The existence of "boob armor," in which armor for women conforms to the shape of their chest, is common enough in fantasy games that you might be convinced it's historically accurate. It's not, actually! It might get you killed. But that hasn't stopped games from erring on the side of form, instead of function. When modder BlackBaron2 loaded up The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and found the same thing, it was finally too much, leading them to create the "unsexy" mod for Oblivion.
"This mod is not for you if you were looking for skimpy stuff, since it does the exact opposite," reads the description for the mod, uploaded back in 2013.
If you're not familiar with what we're talking about, let's take a look at an example:
Given how often modders are tearing the clothes off of video game characters—the amount of horniness hiding in the mods for Stardew Valley left me shaken and almost permanently scarred me—it's struck me to find one going in the opposite direction. Folks who downloaded the mod were deeply appreciative of it, too.
"As a woman myself, I tend to find most of the skimpy fetish clothing and armor rather silly in that it completely breaks immersion," said one player.
"This mod is great, though this is more like 'realistic' than 'unsexy,'" said another.
(The one comment that really stuck out to me was a player saying they couldn't figure out why they didn't like it, except that they're "probably too used to the regular boob armor by now," so it's probably "ingrained in my brain." Hm.)
As part of my ongoing series of interviews with mod creators—I recently talked with the creator of Doom 3's duct tape mod and the person behind Fallout 4's toilet paper flipping mod—I got in touch with Unsexy creator BlackBaron2, who was still making clothing-related mods for Oblivion, as recently as mid-2015.
Waypoint: What prompted you to make this mod in the first place? Was there some kind of breaking point with a piece of armor in the game that made you throw up your hands? I was inspired by Calyps and Nuska's Heroic Form and the associated armor conversions for Skyrim. But I'd always hated the weird "huntsman outfit," which turns into a bikini and chaps with a loincloth when you put it on a woman, and the shoes look like ballet flats, too. Well, that and the iron set that turns into boobplate with a miniskirt for who knows why. I really, really got irritated with those things. Has this kind of thing—making armor for women sexualized for no particularly good reason—bothered you for a while now? It's not unique to Oblivion, that's for sure. Yes. If you play as a guy, you get full coverage mostly, or something that at least kind of makes sense for the setting, but if your character's a woman, you get stuff like metal lingerie and bikinis and bare minimum coverage. It doesn't make any sense, and if the excuse that "sex sells" held up, you'd see guys running around in undergarments with decorations, too.
What was your experience with mod making, prior to working on this? I've done plenty of house mods and some clothing mods, most of which are equal-opportunity silly barely-there clothing mods. I'd have to say the hardest part of this mod was refitting the Arena sets, they're kind of silly regardless of who you play as, but at least without cleavage they make a little bit more sense in my mind.
You decided to call the mod "unsexy." How come? Why use that particular language? It's kind of a response to basically every other female armor replacer being called "sexy" or "skimpy" something or another. I wanted it to be clear that it's not about boobs and butts, it's for people who want the armor to at least make some sense. Talk to me about the response to the mod. From what you mentioned, it was voted file of the month at one point, so I imagine you were hearing from folks, good and bad. Oh, I got a few silly comments from people calling it "unfeminine" and being a bit funny because they can't see boobs. I just laughed it off. I mean, one guy asked if it meant I was gay. Well, I am, but that's nothing to do with the mod. If my work doesn't appeal, ignore it.
[…] A lot of people liked my mod and thought it was great to have something other than boobs and butt mods for a change.
Did you ever hear from the developers, or get a sense of what they might have thought about it? If not, feel free to speculate. Honestly, I'm not sure what they'd make of it, but since they encourage individual expression, they'd probably see it as a perfectly normal alternative to the original armor sets. Any regrets?
It took a long time to get done and I wish I'd thought of it sooner. During the time, modding for Oblivion was at its peak and it would've been a good alternative to all the hentai-based sets.