Ihmishylje's forum posts

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#1 Posted by Ihmishylje (441 posts) -

@theht: No argument there, regarding the different abilities of the writers.

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#2 Edited by Ihmishylje (441 posts) -

@theht: Maybe you're right, maybe there never was much difference between Mass Effect and Dragon Age. But it did feel different to me. Maybe it's just the way the story was told in Mass Effect, then, rather than any specific quality of the companion characters that made them unfit for a point-of-view character. I guess I personally kinda liked that part of it, much as I liked looking at things from a certain perspective with Geralt in the Witcher. A lot of the same themes are present, but I feel it allows a writer much more freedom to actually write in depth when you focus on something like that. Everything's possible, I guess. You're right that "done well" is the biggest caveat. But it's a lot easier to do something well when you have a more or less set perspective to write from, even if you allow for variance in flavor. Similarly, I think with a set perspective, it'd be easier to tackle colonialism and the frontier etc. than it would with a main character that isn't set.

But again, of course, I'll be content with anything that's done well.

And by antropomorphizing his/her companions, I didn't mean that Shepard actually influenced them (although I think he/she did). I meant that Shepard interpreted their behavior in the context of human behavior, much like we do with animals of other species. Of course, the situation in Mass Effect is a bit different since all the species are at least the level of human intelligence, if not more intelligent. Nevertheless, you could make the argument that the player saw the other species as human because that's what humans inherently do, we don't necessarily have the tools to think and feel beyond that context. But of course, that's just a reading, and likely not what the developers of ME were thinking. Not that that really matters.

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#3 Posted by Ihmishylje (441 posts) -

@theht said:
@pyrodactyl said:

@theht: I'll refer back to my previous comments. In essence what you're suggesting is making the species of the MC not matter. In essence making him/her act like a human with a different character model.

It's either that or you have to handicap all stories to account for how this or that species might react to this or that situation.

You can't say "write more story" or whatever. I'm sure they are using all the available ressources to make this game and I'm glad I'll see more of that labour with a better, more fleshed out main character.

Consider how terribly alien your companions were throughout Mass Effect. Personality-wise, they weren't particularly strange or impenetrable at all. Outside of cases where you're particularly getting into the nitty gritty of their respective culture, alien companions tended to behave in a manner as people (or at least our understanding of "people") are wont to do. Which is to say, they already in many ways acted "human." The reactions of a human player character wouldn't really be so greatly distinct from one you might expect to get from Liara or Garrus. That was a huge takeaway from all of these games: how relatable each of the species were merely as other people.

In the case of Andromeda, you wouldn't really need to focus down on what an "Asasi background" or a "Krogan background" would mean to the narrative. What would matter would be the "Milky Way background." You could have minor differences, sure, but ultimately everyone would be there for the same reason. It would also be a great way to tie up and reference the original trilogy by having some of the more prominent species playable as a main character, as the Milky Way was essentially united by the end of things. Now, going into another galaxy, they'd all basically be in the same boat heading forward.

The only stories that would be handicapped would be ones expressly lionzing humans, which the first Mass Effect sorta did as an underdog story (and to some degree the second; Ceberus was xenophobic right?). I'd imagine at this point in the series, we'd kinda be past the whole "rah rah humans!" thing. The air of superiority inherent to the Reapers trying to make a "human" Reaper was already pretty dumb, and Andromeda's whole pitch is already a bit close to sounding like Mass Effect: Manifest Destiny.

Yeah, that's the problem with writing scifi. We don't want other worlds, we want mirrors, as Lem said, I believe. I do think they made some of the more obscure species truly non-human, but it's a mainstream video game after all, so they made the concession of a lot of the companion characters be a bit too human. On the other hand, you could argue that it was Shepard and the player who was anthropomorphizing them, and actually playing from their perspective, you'd have to be intimately aware of their culture and biology, not just the outsider's perspective that Shepard had. If done well, it would require quite a different story to be told well (see my previous post for further comments). But alas, people probably would be content with the Dragon Age approach, i.e. that the difference in species doesn't actually matter that much, it's just flavor (which is not bad in itself, just different from how I've seen Mass Effect).

