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

Gankzymcfly

Member
Nov 1, 2017
526
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

I'm just gonna take 5, or 10...or 20.
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
6,435
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. ;~;
 

PlanetSmasher

The Abominable Showman
Member
Oct 25, 2017
35,808
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.
Janina Gavankar is Indian-American. It's a shame she was wasted on such a bad game, because she's great.
 

-COOLIO-

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,278
It’s precisely because mainstream media has been getting so much better about diversity in general that I’m not as bothered by the Star Wars protagonist. Respawn specifically gets a lot of credit for their apex legends characters.
 

Duderino

Member
Nov 2, 2017
259
The protagonist is a redhead right?

Know it’s not the kind of diversity people are asking for, but I wouldn’t call it common either. Only other redhead gaming icon I can think of is Aloy. I know, it’s far from the same sort of thing; just an observation.
 

Charamiwa

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,817
Honestly the fact that he looks so young surprised me, which is why I don't consider him that generic. If he was ten years older, slightly more muscular, with brown hair and a beard, then yeah.
 

Green

Member
Oct 27, 2017
879
Lot of misinformation here. Here's a list taken from IMDB of the top characters from each of the Star Wars movies since Disney took over the franchise:

VII
Old characters
Han Solo
Luke Skywalker
Princess Leia
C-3PO
Chewbacca

New Good Guys
Rey
Finn
Poe Dameron
Maz Kanata

New Bad Guys
Kylo Ren
Supreme Leader Snoke
General Hux
Captain Phasma


Rogue One
Old Characters
Darth Vader
Governor Tarkin
Mon Mothma
Bail Organa

New Good Guys
Jyn Erso
Galen Erso
Cassian Andor
K-2SO
Chirrut Imwe
Baze Malbus
Saw Gerrera
Bodhi Rook

New Bad Guys
Director Orson Krennic


Solo
Old Characters
Han Solo
Chewbacca
Lando Calrissian

New Good Guys
Qi-ra
Val
Enfys Nest
L3-37
Rio Durant

New Bad Guys
Beckett
Dryden Vos


VIII
Old Characters
Luke Skywalker
Leia Organa
C-3PO
Yoda

New Good Guys
Rey
Finn
Poe
Rose Tico
Vice Admiral Holdo

New Bad Guys
Kylo Ren
Snoke
General Hux
Captain Phasma
DJ

--

I have not seen Rebels, nor have I played the campaign in Battlefront and Battlefront 2.

However, out of the main movies here, the new white male characters introduced into the franchise have been villains. The sole exception is Galen Erso in Rogue One, and Poe Dameron. As well, every single new villain introduced has been a white person, if they are not an alien (surely Snoke is white/grey?). Almost every single new protagonist in these movies has been either a woman or PoC.

Star Wars -at least the live action movies- since the Disney takeover, has been quite diversified, if you consider that they aren't going to be changing the ethnicity of an existing character.
 

hank_tree

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
2,279
Hopefully the game is good but the trailer did nothing to show me why I would be interested in playing as this character and their story.

A more diverse character possibly would have been more interesting considering how little they showed.
 

Foot

Member
Mar 10, 2019
1,975
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.
Yeah, absolutely. I don’t think that means it’s “earned” the franchise a free pass on anything, but I do think it’s very good how diverse the recent films have been.
 

Browser

Member
Apr 13, 2019
533
I think it would be more interesting if it was a woman just because the types of quests could be broader and more interesting, thinking about a woman's interaction with the world. But they can absolutely make him work, the arthur morgan example is perfect to illustrate this. Its just unfortunate.
 

The Watcher

Member
Oct 29, 2017
949
This is an interesting topic. No one wants a situation where there's diversity for diversity sake, but it's kind of the only way things can be different in this industry. The amount of gatekeeping limits the opportunities of POCs, women, and non-hetero/non-cis individuals, leading to the same protagonists used time in and time out. For those who make the attempt to make unique protagonists who aren't white/male/straight (and I'll throw in athletic and able bodied) they have to play it safe by shoehorning in a character that fits the standard template, which wouldn't serve the character at all, or have to create a narrative that could be read as inauthentic at best or cartoonishly stereotypical at worst. The latter could lead to creatives choosing not to stray too far from the status quo which is disappointing, but what they really should do is hire more diverse voices that could aid with that.
 

Green

Member
Oct 27, 2017
879
This is an interesting topic. No one wants a situation where there's diversity for diversity sake, but it's kind of the only way things can be different in this industry. The amount of gatekeeping limits the opportunities of POCs, women, and non-hetero/non-cis individuals, leading to the same protagonists used time in and time out. For those who make the attempt to make unique protagonists who aren't white/male/straight (and I'll throw in athletic and able bodied) they have to play it safe by shoehorning in a character that fits the standard template, which wouldn't serve the character at all, or have to create a narrative that could be read as inauthentic at best or cartoonishly stereotypical at worst. The latter could lead to creatives choosing not to stray too far from the status quo which is disappointing, but what they really should do is hire more diverse voices that could aid with that.
Just underlining a pretty underlooked issue.
 
