The subject of NPC ethnicity in games

Discussion in 'Flamewars, Gripes and Complaints' started by Omnires, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. Omnires

    Omnires Well-Known Member

    I was in a debate with some friends about how different groups are shown in media. Namely, how is whitewashing still a thing in this age and how it is distorting people's world view? And while when we moved on to the topic of video games one of the things always I hated in games is how in a lot of them they act as if dark-skinned people don't exist or if they do exist they hold neither high social status or power in that game's world. And how that even if the devs may not be racist is the slightest, the simple fact that they lack any good powerful NPCs of color in their games gives off that idea. This not even counting things like negative stereotypes NPCs or how lack of options in things like hair styles for different ethnic groups (the sad reason why in make MMOs my male characters are bold is not because I like making them that way but because there are no good hair options for dark skinned people in many games).

    So what are your thoughts about ethnic diversity in games? Is there more that can be done to better them? In your option what are so good examples of games that done character diversity right? I know this a topic that many people try to avoid, but to make better games it is something that needs to be talked about.

    For those that don't.
    Whitewashing is a type of censorship and changing of history/reality to better fit with some false ideal.
    This video is about whitewashing in movies but the same can be said of many video games too.

    I'm not making this thread saying I fear this game is doing anything like this. I'm talking more about the game industry as a whole.
  2. Torgue_Joey

    Torgue_Joey Emberite -Death Reaper KAIJU 'SPLODER




    (some piece of sh*t of this sh*t may have sh*tty accuracy)
  3. Nunaden

    Nunaden Well-Known Member

    Well... fuck that! easiest way to get that outta the way: Create a non white chara that is pretty powerful in the RP section!!!! xD
  4. Torgue_Joey

    Torgue_Joey Emberite -Death Reaper KAIJU 'SPLODER

  5. Nunaden

    Nunaden Well-Known Member

    Wut? Am i discriminating whites? Yay!!!!!!!!
    One step closer to become a fucking savage monster!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Torgue_Joey likes this.
  6. ble003

    ble003 Active Member

    ember is supposed to be set in the future, so unless it's a plot-point humanity would probably either have the races we have now, or everyone is mixed, or anyone can look like whatever they want. as long as it makes sense in the setting, i'm completely for using ethnic appearances as a source of variety in character appearance and in order to represent. for historical settings, authenticity should take precedence. mixed-race american second world war military units, anyone? i think portraying historical people as having the same ethical norms as we have today is worse than the still iffy all-white main cast in a futuristic setting.

    this has given me some ideas actually:

    culture will likely become less tied to race in the future, so having, say, a black person acting, speaking and dressing like a present-day stereotype in a future setting would be extra silly. people acting like the stereotype for a specific planet, or having social or interest-based cultures makes much more sense.

    nth renaissance people; who emulate the people who emulated the people who [...] who emulate the people who emuleted ancient hellas in the 14-1700s.

    or an equivalent to punks that are distancing themselves from corporations at that time by buying as little as possible from them(everything is self-made or scavenged, have farms, share fabrication-facilities and produce weird specialized gear that they won't sell to corp employees, but some people resell).

    or people following a version of the baha'i faith with minor changes in a socially liberal direction(such as not caring about homosexuality) while retaining their core values, mission and thoughts on god.

    or people from one of the earliest colonies who stereotypically dislike non-medical body-modification, cannibalism, teleportation and all stimulant drugs.

    fantasy counterpart human cultures are a thing, but not everything really has to match. some parts of the differences in body, clothing, art and culture have to have appeared by coincidence rather than by giving some advantage, so there's little reason why a fantasy culture would't, say
    live in a misty; swampy area
    have african facial features with a light skin-tone and short, slight bodies
    wear primarily skin-and-sinew-clothing with calligraphy-inspired decorations
    and have a feudal system where the upper classes live in towers and communicate long-range by using flashing lights.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
    Nunaden and Omnires like this.
  7. Grummz

    Grummz Administrator Ember Dev

    Most people who know me, know that I am and Asian-American dev that does not care much for today's PC culture, safe spaces, and such. That's about all I'll say about that here. Everyone is entitled to a different opinion.