I wouldn't actually mind if they hit some Manifest Destiny notes, if they handled it well. It's not like racism has disappeared from the world, it's still a fine enough theme to tackle in 2017 (or 2018, or whatever). I just hope that they do it differently enough from how Dragon Age, Witcher, and other fantasy handles it. And that they do it well, in any event. I wouldn't want Mass Effect to just be Avatar.

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#4 Posted by Ihmishylje (441 posts) -

@yummylee said:
@pyrodactyl said:

@theht: I'll refer back to my previous comments. In essence what you're suggesting is making the species of the MC not matter. In essence making him/her act like a human with a different character model.

You could say that exact same thing about the gender of the character, too. Shepard, be it male or female, is the exact same besides whoever he/she can fuck and of course the voice.

Yes, you could. But to be fair, gender within a species is hell of a lot less of a demarcator than being different species of animal from different world (are e.g. turians even animals? Or some other type of life form?). Having men and women behave and be treated almost exactly the same save for a few situations may not be entirely realistic, but you can say that it's the future and gender is a social construct anyway. Having the main character be of a different species would lead to quite a few narrative considerations, if you want it to be done well.

There's also another reason why I'll give it a pass in Dragon Age. The different races in Dragon Age (like in, say, the Witcher) are more or less stand-ins for different human cultures and ethnicities, ones that have existed in the world of humans, alongside humans (which you could argue are a stand-in for white people and white men in particular) and playing on the tensions between them is a commentary on racism and other bigotry. You can make a similar argument for scifi, I suppose, but they go to certain lengths in Mass Effect to make the species, or at least some of them, feel completely alien, both socially and biologically, so as to give you the feeling of exploring new worlds. There's probably some clever critique of colonialism somewhere in there, but even if that's the case, telling that story from the perspective of a human explorer into a new, strange and alien world would probably serve Andromeda's narrative framing better than having the opportunity to water it down by having the player be able to choose any species as the main character.

Now, that said, I'd be all for a Mass Effect story told from the point of view of an alien species, maybe even having to deal with human explorers/invaders. But that's an entirely different story to begin with, and not one that could easily be shoehorned into what Andromeda seems to be shaping into (which is a soft reboot of the Mass Effect universe). Adding the opportunity to play as turian or asari would just lead to the Dragon Age syndrome, except with how Mass Effect frames its story, it would make a lot less sense.

That said, I'm sure they're so desperate to please people, i.e. sell copies of the game, that if you just harass them on Twitter about it, they'll probably let you play as a god damn hanari.

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#5 Posted by Ihmishylje (441 posts) -
@shindig said:

I want to play as a geth and only respond in left-trigger / right-trigger.

I see what you did there.

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#7 Posted by Ihmishylje (441 posts) -

@shindig said:

"We at EA have found out that almost 100% of our players are human. We're keen to tap that demographic."

Post of the... well, the entirety of E3.

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#8 Posted by Ihmishylje (441 posts) -

I think this site, podcast included, got better and better until somewhere around 2011, and has been on a slow descent ever since, in many ways, for many reasons. But it's been getting a bit better more recently, at least the podcast has been, even though other (free) content has been a bit lackluster. Can't comment on the quality of premium content, since I've never shelled out on a membership .

Even though I kind of disliked Dan at the beginning, or I guess I was skeptical, to be more precise, he has seemingly injected a lot of enthusiasm back into the podcast as well as the crew in general. Drew is finding his place, etc. Giving Brad hosting duties was a good choice. He's no Ryan, obviously, but Jeff works better as a commentator than a host. The bombcast just moves better when it's someone other than Jeff hosting it, and isn't just about Jeff hating on stuff and being nostalgic about the past.

Also, even though I'd much rather see Vinny at the SF office on a regular basis, it's still great that he's at least on the site. Where Ryan and Jeff were the best bombcast team, Vinny is great in quick looks. And it's good to know that he'll visit the main office every now and then, be at E3 with the rest of the crew, etc.

All in all, this year has been better so far than the past couple of years would have led one to believe, so I'm cautiously optimistic about E3 and the rest of the year.

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#9 Posted by Ihmishylje (441 posts) -

@qrdl: This is pretty much how I interpreted it as well.

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#10 Posted by Ihmishylje (441 posts) -

@karkarov: Are you referring to the assault on Stygga castle or something else? I've only read the first five books.