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RPGs: Reluctant Heros

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Yep, i''m making another post. I thankfully haven''t seen this type of thing in recent games but it seemed like at the beginning of the ps1 era this was a fad: Reluctant Heros. Your main character has been asked to save the world but he doesn''t want to do it. He''s afraid, or he''s a jerk, he can''t open up, he doesn''t like to share his feelings, he doesn''t care what happens to anyone. Personally, i don''t like this to be the personality trait of a main character. If they show this personality enough, it just becomes whining. I like it when the main character is a standard hero or at least a good person on the outside and in. If the main character is not motivated, it makes me unmotivated to play the game.

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It should be up to the player.. He should be able to chose dialogue options like "No way! I''m not getting into this", not only "Yes SIR! Right away SIR". Forcing the charater to be reluctant is bad and forcing him to be "eager" is bad. Most people would probably like their hero to be heroic, but some might like him to be "sensible"

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Yeah, except Final Fantasy VII (Cloud Strife) has been hailed by many magazines/websites as possibly the greatest RPG ever.

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It''s a well known storytelling device. By making the character resist his mission, the audience finds themselves involving themselves with the character more, urging him to go on etc. In theory.

Perhaps it doesn''t work so well in an interactive environment. After all, the character is your avatar in the game, so he should be as willing or reluctant as you want him to be.

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quote:
Original post by Sandman
It''s a well known storytelling device. By making the character resist his mission, the audience finds themselves involving themselves with the character more, urging him to go on etc. In theory.

Perhaps it doesn''t work so well in an interactive environment. After all, the character is your avatar in the game, so he should be as willing or reluctant as you want him to be.




That makes sense. Which leads me to a tangent that may be a good thread all by itself: Do you like when the character has no voice other than an option you pick for him? If i remember chronotrigger correctly, the main character doesn''t have any lines except for the rare times where you make a choice for him: Yes/No.

I personally don''t like this but i think that might be just cause i''m not the role-playing type. I''d rather the main character have his own personality than one i pick for him.

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I was going to start a thread on that a while ago, but never got around to it. I think the fact that chrono had no dialouge helped that game as it ensured that all his personality is either being created by the player themselves, or is only being expressed through his actions or other peoples re-actions. It avoided the pitfall of the main character saying stupid things and being an ass (for example, in the PSX/SegaSaturn game Grandia, I would of given anything for that little shit to shut up!!)

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"Hardcoding" the way the character acts tend to make the game more linear. By allowing the player to choose what the character says and does allows for more nonlinear gameplay. The player get the illusion that he is in control, but then something happens so that he gets back into the story.

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When it comes to RPGs, it doesn''t work to have *ALL* of the heroes reluctant, otherwise the whole game is spent at the Cross-Town diner trying to determine what to have for lunch. However, having one such hero is a great literary device, and can make the character seem more believable. However, its important to note that with literary devices, everything needs to be kept in balance. A hero that doesn''t want to save the world needs a friend to drag him along, at least until circumstances changes the hero''s mind. Also, from a gaming standpoint, you don''t always have to make the hero the playable character. Imagine being the 17 year old squire working for the 30 year old Knight who''s having a moral crisis, and having the story being about you fixing his problem. Though, I guess gaming hasn''t matured beyond it''s rebellious teen years where everyone wants to be Lancelot.

And yes, FF7 was a great game. But Cloud wasn''t so much reluctant as he was apathetic and single minded. Being a jerk was his defense mechanism against having to form meaningful relationships, not just something to make him look cool. Ever see Good Will Hunting? Same concept, less random battles.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Inmate2993
Ever see Good Will Hunting? Same concept, less random battles.


LOL. Can you imagine movies with random battles :-)

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Inmate2993
Ever see Good Will Hunting? Same concept, less random battles.


