To promote diversity, should games have casts of new, diverse characters or change old ones to be more diverse?

Nov 4, 2018
179
#1
Something I’ve seen happen with comics lately, especially Marvel comics, is changing characters to be more diverse in their cast. Here’s a couple examples.

Female Thor


Black female Iron Man



While technically they are new characters, it’s pretty easy to see these are characters created solely to make more diverse incarnations of iconic characters.

This got me thinking, should the game industry also attempt to change iconic characters to be more diverse or should developers simply make new characters that promote diversity? If we make new characters do we try to subdue or even stop the use of the established and less diverse characters?

Not trying to stir a beehive here, just curious to see what ERA thinks about these questions and ideas.
 
Jul 14, 2018
2,216
#5
Both are fine, but I'd rather have them make new characters in the existing universe (Miles Morales, for example) than just changing their race or gender.
 
Jan 28, 2018
2,788
#7
New and diverse characters, changing on-going characters will always bring shitstorm and hartred, it's better to introduce new things.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,333
#10
Changing old ones always felt like a cop out.
Kind of like they wanted to make a new character but wanted to retain the brand to sell.

Make new characters.
 
Mar 3, 2018
843
#11
I don't think characters should have their race or gender changed, but I don't have a problem with different characters assuming the same role, like the two examples you give from comics..
 
Oct 28, 2017
243
#13
Both.

Both were changed organically for story reasons, which is a monumental difference from just changing the characters just...because.

What's really needed is more diverse developers and creators so we don't get into a stupid circle jerk of "but that's mah Iron manz" shit.
 
Nov 5, 2017
304
#14
New characters take more effort, but it is the best way to do it. Another possible way, IMO, is taking preciously less known characters that are already diverse, and give them more focus.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,054
Germany
#16
New Characters i personally don't like big changes like this to a established character it always feels wrong, i think your examples are fine since as you said it's not the same person and this works very well with super heroes since the person wearing the costume seems to change all the time anyway.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,345
#17
New, don't change older characters.

Can't stand Marvel's foray into race bending old characters. People rarely liked it and they would reverse it anyway.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,995
#20
Both are fine, but I'd rather have them make new characters in the existing universe (Miles Morales, for example) than just changing their race or gender.
I think your miles example is a great one and what should happen more. just don't take peter parker and change what he is for the sake of it.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,290
Mount Airy, MD
#22
I like the trend with Assassin's Creed, and it's a great series for it: new characters each time, and among AAA games, I feel like they're pretty well representative of a diversity you don't see in many others. Of course, there was that dumb thing with the DLC and babymaking, so they're not perfect.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,256
Nashville
#24
Both are fine, but I'd rather have them make new characters in the existing universe (Miles Morales, for example) than just changing their race or gender.
This to me. Nothing against changing characters overall, but it's harder for me to feel the same immersion and attachment to characters that are now vastly different from those I knew growing up. I'd much rather get to know new characters.
 
Feb 28, 2018
891
#25
As long as characters aren't being changed for the sake of diversity alone, I couldn't care less if old characters are reimagined.

Just make interesting and diverse characters, thanks.
 
Oct 25, 2017
6,163
#26
I think that the "Marvel Approach" isn't quite the same as "turning a white character black."

Yes, that's Thor as a Woman in the OP, but Jane Foster is still a separate character from Odinson. Riri Williams isn't just Tony Stark, but now a black girl. She's her own character.

It's basically a brand new character, but with more familiar branding.
 
Dec 16, 2018
227
#29
New characters. If you just changed the gender/race of an old character and you recycle their stories, then what's the point? If it's a new character with their own personalities and stories, then I'd like it more.
 
Nov 1, 2017
607
#31
You can
1. replace a character with another character in the same role. For example, Thor above.
2. introduce new characters in new roles. If you're going to introduce a new character there's no reason they have to be straight/white/cis/male
3. When 'rebooting' or creating a new universe, you can change a character's race or gender or whatever. Depending on what happens it might become the new de facto version of the character such as Nick Fury.
4. Introduce a new fact about a character that isn't previously known, such as Tracer being a lesbian.

All have their reasons, although #4 works better if they can put it in the actual product and not the supplemental text, and #1 works better if it's not some temporary stunt. which in comics it almost always is. #2 works better if you dont immediately kill them off or otherwise use them for pathos fuel.
 
Oct 27, 2017
5,722
#33
Marvel’s diversity initiative was a catastrophic failure. Their sales tanked, and they ended up switching the characters back, which was a huge Fuck You to the new fans they attracted.

My recommendation is to create new, diverse characters, and give them a platform to succeed. The Black Panther effect.
 
Nov 1, 2017
8,301
#35
Neither of those examples are changing old characters.(Well technically the first is, but it's not changing the old character you think it's changing.)
 
Oct 27, 2017
541
#39
I'm okay with either. I tend to lean towards preferring new characters over suddenly changing old ones, but if there's some kind of in-universe justification (even a flimsy one) for the change then changing old ones is also fine by me. (For example Link having a reincarnation that's a girl would be fine in my opinion.)
 
Dec 25, 2017
1,188
#40
I'd say create new characters.

Also I guess those aren't the best example, because Odinson and Tony Stark(still as Iron Man) are still around and didn't Jane Foster die recently?
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,090
#41
Literally none of Marvel's changed were just changing the character's race or gender, they were all new or different characters who took up the mantle (or similar mantle) of their fallen comrades.

Heck they even came up with a stupid reason to introduce Nick Fury into the books as a distinct, separate character from White Nick Fury (he was the secret long lost son of White Nick Fury)
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,012
New York
#43
I'm down for both, but I think it's a lot harder to change an established character as it makes it a lot harder for the new version to be viewed on their own merits and not step out of the shadow of the original and be free of comparisons, similarly even for new characters assuming the role/mantle of an established character. So someone new in their own unique role is always the best, but end of the day all of it helps and nothing's sacred. Good writing can make anything work.
Time for Zelda to carry the load while Link chills in the castle.
I keep saying they should make a BotW sequel set in the Sacred Realm starring Zelda in a Nintendo take on Alice in Wonderland. Would be fucking amazing.

Turn the tables and zap Link into a giant block of stone for once to sit on the sidelines.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,090
#45
I'd say create new characters.

Also I guess those aren't the best example, because Odinson and Tony Stark are still around and didn't Jane Foster die recently?
They're bad examples because Marvel undid basically all of these changes, and even went so far as to change Psylocke back to being white.
 
Oct 27, 2017
5,722
#46
Changing old ones always felt like a cop out.
Kind of like they wanted to make a new character but wanted to retain the brand to sell.

Make new characters.
This is how I feel as well. It’s like they’re subconsciously saying that women/minorities can’t succeed without the foundation of a white man.

Black Panther made 1.3 billion dollars. Wonder Woman made nearly 900 million. There’s an audience for diverse stories, we just need to be brave enough to allow diverse characters to stand alone.
 
Dec 12, 2018
220
UK
#47
New characters would be my preference. For me I find that to substantially change characters instead of create new ones is to just retain some form of familiarity and branding, and it comes across as a bit uninspired. Replacing them is different. A new character who takes up another character's role is fair game and can be a breath of fresh air. But don't change that original character.
 
Dec 25, 2017
1,188
#48
They're bad examples because Marvel undid basically all of these changes, and even went so far as to change Psylocke back to being white.
But even if they hadn't undone any changes, in the case of Thor for example, when Jane Foster became Thor, Odinson still had a comic book dedicated to him.
 
Oct 27, 2017
5,722
#50
They're bad examples because Marvel undid basically all of these changes, and even went so far as to change Psylocke back to being white.
DC is pretending that black Wally West is the “cousin” of white Wally West. They were originally supposed to be the same guy, just made more diverse. But then there was fan backlash and they got cold feet.

Comic book writers are so bad at this.