Silent charecter idea

Oddball

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A silent hero that's silent cause they had throat cancer before the story began, and had to have their vocal cords removed
 

Mikachip

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That's actually really interesting. I think another play on the concept would be that the hero got their voice removed by magic of some sort (Little Mermaid style) and the player at first thought they're just silent because that's how the game is, but as the story progress, the hero gets their voice slowly restored. Maybe by doing good deeds? I dunno. Could be interesting. I like the fact that the hero is silent because of the plot and not just for convenience.
 

kirbwarrior

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My favorite is the retroactively mute Jak from Jak and Daxter (he's a silent protagonist in the first game, but in the second he gets a voice and they blatantly play it up and make it clear he was mute).

More seriously, I definitely like the idea. A similar idea I've used was a near lethal blow when the MC tried to save someone. MC comes to at the beginning of the game with a nasty cut on their throat.
 

Wavelength

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Not judging the idea as good or bad, but most games (especially most fantasy games) stay away from depicting real-life diseases, except for diseases that had basically been eradicated by the 1900s.

The main reason for this, I think, is that it could be an unexpected trigger to players and if they or people they love are dealing with cancer, or have lost loved ones to cancer, it can take them straight out of the fun and fantasy of the game and replace it with unpleasant real-life anxiety.

Unless you as the game designer really want to explore the feelings of pain and anxiety that come from serious disease like cancer, depicting it ends up running counter to the fun game experience you want to offer. It doesn't work as a backstory explanation. It's for this reason that most games tend to use made-up diseases if there's disease mentioned in the game at all, and usually those made-up diseases have easy solutions like "find a magical herb growing on the dangerous mountain over there".

Other reasons include that it can be a little hard to depict someone with such a disease in a believable, full way, and that if it's a modern disease (such as cancer, which has obviously always been around but was always confused for other ailments until a couple centuries ago) it can be anachronistic against the historical setting or the technological level of the fantasy world.

With all that said, I think there's definitely room in the gaming landscape for more realistic, character-centric games to explore the kind of pain and suffering that disease brings people - if done by a strong storyteller who has a message they want to give people.
 

FirestormNeos

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"Throat Cancer" might be a weirdly specific reason for a character being silent, but you're definitely going somewhere with the "Vocal Chords were removed" idea.

It's for this reason that most games tend to use made-up diseases if there's disease mentioned in the game at all, and usually those made-up diseases have easy solutions like "find a magical herb growing on the dangerous mountain over there".
Zombie genre, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Sonic Adventure 2 be like
images
 

overlordmikey

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"Throat Cancer" might be a weirdly specific reason for a character being silent, but you're definitely going somewhere with the "Vocal Chords were removed" idea.


Zombie genre, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and Sonic Adventure 2 be like
images
You give one little girl an immunity deficiency in a Sonic game and everyone thinks they're a ready for anything. :D

But ya know, it all depends on handling. Make sure you understand something at least a little before you use it as a plot point is all. :) Particularly if it's for a major character you'll be focusing on a lot.
 

Oddball

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You give one little girl an immunity deficiency in a Sonic game and everyone thinks they're a ready for anything. :D

But ya know, it all depends on handling. Make sure you understand something at least a little before you use it as a plot point is all. :) Particularly if it's for a major character you'll be focusing on a lot.
Yes. I'm thinking of making a charecter who had a bunch of experiments (magical, physical, mechanical and chemical) done on them before the story began, and part of the results of those experiments besides being a "failed" prototype, was uncontrolable growth in their throat that has to be removed in an operation early in the game (not showing the operation, just before and right after)
 

kirbwarrior

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Yes. I'm thinking of making a charecter who had a bunch of experiments (magical, physical, mechanical and chemical) done on them before the story began, and part of the results of those experiments besides being a "failed" prototype, was uncontrolable growth in their throat that has to be removed in an operation early in the game (not showing the operation, just before and right after)
If you want a less serious approach, that growth could be something that was kept because it changed the vocal cords into letting you breathe fire and thus makes it nearly impossible to speak.
 

AfroKat

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IMO Silent Protags are boring. Self Inserts aren't good. Namely because every interaction is always one-sided, romance is thrown out the window, and someone else has to do all the talking for you. Which makes you wonder, Why aren't they the MC?
 

