Now you have a family!

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#51 Posted by Blackout62 (2109 posts) -

Somewhere along the line people forgot the role playing part of role playing games.

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#52 Posted by TanookiSuit (599 posts) -

Can I choose the path of "Orphan" instead? Or "Raised by wolves"?

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#53 Edited by Redhotchilimist (2316 posts) -

@blackout62 said:

Somewhere along the line people forgot the role playing part of role playing games.

I think the difference is that even a video game with the deepest amount of dialogue choices and outcomes can't compare to a tabletop game with a couple of friends and a DM who's willing to improvise a little in terms of what you can do and what roles you can play. Even the Mass Effect series, which keeps talking about choice, usually only have choices that amount to being a dick about something or being nice about something. You can customize the journey, but you don't get to decide it, you're gonna fight Rachni and Cerberus will be indoctrinated either way. So instead you get people coming to video game RPGs for the stories the games want to tell, to interact with interesting party members and NPCs, enjoy different sorts of combat/leveling/loot systems and dolling up your avatar just the way you want in the character creator and with equipment. "Role playing" actually isn't high on the priority list for a lot of people, and it's not their fault or anything, it's just different strengths of different mediums.

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#54 Edited by poobumbutt (793 posts) -

I've never found the whole "fill in the character sheet yourself" concept in video games to be very interesting. If I wanted that, I think I'd just play an actual tabletop. I don't want to cut it halfway and have the game present me with a "shell" of a character and have me colour him in, so to speak.

When you play a tabletop, you have your other friends to validate the so-called "existence" of your created character, making them real, in a sense. They can converse with him/her in a way that feels natural given their personality and even fashion little touches into missions in the same way. But Andromeda isn't going to give me any feedback on my female, Black, half-Asari, omnisexual, high-functioning sociopath, kidney donor character that I created mostly in my mind. I can't imagine there's a "way-to-play" for that character.

Anyway, the tl;dr is that as much as I know people like playing blank-slate characters in games like this, I couldn't be happier that they're doing some characterization themselves.

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#55 Posted by GERALTITUDE (5938 posts) -

There have been more than enough Blank Slate Protagonist RPGs ... at the very least this is something difference, and that's worth a shot.

@starvinggamer said:

I love it although I do wish you could play as both in a single playthrough and have TWO ROMANCES

WITH EACH OTHER! Next time you get to play as Joffrey. I was hoping for a GTA 5 esque system where you have 2 separate parties on different sides of the same enormous battlefield or something.

...why ...why you gotta put ideas like that in mind? Great. Just great. Andromeda is already my biggest disappointment of 2017.

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#56 Posted by TheHT (14958 posts) -

Reading through this thread I've come to the conclusion that I have no idea what constitutes a blank slate character. I thought it was just a character who didn't have a background, but it seems there's a bit more to it than that.

Seems like there's two sorts: a character with a blank slate in terms of background, and a character that's a blank slate throughout the game. The BioWare games since KotOR (can't speak to their prior RPGs personally) have all been neither. Stuff like The Elder Scrolls and Mount & Blade seem like games where you're a blank slate throughout, though in the latter you can craft a backstory yourself within the game. Games where whatever characterization there is largely resides in your interpretation of the actions you're taking in-game, as well as possibly from some rudimentary dialogue choices. Significantly different from the sort of storytelling in these BioWare games.

But within these games there's been variation as to how they've set your character's backstory up. Your singular history in KotOR is the twist, in DA:O there's a bunch of options with distinct starting chapters, in Mass Effect you've got some simplistic biography options (and subsequent games are based on its predecessor), in DA:II it's crafted for you, in SWTOR it varies a bit but most are crafted for you, and in Inquisition you've got simplistic biographies that are determined by your race and class.

In terms of characterization, yes you have less freedom than being a blank slate character throughout, as you're bound to whatever sort of characterizations have been written in, but they're all largely disconnected from your backstory. You're free to shape your character going forward. I'd expect Andromeda to be no different in that regard, as it's kinda the hallmark of these BioWare RPGs. Which is to say this ain't a thing.

Or am I still completely off about blank slate characters, and somehow Shepard was one?

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#57 Edited by ShadyPingu (1748 posts) -

@theht: I think what's clear from your post is that it's a fluid term.

I think I said in an earlier post that Bioware MCs have taken on certain qualities of blank slates. With regard to characters like Shepard, I was thinking about the tendency in those games for the lead to be the least interesting person in whatever room they are in, because Bioware's approach to writing leaves very little room for their MCs to express distinct personality traits apart from their moral alignment.

For instance, there's not really an avenue for Shepard to talk about him or herself; if he/she and Garrus were sitting in the Normandy trading war stories, Shepard wouldn't share any stories of his/her own, because his/her dialogue is geared mostly toward affirming or denying what other people say, or requesting clarification or additional info. The only game in the trilogy where Shepard had anything approaching a character arc was in 3, when he/she gets anxiety-fueled nightmares from watching Starchild get blown up on Earth. Even the traits that have become most firmly associated with Shepard, like shitty dancing or awkwardly breaking off conversations, are almost entirely accidental, though to Bioware's credit they have at times leaned into it.

That leads me to think of characters like Shepard as "blank slates," even though, looking at the letter of the law, they all have relatively well-defined origins in the world. But that the games do so little with those origins, to me, contributes to the sense that I'm playing as some kind of emotionless golem, existing largely to push the game toward Paragon or Renegade.

One promising thing I noticed in Inquisition was that there were a few moments where the Inquisitor could decide not only his/her past, but look back on their past through the lens of their choosing. One time the advisor lady asked my human mage what living in the Circle was like, and I could say a variety of things: i liked it; I hated it; my family was rich so whatevs; etc. it never came to much, but it was an interesting thing that wasn't present, really, in Mass Effect.

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#58 Posted by tartyron (69 posts) -
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#59 Posted by tartyron (69 posts) -

I think it's a good idea. Lord knows we have enough 'Lone Wolf" protagonists, and love interests and friends shouldn't be the only connections characters have in a game.

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#60 Posted by Shindig (4380 posts) -

I just keep looking back to Anderson's "I was born in <YOUR TOWN>" <picture of YOUR TOWN in flames>

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#61 Edited by twi (225 posts) -

@tartyron: it all depends. If I had to guess this first game is going to be a coming of age story. Where the new character has to prove themselves in the eyes of their sibling, father, and than the universe... I hope I'm wrong.

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#62 Posted by mustachioeugene (587 posts) -

@mooseymcman: I wouldn't mind a less robust character creator if it meant better facial animation. My fem shep was a slight tweak from the default in ME2 & 3. However the animation and customization in DA:I was a pretty good balance, outside of the difference in lighting from the creation 'arena' and the in game world, maybe being on Frostbite we can expect/hope for similar results.

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