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Submitted by solkyoshiro 794d ago | opinion piece

Why Do We Want Realistic Stories With Unrealistic Characters?

Epic Slash writes: It always seems like stories are getting flak for characters that don’t do what the audience thinks they should be doing. If characters are meant to mimic real life enough to be believable, why do we condemn them when they do exactly what they should.

Why can we not accept characters that act like humans? (Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Culture, Industry, Metal Gear Solid)

smashcrashbash  +   794d ago
Question, who doesn't accept characters that act human? Isn't it more that people condemn the characters for behaving unrealistically to situations? I am kind of confused what the article is trying to say. Is he saying that characters should be more human? Is he saying people don't accept human characters? Is he saying that characters should make more mistakes to seem more human? I think we have reached the point where we have accepted many characters that are obviously not perfect and flawed. I also don't understand him with the hero winning. Of course the hero must win in the end. The question is what does he sacrifice along the way to win. Many characters win but sometimes at great cost.So unless I read it wrong, I really don't understand what he is trying to say.
#1 (Edited 794d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
solkyoshiro  +   794d ago
My point is that alot of characters don't come off as realistic or even deep. The are often shallow and contrived to serve as plot devices and little more.

There is often little room for a character to grow and discover, their is only a standard sequence of action, plot, action, climax, end credits.

Look at something like Game of Thrones. Those are some of the most realistically written characters around. They grow, they fail, they make mistakes. Some of them to dire consequences. Where is that in video gaming?

It's also why I used Kain as my example, in the end he did "win". But his journey was very human, he didn't win everything via Deus Ex Machina and everything was not wrapped up neatly. He was a character that stood out from the world and the plot because of the way he was written.
cpayne93  +   794d ago
Eh, I'm not sure how you found the plot of metal gear solid "predictable". The first mgs especially had a very intriguing plot, and the entire series has several philisophical messages in it. And Solid Snake generally doesn't "win" except maybe in the good ending of the first mgs. Seems like his life sucks to be honest, especially considering the end of mgs 4. Kind of bittersweet really.
s45gr32  +   794d ago
Nice article, and yes is time to have complex, deep characters in our games
byeGollum  +   794d ago
deep story and characters aren't easy to create. If they were we'd have so many of them... only very few games have made me care.
TheModernKamikaze  +   794d ago
That's what separates Video Games from Movies.
smashcrashbash  +   794d ago
Okay first of all Game of Thrones is a long going series with enough room for the characters to grow, make mistakes and be developed. Games stories don't last as long as that and because of the short time they have to develop a story there usually isn't any room for the deep character development you are speaking of.

Secondly like I said in my post above we have many characters in modern times who not only make mistakes but pay for them. May be not always permanently scared or have a horrible demise but many times characters pay for their reckless behavior, arrogance or thoughtlessness. I think we have come very far from the perfect image hero of James Bond. For example Kratos has a complex personality that most people can't seem to see beyond just simply being angry or a 'jerk'.

Now don't misunderstand I know what you mean. I believe certain themes are over used. Like for instance instead of simply having one side be good and one side be bad in a conflict why can't both sides have ample reason for wanting to fight instead therefore making both sides plausible or have the character believe he his fighting on the right side and half way through he realizes he was the bad person all the time.

But I think the level of character complexity you are talking is too great for a game. A game is not a novel with hundreds of pages and several volumes or a television series going on for several seasons.Even games like Mass Effect's story still comes out sounding contrived and corny. It's not easy to create characters and plots equal to other media especially when you have game play and other factors to consider. Movies, television series and books HAVE to try and make their stories and characters connect because that is usually their only concern.Trying to make a character seem genuine in a game is not as important to many developers especially the growing fact that many people don't seem to care anymore.
#4 (Edited 794d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
Titanz  +   794d ago
Good question
I'm always puzzled by the people who demand a Zelda timeline, or a Mario games to include a story backdrop. I'm willing to except that each title for a specific franchise, takes place in different generations, or galaxies.

Not all titles need to be based on specifics.
wishingW3L  +   794d ago
this article is really unfair and it's not even that well written either. I understand his point but he could have used better examples to flesh it out other than a crappy anime like Guilty Crown.

He talks about making characters that aren't perfect and funnily he mentions Cloud, Snake and Kratos as example of those perfect characters. And I don't know what he has played but those 3 characters are far from perfect. Kratos killed his own family when he was drunk with power, Cloud is not even the person he believes he is and Snake got really old and he made tons of mistake through the games.

Now this is the part that the author never talks about. There is a huge difference between narrative and gameplay.
Making a story for a game is way harder than for a book or movie because a game not only requires a good script but good gameplay too and fusing these 2 is no easy task for anybody (example: gameplay is what makes Drake feel like a sociopath and what ultimately hurts narrative the most). To achieve great narrative in a game you need to create the story and gameplay as equals and that's exactly what Naughty Dog is trying to do with The Last of Us. This game could change things... But at the same time it'll not become a standard even if it succeeds. Because at the end of the day games are games and we still like the old over the top story-telling of FF games about a group of people saving the world after battling an army and killing a god by themselves. That in itself can't be translated into a movie, it would be way too crazy but for an anime/cartoon would fit. And it is in this same way that games have to look for their own narrative and character development. What fits the type of game you're making? Would it be possible for a character to show vulnerability during gameplay without ruin it?

Conclusion: In my opinion game developers have been doing a great job, even if there are still tons flaws and our media can't be compared to movies or books (when it comes to story-telling) we have to remember, that this media is still really young compared to others. We still have things to learn and to perfect.
#6 (Edited 794d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Enigma_2099  +   793d ago
A story can be grounded in realism... or goofy as hell. The only thing that matters is... is it good?

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