Writer's Guild Weekly Challenge - Week #4 - blackheartwolf Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Writer's Guild Weekly Challenge - Week #4

Letdown is inevitable.  It's just the way the world works sometimes.

As such I had to be set for this, because unfortunately this week I was unable to get a blog done.  It's not that I didn't want to write, it's not that I didn't have the time. It's just that every time I sat down to really flesh out my thoughts they felt stale and really I can't write like that.

Even doing the editing process wouldn't have helped that one, but it is what it is...

Though I see a number of other people also really felt this and didn't take on the challenge this week either.

Again it can't be helped. As I said above, letdown is inevitable.  I wasn't sure how this was going to go and I made a note of it.  Still I do wish that people would have taken the time for it, because really the excuse of 'I edit as I write' is a bunch of garbage and everyone who has ever read a blog of theirs over after such knows it.

I know though, it's just how you write, but for fun let's take a look at a blog that was edited as it was written.

Obviously the only way to look at this is to pick a blog by me, so let's go back into my past and pull up something.  Something that while isn't bad that deserves a second look.  Something that the flaws might not be so obvious the first, or even second time around.

Something like this: Dear Devs, People are not Two Dimensional. - BlackHeartedWolf

I admit it, I am super critical of games. I know I am, and yet I will not sit here and apologize for that. You see because I am of the firm belief that games still have a long way to go. 

Yes we now have the technology to create beautiful worlds that last generation we never could have imagined. We have the ability to make characters pop against beautiful backgrounds and stylize everything out the backside till our eyes explode from sheer joy.

And yet only about 50% of characters in games actually are worth a ***.

The opening isn't bad.  I actually don't mind it compared to a lot of openings (that is where I struggle a lot usually just as a note) however there are still some things I don't like.  In particular the third sentence and the way it works with the second I find to be very problematic.  It just doesn't feel smooth, and it stops short.  Personally I think just changing the ending of it from "still have a long way to go" to "haven't mastered the art of characterization" would focus it more.  This then would work well with the idea of the second paragraph.  Also I would change "characters" to "character models" for further contrast between what I am talking about between the two paragraphs.

Seriously think about it. I mean really think about it. When was the last time you saw a character who was really made you feel for them. Granted games are getting better and even I the consummate downer can name my fair share. But the issue is that For every John Marston there is a Soap. I mean honestly, why is it that most games still seem to be unable to grasp what makes a good character?

I mean how often do I have to boot up the latest JRPG and immediately start picking out which character is the quiet loner, the aloof one, the whiny kid, the overt loudmouth? Why is it that we can not seem to break these molds? (Oh and western RPGs are on notice too... seriously Mass Effect you have so much potential, so please use it on all of your characters. Really it was so disappointing to have an Asari in ME2 and then realize that she has the personality of a wooden block. And don't get me started on your DLC characters... 

First thing I notice is that I missed a question mark.  Stupid mistake, but that is why you're supposed to edit.  The real issue is the second and third sentences which are just awkwardly written. I think just a semicolon and a comma could make the two sentences into one and make it flow better. Something like "Granted games are getting better than they were before; and even I as a the consummate downer can name a fair share of good characters, but the issue still is that for every John Marston that gaming produces we get a Soap McTavish."  I think that sounds a lot better and makes it more clear as to what I am saying.

I will say that I like the second paragraph a lot, but the parentheses are unnecessary.  I think I must have realized that halfway through as there is no closed part to the parentheses.  I also should have ended it with just talking about the asari, not the DLC characters.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking for these huge steps to take us to the pinnacle of storytelling. I'm asking for developers to finally admit that archetypes suck for making good characters. No real people are archetypes. People are complex, unique, and most of all deep. Every person has depth. Nobody goes through life and does things just because they feel like it, so please stop treating characters in games like they do.

I mean honestly look at any given shooter over the last five years. None of the characters are worth a cent. They all fit into one of a few limited personalities and that's it. Think Modern Warfare specifically. In game there is nothing to actually attach you to any of the characters no matter how many people they kill off right in front of you. With maybe the exception in the first one where the chopper goes down none of the other deaths were memorable at all. The first one in two barely even registered as it was so out of left field it felt fake. I mean we played as the guy for all of five minutes, and even then they gave you nothing about him. Now all of a sudden I'm supposed to be shocked when he's murdered?
 

I think this argument is fairly weak.  Neither paragraph does that good of a good job showing off my viewpoint.  In the first paragraph I should have talked about reasoning and thought behind the actions of well done characters would have been better.  Also I should have avoided talking about archetypes as really there are reasons that they exist.  People are still based off archetypes no matter how complex they are.

I think that the example from MW2 is good though.  Personally I thought that was an awful sequence entirely and just didn't fit in reality at all.  I mean seriously, you have an undercover agent who is about to do a terrorist attack, and you're telling me that you don't get this info at all?  Sorry, but I don't believe it.  I should have added that in there, but I would have to type it out fully again to really see.

Again I'm not asking for their life story, but I'd like to see more of these characters done like Parker from the original Red Faction, or even Bishop from Rainbow Six. These characters had feeling, story and emotion to them. They were not just shells, they felt like actual people. When things happened they reacted as though they were real people. They didn't just go along with it just because they were bored or something, they made a real choice and acted on it.

Make me feel for the character, make me want to care. Make more Doms and less Sevs. Make it so that when that character makes a tough choice I can empathize with that and I feel how heavy it weighed on him/her. Because that is what makes a great character, and that is what games need more of 

So please, from the bottom of my heart. Kill Duke, bury Master Chief, and instead hold up characters like Noble Six and GLaDOS. Because that is the next step for gaming.

The ending to this blog though really is the best part of it all.  I have to say, it is this here that I am most impressed with.  Even coming back to it again I realize just how good it was.  In particular the first paragraph is just amazing and really sets up the ending nicely.  All that being said, I wish I used other examples.  Duke and Master Chief are okay, but should have changed Noble Six.

You see, that's why we edit though.  Had I went back and taken a second look I could have written a blog that was 80x better than the one I posted.

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