Meeting Ellie: How an NPC Became the Face of the Game

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maninahat:

I think it's appropriate. Much of the series depends on you fostering a father/daughter relationship, and most players report doing their damndest to keep Clem safe. That's an astonishingly rare achievement for what is basically a five episode long escort mission featuring a female, child, game character. In most horror games, kids are just a talking, whining, hyper fragile albatross around the player's neck. No wonder people adore her - she's well written enough to not be the typical burden.

And this is why Clem is unjustifiably overhyped. People fail to realize she is NOT a well written developed child character, because as a character she is not a child. She is essentially nothing and devoid of character. Her development is more of an adult mixed in with simply being devoid of emotions. Basically an adult in arrested development. Having a child that represents malformed adult behavior in a child is just as bad if not worse than underdeveloped children.

viranimus:

maninahat:

I think it's appropriate. Much of the series depends on you fostering a father/daughter relationship, and most players report doing their damndest to keep Clem safe. That's an astonishingly rare achievement for what is basically a five episode long escort mission featuring a female, child, game character. In most horror games, kids are just a talking, whining, hyper fragile albatross around the player's neck. No wonder people adore her - she's well written enough to not be the typical burden.

And this is why Clem is unjustifiably overhyped. People fail to realize she is NOT a well written developed child character, because as a character she is not a child. She is essentially nothing and devoid of character. Her development is more of an adult mixed in with simply being devoid of emotions. Basically an adult in arrested development. Having a child that represents malformed adult behavior in a child is just as bad if not worse than underdeveloped children.

I totally disagree. She does talk and behave in a natural way that is fitting for a child, and I don't know what specifically makes you think she's like a stunted adult. Her entire character arc is built upon her wholehearted belief that she is going on a journey to go find her parents with Lee - only a child could be that naive in those circumstances. It's hard for the player (and Lee), because they know it is only going to be a matter of time before the penny drops, and Clem finally figures the reality out for herself. You don't want it to happen, partly because of the emotional trauma, but also because of it being another step towards her losing her childhood to a cynical, violent world.

Clem's childish naivety is also reiterated through smaller instances. A good example of this is one little scene in which Lee asks her if she tasted the salt lick; only a child could answer "I don't know". You immediately know her thinking: She's too embarrassed to admit she did something that stupid, but she knows she shouldn't lie either. It's a dilemma no adult would ever have about something so insignificant.

Clem is neither the perfect, precocious cherub or a brain dead brat who wants a balloon. She feels like a real kid, and you end up wanting to protect her from more than just physical harm (which is always an obligation in games) - you want to avoid exposing her to the harsh realities of the world, instead trying to preserve her and the life she should have had. That's several degrees more complicated than most games have been previously capable of.

maninahat:
That's several degrees more complicated than most games have been previously capable of.

And I disagree because that is a whole lot of over interpretation and what seems like a bit of personal identification.

Sorry, but what you point to is not very convincing evidence. Especially on the false assumptions of no adult could be like that when like it or not far too many are.

Clem fails because Clem is devoid of character one way or another. She has no complexity at all because she has no personal or emotional depth. Sure she has moments when she exibits some childish behavior, but her "character" is basically that of an emotional mute. The problem is because she has next to no emotional response in 90% of her presence in the game is WHY most people adore her, Just as you cited " brain dead brat " yet people are not identifying with that because what they are misconstruing her default state of emotionless response as not being a brat.

Even all that is moot anyway. People like her because she is somewhat thoughtful, logical, helpful, insightful. But that is not a child because we all know as Donna said on "The Cleveland Show" (s4E12) "Kids suck at everything" Edit: Sorry no video of it, but this will suffice

viranimus:

maninahat:
That's several degrees more complicated than most games have been previously capable of.

Clem fails because Clem is devoid of character one way or another. She has no complexity at all because she has no personal or emotional depth. Sure she has moments when she exibits some childish behavior, but her "character" is basically that of an emotional mute. The problem is because she has next to no emotional response in 90% of her presence in the game is WHY most people adore her, Just as you cited " brain dead brat " yet people are not identifying with that because what they are misconstruing her default state of emotionless response as not being a brat.

I disagree with that too. Plenty of your decisions in game are made with Clem present, and she invariably responds to your choices. Sometimes she reciprocates, like with your choice of "naughty words", or she gets upset when you steal or act aggressively, or she wants to speak out when it comes to a serious decision... I think you're confusing "quiet" with "emotionless", because although Clem is fairly shy, she almost always has feelings about current events. Even when she isn't around, many of your choices are made with her in mind, and as I said, there is the long term concern about her parents. She shows agency, she makes decisions by herself, and in the end:

Casual Shinji:

StriderShinryu:

Casual Shinji:
While I think the game looks great and I can't wait to play it, I can't help but wonder at the reaction if Ellie was a boy. Most if not all games that feature the protagonist protecting or guiding someone as a prominent feature always has the "protectee" be a girl.

Resident Evil 4
Ico
The Walking Dead
Amy
Bioshock Infinite

And this is most likely because guys - the target demographic for games - would rather protect a girl than a dude. Not trying to rain on the Ellie parade or open a can of worms, just something I think we should keep in the back of our heads.

Yep, my thought as well. I can certainly appreciate that these side characters (that may, in a sense, be main characters) are well written and well developed. I can also appreciate that, in more frequent cases, the games may not even exist without them.. but it does seem to stand out a little that they're still all fairly ineffectual female sidekicks/tag alongs. As I posted above, I think the Last of Us could be more interesting if Ellie was the played character and she had to escort a middle aged generally ineffectual male character.

Well, sometimes having the player character be less interesting than the tag-along, can serve as observing the more interesting character instead of playing her. Cause let's face it, it's always a her.

I have the same doubt, what if instead of Joel and Ellie we had Joel and a boy (you choose his name)? Would it receive the same sympathy? Would we care the same for a 14 year old boy?
And one more thing, what if Ellie were the adult and Joel a teen? Which one would be the playable character?

This game isn't out yet, so we're assuming that Ellie will work right and not break our experiencie with the game. I'm afraid this could be a movie with some interaction with the player and I'm not interested in playing that kind of game, so I'm not very excited. I'll wait for the reviews to decide if I'll play it or not.

I mean, how is it surprising that players like Ellie more when the main character is another stubbled-bearded short-brown-haired athletic male whose name starts with a 'J'?

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