Should the player character talk?

Posted by Zacagawea (1594 posts) 8 months, 14 days ago

Poll: Should the player character talk? (248 votes)

Sure! 42%
Absolutely not. Legos shouldn't, too. 41%
Who cares? 17%

Obviously Persona 3 and 4 were made a long time ago and there isn't any indication of the main character not speaking yet, but I still feel like this is an interesting conversation to have. I've been rewatching the P4 Anime and that then encouraged me to pick up my late game save of Persona 3 FES that I didn't get through this summer. Swapping between the two is pretty jarring, but not for the obvious reasons of one being Persona 4 and one being Persona 3, or one being a game, and the other an anime. (The games never gives story through gameplay, so essentially one is just an uglier anime.) In the games you feel like a teenage ghost who someone pays attention to at the end of scene just to make sure you're awake. You're kind of just passively watching other characters have conversations you should be an active part in and you usually see them talk all, every, and which way around you. Since every girl in that group is your ride-or-die and every guy your best amigo due to S. Links, that doesn't feel right. A lot of that has to do with the poor dialogue trees (they're more like a dialogue sunflowers), a side effect of having a pretty linear story with no divergence. That's okay, they weren't (probably still aren't) trying to make a Mass Effect or a Walking Dead, but there's still a pretty easy way to get the player to feel more involved and make the story feel dynamic and more natural. A lot of this ignoring of the main character seems to come from his/her most obvious handicap; the lack of a voice for the others to interact with. Along with that, the fact that you don't have a set name. So, I'd propose the Mass Effect style of having a set voice and just having all the supporting characters call you by a last name that is preset. Say hello to Shepard-kun? Of course they could just have the entire name preset, too. I just feel like that would go a long way in distracting you from realizing how useless the dialogue sunflowers are and freeing the writers from being scared of having you play an actual part.

#1 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

I'd be fine with that. A lot more voice work and writing to be had but seeing how Persona is getting bigger and bigger I bet they can afford the extra expense.

#2 Posted by HatKing (5949 posts) -

I mean, if it's done well, I don't have a problem with it - though, that's kind of the case for everything. The worry would be that it would be so much voice work that they would have to skimp on some parts making it either only partially voiced, or hire a cheaper actor (though that's not necessarily a bad thing either). I'd be willing to see them take a shot at it. But I also wouldn't hold my breath that it's going to happen.

#3 Edited by BBAlpert (1474 posts) -

Only if they get Vinny or Jeff to do the voice.

#4 Posted by eroticfishcake (7786 posts) -

Nah. I always viewed the protagonists as extensions as the player which is really important for roleplaying games I think. If you take the Mass Effect series I always saw Shepard as a separate character from myself even though you play as him/her. Besides, even though the protagonists never speak, you can always suss out their personality based the dialogue options you're given. It's a subtle method but it works well.

#5 Edited by ILikePopCans (752 posts) -

Silent protagonists are the worse, they can only be less worse.

#6 Posted by johnbakosh (115 posts) -

Split decision so far! (44% each).

I reference Dragon Age: Origins vs Dragon Age 2 for this debate.

In Dragon Age 2, I found the voice acting to be disagreeable at best when concerning the player character. The standard delivery on most lines was weak or felt out of place (maybe I was just picking the wrong options!). Meanwhile, in Dragon Age: Origins the player is free to create their own nuanced rapport however they wish, because it is all just in their own head at that point anyway.

However my truest disagreement with voice acting found in protagonists is that it serves to separate me from the main character. It helps establish an unshakable identity for them, that in turn breaks off the immersion and illusion that they are, in fact, me. Part of why I play role playing games is to experience the total submersion into another world, and having a surrogate there for me to fill the shoes of is an inseparable part of that process. When this surrogate is hard to attach to, as adding a voice can often make him/her, it detracts from the experience for me.

#7 Posted by Nightriff (5084 posts) -

Either way I'll be fine, I just want to play the game.

But if I had to pick from yes he talks or no he doesn't.....I probably say yes but he talks like the P4 Animation, very calm, collective, blunt. That's how I view both the P3 and P4 protags so I assume P5 main will be similar.

#8 Posted by TheRealMoot (380 posts) -

Yes, I would like to see the protagonist of Persona 5 with a voice and have him/her say the dumb things the social links make them say from time to time. Not every line needs to be voiced mind you, some throw away dialog from towns people or students in the hallways can be left in text only form. Though if the main character goes mostly silent again for Persona 5 i'd be just fine with that... though a little disapointed.

