I wish game developers would give up on the silent protagonist

1 : Anonymous2021/12/11 14:58 ID: re1gn8

The stories are just never as compelling. I've enjoyed playing games like Amalur and Dragon Age, but they just can't compare narrative wise to games like RDR2, Last of Us, Ghost of Tsushima, Spider-Man, Witcher 3, Horizon, etc. When I find out a game has a silent protagonist, I'm inclined to skip most of the dialogue

2 : Anonymous2021/12/11 18:21 ID: ho5csiv

In games where you create your own character (Fallout, Skyrim) it makes sense. But in narrative-heavy games where you play an existing character, like Metro Exodus, it makes no sense. The "conversations" in that game never felt natural because characters talk to Artyom but he never says anything.

ID: ho5yqb4

I think its because as far as i know in the books he doesnt talk very much, and for 2033 and last light not talking worked pretty well for the most part, but in exodus they really should have made him say a few things to the crew

ID: ho6tvo0

Persona games need to hear this.

ID: ho7rskt

The sad thing is that if I remember correctly, Artiom talks on load screens.

3 : Anonymous2021/12/11 16:17 ID: ho4v0ek

Chrono Trigger has entered the chat.

4 : Anonymous2021/12/11 15:43 ID: ho4q9xf

Yes... I hated borderlands 3 story because they literally act like i didnt exist in ALL cutscenes. It's like i never did anything during the gameplay sections. (Still Loved the game in general)

5 : Anonymous2021/12/11 16:58 ID: ho50qto

It really depends on how its executed, if the protagonist being silent enhances the immersion of the game (like in the Portal games), then I don't mind it. But if it's a game where dialogue is plentiful but the character who you play just can't talk for no apparent reason at all, then it's pretty silly

6 : Anonymous2021/12/11 19:51 ID: ho5pdoi

No actor is perfect in anything. Voice acting is largely hit or miss.
I do like long, story driven games with voiced characters.
Fallout isn't for many reasons. 4 took some hit b/c of the voiced protagonist. On some level I do like it.
Horizon: Zero Dawn and upcoming Forbidden West.
Tomb Raider trilogy reboot. RE2 & 3 remake.
It can fit in some while a voice protagonist is needed.

7 : Anonymous2021/12/11 15:57 ID: ho4s66s

Omori has an interesting spin on the silent protagonist. The guy never speaks, yet he has an amazing character arc.

ID: ho5if6k


ID: ho5voc4

Well, it’s not available on PS4, just PC. But it’s a must-buy if you like Earthbound or Undertale.

8 : Anonymous2021/12/11 15:20 ID: ho4n7lo

So you don’t play Zelda games I take it?

ID: ho4pndn

Love them, but couldn't give a shit about the story. It's just not compelling. Every character is just there for exposition. There's no real interaction

ID: ho5r6jf

How can you say a story isn't compelling when you actively skip over it?

9 : Anonymous2021/12/11 15:29 ID: ho4odjr

I like them. It's MY story. Half Life 1 & 2, Portal 1 & 2, Fallout 3, Bioshock, Dishonored, GTA3, Skyrim... all are among my favorite games. They let me self-identify and immerse easier, instead of me controlling/becoming a different person.

ID: ho5eyf8

Agreed all these you listed are some of the most memorable experiences I've had. Bioshock and Half Life have the best silent protagonists.

ID: ho5yvfd

If only your character didn't talk in fallout 4

10 : Anonymous2021/12/11 16:27 ID: ho4wa8m

Can’t agree. To this day, I would much rather play Dragon Age Origins to RDR2

11 : Anonymous2021/12/11 17:26 ID: ho54twx

Disagree some games are meant to be played with a silent person. Some games pull it off and some don't. Ik I'd not like it if my dragonborn could talk lol. They are just not a you type of game and that's perfectly ok we are all different and our minds work different ways so we like different things 🙂

12 : Anonymous2021/12/11 19:31 ID: ho5mnas

I picked up Metro Exodus because everybody said it was incredibly immersive and the silent protagonist in that game really took me completely out of it in every scene with dialogue. It felt so weird having characters ask him questions or be convinced by him when he just wasn't speaking. Sometimes it can be done pretty well, but so often I find it's just no good in story driven games.

