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Dulce et Decorum Est (killing off the protagonist)

LeitnerLeitner Registered User regular
edited May 2009 in Games and Technology
Leitner wrote: »
Kor wrote: »
I'm actually very much okay with that.

I just hope we don't play as humans. Because playing as a faction you know is supposed to lose, just never works out right. You'll have some epic boss battle at the end, but in the end, despite your efforts, you're still fucked, so what was the point.

Playing as the Covies would be so much better.

My fanboy is setting in, and I'm picturing something closer to ODST. Having a squad of an Elite with Plasma Rifles and Needlers, a Grunt with Plasma Pistols and Fuel Rods. A Jackal with the Sniper and Carbines, and the Hunter, with a fucking fist of doom.

(settle down there fanboy, settle down)

Whilst being a covie would be fun. I don't really see your 'what was the point', it would be great. It'd serve to hammer home that the humans are actually losing the war rather badly. It’s a series of pyrrhic victories culminating in your eventual death losing the battle against insurmountable odds. The point isn’t whether you win, it’s whether you try. It's one of humanities defining characteristics. Plus given the secular themes present it’d be an interesting albeit inspiring take upon it.
Kor wrote: »
I'm just saying any time I've ever played a game where you know you're on the losing team, I've never felt a sense of accomplishment after beating it.

Halo Wars is a great example. We know the Humans aren't winning the war, so even though you get to watch Forge pull shit out of his ass to beat the Arbiter, and then sacrifice himself to blow up a sun, its all bitter sweet, because it had zero impact on the story thereafter. They went away, fought their own battle and "won" which had no impact on the rest of humanity in any way.

I feel the same would be played out if I was playing as Humans on Reach. I know I'm going to lose the planet, no matter what I do. I might fight off some huge invading force, so that X more civilians can escape, and maybe that makes me a hero, but I really doubt I'll feel like a badass for only prolonging my destruction.
Leitner wrote: »
Have you played well hell the titles a spoiler so
COD4.
Because even though it doesn't end with the nuke scene, it could have. And I would havegone away content.
I mean it might just be me, but heroes live short violent lives. It’s what immortalises them. And it’s (arguably) one of the greatest acts of – not patriotism – but sacrifice. You’re giving up everything to protect those you love and what you believe in. Even something as thunderously stupid as the Charge of the Light brigade lights a little fire in you that makes you think fuck yeah. Despite realising its sheer ridiculousness.
Kor wrote: »
Willeth wrote: »
Kor wrote: »
Willeth wrote: »
I imagine that the people who know that Reach is doomed are only a fraction of the Halo audience.

I'm sure you're right. Doesn't mean the ending would be any better or worse.

I think that revelation that oh fuck, we've lost would be really powerful to those who didn't know it was coming.

Yeah, and then they'd probably be pissed that whatever badass hero they were playing didn't actually do shit.

Something along the lines of, "well why the fuck did I just spend the last 2 hours trying to beat this damn level when my dude is just going to die anyway?"
Kor wrote: »
Leitner wrote: »
Given it was a gift, probably.

Anyway Kor, do you feel the same about all media? Because damn near every Shakespeare play ends with the protagonist dead, or irrevocably screwed. That doesn’t mean they weren’t worth reading.

No, because reading the last chapter of a book isn't any harder than reading the first chapter, and doesn't require me repeating areas/fights over and over again in hopes of finishing it.

That, and when I read a book, I'm reading a story about a character. When I play a game, I AM that character. It's a different type of attachment.

Sidenote: This thread should not include discussion of silent protagonists. They’re always without fail inherently ridiculous.

Leitner on
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Posts

  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I think you need a little more context there, man.

    There are rumours of a Halo game being announced at E3, detailing the fall of the planet Reach, which according to Halo lore was the first significant Covenant attack against humanity.

    The discussion in the Halo thread was that Kor wouldn't consider a game where you know that the protagonist and his faction is going to die to be worth playing. I'll let him elaborate on why.

    My argument was that a game is a more powerful vehicle for a story in which the main character dies, because you're not just reading about the character, you are the character.

    Willeth on
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  • OmnomnomPancakeOmnomnomPancake OttawaRegistered User regular
    edited May 2009
    There's nothing wrong with playing a doomed protagonist. Getting to watch Reach fall would be an incredible experience. I level it similarly with having just watched Valkyrie; I'm well aware that every main character I'm hoping succeeds dies and fails their mission terribly, but it's compelling to see how their demise comes about.

    OmnomnomPancake on
  • LeitnerLeitner Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Man, you could gather the context from there. The first post practically spells out what we're talking about, but yes I'm firmly in Willeth/Pancakes camp here.