#9 Edited by Brodehouse (9949 posts) -

Should personas talk?

#10 Posted by TobbRobb (4647 posts) -

I think the MC works way better as a slightly formed mold for you to insert in. Yu just oozes personality in P4, without even saying that much, to the extent that I almost like him the most in the game. Making the MC a normal character would be a little disappointing to me, since they pull off the silent so well in Persona.

Online
#11 Posted by Bocam (3752 posts) -

Should personas talk?

They talked in the first two games

#12 Edited by Zeik (2429 posts) -

Not unless the game is designed way different than it has been in the past. If "Charlie Tunoku" talked it would have ruined his character in P4. (And yes, Arena did basically ruin his character in that game for me.) What I like about many MegaTen protagonists is that they often do have just enough personality to be interesting, while being open enough to personal interpretation. The P4 protag I built up over the course of P4 is very very different than what was presented in the anime or Arena, or even "Charlie Tunoku".

But that's not to say it's not possible to design a Persona game with a talking protagonist, but it couldn't be what it was before.

#13 Posted by alwaysbebombing (1586 posts) -

Ah ha! Is this our chance?

#14 Edited by Clonedzero (4200 posts) -

Absolutely. Assuming the entire game is fully voiced. If they didnt talk it'd come off as awkward and distracting. Especially in a game all about social crap.

#15 Edited by Zeik (2429 posts) -

@clonedzero said:

Absolutely. Assuming the entire game is fully voiced. If they didnt talk it'd come off as awkward and distracting. Especially in a game all about social crap.

I'm 110% sure the game will not be "fully" voiced. Not without drastically reducing the dialogue anyway.

#16 Edited by cbarnes86 (556 posts) -

I think it would work. Given the Persona 4 anime (still playing through Golden, but seen a few of the first episodes), the main character talked in that. I honestly can't wait for this game. I'm loving Persona 4 and I'm assuming 5 will be even better!

#17 Posted by Berserker976 (360 posts) -

No no no no no no. the whole idea behind Persona is that it's a role-playing game.

The occasional emote to make the player character seem like he has a personality in the world he exists in is one thing, giving him a voice is quite another.

When you give the character a voice you fundamentally separate him from the player himself, he just becomes another npc, one you control and steer in a certain direction or another. He ceases to be a functional avatar for the player.

This would literally ruin Persona.

#18 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19339 posts) -

I don't know. My initial inclination is no for the sake of sticking with tradition and keeping the fact that the protagonist is an extension of the player consistent, but that's also how they butchered Maya in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment and I liked how Tatsuya had a preset name and background in Innocent Sin. If the protagonist for Persona 5 had a different vibe accompanying them than newcomer to a certain town starting with a relatively clean slate, that would be interesting.

#19 Posted by Zeik (2429 posts) -

@fluxwavez said:

I don't know. My initial inclination is no for the sake of sticking with tradition and keeping the fact that the protagonist is an extension of the player consistent, but that's also how they butchered Maya in Persona 2: Eternal Punishment and I liked how Tatsuya had a preset name and background in Innocent Sin. If the protagonist for Persona 5 had a different vibe accompanying them than newcomer to a certain town starting with a relatively clean slate, that would be interesting.

I'll agree about Eternal Punishment. That was the one instance where I felt having a silent protagonist was a blatant mistake. But it was also a unique circumstance given that she was in Innocent Sin first and they had already built her up to be a super lively and outgoing character.

Tatsuya wasn't all that much different than other Persona protags, besides the more explicit background. Even with a preset name you could change it.

#20 Posted by ViciousBearMauling (1097 posts) -

Well, the MC is kinda just a vessel for you to pilot through the story.

Mass Effect managed to pull it off fairly well, so I think that a voiced MC wouldn't ruin things. Yet again, you don't have to fix what isn't broken, so they can keep it the way it is and I'll be happy.

If we get a voice connected to the occasional dialogue options of a Persona game, I'll be totally fine with it.

#21 Posted by Darji (5294 posts) -

If they make him talk he should act and speak based on his social stats. The anime adaption of Persona 4 did this really well in my opinion.