Oct 31, 2017
4,397
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.
The leads in the main story in The Last Jedi are Rey, Kylo and Luke Skywalker. It's really foolish to say TLJ "didn't star any white guys" and "Luke was a glorified cameo".

All the "diversity" in Star Wars being secondary characters like Finn and those dudes who died in Rouge One is not good diversity.

You have no idea what good diverse representation is, so of course you think Star Wars is the best. Marvel and Star Trek are both doing much better than Star Wars in diverse representation.
 
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Dec 15, 2017
782
Given the fact that the character is based in a real person ain't it disrespectful to label him as "generic"? I am not even a Starwars fan but I hope that this game delivers, otherwise EA will insist with MP games again.
 

sph3re

Avenger
Oct 28, 2017
4,927
This is an interesting topic. No one wants a situation where there's diversity for diversity sake, but it's kind of the only way things can be different in this industry. The amount of gatekeeping limits the opportunities of POCs, women, and non-hetero/non-cis individuals, leading to the same protagonists used time in and time out. For those who make the attempt to make unique protagonists who aren't white/male/straight (and I'll throw in athletic and able bodied) they have to play it safe by shoehorning in a character that fits the standard template, which wouldn't serve the character at all, or have to create a narrative that could be read as inauthentic at best or cartoonishly stereotypical at worst. The latter could lead to creatives choosing not to stray too far from the status quo which is disappointing, but what they really should do is hire more diverse voices that could aid with that.
Quite frankly, I think "diversity for diversity's sake" is fine. I'm currently writing a story (hopefully, eventually a novel, but I'm realistic) where most of the protagonists are non-white. Their skin color has no bearing on my story, so I just made them whatever race I wanted.

I can't name many games--if any--where the character would drastically change if you made a white protagonist Black or Hispanic or Asian or Indigenous or whatever. Joel from TLOU could very well have been Black and it would have changed dick-all.

I don't think "shoehorning" is the appropriate word.
 
Oct 31, 2017
4,397
Given the fact that the character is based in a real person ain't it disrespectful to label him as "generic"? I am not even a Starwars fan but I hope that this game delivers, otherwise EA will insist with MP games again.

Obviously people are talking about having another white male main playable character in video games forced down our throats and the general familiarity of the presentation and era/story of the game and not "labeling" this particular dude about his looks
 

Ramjag

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,214
Obviously people are talking about having another white male main playable character in video games forced down our throats and the general familiarity of the presentation and era/story of the game and not "labeling" this particular dude about his looks
Pretty much. Some are really reaching to try and turn it around.
 

Aaronmac

Member
Nov 12, 2017
371
Given the fact that the character is based in a real person ain't it disrespectful to label him as "generic"? I am not even a Starwars fan but I hope that this game delivers, otherwise EA will insist with MP games again.
While the word "generic" itself doesn't really have severe negative connotation, there are many in the thread who are using it in a critical way aimed at the appearance of the character/actor which I wouldn't even necessarily consider disrespectful given the context. Honestly, there are much worse things to be called. I personally wouldn't lose sleep over being labeled generic, and I doubt the actor would either if they even saw a comment labeling them as such (which they won't, because only a small portion of the gaming base are even discussing this)
 

CampFreddie

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,112
My thoughts are mixed. The star wars movie universe is very diverse, with no straight white male leads (except solo, but he's dead now). If Star Wars X has a white hero, that would be fine.
However the star wars game universe is very white and very male. It also involves one character, while movies can have a diverse ensemble cast of heroes.

The Force awakens and Jedi Academy series were also about young white man learning they were force sensitive. So I get why people feel we've seen this story before.
I think I'd prefer an alien or pick-your-own protagonist. Racism (unless we're taking alien races) doesn't seem to be a thing in the star wars universe, so a pick your own protagonist would work fine.
I don't like how games seen to want to recreate the voice actor's face, while the movies use CGI to make real people into aliens.

The star wars universe is lacking some villain diversity though. A female antagonist is good, especially if they avoid making her a sexy siren-type (I'm so glad star wars is a kids series or you know what characters the "more seductive" dark side would have).
 
Jan 11, 2018
2,585
We don't know much about him yet. He could be queer for all we know (probably not though sadly). I agree with wanting more diversity as far as protags go, but I'm not gonna automatically dismiss a white male as generic and boring just because he's a white male.
 

PlanetSmasher

The Abominable Showman
Member
Oct 25, 2017
35,808
My thoughts are mixed. The star wars movie universe is very diverse, with no straight white male leads (except solo, but he's dead now). If Star Wars X has a white hero, that would be fine.
However the star wars game universe is very white and very male. It also involves one character, while movies can have a diverse ensemble cast of heroes.

The Force awakens and Jedi Academy series were also about young white man learning they were force sensitive. So I get why people feel we've seen this story before.
I think I'd prefer an alien or pick-your-own protagonist. Racism (unless we're taking alien races) doesn't seem to be a thing in the star wars universe, so a pick your own protagonist would work fine.
I don't like how games seen to want to recreate the voice actor's face, while the movies use CGI to make real people into aliens.

The star wars universe is lacking some villain diversity though. A female antagonist is good, especially if they avoid making her a sexy siren-type (I'm so glad star wars is a kids series or you know what characters the "more seductive" dark side would have).
To be fair, Jaden Korr in Jedi Academy had no canon race, species or gender. He could be a human, he could be an alien, etc.

Unfortunately, Jaden was also barely even a character. :/
 

The Watcher

Member
Oct 29, 2017
949
Quite frankly, I think "diversity for diversity's sake" is fine. I'm currently writing a story (hopefully, eventually a novel, but I'm realistic) where most of the protagonists are non-white. Their skin color has no bearing on my story, so I just made them whatever race I wanted.

I can't name many games--if any--where the character would drastically change if you made a white protagonist Black or Hispanic or Asian or Indigenous or whatever. Joel from TLOU could very well have been Black and it would have changed dick-all.

I don't think "shoehorning" is the appropriate word.
I get what you're saying and in a vacuum that would very much be true, but oftentimes that's not the case and it depends entirely on what narrative you're trying to portray. A woman is going to have a different life experience than a queer white man whose experience differs from a South Asian man, etc. Different walks of life and what have you. It would do a disservice to a potentially unique story opportunity to just palette swap their gender/race and continue on with the story as is.
You've mentioned that you want the characters of your story to be non-white and I commend you for doing that, but what else? Are they immigrants or first/second generational residents? Do they speak other languages and if not are there dialects that are unique to them and people like them? Are they religious or heavily influenced by their native culture, etc.? These questions could go on and I haven't event touched on physical descriptions and if your characters are female on not. A lot of what you write can help these characters live vibrant lives on page and help flesh them out more than just being female or POC.
 
OP
OP
Veelk

Veelk

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,937
I get what you're saying and in a vacuum that would very much be true, but oftentimes that's not the case and it depends entirely on what narrative you're trying to portray. A woman is going to have a different life experience than a queer white man whose experience differs from a South Asian man, etc. Different walks of life and what have you. It would do a disservice to a potentially unique story opportunity to just palette swap their gender/race and continue on with the story as is.
You've mentioned that you want the characters of your story to be non-white and I commend you for doing that, but what else? Are they immigrants or first/second generational residents? Do they speak other languages and if not are there dialects that are unique to them and people like them? Are they religious or heavily influenced by their native culture, etc.? These questions could go on and I haven't event touched on physical descriptions and if your characters are female on not. A lot of what you write can help these characters live vibrant lives on page and help flesh them out more than just being female or POC.
While it's good to explore the national and ethnic and gender identity backgrounds of characters as part of their characterization, there is also the fact that sometimes a person's minority status honestly doesn't have anything to do with the story.

So what then? The answer, if we're following your line of logic, is then just to make them white guys. Which is a problematic doublestandard. Your essentially instating the idea that minorities need a particular reason to justify their existence in a story, while while guys can just be. No one ever asked Lucas or Rowling why they made their protagonist a white dude, but according to this reasoning, we'd need a reason why Rey being a woman is needed for the new trilogy, and that is, simply put, not fair.

There is great value in going into the specific experiences that being a minority of some kind have. But that shouldn't be necessary to justify their inclusion in a story. Sometimes, you should have a black female trans lesbian just because you can.
 

Terrell

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,126
Canada
Quite frankly, I think "diversity for diversity's sake" is fine. I'm currently writing a story (hopefully, eventually a novel, but I'm realistic) where most of the protagonists are non-white. Their skin color has no bearing on my story, so I just made them whatever race I wanted.

I can't name many games--if any--where the character would drastically change if you made a white protagonist Black or Hispanic or Asian or Indigenous or whatever. Joel from TLOU could very well have been Black and it would have changed dick-all.

I don't think "shoehorning" is the appropriate word.
Yup. Especially in fantasy/sci-fi contexts where there isn't any real-world sociopolitical context needed for introducing characters of different races, genders or sexualities that needs to be considered, it can hardly be seen as diversity for the sake of it, a fantasy world setting is not so tightly or inherently white or hetero or male culturally or historically to make it seem forced, and anyone who believes that it does clearly believes, either consciously or subconsciously, that fantasy/sci-fi narratives shouldn't or can't belong to women, the LGBTQ or people of colour.

