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rHornbek

Impact of a non-Human Cast...

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What sort of impact do people get when they see or play games in an environment ruled by non-Human characters? In some cases it works well, because the environment is a place were humans might not be as important or not exist at all, obviously. In games like "Jakk and Daxter," "Ratchet and Clank" and any of the "Sonic the Hedgehog" series, you had place sand events that can and do occur to Humans but instead of using people they use aliens, robots and whatever Jakk and Daxter are. Do you think it a good choice to choose something less familiar for some games than a Human cast and is there a wrong time to use non-Human characters? I like to work with non-Human casts because then i am not bound by what Humans are capable of nor do I have to explain why a human is doing something they normally don't. Some thoughts please.

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Your reason for favoring fictional species is a really good one. It's the same reason I prefer to set games in the future. Anything goes.

The only reason to not use non-human characters, that I can come up with, is that it's more difficult to identify with your player character when it's a creature. But then again, I sometimes have trouble identifying with my player character, even when they are human. They usually have to be mute like Link for me to really connect with them. Characters like Serious Sam and Carl Johnson just run their mouth too much.

Sorry, I guess I wandered a bit off topic.

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Games with human casts tend to be more immersive to me. Example is Bioshock. While the game was immserive anyway, the fact that I was a human and the guy talking to me was a human helped a lot. I tend to take games with non-human casts less seriously. Modified humans are an exception, I suppose, and they do open the doors for limitless abilities as a human. This ties in with Bioshock as well.

Unless you are an excellent author with an excellent voice actor, it is hard for me to relate to a non-human character as easily, without cheap tricks like tragedy and whatnot.

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Quote:
What sort of impact do people get when they see or play games in an environment ruled by non-Human characters?

It would depend on how "non-Human" the characters are. In a Pen and Paper D&D game I am in the process of creating, I am intending to use Non-Human Hominids. That is I am looking to the different species of Human like ancestors of Homo Sapiens. The response I have got from my local RPG community seems to indicate that people are willing to play non humans.

However, they are fairly Human like (upright stance, opposable thumbs, etc). As for completely non humans (like aliens or animals), I think the players, because of our basic psychology (we are humans, so we think like humans), the player will anthropomorphise whatever they are playing into something human like.

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You might want to read the Rubber Forehead Aliens article on TVTropes. I'm quoting the relevant bit here:

"Gene Roddenberry gave more reasons for [rubber mask aliens] in an interview once. Budget constraints aside, if you try to make aliens look completely alien, you'll firstly make them look ridiculous, and secondly make it doubly hard for the actor playing the alien to do anything mildly resembling acting. This has actually been isolated to extremely specific requirements: if an audience can't see an actor's eyes or mouth, their ability to empathize with or emotionally invest in that character is significantly impaired."

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Great reference Derakon and I agree totally.

The non-Human characters I was planning on were very much like the ones from the Jakk and Daxter series. They would be very humanoid but slightly different body proportions, more exaggeration of the ears and varying hair colors.

So it would not be to hard to relate.

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The relative humanness of a character has a particularly interesting impact in romantic situations. And not a straightforward one either an audience may reject as a possible romantic object a character with a totally human personality and mostly human appearance such as a Star Trek Ferengi, yet may enthusiastically respond to less human-looking characters such as centaurs and some anthros, and to characters which look human but have abnormal personalities.

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I'm working on a game in a fantasy world where there are no humans, not one - even though the characters are supposed to act very realistically. This is probably a mistake from a marketing point of view, because it really is harder for an audience to identify human characteristics in nonhuman characters. But I'm gonna do it anyway because it's what I want.

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