Monday 6 October, 2008
Aside on "Active" vs "Passive" playable characters
My thoughts about the active vs passive character's voice: The most recent GTA game I remember playing was GTA 3, around November 2001. The biggest distinction between that story's protagonist and GTA: SA's "CJ" was the switch from the character having a passive to an active voice. In GTA 3, your character never spoke nor used any strong body language in the affirmative or negative towards another character in the game's world. However in SA, "CJ" speaks up, talks back, and defends himself verbally. Although his actions or words may not directly be in line with what the player is feeling, I feel they serve as a strong moral or at least narrative compass by which the player should act. On the negative, however, if a player emotions or desires aren't in the least in line with the characters, there's a definite disconnect between doing what you want to do and doing what the game wants you to do. Aside from any moral dilemmas this may create, this "rail-runner" type of disconnect also breaks immersion and forces the player to act outside the scope of any conceptual interactivity to the narrative.
You could argue that, in a sense, you have a greater window into CJs situation, who he is and where he comes from that can help better contextualize all the missions (and things he's supposed to do in them). Do you think this was more important because CJ is a minority character and that (most?) players would have a harder time relating to him?
Monday 20 October, 2008 by jp