Lit Ignorance is Bias: The Diversity Manifesto

Discussion in 'Literature' started by CooperTFN, Sep 2, 2012.

  1. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    I would rank it just below Warcraft 4 ever getting made. ;)
  2. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    What if their was a tonal shift away fro science fantasy toward science fiction?

    look at the young franchise Mass Effect, It has a pretty diverse cast of characters, sexes and human backgrounds.
    Or maybe Delrey needs to higher Peter David.
  3. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    I don't think a change of tone or genre would really do anything to help diversity, at least on its own. Science fiction can just as easily be bigoted (*coughcough Orson Scott Card). I absolutely agree with the Peter David part, though.
  4. Skaddix Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2012
    star 4
    Funny enough Card does a good job on the racial/ethnic front.

    As for Mass Effect: The third game was a travesty
  5. Reveen Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2012
    star 3
    Yeah, Garrus Vakarian proves that "aliens can't be identified with!" argument is complete crap. Mass Effect in general is pretty good with treating aliens as people instead of quirky sidekicks or cartoon characters.

    To be fair though, I wonder how much of the treatment of aliens in the EU has to do with decades of using that same species as archetype shorthands. Like, Bothans? Spy! Rodian? Thug! Twi'lek? Hot! Even when a writer introduces a character who doesn't fit the archetype (and isn't a Jedi) it might still feel tokenesque because we're used to writers using these archetypes.

    I wonder how things would change if writers stopped using these guys entirely and made up some new species from scratch, or used obscure races who don't have a clear "characterization".
  6. Skaddix Force Ghost

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    Feb 3, 2012
    star 4
    Really pretty sure I have complained about the clones looking to white before. Although might not have been here.

    Also annoyed by these New Mandos.

    Might also be a problem of too many aliens
    Last edited by Skaddix, Mar 14, 2013
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  7. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    I could dispute that all day. In fact, I believe the first one is the weakest in the writing department. Most likely because it's the heaviest on Karpyshyn writing.

    But I won't get into that. I will say, however, on the diversity front, ME3 handled gay romances exceedingly well.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Mar 14, 2013
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  8. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    And I'm very surprised at the amount of likes that post is getting. Thought I was in the minority liking ME3 [face_hypnotized]
  9. Reveen Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2012
    star 3
    Nah, I'd say guys who hated the ending enough that it ruined the entire game for them were the minority, a loud one at that.

    I agree with the first game having the weakest writing, the story felt like it was too mired in video game plot progression and the party members weren't involved in the story enough for me.
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  10. Skaddix Force Ghost

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    Feb 3, 2012
    star 4
    Meh I think they did a crap job on Fem Shep Romances for the most part in MS3.
  11. instantdeath Force Ghost

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    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    This is particularly true with Tali, I think. For all intents and purposes, she's a walking history book. She didn't really have any further significance. I love ME1, but I definitely don't agree with some in the fanbase that believe it was Bioware's last good game before they "sold out". ME2 certainly took a more cinematic approach, but I'd argue that its high points are better written than ME1's high points.

    To tie this back into the topic, though, I do believe the subject alien identification is a good one. This is something that I personally feel the ME series handles very well. The aliens are different, strange in some ways, have certain limitations and strengths that humans don't have, different views of life, and all of these things are acknowledged, but they don't actually serve as an obstacle. They're barriers, in a sense, but barriers that are very easy to bypass; Garrus and Tali are certainly popular enough to prove that. That's something I don't feel we see enough in Star Wars. Aliens aren't just humans in funny masks. Their differences should be acknowledged, and if possible, used in the story. Stackpole obviously gets some criticism on this board, but I feel he does a decent job at this, like with Ooryl.

    So, more exploration of aliens please. Learning to understand them is part of the fun in science fiction in general, not an obstacle.

    After seeing the youtube videos for the Citadel content, oddly enough my favorite romance of not only Femshep, but the entire game... is Thane Krios.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Mar 14, 2013
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  12. Mechalich Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2010
    star 4
    This has a lot to do with differences in casting methodology between voice acting and physical acting, at least in the US. With the general exception of big-budget movies (which often have celebrity casts) voice acting is handled by a completely different set of people, and via a different set of methods (VAs have voice agents, for instance). The US conventional VA world is very, very insular with a small number of people handling tons of roles - listen closely and you'll here VAs with distinctive voices, such as Nika Futterman (Ventress in TCW) all the time.

    So when they did the principal casting for TCW, they went out and cast a bunch of Voice Actors and most likely didn't approach any of the physical actors at all.
  13. Skaddix Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2012
    star 4
    Yeah VA has a pretty short list of go to people.
  14. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    I could give you a list of contact info for like 300 VA's tomorrow and I'm not even in the industry(Though I am in the convention planning business a little, thus the list :p). These guys and gals are not hard to find at all. Total VA's working is likely a way smaller number than say total actors working in the USA of course but there is not way TCW, and their claimed attempts at providing a cinematic experience for their viewers, should have had any issues with finding talent.

    In the case of TCW I think it was more of a situation of them not wanting to be bothered with making a huge effort. It was much easier for them to hire Phil Lamar and tell him he was going to voice 13 different characters, than actually try and get different voice actors for a wider variety of their roles on the show.

    It is of course common for VA's to do multiple roles but TCW took that too an extreme.
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  15. Skaddix Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2012
    star 4
    When I say short list I am talking about big names like the aforementioned Phil Lamar

    But oh well the Clone Wars is not long for this world.
  16. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    Well, I certainly liked the asari (Liara T'Soni in particular).

    Yes, the Mass Effect trilogy did a very good job on the diversity front, though to be honest there aren't quite enough "bad" personalities among the alien species to be truly balanced. The large majority of the *******s in those games were human, and often cartoonishly so.

