In this week’s Experienced points, I classify a bunch of the BioWare characters.
Last night I realized I’d somehow left out Kaiden from Mass Effect, who should have been classified under “Captain Emo”. He was even voiced by Raphael Sbarge who – aside from desperately needing another vowel in his name – also voiced Carth Onasi, another Captain Emo alumni.
The rules I used for making this list, just to keep it focused:
1) I’m only drawing from the modern voice-acted BioWare games: KOTOR, Jade Empire, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age.
2) Each archetype had to have at least three examples.
3) No character could be in more than one archetype.
I’m sure there are other lists you could draw up using similar rules. Most of these characters fit into these categories as a matter of degree, not law. You could argue that Garrus Vakarian wasn’t nearly as mopey as the others, or that there should be another “joker” category for guys like Joker (Mass Effect) and Alistair. (Dragon Age)
Still, lists like this are fun to make. I know I’ve run into these characters again and again, but I enjoy it enough to keep coming back.
Note to other developers: BioWare is getting away with murder here. Their games are formulaic and their game mechanics are often wobbly or frustrating. Yet they sell like crazy because their writing is top-notch. You should try hiring some talented writers yourselves. You think the quality of writing doesn’t matter, but you’re wrong.
And Cryptic studios: This goes double for you.
EDIT: Since people are jumping to BioWare’s defense, I must have made this article sound far more negative than I intended. I think BioWare’s writers are superb, and I don’t see this list as an indictment at all. It’s just, you know, an observation of style. You could take the BioWare name off any of these games and people would still recognize it as such, probably in the first few minutes.
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