Why Is Every AAA Game Hero Suddenly Your Dad?

Aiddon_v1legacy

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Yeah, it does come off like Western AAA developers are trying to find someone THEY relate to due to them now becoming old and thus are essentially living out wish fulfillment fantasies. Unfortunately this also has the side effect of it being tacky, mostly due to the idea of "father figure" protagonists being a bit too late in the gaming cycle. That's before getting into the most obvious problem though: that it's just plain lazy. Look, developers, you don't have to "relate" to a character to be able to find them interesting and compelling. Instead of making the medium grow UP, you're just making it grow OLD and that is never acceptable.

As for the chasteness of the whole projecting onto daughter-figure, that also brings up another trend I notice with the current: the undercurrent of being ashamed of relationships and affection of any kind. I almost see the writers as guys who find girls icky and that emotions beyond grizzled stoicism are verboten. It's like they're trying to channel the many descendants of Sanjuro alongside the daddifying, but don't really understand that character archetype and how it doesn't work with dadding. I have said before that gaming is in its awkward puberty phase, but now it's also trying to combine that with its awkward mid-life crisis phase.
 

Vanilla_Knight

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Now I want to offer up this short anecdote about my biology professor. We're sitting in lab one day about to start, and he begins to talk. He says, "You know how I know that society is not valuing science as much anymore? Because of the increasing trend in fantasy/magic shows that have come up." Imagine that, a scientist deriving causation simply from a correlation.

"Well, despite what each generation of moral guardians would have us believe, video games do not influence the personalities of the players; rather, it is the personalities of the players that influence the games."

They are actually both wrong, and one of either is reliant on the other's equally faulty reasoning. That argument allows that either the games are "socially immature" due to the consumers or that it conditions the consumers to be "socially immature." Yeah, you could argue that some games are written with their audience in mind, but I don't play Just Cause 3, I looked at TLoU and puked, nobody knew about Bioshock Infinite's ending, and I bought The Witcher 3 not because of the story about Geralt and his adopted daughter. How am I influencing the medium again? Sorry, not buying it.

[stop reading if you're oppressed by opinions]

I don't understand why people have this incessant need to try interpreting the social aspirations of gamers out of the fucking narratives in the medium. We can't just have a story (or string of similar ones) without trying to distill muh greater social implications of why the character is the way he/she is. It couldn't just be flavor of the month or simply the random art that the writers created. Not to mention that drawing conclusions about people's psyche based on such few games is absurd. No of course, the reason why Mario is popular is obviously because the consumers are plumbers and/or dream of rescuing some princess damsel kidnapped by a weird turtle monster. Not that I SHOULD rescue her, because that would be misogynist as I only rescue her because I want to FUCK HER... (oh boy better not be rescuing a romantic love-interest 'cause sex is sin and that's just not "grown up"). Next time I'm playing The Witcher 3 I'll just let the men rape the peasant woman, because that would nullify the game's sexist attempt to impose it's patriarchal, stoic, protective, dad-hero Geralt who is only in the game to serve the misogynist male fantasy of rescuing his "angsty, teenage daughter with a thigh gap of a foot and a half" . I just want to be "grown up" like everyone tells me I ought to be because after all it is current year.
 

Thyunda

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Vanilla_Knight said:
Now I want to offer up this short anecdote about my biology professor. We're sitting in lab one day about to start, and he begins to talk. He says, "You know how I know that society is not valuing science as much anymore? Because of the increasing trend in fantasy/magic shows that have come up." Imagine that, a scientist deriving causation simply from a correlation.

"Well, despite what each generation of moral guardians would have us believe, video games do not influence the personalities of the players; rather, it is the personalities of the players that influence the games."

They are actually both wrong, and one of either is reliant on the other's equally faulty reasoning. That argument allows that either the games are "socially immature" due to the consumers or that it makes conditions the consumers to be "socially immature." Yeah, you could argue that some games are written with their audience in mind, but I don't play Just Cause 3, I looked at TLoU and puked, nobody knew about Bioshock Infinite's ending, and I bought The Witcher 3 not because of the story about Geralt and his adopted daughter. How am I influencing the medium again? Sorry, not buying it.

