Post news RSS Lets get personal!

Here are some collective thoughts on creating characters that gamers can relate to.

Posted by on

I'm sure many people out there will agree with me that now days games really do struggle with making characters that relate to gamers. Sure a large number of people out there think Master Chief is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or that Dante's jacket is a sweet piece of cow hide, but how many gamers can relate to characters on a human level? Understanding what problems they face and honestly wondering how they can get themselves out of this predicament? The last game I honestly related to a character was Tommy Angelo from Mafia 1 and that was a very long time ago.

What is it that makes characters appear more human? There are many answers to this question but one answer that I tend to agree with was found in this video from the Playstation blog. Nolan North who is an actor and voice actor with a very impressive resume was interviewed over at E3 09 about his role in the upcoming game Uncharted 2.


The video starts to get interesting around the 2:10 mark, where Nolan gives everyone an insight into how the developers of UC2 have given the actors a chance to project themselves into the characters they are voicing, giving them more personality.

Nolan_North wrote: What I brought to Nathan Drake is a part of myself, and you can't help but do that. On set we have a lot of fun and I think that's one of the reasons why this game is so great, when you have that kind of chemistry and strike up that kind of relationship with your fellow cast members that's when you're going to get a really good product to come out on screen.


The effect of this is that the developers have created a character that people can relate with. Even if it is only thinking "yeah that can be me" because they are human or just another average Joe in the wrong place at the wrong time. There really is no right or wrong way to design characters for your game, and with modders it would be even harder to deal with this problem. One team who excelled within the space of memorable MC's was Offtopic Productions with The Nameless Mod for Deus Ex.

Jonas_Waever wrote: What we did with Jeremiah was just to let him pretty much be himself - that is, he didn't put on a macho voice or anything because he had 3500 lines to record and it would be a huge strain on him if he had to make voices, I think that also helped him identify a little more with the character because Jeremiah did I think 12 characters for us, but Trestkon was the one where he got to use his normal voice.


If you should learn anything from the above examples is that a large part of what makes games memorable is the connections players make with the characters, either good or bad but connections all the same. Developing your characters to accommodate to your target audience and understanding what is needed will not be an easy task for any aspiring game developer, but beginning from the personality is a great starting point.

Comments
m82sniper
m82sniper

What game was that?

Reply Good karma Bad karma-1 votes
KILLER89(FIN)
KILLER89(FIN)

Learn to read the whole article.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
myles
myles

Uncharted 2...
But there's some really great points in there that mods really should take into account,
Unfortunately the mod scene isn't blessed with a lot of voice actors, but the idea of just recording someone's voice reaction to what's going on in the game really seems to add a lot.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
assault911
assault911

A game that player can relate to on a human level... got one, Persona 3 FES best RPG of 2007 ^_^

and trying to do that right now in my story, it ant easy i tell ya ;-)

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Henley Author
Henley

Most RPG's tend to do this quite well as they can really go deep into the characters backstory and build the personality up from that.

Reply Good karma+2 votes
Armageddon104
Armageddon104

Wow... I never thought about that, :D

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
awesomepossum
awesomepossum

Nice find henley, and great news post.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
mikejkelley
mikejkelley

Why bother posting this? Nobody creates characters here at moddb.com.

Reply Good karma Bad karma-2 votes
Sionfel
Sionfel

characters are one of the most important aspect of the game, and should leak off to the changing of the game.

most mods lack in that department sadly, but the mods that actually take time to develop characters are the truly great ones. like dear ester.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
BunnyJen
BunnyJen

I do mikejkelley :P

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
MrMattWebb
MrMattWebb

I would catergorize this article as "off the wall."

Interesting view though.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Lt.SnoWolf
Lt.SnoWolf

Some mods infact do this very well! Very interesting interview.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
GIJames
GIJames

I relate to Gordon Freeman :)

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
death_fly
death_fly

this is what Valve did too. for all their voice actors they hired people who naturally talk like that, and then have them be themselves instead of getting people to put on a voice. that way it's much more natural and I think stuff can evolve from the script to sound less rigid and the charachter can come alive.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
TwinBeast
TwinBeast

What if the player character is not a human, what kind of relation do you get then?

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
assault911
assault911

Agis for an instance,(persona 3 FES)an anti shadow humanoid robot
who has a will of her own. starts of as someone who has no personalty
but slowly learns what emotions are and ends up falling in love with the
main character but knowing that there cant be a relationship between
them, she decides to protect him even if it cost her, her life.
and questions life's biggest question,what is the meaning to life?

it can be done ^_^

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
BunnyJen
BunnyJen

All of my favorite games are games where I connected with the character and actually cared about what happened to them. This is something I'm finding is happening less and less for me. The most recent game I recall caring about a character was in episode 2.

It doesn't always apply, for example one of my favorite games is Rez. However some of my other favorites include Shadow of the Colossus, Ico, Ocarina of Time, Majoras Mask, Shenmue, Beyond Good and Evil and Okami. All of which had really strong, interesting, emotional characters and more importantly, not just the protagonists, but sidekicks and NPC's which also provided strong emotional ties. Another example is Portal, I didn't just enjoy this game for it's game-play, but I also liked the character that was Glados, not the protagonist, but a character with a memorable personality nonetheless.

It's not always the case and it depends on the game, but a lot of the time being emotionally connected with a character makes the overall experience for me much more enjoyable, and frankly I'm craving for a new game to come out which makes me feel like I did when I played Ocarina and SOTC.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
assault911
assault911

your quite right there and yes what makes a game great is how you feel
for the character, the story is also important though as this is what
binds you to the character. it is a shame that some game development
company's are starting to get greedy and the recession has also
encouraged this, but that cant be helped atm as of the circumstances.

Shenmue? haha! that's the game im looking for atm :D

by looking at this, This has given me alot to think about in what i
need to do in what im writing about thanks.

if anyone has something they like to see in a game, or something
they like to see in a character,please post ideas on my profile
as my story still in early development so i can make it to the best
as i can.

thanks

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
KingKannibal
KingKannibal

I'm too poor to afford recent games...so I will take a while to get Uncharted 2...playing the demo of the first one made me feel like I was in the airplane scene cause I cracked at every one of the main character's lines!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.