The shift in consciousness is new, its been pushed by a few very loud people that pretend to champion one cause or another.
and those western games that do it, somehow keep failing.
Its a truly a mystery
It's new inasmuch realistic graphics are comparatively new. Even when studios end up with hideous characters it's not necessarily by design; e.g. Oblivion and its half human, half potato thing. And even then not everyone was hideous, though arguably a bit of a case of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder".
I suppose I'd also like to examine the cause and effect thing. Are studios deliberately making their female characters ugly or are a particular SJW fraternity latching on to games that messed up their aesthetics? I dunno really. Though I kinda sorta agreed with some stuff regarding Inquisition, not totally. I'm not sure the characters were deliberately ugly or not. I'm not attracted to guys so I can't really comment beyond "half of them look like Alistair from Oranges" though even I thought Blackwall looked hideous without the beard. And Solas and his big shiny head. And Cole who was literally that kid at school who perpetually had a cold and his arm in a sling.
On the other hand it also had Dorian, who was such a chap that even I fancied him. And Varric, I mean who could resist that chest rug?
But the female characters... well I kinda fancied Cassandra maybe because of her not totally convincing severity. Or maybe she just reminds me a bit of Lætitia Sadier from Stereolab. And Widdle. There's Morrigan and Leliana who are hard to include because they're from the original and started out as deliberate opposites but turned out to be "complicated". Maybe I'll just stick with Sera. Yeah, something didn't quite work out and it wasn't just the deliberately bad hair thing which I've done myself (okay, with kitchen scissors rather than a dagger but I do have a bunch of actual swords nearby... which I'm probably going to need to set about with a pan scourer because I haven't oiled them in years) but it's the personality, if not necessarily the personality delivered by the Derbyshire accent, but that has its own something or other.