Tetsuya Makahashi, the creator of Xenoblade Chronicles, believes that most heroes of role-playing games end up being hated.
As a result he made it his mission to ensure that Shulk, the hero of Monolith's forthcoming role-playing game, is likeable and even turned to the Mario Club - Nintendo's own testing unit - for help.
"The hero in this game is Shulk, and we made one of our themes that he should be 'a hero who isn't hated'," Makahashi told Satoru Iwata during a fascinating Iwata Asks Xenoblade Chronicles discussion.
"It's something I've felt about my own games, of course, as well as games by other people. Essentially, the heroes and heroines in RPGs often end up being disliked.
"Naturally, there are well-loved characters too, but I'd say that in general, they end up being hated. I think it comes from the huge emotional investment the player has made in the hero or heroine."
Takahashi then told of how he made sure that Shulk wouldn't fall into the same trap. "Player characters are a part of yourself and for this reason, they shouldn't think or do anything that you don't want them to. With RPGs, there is one way to ensure the hero isn't hated - and that's to make it so they don't utter a word.
"Not making the main character say anything is easy, but for this title, we wanted him to speak. This meant we were groping for a way to get that 'resonance'. In the end, I think we managed to achieve that to some degree."
In fact, to make sure he did achieve his goals, Makahashi sought approval of the Mario Club, Nintendo's in-house group of debuggers and game testers.
"Just prior to this interview, I got the staff at Mario Club to give me their impressions of the hero, and it turns out that none of them disliked him in the slightest. In fact, they had felt affection towards the hero and his companions throughout. I was incredibly happy when I heard that."
Over to you? Do you agree with Makahashi? Do most RPG heroes end up being hated? If so, are there any that you dislike?
Last week we revealed that Monolith is working on a Wii U game.
Before making Xenoblade Chronicles, Monolith made Disaster: Day Of Crisis for Wii.