ID: ho605l1

Yeah being completely silent was not a good choice for that game, but i think they did it because it worked for the previous game. If you havent played them i kinda recommend them, i love last light but 2033 has the issue that most of the game is following someone else

13 : Anonymous2021/12/11 21:40 ID: ho642ar

I kinda agree, but kinda disagree. Games like Persona and Zelda do the silent protagonist pretty well

ID: ho6a9ax

Persona may be the best with the silent protagonist but it always kind of shoehorns you into being the shy silent type. It would be nice to change that up every once in awhile

14 : Anonymous2021/12/11 16:37 ID: ho4xqa1

I mean, what's the point of RPGs if they give your character a pre fabricated personality?
You have to decide that.
And if you skip most of the dialogue no wonder you find the story not compelling.
When there is a silent character usually devs use alternative methods of storytelling that works just as fine.
And btw dragon age's story is dope af.

15 : Anonymous2021/12/11 17:02 ID: ho51eyj

Sometimes I think a silent protagonist can work well depending on the game

It works well for the Elder Scrolls games since its your own custom character. I also like how it works in GTA online. The "silent" jokes are hilarious

But imo it doesn't work for narrative driven games like TLOU or RDR2

16 : Anonymous2021/12/11 19:30 ID: ho5mimt

Monster hunter would like a word with you fiver

ID: ho5r19i

Love Monster Hunter, but I can't imagine anyone is playing it for the story

ID: ho5y9bs

Hey partner, elder dragon, Hey partner, elder crossing, Hey partner, Nergigante.

You trying to tell me that isn't quality writing?? lol.

17 : Anonymous2021/12/11 17:18 ID: ho53mb7

Cant say I like silent MCs but there's enough space for everyone

18 : Anonymous2021/12/11 20:05 ID: ho5r9j1

Works well in dead space one. The point of the silent protagonist is that you give your own reactions and imagine your own dialouge in their shoes. It works well depending on the game.

19 : Anonymous2021/12/11 23:31 ID: ho6ixxj

I'm mixed, while I mostly like when MC can talk and have their own personality, if MC turns out to be an annoying twit (because future character development), I don't really want to play to the 11th hour for them to finally become remotely likable.

If silent, then even if written as annoying they're a bit more tolerable for me, cause then I can at least change their 'voice' and 'tone' in my head.

20 : Anonymous2021/12/12 04:06 ID: ho7gt6c

Half-Life did the silent protagonist in a narrative-heavy game really well.

21 : Anonymous2021/12/12 06:46 ID: ho7xeec

I disagree. Silent protagonists have their place. It all depends on the game. The creative decision needs to be well place and finely executed. I look at Fallout 3 to 4 and I absolutely hated that they changed it so your character has a voice. How many times did you pick an option in that game for them to only say something you didn't intend. Although once in awhile it did have a hilarious effect. But the other problem is sometimes voice acting in games can be subpar which takes me out of the immersion even more than text dialogue options or a completely silent protagonists would. I can't stand bad voice acting! Lol. I have imagination, I can make up better voices in my head for the characters in the game. Game devs will never be able to cater every game to fit everyone's prefered playstyle or storytelling style. Thankfully we have plenty of games for everyone. Why should someone else lose out on how they like a games story to be told because you prefer another style? Seems selfish.

22 : Anonymous2021/12/12 07:36 ID: ho81f23

I disagree. Giving the player character more of an identity reduces the player’s ownership of that character. In many games that is not a trade-off worth making, and devs would be foolish to give their character a voice without good reason “just because”.

You can tell me I’m wrong, but that doesn’t change that I have no desire to hear Link’s voice in Legend of Zelda.

23 : Anonymous2021/12/12 10:53 ID: ho8fkd3

The stories are just never as compelling

Not really. For example, even though master chief is a silent protagonist, he still has a strong presence throughout the story and is a really cool character overall. Also, like other people mentioned, it allows the player to get immersed into the world of the game, which can be tricky with a talkative protagonist.

As for talkative protagonists, they can be hit or miss, and a lot of that depends on the players' individual personalities. For example, I loved Peter in Spider-man Ps4. However, I couldn't get through infamous 2 because the protagonist was just incredibly annoying.

24 : Anonymous2021/12/12 14:45 ID: ho91so2

Yeah as soon as I start a game and am presented with a character creation screen, I'm disappointed. Rare that the characters around the protagonist are enough.

25 : Anonymous2021/12/12 17:04 ID: ho9lxuk

Theres also a difference between silent protagonists and protagonists without a voice actor. Up until Fallout 4 your character talked just through dialogue choice boxes for example.

26 : Anonymous2021/12/11 22:04 ID: ho67az1

Totally agree. Always makes you feel like you are playing as someone with brain damage.