#22 Edited by Zeik (2429 posts) -

@darji said:

If they make him talk he should act and speak based on his social stats. The anime adaption of Persona 4 did this really well in my opinion.

As interesting as that might be, that would be basically impossible to pull off in a video game.

#23 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4676 posts) -

Well, the MC is kinda just a vessel for you to pilot through the story.

Mass Effect managed to pull it off fairly well, so I think that a voiced MC wouldn't ruin things. Yet again, you don't have to fix what isn't broken, so they can keep it the way it is and I'll be happy.

If we get a voice connected to the occasional dialogue options of a Persona game, I'll be totally fine with it.

That could work. Add a voice to the already present dialogue the MC has. Maybe give more options to speak up too. Not like the MC needs to be just as fleshed out as the rest of them. I bet they could get a good balance.

#24 Posted by BIGJEFFREY (5046 posts) -

sure

#25 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (5508 posts) -

I guess. If it can add to the game then sure.

#26 Edited by ViciousBearMauling (1097 posts) -

@viciousbearmauling said:

Well, the MC is kinda just a vessel for you to pilot through the story.

Mass Effect managed to pull it off fairly well, so I think that a voiced MC wouldn't ruin things. Yet again, you don't have to fix what isn't broken, so they can keep it the way it is and I'll be happy.

If we get a voice connected to the occasional dialogue options of a Persona game, I'll be totally fine with it.

That could work. Add a voice to the already present dialogue the MC has. Maybe give more options to speak up too. Not like the MC needs to be just as fleshed out as the rest of them. I bet they could get a good balance.

Exactly, it could give the MC the feeling of actually being in the world, while still allowing the player to "become" the MC.

#27 Edited by FLStyle (4699 posts) -

Talking MCs only work when you can add a little to them yourself ie. Paragon/Renegade Shepard.

#28 Edited by SuperfluousMoniker (2908 posts) -

Silent protagonists are the best protagonists.

#29 Posted by ch3burashka (5073 posts) -

The silent protagonist is an antiquated concept, but some things should stick to their legacies - it just makes sense that way.

@immortalsaiyan said:

@viciousbearmauling said:

Well, the MC is kinda just a vessel for you to pilot through the story.

Mass Effect managed to pull it off fairly well, so I think that a voiced MC wouldn't ruin things. Yet again, you don't have to fix what isn't broken, so they can keep it the way it is and I'll be happy.

If we get a voice connected to the occasional dialogue options of a Persona game, I'll be totally fine with it.

That could work. Add a voice to the already present dialogue the MC has. Maybe give more options to speak up too. Not like the MC needs to be just as fleshed out as the rest of them. I bet they could get a good balance.

Exactly, it could give the MC the feeling of actually being in the world, while still allowing the player to "become" the MC.

One problem - I hear my voice coming out of MC, so if it was someone else saying what I just chose (kind of like Mass Effect's Kinect feature...?) that'd put me off.

#30 Posted by believer258 (11907 posts) -

I'm tired of silent protagonists and I think that a voiced protagonist would fit well in a Persona game.

Online
#31 Edited by smcn (926 posts) -

If they plan on making an anime and/or offshoot games like they did with P4, absolutely. It was really jarring to hear Charlie speak in P4A, and it didn't help that the English VA was the same as Adachi.

#32 Posted by development (2330 posts) -

After facing the horrible reality that is Charlie Tunoku's imposter name and voice, I don't think I could handle it. Maybe they should just make him/her a vocaloid.

#33 Edited by ElmerGlue (32 posts) -

No body should be voiced save for Charlie Tunoku, who we learn is the master mind behind it all.

#34 Posted by ArtisanBreads (3834 posts) -

I hope all of Persona 5's dialogue is voiced. Would like the PC to be included.

#35 Edited by j0lter (235 posts) -

I found that the fact that the mc didn't speak aloud me to get more into the roll. If the mc talks it just feels like i'm watching it all happening with my chosen decisions. Either way though i'll love the game regardless.

#36 Posted by crusader8463 (14422 posts) -

I hope they address it like they do in the Persona 4 anime. Some funny moments come from it.

#37 Edited by Hunter5024 (5683 posts) -

I could not possibly want anything less! I would be so upset if they gave him a voice, because at that point he stops being your character, and starts being theirs. Shepard was totally the worst! I'm not friends with 45 percent of you anymore.

