I just can't get hyped for Red dead 2

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Posted by Doom616 (54 posts) -

I so want to be as hyped as everyone else for the next red dead but I'm just not feeling it. Right off the bat here I'm gunna say that I am of Native American heritage and that will color a lot of my opinions here. Now I did play Red dead redemption and did not nearly feel as harsh about it. Something about John Marston did not repel me(although I hated his son). The gameplay was great the setting was gorgeous and I enjoyed the story. My sister and I had a lot of fun in the limited online as well. We generally played as various minorities which was nice for a change, the native characters were all right not great. Mostly played Hispanic characters which is the other half of our heritage.

As one of the more forgotten and marginalized people in this country I have a question for the Caucasian gamers here, would have said white but that felt like more of an attack and that's not what I'm going for. Does it feel good to have these characters that represent you? I'm one of the seemingly few that liked Assassin's creed 3, will get into this in a different blog I really like that game. In the most recent Red dead gameplay video the camp or family as they put it is pretty much just Assassin's creed 3. Family was a huge part of AC3 but never mentioned. Anyway back to the protagonist question, I know that I love it when a character comes around that represents at least a little of my heritage.

I don't want to get off into too much of a tangent here back to Red dead 2. So in the first Gameplay it was revealed you would be Morgan an enforcer for Dutch's gang. So right away I see this dude and he's a John Wayne looking Indian killer that's just my first impression then he goes on to rough fools up for money and be an all around dirtbag. This recent video helped a little with the player choice coming into play. We'll see if the honor system can make Morgan a cool dude.

So the diversity looked a bit sparse in the new gameplay, let's see we have one black woman and what looks like a mixed African American-native American cause if they be mixed we get both minorities. I'm not shitting on this game in anyway I just feel nothing for it outside of gameplay the gameplay looks cool. I'm a damn fool and will end up playing this anyway hehe but just had to say what I felt as a Native. Feel free to chat me up on this I think about it more than perhaps I would like.

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#1 Posted by Rotten_Avocado (100 posts) -

I loved the first game and thought John Marston represents the finest of characters from a Rockstar game perspective.

I have a few concerns with the sequel:

1) The playable character from Red Dead 2 doesn't seem as immediately likable as John Marston was (at least from the 6 minute gameplay trailer that just got pushed out).
2) The base maintenance/upkeep. I hope they are able to make it more of a side thing and less of a burden on the player in order to open new missions and story content.
3) Online. I'm one of those Luddites that avoids online gaming as I don't like to compete or feel the rat race pressure of missing out on content and falling behind. The first game did a decent job of segmenting the story and online portions of the game (GTA V did a good job as well). I'm hoping that is a trend that continues.

I don't buy many games day one, but this game definitely has me stoked even with my reservations.

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#2 Edited by Big_Denim (842 posts) -

Hmmm... I may check back in after work to give a more elaborate response. There's a lot to unravel and consider on this topic (for me at least) and it could be a 20 page essay honestly. But here it goes (for now)...

America is a great big melting pot of a lot of cultures. I know this may seem strange to some, but I don't really identify as anything (at least not from a racial or heritage perspective). Sure, my parents have some Irish and English blood in them, but that's also not something I can really identify with since I'm a product of my surrounding culture, not the product of an area's bloodline I've only visited once or twice. And while yes, I'm American, that is also a tough thing to pinpoint (because it's such a big country with a lot of different cultures/backgrounds/etc). Do I identify as a white male? Again...what the heck does that mean? I am not sure how/why I'm supposed to identify with that really?

So I start to ask myself, what am I? How do I identify myself? For me, it seems weird to identify myself based on what I'm into since that can vary from perspective to perspective (i.e. what the hell is a gamer? ask 5 different folks and you'll get 5 different images).

I still to this day struggle with these types of questions. I guess I just like to consider myself as...well, me. I'm nothing unique or special from any other person in many ways, yet I believe every human being is unique in their own special ways (cheesy/corny, I know, but it's kinda true).

Sorry...I know this doesn't totally answer some of your questions. But at the very least, I guess what I'm saying is, no, I don't get 'excited' about seeing a bunch of white dudes shooting up saloons. Hell, sometimes in character creators I make characters of various difference races and sex, because why not? I'm sick of seeing some macho white dude on the cover of 90% of my games. Strong lead characters from minority demographics deserve more recognition in games, movies, and media in general.

And don't worry about not being excited about Red Dead Redemption 2. That guy is the epitome of 'boring, white dude' from what we've seen so far. Hopefully they have a really interesting backstory for him and/or have some crazy shit happen to him over the course of the game because right now...he just seems flat.

