Why Video Game Breasts Physics Can Go Wrong
Still, it’d be a stretch to suggest that unrealistic breast physics are purely the result of technological shortcomings. Breast physics are a choice, after all, and not every game implements them.
One developer who I’ll call “Alex,” because they didn’t want to be identified by their own name, told me about a situation where breasts had gone wrong—and it wasn’t the result of tech limitations. Alex told me that their studio was very concerned with its depiction of breasts. Even so, there were stumbles along the way.
“The very first thing I noticed when [the studio was] animating breasts is, I would look at them, and they were just not moving in a way that was even remotely natural,” Alex said.
“I remember saying to the artist, ‘the breasts are moving wrong.’ And I remember directly asking him, ‘Have you watched breasts move? Have you actually watched breasts move?”
Metal Gear Solid
Chances are good that the animator in question had in fact seen breasts before. The thing to remember is, it’s actually damned hard to remember how breasts actually move. As a card-carrying Breast Haver™, even I’d have to check how my breasts act before being able to properly gauge them in a game. Of course, it’s an animator’s job to figure this stuff out.
“I think [people] remember the fantasy of breasts, like how we remember lips being redder, how we see waists as [smaller than they actually are,]” Alex explained.
“If you’re around animators working, you often will see them stand up, or they’ll ask someone they’re working with—they’re trying to watch the motion, they will film themselves doing that motion. Interestingly enough, I’ve never worked with any female animators.
“Anyway, while doing these things, [animators would] swing their arms, and try to get an idea, they’re looking at what the animation is like, and I think…breast physics are often accentuated in a game, without the movement that would create that accentuation.”
“People remember the fantasy of breasts.”
Absurd breast physics aren’t always unintentional, though. A couple of developers described situations to me where people took breast physics too far on purpose, because if they put the work into making sure breasts can move, they’re probably going to want people to actually notice it. This phenomenon is not exclusive to breasts. If a developer puts time into any detail in a game, they probably want players to notice it. That’s why we get development videos about how a game handles things like wind, or how a character’s cape sways: these aren’t the sort of things that truly determine the quality of the game, but they are things actual humans likely spent a lot of time implementing.
“When a developer goes to the trouble of setting up the breasts to move, there’s probably someone keen to see it working,”Dawson told me. “So, if you’re not careful, that translates into breasts that swing and bounce at the smallest hint of motion. Picture the boss of the studio coming in and wanting to know why he can’t see any breast-bounce when the character is talking. The effect is increased until her breasts are reacting to the chest movement of her dialogue animation, but now it’s going to look ludicrous when the character runs around performing actions. But the person implementing it is told to leave it like that because somebody thinks it’s cool that way.
“Ultimately though, I sort of suspect that when a developer doesn’t get breast physics looking right, it’s because, for whatever reason, somebody wanted them to look that way,” Dawson said.
Obviously, Dawson can’t speak for the decisions made at studios he doesn’t work for, but what he’s saying makes sense. Soul Calibur developers, for example, have been pretty open about the fact they have an entire system revolving around the depiction of breasts in their games.