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"Yet Another Generic White Dude" - A legitimate discussion on criticism regarding character design diversity

Oct 25, 2017
4,919
I'm a native american, and it sucks my video game playable character representation comes down to "One of the four racist fighting game character designs"

Turok

And the guy from Prey

The best bit of representation I think for us has been this, thanks to the people going back and re working thunder with the help of the actual tribe he is a part of to make him as accurate to them as possible

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=R_Hkq3LZrro

I like most people of color would like more representation in our hobby, plus it would be cool to just see more varied character designs in general.
What about Assassin's Creed III and Infamous: Second Son? Not sure how well they are executed, but pretty prominent examples. Although I think both are half-white.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,252
I'm not saying it shouldn't be a issue for others, everyone has a right for his opinion, so do you and so do I. And nowadays I don't think you can be tired because the same protagonist over and over. Wouldn't you agree, that nowadays there's more diversity than ever before? Not saying it's to much or that there couldn't be more, cause it definitely can. But it seems to me, that every time a game, a movie, TV series or whatever doesn't have a PoC, female or minority as lead or isn't diverse enough altogether, there needs to be a discussion.

It seems like every lead character HAS to be diverse.

Also, isn't it kinda paradox arguing, that my type of reaction is a reason for such a discussion, even though I just post because it exists^^

You could also call it vicous circle I guess.

It don't think such discussions are unnecessary all together. They are necessary at times. But this time, especially this soon, it might be unnecessary, at least that's what I think.
I agree that there’s been some improvement, but I don’t think it’s that good currently. I don’t think that you can really tell me or anyone else when there is or isn’t a good time to discuss these matters. I don’t see a paradox because I think your original post was ignorant, reductive, and the typical hand waving you see in these discussions. This is my first time really even complaining about a character, so excuse me, if I don’t care for some random joker telling me I should be happy with what I’ve got because it’s gotten better.

This is what it boils down to, I’m fine if you like the character or anyone else. It’s your opinion sure, when your opinion starts to infringe on what I have the right to discuss or when I have the right to discuss it, you’ve crossed a line and need to give it a rest.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,338
No... the point is Americans generally view diversity in broad racial categories “white” and “black”. Europeans tend to view diversity in categories like ethnicity or nationality. I think the American view of diversity is too reductionist. You can put these 3 characters as part of the same group but it’s not helpful
If i'm looking for representation. Why would i care at all if the person was French or German? or did those individuals stop being Caucasian? it's less reductionist and it's more to the point.
Fact of the matter is that they don't represent the under represented.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,065
I don’t mind him being a white dude, but this generic is a little rough. He’s your basic handsome 20 something that dominated Star Wars pre-Disney. I’d take an old white dude or even a middle aged bearded white dude, but this is the most generic angle they could have taken this.
 
Apr 1, 2019
678
If i'm looking for representation. Why would i care at all if the person was French or German? or did those individuals stop being Caucasian? it's less reductionist and it's more to the point.
Fact of the matter is that they don't represent the under represented.
Because putting them in broad categories misses the unique diversity and differences within a so called “race”. Niko and Trevor are completely different characters to each other it’s silly to try and group them in an ill defined category like “race”
 
Feb 16, 2019
267
Tbh the entire trailer just did nothing for me. I feel like we've had so many things that took place between Episode III and IV that another stab at a story between the two hadn't interested me ever since last year. I personally don't care about the look of the character if I like them as a character, but I can see why people like representation since I myself get a bit excited when I see badass Chinese people in anything (as a Chinese American).

I'm personally more annoyed that we didn't see gameplay yet. I'll let the character and story speak for themselves once the game comes out though.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,738
No... the point is Americans generally view diversity in broad racial categories “white” and “black”. Europeans tend to view diversity in categories like ethnicity or nationality. I think the American view of diversity is too reductionist. You can put these 3 characters as part of the same group but it’s not helpful
And your consistent desire to avoid the point, go "well but the rdr2 guy" (as if that has anything to do with the issue of design itself), "well but these cherry picked 3 light skinned guys in the ocean of gaming's light skin guys are technically not white males even though they are", , and your disingenuous attempts to frame people disappointed with a design as angry and unreasonable are not helpful and come across as frankly something I alluded to earlier.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,338
Because putting them in broad categories misses the unique diversity and differences within a so called “race”. Niko and Trevor are completely different characters to each other it’s silly to try and group them in an ill defined category like “race”
Are these character's african or asian? no then it doesn't represent the underrepresented. That aren't Caucasian which those characters ultimately are regardless of their heritage. Because that's not what they'd put down as their "race" on paper work.

