By SpikeDelight 24 Comments
Republic Commando, knowing that you've only ever heard clones speak in the exact same voice up to this point, wastes no time meeting you up with a squad member who has a unique voice from all the other clones. Now, since it would be impossible for him to have come from any other host but Jango Fett, it has to sink into your head at some point in the game that this isn't the way clones normally speak. The beauty of it is that, even though they do introduce your squad members very early on, the game allows it to slow-burn that these clones act like individuals. When you do finally realize it though (assuming you were enough of a Star Wars fan to know the basic prerequisites), it now explains volumes about how clones think and interact. It's not that the clones actually have different voices, it's that Delta-1138 (the character you play as) hears the subtleties in their voices that we wouldn't be able to hear, which manifests into a completely different sounding voice for him. This is where it gets interesting. The clones have been known to express individuality despite it being discouraged by the Kaminoans (long-necked beings who oversee the clones' growth), giving themselves names instead of the numbers assigned to them and (as seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars) sporting unique hairstyles to give themselves personality. What this simple subject of individual voices raises though is, do the clones even need the hairstyles to differentiate from each other or is that just so that other people can tell them apart? Similarly, if Obi Wan was talking to all four members of Delta Squad would they all sound like Jango Fett to him? If my analysis is accurate, then yes, they would all sound exactly alike. It's kind of like if you look at a lizard or something, you really can't tell one lizard from another based on appearance, but obviously they can tell each other apart because they look for different subtleties in their features than we do as humans.
This question that Republic Commando raises, and the way it allows the player to ponder it for himself without ever directly approaching the subject is genius! The best part about it is that the game never answers the question, allowing you to ultimately decide what it means. This kind of active storytelling is really the direction that I think video games should be going in more in terms of their narratives, since everything else about video games as a genre is already active (as opposed to the passive mediums of film, literature and everything else that preceded it). You wouldn't get this caliber of food for thought that dances so lightly around subjects in anything but the most provocative pieces in film and literature (don't take out of context please). Granted, this is only one small piece of the game and not a whole narrative relying on this kind of storytelling, but it proves that this kind of thing can be done well in video games, and I think developers should go in this direction with the way they handle entire video game stories, instead of trying to use the structure of a film and wonder why an 8-hour game doesn't work when shoehorned into that style.
also inb4 why are you looking so deep into this. i warned you at the beginning that if you're not interested then leave, please don't leave comments like that.