[stop reading if you're oppressed by opinions]

I don't understand why people have this incessant need to try interpreting the social aspirations of gamers out of the fucking narratives in the medium. We can't just have a story (or string of similar ones) without trying to distill muh greater social implications of why the character is the way he/she is. It couldn't just be flavor of the month or simply the random art that the writers created. Not to mention that drawing conclusions about people's psyche based on such few games is absurd. No of course, the reason why Mario is popular is obviously because the consumers are plumbers and/or dream of rescuing some princess damsel kidnapped by a weird turtle monster. Not that I SHOULD rescue her, because that would be misogynist as I only rescue her because I want to FUCK HER... (oh boy better not be rescuing a romantic love-interest 'cause sex is sin and that's just not "grown up"). Next time I'm playing The Witcher 3 I'll just let the men rape the peasant woman, because that would nullify the game's sexist attempt to impose it's patriarchal, stoic, protective, dad-hero Geralt who is only in the game to serve the misogynist male fantasy of rescuing his "angsty, teenage daughter with a thigh gap of a foot and a half" . I just want to be "grown up" like everyone tells me I ought to be because after all it is current year.

I've spent so long searching, but I've finally found you. You are Joe Public. We can all stop marketing now. That's it. Advertising is dead. We simply gotta ask you what you would buy because you represent the entire market.
 

srpilha

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Ariseishirou said:
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.
Very much my opinion as well. Older and better written, why not, one can dream.
 

Vanilla_Knight

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Thyunda said:
I've spent so long searching, but I've finally found you. You are Joe Public. We can all stop marketing now. That's it. Advertising is dead. We simply gotta ask you what you would buy because you represent the entire market.
OH of course, I didn't know that a handful of games that are tenuously connected by one measly, ill-defined character trait are THE ENTIRE MARKET, and that they were marketed SPECIFICALLY for being stories about dad characters. You're going to argue that the reason why people bought The Witcher 3 is because they wanted to be "daddy" Geralt? Give me a fucking break. It is absolutely asinine.
 

StatusNil

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Aiddon said:
I almost see the writers as guys who find girls icky and that emotions beyond grizzled stoicism are verboten.
Close, but not quite. Perhaps it would be more accurate to characterize them as guys who have been taught to find BOYS icky and girls too pure and wonderful to be sullied by their nasty attentions, except in carefully sublimated scenarios hedged with taboos. Such as the case of a literal "patriarch".
 

Thyunda

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Vanilla_Knight said:
Thyunda said:
I've spent so long searching, but I've finally found you. You are Joe Public. We can all stop marketing now. That's it. Advertising is dead. We simply gotta ask you what you would buy because you represent the entire market.
OH of course, I didn't know that a handful of games that are tenuously connected by one measly, ill-defined character trait are THE ENTIRE MARKET, and that they were marketed SPECIFICALLY for being stories about dad characters. You're going to argue that the reason why people bought The Witcher 3 is because they wanted to be "daddy" Geralt? Give me a fucking break. It is absolutely asinine.

I would argue that it was as well-received as it was because the story was more mature and Geralt better developed as a character, and the whole thing was aimed at an older audience than the first two games.
 

ZZoMBiE13

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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.
That's pretty clever. And certainly true. Everything good in my life happened after high school. It's the college years that I remember fondly as I sit here in my 40's thinking of yesteryear. You get a "no-prize" for that one! :)
 

Darth_Payn

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"If you look at the male protagonists of a few years back, immaturity was the prevailing trend. A lack of social graces. You either had your big fat unrealistically-muscled vessels for furious teenage angst like your Kratos and your Marcus Fenix, or you'd have your 'strong silent type', unemotional and aloof, the kind of hero that appealed to the self-conscious and socially awkward. Your Gordon Freemans, your J. C. Dentons, your Jack from Bioshocks. The emotional spectrum on display was nothing but extremes - fiery reds and cold blues."
Sounds like there's a TV Trope for that: Red Oni Blue Oni.
Zetatrain said:
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.
I get what you're saying, and adding that Portable Ops, Peace Walker, Ground Zeroes, and Phantom Pain all show Big Boss acclimating to that role of a leader of men, instead of the solo operative Solid Snake is. That's where Liquid and Solidus take after him.
008Zulu said:
No, this isn't true! This is impossible!!
Search your feelings; you know it to be true.
 

Timeless Lavender

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I believed that it could result from the changing of views of masculinity. Nowadays, men are shown in nurturing roles (roles that are exclusively for women) due to the change of views of 'nurture'. Nurture was first thought to be gendered but now nurture is known for its instinctual, biological drives that majority of the animals have.

It is quite similar to the view of parenting in the Caribbean. At first, there are many female headed single parent families because some men are afraid, did not care or incapable of being fathers. But now there is a huge culture shift where men are willingly accept responsibility of being a parent.

In terms of writing, I am not a huge fan of this trope. Normally the child, person, object that the protagonist must fathered are known for being plot devices and emotional crotches. As long as the writing is good, I am fine with the trope.
 

marioandsonic

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I suppose these kinds of stories are great for those who are fathers or soon to be fathers.

But what about people like me? You know, the friendless "forever alone" types that will never be parents? Do they just assume every man will eventually become a grizzled, down-to-earth father figure?