Edit: Also we've sort of broached this topic before if anyone's interested. I used to be so much more pleasant.

#38 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (1702 posts) -

@zeik said:

@clonedzero said:

Absolutely. Assuming the entire game is fully voiced. If they didnt talk it'd come off as awkward and distracting. Especially in a game all about social crap.

I'm 110% sure the game will not be "fully" voiced. Not without drastically reducing the dialogue anyway.

It depends what you mean by fully voiced. The only significant element of the past two games that wasn't voiced were the social links, all the important story dialogue was voiced. I think it's well within the realm of possibility that all s-links and story content is voiced, while random townsfolk conversations remain text.

As for the protagonist, my vote is absolutely for giving him/her a voice. I think the silent protagonist is one of the most outdated and antiquated methods of storytelling in video games. I see a lot of people saying it "makes them feel more like they are the character", but I just don't get that. The silent protagonist always makes the main character come off feeling like an inconsequential observer rather than the individual driving the story. Yu is supposed to be the leader of the investigation team, but every time the team is running through theories or coming up with plans, it's everyone else doing it all. He simply chimes in with one or two word thoughts every once in a while. It's like everyone else is doing the thinking and they just need his permission to proceed.

#39 Posted by SARRISS (146 posts) -

When games weren't so heavily voice acted then it was ok but now it'll be weird for the protagonist to not be voiced. Unless they give you a reason why.

#40 Posted by probablytuna (3662 posts) -

I think it's about time he/she has a voice.

#41 Edited by TheMasterDS (2066 posts) -

Booker DeWitt talked and it was pretty good. Showed that just because silent protagonists were used for earlier games in a series doesn't mean something can't be gained by giving them personality and voice.

#42 Edited by Wolfgame (742 posts) -

I'd rather it not be voiced, I am sure your "Charlie Tunoku" or "Yu Narukami" (or what ever you chose) carried a different personality than mine, because although the text and choices are the same the mental delivery is going to change and be projected differently from person to person. That experience is robbed when the game chooses to create its own characteristic (I'm looking at you Dragon Age 2).

#43 Edited by Captain_Felafel (1573 posts) -

If you had asked me this after playing through Persona 4, but before watching Persona 4: The Animation, I would've said absolutely not. But now I'm of the completely other opinion on this. The P4 anime handled Yu's (Charlie's) character so well, by giving him a personality of having no personality. It made his character memorable and hilarious to watch at times. I think if they take a similar approach in Persona 5 and give the main character dialogue, but little personality, I think that would work out terrifically.

#44 Edited by Zeik (2429 posts) -

@ll_exile_ll: If we are to assume S.Links are handled the same as before I'm still quite positive they won't be fully voiced. Voice acting is expensive and the game's already have quite a lot. Adding S. Links on top of that would increase that pretty significantly. I can't name a single modern RPG with as much dialogue as Persona that is fully voiced.

As for the silent protagonist, I've never liked it because it makes me feel like the character. That almost never actually happens. It does however leave more room for interpretation of their personality, especially when you're given some chances to mold it through actions and dialogue. I actually feel even more strongly about this since they tried to force a personality onto the P4 MC. Frankly their interpretation of his personality in Arena and the anime are pretty lame. I grew quite attached to "Yu" over the course of P4, but I cringed a little evey time he said something in Arena. He wasn't even half as cool as my image of him in P4.

Now perhaps that is simply a fault of forcing a character designed to be silent into a speaking role. Atlus probably could make a likeable and interesting speaking MC if they tried and aimed for that from the outset, but it would not work within the P3/P4 framework. I am hoping they make some notable changes in P5, so that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. But a main character you don't like can ruin an RPG more than just about anything.

#45 Posted by Strife777 (1580 posts) -

Depends. Not making him talk is the easy way to go, being much harder to screw up. But giving him a voice could go either way.

I answered no, but I could honestly go either way.

#46 Posted by civid (431 posts) -

Charlie was actually a pretty great character when they allowed him to talk in The Animation series and Arena. And I enjoy games that doesn't take the easy way out and just puts the player in the main characters shoes. So yeah, sure, go for it Atlus!

#47 Edited by CorruptedEvil (3310 posts) -

Yu Narukami in The Animation is hilarious, so yes.

#48 Posted by ripelivejam (3964 posts) -

should HEARTBREAK HEARTBREAK YOU TELL ME GOODBYE talk??

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