I’m getting agitated that I didn’t get angry today. I have no idea why. The hand of the Blood God must be upon me. Maybe I’ll fall to His frenzied bloodlusts soon. Been some time since Singapore had a serial killer, right?
Nobuko Toda, Shuichi Kobori, Kazuma Jinnouchi
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Original Soundtrack (2008)
Konami Digital Entertainment
Comments: SHOW ME YOUR RAGE!
Anyway Square Enix recently made a speech regarding the differences between Japanese and Western gaming audiences. I’m not going to copy-paste whole chunks of text, but basically one issue they addressed was the need for a masculine character for the Western market for believability.
Now I do have a stronger preference to the protagonists provided by Western gaming developers. But I feel it boils down to cultural differences.
In the US, having a grizzled older man play the hero works. It brings up references of war veterans, men who’ve been through thick and thin and can take–and deal out– all sorts of punishment to save the day. If that’s not the case, then it’s the character having more experience as a result of his age. I’m in quite a rush so I won’t go into detail but you know what I’m getting at right?
Whereas in Japan, having a bunch of teenagers end up being heroes also works. Culturally, having a story that involves the coming of age, friendship and love are universal themes. Saving the day may or may not be the central plot that keeps things moving along.
Here are some comments that I do agree with:
“Frankly I think, as far people that can save the world/galaxy/universe go, it makes sense for them to have the “macho” look. I mean, it throws me for a loop whenever I see a bunch of silly-looking feminine men saving the day in these Japanese games. And yet, I really don’t mind seeing more feminine looking male characters as heroes. Really it’s more up to the writers to suck us in and make these characters believable.”
Exactly. The TYPE of character it is isn’t as important as how the character is PORTRAYED. It has, and always will be, about the quality of writing in an RPG. He could be the meanest/
gayestcoolest looking man/boy in the world but who gives a flying pig if we don’t know or care about him? Immersion is the key-word in RPGs so if we hate the person we’re supposed to be playing as, that’ll just make for a bad experience.
Once you’ve nailed your character down, then you gotta work on your other characters. Your dialogs. Your interactions. Even all those NPCs that litter the world. It makes or breaks the immersive experience. This is where, in my opinion, Bethesda Studios really shine. The JRPGS made back in the old days, when they were still called Squaresoft: those were golden too.
“Shit. I just want a hero who isn’t clearly a twat. Or retard. Or you know, actually recognizing who is the real hero of the game. In FF6 who was the hero of the game? In FF5? The correct answer to this question is, All the characters you play as for more then 30 minutes.
In FF10 who was the hero of the game? If you answered Tidus, WRONG. The hero of that game was Yuna. Tidus was almost completely unnessesary to the game except as a way to move the plot forward. You get snippets and bits of info about everyone else, but the game doesn’t really go out of its way to make you want to play as each differant person to see what differant storys they have. In FF6 everyone had a story you could learn about, and everyone was the hero. There was no main character. Why can’t we have a game like that again? (No I haven’t played FF13 so if that actually did attain that, then maybe I’ll take a look at its corridor fest)”
I couldn’t agree more. I LOVED FF5 and 6. VII and VIII were great in their own ways but it felt more contemporary. IX went back to their usual style and I really enjoyed it. X was great simply because of the new platform and omg voice-acting! XII I never managed to finish because my PS2 died and my game’s still with V I think, haha. Haven’t started on XIII yet… (I lol’ed at corridor fest)
If you’re talking about sheer content of characters then it can’t beat Suikoden back during the PS2 era. We’re talking over a hundred different characters here. But with such large numbers they had to cut back on the stories by a lot, sadly.
I’m really looking forward to a JRPG that will blow me away. Valkyria Chronicles is refreshing and fun but the method they adopted to tell the story bugs me and I admit I haven’t finished it. And yes, FFXIII shines more in it’s visual and battle department but for me, RPGS are all about the stories man. I’m hoping it’ll be good but just thinking about having to deal with characters like Snow and Hope… err… sigh.
To be fair, over on the Western side of the world, this silly fascination with shooters, blood and gore is just getting out of hand. Where are all the good games that don’t require those aspects these days? All the good games in my book on the PS3 so far contain at least one of those elements.
Before I go and with some irony compared to my earlier statement on shooters and gore…
THE KING IS BACK BABY! DUKE NUKEM FOREVER!! Taken over by Gearbox Software who made epic Borderlands, this is gonna be sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!