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Do you like Silent Protagonists in Video Games?

#1TravarkothPosted 1/25/2013 2:09:00 PM
Do you like Silent Protagonists in Video Games? - Results (111 votes)
Yes, I prefer the main character to not speak. (Wish Tidus was silent...)
5.41% (6 votes)
6
Yes, but only in RPGs or games where I create the main character.
20.72% (23 votes)
23
Sometimes, at times it can good, but sometimes it's awkward.
45.05% (50 votes)
50
No, I prefer the protagonist to speak.
28.83% (32 votes)
32
This poll is now closed.
What do you guys think? I kinda prefer main characters to not speak, or rarely talk (in the case of Master Chief).

There are some cons, I think, like it can be awkward. Like in Dead Space, when Kendra asks something like, "She must be special to you." To which Isaac responds with a blank stare. But I do prefer when they don't talk. I just like it better since I feel more like the main character since I'm playing as them.

I think this interview with Miyamoto and Yuji Horii was pretty good.

M: Do you think that RPGs and adventure games will become a substitute for novels?

H: Nah, I think that novels still have their place. Games are more active. If you were to write a novelesque story for a video game, players would feel that it dragged on and on. The sense that you were the one driving the story would disappear. I think the most important aspect of game design is to immerse the player in the game’s universe and make them feel like they’re actively driving the plot. That’s the reason I won’t risk having the protagonist speak, even though it would make writing the story much easier.

M: That’s a common feature of RPGs these days.

H: Oh, yes? Generally speaking, I think having the protagonist speak alienates the player. He’s playing as though the character is an extension of himself, so why is his avatar suddenly speaking of its own accord? He’ll be struck with the realization that the character he’s been thinking of as himself up until now is actually someone else entirely. Having the protagonist speak for himself and decide own his own which way the story goes would make players uncomfortable.

To tell you the truth, I actually did take that approach once. In Dragon Quest III , you rescue the pepper sellers from Kandar’s cave and they run into Kandar while they’re trying to escape, right? The protagonist, if he’s the head of your party, says “Leave him to us! Run! Quick!” I took that route because I couldn’t see another way around it, but there were a lot of people who were uncomfortable about the fact that the protagonist, who’d been silent up till then, suddenly spoke. It doesn’t matter how much talking the supporting characters do, only the protagonist’s lines will stick in the players’ heads.

M: Cutscenes in action games are the same in that regard. There are scenes that make you feel as though you’re the one doing everything, and scenes that make you feel like you’re being pulled along against your will. I actually really dislike taking control away from the player. I want to do everything I can to ensure they feel like they’re in control. Mario grabs onto the flagpole, slides down to the bottom, and enters the castle on his own, right? I don’t like that at all. I want to let players enter the castle themselves, if possible.

H: So, action games run into that problem as well.
M: R-Type’s cutscenes are really good. It’s like you’re sitting in the dock the whole time. It’s easy to grasp when you’re able to move on your own, and you can fire bullets the whole time. Just between you and I, I don’t think

Adventure of Link had very good cutscenes. You feel like you’re watching things happen rather than achieving them yourself. Exactly what you were saying, pretty much.

H: That’s what makes games different from movies or novels. If you make it work, you won’t alienate the players, and it’s possible to make them feel like they’re actually there.

http://www.zeldainformer.com/news/comments/shigeru_miyamoto_and_yuji_horii_discuss_the_rpg_and_the_silent_protagnist_c
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#2SunDevil77Posted 1/25/2013 2:17:00 PM
It really depends on the character and game. They nailed chief with Halo 4. He had the perfect amount of lines.

Some games jus would be odd with a talking protagonist...try to picture Ocarina of Time or any LoZ game with Link speaking. It wouldn't feel right.

That being said, overall, I would prefer one that talks in most games. It can make you connect with the character much more closely, The Walking Dead is a good example.
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#3Dragon NexusPosted 1/25/2013 2:17:22 PM
From: Travarkoth | #001
Oh, yes? Generally speaking, I think having the protagonist speak alienates the player. He’s playing as though the character is an extension of himself, so why is his avatar suddenly speaking of its own accord? He’ll be struck with the realization that the character he’s been thinking of as himself up until now is actually someone else entirely. Having the protagonist speak for himself and decide own his own which way the story goes would make players uncomfortable.


