On Silent Protagonists

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On Silent Protagonists

Samus should have just kept her mouth shut.

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Damn, I really need to get around to playing Saint's Row 2 one of the these days. Great article.

Oh and damn (again), you have been spoiling your ZP's in your EP's these days!

Good article. I don't disagree with Samus gaining a voice and personality. I do however, disagree with the way she was portrayed in Other M.

I don't really care about voiced characters either way---as long as the choice increases my immersion, I'm happy with it.

I think Metroid is generally better the less talking there is. The games just aren't designed in a way where a story makes sense and any attempt to alter the game to make it able to contain stories just makes it less fun. I liked Prime 1 way better than Prime 3, mostly due to the different level structure that the lack of talking allows Prime 1 to have. There's no objectives barked by any officers, just you and a whole bunch of things that need a sample of your plasma beam.

I really had no problem with Samus's voice until I saw his review. Only then did I realize just how dronning and annoying it was. This wasn't helped by the fact that the cutscenes (at least in the beginning) were painfully long and drawn out. Also, they didn't really seem to give her much of a personality.

Yahtzee is playing Halo: Reach? He must not have a great deal of control over the games he gets to review, between that and FFXIII. I'm all for a good bashing of a game (which I'm about 99% sure he is going to do) but it seems to lose something when it's a game that he's probably not going to like in the first place. Of course that won't stop me from watching it (or any of his videos)

That paragraph about Saints Row 2? Yeah, that's the reason I uninstalled the game and swore never to play it again. If I'm asked to create a character, I would appreciate if I have some sort of control over their actions and personality.

I had no problem with Samus getting a personality, a voice and some lines. I just didn't like that voice and those lines. It was like the script was written by Kojima, then given to a more pompous writer to further adapt it (think, the screenwriter of Juno) and then given to a depressed emo actress with 3 days of sleep deprivation for her to read it.

It felts like the script is trying to pose as serious by being grandiloquent and using long words, and to make sure the character is portrayed as a woman by being acted as the exact opposite of Kratos (less grunts and emotions, more talkative)

So the solution to the problem is having a Metroid game developed by Valve instead of Team Ninja?

For one, this is unsurprising coming from Yahtzee.

Moreover... that would be awesome.

I'm curious as to who Yahtzee would have voice Gordon Freeman in the event he begins to speak.

I'm looking forward to and dreading the Halo: REACH review. I know that Yahtzee is going to bash it 'cause he hates Halo (he made that blatantly obvious with the Turok review by blaming every bad decision of the FPS genre on Halo) thus the dread. However, it is always refreshing to get another's opinion on something, even if that opinion is predictable hatred.

Xocrates:
That paragraph about Saints Row 2? Yeah, that's the reason I uninstalled the game and swore never to play it again. If I'm asked to create a character, I would appreciate if I have some sort of control over their actions and personality.

What? Why?

The character's actions were the reason I kept playing, despite the awful port.

Especially his reaction to every single trap in the game "Either it's a trap, or he's stupid." "Still going?" "Of course."

People seem to have started saying that a lot about Half-Life 2, but not once did I ever actually think, "hey, it's weird he didn't say anything here".

This is especially true in FPS. I'm new to COD and for a while I had no clue I was part of the conversation its nice to no you're the one talking and you're not just listening to radio chatter.

Also its weird you never say anything in Portal its like "hey I gotta solve all these puzzles with the ability to teleport, but I have nothing to say on the subject."

I'm sick of people saying that Samus not having a voice before this game made her a silent protagonist.

She talked all the freaking time in Fusion, having internal monologues in every other elevator shaft to heighten the sense of being trapped and alone on a ship with a story that sucked but was still ten times better than Other M, and the text introduction to Super Metroid, told in first person by Samus, is still one of the best I've ever seen, setting the mood for the game perfectly.

Just cause she's got a voice now doesn't mean she was silent before.

(I'm not counting the Prime games cause Sakomoto has already said they're non-canon and don't reflect the personality of Samus at all, which is BS but whatever it's his character)

One thing I don't understand. Samus has always been a silent protagonist ( Or sorry, simply not having a voice, in respect to the previous poster ), but in the Metroid Prime Trilogy, Jennifer Hale is listed as voice actress for the part. How does that work?

I agree that the voice they got for Samus was terrible, but I think she could easily work as a voiced character.

That said, Other M so far is the biggest let down for me this year (Prototype was last years). Much like Yahtzee says, the controls were piss poor, the story was sluggish, and Samus herself was too infantile. The connection of her to the military did not fit at all. At the start she states she chose to leave the military to get out of the control they asserted, yet she immediately submits to the commanding offier of this group just because she knew him.

It was just a terrible game that let me down greatly. Team Ninja is starting to worry me if this is the quality they are going to start releasing.

Totally OT and the link has probably been made by someone before... but seeing those two images one after the other in that article...

Yahtzee Freeman? Uncanny.
image

jtesauro:
One thing I don't understand. Samus has always been a silent protagonist ( Or sorry, simply not having a voice, in respect to the previous poster ), but in the Metroid Prime Trilogy, Jennifer Hale is listed as voice actress for the part. How does that work?

Mostly likely she did the grunts and such that the lead character tends to make even in a silent protagonist role. Not sure, I hated the first Prime and didn't play any of the sequals. Terrible controls.

Snake was a silent protagonist and no one in their right mind would call the decision to give him a voice into question. The Other M just did it wrong.

I couldn't understand the fuss on Samus having voice, she had a voice through all the intro sequence in Super Metroid.

SR2 character voices were great. I tested a male and a female and they were great.

On silent protagonists, I agree it helps to get in the shoes of the character, but sometimes, it makes it hard to digest, for example, in CoD 4; with no backlground whatsoever of soap McTavish, it was ok to not have a voice. But in MW2, with CoD4 as the background and a voice actor, having the character silent while playing with him seemed a bit odd to me.

Back on Samus, she has been characterized for a while now, and no one complained. I haven't played Other M, but it seemed she is some sort of a twat, other way, I don't get why everyone complains about her character. Up until Prime 2, which is the last one I played, her character had great characterization.

Talcon:

Xocrates:
That paragraph about Saints Row 2? Yeah, that's the reason I uninstalled the game and swore never to play it again. If I'm asked to create a character, I would appreciate if I have some sort of control over their actions and personality.

But that was after the bad guy killed, you know...

Obviously the protagonist wanted revenge.

Sebenko:

Xocrates:
That paragraph about Saints Row 2? Yeah, that's the reason I uninstalled the game and swore never to play it again. If I'm asked to create a character, I would appreciate if I have some sort of control over their actions and personality.

What? Why?

The character's actions were the reason I kept playing, despite the awful port.

Especially his reaction to every single trap in the game "Either it's a trap, or he's stupid." "Still going?" "Of course."

Both of your comments sidestep my point. I'm not terribly worried with what the character did or what its motivations were, but I felt insulted that a character I designed, to work as my in game avatar would simply disregard my intentions, and simply do whatever the game designers wanted it to do, even if it meant "tricking" me into doing it.

Had the game had a fixed protagonist, or even a selection of pre-made ones, I would be fine with it.

Though to be fair, I went into the game knowing very little about it (and had little interest to start with). The only reason I even played it was because I had gotten it for pre-ordering DoWII: Chaos Rising and was bored.

Hell yeah I know what scene that is. Fantastic revenge that you get on the Brotherhood.

As for Metroid Prime telling a story, maybe if it had tried to do it without causing me pain, I would have cared more. But I wasn't going to keep holding down the stupid L button to read a series of big overblown text walls that basically said "space pirates are doing bad experiments with some weird stuff and that means big scary monsters for Samus to fight." I'll have to apologize for not remembering the name of the weird stuff, it's been a while since I played that drek. But in the end I just stopped scanning all the stuff because I was sick of hurting my finger just to read something I already knew for the umpteenth time.

Xocrates:
That paragraph about Saints Row 2? Yeah, that's the reason I uninstalled the game and swore never to play it again. If I'm asked to create a character, I would appreciate if I have some sort of control over their actions and personality.

You aren't really asked to create a character in full, just their appearance and voice. I thought the game and its advertising made it rather clear that you were always going to be a sociopath gang leader though.

GIdub:
Totally OT and the link has probably been made by someone before... but seeing those two images one after the other in that article...

