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Mute Protagonists vs Talking Protagonists

CetusCetus MemberFull Members
edited March 2004 in Role Playing Games
I know everyone remembers that day in RPGs, where there was a huge abundance of mute mains characters and there still are in some RPGs. Which do you prefer to have as a games main character? and does the way the character act change the whole rpg in general or does it give you a whole different perspective of the character. I don't mind if the protagonist talks or not but to me it would sure change the way I saw the RP, in a good way that is..how about you guys?
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Comments

  • adiemusadiemus Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    I definitely prefer the talking main characters. It certainly adds a new dimension to the game when the main can converse and provide his own thoughts and insights to the story line. I'm reminded of Grandia 2 with Ryudo and Skye. By giving him the ability to talk, witty comments were born and you felt you knew the main that much more as an individual, not just model walking around the screen. For comparison, Breath of Fire would always antogonize with Ryu's silent treatment. Through the whole series I felt like it was just the same character, boring as ever. There was no connection to the player and the main. Don't get me wrong, I loved the series but I feel like in order to make the game exceptional and unique, the main needs to be able to talk. Now that you are all bored I will song a song for you laugh.gif .
  • Options
    edited March 2004
    Mute protagonists suck. ?It makes it feel like that character isn't even a part of the story. ?Take for example Isaac in Golden Sun, sure you have the power to make yes or no answers for him in conversation, but all his introductions are done through Garet, which sound absolutely stupid and out of place. ?The thought of the developers is noble indeed. ?To make it appear as if you, the player, were actually the main character, but in practice, it just makes for boring and stupid character development, plot progression, and interaction between party members and NPC's alike.

    Another thing I'd like to mention is now that we're in an era where a large percentage of a RPG's feature voice acting, developers need to stop including the option to change character's names. ?The biggest offender I can think of is FFX. ?You could rename Tidus (for what reason I can't comprehend - Are there really people out there who feel like if they rename the lead character of an RPG to their name that they feel like they are a part of the story? ?If so, seek help.), the price of which is that his name isn't spoken once during the game. ?It detaches him from the rest of the cast. ?It's not glaring, but I did notice it often during the game, and especially during the ending sequence. ?I really wish Yuna had been able to say his name during that.



  • SeraphicLawSeraphicLaw Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    I'm thinking that who ever created the silent hero is just plain lazy at writing, and lazy at creating characteristics and personality. I personally prefer talking protagonist. That way there's a actually a personality to him or her.

    What's worse is in games like Fire Emblem for the GBA. The side characters ask you a question and also answers it for you. For example:

    "Are you going to accompany us for this journey?" *Pause...pause...pause...pause...pause...pause... and then* "Great! We could sure use your help!" sarcasm.gif
  • RookRook Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    I hate RPG stories told in the 1st person (mute). The main character in any story should be the most or almost the most interesting character in the story. Imagine how awful FF7 would have been if Cloud didn't speak.

    A good example of a good story brought down by a 1st person main character is Chono Cross. Which had lines such as this:

    Kid: So you ready to kick some arse Serge!

    Serge: .....................

    Kid: Right! Let's get the ship ready!
  • MeoTwister5MeoTwister5 Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    I have yet to see any developer execute a very effective mute character. That said, I'd like to stick to speaking leads.
  • TheDrunkenGamerTheDrunkenGamer Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    I still don't understand to this day why silent protagonists even exist. It completely ruins the possibility of character development. It's like controlling a robot... oh wait, even some robots can talk too!

    *sigh* thankfully they aren't THAT common. Shining Force II kinda upset me because they decided to give Bowie TWO LINES.

