"SHE IS ACTUALLY IN OUR GAME, MY LORD"
The practice of putting sexy women on the box art and in advertisements for video games without her actually appearing
in the game, or only appearing in a very minor, unmemorable role. Sex Sells
, logic be damned. It can be seen as odd if the game features several significant female characters who could have been used instead, but it doesn't really matter who the girl is. She is there only to attract the Male Gaze
, due to the assumption that most gamers are (heterosexual) men
. Once he sees what the game is about and decides whether or not to buy it, her job is done.
A rather blatant subtrope of Sexy Packaging
and Covers Always Lie
. The name is a reference to "Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Contrast Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer
, as movies tend to have the exact opposite problem. See also Wolverine Publicity
. Compare Contemptible Cover
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- Ironically, Bone Town, the game that revolves around having sex with every girl you can talk to, has a girl in the loading screens that is nowhere to be found.
Collectible Card Game
- U.S. Gold produced an infamous advertisement for Psycho Pigs UXB, with a nearly-nude model spread over a centerfold, holding up a very small box of the game. The box art, while misleadingly hardcore, depicted the only two kinds of things that actually appear in the game: a pig and a bomb.
- Arcade cabinets have been doing this since at least Pole Position.
- Rise of Mythos, another game advertised on this very Wiki, combines this trope with unintentional comedy by using images lifted from another game — namely, Kantai Collection. Even if you don't know that the young woman in the ad is the Moe Personification of a Japanese WWII battleship, you might find yourself asking why a teen girl in a Sailor Fuku is being used to advertise a medieval fantasy-based gamenote .
- Being a Descent clone, late '90s 3D game Forsaken was more or less nothing but spaceships flying around and shooting each other. Neither the box cover nor the ads, however, had spaceships of any sort. Instead, it was a shot of a gray desert with an expressionless redhead cut off at the right edge of the picture. If she was the pilot of any of these spaceships, she certainly didn't look it.
- Youtube video game reviewer Dark Lord Jadow 1 bought Forsaken specifically because he saw the cover art and thought that it was a horror game. He was not amused when he found out he was wrong.
- Blake Stone: Planet Strike was Apogee's first retail title, and their publisher, Formgen, wanted a girl on the cover to attract eyes. The actual game has no ladies to save. Read about it here.
- Subverted in both EverQuest and EverQuest II with Firiona Vie and Antonia Bayle respectively.
- Firiona Vie was featured on the front of the boxart for most of EQ's expansions until they switched over to download only expansions. Many players questioned who she and the other characters who always appeared on the boxes. Eventually they brought these characters in as part of a storyline in the game. They were almost always played by a Game Master, so you had to be at the event to see them, but they were eventually fleshed out as background characters who were important to the overall storylines that the game developed.
- Antonia Bayle is the reigning queen of Qeynos, whose backstory and involvement in the game was pretty prominent at the start of the game. Players who betrayed Qeynos in order to defect to Freeport were confronted by Antonia herself before they got kicked out of the city. Changes to the game would eventually remove this special one-time encounter. She would eventually return as part of various storylines and quests, giving orders for the player to investigate directly before sending them off on their mission.
- Firiona and this trope in general were parodied in The Noob. link
- The "recruitment posters" for Final Fantasy XIV's Grand Companies caused a small bit of confusion on some forums because that one poster (presumably a parody of Liberty Leading Her People) kept being mistaken for a depiction of the Company's commander, Kan-E-Senna, and people were upset that "wasn't showing up in the game." Kan-E-Senna actually resembles a young teenager, and is a different person from the woman in the poster. Fun fact: the woman on the poster is actually one of the twelve gods of Eorzea, Nophica.
- There is an action MMORPG game called Scarlet Blade that actually does have a cast made almost entirely of sexy girls, although the ads are reminiscent of this, with a slogan being "NSFW: Not Safe For Wimps".
- Parodied in an ad for AdventureQuest Worlds. The ad starts off showing the silhouette of a brave knight striking a heroic pose. The slogan "Slay free" then pops up. The knight is then shown in full, revealing that he is only wearing underwear. He drops to cover himself, and the words "Quest indiscreetly" appear, parodying Evony's tag. To drive the point home, a certainly-far-more-armored-than-normal-for-this-trope-but-still-rather-Chainmail Bikini'd woman pops out from the surrounding trees with the speech bubble, "Pants, my lord?"
- An ad has been seen on this wiki for a trading card game called Ancient Summoner, showing a scantily-clad anime girl with the slogan "Wanna get tough? Then let's play rough with her to fight against the evils!" Oddly reminiscent of Wartune's "Love can dispel darkness! Make love against the darkness with her now!" slogan...
- League of Angels zigzags this trope. On the one hand, it uses blatant Fanservice (Shower Scenes, Panty Shots, etc.) to advertise for a browser-based MMO. On the other hand, most of these ladies are actually in the game (aside from some gratuitous Gainaxing and Jiggle Physics added into the character portraits for the ads.) Old adverts, however, play the trope entirely straight by using pictures of girls from other games.
- League of Angels is more like a case of Never Trust a Trailer; the lovely girls are in the game, it just lacks the gratuitous Fanservice the ads would suggest.
- In some instances, they go further down the risqueness pit by using stolen porn as an advert.
- Some Star Trek Online promo art features a young female Vulcan◊ wearing a Starfleet-styled Custom Uniform of Sexy with plentiful cleavage. She's been dubbed T'Its and variations thereof by the fanbase. On the other hand, when the expansion pack "Legacy of Romulus" was dropped, another Romulan showed up: Commander Tiaru Jarok, dubbed "So'Hott" by the fanbase. She DOES appear in game.
- Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura
- The cover of is dominated by the tattooed head of a female elf. None of the player portraits for elves or half-elves look like that, nor does any prominent elven npcs. There are also a spellslinging mage and dwarf with a flamethrower included, neither notable characters but far more awesome.
- The game has an alternate brighter cover with Raven, whom you do meet, prominently displayed. The unidentified female elf in the commercial cover is by that logic most likely Min'Gorad, the leader of the Dark Elves, who does not have a character portrait in-game.
- Dragonfable has, or at least had, Fae, a cat girl who would appear in their ads. She had only appeared in the beta test of the game, and vanished until she finally showed up in one quest chain, years later.
- Ever heard of Knightshift? Known in the states as Once Upon A Knight? No? Well, two out of the six official wallpapers at http://www.knightshift.com/eng/index_eng.htm prominently feature a bikinified magic babe... who isn't in the game. Another features an alt design for the Amazon Sorceress, which is noticeably kinkier than the in-game counterpart.... maybe if they had better marketing than "Hot Babe Who's Not in the Game Wallpapers" there might have been a sequel?
- Male inversion in Arc Rise Fantasia - Niko, the comic relief character, is the only main playable character not mentioned in the manual or featured on the box art, yet he joins exceptionally early in the game and sticks around for a very long time (with continuing importance to the plot after that). Following the trope closer is Adele, who never joins you except as a Guest character, yet she rates a picture in the manual stating her weapon preference... though her in-game outfit changes after only a few hours.
- In Drakensang there are four characters pictured on the cover (not counting the dragon): three of them (the knight Traldar, Forgrimm the dwarf and Gwendala the Elf) are meet ingame as party members, but the scantly dressed buxom wizard on the right isn't. She may be the player character, though there aren't female mages with such a design.
- The front box art of Might and Magic 7: For Blood and Honor displays an adventuring party that includes a warrior woman in a miniskirt and plate mail halter top, a bare chested male barbarian type hero, and a female sorcerer in clingy robes. None of these outfits exist in the game - only leather, chain and plate armor exists, and all of it covers the entire chest. Even unarmored characters by default wear a cloth jerkin.
Wide Open Sandbox
- Just log into Facebook and look at the various advertisements for browser-based games along the right-hand side. The marketing departments for them definitely took the idea of Sex Sells to heart.
- The cover girls for the Grand Theft Auto games. There are some who do appear in their respective games, but their roles are so small that they effectively still count. They're always odd choices, since every GTA includes one or two significant female characters who could have been used instead.
- Red Dead Redemption, with a prostitute on the instruction manual. Fans attempted to avert this trope with the Epileptic Tree that she's the protagonist's wife during her prostitute days, but this was Jossed.
- This image of Saya Kho◊ appears on the back of the X3: Gold Edition box. This being a space simulator series with a major economics management component, she appears from the neck up over comms in X3: Reunion and not at all in X3: Terran Conflict. And she's in the opening cinematic of X3: Albion Prelude for all of ten seconds before dying in the massive explosion she set off.
Anime and Manga
- The chapter title pages for Gantz very often feature a hot girl in various states of undress. It's pretty common for her to be absent from the actual chapter, though.
- Seitokai Yakuindomo has a non-video game example: There's a pink-haired girl the entirety of end credits of the show's first season is devoted to, even though she plays no part in the series proper at all. She finally gets a cameo in the first OVA, getting a seconds-long, one-line appearance that title drops the ED song.
- The Steven Spielberg film A.I. features a live-action movie version of this trope. Much of the film's promotional material featured Ashley Scott's sexy robotic hooker, yet in the final film Scott appears for less than 3 seconds which is just enough time to spout her single line of dialogue.
- Subverted In-Universe in Piers Anthony's Xanth novel Demons Don't Dream - Dug's friend gives him a game, and Dug figures that the attractive lady on the front (Nada Naga) is just put on there to sell the game to poor sops who think she'll be in it. Turns out she is, in fact, actually in it, as the character who introduces the player to the game and as one of the possible companion characters.
- Lampshaded In-Universe in the fourth Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, where Greg says there aren't even any women in the book he's reading despite the cover begging to differ.
- There must be any number of album covers featuring quite often attractive females on the front... but the artists are very much male. (Much of Roxy Music's output and any number of coming-to-a-charity-shop-near-you stuff fron The Sixties comes to mind, though it's certain readers can think of many more.) Lady Not-Appearing-On-This-Record, anyone?
- Technotronic's Pump Up the Jam was credited to "Technotronic featuring Felly"- Felly was actually the model on the front of the record and fake frontwoman for the act, whilst the actual vocals were done by the (also female) rapper Ya Kid K.
- This happens in the staid world of classical music too: one edition of the Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz has a cover depicting a strikingly attractive naked woman who occupies centre-stage in the 12" sleeve. This despite the fact that the five movements of SF depict the protaganist's descent into depression, despair and mental illness: while the piece was inspired by unrequited love on the part of the composer, nothing in it is to do with sex and nudity. It is the absence of the object of love that drives the music. She's here.
- Wreck-It Ralph provides an interesting in-universe example. Vanellope Von Schweetz appears on the side of the Sugar Rush console, but (at least before the events of the movie) she doesn't appear in the game at all because her code was removed from the game's core by a rogue Attention Whore from a completely different game, when in actuality Vanellope was the intended ruler of the in-game world.
- The Season 1 DVD of Archer features a nameless scantily clad blonde woman in the center.