Wednesday, October 21, 2009


So, today I procrastinated a bit: I did some website work, some scripting, and some lounging. I really need to get some momentum going on the next phase of animation, however, so I will be getting into that right after this post.

BUT, I was also thinking about a question that may seem odd at first: why are there so many humans in video games? Particularly, I've been thinking about the MMO market. I don't feel that the possibilities for style and world concept are being pushed far enough, and humans are one of the biggest limiting factors. I understand that marketability often directs these decisions, and there's evidence to support the human-PC: despite all of the unique, flavorful races in Wow (like Tauren, Orc, Gobbo, etc.), human is still the most popular (followed closely by undead and blood elves... thanks Meta [ link]).

I attribute this to humanity's status as the "non-decision," the default, the neutral. But really, defaults and neutrals are something I would hope to avoid when creating an original setting. True, you need contrast to make the bizarre seem bizarre: A monster is only as hideous as the hero is beautiful. This does not mean, however, that the world is only as interesting as your PC is boring. Would Little Big Planet have been better with Poser models standing in for the Sackboys? Sackboy is the heart of that game's charm. There are plenty of design options to create a believable PC that allows for a lot of diversity, wonder, and delicious flavor in the rest of the world.

Given a hypothetical realm where I could make any MMO I wanted, I might make something like this. Kobolds Ate My Baby! Super Deluxx Edition, coming from Dork Storm and 9th Level, is a simple, "Beer and Pretzels" style table top. Kobolds are adorable, flavorful, and rich with pre-established fantasy culture, so the world is really easy to step into. Play as a small, reptilian (or furry, depending on your view) creature trying to scavenge for supplies and food in a world much too big for you. Be selfish, stupid and fool-hearty! Die gruesomely a thousand times in the face of ridiculous odds! Doesn't that sound like fun?

I'm losing my original point. To summarize, I'd rather play something with some flavor than another cookie-cutter Knight-Valiant hero.

"I'm an avenger!"

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