Why Is Every AAA Game Hero Suddenly Your Dad?

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Why Is Every AAA Game Hero Suddenly Your Dad?

Has anyone else noticed that an awful lot of these action game heroes are becoming dads? Not literally. I couldn't imagine Rico Rodriguez slipping the D into except a ballistic missile.

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At least characters in Western AAA games are getting older with their audience/creators. Many Japanese devs refuse to leave the high school setting.

It's an easy fit for a slightly more interesting story arc than more of the older AAA games. The once young and cocky action hero becomes tempered by experience and learns to take responsibility for passing on his mantle to the next generation. Not exactly the most inventive idea, but marginally better than "young cocky action hero kills enough bad guys to fill a small European country because he feels like it".

As a future graybeard currently pushing 40 I love the daddening of games. They are fundamentally more mature stories and it helps me personally identify with the characters.

Imagine Mario or Link on a quest to rescue their daughters instead of random princesses. That hook is much more immediately immersive to anyone with children since a major parental fear is losing/failing their family.

Another example is how the Last of Us intro hits dads really fucking hard.

Actually, in the most recent Nathan Drake trailer he is looking pretty daddish at the start; all older man beard and working in a little filing office. Looks like a brother might be showing up as well so, surrogate dadding maybe?

Game writers are getting older and are forming families, of course it is bound to reflect in the stories that they write and the characters within them. I mean, the writing in games is still sort of shit when compared to other media, but at least the average protagonist isn't a late-20's/early-30's dude with anger management problems, an edgy attitude and an inability to function in any social situation that doesn't involve hurting other people anymore.

It works a hell of a lot better in games than in movies, that's for damn sure. Whenever I see Liam Neeson murder twenty dudes to rescue his daughter I roll my eyes.
But in games it works so much better. I mostly avoided killing in the Last of Us untill those jackasses kidnapped Ellie, then I pulled out my flamethrower and went "RAMPAGE!!" until I got her back. First time I could think of where I played the game differently because of what happened in the story

Isn't it just the medium growing up (literally if you include the devs and players). You can go ask the way back to the early 90s explosion of RAD XTR3M3 TUDE YO and call those the terrible preteens and it all falls out from there. That's a bit awkward for 20 years from now though.

The Dad Hero thing could also be a response to the rising tide of single parenting. In the UK most children don't have stable father figure. That's a trend that is consistent throughout western civilization.

It's a sign of "games growing up", to reflect the currently age-appropriate concerns of self-centered elderly people... like us. In many cases, we've had OUR adolescent (and even "problematic") stories addressed by digital interactive fantasies way back when already, and by Jove we're going to cluck hard in disapproval if any game fails to dress itself in a narrative that acknowledges us as the permanent measure of "where the medium ought to be" by now.

We're the RIGHT age, why should we give a camel (that's "two humps" for anyone too young to be down with the lingo) if there are some n00bs who have failed to git grown up yet who think games are there to cater to their childish tastes? It's their own fault, for not managing to be born in time for the golden youth of gaming.

McBlaggart:
The Dad Hero thing could also be a response to the rising tide of single parenting. In the UK most children don't have stable father figure. That's a trend that is consistent throughout western civilization.

I would say its more from the rise of just parenting in general. I'm guessing gamers are aging, so having a bunch of mid 20-somethings as characters doesn't fit with them anymore. They need mid 30s characters with kids who don't like them and an estranged wife to be able to identify with a character.

Bah. My dad's overweight, diabetic, smokes like a chimney and routinely hits me up for money.
Boyo, I'd love to have a dad like Rico Rodriguez.

Gethsemani:
Game writers are getting older and are forming families, of course it is bound to reflect in the stories that they write and the characters within them. I mean, the writing in games is still sort of shit when compared to other media, but at least the average protagonist isn't a late-20's/early-30's dude with anger management problems, an edgy attitude and an inability to function in any social situation that doesn't involve hurting other people anymore.

