Fighting games originally used hand-drawn sprites to represent their combatants. Mortal Kombat, released in 1992, gained massive popularity for using photographs of costumed actors to portray the fighters, instead of pixelated sprite art. This trend continued until 1995; the third game in the Mortal Kombat series was the last one to use digitized photographs as sprites. By this time, 3D graphics had developed enough to provide as much detail as 2D photographs, and from 1997 onward, Mortal Kombat games adopted 3D graphics. While there are still some fighting games that use 2D sprites, polygons have become the industry standard for modern fighting games.
Creative Edge Games is not convinced that digitized photographs have outlived their usefulness. In 2002, they released Bikini Karate Babes, a game about buxom women fighting one another while wearing highly revealing swimsuits. The game used digitized photographs in place of sprite art or 3D polygons, meaning that all of the sexy women featured within the game were real people; many men can find beauty in the female form no matter how it is portrayed, but some men can only be impressed by the body of a woman who truly exists in the real world. For these men, surely the women Bikini Karate Babes were more attractive than the babes of Soul Calibur.
It is not certain whether Bikini Karate Babes is a satirical parody of the sexist, objectifying nature of many fighting games...or if the game was intentionally designed to appeal to a target audience of horny young men.
Bikini Karate Babes will not be the last of its kind; although digitized photography is now considered a long-dead gimmick, Creative Edge Games is hard at work developing a sequel for their 2002 title. Warriors of Elysia once again returns real costumed actors to the ring, for all those men who just can't find Chun-Li attractive because she's made of pixels or polygons.
The production values of Warriors of Elysia are far greater than those of Bikini Karate Babes, but some graphical elements still leave much to be desired. The stages look like ancient relics from the PS2 era. Many of the live-action sequences seem a bit too corny to take seriously, but perhaps the campy B-movie feel will add some degree of comical relief to the title.
Very few details have been revealed about the narrative of Warriors of Elysia, but the below comic may provide some insight into what the story will be like:
This promotional poster for Warriors of Elysia boasts a variety of different women:
Warriors of Elysia is not the first fighting game with an all-female cast, nor is it the first game to feature an all-female cast gallivanting in swimsuits. There have been a copious amount of fighting games that feature busty, barely-dressed women, but very few of them have used photographs or videos of real models.
While it may be difficult to take Warriors of Elysia seriously as a contender in today's game market, it is possible that the return of live-action video and digitized photographs may make the game just novel enough to try out. Whether the game bombs or succeeds, a good number of gamers will play it just to see busty babes jumping around in bikinis.