    Leitner on
  • Metal Gear Solid 2 DemoMetal Gear Solid 2 Demo Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    So we're all in agreement then?

    Good, lets go for lunch

    edit:

    I'm reminded of characters from literature that we follow through a story and are just killed off. ASoIaF stuff or a few characters in The Stand or for a movie/literature example Josh Brolin's character in No County for Old Men. Their sudden death doesn't detract from the overall story or my enjoyment of it, but adds to it because it makes you realize there's a much larger story revolving around them

    Metal Gear Solid 2 Demo on
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  • KorKor Known to detonate from time to time Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    And as I stated in the Halo thread. I'm not against games that have doomed endings and whatnots. Its just that it seems developers have a much more difficult time getting those stories to work properly.

    My main point really was that I think it makes much more sense to play as Covenant attacking reach, than it would playing as Humans defending it. We know Reach is doomed, so as I stated, I would feel pretty empty playing a game where I know I have 0 impact on the results of the story.

    You're OP is lacking something definition it seems. Do you want people to talk about playing games where they know the ending already? Like MGS3?

    Do you want people to talk about changing the past like FFVII: Crisis Core?


    edit: @ above. Exactly, if there is a much bigger story going on, it makes sense. Playing shit like Halo Wars, where you jump thru space to an unknown location, and fight to win a battle against the Covenant that know one will ever know about, because you can't get home, just seems dumb to me. It had no impact on the rest of the Halo series at all. The humans and covenant could have accidentally jumped into a sun, and no one would have seen anything different.

    Kor on
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  • Metal Gear Solid 2 DemoMetal Gear Solid 2 Demo Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Kor wrote: »
    And as I stated in the Halo thread. I'm not against games that have doomed endings and whatnots. Its just that it seems developers have a much more difficult time getting those stories to work properly.

    My main point really was that I think it makes much more sense to play as Covenant attacking reach, than it would playing as Humans defending it. We know Reach is doomed, so as I stated, I would feel pretty empty playing a game where I know I have 0 impact on the results of the story.

    You're OP is lacking something definition it seems. Do you want people to talk about playing games where they know the ending already? Like MGS3?

    Do you want people to talk about changing the past like FFVII: Crisis Core?


    edit: @ above. Exactly, if there is a much bigger story going on, it makes sense. Playing shit like Halo Wars, where you jump thru space to an unknown location, and fight to win a battle against the Covenant that know one will ever know about, because you can't get home, just seems dumb to me. It had no impact on the rest of the Halo series at all. The humans and covenant could have accidentally jumped into a sun, and no one would have seen anything different.

    Maybe that's true but I think the instances of stuff happening like that are rare

    Typically with RTS or other games your objectives in a single mission are part of a larger context. Halo Wars may be just attempting to single out stories of the war, whether they go bad or good, because that's what it's chronicling, the war overall. (never played it so I don't know what mission you're referring to or the context)

    Metal Gear Solid 2 Demo on
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  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    My point was probably close to 'the journey is more important than the destination'. There's a book called Death Star, about the construction of the first station and the civilians that operated the bars and what have you. We know that Luke is going to blow this thing to smithereens, but that doesn't mean that learning about the construction of it, the politics involved, and the stories of the prisoners who were forced into working there any less interesting.; I don't regard it as time wasted. In fact, the end
    felt really weak to me, because the characters you were following throughout the book all conveniently escaped minutes before it was destroyed.
    Kor wrote: »
    You're OP

    You're doing it just to annoy him, now. :P

    Willeth on
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  • LeitnerLeitner Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Kor wrote: »
    You're OP is lacking something definition it seems. Do you want people to talk about playing games where they know the ending already? Like MGS3?

    Do you want people to talk about changing the past like FFVII: Crisis Core?

    I've left it intentionally vague. Tackle it any way you want.

    I was taking what you were saying to being against killing off the protagonist in any fashion. I was claiming that it can be an incredibly effective tool, because of the aforementioned reasons. As well as the fact that the narrative and the story aren't the same. You could have a narrative say where your character goes after someone in revenge but dies before he reaches the end. The story would be how revenge destroys you or some such. It could be used a million other ways for great affect. The narrative may seem to have been pointless, but the story isn't.

    If you’re talking about having a story set in such a fashion where they take a cheap way out, such as the way in Halo wars apparently you survived but they used a cheap way to stop this influencing the story then that sucks. Or Willeths example, it cheapens the experience.

