News: Characters in videogames rely too heavily on stereotypes, says Mirror’s Edge writer Rhianna Pratchett, as she argues that games need more characters like Breaking Bad’s Walter White.
Videogame characters are a bit rubbish. It’s true, they are! Name me six that didn’t suck. Off the top of my head I can think of five, and most of them were in the same games.
Perhaps this is because videogame characters tend to rely so heavily on identifiable tropes, cliché and stereotype. Speaking to Mirror’s Edge writer Rhianna Pratchett, we asked if she felt the same way.
“Visual stereotypes, certainly,” she said. Is this more the case for female characters than male ones? “The same goes for male characters, as well,” she said.
Pratchett – whose father, Terry, is quite famous for writing a bunch of excellent novels – ran down the checklist that male videogame characters tend to tick off. “White, short-to-medium-length brown hair, medium/muscular build, bit of stubble, gravelly voice optional,” she said.
“When compared to the most popular TV shows, the industry is ridiculously pedestrian when it comes to character creation. We need our Walter White, our Luther or our Tyrion Lannister.”
You should totally be watching Breaking Bad, but in case you’re not: Walter White was a high school chemistry teacher who decided to get involved in the manufacture of illicit drugs, in order to leave money for his family after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Over the course of several seasons of the excellent drama series, he became increasingly unhinged, as he wormed his way deeper into organised crime. He’s an unlikely anti-hero who’s spawned, among other things, a wonderfully silly Tumblr of catchphrase comic strips.
Playing as Walter White in a videogame would be quite the thing. In fact, imagining Mirror’s Edge with Walter White in it leads to all manner of crazy ideas. STAY OUT OF MY TERRITORY.