Diversity in Game Characters

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by Stephen Bitto, Sep 25, 2015.

  1. Stephen Bitto

    Stephen Bitto Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    54
    PSN:
    TYLERxDURDEN
    With the announcement that Assassins Creed Syndicate will include the series' first transgender character, I wanted to ask you guys/gals:

    What are your thoughts on the diversity of characters in video games? Should developers try to include more types of people in their games? Can playing on stereotypes ruin a developer's attempt at inclusiveness? Can these decisions affect your interest in purchasing a game?

    Let us know what you think about this subject and where you think the industry is going. Examples welcome. Keep it respectful and civil too, people.
     
  2. Chalryn

    Chalryn PSLS Level: Bronze

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2014
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    65
    PSN:
    Chalryn
    I don't really care, personally. Male or female, black or white, human or otherwise... A main character is but a device through which a story is told, and each type of character has their own unique ways to contribute to a story. As long as said character is interesting, I'm game. Heck, if anything, I enjoy when we get an unusual main character, because they can (potentially) offer some interesting details in a game that others normally wouldn't.

    I don't really view their gender/nationality/etc. as a potential impediment to my immersion in a game, because even if the majority of the game is shown through their eyes, I don't really consider it a truly "first-person" experience. I feel like I, as the player, am just a sort of bystander or observer of the events around this character, despite any direct control I may have over them in the game -- I'm just tagging along for the ride, and offering suggestions on how to go about things throughout their story. Perhaps I'm just overly aware of the divide between the fantasy and reality (despite being a bit of an escapist)? I mean, after all, a game is a game. No matter how direct of control you may have over the actions and consequences of a game, it's all taking place within a fantasy realm, so you're not actually "doing" anything, per se. The character you're playing as is the one doing everything, and their actions and words are the medium through which their story is conveyed to you.

    Granted, with all of this talk of stories, you may be able to tell I'm an RPG fan. (Plus various adventure games and whatnot with strong plots.) If we're just going to talk about a game you hop into and shoot stuff, or play a sport, or whatever, thennnnn... Well, I guess this ties into the other side I was going to bring up: custom characters. In games that allow you to create your own character, I usually play multiple characters -- at the least, one guy and one girl. Even if there are no statistical differences between character types, I just like to have some diversity available to me. (I also simply enjoy the creation process, so changing things up presents some creative challenges.) It keeps the role-playing fresh. On the other hand, if a game forces you to pick, for example, a guy for one role or a girl for another, then again, this doesn't matter to me. I'll look at the advantages and disadvantages of each character type, and then usually play each anyway, for the sake of the change of pace. (Being a guy, of course, I'll usually start with a guy, especially since I have a sort of OC I base most of my characters on. But I usually switch off to a girl at some point, and then alternate as desired.) If only the male human character is able to use big weapons, then I'll play as him for the weapons; not because he's a dude. Likewise, if only the female alien character can use stealth, then I'll play as her for that purpose, and it doesn't bother me that I have to play as a girl (nor an alien, or whatever other race) in order to use said stealth abilities. If anything, that kind of exclusivity just gives incentive to play other types of characters, and I enjoy them all for their own strengths and weaknesses.
     
  3. stolenxnametag

    stolenxnametag PSLS Level: Kraken PSLS Ambassador

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2014
    Messages:
    1,264
    Likes Received:
    381
    PSN:
    arithrottle
    I don't mind what the gender of a character is in any game, tv show, real life encounter, or whatever. Stereotypes are really what ruin characters. If the industry can create a compelling character that is transgender (the only example I can think of is Faris from Final Fantasy V) without being stereotyped to death, then I think it would be awesome. There are several men with feminine traits in the industry, especially in modern JRPGs, and there are several women with masculine traits, like Lara Croft. Creating a character who behaves like a human being should be the goal of anyone who creates serious roles in any game. It does not take a progressive think tank to figure out all of that.
     
  4. Stephen Bitto

    Stephen Bitto Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    321
    Likes Received:
    54
    PSN:
    TYLERxDURDEN
    That's actually a fantastic way of putting it.
     
  5. stolenxnametag

    stolenxnametag PSLS Level: Kraken PSLS Ambassador

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2014
    Messages:
    1,264
    Likes Received:
    381
    PSN:
    arithrottle
    On that note, Adventure Time did a great job of reversing genders of its characters. That shit was solid!
     
  6. Timewarp

    Timewarp PSLS Level: Bronze

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2014
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    51
    PSN:
    funnydude6556

    AC Syndicate transgender character is something that I thought was weird and I've held back from saying anything since I was worried people would think it's because I'm trans-phobic but actually it's something that might sound a little petty. You see the game is set in 1868 yet the first successful transgender surgery wouldn't have happened till around the early 1900s so how is there a transgender person in the game?

    The other stuff can be explained but this is literally someone going through a medical procedure that doctors wouldn't have known how to perform for an entire century. As for diversity? I think developers should try to create more diverse characters in their games if not just to make them more interesting. But it should be done to more inclusive, to expand on the cast and again more diverse characters are more interesting but recently it's like games companies make these choices because they know certain people of the gated gamer variety are going to get upset about the choices.

    I'd rather they not do that because I don't want gamers confusing diversity for EA and Ubisoft's attention grabbing PR stunts "Hey look we've got a transgender character in our games, bet you hate that! Bet you'll want to complain non-stop thus giving us tons of attention!" and really in both cases said transgender character rarely appears.

    So really what I'm saying is: YES, I do want diversity when it's to be more inclusive and not as a shield against criticism or as a means of drawing in attention from angry jerks because it just makes the idea of diversity look bad.
     
    stolenxnametag and Johnnybarra like this.
  7. Johnnybarra

    Johnnybarra PSLS Level: Bronze

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    11
    PSN:
    Jakman1997
    Interesting way to put it.
    It a very easy for companies (especially in this industry) to add in diverse characters only so that they can use it as a selling point.

    I feel diversity should be there just to change things up, not as a means to show off and use it to say "look we have diversity. So, we're cool now."
     
    stolenxnametag and Timewarp like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice