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

Oct 28, 2017
6,371
"I've played that game before"
That's what I was responding to because no, they havent. Period. Say what you want about me defending companies or whatever, I'm just saying nobody knows what this game has in it outside of a white dude and saying you've played that before IS dismissive, no matter how you frame it.
Who cares if its dismissive exactly? Why are you so eager to point it out like some sort of gotchu?
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,534
United States
User Banned (5 Days): Trolling, dismissing concerns around representation
It's not racist because there are numerous white narratives being made all of the damn time. Here we have a universe that isn't tied down by anything in reality where a minority could be the main protagonist without any baggage and they went with another white dude. It is dismissive and I'm perfectly fine with dismissing another one of these stories. I've played this game already.
Yet again, no you havent played this game yet. It's not out. You all sound like dismissive, ignorant morons.
 

Slayven

You probably post about me on another board.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
29,865
What stands out to me is how you can see the story beats and tropes a mile a way. Nothing wrong with a good trope, they are fine usually and can be fun. But how many times have we seen the smartass but troubled dude getting thrust into something bigger than themselves?

Shame Iden got stuck in a game with so much bullshit surrounding it. I mean how often do you see an action mom in video games? Who teams up with their kid.
 
Dec 27, 2017
1,031
So, basically anything new with a white guy wont meet your criteria? And how is that not racist?
Also, completely dismissive of story telling as a whole as well. You're basically saying, despite what the story actually is, if it has a white guy in the lead, you already know and have no interest in it. How is that NOT dismissive?

Might as well pack up story telling completely while were at it since every story is a derivative of something. I know I know, the devil is in the details but THIS GUY HAS ALREADY SEEN IT!!! Sorry, rest of the world. No new stories for you.
Too often people forget about the very real consequences of racism: mild criticism of unreleased star wars games. You hate to see things like this. I hope the millionaire actor the character is based on, who has definitely never benefited from his race or gender in any way, makes it out of this okay.
 
Oct 25, 2017
7,390
Canada
Yet again, no you havent played this game yet. It's not out. You all sound like dismissive, ignorant morons.
Yeah, I have. Because it's the same song and dance that's been done numerous times in this industry, let alone in Star Wars games. When you're done having a tantrum over people not wanting to play another one of these video games, let me know.
 
OP
OP
Veelk
Oct 25, 2017
3,635
Too often people forget about the very real consequences of racism: mild criticism of unreleased star wars games. You hate to see things like this. I hope the millionaire actor the character is based on, who has definitely never benefited from his race or gender in any way, makes it out of this okay.
This is one of the few times I wish we had an upvote system so we can award high quality snark
 
Dec 25, 2017
498
So, basically anything new with a white guy wont meet your criteria? And how is that not racist?
Also, completely dismissive of story telling as a whole as well. You're basically saying, despite what the story actually is, if it has a white guy in the lead, you already know and have no interest in it. How is that NOT dismissive?

Might as well pack up story telling completely while were at it since every story is a derivative of something. I know I know, the devil is in the details but THIS GUY HAS ALREADY SEEN IT!!! Sorry, rest of the world. No new stories for you.
For all your sealioning, you still don't seem to understand that the probability of you thinking up an entirely new scenario for a white male protag to be in is absurdly smaller than the probability of you thinking up one for a non-white-male to be in...

Which is the point...
 
Oct 31, 2017
3,828
I keep trying to make this point to other people that Star Wars putting white women in lead roles doesn't suddenly make a black woman like me feel represented. Hell the black women in SW have seemingly been shuffled around in either minor roles or we're a damn alien like in the original trilogy (and the sequel trilogy! Maz Kanata is a goddamn waste of Lupita's talent) . At least we have Jannah for EP9 but literally from the jump i was hoping Rey would be portrayed by Gugu Mbatha Raw or some of the other non white women who auditioned for the role of Rey.

I was hoping this game would have a character creator and honestly i thought the main guy was some generic character they made in service of the trailer. Knowing he's locked in as the main has personally made me uninterested as a whole.
It's pretty clear most of the people claiming Star Wars has such great diversity are white guys.

