So we all saw it coming, right from the get-go to the moment that we saw her. We all knew that Cindy would cause some controversy among “some” people (I find that to be rather saddening, because it shouldn´t have to be like that). Well, Final Fantasy XV has been released (I’m a little late on my review, stuck in the ocean without my trusty PS4 for a week, but it’s up next), and like a clockwork, we have ourselves a ton of articles from people like Vice upset about the look of Cindy in the game’s final release. Why these media outlets are so sex negative, I’ll never know, but today, I’ll be covering an article by Vice called “’Final Fantasy XV’ Has Some Big Problems” and why their position on Cindy is completely wrong.
The article appears to be a series of letters between three people: Mike Diver, Patrick Klepek, and Austin Walker. In this article, Mike gives his problem with FFXV, the attractive mechanic that took the world by storm. Then it refers to Hajime Tabata, the game’s director, who made the statement that Cindy was not supposed to be sexual, but rather energetic and outgoing, which I personally understand. However, the writer clearly isn’t buying it…As he says that given the motions she makes in servicing the vehicle, such as wiping the windshield of the car, it makes it hard to believe that the intention is for energetic.
He ends his point by saying that so far, the trinity of women in FFXV, Cindy, Lunafreya, and Iris, seem to be so two-dimensional, offering very little to the story. At this point, I’d like to say a few words, particularly about Lunafreya. It’s clear that Mike has seen Kingsglaive and the Brotherhood series, as he says, “The events-of-FFXV-preceding Kingsglaive movie was awful in terms of representation”, and I’d respectfully disagree. In Kingsglaive, Lunafreya was brave. She was dedicated. She was willing to risk her life for the future of the kingdom. Heck, avoiding as many spoilers as possible, she jumped out of an airship to ensure that the future of the Kingdom happens as what is necessary to the benefit of her people. Calling her a two-dimensional character while not mentioning all that she’s done for the story before the true story even begins is hilariously wrong. I won’t point out Lunafreya’s deeds in the main game because, first and foremost, spoilers, and second he says he didn’t get very far thus far.
Patrick Klepek is next. He says he had the same concerns, saying he didn’t feel safe filling up his car at Hammerhead because his mother was in town and he didn’t want her to see it. He wishes that there was DLC to give her a different set of clothes, which is ironic, because in this left-leaning culture, we are taught that women should be able to wear whatever they want, but when a fictional character wears something sexy, we have to control what she wears. He gives the point that she seems out-of-place, given how she’s the only character that takes fan service to this extreme.
I’ll end the summary part right there, as Austin doesn’t give much to refer to in this conversation. So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
So yes, I find that there is no problem with Cindy for being too attractive. Surprise, surprise, am I right? However, it isn’t because I’m some straight white male who needs to check his privilege, but because there’s nothing wrong with her dress. Sure, in the west, it can definitely be taken as fan-service, and in a sense, it kind of is. However, the idea that she needs to be wearing overalls because she works in a garage, as stated by Mike, is wrong. On top of it being more common to wear a jumpsuit at garages, at least here in the US, there is a reason she wears what she does.
As Tabata has stated, she is energetic and outgoing, and while this can be conveyed over the course of the game through words, and actions, it’s made quicker based on the first impression. While Cindy is a character that you can interact with over the course of the game, it isn’t enough so that her personality would leave a lasting impression, and given her introduction in Episode: Duscae. In Duscae, you interact with her twice. Once in the beginning, when you bring the car to Hammerhead, and once in the end, when you bring back the Bounty money to fix your car. Since we have the smallest of time to develop her, we can increase how we feel about her and how her personality is reflected by signaling with her look.
Since that is a very complicated psychological phenomenon, I’ll summarize it with this:
You have to hire someone for a job as a business consultant. You have two individuals with the same résumé. They have the same level of experience, and there is no real difference from what you can tell based solely on their credentials in total. However, Person A comes to the interview wearing a nice suit, as one would normally expect to wear to an interview of this caliber. Person B comes to the interview wearing a tank top, shorts, flip-flops, and a backwards cap. So, who do you hire?
Now, you don’t know anything about their personalities, but even if they say the exact same words and acted in the same professional way, the person in the suit is more likely to appear more professional, given his dress, his first impression, even if Person B uses the same words.
In other words, the personality the two people are trying to convey is stronger given the proper dress, and let’s be honest. It’s hard to look energetic and outgoing in your typical garage dress. On top of all of this, the game clearly takes place in the summer, given the constant times Noctis complains about the heat and is told to take off his coat. While, no, Cindy is not dressed for typical garage work. You see, over the course of the story. She appears to do most of her work outside of the garage in the sun. I’m a bit kooky as I wear jeans and a zip-up hoodie in the summer, but I couldn’t do that and work where she does.
The one thing I don’t get is that they are making such a big deal about a character that, spoiler alert, isn’t even important to the story after Chapter 1. Yeah, you can do a few side quests for her that help pimp out your ride, but other than that, she doesn’t really contribute. Heck, Cid does more to contribute to the story since he actually gets you to another continent, and he was a part of the King’s guard, as Ignis, Gladio and Prompto are for Noctis.
As for Iris, I personally wish she played more of a role, but I see her existence in this game as a continuation of a “where-are-they-now” following the Brotherhood series. Nevertheless, maybe they’ll have fewer problems with her when they reach the endgame. No spoilers, but she does pretty well for herself.
Lunafreya is the part that gets me though. It hurts going through this article and not gushing about how important and how awesome she was in-game, as it gives away so much of the game. Maybe I’ll write about her in a Spoiler-full article and refer to her relevance, but their idea that Lunafreya is nothing more than a victim and a refugee is completely incorrect.
In short, the idea that FFXV has a problem with how they depict women is incorrect, and the idea which Patrick has that Cindy Aurum much express why she dresses the way she does is silly. You wouldn’t expect anyone else in the game to express why they dress the way they do. However, If that were to be the case, then I would like an explanation to why the four main characters dress like a boy band?
And with that said, what´s your take on this matter? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section down below!
Robin Ek – Editor
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers’ (nor The Gaming Ground’s) opinions.
I am a huge fan of Final Fantasy XV and love every one of their characters. I am not a fan of these authors or any of their work and feel like their opinion is ungrounded given what we are given in the game.
The Gaming Ground
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