

Accessibility

So what's prompted the change? A lot of it likely feeds back into Capcom's plan to expand Street Fighter V's audience when it launched in February next year. It'll have been almost ten years since the release of Street Fighter 4 and the landscape of gaming has changed significantly since 2008.

"The ambitions with Street Fighter V were to make the game approachable and accessible again, but also to make everything with the characters feel a lot more individual and bring out more chances for people to find the right competitor that suits them," explained Brian Ayers, EMEA brand manager at Capcom in a recent interview with MCV. "We really hope that Street Fighter V can bring in a newer, younger audience."

Post-GamerGate and all the blowback that came with that debacle, it's a good thing that Capcom is toning down the gratuitous angles and suggestive actions (especially with the advent of streaming services such as Twitch and the huge mainstream growth of eSports), such over-sexualised presentation feels totally out of place in 2015.

In a matter of days, Crystal Dynamic's continued reinvention of Lara Croft, a former sex icon in a different life, will return with Rise Of The Tomb Raider.

Croft finally feels like an actual human, but seeing ROTTR release in the same six months as a game where most of the female cast are dressed like porn parodies does feel almost like a step backwards at best.

Dead or Alive

Ironically, these are some of the more tasteful costumes in available for use in Dead Or Alive 5: Last Round.

Does sex sell?

But we need perspective here, too. Having Rainbow Mika slap her backside like an over-zealous line dancer is in pretty bad taste, but the gamers who are going to pick up Street Fighter V and play it into the ground aren't buying it for the parent guidance-baiting nature of its character models - they're buying it for crispness of the systems.

They're not counting crotch shots, they're counting frames.

Just watch a few rounds at EVO, the annual fighting game convention, or any number of pro or semi-pro tournaments on Twitch and you'll see players skipping the cutscenes that show off these elements most of all.

The thing is, our industry is broad one full of contributions from cultures with vastly different takes on sexuality and its interpretations. Street Fighter has always had over-sexualised characters and their rapidly expanding chests and thighs (yes Chun Li, we're looking at you - and no, not like that...) have, for better or worse, become part of the franchise's DNA.

It's much the same with the Dead Or Alive games (where boob physics are actively part of the game's marketing). Yet even there, there's a reservation to proceedings. Every character in the most recent addition to the series, Dead Or Alive 5: Last Round, has multiple swimsuits to fight in, but head into an online matchup and most opt for a far more modest costume.

And while Capcom is hardly censoring itself with the quiet readjustment of certain aspects, that conscious decision to do so speaks volumes for the changing voices and perspectives in gaming.