    Leitner on
  • McAllenMcAllen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    If I have to play through a game knowing one single event, I'm fine with it. But after the first playthrough of a game like Metal Gear 3, I'm skipping codec calls and boring cutscenes. I think the only time I felt bad when a character died was Steve in RECV(OMG BUT HE LOVED CLAIRE CAPCOM!!) and Mareg from Grandia II.

    I don't know if I've seen a company get away with the sweet sweet dramatic irony of killing off the protagonist. MGS3 did some of it well, but not enough to where I felt like I cared about what happened to the characters.(I remember in the past seeing the japanese version of some of the MGS3 cutscenes. Some of them I remember being altered a lot because of synching, am I retarded?)

    I would like to see more characters die off. It intensifies the drama more than people give credit for. But money yaddayaddayaddda

    Just don't back out from killing characters. Or don't give that cheap trailer twist where you think Alex is dead and then her father gets the brain sucked out of him. I think RE5 could've had a Mansion flashback where you play the events of Jill's death, knowing her outcome from the gravestone. It could've made fans cry.

    Even though I think it should've been Rebecca that died, if Jill were to pass on.

    McAllen on
  • LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I don't really understand all of the references to Halo, so perhaps you all could better contextualize the discussion for me.

    Since you chose to use the phrase "Dulce et Decorum Est" (with that capitalization), I think you're conceptualizing a dying protagonist in the context of Owen's poem about the horrors of World War I. Is that a fair assumption?

    If so, I'm not sure we've seen any games that use the death of the protagonist to reinforce the idea that war is a bad fucking thing. I would, however, like to play a game like this.

    If we're thinking of it in the context of the original quote, "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori," then I can think of a few games that fall in line with this ideology. There are a few games in which the protagonist dies to reinforce ideas of sacrifice for the greater good.

    LoveIsUnity on
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  • McAllenMcAllen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Which of these games are you favorites? How dare you tease us without even naming a single game besides Halo.

    McAllen on
  • ReznikReznik Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I thought Zack's death in Crisis Core was done pretty brilliantly. If you're playing Crisis Core, you've played 7. You know he's going to die. And yet when you get to the end, it still hits you because throughout the game, Zack was the guy who was so full of life. He was the one helping people out, being the nice guy, never giving up. He's the guy who dragged Cloud's comatose ass halfway across the world when he could have easily just run for it and gotten away faster. Yeah, maybe it's cheesy and cliched or whatever, but he goes out at the end and he goes out in style. Squeenix didn't hold back one bit.

    On the other side...

    (MGS4, spoilered just in case)
    I was pissed that Kojima chickened out at the end, went Deus ex Big Boss and oops, nevermind about that virus Snake you're actually completely fine!

    Fuck that. Snake is not the type of character who should have a happy ending. He should have ate a bullet to save the rest of the world from a horrible epidemic. It would have been powerful and more importantly final, because I can totally see Kojima coughing up nanobots to have Snake's aging reverse and hey whaddaya know, it's a new game!

    I'm all for main characters biting it, but I guess that kinda cuts in to the sequel potential.

    Reznik on
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  • LeitnerLeitner Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    If so, I'm not sure we've seen any games that use the death of the protagonist to reinforce the idea that war is a bad fucking thing. I would, however, like to play a game like this.

    I mentioned it earlier, but the way it's handled in
    COD4 is superb.
    The Americans are in a country to dispose a dictator. You’re fighting in the city when you get the message that a nuclear device is in the city, which a bomb squad is trying to deactivate. Whilst evacuating your wingman is shot down so you stop to rescue them being made aware that in the case of an explosion you won’t be at a safe distance. In a big damn heroes moment you save them and get them in the chopper flying off into the sunset. Boom, you see the nuke go off and your chopper caught in the blast wave starts spinning out of control, your squad mates flying out the back, you pass out. You come back to consciousness in the wreckage stuck in a post apocalyptic city, limping (then falling to the ground) with the rumble mimicking your slowly dying heartbeat.

    Happens at the end as well. Almost (or possibly all) your entire team gets killed off just before the chopper arrives to save you.

    One of the most powerful videogame moments in a long while.

    Edit: The heavy Halo focus is due to the fact that all the quotes come from the TBK (Halo) thread.

    Leitner on
  • LoveIsUnityLoveIsUnity Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Awww, dammit. Now, I have to find a copy of COD4.

    LoveIsUnity on
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  • Eight RooksEight Rooks Registered User
    edited May 2009
    Killing the protagonist? Maybe not... but there are games where everything you did ultimately accomplished jack shit, or at best you doomed or utterly humiliated yourself getting there.

