Ellen Page Might Have Sued Over Nude Video Game Shots: Is This Virtual Sexual Harassment?

Earlier this month, a version of Beyond: Two Souls, a new video game that stars the motion capture versions of Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe, came under fire for featuring detailed, realistic nude depictions of Page's character. According to reports, the game allowed players to see the actress' naked body by shifting camera angles, due to either a glitch in the system or a debug by a developer or gamer.

But, since news of the possible debug spread, several sites hosting NSFW images taken from the game received takedown notices by Sony, prompting rumors to spread that Page threatened the company with a lawsuit. (Sony did not immediately respond to Bustle's request for comment.)

While the regular version of the game wasn't meant to show Page fully naked, her nude body was completely designed, and all one had to do to see it was change the camera's direction. It's unknown if Page was aware of this prior to the images being posted online, or if the lawsuit — assuming there is one — is extremely recent or has been ongoing behind-the-scenes for weeks. Regardless of these factors, though, the real problem at hand is the issue of virtual sexual harassment. In an age of uber-realistic video games and technological innovations, can a person's motion captured likeness be violated?

The answer is yes, and the repercussions of what that means are frightening. Sexual harassment is no longer limited to reality; virtual reality, an ever-growing field that's capable of featuring impressively high levels of detail, is now in the mix. People like Page who lend their likenesses to video game companies are now subject to the same type of issues that have long existed in the real world, including sexual harassment.

Page's potential lawsuit is far from the first time a video game has gotten flack for showing creepily real, sexual details. In September, a scene in Grand Theft Auto V showed what appeared to be the attempted rape of a woman (it was later clarified to be a scene of naked cannibalism. Go figure). The player had the chance to attack the rapists and stop the assault or ignore the scene and continue on with his/her journey. While some players praised the game's creator, Rockstar Games, for including such morally complex situations, the scene shed light on an interesting, albeit disturbing, question: Where is the line drawn between necessary realism and unnecessary degradation?

In Grand Theft Auto, unlike Beyond: Two Souls, the characters are not based on actual actors. While they may look eerily real, the characters are simply that — people created solely for the game. The situations they get into, no matter how uncomfortable, are elements of the game, and nothing more. Yet, for Beyond: Two Souls and other games that feature motion-capture images of widely-known stars, the line between actor and character blurs. Ellen Page might choose to go nude in a future film project, but, in a virtual reality, it seems choice might not be a reality.

This isn't fair, of course. No one deserves sexual harassment, in real life or in a video game. So what happens now? Will more actors follow suit and appear in motion-capture games, despite the risks? Will Page's assumed lawsuit make waves? Will the laws against sexual harassment be redrawn to include virtual reality? In today's gaming-obsessed, CGI-loving world, these are all real questions, but the answers will likely be far from simple.