Extra Punctuation: Manly Vs. Macho in Gears

Zaverexus

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The Manly vs. Macho was always my favorite EP. I wish there had been more of a similar analysis in this.
 

Shamanic Rhythm

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ironlordthemad said:
OK for what has too be the hundredth time on these forums, I'm going to point at the Gears of War novels by Karen Travis and say that "If you want to realy see whats going on under the hood of some of the best known characters in video gaming, read these books."

It will explain why marcus has the mental capacities of a 12 year old.
It will explain why he is distant, even too those he loves most.

Hats of too Therumancer for sticking up for a good set of video games with logic and reasoning rather than just jumping on the "GRRRR I AM MARCUS FENIX AN ANGRY ROBOT!" bandwagon.

Quick question, did anyone see the final scene in Gears of War 3?
Seriously anyone?
You know that bit where it all hits Marcus and he takes off his armour for the first time (metaphorically and physically) since we knew him as a video game character and we realise just how deeply unwell he is a a person?
Nah just me then.

Or did you miss it in Gears of War 2 where he shows concern for the love of his life, the woman he hasn't made a move on because it would get in the way and just complicate things?

How many of you have realised that the ENTIRE point of Marcus Fenix is just plain and simple: you wont see much of him as a person, he raises his shields around himself so he doesn't get hurt, but when something hits home, when something realy hurts, you see it and you realise how hard he has to work to keep himself protected because he is so weak?
"Read the books" is never an excuse for the game failing to characterise him properly. That excuse would not slide in a movie, a play, or any other form of medium.
 

AgentNein

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Shamanic Rhythm said:
ironlordthemad said:
OK for what has too be the hundredth time on these forums, I'm going to point at the Gears of War novels by Karen Travis and say that "If you want to realy see whats going on under the hood of some of the best known characters in video gaming, read these books."

It will explain why marcus has the mental capacities of a 12 year old.
It will explain why he is distant, even too those he loves most.

Hats of too Therumancer for sticking up for a good set of video games with logic and reasoning rather than just jumping on the "GRRRR I AM MARCUS FENIX AN ANGRY ROBOT!" bandwagon.

Quick question, did anyone see the final scene in Gears of War 3?
Seriously anyone?
You know that bit where it all hits Marcus and he takes off his armour for the first time (metaphorically and physically) since we knew him as a video game character and we realise just how deeply unwell he is a a person?
Nah just me then.

Or did you miss it in Gears of War 2 where he shows concern for the love of his life, the woman he hasn't made a move on because it would get in the way and just complicate things?

How many of you have realised that the ENTIRE point of Marcus Fenix is just plain and simple: you wont see much of him as a person, he raises his shields around himself so he doesn't get hurt, but when something hits home, when something realy hurts, you see it and you realise how hard he has to work to keep himself protected because he is so weak?
"Read the books" is never an excuse for the game failing to characterise him properly. That excuse would not slide in a movie, a play, or any other form of medium.
Amen. I've seen people tell interesting stories with games (and nothing but the game! Sometimes just one game even!). A few, but they're there. If you need someone else to write a few books just to get your point across sufficiently, it's just goddamned laziness.
 

Joshimodo

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Akalabeth said:
Well I think you're giving the story too much credit quite frankly.
The lambent weren't even so much as mentioned in the first game that I'm aware of, and I say this as someone who only played it a month or two back for the first time. They seem to be sort of making it up as they go along. Oh wait that's not entirely true, there were some lambent monkey things. But I dunno, I think they just built upon that they didn't intend to go this direction exactly. I don't think a lot of people plan to make 3 games, they make 1 and simply hope to make more. Then they do their best to tie things together but it doesn't necessarily work out in the end.

The problem with this game and the problem with many similar games is that there's no sense of loss. I mean yeah, a lot of people died, but who are they, why should I care? Why should I care about Dom's wife? I've never met or seen the broad. I cared a little bit about dom, but not much.
Actually, there's a fair bit of mention of the Lambent, or at least hints. The Lambent Wretches are clearly shown as different, and the game states that long term exposure to Imulsion causes this disease/affliction.

The other major point is that the queen speaks at the end, mentioning that the humans don't know why the Locust are waging the war, and why they can't stop. They're being driven out from the very start of the series.



Anyway, other arguments aside, the 2 things that really irked me in the Gears series is this:

If the Locust and humans had contact prior to E-Day, why didn't they announce themselves and peacefully surface, explaining the reason and why they should combat it? Yes, Adam Fenix basically betrayed them, but that wasn't the reason.

