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

Nov 4, 2018
361
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.
 

Lant_War

The Fallen
Jul 14, 2018
8,835
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.
 

Rodjer

Self-requested ban.
Banned
Jan 28, 2018
4,808
New and diverse characters, changing on-going characters will always bring shitstorm and hartred, it's better to introduce new things.
 
Oct 25, 2017
8,610
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.
 

Wulfram

Member
Mar 3, 2018
1,052
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..
 

dDASTARDLY

The Fallen
Oct 28, 2017
483
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.
 

Baby Bird

Member
Nov 5, 2017
441
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.
 

tet666

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,379
Germany
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.
 

Thorn

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,341
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.
 

Lothars

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
4,751
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
1,881
Mount Airy, MD
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.
 

AndyD

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,870
Nashville
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.
 

Winterreise

Member
Feb 28, 2018
1,544
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.
 

DrArchon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,160
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.
 

Aters

Banned
Oct 26, 2017
7,948
They could have easily added some valkyries, yet they went with female Thor?
 

Deleted member 50949

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Dec 16, 2018
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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.
 

Runner

Member
Nov 1, 2017
1,023
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.
 

Jessie

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,916
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.
 

Woozies

Member
Nov 1, 2017
13,507
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.)
 

Aranjah

Member
Oct 27, 2017
926
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.)
 

RedDevil

Member
Dec 25, 2017
1,517
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?
 

Tfritz

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,861
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)
 

Enduin

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,451
New York
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.
 

collige

Member
Oct 31, 2017
5,009
They should have diverse developers making decisions that aren't hamstrung by publishers.
 

Tfritz

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,861
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.
 

Jessie

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,916
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.
 

MrCibb

Member
Dec 12, 2018
717
UK
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.
 

RedDevil

Member
Dec 25, 2017
1,517
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.