Situations like this bring up an interesting point, because Star Wars is TEEMING with alien races, but the main character in a video game that doesn't rely on human actors physically portraying a part is still a human. When choosing a human, of all the possibilities, they chose a white guy. So on multiple levels, the creative team has failed us by choosing to represent the majority in the main character option by making him look like the majority, when they could have chosen to stay with a human character but provide some diversity or opt to go even further and tell us a story from an entirely alien perspective in the way only a few sci-fi franchises can.
 
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TomoeGoZen

Member
Oct 26, 2017
421
Toronto
I feel this. To me it's not even that f these protags are white. It's that they're fucking boring. Most of them are basic looking "ladykillers" with a dark and troubled past and spotty morals. Bonus point if they're Daddies and regret what they've done in the past now that they have a kid.

Sometimes the writers do something with it so that White Male protags are interesting (For example I like what was done with John Marston from RDR1), but most of the time it's a warning sign for me that this game's about to be average lol. Plus, humans have all these beautiful, interesting and unique variations. It makes 0 sense other than being a bigot (let's be honest)/uncreative (let's be honest) for sooo many of these protags to be White dudes, ESPECIALLY in 2019 when people KNOW that POC and Women play video games (I mean, we always have, but cmon).

And before anyone quotes me, if you want your protag to be a white dude then go ahead, make the game, but then don't whine when people 1. Call you out on being unoriginal and 2. Don't buy your game.

As for this new game, honestly my main problem with him is that he looks like Tom Holland. What's Spiderman doing in space?
 

Tunahead

Member
Oct 30, 2017
905
The Force awakens and Jedi Academy series were also about young white man learning they were force sensitive. So I get why people feel we've seen this story before.
I think I'd prefer an alien or pick-your-own protagonist. Racism (unless we're taking alien races) doesn't seem to be a thing in the star wars universe, so a pick your own protagonist would work fine.
I don't like how games seen to want to recreate the voice actor's face, while the movies use CGI to make real people into aliens.
Jedi Academy wasn't really a hero's journey because the pivotal good/evil choice moment was deciding whether or not you were going to hack Rosh into a million pieces, and you were definitely going to hack Rosh into a million pieces.

As for racism in Star Wars, there's a lot. The prequel trilogy is notoriously full of alien races coded as thinly veiled racist caricatures. And of course, there are the droids. The droids clearly have emotions and are for all intents and purposes sentient beings, but they're kept as slaves. Whenever a droid addresses their position in society, it's played for laughs. Not only that, but there's this gross underlying implication that in Star Wars a slave revolt would be the sign of a mental illness in the slave population. Oh and the slaves don't have souls, of course. Maybe Star Wars is just really fucking gross, actually.

I get what you're saying and in a vacuum that would very much be true, but oftentimes that's not the case and it depends entirely on what narrative you're trying to portray. A woman is going to have a different life experience than a queer white man whose experience differs from a South Asian man, etc. Different walks of life and what have you. It would do a disservice to a potentially unique story opportunity to just palette swap their gender/race and continue on with the story as is.
You've mentioned that you want the characters of your story to be non-white and I commend you for doing that, but what else? Are they immigrants or first/second generational residents? Do they speak other languages and if not are there dialects that are unique to them and people like them? Are they religious or heavily influenced by their native culture, etc.? These questions could go on and I haven't event touched on physical descriptions and if your characters are female on not. A lot of what you write can help these characters live vibrant lives on page and help flesh them out more than just being female or POC.
"I think what attracted me to Ellen Ripley was she… first of all, a character that was written as a man. So it was written in a very straight-forward way, a kind of direct person where she didn’t have these scenes where she’s suddenly vulnerable, she didn’t throw her hands up and wait for someone to save her. She was a thinking, moving, deciding creature. I think that was the other thing that interested me. She went from someone who believed the world was a certain way to someone who couldn’t believe in anything anymore. And went from someone who’s sort of a thinking person to someone who’s kind of an instinctive animal, so there’s lots of progressions in the character that I thought would be interesting to play."
-Sigourney Weaver on Ellen Ripley

Sometimes you can just write a cool leading role and insert any person from any walk of life into it and it will turn out great.
 

RavFiveFour

Member
Dec 3, 2018
1,216
Developers can no doubt be guilty of this but shouldn’t be put into some racist box. Okay you got a white character, the situation is different, very quickly people reach for something to criticize and speculate.
 

sph3re

Avenger
Oct 28, 2017
4,927
I get what you're saying and in a vacuum that would very much be true, but oftentimes that's not the case and it depends entirely on what narrative you're trying to portray. A woman is going to have a different life experience than a queer white man whose experience differs from a South Asian man, etc. Different walks of life and what have you. It would do a disservice to a potentially unique story opportunity to just palette swap their gender/race and continue on with the story as is.
You have to take into account what being a cis-het white male contributes to the story. What conflicts arise for this white person? What do his race, gender, sex and creed contribute to the story?

