Why Is Every AAA Game Hero Suddenly Your Dad?

Yahtzee Croshaw

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Why Is Every AAA Game Hero Suddenly Your Dad?

Has anyone else noticed that an awful lot of these action game heroes are becoming dads? Not literally. I couldn't imagine Rico Rodriguez slipping the D into except a ballistic missile.

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Thanatos2k

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At least characters in Western AAA games are getting older with their audience/creators. Many Japanese devs refuse to leave the high school setting.
 

09philj

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It's an easy fit for a slightly more interesting story arc than more of the older AAA games. The once young and cocky action hero becomes tempered by experience and learns to take responsibility for passing on his mantle to the next generation. Not exactly the most inventive idea, but marginally better than "young cocky action hero kills enough bad guys to fill a small European country because he feels like it".
 

rembrandtqeinstein

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As a future graybeard currently pushing 40 I love the daddening of games. They are fundamentally more mature stories and it helps me personally identify with the characters.

Imagine Mario or Link on a quest to rescue their daughters instead of random princesses. That hook is much more immediately immersive to anyone with children since a major parental fear is losing/failing their family.

Another example is how the Last of Us intro hits dads really fucking hard.
 

Joshroom

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Actually, in the most recent Nathan Drake trailer he is looking pretty daddish at the start; all older man beard and working in a little filing office. Looks like a brother might be showing up as well so, surrogate dadding maybe?
 

Gethsemani_v1legacy

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Game writers are getting older and are forming families, of course it is bound to reflect in the stories that they write and the characters within them. I mean, the writing in games is still sort of shit when compared to other media, but at least the average protagonist isn't a late-20's/early-30's dude with anger management problems, an edgy attitude and an inability to function in any social situation that doesn't involve hurting other people anymore.
 

DrownedAmmet

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It works a hell of a lot better in games than in movies, that's for damn sure. Whenever I see Liam Neeson murder twenty dudes to rescue his daughter I roll my eyes.
But in games it works so much better. I mostly avoided killing in the Last of Us untill those jackasses kidnapped Ellie, then I pulled out my flamethrower and went "RAMPAGE!!" until I got her back. First time I could think of where I played the game differently because of what happened in the story
 

oldtaku

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Isn't it just the medium growing up (literally if you include the devs and players). You can go ask the way back to the early 90s explosion of RAD XTR3M3 TUDE YO and call those the terrible preteens and it all falls out from there. That's a bit awkward for 20 years from now though.
 

McBlaggart

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The Dad Hero thing could also be a response to the rising tide of single parenting. In the UK most children don't have stable father figure. That's a trend that is consistent throughout western civilization.
 

StatusNil

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It's a sign of "games growing up", to reflect the currently age-appropriate concerns of self-centered elderly people... like us. In many cases, we've had OUR adolescent (and even "problematic") stories addressed by digital interactive fantasies way back when already, and by Jove we're going to cluck hard in disapproval if any game fails to dress itself in a narrative that acknowledges us as the permanent measure of "where the medium ought to be" by now.

We're the RIGHT age, why should we give a camel (that's "two humps" for anyone too young to be down with the lingo) if there are some n00bs who have failed to git grown up yet who think games are there to cater to their childish tastes? It's their own fault, for not managing to be born in time for the golden youth of gaming.
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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McBlaggart said:
The Dad Hero thing could also be a response to the rising tide of single parenting. In the UK most children don't have stable father figure. That's a trend that is consistent throughout western civilization.
I would say its more from the rise of just parenting in general. I'm guessing gamers are aging, so having a bunch of mid 20-somethings as characters doesn't fit with them anymore. They need mid 30s characters with kids who don't like them and an estranged wife to be able to identify with a character.
 

Silverbeard

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Bah. My dad's overweight, diabetic, smokes like a chimney and routinely hits me up for money.
Boyo, I'd love to have a dad like Rico Rodriguez.
 