(Maybe Trevor would be put down something nasty, but still)
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,252
How is it disingenuous to assume that people look at diversity through a single lense?
It’s basic sociology and you’re trying to misrepresent it as something nefarious. Yeah, people view things through the lens of their society and background. It’s completely normal and you’re trying to frame it as something else. For the context of this situation, I absolutely don’t need to see it through the lens of anyone else to provide my opinion of the situation as it stands to me. You’re all over the place now and it’s getting weird.
 
Apr 1, 2019
678
Are these character's african or asian? no then it doesn't represent the underrepresented. That aren't Caucasian which those characters ultimately are regardless of their heritage. Because that's not what they'd put down as their "race" on paper work.

(Maybe Trevor would be put down something nasty, but still)
Caucasian is not a well defined category. That’s my point. Anthropologists don’t use it anymore
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,404
newport beach, CA
How is it disingenuous to assume that people look at diversity through a single lense?
Because you're making a strawman argument, assuming that people who have concerns about racial diversity don't also care about ethnic and cultural diversity.

Nobody's trying to make a scientific review here, so bringing in whether or not "caucasian" is an anthropologically correct term is so far besides the point it's not even funny.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,338
Caucasian is not a well defined category. That’s my point. Anthropologists don’t use it anymore
Good for anthropologist. We're talking about gaming and creative side, which means. That if i look at their wiki's it would say Caucasian, which is what they are and what the developers deem them to be.

From a visual representation stand point alone.
 

i-Lo

Avenger
Oct 31, 2017
7,098
Not America
Simple fact of the matter is this:

Outside forums like ours, seldom does the aspect of diversity brought up other than a pejorative by "Them SJWs be ruining our games" and "keep politics out of muh games" crowds. Likewise, in the broader narrative, the word "Diversity" mostly pops up when these games, marketed internationally now, feature anyone except a straight white guy. You will always recognize the voices against "Diversity" proclaim it is tantamount to "censorship of art" or that it will somehow be detrimental to the quality of writing or the story. Essentially, to these people, representing anyone but straight white men (who have dominated representation-wise over the last few decades) always comes with some form implicit or explicit trade off. It is all the more surprising because most of the games do not relate to historical settings in parts of europe that were overwhelmingly white.

Given the toxic nature of Gamer Culture, its prevalence on and the power and influence it derives from social media, it has essentially reinforced the notion that "straight white men", who perhaps still technically comprise the majority of players in the western countries, are the commercially least risky and most viable demographic to target and represent. Game publishers know that it is better to alienate PoC and women, who, over decades have had to play and empathize straight white male protagonists, than their racist and bigoted userbase who can sway perception for the majority of potential white clients.
 
Apr 1, 2019
678
Because you're making a strawman argument, assuming that people who have concerns about racial diversity don't also care about ethnic and cultural diversity.

Nobody's trying to make a scientific review here, so bringing in whether or not "caucasian" is an anthropologically correct term is so far besides the point it's not even funny.
Because racial categories are often broad and ambiguous, which is why I have issues with people defining diversity by thst metric
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,750
Canada
How is it disingenuous to assume that people look at diversity through a single lense?
What Earthly regional diversity are you hoping to see in a Star Wars game?
In a story about humanoid aliens, you don’t have much representation to provide except in visible terms, so the argument doesn’t have a place even within the context of this series. The fact is that the main character resembles humanity and isn’t a Wookiee or a Nautolan because we’re meant to see ourselves in them. The same can be said of other visible racial distinctions.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,390
Canada
How is it disingenuous to assume that people look at diversity through a single lense?
I want to see brown people be represented first before i can start worrying about whether they're pakistani, Indian, or indonesian. You are just obfuscating things. Youve been doing it in both threads. It's bullshit and you know it.
 
