on Feb 18, 2013
Back in my review of Rage, I talked about editing dialog down to the essentials. Ideally your dialog should always be delivering characterization, exposition, foreshadowing, establishing of goals, illuminating relationships between characters, and expressing the characters worldview or ideology. You can’t do all of those things at the same time, but doing only one makes for really bland dialog. Consider our exchange with Midea:
Alright, we can talk now but we shouldn’t take too long. They saw you come in here, so they’ll come looking for you if you take too long.
This went from a writer to a directer to a voice actor, and nobody thought to tighten it up a little? How does she know what the guards have seen and how they’ll respond? (Considering that you can either sneak, murder, or walk here.)
This is not a character. This is an exposition device and a questgiver. She knows all the things that the writers want you to know and has all the goals the writers want you to have. She’s a living textbox.
Compare her to the guarded suspicion of Aradesh, the naive exuberance of Tandi, the dim-witted false swagger of Butch Harris, or the simple and direct idealism of Killian Darkwater. We have several introductory conversations with Midea where she doesn’t seem to have any urgent needs, or ideals, or goals. She’s just another bland plastic-faced NPC. Her personality boils down to “friendly”, because she’s on your side.
Yes, she becomes slightly less 1-dimensional later, but this is a really terrible introduction.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.