    Crixa, the universe where Em-8ER is set, is diverse. But our game budget lets us have 1 male and 1 female model. How much diversity we get out of that is really a factor of cost.

    This thread will probably be moved to the gripes section if it explodes. It's a hot topic that can easily wander off course.

  8. NitroMidgets

    NitroMidgets Tsi-Hu Hunter

    I hate threads like this. I have better shit to worry about.
    Kouyioue likes this.
  9. MajorChuah

    MajorChuah Member

    I'm Asian, doesn't seem to bother me. So what if everyone's white. Doesn't make a difference. Don't waste the devs' time with nonsense like this and let them work on cooler stuff like badass mega suits thingies.
  10. Omnires

    Omnires Well-Known Member

    I understand that and I was not talking about this game but the gaming industry as a whole. Games can have somewhat of a past as making different character models does cost money, although some people find it odd the default ethnicity for many games is white given that not all game devs are white. As I do study things like anthropology (the study of all things Human and what makes Humans... will Human) stuff like this pop up when I look over things like history, sociology, and psychology. Again I made this thread not about this game but more as means to see what other people think as I like to know the views and options of people who don't study this stuff. Be it a conscious or subconscious choice within the gaming industry as a whole, in the end, I personally feel the more people who are aware of some things the better the fantasy worlds in all media we can make. Some of the best games often have tackled subjects like equality (be it ethnicity, financial, and/or health) in unique ways, some subtle ways and others not so subtle ways but it is these aspects of a game's story that people will pick up on and relate too making that world of those games feel a little more real.

    You missing the point of this thread and it is about the gaming industry and media as a whole. Whether or not it is something you think about or agree with it is still a valid topic of debate that has affects in the real world as well as the world of gaming. Choosing to ignore topic like this your choice, but other people might not feel that way. In the real world actively dismissing topics is viewed as part of the problem by some people because it prevents the wheel of progress from moving forward. I'm not saying that is what you are doing, just point out how it might look to others. How things are and how the appear are two different things, but when patterns show up it raises some flags as something people might want to look into as part of data points.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
  11. ble003

    ble003 Active Member

    i don't think anyone expects to be able to play, say, someone grossly overweight or a hexapus with a human head. when it comes to ember this thread is more about either showing that the future is equal-opportunity, or why it isn't. faces and hairstyles like in firefall are enough for that, though maybe include some nonhuman skin-colors? it's the future, i can be pearleascent pale green if i want (despite appearances, orange isn't my favorite color; it's just what i have instead). ooh, purchased cosmetic: mood-ring skin! it changes color when you use emoticons.

    though now i kinda want to play a hexapus with a human head.
    Pandagnome and Omnires like this.
  12. SomeUnregPunk

    SomeUnregPunk Emberite

    Perhaps get around it by just letting people pick a color in a bank of colors.
    Sort of like how Warframe does it. Or like a rainbow slider that goes through all the colors.

    yeah I know diversity isn't just color but how they act but at this point in time I don't think you can really address that with your budget.
    NitroMidgets and Omnires like this.
  13. Rust took the interesting route of not allowing players to choose their appearance, but randomizing skin color. The way the individual players reacted to each other in game gave people a lot to think about. Watch this for more information:
    Pandagnome and Omnires like this.
  14. Omnires

    Omnires Well-Known Member

    It is things like that which help shows the power role playing and why it is common for a mediator to sometimes suggest the people role play as the other person they are in conflict with to see if they can come to some understanding. And is part of the reason social experiments need to be done to force people to see and understand the truth about something. By having people live for a few days as someone else it helps them to better know the hardships of people like that. Be it the social experiment to try and have rich people and publications live on minimum wage for a month or two. Or the social experiment to have sexist men be disguised as women for a few days. Or even the mush harder social experiment to do disguising people as members of another ethnicity (in the USA it is mostly a way to highlight things likes discrimination and white privilege).