If it's nothing, then changing them into a minority would also change nothing. Yes, "different walks of life" and whatnot, but if the developers aren't including those life struggles in this white, male character, then changing them into a black woman wouldn't really change much either, would it?

You've mentioned that you want the characters of your story to be non-white and I commend you for doing that, but what else? Are they immigrants or first/second generational residents? Do they speak other languages and if not are there dialects that are unique to them and people like them? Are they religious or heavily influenced by their native culture, etc.? These questions could go on and I haven't event touched on physical descriptions and if your characters are female on not. A lot of what you write can help these characters live vibrant lives on page and help flesh them out more than just being female or POC.
At the time of writing, I'm not super interested in getting into their culture. One of the main characters, the favourite character of my group of aspiring authors, is a black lesbian, but none of those racial/sexual aspects come up when they talk about her. I've shown what I've written to a few published authors and those aspects still don't come up in conversation.

She's a badass rocker and people seemed to dig it. I just... well, to use a term you said, "palate swapped" her. I don't know how progressive it is to ignore the sociopolitical aspects of being a black lesbian, but I don't think that's really necessary.

Hell, look at Alien. The film's script was written as gender-neutral and they just hired actors based on their performances. And wouldn't you know it? Ripley is hailed as a great female character. I think there is a good precedent for "palate swapping" actually working.
While it's good to explore the national and ethnic and gender identity backgrounds of characters as part of their characterization, there is also the fact that sometimes a person's minority status honestly doesn't have anything to do with the story.

So what then? The answer, if we're following your line of logic, is then just to make them white guys. Which is a problematic doublestandard. Your essentially instating the idea that minorities need a particular reason to justify their existence in a story, while while guys can just be. No one ever asked Lucas or Rowling why they made their protagonist a white dude, but according to this reasoning, we'd need a reason why Rey being a woman is needed for the new trilogy, and that is, simply put, not fair.

There is great value in going into the specific experiences that being a minority of some kind have. But that shouldn't be necessary to justify their inclusion in a story. Sometimes, you should have a black female trans lesbian just because you can.
Couldn't have said it better myself.

Yup. Especially in fantasy/sci-fi contexts where there isn't any real-world sociopolitical context needed for introducing characters of different races, genders or sexualities that needs to be considered, it can hardly be seen as diversity for the sake of it, a fantasy world setting is not so tightly or inherently white or hetero culturally or historically to make it seem forced, and anyone who believes that it does clearly believes, either consciously or subconsciously, that fantasy/sci-fi narratives shouldn't or can't belong to women, the LGBTQ or people of colour.

Situations like this bring up an interesting point, because Star Wars is TEEMING with alien races, but the main character in a video game that doesn't rely on human actors physically portraying a part is still a human. When choosing a human, of all the possibilities, they chose a white guy. So on multiple levels, the creative team has failed us by choosing to represent the majority in the main character option by making him look like the majority, when they could have chosen to stay with a human character but provide some diversity or opt to go even further and tell us a story from an entirely alien perspective in the way only a few sci-fi franchises can.
Very true. A white male human in a fantasy/sci-fi universe just feels lazy. You've made an excellent point, I don't know what else to say that wouldn't be redundant, lol.
 
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woahitsshant

Member
Dec 26, 2017
531
Firelink Shrine
When I first saw the character at the start of the trailer, I was slightly bored by that alone, but not enough to not give it a chance. I wondered if it was a standard default created character and we could customize our own, but that wasn't the case. The rest of the trailer didn't interest me much. The guy didn't have much of a charm or character to him to win me over like Drake for example. The "Trust no one" line repeating was boring and uninteresting and I just put that on the character as well. Maybe future videos will make the character more interesting, or maybe the world will be made interesting instead, the gameplay being awesome would be nice.


Oh I would love to be a robot looking character like the one in Rogue One, or something. Can robots be Jedi? I'm a Star Wars noob.
no, as far as I’m aware they can not be.
 

i-Lo

Avenger
Oct 31, 2017
12,327
Not America
No I know,
My request of a Twi'lek is just that they are so definitively Star Wars but only get to exist secondary to others unless you get lucky with a custom character game.(Hera came close but still ended up secondary to Ezra and Sabine)
I mean as amazing as Ahsoka is she deserves a lead but hasn't gotten one outside of a book. An Ahsoka game or movie would be amazing.

Ahsoka's situation was perfect for a game like this.
IIRC the only times a female Twi'lek was treated with dignity and given some measure of agency in games are KoTOR 1 as a companion, Mission Vao, Bella from Jedi Starfighter and the Player character from Jedi Knight Jedi Academy.
 

The Watcher

Member
Oct 29, 2017
949
While it's good to explore the national and ethnic and gender identity backgrounds of characters as part of their characterization, there is also the fact that sometimes a person's minority status honestly doesn't have anything to do with the story.

