Submitted by 32froshes 487d ago | opinion piece

Why Do Silent Protagonists Still Exist?

Cheat Code Central's Austin Wood writes: "Honestly, I can’t believe I’m writing this. Or, more accurately, I can’t believe that this problem actually persists today. For God’s sake, the current generation of consoles is in its prime, all three gaming titans are at each other’s throats with their “next big thing,” and the WiiU has already kicked off the coming generation of gaming goodness. Today’s gaming industry practically oozes innovation, yet I’m still forced to watch my character nod his head, blindly gesture, and stand around like some demoniacal shut-in on par with Jack the Ripper. Seriously, developers, why, in December 2012, am I still fumbling through communication-heavy realms as Captain Silence?" (Borderlands 2, Dark Souls, Dead Space 2, Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning, PC, PS3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Xbox 360)

rrquinta  +   487d ago
I agree. Although I loved DAO and DAII was so flawed, but having the speaking protagonist was so wonderful. As much as I love P4, after seeing the anime, it's kind of nice having the speaking protagonist. Although I think some games do this better than others. What bothered me most in DAO was that your character would talk in battle but never the rest of the time...
GraveLord  +   487d ago
Because publishers are too cheap to invest in voice actors.
Kratoscar2008  +   487d ago
Because they are awesome see my blog post why:


In short because they allow me to feel like im the character not that im controlling one.
Ultr  +   487d ago
I dont even know if this article is serious?
(not yours, yours is great!!)

There are games out there that are perfect with a silent protagonists.
ICO, SotC, HalfLife, Portal oh and the uber-one-of-the-best-games-eve r-created Tomba!
Sometimes I think some characters should actually speak less, when there is just bs coming out of their mouth, latest example Dante (while I like the new style and some lines, some are just aweful)
#3.1 (Edited 487d ago ) | Agree(6) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
Kratoscar2008  +   487d ago
Thanks :)

And thumbs upfor that Tomba! comment. I think this writter doesnt trully know the SP porpuse not he is able to project himself trought his character. Articles like these are the reason i made that Blog.


The more imput the character has on its own the less immersive is as a player feel, if that character say a lot of thing you wouldnt say then that character is more his own than your representation while with a SP you are supposed to interpretate the situation not the character.

So for me the more the character talks the less immersive the game is.
#3.1.1 (Edited 487d ago ) | Agree(3) | Disagree(1) | Report
Ultr  +   486d ago
Tomba! <3

you are totally right. Its impressive what some games can make you feel.
ICO and SotC two great examples. The relationship between the girl and the boy...or how I started caring about my horse in SotC...JUST WOW, no need to talk.

and like you said in your blog:

"lets not bash a game just because its taking a different approach to immerse the player"
Root  +   487d ago
It's pretty ridiculous since it's 2012 now but if it's someone from an old franchise like Gordon Freeman from Half Life then I'm fine with it, at the end of the day it's like "Well this game did come out in 1998 no point making him talk now in the current storyline", it would be nice if they made it LOOK like he was talking and taking part.

However take Portal for example, the first game again fair enough it was there first game they didn't know if it was going to do well but the sequel...Chell should of talked in the sequel it would of added SO MUCH to the game, the saracastic back and forth conversations between her and GLaDOS, seeing the isloation get to her mentaly, talking to her self or even if your in a test chamber for so long she would talk to herself to give you a hint..."Maybe I could...." or "Theres a uper ledge over there, maybe I could" for example.


You know when GLaDOS was being carried around by Chell and she was mocking her, thats when they should of made her speak, like a "That does it" line and Chell dropping GLaDOS on the floor and walking away with GLaDOS begging her to come back.

So yeah it really depends on what the game is like...
Ducky  +   487d ago
I think that would have taken away from the experience.

Portal has fun with the silent protagonist idea, such as the initial conversation with Wheatley where you end up jumping.

The taunts by Glados are also amusing because they are one-sided. If the protagonist was able to verbally respond, then those conversations would lose a chunk of the humor.
Root  +   487d ago
No it wouldn't, they arn't funny because they on "one sided" they are funny because they are well written and acted out.

I'm not saying she should have a full conversation with the characters around her, just some one liners so the character dosen't seem like she has no personality. The odd witty comment towards Wheatly or GLaDOS or as I've said when she's in the test chambers all alone.