    SPOILERS ZOMG LULZ, or something.
    Planescape Torment.
    Enjoy the Plane War, son, because you're not getting out for about a million million years.

    Shadow of the Colossus.
    Yes, that's right! No matter how noble your intentions were or what you did accomplish, you were a brain-dead tool in the first place for attempting the impossible and now you've paid the price! How's that taste?

    Killzone 2.
    Uh-huh. Good guys? Moar liek bad guys, m i rite? Plus clumsy Iraq conflict parallels for the win, eh? Not to mention anyone with half a brain could see Rico was a soulless, retarded, murdering tool from the start, not to mention one who was going to ruin everything as soon as he got the chance.

    Assassin's Creed.
    Again, you're a dick! How much of a dick? This much. Not getting it? First he'll explain it. Then this guy. Then him. Then him - did I mention you're a dick?

    F.E.A.R. 2.
    Which actually does kill off the protagonist! Or absorbs his life-essence to birth psycho dead bitch's supernatural hellspawn, or something, for anyone who didn't see it coming from about ten minutes in.

    Far Cry 2.
    Hope you didn't want to kill the Jackal too badly! ...hope you enjoy horrendously badly handled dramatic climaxes, too.

    It can be done; it's just the general idiot preconceptions people hold of "What in God's name do you mean why would anyone play a game that was not fun that would suck so much balls Christ get out of here get outtttt" etc., etc. You want everything to be sunshine and rainbows and victory parades waving the severed heads of your vanquished enemies? Good for you. I occasionally like to play a game which presents the idea fantasy can blow goats just as much as reality, and that there's nothing you can do about it. Much as I like to mix, say, Michael Bay with Christopher Nolan. Variety and such.

    Eight Rooks on
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  • McAllenMcAllen Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Condemned would've had a fitting ending if your character had died.

    COD4 was one I totally forgot about.

    Shadow of the Colossus only had me depressed when I thought my horse was gone. Agrooo!.. Agro?

    FEAR2 the Point Man got a once in a lifetime deal. And hey, he's not the one pregnant right?

    Max Payne was another that teased about Max's demise.

    McAllen on
  • KorKor Known to detonate from time to time Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Reznik wrote: »
    I thought Zack's death in Crisis Core was done pretty brilliantly. If you're playing Crisis Core, you've played 7. You know he's going to die. And yet when you get to the end, it still hits you because throughout the game, Zack was the guy who was so full of life. He was the one helping people out, being the nice guy, never giving up. He's the guy who dragged Cloud's comatose ass halfway across the world when he could have easily just run for it and gotten away faster. Yeah, maybe it's cheesy and cliched or whatever, but he goes out at the end and he goes out in style. Squeenix didn't hold back one bit.

    On the other side...

    This was my other point.

    Zack's Death in Crisis Core has been written 3 times now. Once in the original game. Once in the OVA, and Once in Crisis Core.

    Now, I'll admit the end of Crisis Core is pretty awesome, and a hell of a good idea, but obviously it retconned something from the original game.



    Leitner, where do you keep getting that I don't want a protagonist to die? I don't think I ever said that. What I did say is that I think its very hard to write a story for a game, when the circumstances surrounding that story are already pretty solid in the lore of that universe. And, I think its a poor decision to make the player play the losing side.



    Here is some backstory about Halo stuff, so more people can understand what I'm talking about:

    Halo 1 takes place later in the war against the Covenant. The Covenant had just fucked up the Human's planet Reach. Many Spartans (what master chief is) died defending Reach, like 99% of them.

    Chief gets away and find the halo. Chief fucks up the halo.

    Halo 2: Chief defends Earth from Covenant. Elite in charge of Halo 1 gets fucked, and his rulers try to commit genocide against the Elites. Master Chief invades Covenant home city. Arbiter (Elite guy) kills the leader of the race thats killing of his people.

    Halo 3: Chief and Arbiter team up, finish off Covenant on Earth. Follow Covenant to the Ark (thing that makes Halo rings) Kill off Covenant Leaders. Try to Escape. Arbiter makes it back to Earth. Chief doesn't, and cryo's himself for unknown time.

    Halo Wars: Halo Wars fucked everything up. Halo Wars starts on Reach, but then they jump thru space to some unknown world. They use their ships jump core thing to blow up the Covenant that followed them. Because they can't get back, no one knows what happened. Nothing could have happened at all, and no one would know any different.


    Now, to the topic at hand.