What was the point of the Sires? Apart from theory and speculation in the aforementioned thread, there is little explanation of what they were beyond experiments.
 

lord.jeff

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Yahtzee stop trying to prove Resistance is copying everything from Half-Life, do you know what other games have silent protagonists during gameplay, over half the dam market. Every thing that you say Resistance is taking from Half-Life is in hundreds of other games, it's not copying Half-Life it's using genre standards, much like Half-Life has done. Other then that good article, I don't need the troubled tough guy archetype, either one you mentioned, until they started appearing in every game.
 

Zhukov

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Dec 29, 2009
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mjc0961 said:
Zhukov said:
That reminds me, why exactly were the Locusts in Gears deemed evil?

Sure, they didn't exactly treat their pets nicely, but beyond that, what gave them the "bad guy" label apart from being slightly uglier than the average human soldier?
You know, actually playing the games would really help with clearing that up.
Oh ho ho ho, well, aren't you so very witty.

I've played all three games. None of them explained exactly why the Locust were evil. The intro to the first game just has them sort of showing up with that 'Emergence Day' shenanigans. And some of the dialogue seemed to suggest that they only came up from underground because humans were drilling into their tunnels.
 

Therumancer

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Stoneface said:
Therumancer said:
Sometimes it bugs me how often Yahtzee can give biting insights, and other times he can miss a huge amount of the point almost entirely. Sometimes I thing he's just sounding off for the sake of sounding off.

I'm not a huge "Gears Of War" fan, but understand that we're dealing with characters who are career military, and a protaganist who is a hardened veteran before the game even starts, and has also done a fairly notable stint in a military prison.

Military training by it's very nature is supposed to strip away most signs of emotion and individuality, the idea being to replace everything you are with something better... well better in the context of killing people and breaking things in pursuit of a goal someone else decides on. Soldiers who recognize the enemy as having valid points of view, or being regular people with lives and families are kind of useless in reality. All arguements about politics and morality, when your fighting to win soldiers who pause to contemplate the inhumanity of war and what they are doing to their enemy in the midst of a battle can't do the job. The last thing you need is for the guy standing there protecting you to pause and go "OMG, I can't kill this poor unfortunate" while that guy proceeds to kill him and then turns around and massacres you and your entire civilization.

We could sit here and argue about the morality of this entire thing, and the nessecity of it, but I doubt I could do a better job of explaining it and WHY it's needed anymore than say Heinlan's "Starship Troopers".

When looking at a game featuring the military, especially characters who are supposed to be experienced veterans... yes, they are going to be fairly uniform. That's actually good writing since this is what the system produces. Take one of those guys, toss him into a military prison where emotion is a weakness (prison can be very dehumanizing on people who want to survive it, especially military prison), and then toss him back out into an apocolyptic war... and yeah... Marcus Fenix is pretty much what your going to get. If he was any other way it would actually have been bad writing given the backround which ties into the entire thing.... and this is a defense being made by someone who doesn't paticularly like the game in question.

Simply put the whole "Macho" attitude we see here, is kind of realistic for the kinds of characters we tend to deal with. In general people have differant mechanisms for turning out that way. Joking about everything and becoming a sort of macabre clown who takes nothing seriously while doing their job with lethal precisian, or becoming the aloof "Marcus Fenix" type are both very typical ways of dealing with this kind of life.


As far as cutting down bad guys who have legitimate points of view and/or justifications for what they are doing, that's pretty much reality. In general nobody wakes up and decides "we're going to be really evil today just for the heck of it" everything happens for a reason. Of course the Locust/Chimera/Muslims/Whatever have legitimate reasons for doing what they are doing from their own perspective, some of which might even seem fairly reasonable to the other side, if they didn't there wouldn't be a massive scale war. This is incidently exactly WHY you dehumanize your soldiers and strip away a lot of their empathy. In the end pretty much all wars come down to "us or them", "my side, and their side", the bad guy and the good guy are all matters of point of view, and when it's come down to a war only one side is going to be left functioning, and that's the side that gets to record history.

A situation where a bad guy goes off about how legitimate their cause is and then gets cut down by some grunting soldier who might have a personal vendetta is pretty much a summary of war in a nutshell. In the end the point of view of the loser doesn't matter, it's all about who wins.... and in "Gears Of War" it is very much an "us or them" type situation no matter who might have the overall moral high ground when you scrape all the muck away.

