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[Game Design Question] Does anyone else find it weird when your avatar talks in cutscenes?


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#1 Team Mike

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 10:58 PM

Hey guys. I've played through all the story quests so far (570) and something's been on my mind recently. It's about how sometimes KHUX makes your avatar talk during cutscenes. This is really weird to me because in this game, you create and customize an avatar that's basically you. Most of the time, your avatar just emotes and nods to express dialog, which is fine. But forcing your character to talk during these cutscenes gives them an implied personality that might conflict with your personality, which blurs the fact that this avatar is you. Some of the things that my avatar said, I know I would never say xD

 

Now I know this isn't a big problem, but it's just something that I've been thinking about. Square Enix probably did it because of storyline reasons, so that all the events make sense in the end. I'm trying to think of alternatives they could have done instead, and how they would have affected the story. I think the silent approach isn't correct here either, because the content of the messages was important. But it's tough trying to customize messages, unless you allow multiple options where the user picks one.

 

I'm a Game Design major in college, which is why I'm interested in this, and obviously this question doesn't pertain to everyone. But any feedback is appreciated.

 

PS: I also find it funny that at the beginning of the game, I skipped the cutscenes to get to more gameplay, but now that I've played this game for so long and the story is actually progressing, I skip most of the gameplay but not the cutscenes :P



#2 Clouded Sun

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 05:50 AM

Uh, depends. In single player games like Fire Emblem, I prefer that the avatar speak. MMOs, not really, but then again that's cause I'm not used to it. Maybe text isn't all bad.

(I'm going into game design, too next year. I'm really excited. Most likely just doing the B.S. But I'm thinking about double majoring for a B.A.)

Edited by Clouded Sun, 20 March 2017 - 05:53 AM.


#3 Team Mike

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:27 PM

Well, my comparison is to Link in Legend of Zelda. He barely ever speaks, and that's because he's just an avatar that the player uses to go on their own adventure. I wrote a paper on this, so that's why I'm interested in this. Like, I'm sure would be weird if I watched the old LoZ animated series and I watched Link talk for most of the show. It'd give him a personality that might conflict with my impression of him. 

 

In games where the main character has a personality (like Final Fantasy XV, Phoenix Wright, etc) it makes sense for them to talk because they're not a player avatar. They're just characters in the game, and you're controlling them.

 

 

Oh, you're going into game design? That's cool. I took the Computer Science and Game Design route, so I have the programming degree because getting a job in the games industry is really tough unless you know the right people. If you ever have any questions, feel free to let me know. I'll be happy to help!

 

BTW nice avi, RWBY is great. Sun's a pretty funny character.



#4 Clouded Sun

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:28 PM

Well, my comparison is to Link in Legend of Zelda. He barely ever speaks, and that's because he's just an avatar that the player uses to go on their own adventure. I wrote a paper on this, so that's why I'm interested in this. Like, I'm sure would be weird if I watched the old LoZ animated series and I watched Link talk for most of the show. It'd give him a personality that might conflict with my impression of him.

In games where the main character has a personality (like Final Fantasy XV, Phoenix Wright, etc) it makes sense for them to talk because they're not a player avatar. They're just characters in the game, and you're controlling them.


Oh, you're going into game design? That's cool. I took the Computer Science and Game Design route, so I have the programming degree because getting a job in the games industry is really tough unless you know the right people. If you ever have any questions, feel free to let me know. I'll be happy to help!

BTW nice avi, RWBY is great. Sun's a pretty funny character.

Yeah, depending on the college they call it the Computer Science in Game Design degree, or Game Design and Development, whatever falls under the B.S. (I'm sure you already know), Anyway, I think it has to do moreso with story and plot. Usually, through characters, especially the ones you play as the most, you form an empathetic link. This empathetic link kinda immerses you in the story, as if he character was you (instead of saying "damn, Geralt keeps dying", you say "I keep dying", instead of "She got dumped" you say "I got dumped". This effects the experience in two different ways depending on how it's done

1) Speaking characters, like in Witcher, Final Fantasy (except XI and XIV), Kingdom Hearts, and the like, meaning having any sort of dialogue whether it be text or voiced, have an immersion where you can emphasize with the struggles, relationships, etc. of said character on a more personal connection. Imagine your relationship as reading a book and then listening to an interpretation of it by said character. You see through their eyes the most, so you feel what they feel (most of the time), etc.)

2) Silent characters, as in the Legend of Zelda, Xenoblade X, and MMOs like FFXI and FFXIV, TERA, and the like, have an immersive feeling as to where your character is moreso your "eyes" through the adventure. You see what they see, but it's moreso up to your brain to fill in the blanks about the character's emotional state, what they'd do in said situation, how they're feeling, blah blah blah. The world itself, and the other characters besides the one you're playing matter a little more, because you're building a link to them through the character you play as, who in your mind has a certain personality. It's a little more difficult for me to explain, but what I'm trying to say is that the silent character's emotions, even though they may be animated, are left to interpretation. As the story progresses with characters outside of your realm of control, you feel as if, through this character that you've created an emotional link of which is more than likely a reflection of your ideal self, that you are the character, and can thereafter create more personal connections to other characters. Whatever is not given to you about the character is interpreted by you. And your interpretation of the character would be unique to, say, mine. Whatever about Link that is not created in the game world, you may have thought differently about than me. Your Link has a different personality than mine, because you're filling in the blanks while you play.

Did I make it clear? I can explain again if you like.

Edited by Clouded Sun, 20 March 2017 - 10:32 PM.


#5 Team Mike

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:00 PM

Yeah yeah that makes sense. That's basically what I'm getting at, how there are two types of characters: the ones you project yourself onto, and the ones you follow and guide on their journey. (I switched the order on ya sry)

My original point is that KHUX uses the first type of character, which makes it weird when they talk, because that makes them the second type of character: the ones who you empathize with. When something happens in-game, the response I expect for the first type is "I feel this", where the second type is "I understand and relate to how you feel". I just had an immersion switch at the point where my avatar started talking lol. 

 

Take a look at Animal Crossing, or like any dating sim. If you just played some random character, the connections you made with the characters would be less important than if that was really you making those connections. 

 

Counterpoint: I don't know if you've played any of the Danganronpa games, but the main characters are pretty generic so there's really nothing you wouldn't agree with as the player. You get to choose who you interact with, and I think this generic-ness and ability to choose makes these relationships more 'you' oriented than 'main character' oriented (especially because they aren't required). The way your avatar talks in KHUX, sometimes it uses really complex and thought out language that no one could possibly think up on the spot. Maybe that's it...

 

Basically what I think they did for KHUX was that players were so used to playing characters relevant in the story (Sora, Roxas, etc) and they wanted to make the player feel that they were an important character in the KHUX story, because otherwise they'd be just one random keyblade wielder in a crowd of thousands. The game would lose its value and story relevance. And in order to do this, the developers have to make decisions for the players in order to get them to follow a certain storyline and take certain actions in order for them to truly be relevant. 



#6 The Transcendent Key

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 09:20 PM

Yeah, I honestly found it surprising that my player avatar would speak in certain cutscenes in the game, and whenever it happened, I was like: "Holy crud, my character does speak after all!" But then I got bummed out whenever he'd just fall silent again. xD

 

I'm sure Square had their reasons for making this approach to our player avatar in Unchained X, but I agree, it can be a bit jarring, especially when one didn't expect for the player avatar to talk in the first place!