Way too many replies about how SW has "earned" another white male protagonist after Solo and The Last Jedi... starred white guys
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,101
It's disappointing looking at how recent films of things with video games (whether game adaptations, or the converse) seem much better at getting more people in them.

Like Detective Pikachu, the game, stars another white kid as its protagonist, whereas Justice Smith is the main kid in the movie.
Dwayne Johnson was the lead role in Rampage. While the games are different, in that there is no real human lead, the monsters are mutated white guys.
And of course, Rey is the protagonist of the latest Star Wars movies.

While movies are working to have all kinds of starring roles, whereas white guys still seem to be the default in games.
 
Oct 27, 2017
316
New England
Tbh, if I was white I'd be tired of playing with white dudes. Any white people actually feel this way?
At the very least, I wish he was something other than a Luke Skywalker variant. We’ve had a lot of young able bodied dudes with emotional angst in the franchise.

I’d be more interested if the protagonist had been severely wounded during the execution of Order 66, and had to horde dwindling medical supplies and make risky raids to get meds or parts to repair bionic bits. That would add some interesting game play elements.

As is, the choice of protagonist feels very “safe”. And I don’t really need to spend $60 and dust off one of the TV bound consoles to play something safe ...
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,021
It's pretty clear most of the people claiming Star Wars has such great diversity are white guys.

Way too many replies about how SW has "earned" another white male protagonist after Solo and The Last Jedi... starred white guys
If you’re not seeing the diversity in Star Wars then you’re choosing to have your head in the sand. Last Jedi didn’t star any white guys. The stars were essentially Rey and Finn. The white males were Luke in a glorified cameo who they killed off and the main villain. That’s it for non-background characters. Yes, Solo starred a white guy, but it’s a movie about Han Solo. He’s a white character, what were they supposed to do there? Look at Rogue one. I don’t think any of the heroes were white males in that movie at all, were they?

Honestly I don’t think any major franchise can touch Star Wars for diversity right now, so that’s a really weird criticism to make.
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,331
I'm really surprised that is not black, or woman, or gay, or something that progressives guys demands.

I think it should respect the lore more than a forzed pointless politic.
I'm not a Star Wars fan, so honest question. What's the lore regarding skin colour / ethnicity / sex / gender in Star Wars? Is there anything indicating that any of this is relevant to whether someone can be a protagonist or not?

Dungeons & Dragons explicitly states that male and female humans are capable of the same things, for example, so it has it written into the lore that it isn't relevant. Is there some reason it would be for Star Wars that I don't know of?
 
Mar 3, 2018
154
I can't say I care that much about racial representation diversity in games (probably because I'm a white guy), but this character design really is as bland and generic as it gets. I don't know what type of audience this character is supposed to attract, since there isn't really anything distinctive, charismatic, or interesting about him. I get the sense that EA is playing it extremely safe with this game to try and avoid another Battlefront II, and a lowest-common denominator protagonist is what we're getting, as a result. Still, EA could end up doing something surprising with this character and his dullness is merely a facade, although I'm certainly not willing to give EA the benefit of the doubt at this point.

Tbh, if I was white I'd be tired of playing with white dudes. Any white people actually feel this way?
Not really. I generally just care more about whether or not the game is good. The last EA Star Wars game, Battlefront II, prominently featured an Indian woman (great racial and gender representation!) in its advertisements, and then the game turned out to be a disaster (personally, I was disappointed to hear that Iden Versio didn't seem to figure into the game much, contrary to the promotions). I'm not excited for this game, but it isn't the generic white guy that's lowering my expectations; I just have little faith in EA's ability to make competent games.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,753
I don’t care what colour the characters are in my games honestly. I just care if they’re good games. I don’t think a character being black or Asian makes a character more interesting. Character writing does. But I do think it’s good to change it up. When I have a choice I always pick Asian guys for some reason. I don’t know why. Lol
 
Oct 25, 2017
991
As a generic white dude, it’s still a bit of a downer to be constantly reminded that I’m boring, obsolete and no longer welcome to the party but I’m slowly getting used to it.
As a run-of-the-mill black woman, it will always be a bit if a downer that I will continue to be ignored and made to feel invisible, othered, and alienated in this industry because gamers like you get your feelings hurt if you're not the center of attention in every discussion or exercise in representation.