EDIT: I feel like my answer was honest, but kind of a cop out. If it helps, here are character roles I do appreciate...maybe I identify as a collection of these things:

-Father figure. I will soon be a Father. As a result, many of the recent games that focus on a strong father figure role have had a very emotion impact on me. Whether it's an idealistic/angelic portrayal, morally good, complex, flawed, or anything in between. They all have something that intrigues me greatly.

-90s kids (heavily influenced and surrounded by technology, MTV, and social media)

-Addiction. While I myself have never been to the point of AA or rehab, I have a number of friends and family that have had lives ruined by drugs and alcohol. Accurate portrayals of those character roles interest me greatly as well.

-New England/Boston themes that aren't just 'get me a dunkie's guy' --- admittedly, not much media captures this well/often. I don't think a game has ever captured New England well, imo.

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#3 Posted by AdamALC (295 posts) -

For me personally I can say that I don't think any characters in video games represent me, I am not a cowboy, or a space marine, or a fat Italian plumber (even though I am 2/3rds of that equation. I tend to look at games as fiction that you mess around with. I understand the reasoning for looking for some outlet and I am down for whatever makes people happy, but that just isn't in my mental wheelhouse. As for the game itself I am not really hyped at all, I too wish I was but I am just not feeling it. I loved Red Dead Revolver, and Redemption up to the son's entrance, but I dislike prequels. Their stories are automatically pigeon holed by future events and my lizard brain kicks in to find contradictions. That being said, I am a sucker for the "western" genre and I hope it is a great game and Rockstar works some of that old magic up.

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#4 Posted by Sahalarious (796 posts) -

Red Dead 1 is one of the greatest achievements of gaming I've ever played, and I didn't give this game a thought until this morning. If that doesn't get you excited then you probably just dont need this game, because I am absolutely sick with anticipation now.

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#6 Edited by kcin (1005 posts) -

I gotta say, as a white dude I am increasingly drawn to stories from the perspectives of people who aren't like me. I don't feel represented by white male characters anymore, because the white experience has been so thoroughly homogenized by popular culture that is seen as the 'default/blank' perspective. Whiteness often plays no apparent role whatsoever in a protagonist's story - the story is about 'a cowboy' or 'a space marine', not 'a white man who is a cowboy/space marine'. This is, of course, an implicit lie. The character's whiteness and masculinity are still deeply, deeply significant, but the writer often chooses not to explore that in any meaningful way, opting instead to explore the parts of their lives that they've chosen to define themselves with (cowboy, father, space marine, etc.) This is why it always seems like stories which DO explore representation are often about minorities, which is culturally embarrassing. It's also why I've been reading and watching more stories about minorities and women than ever before.

The human experience of whiteness, blackness, femininity, queerness, and yes, even masculinity are fascinating and emotional, which is why a game like The Last of Us and the recent God of War are so highly-regarded: they tell stories of masculinity, of being a father. The trouble, though, is that there are tons of these stories. It doesn't make them less compelling by mere virtue of there being so many, but when I catch a story about being a woman, or about being black, or being a Native American, I find myself thinking, "oh shit, that's interesting!" It's a learning experience for me. Like, for example, Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues shaped the way that I see reservations and the post-colonial Native American experience irreversibly, and for the better. I am happy to have had that experience, and yeah, the book is good as hell and a lot of fun to read, but I also learned something, and learning is extremely rewarding.

I am also very lukewarm on RDR2. It's immediately apparent that this character is like so many Rockstar characters before him, and more to your point, is a tough white male like so many protagonists in general. I may feel partially represented through his white masculinity, but at this point, that doesn't excite me. I hope this provides some perspective.

As an aside, it's extremely disappointing how many people flat-out didn't even fuckin glance at the OP before blurting out a response.

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#7 Edited by HellBrendy (1311 posts) -

As a white dude I'm sick of "only" seing white dudes in games. Especially from stories told by white dudes also. I love diversity becaus it makes everyone even a tin bit smarter to consume media from people that differ from them selves. So yeah, Rockstar still banging that drum bores me.

Also, RDR not counting Rockstar haven't released a game that I liked since GTA San Andreas, so I'm not having high hopes for this at all.

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#8 Posted by Solidsnak (172 posts) -

I played the first game to completion but I never understand why people thought the main character was a good guy. Around the point you get to Mexico, there is a mission for the corrupt governor (I think), where you are tasked with burning down peoples homes. At that point, it's obvious that the governor won't even help you in your cause, but you do the mission anyway and he soon turns on you after you finish the task. At this point I fully understood that Marston doesn't care about anyone but himself and maybe his immediate family. He is just a selfish man whose past caught up with him and forced him to go do some task in the hopes of getting out of trouble. By the end when he is gunned down, I felt pretty indifferent about him and about the game in total. It did some neat stuff spawning radiant events while you traveled but other than that I didn't super enjoy any of it.

