Given the surprising outburst of (largely negative) criticism the reveal of the in-game version of the male Wizard has generated, I thought it would be interesting to take a closer look. The shot to the right shows a comparison between the concept art and the final in-game model, and looking at those, you can see what the, “he looks wimpy” complaints are about, even if you don’t fully agree with them.
The face is different, but the real change is in the pose and angle of his head. The concept art version looks haughty and rebellious. The in-game version looks is meek and submissive, almost entirely due to his lowered, averted gaze. The soft face and narrow jaw don’t exactly add to his macho quotient either, especially compared to the broad, strong jaw in the concept art. That, taken with the downcast eyes, gives the male wizard a tame, emo sort of vibe, which seems at odds with the game fiction, even aside from the latent homophobia, or at least effeminate-ophobia, it’s triggering in so many (younger male?) fans.
With that in mind, it’s interesting to note that most of the in-game animation models are fairly similar to the male Wizard, in their pose and eye-line. Click the linked names to see screenshots of them, or head to Blizzard’s site to see them in full animated form.
- Male wizard: Looking down and off to one side.
- Female Wizard: Looking down, but has a smirk that gives her a sly, self-confident vibe.
- Male Barbarian: His head is down, but he appears to be peering up from beneath his heavy brow. Plus he’s so buff and armored that he’d look powerful in any pose.
- Female Barbarian: Head lowered, but glaring from beneath her helm. Seems sullen and fierce.
- Male Monk: Avidly studying your kneecaps. Probably to decide which one to shatter first.
- Female Monk: Looking at the floor to the side. She probably hasn’t made eye contact with a man since puberty anyway, given her pronounced female characteristics.
- Male Witch Doctor: The only character making clear, definite eye contact.Which is ironic, given that he’s got the worst, hunched posture of any character in the game.
- Female Witch Doctor: No in-game animated model yet displayed. There’s plenty of concept art, though.
That’s a total of 7 character versions, and both Wizards and Monks are looking for a dropped contact, while the Barbs and the male WD have their heads lowered, but appear to be looking up from under their eyebrows. So… why do all of the characters have their heads lowered? None of them are in this sort of pose in their numerous pieces of concept art, which probably means there’s some technical reason for it. Perhaps raised faces look weird from the isometric PoV?
That raises another useful point: we’re never going to see our characters from these head on angles in the game, barring some sort of “zoom in to view your gear” option. We’ll be viewing them from the overhead, isometric PoV.99% of the time, and the angle of their heads, much less their eyes, will never be visible from that angle. The male wizard was playable in the Blizzcon 2009 demo, and if anyone complained about him looking wimpy, I didn’t hear about it. This is a controversy entirely based on the new in-game view that no one objected to or even noticed when they were actually playing the game.
Finally, Bashiok replied to to some male Wizard hate today, and he doesn’t seem real amused by the criticism:
Is this a joke just like the Archivist? I hope so, this model should be redone by someone who worked on D1 or D2.
Guys, the female version looks tougher then this kiddo. He doesn’t even dare to look you in the eyes. Look, he’s practising his belly dancing act too >.<
Bashiok: I hate … so much about the things that you choose to be.
So how does someone learn the awesome arts of wizardry within 16 years? Cause apparently this kid did.
Bashiok: You could read the text on the site and find out.