Not only are you welcome at the party, but you are consistently the Birthday Boy and gamers like myself are lucky to even be allowed to sit at the table as "generic party npc 1"

But then again, I've been used to it my entire life.
 
Oct 28, 2017
2,019
I'm really surprised that is not black, or woman, or gay, or something that progressives guys demands.

I think it should respect the lore more than a forzed pointless politic.
classic gamer take: 'the existence of folks who ain't white dudes is "forzed politic", whereas white dudes, we ain't politic at all'

fuck off
 

ket

Member
Jul 27, 2018
1,701
If you’re not seeing the diversity in Star Wars then you’re choosing to have your head in the sand. Last Jedi didn’t star any white guys. The stars were essentially Rey and Finn. The white males were Luke in a glorified cameo who they killed off and the main villain. That’s it for non-background characters. Yes, Solo starred a white guy, but it’s a movie about Han Solo. He’s a white character, what were they supposed to do there? Look at Rogue one. I don’t think any of the heroes were white males in that movie at all, were they?

Honestly I don’t think any major franchise can touch Star Wars for diversity right now, so that’s a really weird criticism to make.
"Last Jedi didn’t star any white guys."

What
 
Oct 26, 2017
4,988
I didnt find him to be generic looking for a game protag tbh. It feels like that'd be said about any white dude. He only really kinda reminds of Insomniac's spiderman dude, but that's it.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,122
Tbh, if I was white I'd be tired of playing with white dudes. Any white people actually feel this way?
Yes. It's the same shit different game over and over. It's so boring. It's why a lot of us play as female characters or different races when given a character creator I guess.
 
Given how varied and original-looking species are in the SW universe, they could’ve gone in so many different directions for the protagonist. That it’s yet another generic looking white dude speaks volumes about the lack of confidence these companies (EA, Respawn, Disney) have in consumers.
 
Oct 28, 2017
138
I think the character and the trailer look pretty mundane tbh. I would suggest that the character kind of has to look dull to some extent, because they're obviously trying their best *not* to stand out - that seems to be the point of this introductory trailer, so that has to be considered too. However, that can be done without having a white protagonist.

I'd rather we had something we've seen less of in the Star Wars universe - there's plenty to play with. Unless the gameplay reveals are utterly dreadful I'll be picking up this game anyway. I won't be going in with a negative mindset because the protagonist is a white dude (that would be a strange thing to do), but I think that anyone who doesn't accept that there's an element of laziness to using a white character is being a little disingenuous.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,173
Charlotte NC
Depends on casting to me. Cal looks like his actor and since we’ve no proof otherwise it would appear Jerome was cast and Cal became him. So I’m giving the benefit of the doubt that they cast the character first before actually visualizing them in a true sense especially since we don’t know what Cal was before now. Like they didn’t pick generic white dude it’s just that the actor that stood out was Jerome so they went with it.
 
Oct 28, 2017
4,125
As a generic white dude, it’s still a bit of a downer to be constantly reminded that I’m boring, obsolete and no longer welcome to the party but I’m slowly getting used to it.
Blame the media for making it that way.

The way I see it, the more representation other races get, the less white people will be seen as "the default" and the less these conversations will happen.
 
Oct 27, 2017
2,993
For me it wasn’t a political thing at all, I just saw the character and my reaction was “...really?”

As others have said - they had the whole gamut of Star Wars lore/species to pick from and they settled on that? Booooooring.

Besides the fact that he’s yet another human Jedi, he’s a white, 18-year old dude. I’m never one to be annoyed about stuff like this, but I dunno - it just seems like a really creatively-lacking call.

Let’s not also forget that the Empire had racist undertones in that they had no aliens working in their government. I’m not sure it’s canon anymore, but in the old EU it was a secret that Palpatine thought aliens were lesser. It would’ve been a cool way to explore that side of things had they chosen a minority in the Star Wars universe (twilek or something) to be the protagonist.
 