So what then? The answer, if we're following your line of logic, is then just to make them white guys. Which is a problematic doublestandard. Your essentially instating the idea that minorities need a particular reason to justify their existence in a story, while while guys can just be. No one ever asked Lucas or Rowling why they made their protagonist a white dude, but according to this reasoning, we'd need a reason why Rey being a woman is needed for the new trilogy, and that is, simply put, not fair.

There is great value in going into the specific experiences that being a minority of some kind have. But that shouldn't be necessary to justify their inclusion in a story. Sometimes, you should have a black female trans lesbian just because you can.
No I didn't. It's a lot more subtle than I've type out. It could anything from how a character would interact with another. For example, if your character is a woman in a room full of men, how would that affect her interactions with them? Is she acting more assertively to get her voice heard or carefully observing her surroundings? Is she "one of the guys", dressing down, up, is she aware that she's the only female in the room? It's the little touches that makes the character that much different than if it were a man. That's what I meant.
 

Griffith

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,754
So, to explore the first question: would a minority character is better served within this framework?
Star Wars has a vast galaxy with dozens if not hundreds of different species and while I understand that from a marketing perspective some are far more appealing than others there were many choices beyond caucasian white male. I don't have anything against the character being a relatively young white male, some of my favorite Star Wars stories feature young white men in the leading roles but I think that in this particular scenario it serves to illustrate more about EA's belief in the title than anything else, more on that later.

Would having a minority character in the premise of this be more important if it had a non-white guy protagonist.
I think it would have made the title stand out at least, and it would help promote a bit more diversity. But even if we assume that EA just wanted to avoid as much controversy as possible by making the lead character as inoffensive as they possibly could, they could have simply drawn from the other Star Wars races like Twi'leks, which seem fairly popular among some of the cartoon series.

As I mentioned previously I think the choice of this character for this game seems, at least as a knee-jerk reaction, a vote of lack of confidence in this title. If you consider almost every title EA has published in the past few years this is one of the very few that aren't designed around multiplayer or microtransactions. It almost seems weird to commend this as a few years back this was commonplace even among EA's titles but that's where we are today. With Battlefront 2 EA had an expectation that a short single player campaign would be enough to appease some of the criticism of the previous title but that didn't pan out because of the way it was received.

If you consider that Amy Hennig's protagonist was a middle aged man and EA, for one reason or another, shut that down and decided to work on this title instead with Cal as its protagonist, even going as far as letting the developer use Unreal Engine rather than Frostbyte to me it shows that they want to appeal as broad of an audience as possible and that they wanted to release the title as soon as possible to try to honor and maintain the Star Wars exclusivity deal with Disney.

Regardless of what our thoughts on Cal's gender and ethnicity are we can rest assured that if this game doesn't do tremendously well, we probably won't see EA attempting to develop a title like this again any time soon.
 
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Aiustis

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,297
Cybertronic Purgatory
Meh White males are default which also means they are generic.
And in Star Wars where they could have anything cool...it's like going to some fantastic world market grocery store and picking out Wonder Bread.
 
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Veelk

Veelk

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,937
No I didn't. It's a lot more subtle than I've type out. It could anything from how a character would interact with another. For example, if your character is a woman in a room full of men, how would that affect her interactions with them? Is she acting more assertively to get her voice heard or carefully observing her surroundings? Is she "one of the guys", dressing down, up, is she aware that she's the only female in the room? It's the little touches that makes the character that much different than if it were a man. That's what I meant.
Sure, but your working under the assumption that those questions are necessarily relevant to the story, which might not be the case. As I mentioned in the OP, we functionally have no history of humanity in Star Wars. Canonically, black people may have never been enslaved by white people. For all we know, there were never any tensions at all. As a result, it's possible in that fictional space that there isn't any relevant distinction in how a black person might talk to white people vs other black people, unlike that is the case often in real life.

I see the distinction your trying to talk about and why you feel I misunderstood you, but I honestly feel I didn't because your essentially arguing that minority status HAS to be included in a characterization, or they may as well be white guys.

To use your example of being the only woman in a room full of men, that was Rey's position in Star Wars TFA, stuck between Chewbacca, Han, and Finn for most of the movie. The only other woman she interacted with was Maz, who only showed up for a short scene. And there is no distinction in how she interacted with Maz except that she was a Yoda like figure dealing a harsh truth to her, but Maz could have been a male alien and every detail of that scene could have played out the exact same way. Rey was effectively genderless in terms of how she interacts with everyone she meets, but I don't think that in any way lessens her character or justification to be written as a woman.

They made Rey into a woman for no reason other than that they could, and that works just fine.
 

Terrell

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,126
Canada
Meh White males are default which also means they are generic.
And in Star Wars where they could have anything cool...it's like going to some fantastic world market grocery store and picking out Wonder Bread.
Exactly. With Star Wars as the backdrop, picking a human protagonist is already bad enough, doubling down by making the human white makes it especially jarring in how banal of a choice it was.
 