They give her a brand new character design and it would of been nice to see a personality to go with it, let us see her crack under the pressure of being underground so long. Besides this is Valve we are talking about, they can do it if they wanted.

To have her in the game and no question where she is, whats going out or to see her want her freedom is what takes away the experience from it because she dosen't seem real


Oh if your going to disagree least say, don't just follow the crowd and not even read the comment...sheep
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konnerbllb  +   487d ago

You're wrong. That's why.
Enemy  +   487d ago
Why is there a Dead Space pic? Did you play Dead Space 2? Have you seen Dead Space 3? Do you even play video games?
Lord_Sloth  +   487d ago
Because the pic is Dead Space 1 which featured a mute.
Enemy  +   487d ago
So they're looking at the first game and ignoring the last two? That makes sense. Isaac Clarke isn't a silent protagonist.
#5.1.1 (Edited 487d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(1) | Report
Lord_Sloth  +   487d ago
I didn't say it was accurate. Just saiyan.
HellFeast  +   486d ago
So your looking at the second and third game and ignoring the the first one? That makes sense. Isaac Clarke WAS a silent protagonist, DEAL WITH IT.
GreenRanger  +   487d ago
CanadianTurtle  +   487d ago
I guess it's for the immersion. I mean for a game like dead space, its best to have a silent character. I mean, can you imagine Dead Space, "Nathan Drake" style?
linkenski  +   487d ago
I like silent protagonists. In rpg's i prefer voice acted protagonists but i don't mind it in games like Dead Space and stuff.

I actually hate Isaac in Dead Space 2.
Buljo  +   487d ago
Silent protagonists WORK. That's why they're still there. There's a better connection between a player and a character with no personality. It feels more like you're the one experiencing all that's happening, not just controlling a character going through the motions.
Root  +   487d ago
"It feels more like you're the one experiencing all that's happening, not just controlling a character going through the motions"

Oh come on thats the oldest excuse in the book, people know damn well who they are, all this "You feel like your the character" BS is just what developers say to us so they have an excuse for that mute character.

You feel more like a character when they draw you into the game by it's great story telling and dialouge between the characters. If your not taking part in the conversation you'll just feel like a plank of wood or you'll be questioning why your character hasn't said something to a character who has insulted them or asked for your opinion on something
Buljo  +   486d ago
I don't understand why someone has an issue with this. It's a fact, not developer bullshit. That is what made Half Life and Portal so great and immersive, Dishonored as well.

It's a technique, not a fault.
AznGaara  +   487d ago
Because you subconciously become that character. The more a character is personalized the less it feels like you are them. It becomes more their story than it is yours. With the exception of RPGs that let you make decisions. Link is such a well loved character because he is silent. Players feel like they are Link, at least i do, and it's a powerful experience. Think about this, if the sand people in Journey talked would the game be as impactful as it was? Remember the reaction to Other M? Sure we can love talking characters but we connect silent characters in another way too.
League_of_Draven  +   487d ago
Because silent protagonist is best protagonist.
RustedMan  +   487d ago
I don't think Half Life would be better had Freeman uttered a single word. Weirdly enough, I love silent protagonists, because in a linear structure, where my "objective" is pretty much set in stone, I like that an NPC pushes me along, giving me reasons, but understanding that a game's story need not branching dialogue as a means for "deeper immersion".
Seriously though, silent protagonists have nothing to do with a developer being "lazy" but rather allow the narrative to be entirely one sided in it's focus, and not giving false pretenses of choice in a larger context.
Forum_Pirate  +   487d ago
Because not every story is structured (which makes voice acting difficult at best and it frequently feels forced). Some stories are what you make of them and it can be a great story, entirely organic and different for every person (morrowind, soul series, zelda). I wouldn't begrudge you your structured and scripted experience, so leave my unstructured story alone.
mydyingparadiselost  +   486d ago
silent protagonists offer the ability for you to be the character instead of the character being an annoying ass. It gives the option for you to respond outside of the game about what has just happened to the character inside the game which creates immersion. It also allows you to use your imagination a little instead of being force fed shit dialogue and awkward verbal exchanges. I wish Isaac Clark would shut the fuck up and let me do the reacting like in the first game.

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