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Oct 27, 2017
2,963
Tbh, if I was white I'd be tired of playing with white dudes. Any white people actually feel this way?
I don’t care if the dude or dudette I’m controlling is white, black, green, blue, whatever. But honestly I’m reeeally tired of seeing the same generic slim gym fitness guy or girl with perfect teeth and eye sight in every single game. Why does everyone have to be super healthy?! Give the character a pair of glasses and put some meat of them bones!
 
Aug 4, 2018
1,013
California
Abled cishet white men aren't even half the people in the world (let alone a country like America), somehow, are 90+% of video game protagonists? And some of you are mad that maybe it should be proportional, for starters?

Look, even as a cis white man myself, it gets tiring seeing the same basic archetype used in game after game. And for a series like Star Wars that is so large the concept of risks might as well not exist, the fact the game doesn't even challenge the status quo is... disappointing. And like, sure, in a vacuum it's fair to say even abled cishet white men deserve stories but like, you already fucking have them. That's like 90+% of media out there; you don't need *more*. And if creators aren't taking the initiative to make room for other stories, I don't see much recourse in getting pressure on creators to do better.

Idk, I can't see the OP as anything more than just simply failure to understand how frustrating it is for minorities to continuously not see themselves represented in media. Each wasted oppurtunity does add up, and it's hard to become bitter by it. And like, yeah, that bitterness is valid.
 
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Feb 3, 2019
20
Italy
White guys are the most common main characters across pop culture, so yeah they are now generic and a bit boring. But the writing for a minority/POC character has to be appropriate also. If you write a POC and how the world reacts to them the same you would a white guy, then you lose a lot of the impact they have. Representation matters, but their experience has to be representative also.
Don't make black chars unless they get to experience racism
 
OP
OP
Veelk
Oct 25, 2017
3,635
Idk, I can't see the OP as anything more than just simply failure to understand how frustrating it is for minorities to continuously not see themselves represented in media.
Wait, what the fuck did I do? I argued in favor of more representation
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,331
How do you justify male / white / straight cis characters in a story? If characters need to be written a certain way based on their traits, how do you have to write characters that aren't female / minorities in order for them to be acceptable?
 
Oct 30, 2017
1,339
I don't think business is a good excuse anymore. Horizon Zero Dawn sold 10 million copies while staring a woman, and featuring a very diverse supporting cast. Star Wars is selling millions of tickets while staring a woman. Why do the games need to rely on a white male lead to succeed? Also to restate something that has been repeated numerous times on this thread, people are saying they are disappointed the game is staring a bland looking white male lead. That disappointment has foundations in both boredom with what is seen as a "safe" choice for a lead, as well as a desire fore better representation in video games.
You yourself are saying this character was made out of a craven business decision made under the assumption that white people would reject anything other than a white male lead.
I didn't say they would reject anything other than a white male lead, I provided similar examples to Horizon or SW VII like Battlefront 2.

I just explained why big companies make these decisions in that way based on their products or market KPI and metrics and not in racism, even if recently they include more diversity even if it may be risky for them because they try to enlarge their market and because they want to be politically correct.

In my personal case, I don't care about the skin color or gender of the character, I care about the character design, charisma and uniqness of the character, things unrelated to their skin color or gender. As an examble, Kratos or Nathan Drake are very cool characters while being a white male, but I see this Star Wars guy as a generic, bad character. Regarding Star Wars female characters, I think this guy's master character (as I thought about Amidala) seems generic and boring while I love characters like Lando Calrissian or Rey. (note: I'm a blonde/red haired white guy)

Isn't that worse? Doesn't that imply an assumed racism, or at least intolerance? How are people supposed to communicate their desire for representation if the industry to to afraid to provide it in one of the most marketable and profitable franchises available?
No, racism is that a character (or someone) is worse because of its skin color. And sexism is saying that a character is worse due to its gender. So saying a white male character design is bad because it's white and male is racist and sexist, as it would be to say a character design is bad because it's black or a woman.

To make the characters of a product more similar to the demographics of their main target user or main user group to make sure the majority of their potential users make an easier emotional connection/relate more to the characers because they are more similar to them is a business decision that makes sense.

This is also the reason of why the main characters of games/movies/tv series typically have the same age of the people they are targeting: products targeted to (because they are more consumed by) kids often have kids as main characters, products more targeted (because they are more consumed) by middle age women have middle age women as main characters, etc.