The Watcher

Member
Oct 29, 2017
949
I'm not saying you couldn't make a good/great piece of media by using ones' gender or race interchangeably. That what seem to be working in Hollywood now. What I mean is the subtle nuisances that makes the characters more than the sum of their parts. I'm not asking for a dissertation or a complete cultural deconstruction guys relax, lol. Okay, several of you guys mentioned Ripley, great female lead and not meant to be. This works well in a sci-fi/fantasy setting where you could create an entire universe free from the social/economical baggage that our current world has. Templates are fine for settings like this because you're free to create, edit, change, and explore as much or as little of the characters background without real-world commentaries should you so chose (which makes it a problem when most people use male/white for their humanoid characters, but I digress). But let's take another strong female character, Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lamb. She lives in a world similar to our own and have to fight an uphill battle with doing her job, often times butting heads with her superiors, peers, and other men in she interacts with. Her entire story would change drastically if she was anything other than a woman. See what I mean?
 

Yasamuu

Member
Oct 28, 2017
192
At the time of writing, I'm not super interested in getting into their culture. One of the main characters, the favourite character of my group of aspiring authors, is a black lesbian, but none of those racial/sexual aspects come up when they talk about her. I've shown what I've written to a few published authors and those aspects still don't come up in conversation.

She's a badass rocker and people seemed to dig it. I just... well, to use a term you said, "palate swapped" her. I don't know how progressive it is to ignore the sociopolitical aspects of being a black lesbian, but I don't think that's really necessary.

Hell, look at Alien. The film's script was written as gender-neutral and they just hired actors based on their performances. And wouldn't you know it? Ripley is hailed as a great female character. I think there is a good precedent for "palate swapping" actually working.
It obviously depends on the context of the whole story. For me, I'd suggest that exploring the sociopolitical aspects of being a black lesbian would only serve to grant further authenticity the character and the story - but that's only a surface level observation. I don't think failing to do so would render things completely pointless or weak (it can still be a strong story, regardless), it would just lose a level of nuance that the might help a black lesbian reading this character to identify with them.

Sure, but your working under the assumption that those questions are necessarily relevant to the story, which might not be the case. As I mentioned in the OP, we functionally have no history of humanity in Star Wars. Canonically, black people may have never been enslaved by white people. For all we know, there were never any tensions at all. As a result, it's possible in that fictional space that there isn't any relevant distinction in how a black person might talk to white people vs other black people, unlike that is the case often in real life.

I see the distinction your trying to talk about and why you feel I misunderstood you, but I honestly feel I didn't because your essentially arguing that minority status HAS to be included in a characterization, or they may as well be white guys.

To use your example of being the only woman in a room full of men, that was Rey's position in Star Wars TFA, stuck between Chewbacca, Han, and Finn for most of the movie. The only other woman she interacted with was Maz, who only showed up for a short scene. And there is no distinction in how she interacted with Maz except that she was a Yoda like figure to her, but I see no reason why Maz couldn't have been a male alien and still gotten the scene exactly how it played out. Rey was effectively genderless in terms of how she interacts with everyone she meets, but I don't think that in any way lessens her character or justification as a woman. It all works just fine.

She's a woman just because, and that's fine.

This is what it comes down to for me. It should actually make it easier to have human characters of different ethnicities in these types of franchises. It goes back to one of the things mentioned earlier in the thread too; we need different voices at conceptual levels of media to see a proper shift in this area.
 

The Watcher

Member
Oct 29, 2017
949
Sure, but your working under the assumption that those questions are necessarily relevant to the story, which might not be the case. As I mentioned in the OP, we functionally have no history of humanity in Star Wars. Canonically, black people may have never been enslaved by white people. For all we know, there were never any tensions at all. As a result, it's possible in that fictional space that there isn't any relevant distinction in how a black person might talk to white people vs other black people, unlike that is the case often in real life.

I see the distinction your trying to talk about and why you feel I misunderstood you, but I honestly feel I didn't because your essentially arguing that minority status HAS to be included in a characterization, or they may as well be white guys.

To use your example of being the only woman in a room full of men, that was Rey's position in Star Wars TFA, stuck between Chewbacca, Han, and Finn for most of the movie. The only other woman she interacted with was Maz, who only showed up for a short scene. And there is no distinction in how she interacted with Maz except that she was a Yoda like figure dealing a harsh truth to her, but Maz could have been a male alien and every detail of that scene could have played out the exact same way. Rey was effectively genderless in terms of how she interacts with everyone she meets, but I don't think that in any way lessens her character or justification to be written as a woman.

They made Rey into a woman for no reason other than that they could, and that works just fine.
I address this in my later post, but I do agree that fantasy/sci-fi/utopian settings frees the characters from our world's baggage and that makes gender/race swaps okay. The thing is, most creatives don't do that and we almost always end up with white male leads because...
 