With that as my feelings on the first game, I really don't care about the new one.

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#9 Edited by Ares42 (4366 posts) -

@doom616 said:

Does it feel good to have these characters that represent you?

While I obviously can't speak for everyone one of the things I feel like a lot of non-Caucasians don't get is that Caucasians generally don't have any sort of connection to their race. If I see a white guy I don't think "he's like me", in fact in most cases I'm more inclined to think the opposite. I don't feel like Caucasian characters in fiction represent me in any way. There is no Caucasian community, it's all split up in different sub sections like nationalities or class or belief.

It might seem like a luxury thing, since Caucasian characters are everywhere so your identity rarely gets challenged, but even disregarding that there's just so little race solidarity mentality for Caucasians (outside of extremist right wing communities) that even if there was less "representation" it wouldn't really change much.

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#10 Edited by JohnyMyko (1895 posts) -

@ares42: This is pretty much how I see it as well.

@hellbrendy:From what I can remember, as protagonists, they had 4 Americans, 1 Canadian, 2 Italian-Americans, 2 African-Americans, 1 Chinese, 1 Serbian and 2 Dominicans. This is only counting GTA games and Red Dead Redemption. They also tend to include a bunch of different cultures on the supporting cast. So I'm not exactly sure were you got the idea that Rockstar is somehow "still banging that drum" of white American dudes.

I don't see myself represented in any way or form just because a character in fiction or a person in real life has the same skin color as me or even if it's born on the same country as myself. To me, we are all unique individuals. Maybe it's just me, but I look at a protagonist and think "it's the protagonist". I'm not really thinking about what's the ethnicity of the character I'm looking at, the story they have to tell is way more important to me. Put a deformed martian as a protagonist, for all I care. Just make sure it looks cool and has something interesting to tell.

Anyway, as for the hype for the game (which I thought this what it was about, based on the title), I'm very curious about it but I can't get hyped for it since I'm not really into the cowboy setting. For some reason, the whole era of America with cowboys, civil war or whatever happened there before the 1920s just bores me to death. If the game turns out to be amazing, I might check it once the price drops. I own the first game and I played a bit of it, it seemed fine and apparently the story is really good, but it didn't grab me (it also didn't help that it looks and feels dated on the PS3). I'm also not a fan of Rockstar's R.A.G.E. engine either, so that also doesn't help. But, either way, I hope it's a good game.

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#11 Posted by Relkin (1214 posts) -

They don't represent me. Just because I'm white (which isn't a pejorative or anything, so don't be afraid to just say white) doesn't mean that I feel some sort of responsibility for the actions of those who are also white. I don't have that connection with other whites today; I certainly don't have it with those long dead. We are each our own person.

Rockstar is portraying a pretty horrific period of time. I imagine some unspeakably evil stuff will happen to some of the American Indian characters during the course of the story, whether it be on the game's critical path or in a side mission; whether the player is trying to stop it, or is complicit to the atrocity. If you know this is going to deeply upset you, I would advise not playing the game. You should at least wait a while after release, to see what some outlets have to say about that sort of stuff. I imagine the folks at Waypoint will probably zero in on anything in that department immediately, so keep an eye on what they have to say.

I'm also not really looking forward to the game, to be honest. It doesn't have anything to do with diversity or the representation of minorities, it's just that I wasn't that hot on the previous game. Big chunks of RDR were boring as hell, and as good as Marston's end was, I think the couple of hours of menial bullshit that led up to it were fucking awful. To go from the high of riding back home with that song playing, to the lows of hustling cattle and Marston's home life was deeply disappointing. Soured me on the game quite a bit.

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#12 Edited by kcin (1005 posts) -

I'm not really thinking about what's the ethnicity of the character I'm looking at, the story they have to tell is way more important to me.

The presumption that these two things are necessarily separate is whiteness in a nutshell.

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#13 Edited by John1912 (2504 posts) -

Ive never really much cared about race or gender in games/movies/books as long as it works, and doesnt go against a established story/character. Like reboots where they gender/race swap popular chars. Even then Id judge the finished product, and if they can pull it off great I guess. But that is a up hill climb to nail it, which they kinda have to do if they go that route. Otherwise Ares42 kinda nailed it. Most of us dont care. If the story is good, and its done well is all that matters.

Id totally play RDR 3 with a Native American main char. Guess I never stopped to notice there arent any in RDR which is generally a staple of the Old West. Bit of a touchy subject for the time period though which is prob why. :-/

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#14 Posted by Charongreed (111 posts) -

I'm from Spanish descent (I can trace my lineage back to one of the first missions in California!) and I think I'm pretty proud of it? I can relate that there aren't really any representations for that part of my background (the only I can think of is the bad guy from Assassins Creed 2), but in actual function I'm just a slightly more handsome and exotic version of white. I only really ever care when all the characters are white, which happens more often than I'd like. And, for the record, Assassins 3 is actually one of my favorites, I think Connor is a great character concept that was wasted in a really poorly produced game (in my head cannon, he's the single greatest hand-to-hand fighter the assassins ever had, he basically beat the British army single handedly).

