Jimquisition: Neutered

Legion

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Windknight said:
aba1 said:
JudgeGame said:
Asking artists to break away from tired, stereotypical ideas and accept harder challenges leads to originality? This is baseless pseudo-science.
Ya I agree. I generally agree with Jim but not this week. This sorta movement will just force guidelines and stifle creativity. If the creator wants to do things a certain way than they should be able too simple as that. Saints row wanted to be have crazy customization but just because they wanted it doesn't mean everyone should be forced to have it. If someone wanted a all female cast I say go for it for all I care they just shouldn't be forced to do it.
To follow up on my earlier post, games companies are already stifling creativity. Publishers are telling developers they can't have a female protagonist when they want one.
Examples and sources please.

All I have heard of are a couple of developers claiming that unnamed publishers didn't want them having female characters the prominent character on the box art. The Last of Us and Remember Me being the two games. I have genuinely not heard of a single game where a publisher has denied the rights to have a female character.
 

Callate

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I feel like this probably isn't going to come out right, but, here it goes anyway. Prepare mouth for insertion of foot.

It's great to see more games that buck stereotypes and tropes, really. I'm absolutely for seeing more games that have strong female characters in leading roles that weren't designed from the ground up for sex appeal. I also, however ,think there's a whole other problem that such characters can get flack if they seem too much like "male characters with a quick female paint job"- essentially the same grunting stolid space marines, just with an armor redesign and a different voice... And equally get flack if they're in any way vulnerable, quickly earning an unwarranted "oh, she's just another damsel in distress" just for trying to give the character some depth. Both Last of Us and Tomb Raider seem to have received a certain amount of punishment on these lines, and it's hard for me not to sympathize at that point with a designer wanting to say, "You know what? I'm tired of trying to placate you, so kindly @$#% off."

And on the other side of things, I bought Remember Me from the Steam Summer Sale, paying a bit more than I would have for a game I was uncertain about in part because I wanted to support a developer who had fought tooth and nail to keep their strong female protaganist. And... it's not a very good game. It's not a bad game, by any stretch, it's just a very linear one, quick to disempower the player if they aren't cleaving strictly to a very limited intended way of doing things. But more damningly, it has a whole theme of memory manipulation to work with, yet fails to really gel the "memory manipulation is a horror" sentiment with the fact that three quarters of the people whose memories are re-spliced by the heroine become better people for it, and largely sets the "this is what memory drain does to you" bar at "it turns you into a fast zombie."

...Seriously, Blade Runner did more interesting things with memory manipulation more than thirty years ago, and it wasn't even the primary focus of the story.

So, yes, there's this strong heroine, of mixed racial descent, no less... And a tiny part of me wonders if they wouldn't have been better off focusing their creative energies on story, rather than this one character.

I guess ultimately, my love for the idea of games that push and expand the boundaries doesn't push as far as suggesting that every game should have to do so, or that games that don't are always deserving of criticism simply because they could have used their place in the spotlight to push a more progressive agenda and failed to do so. Shakespeare used plenty of plot lines that were borrowed from fairy tales and Greek and Roman theater, tropes that were hundreds or even thousands of years old even as he re-immortalized them. I'll happily cheer a game that make me feel like their unconventional transgender multiracial protagonist stakes their claim as if they've always been there, and leads a terrific game that fills me with joy to play. But I'm not necessarily going to ***** and moan (yes, I'm aware of the word choice) if an otherwise great game fails to supply a female protagonist.

What was it Jim said about "innovation", before?
 

m19

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erttheking said:
There's a difference between a game trying to be everything and as a direct result being nothing, and developers stepping out of their comfort zones.
I'm not sure what you are trying to say.

Take for example the ability to choose the protagonist's gender. That already waters down what you can do with characterization. Because now the narrative has to work for both and you need to do twice the work with voice acting and animation.

An individual game can be just one thing, like a strictly male or female fantasy. And that's not a crime like many these days act that it is.
 