    Someone found a forum on Bungie.net called the Halo:Reach forum. Its since been removed. People are guessing its the next game bungie is working on. Now, its been stated in the games, and the novels that the humans lose at Reach, Reach gets fucked. What I propositioned was that it'd be neat to play as the Covenant (since we've done so previously) attacking reach. I think that would be much better than playing as the humans, who we know are going to lose.

    Kor on
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  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    But we know the humans are going to lose anyway. So by your logic, what's the point in playing as the Covenant? The whole thing is a foregone conclusion in any case - are you suggesting that simply playing as the winning side is better? Because I really don't subscribe to that.

    Eight Rooks bringing up Shadow of the Colossus is a great example. The whole point of that game is that as you're playing it, you slowly realise that you're committing horrible things for selfish ends. It's not quite the same as the main character dying, but it's a very well-received game in which you're very uncomfortable for a lot of the experience.

    Willeth on
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  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Leitner wrote: »
    Sidenote: This thread should not include discussion of silent protagonists. They’re always without fail inherently ridiculous.

    Hehehehe...Half-Life 2.

    I'm not disagreeing. On the contrary, I am in agreement.

    For some reason, I'm reminded of the end of Hitman: Blood Money, which pulls something like this...
    ...in the sense that, if you did not play the final mission, the main character essentially gets cooked to a crisp in a very post-modern looking church, surrounded by enemies.

    I personally thought this was pretty clever (at least, a very clever way of dealing with the typical 'Kill Everybody Conclusion Mission' you get at the end of stealth games frequently).

    On the subject of Halo: ODST, playing as the Convenant would be pretty cool in regards to the fact that you'd finally, you know, hunt down and kill humans of the UNSC. It was kind of silly that the Covenant role you play in Halo 2 is entirely against heretics, then the flood, then the Covenant itself. Ended up feeling as though UNSC soldiers were sacred, like babies.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • SirUltimosSirUltimos Don't talk, Rusty. Just paint. Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Couldn't you argue that a game, say, Halo:Reach, is mroe about the journey than the destination?

    SirUltimos on
  • LeitnerLeitner Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    He's not actually refering to ODST, it looks like Bungie has a new project named Reach, which is what he's talking about in regards to playing covies.

    Leitner on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Leitner wrote: »
    He's not actually refering to ODST, it looks like Bungie has a new project named Reach, which is what he's talking about in regards to playing covies.

    Oh. I feel like an idiot. I thought the mentions to Reach were a novel. I thought it was just wild speculation, heh.

    This is also the first time I've heard the Covenant referred to as 'Covies'--I mean, it's only one syllable shorter. But I'm also the kind of person who calls them 'Paladins' and 'Shotguns' (geeze, that has the same amount of syllables!).

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Reach is a planet, on which the novel Fall of Reach was set, and which is supposedly the setting for this rumoured game. Fall of Reach tells the story of the battle on Reach that was a spectacular failure for the UNSC. The assumption is that a game called Halo: Reach would be a game of the book.

    Willeth on
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  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Willeth wrote: »
    Reach is a planet, on which the novel Fall of Reach was set, and which is supposedly the setting for this rumoured game. Fall of Reach tells the story of the battle on Reach that was a spectacular failure for the UNSC. The assumption is that a game called Halo: Reach would be a game of the book.

    I knew it was a location (I'm not that out of loop). I honestly thought the mentions to Reach were just about the book.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Synthesis wrote: »
    Leitner wrote: »
    Sidenote: This thread should not include discussion of silent protagonists. They’re always without fail inherently ridiculous.

    Hehehehe...Half-Life 2.

    I'm not disagreeing. On the contrary, I am in agreement.

    They work depending on context. Half-Life's works incredibly well because they build the game around that concept, but then to each their own I suppose.

    subedii on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    subedii wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote: »
    Leitner wrote: »
    Sidenote: This thread should not include discussion of silent protagonists. They’re always without fail inherently ridiculous.

    Hehehehe...Half-Life 2.

    I'm not disagreeing. On the contrary, I am in agreement.

    They work depending on context. Half-Life's works incredibly well because they build the game around that concept, but then to each their own I suppose.

    I personally disagree. Which is not to say both Half-Life games aren't exceptionally good games, I just think that the mute protagonist was not a positive aspect of them. In other words, I think it worked in a completely mediocre fashion with an otherwise great game--but this is all a matter of opinions, of course.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Synthesis wrote: »
    subedii wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote: »
    Leitner wrote: »
    Sidenote: This thread should not include discussion of silent protagonists. They’re always without fail inherently ridiculous.

    Hehehehe...Half-Life 2.

    I'm not disagreeing. On the contrary, I am in agreement.