As for Red Dead 2, I've heard enough about the way Rockstar treats its employees and the people it brings in for contract work that I refuse to give them any money whatsoever. But even if I did, the new one doesn't sound great. Between the looming shadow of GTA Online and all the really uninteresting story stuff they've shown, I'd be wait and see and pick it up on sale.

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#15 Posted by NTM (11871 posts) -

I don't like it going too far either way, be it trying to force characters into it because it's fitting for our times (I mean, Battlefield V barely gets away with it with the badass female soldier thing [there were some female soldiers in WWII, so I can look past it]), and I also don't like the abundance of 'ooh-rah' American marine characters, it's why I very much appreciate Rainbow Six as they're a multinational group, despite them not going that into detail with their characters. Although I like when I can relate to a character, I am not really concerned about what sex or race they are, I just want them to be interesting. While I am caucasian, I am about 12.5 percent Makah and live a couple hours from Neah Bay, so while I am not full Indian, I do feel something when there are characters that are Native American, like Connor from AC3, Tommy from Prey, or heck, even Turok! As for Red Dead Redemption, I can't actually say I thought too much about different nationalities/ethnicities in RDR2. It was interesting to see the American's, Mexican's, Chinese, Indians, etc. in the first game though. I think I just took it as a given that there'd be some diversity in the game. Rockstar is pretty good at trying to make their worlds seem plausible for the time the game is set in. I guess we'll see what kind of character Morgan is, but I want to say I doubt he's going to be a guy that loves killing Indians? Also, we know something happened to Morgan before the first RDR since he's not mentioned or seen in it.

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#16 Posted by development (3180 posts) -

I'm facepalming pretty hard at some of these responses

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#17 Edited by stinger061 (480 posts) -

On the issue of feeling represented by white characters in games I have to say that's not something I've ever felt. This is almost certainly a result of white male characters dominating 95% of media throughout my life so anytime there was a poorly done character there was no shortage of other media with better representations.

I imagine for other groups in society who are infrequently represented in media each time it does happen it feels far more important for it to be done right because of the disappointing lack of alternatives.

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#18 Posted by baka_shinji17 (1468 posts) -

I'm rather hyped for it. Also, I finally realized that it's ok that I haven't finished RDR.

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#19 Edited by liquiddragon (3526 posts) -

This is the kinda thing that is easily taken for granted. As an Asian in the West, I'm "lucky" Asian games, mostly Japanese, have a presence in gaming worldwide but with other media, it is depressing the lack of meaningful representation. As far as Western games go, we got Sleeping Dogs, Chinatown Wars, and a few others sprinkled here and there but they're usually very Hollywood versions of my cultures. It's not great but it's definitely better than nothing and I do find an extra level of enjoyment because they are so rare.

But still, you can't control your hype level (I'm not that hyped either just because I'm not that into RDR) but the game needs to be judged when it comes out. It's Rockstar so don't expect anything good in that area. Also, it's a video game so chances are, we're talking shallow characterizations.

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#20 Edited by JohnyMyko (1895 posts) -

@kcin said:

I'm not really thinking about what's the ethnicity of the character I'm looking at, the story they have to tell is way more important to me.

The presumption that these two things are necessarily separate is whiteness in a nutshell.

I never said they are separate and I don't know why you took my quote out of context. I'm mixed race and not American, btw. But sure, whatever makes you feel happier.

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#22 Edited by Dan_CiTi (5249 posts) -

Well just like with the first Red Dead Redemption, the gameplay systems are very interesting to me and I know fuck all about the main character and storyline outside of the most basic things possible before release. I ended up really liking a lot of RDR's storytelling and characters, it had obvious shortcomings, but it did far more for me than any Rockstar game before or since. Not saying this second game will be only superior, but chances are good it will be fun and interesting to play at least.

As for representation, that's really up in the air. This game seems to be darker and more varied than the first. Who knows how dynamic the crew of outlaws you have will be. Maybe it is possible to recruit native american, hispanic, and/or black characters to the team, or maybe they're set in stone from the beginning. Not sure how it works. I just hope there is not another Irish situation. A huge theme of the first game was ignorance/denialism, which obviously the Native American characters were constantly a victim of. It will be fascinating to see how that theme (and the side of colonialism/oppression) is tackled again. There's almost no way it is not part of the story as well as the gameplay systems. I don't trust Rockstar to treat these ideas with so much gravity and subtlety, as even most great Western films at best show "yo that's fucked up" and just kind of move on. But then again RDR surprised me now and then with a few of its characters, so who knows. It's not long now!