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Veelk

Veelk

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,937
I'm not saying you couldn't make a good/great piece of media by using ones' gender or race interchangeably. That what seem to be working in Hollywood now. What I mean is the subtle nuisances that makes the characters more than the sum of their parts. I'm not asking for a dissertation or a complete cultural deconstruction guys relax, lol. Okay, several of you guys mentioned Ripley, great female lead and not meant to be. This works well in a sci-fi/fantasy setting where you could create an entire universe free from the social/economical baggage that our current world has. Templates are fine for settings like this because you're free to create, edit, change, and explore as much or as little of the characters background without real-world commentaries should you so chose (which makes it a problem when most people use male/white for their humanoid characters, but I digress). But let's take another strong female character, Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lamb. She lives in a world similar to our own and have to fight an uphill battle with doing her job, often times butting heads with her superiors, peers, and other men in she interacts with. Her entire story would change drastically if she was anything other than a woman. See what I mean?
You started this by saying "No one wants a situation where there's diversity for diversity sake," and we're saying we very much do. You argue from this position as if people are actively trying to discourage how minority background interactions happen, but nobody is saying that. We're just pointing out that you don't need to include those interactions with your story to include minorities.

To use your example, yes, the movie Silence of the Lambs would indeed be very different if you changed the gender and sourthern background interactions that Clarice has Hannibal and other characters. You are correct that it would indeed result in a different movie. However, that doesn't necessarily entail that it would be an inferior movie. Nor does it entail that it would be a superior one, either, sure, but the argument I'm making here is that having those interactions is neither necessary nor inherently beneficial to the story.

I address this in my later post, but I do agree that fantasy/sci-fi/utopian settings frees the characters from our world's baggage and that makes gender/race swaps okay. The thing is, most creatives don't do that and we almost always end up with white male leads because...
You don't need a fantasy story to accomplish this. You can make this happen in a real life setting. It would be statistically improbable to have an interaction between two people that is purely egalitarian without bias' towards whatever minority status a cahracter has, but that doesn't actually matter. If 99% act differently towards a woman than they do a man, there is nothing stopping you from writing the super-rare character that doesn't. That's not even unrealistic, really, just rare. And it's also ignoring the fact that most movies in general have unrealistic interactions as a conceit of whatever plot their having.

Again, to use your example, you don't necessarily need to write the gender dynamics between Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lector using the justification that it's realistic because Hannibal lector himself isn't a realistic character. Some aspects of his characterization are true, but you try finding highbrow hyper-intellectual sociopath cannibals whose ethics are based in politeness and etiquetteand see how many you find. If the lack of statistical relevance doesn't matter to writing a character like Hannibal Lector, why would it be the case for his gender interactions?
 

Cabbagehead

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
4,019
You started this by saying "No one wants a situation where there's diversity for diversity sake," and we're saying we very much do. You argue from this position as if people are actively trying to discourage how minority background interactions happen, but nobody is saying that. We're just pointing out that you don't need to include those interactions with your story to include minorities.

To use your example, yes, the movie Silence of the Lambs would indeed be very different if you changed the gender and sourthern background interactions that Clarice has Hannibal and other characters. You are correct that it would indeed result in a different movie. However, that doesn't necessarily entail that it would be an inferior movie. Nor does it entail that it would be a superior one, either, sure, but the argument I'm making here is that having those interactions is neither necessary nor inherently beneficial to the story.



You don't need a fantasy story to accomplish this. You can make this happen in a real life setting. It would be statistically improbable to have an interaction between two people that is purely egalitarian without bias' towards whatever minority status a cahracter has, but that doesn't actually matter. If 99% act differently towards a woman than they do a man, there is nothing stopping you from writing the super-rare character that doesn't. That's not even unrealistic, really, just rare.
It shouldn't be.
 

Terrell

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,126
Canada
It obviously depends on the context of the whole story. For me, I'd suggest that exploring the sociopolitical aspects of being a black lesbian would only serve to grant further authenticity the character and the story - but that's only a surface level observation. I don't think failing to do so would render things completely pointless or weak (it can still be a strong story, regardless), it would just lose a level of nuance that the might help a black lesbian reading this character to identify with them.
Yes. To further that point, to see such a character devoid of the usual socio-political struggles associated with them can be seen as aspirational or empowering to some, in that they are just allowed to be. That also has value in some respects, even for stories set in our socio-political backdrop.

Many hack writers use minority struggles in lazy and haphazard ways purely to add characterization where there is none otherwise, as a form of tokenism, while over-use of the technique noted above is seen as attempting to erase the struggles of minority groups in media. So while I don't recommend such a technique, I would also not discourage it. As with most things, used in moderation and used responsibly, it's totally fine.
 

Slayven

I don’t know what you’re talking about
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
40,096
I really hate the dog whistle "diversity for the sake of diversity ", what does it even mean. That having a poc, woman, lqbtq character needs to have a reason to exist and usurp the white straight male standard?