    I'm one of the people who view games as both a tool to let people have fun but also as a tool to learn. In fact, believe it or not, playing and games is how most people learn things growing up even if they never fully understand or use the things they learned. Even simple childhood games like hide-and-seek were secretly teaching you two things, how to hunt for prey and how to avoid predators. Skills you may never use in modern everyday life but before people lived in big cities those was skills you needed for survival. Playing games, singing, and dancing are the oldest and easiest ways to teach people new things. After all, there is a reason why many fighting styles look like dances when people train and fight using them.
  15. Pandagnome

    Pandagnome Well-Known Member Happy Kaiju

    I personally like skins with a metallic look even non-metallic etc
    then to really customize it adding tattoos on top that might have a faint glow etc

    Some people don't want to be themselves in a game i think having a choice of whatever colour and styles
    left up to the player to come up with e.g. a purply blue character with one hair strand on their head with boobs for ears
  16. Torgue_Joey

    Torgue_Joey Emberite -Death Reaper KAIJU 'SPLODER

  17. Pandagnome

    Pandagnome Well-Known Member Happy Kaiju

    YESSSSSSSSSSS got to have some weirdness :D
  18. Omnires

    Omnires Well-Known Member

    Well given that within our own solar system there is about a 400-degree difference between sunlight and shadow on the Moon. Some people might want things like metallic skin just as a way to protect themselves from wild temperature changes and some forms of radiation.

    But you see here is the thing. Going by the culture of the game world, would people who are not pure human (people without cybernetic or genetic arguments) be seen as something as "other"?

    Games like Deus Ex does ask this question as part of the plot while showing what some of the socioeconomic and geopolitical drawbacks to such things are.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2016
    Mahdi likes this.
  19. Kouyioue

    Kouyioue Active Member

    Let's just say that superficially because we're the devs, we're ourselves. The industry isn't some caste exclusive status, anyone can make a videogame because the skillset isn't locked behind a privilege-wall(Think 'surgeon' or 'weapons manufacturer'). So make whatever you want. Want interesting characters? Design one :)

    The problem only exists because we bring it up.

    It's like going to shenzen for a vacation and complaining that there isn't enough brown people. Or bringing up the train noise in a railroad area neighborhood when it was never a problem before.

    It is what it is, and there are better things to worry about


    If Ember ends up with the New You stations from firefall, go absolutely nuts! ! If those things can change your gender in mere seconds, might as well have a colorwheel for skin and stuff. That's up to you xD
    Get kinky! ! Want elf-ears? New You ! ! ! Horns?? New you ! ! !

    (horns must be a living hell to design for... Single-Body-Model is a BeefJerky to learn)
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016
    Omnires and Torgue_Joey like this.
  20. Omnires

    Omnires Well-Known Member

    Well talking about Em-8er some of these questions should be asked as part of the story of that reality, even if it is just lore of the timeline that doesn't affect players because it happened a long ago and is no longer a problem. Things like culture matter because it gives you insight into what people value and are willing to fight for. It also gives you an idea of what people who reject that culture might do.

    As someone else once said, "The true measure of any culture is not in how it views itself nor in how it treats the people who are well off. But in how it views and treats the people who are on the lower end of the spectrum and on the fringes of society, as well as other cultures." In other words, if you really want to judge a culture or society take note of how they view and treat the poor as well as anyone who is viewed as an outsider (the "others" or "them" as opposed to "we" or "us" in the whole "us versus them" mindset).

    Compelling and rich world building in storytelling has a lot of different factors in it. It is all the small details that can make a big difference between a good story and a bad one. And really it is the small details that can change a story as much as the larger plot points. In all good media the devil is really in the details.

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016

Share This Page