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#23 Posted by SloppyDetective (1618 posts) -

As someone who is part Native I've avoided Assassin's Creed 3 because I didn't have any faith in them doing that character any justice, and I kind of feel the same way here. I think if Rockstar had made the main character Native they probably would've handled it with more care and nuance than most, but I also could see them being really ham fisted with it. Idk, the film Wind River (and people's reactions to it) really cemented my attitude of I don't need to see a white person's idea of Native culture because it's going to be a mix of stereotypes, hollow apology, and self-aggrandizing. I'll also not let a poor representation ruin a piece of art for me if it is doing something else interestingly - like the film Bone Tomahawk.

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#25 Posted by SethMode (2052 posts) -

Hey OP, I'm with you. Great post. Weird how so many people can just run in their own directions over it but, I guess that's the world that we live in. I'd say more but I'm afraid I'd start a fight. So, thanks again, it was a really great perspective to see.

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#26 Posted by lead_dispencer (542 posts) -

In your question about how I feel white characters represent me, I don’t feel any characters represent me in most games. I’m a middle class white kid who grew up in a big city but not in new York or LA or Chicago. My ancestors were German but I don’t feel targeted when people put down Germans/nazis etc. I’m also not religious, more atheist really. I have stronger feelings for proper usage of the Oxford comma then most real issues.

I just can’t relate to your views much like I can’t relate to a black person thinking that a street hood character is a stereotype of themselves. I guess that’s white privilege.

I can understand feeling uneasy about a cowboy game when your people were subject to genocides. To be honest I don’t know how to handle that. I always feel out of place when the internet is hyped for a game or movie and I just can’t get behind it. That was me with destiny 2 earlier. You wanna be part of this overall community and you just can’t fake it. Or at least I can’t.

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#27 Edited by John1912 (2504 posts) -

@sloppydetective said:

As someone who is part Native I've avoided Assassin's Creed 3 because I didn't have any faith in them doing that character any justice, and I kind of feel the same way here. I think if Rockstar had made the main character Native they probably would've handled it with more care and nuance than most, but I also could see them being really ham fisted with it. Idk, the film Wind River (and people's reactions to it) really cemented my attitude of I don't need to see a white person's idea of Native culture because it's going to be a mix of stereotypes, hollow apology, and self-aggrandizing. I'll also not let a poor representation ruin a piece of art for me if it is doing something else interestingly - like the film Bone Tomahawk.

I mentioned it in above post, but I think RDR3 could be a interesting take with a Native American main char. The fact is that as you said. You have no faith in doing it justice. I dont really either, and thats kinda why it is a issue. Its a really tough topic to deal with in this day and age. Throw in that its a video game that requires killing, it gets emotionally deep, real quick, for a lot of people. Thats just a topic no one wants to touch sadly. It can result in a press shit storm faster then you can react.

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#28 Edited by CJduke (1035 posts) -

As a white dude, I think the main character looks boring as hell. He looks like they took John Marston's model and remolded the face a bit. I already got to play as John Marston, let me play as someone completely different, with a unique story and background/perspective. This, plus it being a prequel is really disappointing to me. They could have done anything with the story and they choose to stick to Marston's old gang which seem uninspired.

Everything else looks great though.

I honestly don't think about seeing myself represented in games, mostly because I'm white and it happens all the time so I don't think about it, but also because I don't usually look for characters to be like me. Once again, probably because I'm white. I like to play as characters who don't look like me, or if they do, don't act like me or seem too much like me. I don't care about playing myself or seeing myself in anything.

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#29 Posted by Inresurrection (464 posts) -

I'm pretty much with you, but I'll likely cave and buy it due to hype, like most of Rockstar's games. I enjoyed Read Dead Redemption quite a bit, but it wasn't game-changing to me like it was to many others. Traversing the world never felt fun to me and everything just felt stiff enough to where I couldn't really enjoy it as much as I'd have liked to. RDR2 sure looks pretty, but I dunno.

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#30 Posted by TheHT (15875 posts) -

I'm mostly with ya on Assassin's Creed 3. I think they build up some great relationships and characters, but squander a great deal of it at the end (particularly Haytham and Connor's relationship). At least that's how I remember it. People hated Conner, but all things considered I think his disposition was justified within the story (not to mention a nice break from generically charming protagonists), and the way they muddied up the Assassin/Templar conflict of ideals I thought was one of the few times Assassin's Creed did anything of narrative worth (the most notable other time probably being the majority of Assassin's Creed 1). I hope you write that blog about it!