Oct 27, 2017
11,624
No... the point is Americans generally view diversity in broad racial categories “white” and “black”. Europeans tend to view diversity in categories like ethnicity or nationality. I think the American view of diversity is too reductionist. You can put these 3 characters as part of the same group but it’s not helpful
I read this and always find myself thinking about racist shit that happens to black soccer players like having slurs and bananas hurled at them. It's funny how despite Europeans apparently viewing diversity in terms "ethnicity or nationality" their racism seems to group all black people under the same group, regardless of their country of origin...
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,338
Simple fact of the matter is this:

Outside forums like ours, seldom does the aspect of diversity brought up other than a pejorative by "Them SJWs be ruining our games" and "keep politics out of muh games" crowds. Likewise, in the broader narrative, the word "Diversity" mostly pops up when these games, marketed internationally now, feature anyone except a straight white guy. You will always recognize the voices against "Diversity" proclaim it is tantamount to "censorship of art" or that it will somehow be detrimental to the quality of writing or the story. Essentially, to these people, representing anyone but straight white men (who have dominated representation-wise over the last few decades) always comes with some form implicit or explicit trade off. It is all the more surprising because most of the games do not relate to historical settings in parts of europe that were overwhelmingly white.

Given the toxic nature of Gamer Culture, its prevalence on and the power and influence it derives from social media, it has essentially reinforced the notion that "straight white men", who perhaps still technically comprise the majority of players in the western countries, are the commercially least risky and most viable demographic to target and represent. Game publishers know that it is better to alienate PoC and women, who, over decades have had to play and empathize straight white male protagonists, than their racist and bigoted userbase who can sway perception for the majority of potential white clients.
You'd probably figure that most of those folks aren't POC and they don't want that invading their safe space.
 
Oct 28, 2017
12
Germany
User Banned (2 days): thread whining
Hi, so I'm going to try to write a response to your points as respectfully as possible. I cannot speak for anyone other than myself but, when many posters comment that they find the perspective of another white male jedi boring, they are not saying that being a white male is bad. What I believe many are trying to communicate is that we have seen that perspective often. It has been the default perspective of the vast majority of Star Wars fiction ranging from the books to the games, to the comics. A change in gender, or race, or species, might seem superficial but it can do a lot to provide new context to the protagonist.

You are right that the movies have begun to feature more minorities and women in leading roles, and most are happy about that I think. Games however, have often been locked into a fairly limited perspective. More than any medium Video Games invite the player to identify and inhabit the perspective of the main character, because you control them. To some, it would be empowering to be able to play a perspective other than what is so often the default.

The Video game medium is going through some changes these past few years. They are seeking to appeal to larger and larger audiences, and part of that is trying to become more inclusive to other genders/sexualities/and ethnicities. People feel the urge to speak up now because the lines of communication with developers is more open then it has ever been. I can understand that you don't want to think about these issues, and that it might take some of the fun out of gaming to know that what you enjoy is maybe disappointing or even hurtful to another person, but that is no reason to insult or diminish them. Most people here are not trying to be hurtful, rather they are trying to express why representation matters to them.
First of all, thanks for the thoughtful and respectful response, I appreciate that. I agree with what you're saying. But isn't it a little bit biased already assuming, that his perspective or the portrayal of Cal could be boring? It might as well be, we can't know yet.

And in no way I wanted to insult or diminish anybody. I just wanted to state my opinion. Obviously it's not overly welcome it, at least it seems so to me.

I'm sorry if I offended anyone, that wasn't my target. I personally are just a little bit annoyed by the fact, that everything has to be political and that there are so many discussions nowadays. Like you correctly assume, it kinda bothers me or takes a bit of the fun away, to always see such discussions on the medium I love since I was a child.

Honestly after a saw the thread title, my first thought was "not again". Because to that point, I was just happy that there will be a new Star Wars game, with Jedis, single player, story driven.

But since any more discussion won't help on that matter, I just let it be and look forward to the game :)
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,404
newport beach, CA
Because racial categories are often broad and ambiguous, which is why I have issues with people defining diversity by thst metric
This is so fucking phony. Stop. It's transparent as fuck.

Nobody is "defining" diversity by race. Race is simply one of the many ways diversity can be expressed. It's not limiting conversations about diversity to talk about differences in race, because you're also free to talk about differences in ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, or any other thing.

