Do we Need Protagonists?
after reading the Reddit post by splitscreener
Looking at new games over the last few years from game publishers we are seeing game developers walk away from protagonists and go in the more of the direction of the immersive experience of the player being the protagonists.
Does taking away the Protagonists take away the bond that a player develops with their character that they are playing in a game?
Couple of posts from the post caught my eye
For Silent Protagonists:
“In general, I like silent protagonists, simply because they are less likely to be unlikable. It’s hard to make a good character and lots of games have annoying characters, but it’s especially awful when you are forced to control someone who is whiny, angsty, annoying, or otherwise unpleasant for the entire game. Even if every character in the game is awful, if the protagonist is silent I can at least pretend that he’s as annoyed as I am by their dumb antics.”
Against Silent Protagonists:
“I never really liked silent protagonists until I played Dark Souls and realized how much I love games that are willing to sacrifice story and dialogue for gameplay. I think not having a main character to hear and think of as a separate person also added to the sense of loneliness that the game strives for.”
“It takes a different kind of imagination. I don’t like silent protagonists because I don’t want to play as myself; the whole point is to be someone else.
Sure, when Link says nothing to a townsperson, I could use my imagination to create an elaborate argument between myself-as-Link and said townsperson. I could also turn the game off, go outside, and imagine that I’m flying through Fairyland, except the point of gaming (and all stories) for me is to explore someone else’s imagination instead of my own.
It’s not about watching a protagonist with a personality, it’s about forgetting yourself because you identify with the humanity of a three-dimensional protagonist. Silent protagonists don’t let you forget yourself. To me, it’s just an inferior form of escapism.”
There are many valid points on the Reddit but those mostly caught my eye
Personally I am along the lines of I prefer a Protagonists, When it comes to games that is story based not having that connection with the character can for me take that immersive aspect out of the game for me as you don’t have the same feeling when you have a Protagonists who has a voice or has dialogue and that back story where you get to develop and progress through.
some games playing a voiceless Protagonists doesn’t really matter and these are best suited for FPS game where pretty much interaction is pretty much minimal and you are more detached from the main character, for example the call of duty franchise where no one really cares about building that rapport with their character
So end of the day it can really depend on the game and the aspect of the story line of the game as that at the end really has an impact on the type of Protagonists in games and how they are implemented.