Who is the brown-haired white guy who stars in virtually every AAA action game? And how can we get rid of him?
Mass appeal. It helps the largest portion of your audience relate to the character. It sucks, but catering to your audience is a smart business move.
I don't really see how this is a question that even needed asking. It's a subject that has been addressed time and again. It reflects the majority of devs, and the majority of gamers. The end.
Most of them are doing it because that's what come to their mind when they picture their hero. A lot of studios spend days trying to decide the perfect look for their character and it just so happens that they look like something you would call "average"
Well that's a straight definition of what makes an "average" hero "average," but why is it that game developers are so obsessed with not trying to do something different? It's not like gamers are turned off by something new or exciting. Just look at Mario - not every hero is an Italian plumber.
That's why some of my favorite games are the ones which let you create your own character to play as. Your hero could be a red-haired female or even a guy with weird techno-colour hair and weird eyes, and it'd be unique to you as the player.
Valid point. Answer: Empathy.
That was my main thought when I recently considered purchasing Murdered: Soul suspect. A lot of things about the game seemed interesting but I just can't take any more of playing as 'that guy' right now. That handsome guy in his mid-thirties with the gravelly voice and the five o'clock shadow. Still, I really don't think the answer is deciding to arbitrarily make him a woman or a black guy or anything else. With most games that have a protagonist of another race or gender, let's face it, it's still 'that guy' just beneath the surface. The skin tone, gender and hair colour are physical symptoms of the greater problem, which is that our protagonist is always the same 'cool' swaggering douche who just happens to be the best at everything, always happens to be totally impressing everyone in the room and never has a thought that isn't about completing the brave quest they have undertaken. Who also seems to be a great melodramatic poet too, stopping every now and then to deliver super-serious super melodramatic commentary on just how sad it is that bad things are happening and how good things should be happening instead. By all means make the character another gender or race now and then but please don't just send that character out there to seek revenge or save the innocents and deliver gravelly poetic monologues to themselves while being an instant expert at everything they try. Make them terrible with guns, make them unable to aim because of nervous shaking hands, make them tell bad jokes that none of the other characters get. Make them get in over their head and be completely afraid. Give them completely uncool views on gender or race. Just give us something to grab hold of as a character. I cannot take swaggering around any more game worlds as the statistically perfect man as chosen by the readers of Woman's weekly magazine.
cuz that's what normal people look like
Pretty simple answer to the question ! The publishers of game developers are afraid that white racist people will not buy their game, if the protagonist has dark skin in the game ! Heck in SOCCER matches in EUROPE they throw bananas on the field and shout MONKEY CHANTS when a dark skin soccer player gets the ball! I just read a racist statement above my comment on N4G! When i play games online, i hear people say racist things all the time! The big studio's do not want to lose sales to the racist people who buy video games! They think by putting a white protagonist in a video game , racist people will buy their game along with the non-racist people!
So all I got from your comment here was that the only ppl that are racist are Caucasians right ? "think by putting a white protagonist in a video game , racist people will buy their game along with the non-racist people!" Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight /s
so to MRMAGoo123 / I never said that the only people who are racist are caucasian/ I was giving my opinion on why i think video game protagonist are white. So my question to you is do you really think their are no racist people on this earth ! Trust me everybody, i really wish, racism did not exist! Thank goodness for STAR TREK! /
We get the option to bubble up for intelligence, why not bubble down for lack of intelligence?
Actually, he/she has a very good point. I would wager good money if Uncharted had a dark skinned protagonist as the hero, looking like a snobby prick who can do no wrong just as Nathan Drake looks on those Uncharted covers, the Uncharted franchise wouldn't be on it's 4th title. Take off Master Chief's helmet tomorrow and reveal him as a black/asian/latino etc. and see how fast the predominantly white Halo fanbase withers away in anger. Cover after cover, hero after hero is the glorification of the white male, it's so damn obvious.
Because, since you are the hero of the story and the character you play is your digital avatar, you empathize with this person (as Palitera said) and in your subconscious you realize that this grand adventure you are on, whatever it may be is quite is attainable.
because when developers try smthing different (aka Raiden in MGS2 ) the we have mass reaction from western kid gamers which want their macho american caucasian prototype back
To be fair, Raiden's character in MGS2 was easier to relate to than Snake's. His appearance wasn't but his personality and background were kind of average. I think Kojima wanted to try that "average," relatable hero formula. Anyway I like Raiden. He felt more human and vulnerable than Snake at times in MGS2.
You realize his average background involved being a child soldier who was raised by the man who killed his parents? Meanwhile Solid Snake moved around a few foster homes before enrolling in the military (clone baby genetic experimenting aside).
Except his real background doesn't surface until much later. Raiden, as much as the player, believes he had a normal, average background until Arsenal Gear. I also meant his personal background as in what he supposedly does outside of the military. For exemple they mention he's an ex-smoker and had a hard time quitting. A lot of people (me including) can relate to that. There are a few hints here and there about his personal life in MGS2 if you spend a lot of time on the codec. At least the personality and background the Patriots made for him are average.
To me, it doesn't matter if the main character's a brown-haired white guy, I just want the main "hero" to have some personality. Look at Nathan Drake and Agent Francis "York" Morgan, two white guys with dark hair but they're tremendously well-written and that makes me want to play as them, as well as see them actually live to save the day. The drab character of Aiden Pearce (and I get he's sad because of his niece dying and all) lacks any semblance of a personality that I'd like to see more of. The gruff voice is laughable and he's always brooding, but not in a cool Batman kind of way. He constantly acts like he's a victim, meanwhile he's stealing and murdering from people and thugs all over the city, he's just not appealing.
I agree with you that the appearance of a game hero isn't a make-or-break decision for me, but... I also closely resemble them. For people of other ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation (like the article points out), I have to imagine that being completely absent from any recognition in the triple-A game space as fitting for a hero isn't doing anybody any good. It's one thing to say that your game isn't "about race or gender," but when a vast, vast, VAST majority of big budget games all pick a white male... they kind of are.
Funny how all of them are 30 something, short-brown haired dudes.
I have no problem with white hero characters in most video games, but it's the stereotypical 'average' early-mid 30s guy with brown hair and a little bit of facial hair that I'm starting to be bored of. If you look at the film industry and the leading white male actors in a lot of classic hits, a lot of them don't have that 'average' look. They are memorable for the characters they play. It would be nice to have some hero facial variations once in a while as long as they have strong character development.
Generic heroes would be more like it. Just look at the photo in the article, those guys could have all came from the same family. It also seems to be quite common for many of these heroes to have extremely corny dialogues and flat personalities.
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