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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- 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.
- Arcade flyers have been doing this since Computer Space, the first video arcade game to have a commercial release.
- 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.
- Star Trek Online:
- Some of the 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 fanbasenote . On the other hand, when the Expansion Pack Legacy of Romulus was dropped, another Romulan showed up in the promo wallpapers, dubbed "So'Hott" by the players. According to Word of God this is meant to be Commander Tiaru Jarok, the captain of the Romulan Republic flagship RRW Lleiset (the Romulan counterpart to the Enterprise). She becomes a Recurrer starting with the mission "Sphere of Influence" but wasn't in the game originally.
- Promo art for the second expansion Delta Rising played this straight again. This wallpaper features a hot female Romulan in a Spy Catsuit, a hot blonde Liberated Borg Starfleet officer in tactical greys, and a big, burly Klingon with a bat'leth. Though the Romulan at least bears some resemblance to Commander Mena, the Romulan mission giver for much of DR's storyline.
- As illustrated above, the online ads for Evony featured women ranging from innocent-looking girls to porn stars, beckoning "my Lord" to play the game. It's worth noting that Evony is not an RPG but a strategy game, meaning you don't see anyone up close, let alone some bimbo in anachronistic lingerie. Evony's ad campaign's slow degeneration from actual relevant ads to "Boobies! (oh, and play our game)" has become a running joke on game-related sites. It didn't just stop there. Eventually they started stealing licensed characters from other games. Wait, what is Queen Antonia, featured mascot of EverQuest II, doing in that adver- OH GOD DAMMIT, EVONY! The trend has spread to other, similar Allegedly Free Games as well - just keep an eye out, and you'll be able to spot them easily due to this trope.
- SF strategy MMO Lacuna Expanse used a similar advert◊, allegedly as a tribute to Evony. More recently we also got this one this one, and this one, which are at least vaguely relevant to the game and considerably more tasteful.
- Naava Daishan was one of the most prominent characters in the promotional materials for the first Kohan game, appearing in the order info in the demo, and all over the website. While she's available in the game, her role in the story before the second game (where she's the main character) is zero.
- A particularly egregious case with the Spellforce series. Even with the female characters who do appear in the game, their choice of clothing doesn't reflect the mostly modest clothing and armour choices worn by the character, their party and NPC's.
- An ad featured on this very wiki for a game called Call of Roma goes even further than Evony by featuring a scantily clad woman and advertising that you are "one click away from a Roman orgy." It's a turn based strategy game. Later, they replaced "orgy" with "empire"... briefly. Apparently it's a tradition they established when they called their game Caesary.
- Wartune takes this even further by outright claiming to be a pornographic game. It has scantily clad ladies in every single one of its ads (including many that appear on this wiki), uses slogans like "Your body is my party... Let's get it started!", and later added that they've apparently been rated "Adults Only" by the ESRB, and is for "Male Gamers Only". A brief search of the ESRB website shows that no such rating has been issued. (This actually got the company in legal trouble, since the ESRB holds a trademark on their ratings icons so companies can't use them to lie about the contents of their games - exactly what Wartune was using them for.)
Warning: Once you're inside, your friends won't be seeing much of you!
- Another one has "Big boobs? You can ask for more!"
- And all this is made even worse by the fact that at the the time of writing, Wartune is the featured game on Miniclip.com, a decidedly kid-friendly game site. It's a wonder it managed to get there with its ads all over.
- Incidentally, this game is published by Aeria Games (among others), which also published the aforementioned Scarlet Blade. After Aeria acquired Scarlet Blade, the number of these types of ads started skyrocketing. Coincidence? It should also be noted that some of the females appearing in Wartune's ads do actually appear in the game.
- However, one ad for Wartune features what is quite obviously a Blood Elf, with red hair, extended eyebrows and glowing green eyes. Seems they've taken a page from Evony above.
- They don't stop with just scantily clad women either. On some NSFW sites, the girls in their ads are fully naked, not hiding anything from view. There still isn't any nudity in the game, so that's pretty much Very False Advertising right there.
- One of their ads promoting the "adult game" angle actually links to a cartoon image of a scantily clad woman with her face framed by the two large penises she is groping, with everything covered in semen, and the slogan, "Fuck your way to victory in the most addictive adult game ever!" And this ad appears on a domain called "3Dpornvideos." And if you click through, you get to a Wartune signup page. (Or sometimes League of Angels, even though the porn ad had "Wartune" in the page title.)
- And now another one, called Tynon, is at it and reusing the old "Play now, my lord! Free forever!" slogan from Evony. If you thought the two titles looked similar, you'd be right, since the game is in fact made by Evony's developers.
- Like League of Angels above, browser-based games such as Blood and Jade blatantly use video footage from Dead or Alive: Xtreme 2. No attempts to hide or alter Kasumi, Hitomi, or Tina in the advertisements. Their regular adds, however, do feature scanty clad women who exist in the game and act as party members.
- Game of War: Fire Age seems to have taken this to the next level, by buying television ad space (In at least 3 countries, one even a different language.) to spam a commercial filled with troops led by model and actress Kate Upton, baring a lot of cleavage. She does at least appear in-game, in the form of the tutorial goddess.
- 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.
- 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.
- Many free-to-play mobile games, particularly strategy-type games like Evony on the App Store and Android market feature this type of advertising, usually featuring art of scantily-clad female characters for their icons and screenshots and not actually showing what the game looks like. Some role-playing and card-collecting games do the same, but at least have the benefit of actually featuring said female characters in the gameplay.
- The cover girls for the Grand Theft Auto games. There are some who do appear in their respective games (Misty in Grand Theft Auto III, Joni in The Ballad of Gay Tony and Ling Shan in Chinatown Wars), 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.
- Averted with Grand Theft Auto III, however, which features Catalina on the cover, on account of her being the Big Bad.
- In Grand Theft Auto V people are divided on whether the blonde bikini girl featured in much of the advertising is supposed to be the minor character of Tracey De Santa or whether she is this trope.
- 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. Strangely, X Rebirth's cover art doesn't feature Yisha, the ship's copilot, despite being with you for the entire game in a Latex Space Suit.
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.
- Bleach has its fair share of sexy women, though the manga compilations that have the most provocative covers usually contain the least amount of fanservice. Volume 17◊ is the biggest offender, featuring Yoruichi Shihoin wearing spray-on pants, even though she's nowhere to be found in this volume.
- Marville, for all of them except for the first, they have an almost nude woman on the cover. Despite this woman was never an actual character.
- The Steven Spielberg film A.I.: Artificial Intelligence 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.
- The second trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron featured a mysterious dark-skinned woman disrobing in a cave. Fan theories abounded as to who she might be (with popular theories being Princess Shuri, Hela and even Death), but the character ended up getting cut from the actual movie.
- 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 records from The Sixties come to mind, though it's certain readers can think of many more.) Lady Not-Appearing-On-This-Record, anyone?
- Unusually, Celtic Woman features an unknown red-haired model on their album covers. The unusual part of this is that all the group's members are very attractive but none of them are featured on the cover. Pictures of the group have since been added to their concert DV Ds and the back cover of the albums.
- 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.
- The Season 1 DVD of Archer features a nameless scantily clad blonde woman in the center. Subverted as season 2 introduces Katya Kazanova, who bears a striking resemblance to her.