I ain't that hype about RDR2 either though. Not sure I wanna play that kinda game again. Hell, I never even got around to GTA5. The only open-world games I'm interested in playing right now are Spider-Man and Breath of the Wild. As for the story of RDR2, I think it might be more of a pulpy thing this time around, as opposed to the more morally ambiguous-type western the first one went for. RDR1 was good but not particularly special (that ending's something else though, er, at least the last two endings are). Just saw the gameplay video and I dunno, could be alright. Game sure looks pretty though, and the deadeye stuff is always fun.

@ares42 said:
@doom616 said:

Does it feel good to have these characters that represent you?

While I obviously can't speak for everyone one of the things I feel like a lot of non-Caucasians don't get is that Caucasians generally don't have any sort of connection to their race. If I see a white guy I don't think "he's like me", in fact in most cases I'm more inclined to think the opposite. I don't feel like Caucasian characters in fiction represent me in any way. There is no Caucasian community, it's all split up in different sub sections like nationalities or class or belief.

It might seem like a luxury thing, since Caucasian characters are everywhere so your identity rarely gets challenged, but even disregarding that there's just so little race solidarity mentality for Caucasians (outside of extremist right wing communities) that even if there was less "representation" it wouldn't really change much.

It isn't only white people that feel this way. Representation in fiction is sometimes an extremely odd talking point. If you're talking about people not doing their research when making historical fiction, then yeah you can absolutely misrepresent the society and culture of a time and place (and that can apply to contemporary times as well of course, not just olden tymes), but when it comes to things like "why don't they have anyone that's like me in this thing," then it becomes something else entirely.

It's almost like regarding fiction and the characters therein as flags to be waved around, rather than as imagined stories consisting of imagined people with individuality and nuance that make them their own. Peter Parker ain't me. T'Challa ain't me. Aladdin ain't me. But I can still empathize and relate to their journeys and personalities as I follow them all along. That's the whole point. That's literally why you'd want a variety of characters and stories across a medium in the first place: so you can expand and refine spectrums of emotion and understanding (and style; superficial variety for its own sake is important too!).

If you're not doing that then what's the point? When I'm playing a game (with a story) or watching a movie or reading a book, I'm looking to understand and connect to the humanity of the characters and the narrative (and yeah sometimes there's just bad stories/characters; also there are other considerations I look at that I'm not really highlighting because they're not exactly relevant (aesthetics, prose, gameplay)), rather than considering all the ways they could be representing me but aren't.

Like even if you really looked at things that way, could you really say that any character actually represents you? Maybe your culture, sure, if they did their research like I mentioned, but unless you're, I dunno, Tonya Harding watching "I, Tonya," then that shit don't represent you. Maybe you strongly relate to the character and the story, and great, keep at it, but if I'm a Muslim watching Layla M., the experiences portrayed aren't wrong or problematic if they don't match up to my own experiences, and the movie ain't wrong or problematic for failing to include said experiences. Know what I mean? Every Muslim isn't one single character or storyline, just like every white person isn't one single character or storyline, and every black person isn't one single character or storyline. Advocating for telling more of those stories isn't the same as reinforcing this strange representation-focused way of engaging with fiction.

@xdeser2 said:

Honestly all the people saying "I don't identify as anything" is pretty much how whiteness operates. White people aren't an oppressed group in the United States (This is a generality, not an attack on anyone here for personally having a hand in this), whereas every other group is. That's how the dichotomy of whiteness works - its a Them vs Us equation, and its why certain groups are let in to the category of "white" as time goes on. We're who culture is geared for in the US, we're represented pretty well in every medium, and its incredibly easy for us to just ignore it, because its not an issue - for us. There are real, material historical considerations here. "White" isn't a scientific category, but whiteness is a social reality.

As for OP I can understand completely. I'm personally excited for RDR 2, but it totally bears all the marks of a white-centric western. (right down to the last trailer literally saying 'spreading civilization' to the wild west) I'd never expect Rockstar to have good politics so I've pretty much lowered my standards on that front, but I dont expect anyone else to.

Mmm, you're kinda presupposing that they would care if they weren't white. Someone can consciously not care about their ethnicity, whether they're white or not, and even whether they're oppressed for it or not.

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#31 Edited by jamjyo (106 posts) -

I'm with you.

Rockstar games' characters are generally stereotypes that have already been portrayed in countless films (even in case of POCs). I just play these games for their amazing environments.

I was bored by John Marston (ex-gunslinger something conflicted something), and I'm pretty sure I'll be bored by this white dude too.

