personal characterization of silent protagonists.

This is actually something I've been thinking about for a while, regarding silent protagonists, and have never remembered to ask up until now!

Does anyone else come up with personalities for them? Since I've never really spoken to anyone on this particular point, I wouldn't know. It feels like it'd be pretty common to totally develop personalities for a character, based off small things in their internal thoughts/actions they are able to take/observations they make. Also based off more obvious things, such as their design.

Buuuut, I also know a lot of people don't care as much, and so wouldn't do this. I guess I'm just curious to hear about silent protagonists anyone has characterized? Because I know, just with Persona 4's protag, there are so many different and interesting views on him, that I really love hearing other people's opinions.

And if this topic is already all over the place, I'm sorry! I don't ever... spend time on forums here, so. If I come off like a total noob, I apologize now, hahah.

9 Comments
10 Comments
Posted by maragidyne

This is actually something I've been thinking about for a while, regarding silent protagonists, and have never remembered to ask up until now!

Does anyone else come up with personalities for them? Since I've never really spoken to anyone on this particular point, I wouldn't know. It feels like it'd be pretty common to totally develop personalities for a character, based off small things in their internal thoughts/actions they are able to take/observations they make. Also based off more obvious things, such as their design.

Buuuut, I also know a lot of people don't care as much, and so wouldn't do this. I guess I'm just curious to hear about silent protagonists anyone has characterized? Because I know, just with Persona 4's protag, there are so many different and interesting views on him, that I really love hearing other people's opinions.

And if this topic is already all over the place, I'm sorry! I don't ever... spend time on forums here, so. If I come off like a total noob, I apologize now, hahah.

Posted by mandude

Not particularily. I find their personality shows up enough in how they react to other characters. I don't characterise them much outside of their own subtext.

Which evidently means, every silent protagonist is a spineless pushover, who just wants to be everyone's bitch (and occasionally goes on violent rampages against the powers that be).

Posted by kingzetta
Posted by JakeLogan

+1 to kingzetta. Gordon Freeman is one of the only silent protaganists I've liked. I figured it was more of a "FML...welp, let's get this shit over and done with" rather than an "...okay" attitude. RPG's are the worst offenders - Chrono is the gaming equivalent of Lassie "What's that Chrono? It look's like you want to say something....We're gonna go help this waste of skin? Alright, if I say so" The whole idea of "You're the Protagonist" approach to Silent heroes is and HAS been bullshit since it's inception.

Posted by mandude

I don't agree with that entirely now. I think Saint's Row 3 should use them. For a game that never even took itself seriously to begin with, Saints Row 2 somehow managed to lower the bar for shitty protagonists.

Posted by maragidyne

@mandude: I do think they work in some games. I certainly wish games like Persona would take more initiative with their protags - it wouldn't involve much more effort on the creative team's part. But I think for games where... the protags don't really NEED to talk, it works well. Does... that even make sense. Hmn. But yes. I think they're definitely a game-to-game thing, although I don't hate them.

Spineless bitch, though, ouch. Hahahah. I think that's perfectly valid, too.

Posted by maragidyne

@JakeLogan: Well, again, I think it's a game-to-game deal. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I don't think most RPG games should have silent protags, simply because it feels lazy on the creative team's part, but I don't always think it's a bust. It works really well in some cases, as I'm sure some people would tell you.

Posted by mandude

Yeah, I agree. If I'm not meant to care about the story, the other characters at least need to tell me what my objective is. A silent protagonist hardly serves any gameplay-only oriented feature.

Posted by TheDudeOfGaming

Personally i think characters like The Courier, Lone Wanderer, Vault Dweller and Chosen One are better. They aren't exactly silent protagonists, but the developers leave more than enough for you to imagine on your own, but at the same time they give the player many, many dialogue/quest options that allow the player to define the characters. Silent protagonists suck at least imo. I couldn't give a **** about what happened with Claude in GTAIII. CJ/Niko on the other hand.

Posted by Nottle

I actually really like some silent protagonists. I think my grey Warden, SKeeram, from DAO will always be more interesting than my Shepherd or Hawke.

The Persona 4 protagonist has some personality to him, its interesting to build off of that with your own ideas.

Oddly enough, I'm kind of tired of silent protagonists in first person shooters.