Wednesday, June 17, 2015

On Faith and Autonomy

Now Playing: Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL) - Brothers in Arms (Mad Max: Fury Road OST)

Quick, random, rambling post. I was going to start the next weekly challenge with it, but it got a tad longer than I had originally planned. Which is an apt way to describe most of my projects, tbh.

(On Friday there might be some updates on Vanguard's Exodus. IDK yet. A part of me doesn't want to give any updates on VE because I don't want to jinx it. So if I can't say anything then, I'll just say now: so far so good.)

Today's a weird day, yo. Exactly a year ago I finished the first draft of Millennium Girl, and though there was some initial editing and rereading over the following months, I've largely left that manuscript alone as I try and complete another book. But even while drafting I can't help but think of the ways I'll be revising.

So in between trying to finish one book, thinking about another one, attempting to learn to drive, and job applications--E3 has been pretty distracting. I find myself more and more invested in the upcoming games and after a few days of fangirling, I've started thinking about video game writing a lot...

As much as I love video games, I don't have a first clue as to how one manages to become a creator rather than just a consumer, and I don't think I'd be able to properly divide my efforts into both the publishing and video game industries. So I'll stick to novels, as they've been my love for a while longer than gaming has.

But I'm still very much invested in the behind the scenes stuff, and there's something that I never realized. Despite how much I love the Tomb Raider reboot, I never knew it was written by a woman, Rhianna Pratchett. I also never knew that she wrote the first Mirror's Edge game as well as Heavenly Sword, both of which have writing I don't particularly hold in high regard. (But A for effort!)

In fact, with the announcement of Mirror's Edge Catalyst, I realized how little I'd been keeping up with news about that franchise. I found out recently the majority of gamers and critics agreed that it wasn't so great with the writing--story's kind of bland, and Faith, as a person, is even blander. (Not many people liked the comic book cutscenes either...and neither did I, which is why I haven't replayed the game).

Rhianna Pratchett wasn't asked back to write Catalyst, and she admitted on Twitter it was probably because the story in the first Mirror's Edge wasn't well received. I find it kind of sad because I loved Tomb Raider--it's not like Pratchett isn't talented--yet I also have to agree with the majority of critics.

The weird thing is, I think Faith would be considered an incredible character in any other medium. A woman (who's not white!) who leads her own story, makes decisions, pushes on from point A to B, has complex, close relationships with other women, has her own arc and backstory, and is always making choices. But in the video game industry, Faith is better as a concept. For one thing, she's not a middle-aged white guy with stubble. And two, as a woman, she's not oversexualized.

But video game characters are almost always the master's of their own destiny. They have to move and they have to do things because that's just how the medium maps out. It's not like in films or books where sometimes stuff just happens to characters rather than because of them. (And that's never well-received. At least, in my opinion. Passive characters suck).

So if video game heroes are inherently active protagonists, they have to do even more to be interesting.

The reason why I'm bringing this up is because I've seen so many writers (of books) be proud of the fact that stuff is "always happening" in their novels or that their characters are always making choices. And it's not unwarranted per-say, because there are a lot of terrible books where characters do nothing and want nothing and don't develop into anything...

But you know...that's kind of like bragging that you know how to use apostrophes. It should be the default, not the accomplishment.

It's making me reconsider slightly the way I should approach developing my own characters, and how I should define them.

P.S: Btw, speaking of E3, I need to get this off my chest:

I am finding it impossible to watch a Phantom Pain trailer without raging out. Every time I catch half a second footage of Quiet I want to start screaming: YOU ARE ON THE DESERT, WOMAN. IN A COMBAT ZONE. PUT SOME PANTS ON. AND A SHIRT. AND SOME ACTUAL KEVLAR. HELL, YOU CALL THAT COMBAT-READY UNDERWEAR?

Fucking piece of shit goddamn industry *Grumble grumble*.

Honestly, she's kind of a reminder why I'll end up pre-ordering Mirror's Edge Catalyst even if turns out the writing turned even more to shit. Properly dressed female characters are infinitely more interesting to me than a HALF-NAKED SNIPER ON A BIKINI TOP, THONG, AND RIPPED TIGHTS. In fact...that bikini top doesn't even look properly fitted. If she remotely runs five feet, that shit's gonna come undone. Which is fine in a porno, NOT IN A MILITARY OPERATION.


Yeah, I don't care that Kojima swears up and down that it's justified. So annoyed >:(

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