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The Changing Face of Video Games

When Lara Croft first bounced onto computer screens back in 1996, she was the embodiment of the perfect woman.

As 2011 approached, the developers at Crystal Dynamics decided to give Lara a look overhaul. It might have been a stupid decision or a brilliant one as the new sex symbol is unveiled to a new world of possible judgment and stubborn fans when the game Lara Croft and the guardian of Light is released in 2011.

With softer features, blond ash hair and almost tomboyish figure, Miss Craft has a lot of explaining to do.

But Lara isn’t the first character to be given a makeover. Cole MacGrath from the Infamous series had multiple changes made for the sequel, hoping to give new life to the protagonist. As fan’s negative reactions to the new look shadowed the release, the developers at Sucker Punch had no choice but to change Cole to a look more similar to the original design.

Dante from the Devil May Cry series had always maintained his look of snow white hair and bad ass attitude since his conception in 2001 but the developers at Ninja Theory took a huge risk in giving him a new look for a series that was failing. The fifth game, DMC Devil May Cry, which is to hit the market later this year, will involve a more modernized, westernized version of the favourite hero.

Images have been released of a younger, almost ‘emo’ inspired Dante, looking worse for wear. Already, Ninja Theory has been branded with a scarlet letter as devoted fans shunned the new Dante but the developers and publisher Capcom hope to attract new fans of the game.

Even though his face wasn’t unveiled until the very end of the game, Isaac Clarke from Dead Space was an unsung hero and an unlikely candidate for sex symbol status. Aged in his early 40s, fans loved Isaac’s slow, inhibited movements and devoted love for his doomed girlfriend Nicole.

At the end of the game, Isaac removes his helmet to reveal a tired, battered, heartbroken man. He wasn’t good looking or was never going to be a heartthrob but it was his devotion and loyalty to Nicole which won hearts.

Dead Space 2 is soon to be released on January 27th in Australia (25th January for USA) and with images and trailers disclosed to blood thirsty fans; Isaac’s look appears to be altered.  His greying hair has been replaced and his etched face has reversed in time to reveal a younger, attractive man.

How wise is it when developers chose to change the look of a beloved video game character?  As a new look may freshen and breathe new life into a character, sometimes it is best to leave it alone as less is always more. As competition grows, we as players are more likely to see our favourite men and women change to keep up with the times. It is our job to remain loyal and keep their legacies alive.