I think obviously it's ok for people to ask for being represented in their favorite products by saying "hey I want more black (or female) leads in games (or Star Wars products)!" but not ok to say "a character (design) is bad/boring/generic/bland because it's a white male" because it's sexist and racist.

I think a white dude can be a bad character design, generic, boring and bland or it can be great, charismatic character, this is what it's really important for me. And the same for people with other skin color or gender. And welll, same goes with sexual preferences. But at the same time, I understand that people may prefer a character with your same gender, skin color, age, sexual preference, hair color, etc.
 
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Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
4,812
How do you justify male / white / straight cis characters in a story? If characters need to be written a certain way based on their traits, how do you have to write characters that aren't female / minorities in order for them to be acceptable?
It's not that you need to justify white cis straight men (you shouldn't have to justify any character archetype); It's that these characteristics are default inasmuch as there is no overwhelming sociopolitical context to anchor any conflict to. There is no overwhelming struggle in inherently being white, straight, cis, or male. Not that these characters cannot have struggles. But the struggles are not going to be a result of or influenced by these intrinsic characteristics, because these traits are "normal". They are ultimately shorthands for character building so creators don't have to concern themselves with the social effects on a character's existence and can instead get to the plot.

After all, being "normal" is kind of the point of being in the upper echelon of these social caste systems, and also the double-edged sword of literally centuries of media characterization squarely putting these groups at the forefront. As a black woman, I know what it's like to be a straight white guy going on an adventure. "I've seen that before." But interesting and unique storytelling opportunities arise when you have to take into account how a non-default character's sense of self will effect any given plot thread.
 
OP
OP
Veelk
Oct 25, 2017
3,635
It's not that you need to justify white cis straight men (you shouldn't have to justify any character archetype); It's that these characteristics are default inasmuch as there is no overwhelming sociopolitical context to anchor any conflict to. There is no overwhelming struggle in inherently being white, straight, cis, or male. Not that these characters cannot have struggles. But the struggles are not going to be a result of or influenced by these intrinsic characteristics, because these traits are "normal". They are ultimately shorthands for character building so creators don't have to concern themselves with the social effects on a character's existence and can instead get to the plot.

After all, being "normal" is kind of the point of being in the upper echelon of these social caste systems, and also the double-edged sword of literally centuries of media characterization squarely putting these groups at the forefront. As a black woman, I know what it's like to be a straight white guy going on an adventure. "I've seen that before." But interesting and unique storytelling opportunities arise when you have to take into account how a non-default character's sense of self will effect any given plot thread.
Nep, why the fuck you gotta explain my points both more effectively and succinctly than me when I'm hastily trying to write up the OP before going to work?
 

Slayven

You probably post about me on another board.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
29,865
Having just watched the trailer again, the whole look of it just gives me the beginning of this generation feeling.
That is what I said. The graphics was fine, but the whole thing felt like a 360 era trailer, like the last 10 years of game writing has never happened
 
Nov 1, 2017
442
I would love to see more representation in starwars games but with that being said I understand why respawn and EA haven't taken any risks with fallen order. Starwars fans have been upset with EA's handling of the IP and if this game isn't successful it will be just another bullet point added to the list of ways EA is messing up starwars.

I'm not saying that having a black/female/lgbt protagonist would mess up starwars, but based on how polarized the starwars community has become since episode 8 it's not surprising that EA and respawn have decided to go the route they have to avoid any potential controversy...remember how some people reacted to girls being in battlefield 5...this looks like they are making as vanilla a story as possible with regards to the starwars universe.

I can't remember entirely because the game was so forgetful, but I'm pretty sure you play as a black/Hispanic (not really clear/doesn't really matter) female in starwars battlefront 2... but the game didn't really receive any major praise as a result of the choice of protagonist. To be fair though bf2 was pretty terrible.
 

Nepenthe

When the music hits, you feel no pain.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
4,812
Nep, why the fuck you gotta explain my points both more effectively and succinctly than me when I'm hastily trying to write up the OP before going to work?
I'm sorry I cut into your lane please forgive me I'm going to another roda now I'll be out of your way. ;~;