LOL. Can you imagine movies with random battles :-)



Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

-Luctus

Statisticly seen, most things happens to other people.
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I agree, I like my heroes to be basically good. But I also like them to be human. They need some fault to relate to. Be it they''re not totally interested in the cause, they''re too willing to please, they''re not suited for the job, whatever. Just don''t make their faults so great that it''s annoying (*mumble* *mumble* *mild expletive* Squall *mumble* *mumble*)

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I love Chrono Trigger, but I would rather have my MC have actual dialog. The idea might have been that, by not writing in any personality for Crono, the player could better project himself into the MC. In application, though, there weren''t nearly enough occasions where the player could choose what Crono said, or what meaningful actions he took (meaningful in the sense that they would help to establish his character), for the player to invest him with any personality. All the other party members are wonderfully written, but Crono is a total cipher and a personality vacuum for the entirety of the game. In lieu of that I would much rather the MC actually have lines. I agree that it''s irritating when the MC is a whiny jerk, but that''s an authorial problem, easily solved with some good writing. Did anyone have a problem with Solid Snake''s lines in MGS? I didn''t.

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I think Muse is on the right track here, I''d have to agree that Snake in MGS (the GBC one is more or less the same storyline wise I think?) was great, another good example of where a character had his own, well, character is Shogo.

Strangely enough the main character in Shogo is more or less the reluctant hero (or at least he didn''t really want to be there).

Because of this I''m wondering, perhaps the problem isn''t that the MCs are alienating the player but rather they alienate the player when the player is supposed to ''be'' that character. What I mean by this is that in both MGS and Shogo you don''t really have any control over the type of character your playing, yet your not really being asked to either.

I think the trick here is to either do one of two things. Don''t ask the player to BE the character, just give them the gameplay and a good storyline (as long as the player isn''t annoyed by the MC and the type of character the MC is, is seperate from the gameplay then its ok). Otherwise allow the player as much control over the character as possible).

Ironically my idea isn''t new either, it seems I''ve almost described the instincive boundaries between RPSs and FPSs? Most games in the middle under this idea are then RPGS of course albeit restricted ones (I never did think the gameplay of Dues Ex was any better than Q3A nor did it match true RPGs like Fallout2).

Lorenz (krysole) Pretterhofer
sleep, caffeine for the weak minded

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Try out Suikoden 2...you had many dialogue options that would portray you as a reluctant hero or a normal-type "heroic" one. It didn''t change the gameplay to any major extent, except for dialogue, but it could (and did) make you feel like more of an avatar than a plot pawn.

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I was going to mention the character development options in Fallout. You can be anything from a pencil-necked pacifist to a big dumb terrorist to a dashing survivalist to a thief/ninja to a diplomat to a merchant, or anything in between. Neat. I think I would have liked to have been able to play more after the "end" of the game, since you''re still technically wandering the Earth, but c''est la vie.

But not everyone likes having total creative control over the character, and it can be a real stumbling block for writing. After all, if you decide that Vault 13 can go screw and you get a job working a caravan, the game still ends when the vault gets whacked, even though your character doesn''t technically give a rat''s ass.

I''m pretty sure that reluctant/totally incompetent heroes are a common theme among the Japanese. Often as not, some random villager (usually between the ages of six and twelve) is thrown into a complex series of events where he''s compelled to save thousands of people, fight a huge armada of spaceships, and finally defeat an evil power single-handed. At some point he realizes that he''s the son/reincarnation/genetically modified replacement of a supersoldier, or that he himself is a supersoldier that was "misplaced" in a quaint mining town. Or else he falls in love and kicks ass for his special lady. It''s a silly premise, and I am always a little annoyed and alienated by it.

I like heroes like Sam Fisher from Splinter Cell. The game wasn''t fantastic, but the character was a delight. Highly trained, properly experienced, and more or less equipped for the job at hand, he''s just the sort of person I''d expect to be fighting terrorists for Uncle Sam. The fact that he was pushing fifty and a little bit crotchety added to his charm.

Solid Snake is another good one, as are most of the secondary characters from the Final Fantasy games. I''d like to see a FFX prequel with Jecht, Auron and Braska. They were all trained warriors, all totally aware of their task and its implications, and none of them whined. That''s a good video game.

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quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
I''d like to see a FFX prequel with Jecht, Auron and Braska. They were all trained warriors, all totally aware of their task and its implications, and none of them whined. That''s a good video game.


Amen, that would be cool.

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