This is how I see it, we are past the age where a lot of designers and writers were in their late teens or early 20's, the average age of video game players is climbing, so we end up with an industry where more people are writing with a different age and mindset. You could see some of this years ago as some games appealed to the archetype even in the 90's, but now there's a greater concentration of older male writers and designers that are married and have kids, so their priorities and interests change, and that's reflected in their art.

Of course that's just a trend within certain segments and companies, there are still plenty of young people entering the industry who are writing the old style action heroes like new Dante, the Farcry protagonists, the upcoming Doom reboot space marine. I'd imagine part of this trend might also just be people aping the success of bioshock and TLOU where the appeal of the fatherly character seems to have attracted interest from fans, especially Joel, who got shitloads of praise from gamers.

Interesting observation, though I can't say that Master Chief fits the fatherly role since the members of Blue team are around the same age he is. Also, Big Boss was already in the father/mentor role back in Peacewalker (2010) and arguably in Portable Ops (2006). Plus, Big Boss as a father/mentor figure had been part of his backstory long before either of those two games.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Why Is Every AAA Game Hero Suddenly Your Dad?

Has anyone else noticed that an awful lot of these action game heroes are becoming dads? Not literally. I couldn't imagine Rico Rodriguez slipping the D into except a ballistic missile.

Read Full Article

I've got another theory. This is a long con setup to continue a reboot cycle without technically rebooting a franchise.

Making Lara Croft young worked well, Star Wars is passing it's mantle to the kids of episodes 4-6 (I haven't seen 7 yet so I'm not sure how true that is. No spoilers please)

I bet in two years many of these daded franchises will be starring their offspring once again appealing to a younger audience while feeding the elders nostalgia bites in the form of original character cameos. Now everything old is new again and the cycle of sequels continue.

I'd be more pleased with it if I thought for a microsecond it meant we'd be getting older female protagonists.

It doesn't, of course.

No, this isn't true! This is impossible!!

Thanatos2k:
At least characters in Western AAA games are getting older with their audience/creators. Many Japanese devs refuse to leave the high school setting.

I sometimes think that because the Japanese maintain such a brutal work schedule that public school age is the only group that has time for these things, outside of the ostracized 'NEETS'. Kind of similar to how the baby boomer generation seemed to heavily glorify their high school years far more than we do today, when coincidentally most of them went out and got married & started having kids almost immediately after. Now that we tend to 'live' through our 20's before settling down and having kids from the perspective of someone in his 30's no one seems to give a shit about their high school days anymore.

For quite some time every Rockstar protagonist has been a family guy.

John Marston, RDR? Married with kids.
Cole Phelps, L.A. Noire? Married with kids.
Michael Townley, GTA V? Married with kids.
Max Payne... don't ask him about it.

RandV80:

Thanatos2k:
At least characters in Western AAA games are getting older with their audience/creators. Many Japanese devs refuse to leave the high school setting.

I sometimes think that because the Japanese maintain such a brutal work schedule that public school age is the only group that has time for these things, outside of the ostracized 'NEETS'. Kind of similar to how the baby boomer generation seemed to heavily glorify their high school years far more than we do today, when coincidentally most of them went out and got married & started having kids almost immediately after. Now that we tend to 'live' through our 20's before settling down and having kids from the perspective of someone in his 30's no one seems to give a shit about their high school days anymore.

Ding ding ding! We have a winner! Yes the reason most japanese media takes place in highschool is because the primary audience is still children-teenagers. When they get older society beats down/ overworks them and they have little time for such "frivolity" so yeah the reason protagonists stay the same age in japan is because the audience is largely the same age.

Yeah, it does come off like Western AAA developers are trying to find someone THEY relate to due to them now becoming old and thus are essentially living out wish fulfillment fantasies. Unfortunately this also has the side effect of it being tacky, mostly due to the idea of "father figure" protagonists being a bit too late in the gaming cycle. That's before getting into the most obvious problem though: that it's just plain lazy. Look, developers, you don't have to "relate" to a character to be able to find them interesting and compelling. Instead of making the medium grow UP, you're just making it grow OLD and that is never acceptable.

As for the chasteness of the whole projecting onto daughter-figure, that also brings up another trend I notice with the current: the undercurrent of being ashamed of relationships and affection of any kind. I almost see the writers as guys who find girls icky and that emotions beyond grizzled stoicism are verboten. It's like they're trying to channel the many descendants of Sanjuro alongside the daddifying, but don't really understand that character archetype and how it doesn't work with dadding. I have said before that gaming is in its awkward puberty phase, but now it's also trying to combine that with its awkward mid-life crisis phase.

Now I want to offer up this short anecdote about my biology professor. We're sitting in lab one day about to start, and he begins to talk. He says, "You know how I know that society is not valuing science as much anymore? Because of the increasing trend in fantasy/magic shows that have come up." Imagine that, a scientist deriving causation simply from a correlation.

"Well, despite what each generation of moral guardians would have us believe, video games do not influence the personalities of the players; rather, it is the personalities of the players that influence the games."

They are actually both wrong, and one of either is reliant on the other's equally faulty reasoning. That argument allows that either the games are "socially immature" due to the consumers or that it conditions the consumers to be "socially immature." Yeah, you could argue that some games are written with their audience in mind, but I don't play Just Cause 3, I looked at TLoU and puked, nobody knew about Bioshock Infinite's ending, and I bought The Witcher 3 not because of the story about Geralt and his adopted daughter. How am I influencing the medium again? Sorry, not buying it.

[stop reading if you're oppressed by opinions]

I don't understand why people have this incessant need to try interpreting the social aspirations of gamers out of the fucking narratives in the medium. We can't just have a story (or string of similar ones) without trying to distill muh greater social implications of why the character is the way he/she is. It couldn't just be flavor of the month or simply the random art that the writers created. Not to mention that drawing conclusions about people's psyche based on such few games is absurd. No of course, the reason why Mario is popular is obviously because the consumers are plumbers and/or dream of rescuing some princess damsel kidnapped by a weird turtle monster. Not that I SHOULD rescue her, because that would be misogynist as I only rescue her because I want to FUCK HER... (oh boy better not be rescuing a romantic love-interest 'cause sex is sin and that's just not "grown up"). Next time I'm playing The Witcher 3 I'll just let the men rape the peasant woman, because that would nullify the game's sexist attempt to impose it's patriarchal, stoic, protective, dad-hero Geralt who is only in the game to serve the misogynist male fantasy of rescuing his "angsty, teenage daughter with a thigh gap of a foot and a half" . I just want to be "grown up" like everyone tells me I ought to be because after all it is current year.

Vanilla_Knight:
Now I want to offer up this short anecdote about my biology professor. We're sitting in lab one day about to start, and he begins to talk. He says, "You know how I know that society is not valuing science as much anymore? Because of the increasing trend in fantasy/magic shows that have come up." Imagine that, a scientist deriving causation simply from a correlation.

"Well, despite what each generation of moral guardians would have us believe, video games do not influence the personalities of the players; rather, it is the personalities of the players that influence the games."

They are actually both wrong, and one of either is reliant on the other's equally faulty reasoning. That argument allows that either the games are "socially immature" due to the consumers or that it makes conditions the consumers to be "socially immature." Yeah, you could argue that some games are written with their audience in mind, but I don't play Just Cause 3, I looked at TLoU and puked, nobody knew about Bioshock Infinite's ending, and I bought The Witcher 3 not because of the story about Geralt and his adopted daughter. How am I influencing the medium again? Sorry, not buying it.