Honestly from what I know of the series "Gears Of War" set out to make a sort of commentary on the nature of war, and really from the plot points I've seen it's done a fairly good job of making the points it set out to do. Marcus Fenix might be stereotypical to some extent, but I suspect that's kind of the point, as is the simple point that once a war breaks out
the reasons behind it no longer matter, with it being the job of a soldier to end the war favorably for their side or die trying.

But then again, the realities of war have never really sat well with the left wing regardless of what name it uses in a given country.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, but you see what you doing here is justifying WHY Marcus is a really boring macho twat...but you'r not DENYING that he's a really boring macho twat. Congratulations.

Ugh, somehow messed up this posting and got my actual message cut out so I am now editing it in. :p

The point I was making is that he's really not a "twat" so much as he's a pretty solid example of the kind of character he's supposed to be. Granted the whole military perspective on things is not to everyone's liking, but this is a war story about the military, with the protaganist being a hardened soldier.

To a lot of people, especially those on the left wing of the spectrum, there is a lot to dislike about the military mentality, but when your looking at a game based around the military, which is trying to be fairly realistic about it's perspective and the nature of war, this is pretty much what your going to find. If Marcus was a more sensitive, caring soul, with more three dimensional expression he wouldn't really be a good example of what the military instills.

Part of what I was also trying to say is that I believe as a work, "Gears Of War" is more about war than about the characters in paticular, it's about the situation. That's kind of the point of some of the messed up things that happen, and why despite the enemy having a valid point of view, it doesn't matter in the end since in war there is no real right or wrong, it's all about us or them.

It's sort of like how when you watch a TV show about an ex-soldier turned cop or whatever when they reflect on their military backround they talk about how in the military they were someone else, and might even say "you wouldn't have liked that person very much". That's what the military instills in people, some people are never able to turn it off and go back to being normal and following any kind of moral code or compass. In this case however we're dealing with soldiers when they are "on", and that's the entire point.

When it comes to military fiction, including games, one of the reasons why one "Marine" or amoral special forces killer is much like another is because the military engrains a sense of uniformity in the way people think, act, and react. On a lot of levels it's not the person, but the training.
 

Gordon_4_v1legacy

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Surely though there would be ways to instill a little more colour, even if that is just a shade or two of grey, into the character. Military training instills all you have mentioned but it doesn't totally strip away the whole of the person: I mean jesus James Blunt was in the British army (apparantly he drove tanks, and strapped his guitar to the side of the turret) but he still had a part of his personality that made him unique among his fellows. Saving Private Ryan is also a good example of this thinking, to me anyway.

Although this is probably why I prefer (largely) my games to revolve around larger than life style heroes: more room to allow for a personality to be interested in. Less Agent Coulson and Black Widow, more Thor and Odin for me.


Me personally I didn't enjoy Gears of War cos I found most of the other idiots unbearable: Marcus may have been stoic and dull for me, but he was pretty par for the course.
 

ChupathingyX

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I really hope this whole "Insomniac ripping off Half-Life 2" thing is a joke, Insomniac Games have had this kind of gameplay since Ratchet and Clank.

It wouldn't be much of a problem (well, it would but that isn't the point) if Yahtzee would say Half-Life 1, but he is saying HL2, which makes no sense.
 

SemiHumanTarget

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I think Marcus Fenix (Phoenix? Can't remember) would have benefited greatly from being a much deeper character. Additionally, I think it does military personnel an injustice that he is so one-dimensional, because as anyone who has served, or knows closely people who have served, will tell you: There are many, many reasons people join the military, above and beyond just "I'm a badass", military personnel follow orders but that doesn't mean they don't have different and nuanced opinions about what they ought to be doing or how to go about doing it, and they also have interests and feelings about things that lie outside of the military and war and what-have-you. Anyone who has ever read an autobiography or memoir of someone who has fought in a war knows this, and these should be required reading for game developers - and everyone, really...
 