I will not tolerate this constant single-shaming, game industry!
 

disgruntledgamer

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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
Why Is Every AAA Game Hero Suddenly Your Dad? Because the teenage punchy hair Hero has been corner marketed by the Japanese developers.
 

Yahtzee Croshaw

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The same reason vampire novels are all Varney the Vampire: Twat edition (most probably won't recognize that reference, but it basically made most modern vampire tropes until Twilight completely fucked them), because somebody a game where you play as a dad, it was mildly popular and now devs have jumped on the bandwagon like it'll undo global warming.
 

Norithics

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Vanilla_Knight said:
Hm. I dunno about that! I think you can learn a lot about a society by looking at its popular culture. Tons of stories of self-sacrifice? That culture puts a lot of stock in honor and the larger social structure. Idolize cowboys? Probably reflective of how those people value self-determination and independence. It's the whole reason Mythology is such an interesting study.

I think people get confused because they think that one starts the other; in reality it's more of a complicated echo that grows stronger as time goes on. So yes! It's not necessarily dumb to look to stories for social or cultural importance- the problem is when one tries to throw a wrench in the gears and say "Stop this thing!"

That never works. The real purpose of academic interest is to make us more aware of the contrivances of our storytelling so that we can be better-equipped to tell more, better stories.
 

CyanCat47_v1legacy

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there is a lot of this both in games and other forms of popular culture recently

fallout tends to be about a kind of "bird leaving the nest" story about a young person leaving home and becoming independent but in fallout 4 the main character has become the parental figure looking for his/her son

Star wars episode VII is still about a young person becoming who she was meant to be in a sort of metaphor for growing into an adult but now there is also a pretty significant side story about han solo trying to save his renegade son from being corrupted by the dark side

Mad max furyy road is largely about an older woman, more experienced in the cruel realities in the world trying to protect a group of younger women who have been forced into sexual slavery

fantasy books had a tendency to use mmostly younger single heroes but game of thrones and the books it's based on are full of themes concerning family and parentage, which for some characters is what they see as their sole purpose
 

Vanilla_Knight

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Norithics said:
Vanilla_Knight said:
Hm. I dunno about that! I think you can learn a lot about a society by looking at its popular culture. Tons of stories of self-sacrifice? That culture puts a lot of stock in honor and the larger social structure. Idolize cowboys? Probably reflective of how those people value self-determination and independence. It's the whole reason Mythology is such an interesting study.

I think people get confused because they think that one starts the other; in reality it's more of a complicated echo that grows stronger as time goes on. So yes! It's not necessarily dumb to look to stories for social or cultural importance- the problem is when one tries to throw a wrench in the gears and say "Stop this thing!"

That never works. The real purpose of academic interest is to make us more aware of the contrivances of our storytelling so that we can be better-equipped to tell more, better stories.
You can do that for books and movies sometimes, but you can't as easily do it for games. To remove all context of why the consumers are purchasing those games is to build your conclusion on a false premise. Why did people buy The Witcher 3? Because of the story about Geralt being a dad? Did the consumers even know? Did they care? Or did they buy it because it's an open-world, medieval fantasy, rpg? TW3 is a story driven game, but you spend 90% or more of the game NOT relating to Ciri.

All that academic value is lost when people are willing to reduce the medium to a handful of games, focus on a random character trait, remove any other reasons for why those games are being played (I dunno... maybe gameplay? hmm), and then substitute their social values for the conclusion. Look at how many cringeworthy posts in this thread are about how men are "maturing" now (as if anything has actually changed), about how this somehow relates to "gender norms", and concluding that the writers are now "grown up" or some shit. People wear their ideology on their sleeve I guess. No, it can't just be a coincidence of some trace elements in narratives converging at one time, it HAS to be a reflection of how our society is progressing!
 

KilloZapit

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Vanilla_Knight said:
You can do that for books and movies sometimes, but you can't as easily do it for games. To remove all context of why the consumers are purchasing those games is to build your conclusion on a false premise. Why did people buy The Witcher 3? Because of the story about Geralt being a dad? Did the consumers even know? Did they care? Or did they buy it because it's an open-world, medieval fantasy, rpg? TW3 is a story driven game, but you spend 90% or more of the game NOT relating to Ciri.

