Should the player character always be the most important

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LadyAvori
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Re: Should the player character always be the most important

#16 Post by LadyAvori » Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:05 pm

ThisIsNoName wrote: My question is, would people play a game where the character they're playing as isn't the leader, and has to follow orders (with their choice on how they want to execute the orders, and possibly to pass the mission to someone else instead).
This is kind of what Shepard in the ME series does, isn't it? Sure (s)he's the Commander of the ship, but Shepard takes orders from the Alliance, the Council, and TIM through out the games, but (s)he the one who decides how to do those missions out in the field. No matter what Shepard has to do the missions ordered by her/his boss.

Anyway, for me the player character does have to be the most important character in the game. They don't have to be the best at what they do or necessarily the leader of the group, but there has to be something about them that makes them worth being the playable character more so than anyone else. I don't like feeling that the character I'm playing is expendable, or just tagging along. In short, I don't want to be a Red Shirt or the supporting cast. For Example, I don't mind playing as Robin instead of Batman so long as it's a Robin-centric story and he isn't just side kicking with Batman. Otherwise I want to be Batman.

But like everyone else has been saying: You can't please everyone and there are probably a lot of people out there interested in the idea you have in mind. If it interests you then it definitely interests someone else, so go for it.

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Re: Should the player character always be the most important

#17 Post by ThisIsNoName » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:53 pm

Sorry if my responses kind of suck. I'm kind of new to forum etiquette, and it's hard to know what you should respond to and what you shouldn't, etc.

I think the thing that really bugs me about the Mass Effect series is that Shepherd is generally considered to be the most important person in the galaxy, even though the only thing that really sets him/her apart is the fact that s/he was sent on the mission that set the story off, and was the person to be revived by Cerberus. It seems like Shepherd is only defined by the surrounding events, and yet no one questions his/her judgment.

The story that I want to tell is like if Mass Effect focused on the team as a whole, with Shepherd just being the viewpoint character. Shepherd would still have to work hard to fill their roll in the team, but one team member doesn't overshadow the other (a bit like the A-Team).

@LVER I haven't read or seen much of Fairytail, but from what I have seen, it seems like a pretty good analogy for the story I want. I especially like how Lucy starts out as the observer (or even fangirl) of how awesome everyone else is, and eventually gets to be another member who contributes to the team. That's almost exactly what I want in my story, albeit with a much smaller crew.

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Re: Should the player character always be the most important

#18 Post by papillon » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:59 pm

One thing that's sort of interesting about FF12 is the way they play with who the protagonist is (I hear that bringing this up can cause flamewars :) ).

The Plucky Kid killing rats early on is definitely not the amazing chosen one who will shatter the world, though (at least not until he gets his own spinoffs).

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Re: Should the player character always be the most important

#19 Post by LVUER » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:22 am

In FFXII, the protagonist was supposedly Basch but then changed to Vaan... If Basch the MC, then we will have a strong-and-good leader protagonist type. By changing it to Vaan, we get a normal kid turned great hero, just like this thread want it, no?
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Re: Should the player character always be the most important

#20 Post by papillon » Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:40 pm

Except that by halfway through the story Vaan is shrugging and saying that he's just along for the ride, then running off to play on the beach while the great heroes talk about what to do next. :) He's not a stock kid-with-big-destiny (until the spinoffs), he's a kid who gets caught up in the activities of people with big destinies.

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Re: Should the player character always be the most important

#21 Post by Applegate » Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:01 pm

Personally, I consider FF12 to be the story of Asche, given how she's the one with the magic sword and whose struggle to save her kingdom is actually the focal point of the story. Vaan is just there to fill the chest-revealing pretty-boy quota.

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Re: Should the player character always be the most important

#22 Post by sciencewarrior » Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:49 am

ThisIsNoName, I think I didn't actually answer your question, so here it goes: it is perfectly fine for the player character not to be the most important person in the world, or even in a small group, as long as it doesn't cheapen their achievements. If, through a combination of unique abilities and circumstances, they can achieve a meaningful goal that couldn't be accomplished by another character, then I don't see anything wrong with it.
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Re: Should the player character always be the most important

#23 Post by Kura » Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:11 pm

There's a distinction to be made here--being the most important character to the player and being the most important character within their setting. You were asking more about the second one, I think?

It's probably true that you want the main character to be the most important to the player--as in, they should resonate with the player and the player should really care about that character.

I don't see any reason they need to be the most important in their setting, though. I'm going to care about the main character's personal goals more than their reputation among other characters. If "success" in this game means that the protagonist is achieving their personal goals, even if the other characters are still more respected/admired by other people in their world, I wouldn't mind. The only thing you need to watch for is that becoming recognized as a hero is sort of a default goal, so you'd need to really make it clear that your protagonist has other aims.
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