WindKnight

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Legion said:
Windknight said:
aba1 said:
JudgeGame said:
Asking artists to break away from tired, stereotypical ideas and accept harder challenges leads to originality? This is baseless pseudo-science.
Ya I agree. I generally agree with Jim but not this week. This sorta movement will just force guidelines and stifle creativity. If the creator wants to do things a certain way than they should be able too simple as that. Saints row wanted to be have crazy customization but just because they wanted it doesn't mean everyone should be forced to have it. If someone wanted a all female cast I say go for it for all I care they just shouldn't be forced to do it.
To follow up on my earlier post, games companies are already stifling creativity. Publishers are telling developers they can't have a female protagonist when they want one.
Examples and sources please.

All I have heard of are a couple of developers claiming that unnamed publishers didn't want them having female characters the prominent character on the box art. The Last of Us and Remember Me being the two games. I have genuinely not heard of a single game where a publisher has denied the rights to have a female character.
http://www.giantbomb.com/sleeping-dogs/3030-29441/

'Sleeping Dogs, in its later stages developed at United Front Games and eventually published by Square-Enix, originally began life at Activision as "Black Lotus", an open-world crime game with a female protagonist. However, under the belief that their predominantly male target audience would not play such a game starring a woman, management demanded that the protagonist be replaced with a man, and further tied the previously-unrelated game into the then-abandoned True Crime franchise. '

And in remember me's case, many publishers refused to publish it because they had a female lead character.
 

Erttheking

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Legion said:
Windknight said:
aba1 said:
JudgeGame said:
Asking artists to break away from tired, stereotypical ideas and accept harder challenges leads to originality? This is baseless pseudo-science.
Ya I agree. I generally agree with Jim but not this week. This sorta movement will just force guidelines and stifle creativity. If the creator wants to do things a certain way than they should be able too simple as that. Saints row wanted to be have crazy customization but just because they wanted it doesn't mean everyone should be forced to have it. If someone wanted a all female cast I say go for it for all I care they just shouldn't be forced to do it.
To follow up on my earlier post, games companies are already stifling creativity. Publishers are telling developers they can't have a female protagonist when they want one.
Examples and sources please.

All I have heard of are a couple of developers claiming that unnamed publishers didn't want them having female characters the prominent character on the box art. The Last of Us and Remember Me being the two games. I have genuinely not heard of a single game where a publisher has denied the rights to have a female character.
No, when it came to remember me, the developers had to actually fight to make the main character female. Some publishers refused to go with it because of the female character.

http://www.polygon.com/2013/3/18/4120694/remember-me-publishers-balked-at-female-lead-character
 

WindKnight

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Yuuki said:
Windknight said:
To follow up on my earlier post, games companies are already stifling creativity. Publishers are telling developers they can't have a female protagonist when they want one. the 'inclusivity checklist' may stifle creativity. the current policy of sxcluding IS actively right now stifling creativity.
...and Jim already did a video responding to publishers rejecting female protagonists. A ton of discussion already happened regarding that video/thread.

This particular video/thread has nothing to do with publishers rejecting female protagonists. It's not even addressed towards publishers.
I was responding to a post claiming 'inclusivity' will stifle creatively. I was making the point that the OPPOSITE, that people seem to be championing, is already stifling creativity, not encouraging it.
 

PunkRex

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So many mixed feels about this vid... which is weird as I basically agreed with all of it.

I wanna see more diversity in the medium (as well as a few others) but the idea that ALL new games should do this... no, I could never agree with that. A good artist/s can produce some truely amazing things under restrictions while others work better with a larger pallette. Some wanna push their passion in new directions while some wanna stay the course and do what others have done, maybe better.

Different people like different things. I like my characters to have full personalities but I also like abit of 'flair' to lighten the mood every now and then.

Artists should do what they want, if you don't like it than maybe its not for you. I hate mordern shooters so I don't play them, I critise what I don't like about them but I don't blame the artist/customer for liking it in the first place. People wanna read Twilight, read Twilight, people wanna play CoD, play CoD, you only live once right... I would say yolo but I hate that bloody phrase.

Don't think i'm against critisism, I really liked your 'Dragon Frown' ep Jim. The reveiw you mentioned is exactly what i'm on about. She was bothered by the female portayal and thats fine. Personally I think abit of sex appeal (aimed at whomever) is no big deal but some don't like it. True, keeping females in supportive/panda'ering roles to tick some sort of list is bull but if thats just the way that artist roles than... as I said mixed feels.
 

