Games Inbox: Do video game heroes need to be likeable?

I only ever played the third God Of War and only lasted a couple of hours with it before jacking it in. It wasn’t the fact that I found Kratos to be such a foul protagonist that turned me off from the game, rather that I felt insulted to be playing something that had been created by a group of people that thought this type of thing was an acceptable form of mainstream entertainment.

The whole debacle was a steaming pile of ill-advised junk. It wasn’t the fact I found their depictions of violence, gender, and sexuality offensive – rather the fact that (it felt to me at least) that this is what they thought gamers would get off on. That this was the type of stuff that excited us, that we believed in.

I think it was the final game that confirmed my growing feelings that triple-A American-developed games had decided on a gamer stereotype that I just didn’t fit into. The whole thing felt so crass, immature, and manipulative in its desire to pander to (a potentially) incorrect view of its audience that it made me doubly wary of all mainstream games for quite some time.

So yeah, Kratos may have been seen as a liability in these more enlightened times but he was only a figurehead of a whole series of games whose design ethos was much more deplorable and sinister than this one note character could ever be.
Matthew



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