    I'm one of those folks who thought that the ending of Mass Effect 3 ruined the game as a whole; I would go so far as to say that it ruined the entire trilogy. To be honest, I have yet to actually talk to someone who wasn't at least "a bit miffed" at the conclusion (even with the EC, we still only got A, B and C "bespoke" endings—making liars out of Mac and Casey). The beginning was also pretty weak, and committed the cardinal sin of throwing you, unprepared by exposition and a sampling of gameplay (i.e., a tutorial instance), into the lion pit to face hordes of Reaper forces.

    Aside from those issues and a few others (broken journal, too much auto-dialogue, no neutral dialogue path), the final installment had some truly brilliant moments and was overall a very rewarding experience...up until the last ten minutes (or the last hour, if you want to get nit-picky).
  17. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Yeah, but those were literally phoned in. The counterpoint would be Boss, where they hired him to come in and voice a clone . . . and he was great.
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  18. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

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    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    Not to mention Morrison did the Jango voicework in the Bounty Hunter video game.
    So? Speaking of Phil LaMarr, just look at Futurama and all the voices about 5 actors do. It's not about not putting effort, it's the fact that in most animated shows it can be difficult to pick out which characters are actually voiced by the same person. Though, it is sometimes obvious when Baker voices a non-clone.
  19. MistrX Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2006
    star 4
    I still would like to hear Tem voicing multiple clones interacting with each other, see what kind of varying personalities he can give them the way Baker does.

    Not so sure about that. It seems that most animated shows get a cast that they really like and bring those people back for multiple roles. I don't think TCW is really an exception in that case.

    I didn't play the game until the new endings were released and I'm glad I did. Though I think it's a bit of an overreaction that the original bad endings take away from what was a pretty wonderful and epic game leading up to it. That's just me, though.
    There was also the D ending in the added DLC, too.
  20. Zorrixor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    I never had a problem with the endings personally... old or new ones... I've certainly seen worse, and I never felt the endings even in classics like Baldur's Gate ever offered much more in the way of options than the EC ultimately does. Not like BioWare were ever going to give people 10 entirely different Metal Gear Solid-length cinematics that were all an hour long.

    Anyway, getting back to @instantdeath's original point: I definitely agree that Mass Effect has done better at using alien diversity than Star Wars. To get all literary and going citing Mikhail Bakhtin, I've always enjoyed the way aliens can operate to defamiliarise the reader, which if used properly can constructively draw attention to particular issues that otherwise would easily get forgotten by most readers (see Cooper's poll about Goran and Medrit and how many people didn't even realise at all).

    Though it's a shame Mass Effect also committed an own goal by only making an entire race of super hot lesbians that will sleep with anyone, rather than actually having any internal Asari diversity apart from Matriarch Benezia. It'd have worked better had they not simply copy and pasted Liara's model the whole time and have also included Asari who looked differently, so that they weren't all just playing into the male fanboy's "OMG LESBIAN! =P~" fetish.
    Last edited by Zorrixor, Mar 15, 2013
  21. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    Agreed about the own goal. The only really notably different asari character model aside from Benezia ("boing!") was Samara ("boing! boing!") who pretty much embodies the concept of the MILF—it's kind of sad, really, but her character is so well-done (in the second game, at least) that this lapse into another stereotype can mostly be forgiven.

    Hell, they didn't even portray female turians until the last ME3 DLC (the Omega one, which you had to pay to get) for crying out loud. Lame excuses for why they hadn't before, such as "insufficient disk space" and the like, were floated about the forum with semi-official credibility. And guess who they paired her up with as a "character backstory" romantic interest...
  22. Gorefiend Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    There are quite a few kind of Asari that show up personality wise actually; especially the Asari warriors, or law enforcement and people like Aria or Morinth are outright scary and fanatical, whilst the Asari corporate drones tend to be deeply unpleasant people. Also you have once like that Asari Krogan offspring that is a barkeeper with a very Krogan like attitude. Though the most pleasant thing about the Asari is that they are kind of the space elves (like those bloody Mimbari on B5), but actually come in a wide range of personalities, attitudes and believes like any race should.
    PS: If anything they are Bisexuell ;)
  23. Reveen Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 2012
    star 3
    There was this overheard bit in the second that implied some... things about Asari.



    It would be a pretty cool twist if this were to be taken at face value. That if the Asari were actually genderless and had a psychic or pheromone thing going on that made other species perceive them to be attractive. It would have made for interesting themes on sexuality and gender dynamics, but no, they're space elf lesbians. It just seems so contrived, especially since I think it was stated that the only species to have somewhat convergent evolution with humans are the Quarians, who are obviously very different from us.
  24. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    I never even heard of parthogenesis till i read up on the Asari. Then I was doubly shocked that some species of lizards do it!
  25. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    I honestly felt the original endings had a very fascinating overall premise, they just weren't executed anywhere near a satisfactory level. The EC does go a long way towards alleviating some of my original complaints, though. I'm happy with them. ME2 is definitely my favorite in the series, but I believe ME3 might have the best individual scenes in the series.

    @Zorrixor You know, in theory, I should hate the asari, for all the reasons you mentioned. I have to say, however, I think they're actually a good example on how a dumb concept can come off as significantly less dumb if it's executed well. I found that the asari, particularly in ME3, really outgrew the original way many fans perceived them, the "space lesbian" race. I like the overall premise that gender is something that does not apply to all sentient species, the way it doesn't apply to all species on Earth, but making them look exactly like humans defeated the idea to some extent.

    Speaking of Samara, I found her scene in the Citadel DLC to be extremely well done.
    Last edited by instantdeath, Mar 15, 2013