Erttheking

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m19 said:
erttheking said:
There's a difference between a game trying to be everything and as a direct result being nothing, and developers stepping out of their comfort zones.
I'm not sure what you are trying to say.

Take for example the ability to choose the protagonist's gender. That already waters down what you can do with characterization. Because now the narrative has to work for both and you need to do twice the work with voice acting and animation.

An individual game can be just one thing, like a strictly male or female fantasy. And that's not a crime like many these days act that it is.
Yes, but the problem is that more often than not we get plenty of male fantasies, but barely any female fantasies. That's the developers staying in their comfort zones.
 

mjc0961

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Also in the line of games that are "equal opportunity offenders" like Saints Row 4, I'm kind of sick of seeing feminists and white knights take big steamy shits on Lollipop Chainsaw without even playing it just because it has a cheerleader on the cover and a trophy for looking up said cheerleader's skirt. Maybe if they played the fucking game, they would see that Juliet isn't your typical female protagonist at all, and that the game is just as equally "sexist" to its male lead as it is the female lead (poor guy is a disembodied head who gets treated more like an item than a person and gets dragged around despite protests and requests to be left behind). But no, fuck playing it. Just take a big steamy shit all over it because this is on the cover: http://d1vr6n66ssr06c.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/LollipopChainsawCover01-600x690.jpg And then go get a job on Fox News or in Congress where all the other dipshits who bash games without playing them first work.

One other thing I'd like to see from that crowd is more praising of games that they feel do it right. Right now, from where I'm sitting, it seems like all they want is to shit on games they feel are being sexist until no more sexist games exist. I don't thing the solution to the problem here is to completely remove sexism like that from games, I think it's just to offer more games that aren't quite so sexist. There's a market for the sexist stuff and the people who actually want and enjoy it shouldn't be denied it. It reminds me of a few years back when shitting on "fun" games was all the rage and people were going on about how we need to completely get rid of them so we can have more super serious games. No. We just need to offer more of the other thing (serious games and non-sexist games) so everyone can have what they want, not flip the situation around so we're still stuck with one group feeling like there aren't enough games for them.
 

Catrixa

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Reading some of the responses here, I'm honestly starting to think the issue lies with, well, boxes. Jim, you say putting a box (restriction, as you put it) around doing the same durn thing over and over will help creativity. I completely agree, assuming that's the only box being used. You also mentioned Ye Olde Focus Testing (to death). This is another box, and developers/publishers wield it like the Mighty Sword of Mediocrity it is. So, to keep with your language metaphor: You've got a poem (something where vocabulary is extremely important). You want to say stuff in your poem, but it has to be about a specific subject, can't have language that's above a 9th grade level, must appeal to a certain group, and must rhyme (i.e. the box a publisher might put around the next fps). Now you want to add "also appeal to another group, while still keeping the first group." That's a lot of restrictions! I can see why people would say it stifles creativity, because after a certain point, you stop forcing creative solutions and start restricting any creative ideas.

That said: Maybe we should be arguing for more varied games, based on less strict focus testing. Maybe we should be encouraging devs to sacrifice cutting-edge tech (that costs stupid amounts of money) in favor of more innovative ideas. That way, there aren't so many boxes to be in. Hell, if people could get over it: Using the same art assets and engine to make completely different stories. Yeah, seeing the same colored crates between two vastly different games is visually boring, but if the complaint is always "we can't afford new ideas," using those same assets will save on development time and money.
 

Legion

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Windknight said:
http://www.giantbomb.com/sleeping-dogs/3030-29441/

'Sleeping Dogs, in its later stages developed at United Front Games and eventually published by Square-Enix, originally began life at Activision as "Black Lotus", an open-world crime game with a female protagonist. However, under the belief that their predominantly male target audience would not play such a game starring a woman, management demanded that the protagonist be replaced with a man, and further tied the previously-unrelated game into the then-abandoned True Crime franchise. '
Well that is just idiotic. I'd have much preferred that idea. Although "Black Lotus" would have been a terrible name. In Command and Conquer: Generals the special unit for China was a female hacker called Black Lotus so that'd be pretty unoriginal.

