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 Silent Protaginist - Cop out, or not?

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What do you think of silent protaginists?
Cop out. :evil:
20%
 20% [ 1 ]
Who cares? :roll:
0%
 0% [ 0 ]
Love them! :D
80%
 80% [ 4 ]
Total Votes : 5
 

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SmashedBrother
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PostSubject: Silent Protaginist - Cop out, or not?   Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:52 pm

So.....is it just me, or do all the mute heroes flying around feel like a cop out?

I understand the theory that a silent hero lets you "merge" with them and "become" the hero, but with a few exceptions like Samus and Link) it's always seemed like an excuse for not really being able to come up with a real hero. One of the reasons I like Skies of Arcadia so much is because Vyse fits the spot perfectly - likeable, cool, a little reckless but not utterly stupid either. (kind of like Han Solo from Star Wars) Even Lloyd from Tales of Symphonia, despite all his cheesy lines, is still much better than most mutes.

Is it just me?

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Last edited by SmashedBrother on Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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BrightScales
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PostSubject: Re: Silent Protaginist - Cop out, or not?   Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:18 pm

idk wth your talking about xD
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SmashedBrother
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PostSubject: Re: Silent Protaginist - Cop out, or not?   Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:30 pm

pugsly1000 wrote:
idk wth your talking about xD

Basically, main characters in rpgs who don't say anything, except sometimes you choose for them to say yes or no.

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waaar81

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PostSubject: Re: Silent Protaginist - Cop out, or not?   Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:34 pm

SmashedBrother wrote:
pugsly1000 wrote:
idk wth your talking about xD

Basically, main characters in rpgs who don't say anything, except sometimes you choose for them to say yes or no.

example: Crono from Chrono Trigger

I voted who cares Razz
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BrightScales
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PostSubject: Re: Silent Protaginist - Cop out, or not?   Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:01 pm

O i get it like pokemon...
i voted same as
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SmashedBrother
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PostSubject: Re: Silent Protaginist - Cop out, or not?   Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:22 pm

Guys, my point is NOT can a game be good with a mute hero (heck, until SoA, Ocarina of Time was hands down my favorite game, and no one would accuse Link of babbling, lol!)

What I was asking is whether you think it's a cop out to make an RPG type game and leave the main character "blank" for no reason. Is it just me?

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R.I.P.qjr!

The Grim(lin) reaper has come!

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Everlong

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PostSubject: Re: Silent Protaginist - Cop out, or not?   Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:50 pm

I would say that it honestly depends on the game and/or franchise. With things like Legend of Zelda, there's been a history of having a mute protagonist since the beginning, and messing with that is arguably not staying true to the series' roots. Heck, Link's name is a pun for a reason - you're meant to connect and, as you said, 'merge' yourself into the character. However, I think, we're coming to a point at least in the Zelda franchise where it isn't viable anymore.

As the 3D games have progressed, Link gets more and more of a back story. In The Wind Waker, his beloved sister Aryll is kidnapped by Ganondorf's minions and you have to rescue her; the game doesn't really let you, the player, really get to change how Link interacts around her. It's given to you up front. Twilight Princess was a similar way, but I think it handled it a bit better, at least as far as romance goes. Who does Link truly care for, at the game's end? Ilia or Midna? The game allows you to take the position and make up your mind based on the evidence (perhaps contradictory) of that decision.

With that note done, is it a cop out? I'm going to say that it depends on the game and how it's handled. I would argue, in the case of Link, while he's a 'semi-silent' protagonist now, it's not bad and handled in a crappy way. In fact, if he were given a voice, I don't honestly think it could ever match what I would consider him to sound like (though even I would admit I don't know what that is). It's the same thing for Samus apparently getting a voice in Metroid: Other M. That's what's great about silent protagonists, in a way, and why they're great for mostly sandbox games where you can make choices (like the Fallout franchise): it allows you to go on a sort of 'choose your own adventure' as to how you want to shape the fictional world around your choices and actions. This is things like morality and choice are so popular in games; because it lets you feel like you have a hand in the story.

...Though at the same time, as I said, it depends on how it's handled. Is it an excuse not to give a character back story? In some situations, I would argue yes. It's almost a cliche of the FPS genre to have one, and you never really feel any attachment to them. But at the same time, think about how wrongly it could be handled: even if one takes away the idea that possibly giving a formerly 'mute' character a voice actor isn't all that bad - what about the company's history of the quality of where they've gotten them from? Honestly, to me, Nintendo's track record is/was just about as good as Sega's is. In other words, not very at all. The quality of the voice actor almost definitely can change one's experience in how they connect to the world, if the protagonist is not silent, and in some cases, I'd think some people might argue it would have been better off had the character simply been quiet.