EternallyBored

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Gethsemani said:
Game writers are getting older and are forming families, of course it is bound to reflect in the stories that they write and the characters within them. I mean, the writing in games is still sort of shit when compared to other media, but at least the average protagonist isn't a late-20's/early-30's dude with anger management problems, an edgy attitude and an inability to function in any social situation that doesn't involve hurting other people anymore.
This is how I see it, we are past the age where a lot of designers and writers were in their late teens or early 20's, the average age of video game players is climbing, so we end up with an industry where more people are writing with a different age and mindset. You could see some of this years ago as some games appealed to the archetype even in the 90's, but now there's a greater concentration of older male writers and designers that are married and have kids, so their priorities and interests change, and that's reflected in their art.

Of course that's just a trend within certain segments and companies, there are still plenty of young people entering the industry who are writing the old style action heroes like new Dante, the Farcry protagonists, the upcoming Doom reboot space marine. I'd imagine part of this trend might also just be people aping the success of bioshock and TLOU where the appeal of the fatherly character seems to have attracted interest from fans, especially Joel, who got shitloads of praise from gamers.
 

Zetatrain

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Interesting observation, though I can't say that Master Chief fits the fatherly role since the members of Blue team are around the same age he is. Also, Big Boss was already in the father/mentor role back in Peacewalker (2010) and arguably in Portable Ops (2006). Plus, Big Boss as a father/mentor figure had been part of his backstory long before either of those two games.
 

The Hungry Samurai

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Yahtzee Croshaw said:
Why Is Every AAA Game Hero Suddenly Your Dad?

Has anyone else noticed that an awful lot of these action game heroes are becoming dads? Not literally. I couldn't imagine Rico Rodriguez slipping the D into except a ballistic missile.

Read Full Article
I've got another theory. This is a long con setup to continue a reboot cycle without technically rebooting a franchise.

Making Lara Croft young worked well, Star Wars is passing it's mantle to the kids of episodes 4-6 (I haven't seen 7 yet so I'm not sure how true that is. No spoilers please)

I bet in two years many of these daded franchises will be starring their offspring once again appealing to a younger audience while feeding the elders nostalgia bites in the form of original character cameos. Now everything old is new again and the cycle of sequels continue.
 

Ariseishirou

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I'd be more pleased with it if I thought for a microsecond it meant we'd be getting older female protagonists.

It doesn't, of course.
 

RandV80

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Thanatos2k said:
At least characters in Western AAA games are getting older with their audience/creators. Many Japanese devs refuse to leave the high school setting.
I sometimes think that because the Japanese maintain such a brutal work schedule that public school age is the only group that has time for these things, outside of the ostracized 'NEETS'. Kind of similar to how the baby boomer generation seemed to heavily glorify their high school years far more than we do today, when coincidentally most of them went out and got married & started having kids almost immediately after. Now that we tend to 'live' through our 20's before settling down and having kids from the perspective of someone in his 30's no one seems to give a shit about their high school days anymore.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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For quite some time every Rockstar protagonist has been a family guy.

John Marston, RDR? Married with kids.
Cole Phelps, L.A. Noire? Married with kids.
Michael Townley, GTA V? Married with kids.
Max Payne... don't ask him about it.
 

ArkhamJester

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RandV80 said:
Thanatos2k said:
At least characters in Western AAA games are getting older with their audience/creators. Many Japanese devs refuse to leave the high school setting.
I sometimes think that because the Japanese maintain such a brutal work schedule that public school age is the only group that has time for these things, outside of the ostracized 'NEETS'. Kind of similar to how the baby boomer generation seemed to heavily glorify their high school years far more than we do today, when coincidentally most of them went out and got married & started having kids almost immediately after. Now that we tend to 'live' through our 20's before settling down and having kids from the perspective of someone in his 30's no one seems to give a shit about their high school days anymore.
Ding ding ding! We have a winner! Yes the reason most japanese media takes place in highschool is because the primary audience is still children-teenagers. When they get older society beats down/ overworks them and they have little time for such "frivolity" so yeah the reason protagonists stay the same age in japan is because the audience is largely the same age.