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#33 Edited by BrunoTheThird (843 posts) -

Race should play an important role in this game because of the era it's set; it's infamous for the disgusting and open racism, and it's not really being shown through non-white eyes, or really discussed at all, which is why I think threads like this have been created. Not because people genuinely think we're tied to our race like they are, or feel so fulfilled and represented by our 'white characters'. Never met someone in this culture who said they resonated with many of the famous male whiteys. For me, growing up, I was always drawn to Japanese games, and games with female main characters, so I have zero input on that front. Fem Shep, Adam from Streets of Rage, the kid from Ico, Jade from BGaE, Heather Mason. Dante might be the closest I get, but I always preferred Trish and Lady, so... To me that doesn't sound like I was some sheep who was satisfied with/drawn to the homogenized whiteness in games, I just literally had zero connection with my own race, but I'm an Italian-English millennial who was the only white person in my circle of friends, and the only white kid on my street, so I'm not your typical cracker.

This company made San Andreas, an incredibly self-aware game that happily dealt with race issues via hilarious anger and wit, so I was a bit surprised the first RDR was so politically bland, but it's clear they were more inspired by movies than history which is where this particularly unfortunate depiction's problems lie. Would this game be better with a pure native American protagonist? Arguably no, arguably yes. Would I have preferred it? Yes. Why? Because it's different, more interesting, and an opportunity to tell a story via this beautiful medium that's never been told well and tackles a big subject through relevant perspectives, but again, they've been much more inspired by cinema, and as such most people associate the old west with white anti-heroes, booze, dirty Mexicans, yee-hawing morons, mouth-slapping 'Injuns' and whatever else, so much that one of the most racially aware developers has set two games in arguably the most racially tense eras of American history without going all-out. Is it a mistake? an oversight? or harmless love-letters to the cowboy movies they watched as kids? Hard to say.

We'll see if it has some importance up its sleeves on this issue, because we've only seen brief chunks to be fair. I will make my mind up when the credits roll, not before.

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#34 Posted by Ares42 (4366 posts) -

@theht: I think you're making a sorta common mistake when thinking about this stuff. The idea of representation in fiction isn't about being a stand-in for the person, it's about getting a sense of belonging. When you've grown up in a society where you felt like an outcast seeing something you identify with being included in society can help a lot with redeeming that sense.

Take gaming as an example. Many of us grew up in a society where it was frowned upon, and usually whenever there's been some sort of news or something that normalized gaming to society a lot of gamers enjoyed that. To this day there are still plenty of gamers seeking that validation, and it's fairly similar to how say Black Panther was received by the black community.

What I was talking about was that when you grow up in a colored community (especially if it's a minority) it's very hard not to identify as your race. Not only does society constantly remind you, but many of those communities are usually also fairly tight-knit and protective of their race identity. As a Caucasian on the other hand it's very much opposite. Race just isn't part of your identity at all. It's all about being Irish or Jewish or Catholic or Redneck or Mormon or whatever. Those are the things that define Caucasian communities.

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#36 Edited by soulcake (2818 posts) -

Remember when GTA San Andreas had below expectation sales in the US because of the black Antagonist........ (i know it's dumb)? To be honest i just don't care i just wanna play a good game even if the antagonist is purple, it's the story that's being told that counts for me.

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#37 Posted by gunflame88 (395 posts) -

Does it feel good to have these characters that represent you?

He doesn't represent me in any way. I'm Slavic and I feel no connection whatsoever to this fictional American who lived a century ago half the world away from where I am.

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#38 Posted by soulcake (2818 posts) -

@gunflame88: Isn't Slavic a culture then a race ? for instance i would be in the Germanic culture influence circle ?

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#39 Posted by gunflame88 (395 posts) -

@soulcake: It's an ethnic and linguistic group, as well as a culture group, yes. My point is, I don't feel at all gratified by or connected to a character just by virtue of them being Caucasian. That's what the OP was asking, if I understand correctly.

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#40 Posted by soulcake (2818 posts) -

@gunflame88: Yeah i agree i have no relatives living in America so i kinda feel the same, It's just a other wild west story for me.

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#41 Edited by jamjyo (106 posts) -
@tru3_blu3 said:

I'm sorry man, but you're racist and sexist as hell.

Prefers his/her people represented in games because it's so rare = DA REAL Racist+Sexist?

I've seen this argument coming from so many gAmErS at this point that now, it just.....zzzZZ

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#42 Posted by TheHT (15875 posts) -

@ares42: That's basically how I'm looking at it too. Not a stand-in, but something of a reflection (i.e. a representation). I'm criticizing when the lack of seeing a specific aspect of yourself (such as skin colour or religion or nationality) in a specific work is seen as a negative, and by extension when someone's engagement with a work is diminished in such cases. When there is an explicit emphasis placed on that reflection that effectively upends the function of fiction to dissolve those very markers to make its consumer see only people.