All that academic value is lost when people are willing to reduce the medium to a handful of games, focus on a random character trait, remove any other reasons for why those games are being played (I dunno... maybe gameplay? hmm), and then substitute their social values for the conclusion. Look at how many cringeworthy posts in this thread are about how men are "maturing" now (as if anything has actually changed), about how this somehow relates to "gender norms", and concluding that the writers are now "grown up" or some shit. People wear their ideology on their sleeve I guess. No, it can't just be a coincidence of some trace elements in narratives converging at one time, it HAS to be a reflection of how our society is progressing!
Geez, you seem really angry about this. It's not like it really means much in the end. Let's just assume for a moment that there is a particular trend in AAA games revolving around the "dad figure" right now. And lets also assume it's a refection of the audience the games are marketed to. So what? All that means is that this may be true for a particular subset of gamers, or that the AAA gaming industry at least thinks it is. Does that mean that every single person who plays the game is going to fit into that particular group? No, it doesn't. Does that mean that every single gamer has to stick to what ever stereotype the AAA industry is marketing the games to? Also no.

That doesn't mean people can't statistically gather trends and make theories about them. Stuff like "gamers are getting older" and "gender roles are changing" may be and probably are true enough to at least be reasonable. Is it an absolute truth that can apply to absolutely everyone? Of course not. Newsflash: Nothing is. What do you want, for everyone who buys a game to write down a paragraph about why? Do you have access to data like that? Could you be assured they aren't lying or being misinterpreted?

But of course it's only a theory, a prediction. It might be a useful guided to what games are being made and what games are selling, but in the end it's really up to who wants to buy them, and they all have their own reasons.
 

1981

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The first older AAA characters I remember are Ezio and Altair from Assassin's Creed: Revelations. Coupled with the changes to Desmond's facial features, I thought it was a sign that Ubisoft was trying to stop modeling all characters after 20-something male models. I don't have an opinion of my own on why it became a trend.

One reason could be the influence Assassin's Creed's success had. Ezio ranks high on many top character lists. Even here people are saying that the Tomb Raider reboot should've had a similar arc (and I agree).

I wish there was more statistical data on gamers and game developers. It probably is true that gamers are getting older, though I haven't found anything but logical claims to back it up. It wasn't just kids who played games in the late 80s and early 90s. Sometimes when I went to the bathroom late at night I saw mom playing Mario on my Nintendo. Some parents gave up trying to hide their addiction and started playing during the day.

Norithics said:
I think people get confused because they think that one starts the other; in reality it's more of a complicated echo that grows stronger as time goes on. So yes! It's not necessarily dumb to look to stories for social or cultural importance- the problem is when one tries to throw a wrench in the gears and say "Stop this thing!"
Another problem is when people oversimplify it by saying "that book/movie/show/game made them/me do it". Because saying that stories influence us and we influence stories is already a simplification (as you said).
 

Vanilla_Knight

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KilloZapit said:
Geez, you seem really angry about this. It's not like it really means much in the end. Let's just assume for a moment that there is a particular trend in AAA games revolving around the "dad figure" right now. And lets also assume it's a refection of the audience the games are marketed to. So what? All that means is that this may be true for a particular subset of gamers, or that the AAA gaming industry at least thinks it is. Does that mean that every single person who plays the game is going to fit into that particular group? No, it doesn't. Does that mean that every single gamer has to stick to what ever stereotype the AAA industry is marketing the games to? Also no.

That doesn't mean people can't statistically gather trends and make theories about them. Stuff like "gamers are getting older" and "gender roles are changing" may be and probably are true enough to at least be reasonable. Is it an absolute truth that can apply to absolutely everyone? Of course not. Newsflash: Nothing is. What do you want, for everyone who buys a game to write down a paragraph about why? Do you have access to data like that? Could you be assured they aren't lying or being misinterpreted?

But of course it's only a theory, a prediction. It might be a useful guided to what games are being made and what games are selling, but in the end it's really up to who wants to buy them, and they all have their own reasons.
Yeah, let's assume that these asinine premises are true so that my argument is somewhere nearing logical coherence. Let's also just assume the conclusion before the argument so it can fit into my interpretation of skewed data. Don't be skeptical of spurious correlations, just accept them at face value without any need to calculate for other variables or even admit their existence. There's nothing wrong with that at all. And if you take issue with it, then you're "angry".

It's really quite funny that you argue against yourself in the last sentence. If you're going to admit that people all have their own reasons for playing different games, why are you defending such horseshit inferences about society based solely on one character trait? Is "it's only a theory" really supposed to be the defense? Do people think all opinions and theories are valid nowadays?
 

ObserverStatus

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Ariseishirou said:
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.
Given how motherhood seems to be a recurring theme in the Metroid series, it seems like it would be easy for Nintendo to follow this trend by making a game in which Samus is a mom, but I doubt it will happen. If anything, they'll just infantalize her even further than they did in Other M. In the manga, she leaves her Chozo guardians at the age of 14 to rejoin human society, perhaps Metroid: High School Mission is on the horizon?