    They work depending on context. Half-Life's works incredibly well because they build the game around that concept, but then to each their own I suppose.

    I personally disagree. Which is not to say both Half-Life games aren't exceptionally good games, I just think that the mute protagonist was not a positive aspect of them. In other words, I think it worked in a completely mediocre fashion with an otherwise great game--but this is all a matter of opinions, of course.

    It tends to be a love it or hate it thing with most people. What Valve set out to do with that kind of system I believe they achieved extremely well, but going into that further would be derailing the thread. Suffice it to say though you can't put out a blanket "OLOL, it are crap" statement like the OP did, it's pretty subjective and a lot more nuanced a design decision than that.

    subedii on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    subedii wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote: »
    subedii wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote: »
    Leitner wrote: »
    Sidenote: This thread should not include discussion of silent protagonists. They’re always without fail inherently ridiculous.

    Hehehehe...Half-Life 2.

    I'm not disagreeing. On the contrary, I am in agreement.

    They work depending on context. Half-Life's works incredibly well because they build the game around that concept, but then to each their own I suppose.

    I personally disagree. Which is not to say both Half-Life games aren't exceptionally good games, I just think that the mute protagonist was not a positive aspect of them. In other words, I think it worked in a completely mediocre fashion with an otherwise great game--but this is all a matter of opinions, of course.

    It tends to be a love it or hate it thing with most people. What Valve set out to do with that kind of system I believe they achieved extremely well, but going into that further would be derailing the thread. Suffice it to say though you can't put out a blanket "OLOL, it are crap" statement like the OP did, it's pretty subjective and a lot more nuanced a design decision than that.

    I can agree with that--but honestly, I could imagine Valve having done it simply because they didn't want to deal with the creation of another character and how it have to interact with everyone else. So, instead, he never speaks, and everyone just accepts that. It's up to the player to fill int the gaps (or wonder why no one ever points this out or why the character isn't examined further).

    Let's just say it wouldn't exactly fly over in any game. But hey, HL2 is a good game by any measure, so who cares if the main character is pretty much non-existent? Then again, I'm one of those people who think Valve is a good game developer, not the Second Coming of Christ.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Synthesis wrote: »
    Let's just say it wouldn't exactly fly over in any game.

    Absolutely. You need to design the game and story around that if it's going to work. Not every game is trying for that effect, or should be.

    As for the not having another character thing, well it's not like they've been shy to add characters to the series. To be honest, that just sounds like a variant on the "Valve are lazy so they don't voice him" line, which has always struck me as kind of surreal.

    subedii on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    subedii wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote: »
    Let's just say it wouldn't exactly fly over in any game.

    Absolutely. You need to design the game and story around that if it's going to work. Not every game is trying for that effect, or should be.

    As for the not having another character thing, well it's not like they've been shy to add characters to the series. To be honest, that just sounds like a variant on the "Valve are lazy so they don't voice him" line, which has always struck me as kind of surreal.

    It's not an issue of voicing him. It's an issue of making a character people respond positively too. That's generally desirable in a protagonist.

    I find it more easy to believe that, after pitching several character types around, Valve decided to go with the notion of a mute protagonist who would purely defined by how the player saw him, believed it would be inventive, that it might work out well and, let's face it, could finally put the whole issue to bed and save them a great deal of work--work on writing, work on interactions, everything else. I probably would have done the same thing, especially if I knew it would work out well.

    Personally, I would have vastly preferred something a bit more...human...with a personality that was actually a creation of Valves, not a creation of my own mind. Especially given the game's theme of a struggle between humanity and inhumanity. "Man of few words" would have been nice--emphasis on few--rather than "man of absolutely no words".

    Really, I do think a few carefully poised statements could have meant the world, and actually created a personality. Of course, I don't know how the series is going to end either.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    That may have been the case originally, but they've really adopted it quite well now, I think.

    To be honest, and to flex my segway-making muscles, it would be interesting to see Gordon Freeman die at the end of the story, and to see how the resistance copes with it. Maybe it doesn't really mesh with the story as a whole - I'm sure that if there were ever any danger of it, the G-Man would swoop in and be like 'no, fuck that, I need you for something else' - but I would really like to see the outcome of that.

    Willeth on
    @vgreminders - Don't miss out on timed events in gaming!
    @gamefacts - Totally and utterly true gaming facts on the regular!
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Willeth wrote: »
    That may have been the case originally, but they've really adopted it quite well now, I think.