I see what you're saying with "white" being something of an amorphous mass of groups. Religion is odd to mention within that because your creed is not determined by your "race" (which is kind of a selling point for religions), but I get ya; lotta white folks be Christian. But you can also find plenty of non-white people who also identify chiefly by their nationality (ancestral or otherwise) or religion, as opposed to being "brown" or what-have-you, even when living as a minority in, say, North America.

I understand the experience of being the x person in a community, but I think it's worth noting that just because you were doesn't mean you'll have that perspective of seeing someone who's also x and saying "he's like me," or indeed having that manner of engagement with fiction where you do see x characters as "representing" you. That's what I meant when I said "it isn't only white people that feel this way."

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#43 Posted by TheHT (15875 posts) -

I really don't care the color or gender of characters I play. What matters is their depth. How are they written? What motivates them? What do they believe? What do they want, and what is hindering them towards that goal? We relate to people based on these things. If skin color and gender bothers you this much, then I'm sorry man, but you're racist and sexist as hell.

I'm assuming you're taking to no one in particular with that last line, cause I don't think the OP's done anything to deserve that.

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#44 Posted by dudeglove (13779 posts) -

I don't blame you, OP. The Hausers are terrible writers who have only ever seemed to have watched a lot of films and expecting something better of them given how bad every other outing has been is... ergh.

I mean, they aren't completely terrible at satire, but applying what sort of worked in GTAV (with Trevor especially) to RDR's themes, such as turn of the century industrialization, slavery, and probably the wholesale slaughter of indigenous people and animals and so on (rather than, say, nihilism in the late capitalist society we currently inhabit) is IMO so far beyond their capabilities.

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#45 Posted by The_Greg (548 posts) -

I agree about the hype. I'm also struggling to get hyped for it, but that's nothing out of the ordinary. I can't get hyped about any video game these days. The game looks absolutely incredible and I will no doubt buy it pretty much upon release, but nothing about it makes me excited. I liked the first game, but only played about 15 hours.

In regards to your comments about diversity, I can't help but be a little bit annoyed. Apologies for being frank there. I don't like that diversity is now an aspect that can be used as criticism towards films, games, etc..

I am 100% for equal opportunity, whether you're of any race or gender. No one should be discriminated against, or denied the chance to do something they want to do, based on the colour of their skin or the shape of their genitals.


Diversity for the sake of diversity is pandering, patronising and a little offensive to the creator to say that they are not representing a variation of people or groups, when they're simply trying to tell a story that they want to tell.

A game with the setting of Read Dead 2 isn't going to show Natives, white people and black people skipping across the prairie together. What might happen, is that those people are portrayed in the disgusting and humiliating way that they were treated in that time period. I'm aware that it's awful.

The actual race or gender of the characters is not what makes them important. It's the stories that they tell. I want diversity in the way that characters are written and constructed throughout the story, I don't care what ethnicity they are unless it's relevant to their character.

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#46 Posted by Veektarius (6412 posts) -

It doesn't have much to do with the white vs minority aspect of things you're coming from, but I've always been turned off by the way that Rockstar approaches controversial issues, and the parts that made Red Dead great is where it ignored them entirely and focused on the story it was telling. So, I say, if it's Rockstar making the game, show me as many bland white people and as few caricatures (minority or otherwise) as possible.

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#47 Posted by JohnyMyko (1895 posts) -

@theht: Your comments describe exactly my thoughts, but written in a much better way than I would ever could. Thank you!

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#48 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (3675 posts) -

On a kind of side note it's always weird to me when Americans use the term Caucasian to mean white people when it doesn't actually mean that. A Caucasian is someone from the Caucasus area of Eurasia.

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#49 Edited by nutter (2287 posts) -

Can’t get hyped? Awesome!

Let marketers worry about hyping you up. It’s one less product to buy.

I kinda like when there’s a dry spell in games. I’ve been playing since before the ET landfill was created and there are a ton of games I haven’t had time for.

Also, if you get excited later, it’ll probably be cheaper and less buggy.

As far as representation, I’ll happily play a flawed protagonist, hero or otherwise. I think that makes it more interesting. Playing in the shoes of another person can offer interesting perspective, if the writing is decent. Look at all the Booker DeWitt and Joel talk from the summer of Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us.

Playing a racist murderer (which Booker was, from what I remember), it gets stickier, for sure. But I do think some games should try to approach this subject matter. Even if it’s sloppy, someone will pick-up the torch and do it better.

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#50 Posted by shivermetimbers (1721 posts) -

As the poster above me said, it's good you /aren't/ hyped. Life is full of 'I wants' and market research has gotten very good at going into your psyche to satisfy those urges with nothing by hypothetical scripted gameplay trailers and other things. Those 'I wants' just turn into resentment when they don't meet expectation. which they won't.