    Thanks, Sega. You jerks.
  • PhatosePhatose Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    Eh, talking ones I suppose. Ain't a whole lot of point in trying to create an illusion that somehow the player has actual control over the protaganist when they don't, and playing mad libs with "Yes/No" doesn't change that.
  • MartyrMartyr Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    I was inclined to disagree with everyone else and slap everyone with the "Chrono Trigger wouldn't have been the same if Crono had the ability to speak" arguement, but then I got to thinking and realized I was right, it probably would've been better tounge.gif. So, no, I can understand their reasoning behind it, but it just doesn't yank my crank.
  • GrowlanserGrowlanser Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    For me, it just really depends on how his personality may be. I perfer the cocky, foul mouth heroes, but not the whiny ones.
  • CetusCetus Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    I don't think silent Protagonists were bad actually it presented the RPG in a totally different angle. LoL yes it is humorous that they don't they nothing even at the most intense of moments but it delivers a whole experience all together...or example Lunar SSS and the remake...the first one Alex only spoke about 2 lines..then in the remake..lots of dialouge...totally different experiences right there.
  • Options
    edited March 2004
    haha i love mute heroes!! but hey im probably the biggest shining force fan EVER and im still used to the main character sating nothin more than a grunt or a groan. But then again cocky heroes and loud @sses are always welcomed by me. biggrin.gif
  • AshgadAshgad Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    I don't really have a strong preference, but I voted for the silent hero 'cause I figured no one else would. Now I guess I'm stuck defending my choice.

    Some of my favorite games (most notably Zelda and Chrono Trigger) have silent heroes. I've always thought that this adds a rare element of the player's own imagination to the story. In the modern console RPG genre, this sort of thing is becoming less and less common, while non-interactive, out-of-engine cutscenes and written dialogue seem to get longer and more complicated (read: not necessarily better) each year. I guess many (most?) people prefer that everything be spelled out for them. Me, I value having input in a game's story somewhere between the insignificance of mere subplot speculation and the outright cheesiness of the old Choose-You-Own-Adventure scenario.
  • SolonSolon Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (Growlanser @ Mar. 06 2004,05:30)</td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"For me, it just really depends on how his personality may be. I perfer the cocky, foul mouth heroes, but not the whiny ones.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    How do you put that together with a mute character? If he or she never speaks, how can you determine his personality?
    Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.
  • KarlinnKarlinn Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    I also vote for the silent protagonist, just to be contrary! ?Ha!

    Actually, I'm kinda midway on this. ?On the one hand, silent protagonists are 100% unlikely to say something that'll make me wish I was playing one of the other characters. ?On the other hand, they're 100% unlikely to say something cool.

    But I vote so because BoF's Ryu was still cool no matter how silent he was (or not, considering Dragon Quarter). ?And frankly he was amazingly expressive considering the fact that he never says anything, which I find oddly endearing, almost cute even (I laughed aloud watching Ryu plummet in BoF IV after Nina down a chasm, only to realize shortly afterward that the advantages proffered by wings sort of render this kind of heroism unnecessary). ?And as Ashgad pointed out, let's not forget that many of us (myself included) would happily give Link a gold star despite that he hasn't said a word yet (to the best of my recollection).
  • DracosDracos Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    Depends entirely on the story trying to be presented.