So where do I stand? The fourth option on the poll: 'it depends.'
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SmashedBrother
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PostSubject: Re: Silent Protaginist - Cop out, or not?   Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:51 pm

@Everlong - I think we're actually on the same page here, though I wasn't really talking about voice-acting. I personally don't have a problem with Link being silent, like I said in my first post, and I'll be the first to agree that in many games a talking protaginist wouldn't work well. (I.e. Just imagine them trying that in Battlefront, lol)

What I am frustrated with are games like Breath of Fire II, in which the hero literally has a dialog box appear saying "..." or games like Suikoden IV where the hero becomes a figurehead while his sidekicks manipulate him. That's when I get annoyed with silent protaginsts.


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The war to end all Waaars is coming.

R.I.P.qjr!

The Grim(lin) reaper has come!

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Everlong

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PostSubject: Re: Silent Protaginist - Cop out, or not?   Tue Aug 10, 2010 10:38 pm

SmashedBrother wrote:
@Everlong - I think we're actually on the same page here, though I wasn't really talking about voice-acting. I personally don't have a problem with Link being silent, like I said in my first post, and I'll be the first to agree that in many games a talking protaginist wouldn't work well. (I.e. Just imagine them trying that in Battlefront, lol)
I don't really think, though, you can extricate the two from each other, in a way. While I understand what you mean: dialog boxes can still be given for characters without actual voices, I think it's a better analogy because voice actors give emotion to the characters themselves as opposed to the blank slate of silent protagonists. It really isn't a problem with certain characters, as I mentioned in my post, just how they're handled. The developers' track record of plots and character development likely has the most to do with how I'd view the protagonist in question, though. Some companies do it much better than others due to the quality of their writers.

SmashedBrother wrote:
What I am frustrated with are games like Breath of Fire II, in which the hero literally has a dialog box appear saying "..." or games like Suikoden IV where the hero becomes a figurehead while his sidekicks manipulate him. That's when I get annoyed with silent protaginsts.
I agree, this often seems to me like it's something that could be changed if put a little more effort into. This isn't necessarily to call the developers lazy - lots of them want to make the player create their own reactions to certain events, even if a basic course must be taken. If done well, I think we can all agree, dialog doesn't matter. I think if more companies actually took the '3D Link' approach to the situation, we might all end up happier. That is to say: a silent protagonist who still has a semblance of a personality, even if it's pretty undefined in general. It allows us to connect to the game and not seem like a tool in the situations you just described. Wink
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Forsaken Lament 44
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PostSubject: Re: Silent Protaginist - Cop out, or not?   Tue Jul 05, 2011 2:56 pm

I don't really think I have strong feelings either way, as I think both types of characters have value, Still, as a whole, I don't buy the argument that a silent protagonist allows the gamer to "assume the identity" of the character. I'm going to be honest; I never felt that I [/i]was[i] Mario or Link...I think that despite the fact that they are both silent, they still have strong personality profiles, particularly Mario. On the other hand, characters like Snake, Cloud, Leon, Lloyd (great reference, btw Smashed, LOVED Tales of Symphonia Wink ), etc, etc. really do have a definitive personality which makes them popular and memorable with fans. Having said that, I don't think a talking Mario, Link, or Samus would make much difference...in fact, it might enhance the experience...

The only exception to this rule would be the instance of Bioshock and particularly Fallout, as both games present you with a character who is either completely customizable or lacks and real identity. In the case of Jack in Bioshock, I think you really assume his identity and feel the emotions he would likely feel in that sistuation, particularly during the most climatic of scenes. In the case of Fallout, the character is entirely your creation-your own avatar in a vast world where your choices and actions influence the world's turn of events. Naturally, this character doesn't speak, at least not with a voice actor...you choose what to say from a dialogue tree, which i think makes for the most immersive experience possible...when I played Fallout 3, I truly felt like that character was my representation in the world and that in a way, I had some measure of ownership over that world because I had done so much to influence it in my own unique way. So in that sense, characterization and voice aren't really needed. So all and all, I guess what I'm trying to say is that a Silent Protagonist can be useful, if done properly.

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