But guess what? We can't see what nationality the new star wars character is. We know his religion is Jedi, and his race is white, and he's probably a cis male. That's all we know. So until we find out his fictional ethnicity and anything else about him, that's all just speculation. And if you want to lead that discussion then you're perfectly welcome to make your own thread.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,919
I read this and always find myself thinking about racist shit that happens to black soccer players like having slurs and bananas hurled at them. It's funny how despite Europeans apparently viewing diversity in terms "ethnicity or nationality" their racism seems to group all black people under the same group, regardless of their country of origin...
Yeah, it's pretty clear he meant "white Europeans."
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,338
I read this and always find myself thinking about racist shit that happens to black soccer players like having slurs and bananas hurled at them. It's funny how despite Europeans apparently viewing diversity in terms "ethnicity or nationality" their racism seems to group all black people under the same group, regardless of their country of origin...
Funny isn't it? more like a convenient way to appear more ahead of the curve. When the foundation is still rock bottom under the surface.
 
Apr 11, 2019
32
What about Assassin's Creed III and Infamous: Second Son? Not sure how well they are executed, but pretty prominent examples. Although I think both are half-white.
That is true they are native characters.

Mixed race representation is valid, I simply forgot because I only played about two hours of assassins creed 3 because it was rather dull, and never owned a console that had infamous second son on it or could play it.

Second son however I know is bad because they made up a tribe based off of a real one instead of talking to and getting proper representation.

I wouldn't call either 'good' representation honestly, but I suppose it is there. That brings the total up to... 7/8 total characters out of.....how many games that exist?
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,338
That is true they are native characters.

Mixed race representation is valid, I simply forgot because I only played about two hours of assassins creed 3 because it was rather dull, and never owned a console that had infamous second son on it or could play it.

Second son however I know is bad because they made up a tribe based off of a real one instead of talking to and getting proper representation.

I wouldn't call either 'good' representation honestly, but I suppose it is there. That brings the total up to... 7/8 total characters out of.....how many games that exist?
Infamous son is super ambiguous though, you'd be hard pressed to find someone that knew. That he was mixed i'd bet.
 
Dec 30, 2017
248
Who ever this person is, is being very transparent. Like you know he doesn't understand shit, when it comes to the history of art, society and politics. Which people used art to rely every kind of societal and political message/movement for centuries.
I never denied relation between society and arts in history and wonder how you have concluded this from only what I said.
Actually, I know art history rather well. Speaking of it.... the most fertile period ever in arts (from West anthropological perspective) is probably Modern Art, when artists just begin to emancipate from centuries of classicism, religion and politics influence... so even history is not going to put me on your side.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,338
I never denied relation between society and arts in history and wonder how you have concluded this from only what I said.
Actually, I know art history rather well. Speaking of it.... the most fertile period ever in arts (from West anthropological perspective) is probably Modern Art, when artists just begin to emancipate from centuries of classicism, religion and politics influence... so even history is not going to put me on your side.
Fact of the matter is that art has been used to rely messages of struggle before you existed. So this version of art is no different.

An if that is your basis for a counter argument, given your amazing knowledge of history and art. Then your side is not something i'd want.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,470
Its a lazy criticism. We know very little about the character. Changing the gender or skin colour of said character doesn't mean they'll have a great story thats down to the writers. So "Generic" is far too early to tell. People are just made its a white dude.
 
Oct 27, 2017
11,624
Caucasian is not a well defined category. That’s my point. Anthropologists don’t use it anymore
Well as a black dude, I don't need a degree in anthropology to know no Star Wars game has been lead by a character who looks like me

Its a lazy criticism. We know very little about the character. Changing the gender or skin colour of said character doesn't mean they'll have a great story thats down to the writers. So "Generic" is far too early to tell. People are just made its a white dude.
It's not lazy. Can you guys seriously not separate design and character? Are you simply choosing not to?
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,338
Its a lazy criticism. We know very little about the character. Changing the gender or skin colour of said character doesn't mean they'll have a great story thats down to the writers. So "Generic" is far too early to tell. People are just made its a white dude.
It's generic for many other reason's stated in this thread. Which you didn't read at all, other then just being another white lead. But that's apart of it.

Nice try though.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,252
First of all, thanks for the thoughtful and respectful response, I appreciate that. I agree with what you're saying. But isn't it a little bit biased already assuming, that his perspective or the portrayal of Cal could be boring? It might as well be, we can't know yet.

And in no way I wanted to insult or diminish anybody. I just wanted to state my opinion. Obviously it's not overly welcome it, at least it seems so to me.

I'm sorry if I offended anyone, that wasn't my target. I personally are just a little bit annoyed by the fact, that everything has to be political and that there are so many discussions nowadays. Like you correctly assume, it kinda bothers me or takes a bit of the fun away, to always see such discussions on the medium I love since I was a child.