[stop reading if you're oppressed by opinions]

I don't understand why people have this incessant need to try interpreting the social aspirations of gamers out of the fucking narratives in the medium. We can't just have a story (or string of similar ones) without trying to distill muh greater social implications of why the character is the way he/she is. It couldn't just be flavor of the month or simply the random art that the writers created. Not to mention that drawing conclusions about people's psyche based on such few games is absurd. No of course, the reason why Mario is popular is obviously because the consumers are plumbers and/or dream of rescuing some princess damsel kidnapped by a weird turtle monster. Not that I SHOULD rescue her, because that would be misogynist as I only rescue her because I want to FUCK HER... (oh boy better not be rescuing a romantic love-interest 'cause sex is sin and that's just not "grown up"). Next time I'm playing The Witcher 3 I'll just let the men rape the peasant woman, because that would nullify the game's sexist attempt to impose it's patriarchal, stoic, protective, dad-hero Geralt who is only in the game to serve the misogynist male fantasy of rescuing his "angsty, teenage daughter with a thigh gap of a foot and a half" . I just want to be "grown up" like everyone tells me I ought to be because after all it is current year.

I've spent so long searching, but I've finally found you. You are Joe Public. We can all stop marketing now. That's it. Advertising is dead. We simply gotta ask you what you would buy because you represent the entire market.

Ariseishirou:
I'd be more pleased with it if I thought for a microsecond it meant we'd be getting older female protagonists.

It doesn't, of course.

Very much my opinion as well. Older and better written, why not, one can dream.

Thyunda:

I've spent so long searching, but I've finally found you. You are Joe Public. We can all stop marketing now. That's it. Advertising is dead. We simply gotta ask you what you would buy because you represent the entire market.

OH of course, I didn't know that a handful of games that are tenuously connected by one measly, ill-defined character trait are THE ENTIRE MARKET, and that they were marketed SPECIFICALLY for being stories about dad characters. You're going to argue that the reason why people bought The Witcher 3 is because they wanted to be "daddy" Geralt? Give me a fucking break. It is absolutely asinine.

Aiddon:
I almost see the writers as guys who find girls icky and that emotions beyond grizzled stoicism are verboten.

Close, but not quite. Perhaps it would be more accurate to characterize them as guys who have been taught to find BOYS icky and girls too pure and wonderful to be sullied by their nasty attentions, except in carefully sublimated scenarios hedged with taboos. Such as the case of a literal "patriarch".

Vanilla_Knight:

Thyunda:

I've spent so long searching, but I've finally found you. You are Joe Public. We can all stop marketing now. That's it. Advertising is dead. We simply gotta ask you what you would buy because you represent the entire market.

OH of course, I didn't know that a handful of games that are tenuously connected by one measly, ill-defined character trait are THE ENTIRE MARKET, and that they were marketed SPECIFICALLY for being stories about dad characters. You're going to argue that the reason why people bought The Witcher 3 is because they wanted to be "daddy" Geralt? Give me a fucking break. It is absolutely asinine.

I would argue that it was as well-received as it was because the story was more mature and Geralt better developed as a character, and the whole thing was aimed at an older audience than the first two games.

RandV80:

Thanatos2k:
At least characters in Western AAA games are getting older with their audience/creators. Many Japanese devs refuse to leave the high school setting.

I sometimes think that because the Japanese maintain such a brutal work schedule that public school age is the only group that has time for these things, outside of the ostracized 'NEETS'. Kind of similar to how the baby boomer generation seemed to heavily glorify their high school years far more than we do today, when coincidentally most of them went out and got married & started having kids almost immediately after. Now that we tend to 'live' through our 20's before settling down and having kids from the perspective of someone in his 30's no one seems to give a shit about their high school days anymore.

That's pretty clever. And certainly true. Everything good in my life happened after high school. It's the college years that I remember fondly as I sit here in my 40's thinking of yesteryear. You get a "no-prize" for that one! :)

"If you look at the male protagonists of a few years back, immaturity was the prevailing trend. A lack of social graces. You either had your big fat unrealistically-muscled vessels for furious teenage angst like your Kratos and your Marcus Fenix, or you'd have your 'strong silent type', unemotional and aloof, the kind of hero that appealed to the self-conscious and socially awkward. Your Gordon Freemans, your J. C. Dentons, your Jack from Bioshocks. The emotional spectrum on display was nothing but extremes - fiery reds and cold blues."
Sounds like there's a TV Trope for that: Red Oni Blue Oni.

Zetatrain:
Interesting observation, though I can't say that Master Chief fits the fatherly role since the members of Blue team are around the same age he is. Also, Big Boss was already in the father/mentor role back in Peacewalker (2010) and arguably in Portable Ops (2006). Plus, Big Boss as a father/mentor figure had been part of his backstory long before either of those two games.

I get what you're saying, and adding that Portable Ops, Peace Walker, Ground Zeroes, and Phantom Pain all show Big Boss acclimating to that role of a leader of men, instead of the solo operative Solid Snake is. That's where Liquid and Solidus take after him.

008Zulu:
No, this isn't true! This is impossible!!

Search your feelings; you know it to be true.

I believed that it could result from the changing of views of masculinity. Nowadays, men are shown in nurturing roles (roles that are exclusively for women) due to the change of views of 'nurture'. Nurture was first thought to be gendered but now nurture is known for its instinctual, biological drives that majority of the animals have.

It is quite similar to the view of parenting in the Caribbean. At first, there are many female headed single parent families because some men are afraid, did not care or incapable of being fathers. But now there is a huge culture shift where men are willingly accept responsibility of being a parent.

In terms of writing, I am not a huge fan of this trope. Normally the child, person, object that the protagonist must fathered are known for being plot devices and emotional crotches. As long as the writing is good, I am fine with the trope.

I suppose these kinds of stories are great for those who are fathers or soon to be fathers.

But what about people like me? You know, the friendless "forever alone" types that will never be parents? Do they just assume every man will eventually become a grizzled, down-to-earth father figure?

I will not tolerate this constant single-shaming, game industry!

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Why Is Every AAA Game Hero Suddenly Your Dad?

Has anyone else noticed that an awful lot of these action game heroes are becoming dads? Not literally. I couldn't imagine Rico Rodriguez slipping the D into except a ballistic missile.

Read Full Article

Why Is Every AAA Game Hero Suddenly Your Dad? Because the teenage punchy hair Hero has been corner marketed by the Japanese developers.

The same reason vampire novels are all Varney the Vampire: Twat edition (most probably won't recognize that reference, but it basically made most modern vampire tropes until Twilight completely fucked them), because somebody a game where you play as a dad, it was mildly popular and now devs have jumped on the bandwagon like it'll undo global warming.

Vanilla_Knight:
Snip

Hm. I dunno about that! I think you can learn a lot about a society by looking at its popular culture. Tons of stories of self-sacrifice? That culture puts a lot of stock in honor and the larger social structure. Idolize cowboys? Probably reflective of how those people value self-determination and independence. It's the whole reason Mythology is such an interesting study.

I think people get confused because they think that one starts the other; in reality it's more of a complicated echo that grows stronger as time goes on. So yes! It's not necessarily dumb to look to stories for social or cultural importance- the problem is when one tries to throw a wrench in the gears and say "Stop this thing!"

That never works. The real purpose of academic interest is to make us more aware of the contrivances of our storytelling so that we can be better-equipped to tell more, better stories.

there is a lot of this both in games and other forms of popular culture recently

fallout tends to be about a kind of "bird leaving the nest" story about a young person leaving home and becoming independent but in fallout 4 the main character has become the parental figure looking for his/her son

Star wars episode VII is still about a young person becoming who she was meant to be in a sort of metaphor for growing into an adult but now there is also a pretty significant side story about han solo trying to save his renegade son from being corrupted by the dark side

Mad max furyy road is largely about an older woman, more experienced in the cruel realities in the world trying to protect a group of younger women who have been forced into sexual slavery

fantasy books had a tendency to use mmostly younger single heroes but game of thrones and the books it's based on are full of themes concerning family and parentage, which for some characters is what they see as their sole purpose

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