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|BloodRayne series character|
Promotional artwork by EA Japan, also used in the anime BloodRayne: Armageddon
|Created by||Majesco Entertainment|
|Voiced by (English)||Laura Bailey (BloodRayne, BloodRayne 2)
Jessie Seely (BloodRayne: Betrayal)
|Voiced by (Japanese)||Romi Park|
|Portrayed by||Kristanna Loken (first film)
Natassia Malthe (second and third films)
Rayne, sometimes called Agent BloodRayne, is a fictional character in the BloodRayne series of video games. Created by Majesco Entertainment, she is the series' titular protagonist, appearing in both games and later extended media, such as comic books and films related to the series. She has also appeared in other formats, such as an MTV music video and the first entry in Playboy's "Gaming Grows Up" series of articles. In video games she is voiced by Laura Bailey in English, Jessie Seely in BloodRayne: Betrayal, and Romi Park in Japanese. She was portrayed by Kristanna Loken in the first live action film, and by Natassia Malthe for its sequels.
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Rayne is a American Dhampir, born 1915. Her mother was raped by her vampire father, Kagan. Kagan later murdered her mother's entire family so that the only family member Rayne could turn to was him. This was a policy for all of the dhampir he "created", possibly so that humans wouldn't revolt and use the vampire/dhampir weakness of the sun, holy items and water against them.
Circa 1933[clarification needed], she spent her teenage years trying to hunt down and kill her father, to avenge her family. Her search led her to Europe, where she murdered vampires before being apprehended. She claimed that her victims had been vampires, but was disbelieved by the authorities, but quickly managed to escape from them and continue her hunt.
She was recruited into the mysterious Brimstone Society via an invitation. The Brimstone Society sent her on missions to eliminate supernatural threats to the world. One of these missions required her to use her vampiric powers against the Nazis, who were on the verge of using magical artifacts to bring the demon Beliar back to life. Rayne also learned of a plan to use demonic parasites called 'Daemites' against the enemies of the Nazis, after they had been tested on prisoners. The background to the story is influenced by the existence of various historically real Nazi occult groups such as the Thule society.
In 2005, Rayne appeared in Majesco's Infected as an unlockable character. When asked if she had a storyline of her own for the title, Majesco producer Dean Martinetti stated no, adding that the game's protagonist "just happens" to resemble the character.
Conception and design
Rayne's character was inspired by an existing Terminal Reality-created character, the dhampir Svetlana Lupescu, who appeared in their 1999 game Nocturne. Described as initially having a "militant, dark gothic look [...] a brunette with tight buns in her hair and a very severe body line", the character went through several design changes, with an active goal to make her as appealing and distinctive as possible in order to create a franchise with lasting appeal. To this end they worked to give her a unique look, relying not only on making the character sexually appealing but also make her stand out in people's eyes, which producer Raymond Holmes her arm blades achieved. Her design was additionally intended to have a presence "both menacing and sexy at the same time", which he felt made her "a particularly strong female lead character with lots of attitude".
Majesco manager Liz Buckley in interviews said her designers had learned from focus groups that boys and young men not only liked female lead characters, but that they paid more attention to them. She added that "injecting sensuality" into Rayne's character design, describing her appearance as "lethal erotica" and adding that she felt no problem using the fact Rayne was "inherently sexy" to promote the character. Additional care for detail was done for her face, after noting focus groups wished to see it as compared to solely seeing the character from behind. Buckley went on to state "T&A will only get you so far", adding that while the character was aimed at a target audience of males ages seventeen to thirty-four, she felt the character had a female fan following as well due to being "empowering to play".
The character's in-game movements were animated by hand for the first title, and in the sequel were augmented by motion capture to "allow for more realist-looking movement". She added that with BloodRayne 2 the character model had also been heavily altered, adding "about one thousand" more polygons and using less on her hair in order to use more on her "curves and body line", as well as give her a more mature appearance. When questioned about the similarities between Rayne and another female vampire character Durham Red from the comic book series 2000 AD, game designer Joe Wampole stated that while similar they had not previously heard of the character, and added regarding their similar appearance "I think it is just natural to put a vamp chick in black leather and either color her hair black or red."
Laura Bailey described providing voice acting for the character as "a blast", though added she couldn't say she identified with the character. Bailey stated that during voice acting sessions, the director would occasionally approach her with changes to the game's script; if the dialogue was nasty enough to cause her to blush while saying the lines, he felt the change was good. Romi Park stated Rayne's appearance had a large impact upon her, citing Rayne's red hair and her desire to further understand the character. She went further to describe her portrayal of the character as exhibiting "lots of sadness" as well as "strong sense of justice".
Promotion and reception
Rayne is the first video game character that appeared in Playboy, in the October 2004 U.S. edition as part of an article entitled "Gaming Grows Up". She has also made appearance in MTV's "Video Mods", which a music video portrayed her performing Evanescence's song "Everybody's Fool". "Having BloodRayne as one of the premiere 'performers' in MTV2's 'Video Mods' show is a testament to her popularity and appeal," said Ken Gold, vice president of Marketing, Majesco. "We are thrilled to see BloodRayne star in a music video and we applaud MTV2's creative blending of entertainment mediums and properties." In 2009, she was one of several characters featured in cosplayed as part of a "Video Game Girls" burlesque show at bar The Bordello in Los Angeles, as a tie-in to the year's E3 event.
Electronic Gaming Monthly featured Rayne in their "Art of Gaming" special, noting her popularity and attractiveness; however, in a later article they decried her appearance in Playboy, stating that further similar exhibitions would damage how the public perceived the character. UGO.com described her as "epitome of a video game hotttie," placing her fourth on their list of the "Top 11 Video Game Heroine Hotties" and praising both her appearance and abilities, later and listed as one of the "Top 50 Videogame Hotties" at number twenty with similar sentiments. She placed eleventh on their list of the "Top 50 Sexiest Vampires", which noted that while she represented a negative aspect of video games in 2002, a "scantily-clad heroine in a graphically violent third-person adventure", her feature in Playboy despite not being real meant "they did something right", and ranked eighth in their "The Most Badass Vampire Slayers".
She was placed seventh spot on the list of the "greatest asses" and her breasts were also ranked as the ninth best in video game history by Joystick Division.GameDaily ranked her twelfth on their list of the "Top 50 Hottest Game Babes", stating "[T]he only thing sexier than a female vampire is [one] that kills Nazis", also listing her as one of their favorite red-haired females related to video games. Complex listed her as the 17th hottest video game character. Several other lists have featured her in a similar context, such as those by Team Xbox and Spike TV, and was also named one of the "50 Greatest Female Characters in Video Game History" by Tom's Games, as well as in "The 50 Greatest Heroines In Video Game History" by Complex at 49th place.
In contrast, the character has been cited as exemplifying a recurring negative portrayal of female characters in video games.
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