Yahtzee Freeman? Uncanny.
image

I was thinking the exact same thing, but didn't have the photos to back it up.

mjc0961:
You aren't really asked to create a character in full, just their appearance and voice. I thought the game and its advertising made it rather clear that you were always going to be a sociopath gang leader though.

I concur.

You have reach?
PLEASE dont rip it to shreds!

mjc0961:
You aren't really asked to create a character in full, just their appearance and voice. I thought the game and its advertising made it rather clear that you were always going to be a sociopath gang leader though.

Perhaps, but, as per my previous post, I didn't knew that going into the game.

Either way, it still feels as a rather awkward middle ground between player designed and pre-designed.

I do know the scene in Saint's Row 2. I won't spoil it either.

As for Samus' voice, I absolutely agree. You know who was the woman behind the screams and grunts in the Metroid Prime series? Jennifer Hale, who was Alex Roivas in Eternal Darkness and the female Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 1 and 2. Why did Team Ninja not hire her!?

SatansBestBuddy:
I'm sick of people saying that Samus not having a voice before this game made her a silent protagonist.

She talked all the freaking time in Fusion, having internal monologues in every other elevator shaft to heighten the sense of being trapped and alone on a ship with a story that sucked but was still ten times better than Other M, and the text introduction to Super Metroid, told in first person by Samus, is still one of the best I've ever seen, setting the mood for the game perfectly.

Just cause she's got a voice now doesn't mean she was silent before.

(I'm not counting the Prime games cause Sakomoto has already said they're non-canon and don't reflect the personality of Samus at all, which is BS but whatever it's his character)

^ This. Samus wasn't a silent protagonist. She hasnt been for a while.

This whole article is full of junk logic, like most of these posts. Metroid: Other M was bad because it was a bad game made by a bad developer. The team that did DOA not personify a female role correctly? No...

The "Silent Protagonist" is usually done so that the player can feel like they are contributing to the game as themselves: even if they have no direct hand in their actions. RPG's have been doing this forever, the character is built to reflect you but still sends you down the path to become the "hero of the land" or whatever cliche they're going for.

In CoD and other shooters its just not needed to make the character have a voice ingame; YOU'RE supposed to be the grunt taking orders from their commander, and its once again, supposed to shove you into the position of the character. I would like to point out though that MW2's characters were not silent protagonists; they did have dialogue. Just not much.

The idea of having a silent protagonist is to blend immersive properties into games that arent known for immersion. Or because making the character talk isnt something every game needs. The reason this didnt work out for Other M is because Nintendo handed control of this game over to a bunch of people whose staple in the industry is breast jiggling physics. Making the leap from sexy to stern, by a team known for, well, blatent sexism, is just something that would not be easy to do.

snowman6251:
I'm curious as to who Yahtzee would have voice Gordon Freeman in the event he begins to speak.

GIdub:
Totally OT and the link has probably been made by someone before... but seeing those two images one after the other in that article...

Yahtzee Freeman? Uncanny.
image

There's your answer

So Gordon Freeman is like Gromit with a pry-bar fetish? It's good that he's quiet since obviously he's a sociopath.

I have to admit - I dont mind Silent protagonists myself.

I mean, Issac never needed up open his mouth, not did Gordon Freeman as mentioned - and he has become a legend for a man who has never spoken a word!

I always thought freeman looked a bit like house too.

Kind of generically handsome.

I dunno.

I agree with the Gist here, that said, I think that when used properly, games do benefit from dialogue etc. I would much rather watch a stage play than marcel marceau

I will say I am finding silent protagonists more and more annoying as of late. They don't do ANYTHING for me in terms of immersion, especially in story-based games where it feels like developers are copping out on having to characterize someone.

Xocrates:

Both of your comments sidestep my point. I'm not terribly worried with what the character did or what its motivations were, but I felt insulted that a character I designed, to work as my in game avatar would simply disregard my intentions, and simply do whatever the game designers wanted it to do, even if it meant "tricking" me into doing it.

Had the game had a fixed protagonist, or even a selection of pre-made ones, I would be fine with it.

Though to be fair, I went into the game knowing very little about it (and had little interest to start with). The only reason I even played it was because I had gotten it for pre-ordering DoWII: Chaos Rising and was bored.

So you didn't like the game because it lacked a crappy two-way karma meter?

You're a gang leader. Good guy? Not a chance.

The game never claimed at any point that you'd make decisions.

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