Then again, it doesn't surprise me considering it's Activision.

Windknight said:
And in remember me's case, many publishers refused to publish it because they had a female lead character.
erttheking said:
No, when it came to remember me, the developers had to actually fight to make the main character female. Some publishers refused to go with it because of the female character.

http://www.polygon.com/2013/3/18/4120694/remember-me-publishers-balked-at-female-lead-character
So they weren't denied it, they made the game anyway. Nobody was forced to stop making a game with a female protagonist.

Windknight said:
I was responding to a post claiming 'inclusivity' will stifle creatively. I was making the point that the OPPOSITE, that people seem to be championing, is already stifling creativity, not encouraging it.
Which is incorrect, because publishers are considered "Enemy Number 1" on here. Very few people supported the fact that publishers have been reluctant to support female protagonists. The most people have said is that they have "the right" to, not that they condone it.

The claim that people are "championing" publishers who don't want female protagonists is being melodramatic. You will be very hard pressed to find people on here who don't blame publishers for pretty much everything that is wrong with gaming today.

erttheking said:
Yes, but the problem is that more often than not we get plenty of male fantasies, but barely any female fantasies.
You realise that is sexist don't you?

That's the equivalent of saying girls don't like action figures.
 

mike1921

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Monxeroth said:
For example: Does the sorceress breasts somehow lower the quality of the game?
To me it does , for the exact opposite reason it would for a normal person, to me the sorceress is just So oversexualized it's plain boner-killingly unappealing. At some point the boobs just move around so much and look so damned fake that it just turns me off of the game itself. Like, literally everything else meant to be titillating they show is appealing to me.
Only mechanics and actual faults with the game can lower a games overrall quality in my opinion, not subjective personal nonsense like the artstyle not being appealing or the music not being received well by some. Whether you like something or not, its not a valid reason to critique a game for.
Games are a multimedia medium, the sound design, art design, and anything else in the game is a valid reason to critique it. 2001 a space Odyssey is pretty much liked only because of its cinematography (and HAL but he's by no means the majority of the film), the way it looks. If you don't want the art to be judged than you're stuck with text-based games, because as long as games have art it's a valid point to critique.
 

Undeadpool

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Jimmothy MacSterling, I could NOT agree more. The same logic that makes people say "If we change anything about the core of games, we risk stifling creativity!" IS the exact same logic that makes people say things like "I am so against censorship, I think this videogame review should be censored!!"

It's called cognitive dissonance, and it is one of the greatest enemies of critical thought.
 

m19

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erttheking said:
Yes, but the problem is that more often than not we get plenty of male fantasies, but barely any female fantasies. That's the developers staying in their comfort zones.
Yes. And that's worthy of talking about, why that happens.

But I'm getting annoyed when people find malice in individual products. If I wake up tomorrow and decide to write a story about a knight saving a sexy looking princess -- because I'm a guy and that's what I like. Yes it is unfortunate that I'm doing what everyone else is doing yet again, but I'm not a sexist or a misogynist. My comfort zone is not a crime.
 

Erttheking

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Legion said:
Yeah, but the fact that some publishers flat out refused to publish a game with a female main character should tell you that the gaming industry has some pretty damn big problems.
 

Erttheking

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m19 said:
erttheking said:
Yes, but the problem is that more often than not we get plenty of male fantasies, but barely any female fantasies. That's the developers staying in their comfort zones.
Yes. And that's worthy of talking about, why that happens.

But I'm getting annoyed when people find malice in individual products. If I wake up tomorrow and decide to write a story about a knight saving a sexy looking princess -- because I'm a guy and that's what I like. Yes it is unfortunate that I'm doing what everyone else is doing yet again, but I'm not a sexist or a misogynist. My comfort zone is not a crime.
The problem with a story like that is that it just delves into boring and tired cliches that as I guy even I am tired of. Not because it's sexist, but because it's boring and shallow. Everything that that story has to offer has been done by other people and has been done better. Your comfort zone isn't a crime. But it's not right for your comfort zone to envelop everything.