Honestly after a saw the thread title, my first thought was "not again". Because to that point, I was just happy that there will be a new Star Wars game, with Jedis, single player, story driven.

But since any more discussion won't help on that matter, I just let it be and look forward to the game :)
It’s peculiar that the thread title would upset you. Craziest thing is that I was posting in the Star Wars Fallen Order details thread, which is a pretty positive thread and none of the people who keep talking about how they want positive discussion on the game are even engaging with the topic. They’ll come running to complain about this one though.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,298
I'm a native american, and it sucks my video game playable character representation comes down to "One of the four racist fighting game character designs"

Turok

And the guy from Prey

The best bit of representation I think for us has been this, thanks to the people going back and re working thunder with the help of the actual tribe he is a part of to make him as accurate to them as possible

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=R_Hkq3LZrro

I like most people of color would like more representation in our hobby, plus it would be cool to just see more varied character designs in general.
What did you think of Connor from Assassin's Creed 3 and Delsin from inFAMOUS: Second Son?

Edit: Saw your response above. I thought it was great that Ubisoft at least decided to have an actual consultant of the tribe they were depicting involved in Assassin's Creed 3's development. Sucker Punch didn't appear to go that far with it.
 
Last edited:
Apr 1, 2019
678
This is so fucking phony. Stop. It's transparent as fuck.

Nobody is "defining" diversity by race. Race is simply one of the many ways diversity can be expressed. It's not limiting conversations about diversity to talk about differences in race, because you're also free to talk about differences in ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, or any other thing.

But guess what? We can't see what nationality the new star wars character is. We know his religion is Jedi, and his race is white, and he's probably a cis male. That's all we know. So until we find out his fictional ethnicity and anything else about him, that's all just speculation. And if you want to lead that discussion then you're perfectly welcome to make your own thread.
I want to see brown people be represented first before i can start worrying about whether they're pakistani, Indian, or indonesian. You are just obfuscating things. Youve been doing it in both threads. It's bullshit and you know it.
This is so fucking phony. Stop. It's transparent as fuck.

Nobody is "defining" diversity by race. Race is simply one of the many ways diversity can be expressed. It's not limiting conversations about diversity to talk about differences in race, because you're also free to talk about differences in ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, or any other thing.

But guess what? We can't see what nationality the new star wars character is. We know his religion is Jedi, and his race is white, and he's probably a cis male. That's all we know. So until we find out his fictional ethnicity and anything else about him, that's all just speculation. And if you want to lead that discussion then you're perfectly welcome to make your own thread.
you seriously can't be that obtuse

Race has, historically, always been a poor metric to group people in. Irish, Italians and Jews weren't even considered part of the "white race" for centuries. It's always been a poorly defined category, thats been my entire point
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,919
That is true they are native characters.

Mixed race representation is valid, I simply forgot because I only played about two hours of assassins creed 3 because it was rather dull, and never owned a console that had infamous second son on it or could play it.

Second son however I know is bad because they made up a tribe based off of a real one instead of talking to and getting proper representation.

I wouldn't call either 'good' representation honestly, but I suppose it is there. That brings the total up to... 7/8 total characters out of.....how many games that exist?
Yeah, you probably wouldn't have even gotten to Connor's part if you played AC3 for only two hours...
 
Mar 27, 2019
43
All of this kinda feels like it's splitting hairs. I'm just really bored of playing as this endless collection of men (almost entirely white) in video games. One of the most exciting things about the new Star Wars trilogy was that Rey and Finn are unambiguously the protagonists. And movies don't even have as much of a diversity problem as video games do. By this point my eyes sort of glaze over whenever they announce a new game where I can't play as a woman. Or, at the very least, as someone who doesn't look like the stars of most of the other high-profile narrative-focused games in circulation.

I want something different than the status quo, but I guess Fallen Order isn't interested in that.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,338
you seriously can't be that obtuse

Race has, historically, always been a poor metric to group people in. Irish, Italians and Jews weren't even considered part of the "white race" for centuries. It's always been a poorly defined category, thats been my entire point
Here's the trick with that, they may have not been considered "white" at various points in history. But when they needed to feel different over other's that didn't look like them. To those people they were white and the system, treated them differently. Also those same groups have used various degree's of the same ideologies that was used against them to subjugate. It's just a slippery slope.