SiskoBlue

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hermes200 said:
I get your point and I agree with you (although I think R&C is slightly better in that regard), but that was not my point.
My point is, the game feels like a lot of the content was left on the editing floor... I had the feeling that entire maps (with their introductory cutscenes) were cut clean and lots of things were left unanswered (or even worst, untouched). I get that many times developers have to cut stuff to make to deadlines, but for the sake of storytelling some things should be left uncut (or, at least, moved somewhere else). One moment we are running for our dear life and the next we are at the heart of the Chimeran invasion, with nothing in between. Maybe some of the things Yatzhee mentions in the article,
like a proper character growth for Capelli and a motivation to give a damn about Malikov's death, other than the initial nag from his wife. Or the fact that she is Hale's sister (I guess suitable men and women are not so common in this distopian world, but to marry your brother's killer? That would have been an uncomfortable first date)
were to be expanded on the lost levels, but we may never know... If anything, we have to take the character at face value.
We do know! If you go to IGN and listen to the Resistance 3 Spoilercast, Marcus Smith (iirc) the creative director talks about how they had numerous places they had in mind but had to amalgamate some, cut others. Which explains that sense of deleted scenes.

Game writing is still a fairly new art and there doesn't seem to be any correlation of standard between budget & writing. A small indie game could be driven by the writing, like Bastion, where they make sure the writing/universe/dialogue matches up with the gameplay. Then there's big budget AAA games like Resistance 3 where the writing seems to have been given less priority and therefore feels more tacked on, or incongruous. Like forgetting to have in-game dialogue to support cut-scene dialogue. Uncharted does this well, Nathan Drake speaks the same in-game, and in cut-scenes. Consistency and continuity are hard to achieve but obvious when done wrong.
 
Dec 16, 2009
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to be honest, unless a game can pull off a good story, i'd rather it was left out completly than a b-movie plot stuck in for the sake of it.
in that respect its a lot like pr0n with a plot; i'd rather just cut to the action
 

rohansoldier

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I know others have said that if a game 'forces' you to read extra books in order to flesh out the background then it fails in telling it's story, and to an extent I can agree with that, but in the case of gears of war reading the karen traviss novels is actually a very good idea to anyone who wants to fully understand the gears history.

Not only are they good books in their own right, but the full history of the pendulum wars, the locust and all that happened to the main characters after e-day is expanded upon incredibly in these novels.

We learn a hell of a lot about marcus and why he is the way he is. For those of you who haven't read the books but one day might, please be aware of spoilers below.





It is clearly described during the flashback scenes of the novels (aspho fields in particular) that marcus' mum was rarely around while he was growing up and he did not have a close relationship with his dad. He spent more time at dom's (and his brother carlos who marcus was best friends with) house than he did at his own place.

After carlos was killed during the battle for aspho fields (mentioned in the first gears game by anthony carmine trivia fans!) marcus became much closer friends with dom and took it upon himself to look after him, especially after e-day when dom's wife and kids were lost.

So, I think marcus is the way he is in the games not only because he is a veteran soldier who has been through two hellish wars back to back and also spent time in a military prison which as we saw in gears 1 was no paradise, but also because almost everything he knows and loves has been taken from him and he is trying to desperately hang on to what is left.

I think he has also had to learn to depend on himself and his friends as he grew up and that has instilled a certain aloofness in him. I think a combination of everything that has happened to marcus in the games and books would make a lot of people act the way he does.

Also, as another poster said, we only see him in the games when he is on duty and therefore his military mindset is in effect. Who knows what he would be like as a person when his guard is down?
 

hansari

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GonzoGamer said:
hansari said:
How have so many people failed to realize that Gears of War is a comedy???
They should've stuck with their original idea of having a laugh-track like on a sitcom.

I've been playing games too long to expect a good story out of a game. Back in the day, games didn't have a story; at least not one that required more than a paragraph at the beginning of the manual. In fact (besides the old RPGs) the fact that most games actually have a story is still pretty novel to me.
That said, most game stories (even the ones that people rave about like Heavy Rain & Mass Effect) are really pedestrian as if they're plagiarizing fan-fiction. Like R*, every time I get the feeling that they want me to get weepy over a plot point, it usually just makes me laugh.
What I'm saying is, of all the things to put resources into for a game, the story doesn't really need much of a priority. Besides, when it is given the priority, it doesn't ever seem to be worth it.
In fact I'm surprised the devs haven't made it a contest or something: get the fans to write in their ideas for the story. It can't turn out much worse. Besides, it's a less important than beta testing which is given away as a prize now.
By R*, I assume you mean shorthand for Rockstar?

In which case, I agree. The best game Rockstar has ever produced in fact has to be San Andreas. Rather then go for a serious tone, they went for something so inane and over the top...its the reason it is so brilliant!