    To be honest, and to flex my segway-making muscles, it would be interesting to see Gordon Freeman die at the end of the story, and to see how the resistance copes with it. Maybe it doesn't really mesh with the story as a whole - I'm sure that if there were ever any danger of it, the G-Man would swoop in and be like 'no, fuck that, I need you for something else' - but I would really like to see the outcome of that.

    The nature of the game is stacked against that. We're not that likely to see Gordon in the third person, we're not likely to hear him speak--and by definition to respond. So if he did pass, it would just be the screen going black. Watching the aftermath, by Valve's rules, would mean that Gordon was observing--as a ghost. Or some sort of scientific excuse for one, like a alien-technology spectral being. Less of a sense of finality. Why bother having him die at all? You might as well just make him completely paralyzed--it's the same thing as death, since he's completely defined by his actions towards others.

    It's something we wouldn't witness as they game were now. Of course, that could change (hence 'stacked again', not 'made impossible'). And there's something poetic about a screen going to black, if the right things happen before it.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I should clarify that the 'that may have been the case originally' was referring to the idea that Freeman being speechless was down to laziness and not design.

    Let's say Gordon is grievously injured at the end of Episode 3 and the last thing before the credits roll is a slow blink, fade to darkness, and the HEV suit's flatline whine. If it's the end of his story, that would actually be incredibly satisfying to me. You can't really argue that 'it was all for nothing', here - Gordon Freeman pretty much single-handedly saved humanity from slavery, and that still happened, whether he's dead or not.

    The next game could well be something completely different, and deal with rebuilding a society without their saviour. Hell, the one saviour dying but saving a civilisation in the process is a pretty well-established trope, I'd say.

    Willeth on
    @vgreminders - Don't miss out on timed events in gaming!
    @gamefacts - Totally and utterly true gaming facts on the regular!
  • F-Zero_RacerF-Zero_Racer Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Because I love bringing up Lufia 2, I think it dealt with it in an interesting way. Basically if you had played the very first game in the series you knew exactly what was going to happen, that in the end Maxim and Selan were going to die. So when you go through Lufia 2 you see all these events occur that eventually add up to that scene and it still hits you pretty hard. Especially since Maxim sacrifices his life to stop an entire island from falling on a town that his son was located in.

    Another example of an early RPG to do this was Terranigma, but I haven't played much of that.

    F-Zero_Racer on
  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Synthesis wrote: »
    subedii wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote: »
    Let's just say it wouldn't exactly fly over in any game.

    Absolutely. You need to design the game and story around that if it's going to work. Not every game is trying for that effect, or should be.

    As for the not having another character thing, well it's not like they've been shy to add characters to the series. To be honest, that just sounds like a variant on the "Valve are lazy so they don't voice him" line, which has always struck me as kind of surreal.

    It's not an issue of voicing him. It's an issue of making a character people respond positively too. That's generally desirable in a protagonist.

    I find it more easy to believe that, after pitching several character types around, Valve decided to go with the notion of a mute protagonist who would purely defined by how the player saw him, believed it would be inventive, that it might work out well and, let's face it, could finally put the whole issue to bed and save them a great deal of work--work on writing, work on interactions, everything else. I probably would have done the same thing, especially if I knew it would work out well.

    I can understand where you're coming from here. As you say, it's about the player defining, and being the protagonist.
    Personally, I would have vastly preferred something a bit more...human...with a personality that was actually a creation of Valves, not a creation of my own mind. Especially given the game's theme of a struggle between humanity and inhumanity. "Man of few words" would have been nice--emphasis on few--rather than "man of absolutely no words".

    Problem is, even if that's your objective, it's not Valves objective to have a separate cahracter be the protagonist, with you just controlling the combat. Having been on the receiving end of many FPS characters who talked, I honestly have yet to encounter one that I was able to actually relate to at all, and 99% of the time their statements just come out as outright asinine. Whether that's a scripting issue or not, whenever someone mentions how inherently superior talking protagonists are, I immediately flashback to a scene in Crysis:

    Sergeant: "We've gotta take out those AA's in the harbour!"

    Nomad: "Doesn't sound too difficult!"

    Me: "What the? Who SAYS something like that? Shut up you moron!"

    Sergeant: "You want the job?! You got it!"

    Me: "Nice going. Ass."
    Really, I do think a few carefully poised statements could have meant the world, and actually created a personality. Of course, I don't know how the series is going to end either.

    The thing is, they're not trying to create a personality to relate to, that's the point. The objective is to have the player be the protagonist instead of acting out for one. It's a different design goal. Just before I said that I've never been able to relate to any of those talking FPS protagonists. HL has the different goal of casting the character as that protagonist and letting him have his own thoughts and responses on the situation, instead of listening to some other whiny brat or Grr Grr space marine interpose his invective on the proceedings.

