Stefanie Joosten, the actress who played Quiet in Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, has said she understands both sides of the controversy surrounding the sexualisation of her character.
Quiet became the centre of debate surrounding the over-sexualisation of women in video games and the media in general due to the character wearing little more than a bikini despite being a military assassin.
“It’s been interesting to see the discussions about the character,” Joosten said in a new interview with IGN. “Of course, I’ve seen them, and read a lot of different perspectives on the character at the time. And still, I respect the choices Kojima made and his team in designing the character.
“And also, of course, there’s also just a choice of creating a character that’s visually appealing. I think video games are, in a way, still a sort of fantasy world you enter, so I definitely respect the choices regarding the Quiet appearance, for instance, being quite revealing.”
Joosten said she understands why people aren’t happy with how Quiet was portrayed too, however, and suggested the character is a product of the time.
“I also understand the perspective of the people that are not as happy with how she was portrayed,” she said. “This game came out in 2015, and I think the video game landscape has changed quite a lot since then. People are looking for more representation, and I really get it.”
PlayArtsKAI’s Quiet is coming soon. Yoji, a supervisor says some soft materials enables to be pushed & lifted. lolpic.twitter.com/LtvO0g8PpL”
— HIDEO_KOJIMA (@HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN) May 11, 2015
Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima implied he thought the character was quite forward facing at the time though, saying ahead of launch he created her “as an antithesis” to women characters featured in video games of the past. Once critics found out the story reasons for Quiet’s scantily clad outfit, they would “feel ashamed of [their] words and deeds”, he said.
As explained in Metal Gear Solid 5, Quiet wears so little because she sustained serious injuries while trying to kill protagonist Big Boss at the beginning of the game. These injuries can’t be seen, but mean she can only breathe or drink through her skin, so wearing too much clothing would lead to suffocation.
Critics didn’t believe this was enough to justify Quiet wearing so little, with the Metal Gear Solid 5 writers able to create any backstory they wanted for the character. They said instead the character was objectified and used as a selling point, pointing to the likes of a Quiet figurine that featured soft plastic breasts that Kojima himself advertised.
Joosten also doesn’t believe the story reasons were strong enough to justify Quiet’s lack of clothing. “Quiet’s outfit is not practical at all,” she said. “Even with the explanation that was given of her breathing through her skin, of course there were so many other options you could have gone with. I do agree on that.
“I got to see the character artwork when we were starting motion capture, and of course my first reaction was, ‘that’s a very revealing costume’, but I respected it and accepted it. So that’s basically my stance. It’s fantasy, and I find that acceptable as well. But I do understand, having more of a diverse representation in video games for woman and all minorities is something I would encourage as well.”
Joosten discussed several other issues with IGN, including the threat of AI, working with Kojima, and if she’d be up for taking up the character again. You can read about all of that and more in our full interview.
Metal Gear Solid 5, despite being the last mainline Metal Gear to release, has gone down as one of the best modern video games. In our 10/10 review, IGN said: “Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is a gameplay marvel, rewarding intelligence and creativity in a way few games do.”
Konami didn’t do much with the franchise until recently (besides a poorly received zombie spin-off) but has just released the Master Collection Vol. 1 on consoles and PC and is also remaking the third game.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelance reporter. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.
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Author: Ryan Dinsdale