    Dracos
  • TheFoxTheFox Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    Yeah there's always a danger when you give the hero a voice that it'll be some whiney irritating voice actor who'll just make me wanna turn the game off.
  • RokuRoku Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    Either is fine, but it really depends on the game.
  • King Jowy XXIIKing Jowy XXII Regnus Obscura Full Members
    edited March 2004
    Hmmm...without becoming Mr. Rogers and yelling at people to use their imaginations as far as main character interaction with a "mute," (and this term should really be used very loosely) I will simply say that I do not mind either...
  • Options
    edited March 2004
    I play RPG's because I want to play out an interactive story, for the most part. When the protagonist is mute, that leaves a big hole in the story. Sure I could use my imagination and fill the gaps, but that's not what I paid for. Like someone else said, it's just lazy writing. There's no reason not to give the lead character a personality other than because every cliche has been done to death and they aren't being original.
  • RicoRico Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (LiQuid! @ Mar. 07 2004,10:58)</td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"When the protagonist is mute, that leaves a big hole in the story. ?Sure I could use my imagination and fill the gaps, but that's not what I paid for. ?Like someone else said, it's just lazy writing. ?There's no reason not to give the lead character a personality other than because every cliche has been done to death and they aren't being original.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    What if they decide to be original by making the main character legitimately mute?
  • AkumadaAkumada Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    Rudy from WA is one, actually he has a few lines, when you speak to him on the world map he says something like 'Heard of any good adventures lately?' With Chrono it was kind of like since I was playing from his perspective, I didn't even notice he wasn't talking until I played it a second time through. I think it just depends on the character and story. If there character is suppose to be mute, if they have a reason for not speaking, and so on.
  • CetusCetus Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (Solon @ Mar. 06 2004,10:27)</td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"</span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (Growlanser @ Mar. 06 2004,05:30)</td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"For me, it just really depends on how his personality may be. I perfer the cocky, foul mouth heroes, but not the whiny ones.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    How do you put that together with a mute character? If he or she never speaks, how can you determine his personality?[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    I would like to object on that. Ryu from Bof3 is a silent one but he shows a lot of personality without saying one word. He is by far the only protagonist, who is mute that displayed his personality. Even though I don't mind either character, wether talkative or not I belive silent dudes and dudettes, with enough effort upon the creator and show a good chunk of personality without saying a word.
  • DeshrillDeshrill Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    I've actually been reading a few books where this topic comes up: Swords & Sorcery and Adding Emotion to Games (not sure of the exact titles, but these are close enough). ?I also just recently took a class in Game Theory in college.

    According to the various books, the reason to have a Mute Protagonist is so the player can identify with him more-- by having the hero not speak, the player's emotions in the game are experienced through that character. ?For example, in the Zelda games, Link never speaks, but he still reacts to situations, giving him a personality...


    Talking protagonists are used in games that are more heavy on story-telling (there are exceptions, obviously-- Chrono Trigger had a good story and a mute protagonist, but the story wasn't as deep or involved as, say, Final Fantasy VI). ?"<span class="spoiler">Not everyone can relate for a talking protagonist; I had trouble relating to Tidus of FF X, a whiny little brat who hated his father and couldn't live up to his expectations. The whole father issue I can relate to very well, but the whiny tinge to his voice just annoyed the hell out of me. I'll go on the record as saying I prefer Squall to Tidus.</span>"

    I think both kinds can work for different kinds of game as long as the writing (and voice-acting, in certain cases) is decent. ?A lot of games have very cliched writing and poor voice-acting and, hopefully, when I graduate from college I'll get a job being involved with writing or designing games to change that a bit. ?smile.gif
  • DragonsoulDragonsoul Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    Liquid's view is the same as mine--it's more lazy writing than anything else. Why is only the lead character mute? Is muteness a prerequisite to being a leader? So we can relate to him better? I found it annoying to have to come up with an answer in my head for the hero. That's not my job--it's the writer's! I'd rather have a hero I hate (Cloud, Squall, etc.) then one that I have to pretend answered... confused.gif
  • SolonSolon Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    </span><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1"><tr><td>Quote (Cetus @ Mar. 08 2004,06:30)</td></tr><tr><td class="QUOTE"I would like to object on that. Ryu from Bof3 is a silent one but he shows a lot of personality without saying one word. He is by far the only protagonist, who is mute that displayed his personality. Even though I don't mind either character, wether talkative or not I belive silent dudes and dudettes, with enough effort upon the creator and show a good chunk of personality without saying a word.[/QUOTE]<span id='postcolor'>
    Well, his personality was only shown through the voices of others, like with all mute characters. That sucks. The only thing he did on his own was to scream in battle, and shake his head / nod. While the other members of the party did well on explaining Ryu's will and reasons etc, I know nothing about him. I don't know what kind of a person he is or anything.

    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Crono yet. He's silent, yet everybody keeps saying he's the "coolest protagonist ever, in the greatest RPG ever" (Chrono Trigger, for the real dense tounge.gif).



    Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate.
  • Slayer of GodSlayer of God Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    I have to go with the talking protagonist, for reasons already stated. Give me a Squall, Tidus, or Virginia over a Crono, Serge, or Ryu any day!
    Within the spreading darkness, I pledged a vow to the revolution.
  • bebop007bebop007 Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    To me, as others have noted, it really depends on the game. I suppose I could see the writers rationale behind a speaking protagonist, portraying the hero as a person of action, rather than some verbose, mindless philosopher. To me it seems statements like "I'm going to save the world" or "I'm going to stop [enter random evil tyrant] once and for all" really don't mean anything unless the hero actually does it.
    \"We're about to stage an attack on technology worthy of being chronicled in an anthem by Rush!\"
  • King Jowy XXIIKing Jowy XXII Regnus Obscura Full Members
    edited March 2004
    There are times when a talking protagonist would be the best choice, admittedly. However, some of the examples above seem a bit heavy-handed and unfair, especially when you simply decide to label it as "lazy writing" for having a story that is designed for you to watch as individual elements fall into place. After all, calling something "lazy" when you yourself are unwilling to put in the effort to even ATTEMPT to understand where the writers are coming from is a bit like the pot calling the kettle black.

    Let's look at one example here: Chrono Trigger.

    Here you have a story where the entire focus is split between so many random variables that it is not even funny. There are SO many characters with important roles and places to fit into the framework of the plot that it (at least at the time) was enough to make your head spin. It was not only the story of an entire world, but the underlying passage of time OF that world that kept it going. There were constant plots, groups of people, and dramatic elements being thrown at us that each pocket of interaction acted, in and of itself, like its own story.

    This was all blended into one cohesive thread quite well, and all by one simple element. Crono.

    There he was, at the center of all of this chaotic action, the only constant. Why did anything need to be said? He was there for a reason: to observe the elements utilized and be the link of ALL of these personable characters together. His personality was not void, because you, like Crono, were the one to fill in the blanks as you felt with all of these variables flying every which way. Perhaps some of you may find this to be "lazy writing."

    I, for one, would defy you to write as engaging a script, without the precedent of Chrono Trigger to back you up. I would further defy you to imagine the game WITH Crono as a speaking protagonist...how completely one-sided the story would be! You would not have a fresh perspective on events because you would always have the main character telling you what the overall feeling of the mood SHOULD be. Yes, you would be free to come up with your own opinions on the matter, but ultimately, you would be forced to reconcile ALL of these elements with a character that you may or MAY NOT relate to in the end. You would constantly have this character's philosophy on life coloring every event you encountered. Laziness? No, more like thoughtfulness.

    In a more linear story, like in say, FFVI, this would not be such a bad thing. In fact, I encourage speaking protagonists during a linear story. But in Chrono Trigger...no, that would not work. The main theme of the game was discussed "<span class="spoiler">when all party members were gathered around a fire at night. Robo had done a few calculations after being left at Fiona's villa for centuries, and had thrown in the possibility that a single being, in traditional Zen Buddhist fashion, had created all life that they knew as a means of reliving its life, and that they were simply there to observe as it happened.</span>" If that is a possibility or not, well, I do not know, but it certainly does make sense, and all of the elements, good, bad, annoying or interesting, came together in such a way that just made it all flow, much like some being's stream of conscious thought.

    And there was Crono, guiding you through, linking it all together.
  • GrowlanserGrowlanser Member Full Members
    edited March 2004
    Maybe this has been said already, but one thing I enjoy about mute characters is that YOU actually get the feel as if you were actually him. I always enjoyed filling in the dialouge for mute characters(especially cursing smile.gif ). If the character talks, to me sometimes it just feels like your controlling some meaningless person, rather than actually playing the role of the character yourself.

    Nevertheless, it really just depends on the game.



  • King Jowy XXIIKing Jowy XXII Regnus Obscura Full Members
    edited March 2004
    Agreed. Stating a definitive standard on how a main character MUST interact seems so restricting that it makes me wonder how some people get any enjoyment out of video games at all.

    Speaking, mute, whichever work, works.
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