See, this is stupid. If Shepard was completely mute in Mass Effect I would have felt a greater disconnect from her.

It did kinda work in Dragon Age 1, but they covered their bases with lots of dialogue options. A lot of the RPGs I've played with silent protagonists have the protagonist just feel like they're on a railroad with no options.

"Shall we go into the dungeon of death now?"
*Yes/No* Select No
"What? Not chicken are you? Shall we go into the dungeon of death now?"
*Yes/No* Select No
"What? Not chicken are you? Shall we go into the dungeon of death now?"
*Yes/No* Select No
"What? Not chicken are you? Shall we go into the dungeon of death now?"
*Yes/No* Sigh and select *Yes*

A silent protagonist can work well. Gordon Freeman, for example, or Link in the above example. Link's personality shines through. He's a hero, so he's everything we expect a hero to be. It also makes him kinda one note and predictable. Samus was actually better as a silent protagonist compared to what we got in Other M.

There's a role for the silent protagonist, but it's something that needs to fit the game. You can't just have one "Eh, because". I've played a few games where I'm wondering if the guy I'm playing as actually has any say in what's going on. Golden Sun had a silent protagonist and it really didn't need to. I didn't feel I was Isaac just because I had a Yes/No option and nothing else, I felt like he had no personality what so ever because he just spent his time staring blankly at his party while they had conversations he didn't involve himself in.
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#4Travarkoth(Topic Creator)Posted 1/25/2013 2:24:17 PM
From: Dragon Nexus | Posted: 1/25/2013 4:17:22 PM | #003
See, this is stupid. If Shepard was completely mute in Mass Effect I would have felt a greater disconnect from her.

My main problem with Shepard speaking was that a lot of times he would say something completely different than the option, or just seems like a huge jerk / unnecessarily hostile in how he words things.

Dragon Age: Origins' system made it so you could see what you say exactly.
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#5CyricsServantPosted 1/25/2013 2:28:22 PM
Dragon Nexus posted...
A silent protagonist can work well. Gordon Freeman, for example, or Link in the above example. Link's personality shines through. He's a hero, so he's everything we expect a hero to be.


http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/no-right-answer/6746-Best-Silent-Protagonist-Ever
#6kangaroozPosted 1/25/2013 2:29:42 PM
How does having the main character talk make the player feel uncomfortable? If hes suppose to be an extension of myself then making him silent already fails at that. I speak in real life so how is a mute person an extension of me? If im playing a game and I start talking to the screen, the other characters are not going to respond so how is it suppose to make me feel like im in the game? Thats what the gameplay is for. The main character's ACTIONS are suppose to be my extension not his views and opinions on the world around him. Its just an excuse for the developers to be lazy and not bother developing a proper main character. That's all it is. Players who like it are just feeling nostalgia from when they played older games where this was more common.
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#7Travarkoth(Topic Creator)Posted 1/25/2013 2:30:01 PM
Although I will say, Silent Protagonists don't work in all games.

It'd be awkward in a series like Metal Gear Solid.
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"Please stop being human. "
--- 343 Guilty Spark ---
#8pakathecatPosted 1/25/2013 2:33:46 PM
Depends. I don't mind them, but I prefer them to speak, IF it is done well. Silent protagonists don't really do anything to improve immersion for me, though. It just makes them seem boring, though that beats annoying, if they aren't silent and badly written.
#9RayzerTagPosted 1/25/2013 2:34:44 PM(edited)
The real distinction here is characters with or without personality. Generally these are and are not mute, respectively. There are exceptions, though, as already stated in this thread: Link is a silent protagonist with a personality, and Shepard is a speaking protagonist without one.
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#10ZacTBPosted 1/25/2013 2:38:27 PM
I haven't played that many games with silent protagonists. But from what I have played sometimes it just doesn't work for me (Gordon Freeman in Half-Life) and other times it does (Chell in Portal). Those are the only two games that come to mind with silent protagonists but I am sure there are others that I have played. I prefer the main character to speak but I chose the third option.