    Whether they're actually successful in achieving that goal is the subjective part. I'm not trying to tell you that the approach is better or worse, I'm just trying to clarify what and why they're doing it.

    subedii on
  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    I think the success of HL2 is that Freeman does have a personality. I think it's pretty clear what personality he has.

    Of course, it's clear to me. Someone else might have a radicaly different perception of it.

    But hey, this is exactly what this thread was not intended to be, so there we go.

    Willeth on
    @vgreminders - Don't miss out on timed events in gaming!
    @gamefacts - Totally and utterly true gaming facts on the regular!
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    subedii wrote: »
    The thing is, they're not trying to create a personality to relate to, that's the point. The objective is to have the player be the protagonist instead of acting out for one. It's a different design goal. Just before I said that I've never been able to relate to any of those talking FPS protagonists. HL has the different goal of casting the character as that protagonist and letting him have his own thoughts and responses on the situation, instead of listening to some other whiny brat or Grr Grr space marine interpose his invective on the proceedings.

    Whether they're actually successful in achieving that goal is the subjective part. I'm not trying to tell you that the approach is better or worse, I'm just trying to clarify what and why they're doing it.

    That must be the problem. As good as Half-Life 2 is, I never once felt as though I was Gordon. Instead, I felt as though I was the one telling Freeman's story, instead of Valve. For me, great storytelling in games is....well, someone else telling me a story I don't know. Actively participating in the story in this fashion is more like being dragged into a play without a script, and told by the director to wing it, while the rest of the audience (from which you were part of) watches on. It's awkward at times. I obviously can't realize my own thoughts--because the only way to continue on the game is within the play. There don't really feel to be different responses, since you're still stuck in the play, and it'll continue without if necessary. And, after all, the game is intended to linear, when you get right down to it. Don't save someone? Game over. Want to go a different way? Tough shit. You're a puppet, remember?

    (I'm not holding that against Valve--nonlinear games have their own set of problems.)

    It especially doesn't help that there are moments where the disconnect is sufficient that I basically found myself seeing Gordon as someone who just spoke in ellipses constantly. Which is a shame, because some of the other characters have very, very good moments--that only serve to highlight the lack of character on Gordon's part. So when they're pouring their hearts out, agonizing over decisions, what does Gordon do?

    "...if the Combine return to exact their revenge, their response will be nothing short of catastrophic for the rest of humanity, Gordon."

    "..."

    "...Gordon? Are you listening? Your eyes are moving, but it doesn't seem like it."

    He becomes freaking Squall, with nothing going on up there and no interest in sharing that. Thankfully, not all of the dialogue is like this--the shorter, more offhand comments tend to work much better (since they don't demand a response at all. And as you said, it's subjective by nature. For me, it's just a moment where something--body language, a single word, anything--would have helped enormously.

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
  • Dr SnofeldDr Snofeld Registered User
    edited May 2009
    subedii wrote: »
    Having been on the receiving end of many FPS characters who talked, I honestly have yet to encounter one that I was able to actually relate to at all

    Not even the Duke?

    Dr Snofeld on
    l4d_sig.png
  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Dr Snofeld wrote: »
    subedii wrote: »
    Having been on the receiving end of many FPS characters who talked, I honestly have yet to encounter one that I was able to actually relate to at all

    Not even the Duke?

    Well he came close. I have been known to chew bubblegum on occasion. But clearly the man gives no thought or preparation to the process as he is continually running out of said gum.



    @ Synthesis: Largely agree with that you've said. Basically if you can feel yourself being the protagonist, it works, if you can't, it doesn't. That's pretty much the long and the short of it.

    subedii on
  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited May 2009
    Dr Snofeld wrote: »
    subedii wrote: »
    Having been on the receiving end of many FPS characters who talked, I honestly have yet to encounter one that I was able to actually relate to at all

    Not even the Duke?

    As fun as he is, I don't think any of us are up to the challenge of relating to Duke.

    On the same subject, though, I can confidently say of having played more than my share of FPS, I can't think of one in which the character had less personality than Half-Life 2. Of course, it doesn't help that he was placed against characters who did have personality. He could honestly turn out to be a vampire, a zombie, or a woman with a fake beard on, and the only thing I could say to that was "Wow. A female Vampire zombie with a fake beard graduated top of his class at MIT. Interesting."

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
    Isn't "Your sarcasm makes me wet," the highest compliment an Abh can pay a human?

    Only if said Abh is a member of the nobility.
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