Quoting this because it pretty much sums it up:
As for 'seedy locations', whatever happened to 'the docks', 'the warehouse district', 'the bookie joint', 'the back alleys'... I could go on for a while and not require prostitutes or strippers.
Okay, first of all, that quote is very nice and all, but I really don't see the relevance. I'm sorry. Are you implying that I
was implying women ought to be ashamed for their sexuality? Because I'm sorry if I came across that way at all.
Anyway, I realise it's slightly off topic but I feel a need to defend a game and a series which I have a reasonable amount of fondness towards. The majority of the locations suggested by Oniya all focus around a bunch of hard men sitting around in (I suspect) dimly lit places. Warehouses, bookies, drug houses, all conjure images of dimly lit corridors, dusty floors and dirty patrons and you know what, that's fine. But you put that into every single level and it's going to get extremely boring (especially in a game like Hitman where the variety of the levels is the spice which keeps it going). Similarly some of the suggestions made my Caehlim seem to fall into the same category of appropriate, but if you put only that sort of thing into a game it would be super boring. I'll admit that some of the places suggested by Shjade don't conjure this image at all, the Villa, the butchers, the yacht, they all could indeed provide some of this much needed spice I'm speaking of. But you seem to be dismissing the fact that there was indeed levels set in a villa, the archaeology dig at some ruins, and a Hawaiian themed motel. Plus you have to remember that this is not the first game of the series. I haven't played all the Hitmen but I suspect that by this stage they are going through some pains to not re-use settings and locations and to keep things interesting. So the fact that they throw in a strip-club frankly seems almost logical. In the end as well, I couldn't care less about NPCs within the level but about whether it's a well designed level (based on the options of assassinating available to you). And frankly it was quite a good level... I actually remember waiting until the mob boss was having a lap dance before I shot him through a one-way mirror. It was fucking excellent. Shot the stripper too... But that was because I didn't want any witnesses, not because I have some deep-seated hatred of women.
I assume it will come up in the videos eventually because it's too obvious to miss, but if one wanted to pick out an issue of objectification, titillation, exploitation and blatant fan service from Hitman: Absolution, surely The Saints are the perfect example.
In short it's a group of highly trained assassins who all happen to be female and all happen to wear a bdsm/fetish take on a nun's outfit.
Why nuns? Well, the fluff within the game indicates it was so they could use it as a cover for missions, going in as a "spiritual group". But the issue there is that when we see them in disguise they wear a full habit over the rest of their costume; so why the need for the fetish clothing underneath? The game attempts to lampshade it by having a character point out that the outfit is ridiculous and makes no sense... but they still wear it for the game don't they?
There's literally nothing about their role in the game that requires them to be 1) female 2) sexy 3) dressed as nuns 4) dressed as sexy nuns. A group of generic male "grizzled mercenaries" doing the role basically requires nothing but a model change.
I have absolutely no argument against this. That shit was fucking stupid and pandering and entirely about the fan-service. Even the levels involving the BDSM nuns were not particularly entertaining because they each could only be killed in like one way...
That sort of illustrates the entire point of this series. A lack of creativity in video games. Instead of using tone, mood, setting or story to set that "seedy" stage the writers just say.."let's put a strip club and populate it with a bunch of big boob women that stand around for our character to smack and kill."
As an avid gamer I couldn't disagree more with your initial statement. Games have only become more and more imaginative in recent years. They are getting frankly ludicrous in the sheer variety available now and I feel that it's this sort of generalisation which is far too rife in the current gaming media. But once again this is me going off topic because of personal investment.
Returning to the point of Anita Sarkeesian. I may not agree that Hitman: Absolution provides a good example of sexism (for the reasons I've just provided), but I can definitely see the arguments of the other side when they bring it up (especially those stupid nuns). However, if I were to accept her/your arguments that Hitman was sexist I would then argue that this is still quite simply cherry-picking. She somehow takes a couple of levels of one game and blows it entirely out of proportion to include the entire video gaming industry. I understand that alongside the "exploitation of women" in games she also talks about how there are no strong female characters. Which is genuinely completely factually incorrect. And this isn't just an opinion. If anyone thinks there are no strong female characters in video games, they are simply wrong. Two of the best games of last year (one of which is widely considered the game of the year for 2013); The Last of Us and Bioshock Infinite both featured incredibly strong female characters who were far more real, better written, better voice acted, than a vast majority of male characters in other games. Even out-shining the lead character in both cases. Also, just on record, I think neither of them are the Game of the Year for 2013, but that's neither here nor there. My point is, that I feel very much that Anita takes a very small number of examples to use to illustrate her arguments even if there is evidence to the contrary, which she will ignore.
Plus, I do feel in this current age of Tumblr SJWs she really does pull off the "professional" victim. Taking the smallest of things and blowing them so vastly out of proportion it's just ridiculous.