OutrageousEmu said:
hansari said:
How have so many people failed to realize that Gears of War is a comedy???
That argument stopped being valid the minute they made that pretentious "Mad World" trailer.
No! That was just to throw you off. Some sleight of hand, like with the Assassin Creed trailers, prior to the gameplay leaks, where the game was looking to be about some Arab Assassin in times of the Crusades. But it was really about some grand conspiracy and the quest for the megaweapon led by the whiny pitiful descendant of the awesome assassin!!

Akalabeth said:
hansari said:
How have so many people failed to realize that Gears of War is a comedy???
No, Bulletstorm is a comedy.
Gears of War is trying to be serious.
Are you sure Bulletstorm isn't a greek tragedy?

Main character is tricked into killing innocent man. Has to flee. The trickster then makes main character try to "save world" but really he is killing more innocents. Main character allies with girl, but its tainted by fact that he killed her father. World ends up blowing up anyway, trickster still lives.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulletstorm#Plot
 

Normandyfoxtrot

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Mr Ink 5000 said:
to be honest, unless a game can pull off a good story, i'd rather it was left out completly than a b-movie plot stuck in for the sake of it.
in that respect its a lot like pr0n with a plot; i'd rather just cut to the action
Action without justification is a waste of time.
 

Metalix Knightmare

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Anyone ever take a look at Gamesradar articles? One in particular goes a fair bit into just why the Locust are trying to kill humanity. http://www.gamesradar.com/why-youre-actually-playing-as-the-bad-guys-in-gears-of-war/

To sum it up, why wouldn't they be trying to kill everyone?
 

Ariseishirou

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Is it just me, or did anyone else find Resistance 3's characterization of Capelli a bit too sappy? I mean, the guy leaps from a VTOL after a mitten, an act that ultimately gets his partner killed and forces him to walk to New York. It's one thing to be sentimental and keep your child's mitten on hand, it's another to seriously compromise your mission to save the world over it.

I don't expect my shooter protagonists to be Gears-style emotionless supermen, but I do expect to be convinced that they're hard enough to do what they're doing. Wife and kids? Great! Reluctant to leave them? Also great! Carries around a memento of his child? Super! We're got a shooter character who's a legitimate family man for once. But, jumps out of a helicopter for his kid's mitten? He's either a completely sad sack or has serious priority issues. Suddenly I'm not convinced Malikov couldn't've gotten any other schlub fighting for the resistance to go with him. It's not as if Capelli's a Sentinel anymore or anything.

To me, I think the right mix of "has emotions other than badass" but "surely is a badass" are the MW characters. They carry tokens and get sentimental (Soap carrying Price's gun around for five years and returning to him with palpable emotion), they gripe, they crack jokes, they get scared and even freak out sometimes (like Dunn in Second Sun), they even fail in their missions, but at no point do they give you reason to doubt that they're as legitimately badass as a real human being can be. Reznov's flashback about losing Dimitri in Black Ops was one of the most affecting scenes I've ever seen in a video game, but there's no question that Reznov is certifiably hardcore and you would not want to mess with him.

Just saying, I think a middle ground between grr arrrgh Fenix and ~~~my chillllld~~ Capelli is where it's at.
 
Dec 16, 2009
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Normandyfoxtrot said:
Mr Ink 5000 said:
to be honest, unless a game can pull off a good story, i'd rather it was left out completly than a b-movie plot stuck in for the sake of it.
in that respect its a lot like pr0n with a plot; i'd rather just cut to the action
Action without justification is a waste of time.
why is it? alot of people i know skip passed the plot in pron and skip the cut scenes in games and still have as much fun as i do
 

GonzoGamer

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hansari said:
By R*, I assume you mean shorthand for Rockstar?

In which case, I agree. The best game Rockstar has ever produced in fact has to be San Andreas. Rather then go for a serious tone, they went for something so inane and over the top...its the reason it is so brilliant!
You assumed correct sir.
Actually San Andreas is one of my all time favorite games and the story for that was completely absurd.
GTA4 did have a slightly better story but only in the sense that your average CSI episode (usually) has better writing than your average Saturday morning cartoon...at least the ones made only to sell toys. It wasn?t a good enough story to make up for missing gun stash unlocks, rampages, RC minigames, and all those other weird unexpected things you used to find in a gta game. I really missed the pimp missions.
If a game was a meal, I would think of all those things as cool appetizers while I only really think of the story as a garnish. The real Meat & Potatoes (for a gta) is of course running/driving around blasting ?foos? and thankfully they didn?t ruin that...but I don?t think everyone agrees with me on that regard.
Another favorite is Burnout Revenge and I don?t think that had any sort of story at all.