Oddball

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IMO Silent Protags are boring. Self Inserts aren't good. Namely because every interaction is always one-sided, romance is thrown out the window, and someone else has to do all the talking for you. Which makes you wonder, Why aren't they the MC?
Correction. The way silent protagonists are handled to date are boring. There are a number of spins you can put on it that make it interesting. here are a few

1. A charecter that simply can't/won't speak, but their thoughts and internal dialouge are shown
2. A charecter that wasn't silent at the beginning of the game
3. A charecter that communicates through writing/drawing/sign language/projecting images
4. A charecter that is silent cause they don't understand the language, but you can see a clear personality their

I could go on and on with examples
 

overlordmikey

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Correction. The way silent protagonists are handled to date are boring. There are a number of spins you can put on it that make it interesting. here are a few

1. A charecter that simply can't/won't speak, but their thoughts and internal dialouge are shown
2. A charecter that wasn't silent at the beginning of the game
3. A charecter that communicates through writing/drawing/sign language/projecting images
4. A charecter that is silent cause they don't understand the language, but you can see a clear personality their

I could go on and on with examples
Super Mario: Legend of the Seven Stars did a silent protag great. Mario would literally pantomime everything!

That said, I had a game idea using fairy tales where you play a version of the Princess who has her voice taken after her brothers are turned into birds by her witch step mother - and in that you get a case of version 1 and 2. It leads to a case of her trying/learning to communicate with the other characters well they have a bad habit of talking over her and not listening - in part because she can't speak and in part because they're distracted by their own tales.

It's like one of those sweet tales of self-actualization - I even considered her not getting her voice back at the end to show that she never needed it to be heard - she just needed confidence in herself and her ideas.
 

kirbwarrior

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Super Mario: Legend of the Seven Stars did a silent protag great. Mario would literally pantomime everything!
I think the big thing for silent protagonists is you want one of the following;
A) A strong personality. Effectively, this is "show, don't tell". Mario in SMRPG was 100% that, even when he wasn't pantomiming. This doesn't have to be a "deep" personality (and it's pretty hard to have a deep one when the character's lines are implied or relayed by others).
B) A game with a laid-back story, a story that takes a back seat to the rest of the game, or a lack of story. Again, Mario fits here, the story doesn't ever take itself too seriously, and non-rpg mario games don't really have a story, they have a plot string at best.

For non-mario examples, I feel like Crono and some newer Draqon Quest games do a good job of showing off personality well. And the Dragon Quest Builder series even shows it in how npcs react. With B, the older Dragon Quest games do this (DW1 is literally "go save princess, then defeat villain"), but I also remember a handful of rpgs I've played in RPG Maker that didn't try to focus hard on a story and the point was just to play.

As for a game that fails at this, Golden is neither consistent with who is silent (it changes from game to game) or even if they are silent (they might have a few lines for no reason through the game and I believe talk during the credits). Then again, that's a series that has three times as many words as it needs, so maybe a silent protagonist stopped that from being four...
 

Wavelength

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Somewhat askew to the other stuff being discussed, but just want to submit that The Dragon Prince handles a mute (non-main-character) protagonist really well. Sometimes one of her longtime trusted friends "translates" for her, but just as often she gets her point across with her actions and posture rather than needing anyone to speak in her stead.
 

Marquise*

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Interesting character. You got to make the character every move count and carry his means of communication very intense.
 

Oddball

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Somewhat askew to the other stuff being discussed, but just want to submit that The Dragon Prince handles a mute (non-main-character) protagonist really well. Sometimes one of her longtime trusted friends "translates" for her, but just as often she gets her point across with her actions and posture rather than needing anyone to speak in her stead.
nah. thats completley on topic
 

User636

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I'm a little iffy on the throat cancer angle, but having a legitimate reason for why the titular silent hero is silent would make for a nice change of pace.
 

Willibab

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Maybe he/she almost got their throat cut or something instead? Could be part of the story to find the person who did :p Or a silence curse?:p There prolly was cancer back in medieval time (no idea really) but i instantly think modern times/real life when i hear the word. Not sure about others.
 

overlordmikey

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Maybe he/she almost got their throat cut or something instead? Could be part of the story to find the person who did :p Or a silence curse?:p There prolly was cancer back in medieval time (no idea really) but i instantly think modern times/real life when i hear the word. Not sure about others.
Yeah, cancer was a thing. But it does have a modern feel to it doesn't it.
 

Oddball

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Yeah, cancer was a thing. But it does have a modern feel to it doesn't it.
I think that's because it was often said to be other things, and not really understood until microscopes were invented and cells were discovered
 

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