The world is full of jerks why can’t games be?
I never understood why gamers complained when the main character in a particular title is a jerk…well let me take that back I do understand sort of. They want all the characters they play with to be likable, I guess the philosophy is; “If I’m going to go on this long adventure with you I have to like you” right?
But that goes against human principle, not the fact that human nature says I need to like who I’m around, no, that makes perfect sense, I mean the world we live in is full of jerks! To expect every person on this planet to be “stand-up” and not have some contain jerkish qualities is unrealistic.
And the same could be said for games, every video game character will not have likable qualities, wouldn’t that be boring? I mean every developer that creates a game can’t always have the token hero be his leading guy/lady can they?
Having a jerk as the main character never really bothered me, not because I love jerks but because it’s a better reflection of the “real world” me and you live in and shows some diversity in gaming — lets face it everybody in the world ain’t nice!
A developer should be allowed to make a character a jerk
Now let’s take our boy Kratos, the poster child for ‘how to be a jerk’ 101 — a general consensus of how the gaming community views him.
Every time a new God of War game comes out gamers complain that they wish the character was different hoping he wasn’t such a heartless, cold-blooded, selfish individual. But I say although I acknowledge the jerk in him and accept that many may hate him (not the game) for that reason, I also defend that he is suppose to be that guy, that circumstances made him this way — just like in real life.
Can’t lie though I did struggle morally when as Kratos I was forced to smash a random civilian’s head into a concrete wall to continue progress — who by the way was minding his own business just trying to escape a burning building (Foul! Kratos Foul!). I wanted to just go pass him somehow, without harming him (we were both on a ledge) but couldn’t, the game forces you to take the aforementioned action. I however take blame for that; me playing as myself and not becoming the character, Kratos.
Another example and to a lesser degree, I saw a couple of reviews on the new Splinter Cell: Blacklist, with some reviewers complaining that they didn’t like the new Sam fisher because they felt he was overly being a jerk. To that I say, so what!? If he’s a jerk let him be a jerk! That has nothing to do with the quality of the game. I actually didn’t notice their description of him until maybe halfway through.
The jerk personality really did start to shine; he was a bit disrespectful, belittling his team, doing his own thing, although this behavior seemed to come out only in high pressure, high intense, stress induced situations and as I thought about it maybe it was warranted, maybe Sam knows something we don’t, in terms of how to deal with his team. Maybe he’s seen enough through his experience in the NSA to know that tough love is the only way to go. A good question to ask Ubisoft. Was this a purposely planned turn for the character? As in previous titles he didn’t seem that jerky. Why the sudden change? Either way, I don’t a have a huge problem with it.
Don’t worry Every Jerk still has a soft side
Even with the jerkiest, jerk they still display a “soft side” at some point. Contrary to popular belief Kratos on different occasions displayed this. (A bit of spoilers incoming) Like when he was emotional when he stabbed Athena — a blade that was meant for Zeus. Or when he stabbed himself to release “hope” into the world, or the constant dreams that displayed regret for selling his soul to Ares — which led to him killing his own family, him trying to save Pandora even though it meant he would not receive the power necessary to kill Zeus — the very target of his revenge plot mind you, so on and so forth.
(Safe to read) With Sam fisher you saw it through talks with his daughter, even the arguments he got in with his team he wound up squashing with humility, they even give you a choice in certain situations if you want to kill the ‘target’ or not, so in the case of Kratos and Sam it still shows duality.
Diversity is always good
As I said I like game diversity; that every character I play with is not the same save the princess, I love everybody in the world (animals and insects included) I will never hurt a fly, hug and kisses around, I eat marshmallows for breakfast type.
So again jerks should be allowed in gaming, it follows real-world properties and games are advancing more in more with maturity and are built to replicate that. Want a token hero? I’m sure Mario, Knack, Jak and Daxter and Ratchet & Clank statuses are still safe, viable options.
On the flipside I like the complaints, it shows people still want to see good in this world — real world, gaming world or otherwise :). They want the character to reflect them, which means there are more gamers that are not jerks than that are, thank goodness!
Do you think developers should be allowed to create jerks as characters for their games? CCU wants to hear from you.