And the whole 'the character is YOU' nonsense just doesn't work. It's not me....

27 : Anonymous2021/12/11 15:06 ID: ho4lhhf

Imo the ys series and crosscode are the only game that had a good silent Mc, but ya silent Mc isn’t great if a game is going for narrative

ID: ho5p285

Persona 5? Dragon Quest? Suikoden?

ID: ho58hj0

half life? portal? fallout? gta 3? have you never played these games? or do you not like them

28 : Anonymous2021/12/11 16:04 ID: ho4t5ed

I HATE silent protagonists when everyone else in the game talks. It's so awkward and takes me out of it completly.

They say it's for immersion so you can insert yourself into the character. A. Fuck that I don't play games to pretend it's me I play games for a cool story or fun time. B. Even if I did that I wouldn't be able to because there's 0 chance I wouldn't be talking.

In a game where its all text and not actually voiced I don't notice it as much but if the game is voice but MC isn't I hate it. I feel like I'm being talked at with nothing happening.

ID: ho52qqi

Yeah I love it when I'm being talked to for minutes and then my options are agree or disagree

ID: ho557sz

Yeah and then disagree doesn't even matter and it's just agree with extra steps

29 : Anonymous2021/12/11 15:48 ID: ho4r0pp

I mean, you do you. I dont particularly care if the protagonist speaks or not but given that I'm a soulsborne fan, surely a silent protagonist can still make a pretty damn compelling story.

Also I would rather control a silent guy than a guy spouting nonsense and weird dialogues all over the place, for example that Cloud guy from FF7R

30 : Anonymous2021/12/12 02:19 ID: ho740do

But the opposite is even worse. IMO. Think about Days Gone with Deacon St. John. Good story, fun game play, but he NEVER shut up. So damned annoying.

ID: ho76wei

There's definitely a risk if people don't like the main character. I actually did like Deacon, but I can totally see why people would not. I applaud the dev team though for taking that risk

31 : Anonymous2021/12/11 15:57 ID: ho4s8i7

Sounds like the problems with your mind.

ID: ho4tm70

It's ok to disagree with someone without being rude. The anonymity of the internet leads some people to believe etiquette is no longer a thing. You can be better than that

32 : Anonymous2021/12/12 14:30 ID: ho8zfuk

My favorite games are The Last of Us games, God of War, and Red Dead Redemption 2 so I know what you mean. I like variety too though and am not usually bothered by a silent protagonist.

34 : Anonymous2021/12/11 20:59 ID: ho5yjwz

I would say it negatively affected fallout 4

35 : Anonymous2021/12/11 22:50 ID: ho6desf

But think of games like Subnautica and shit where it actually fits

36 : Anonymous2021/12/11 22:51 ID: ho6dmxh

I think silent protagonist create a much greater sense of immersion and I tend to prefer them in FPSs. Third person Anything I tend to agree tho!

37 : Anonymous2021/12/12 00:41 ID: ho6rxlz

"A hero need not speak. When he's gone, the world will speak for him. "

38 : Anonymous2021/12/12 02:54 ID: ho78ahe

Crash bandicoot is the exception

39 : Anonymous2021/12/12 03:43 ID: ho7e1mv

In some cases, a silent protagonist lends itself to the story well, like Portal 1 & 2, and an indie game called "Iconoclasts". It's not always a bad thing

40 : Anonymous2021/12/12 10:21 ID: ho8dbzl

*laughs in Hollow Knight.

41 : Anonymous2021/12/12 23:45 ID: hob9ov3

I don't

Regardless what are you even complaining about. The overwhelming vast majority of games have voiced protagonists nowadays. If you don't like it then that preference is on you but it's not like you're deprived of the alternative.

42 : Anonymous2021/12/11 22:21 ID: ho69m9t

Ghost of Tsushima has a silent protagonist? Jin doesn't talk a lot, but I wouldn't consider him a silent protagonist...

43 : Anonymous2021/12/11 22:25 ID: ho6a31g

No, that was in the list of games that don't have one. Jins story is central to that game and a great example of why it's nice for your character to be able to express emotions

44 : Anonymous2021/12/11 22:30 ID: ho6arza

Sorry, haha. I reread the original post, and apparently I somehow blanked on half a sentence.

With the misunderstanding cleared up, I totally agree. I'm more willing to tolerate the silent protagonist in certain JRPGs, because the rest of the party is lively enough to make up for it and the MC is usually an emo teenager, but overall I can get satisfying immersion just from playing the story without any need to attempt a self-insert protagonist.


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