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Most RPG heroes are 'hated' - Monolith

Do you agree?

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.

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"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.


15 comments so far...
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  1. jimbob555 Wednesday 29th Jun 2011 at 12:34


    I don't know where they are getting this info from. People don't hate them at all. They are just easy to make fun of when they whine.

  2. Eternal Darkness Wednesday 29th Jun 2011 at 12:41

    When you give the main character a name like Shulk, why wouldn't he be?
    Also, just adding. The voice acting is horrible. Shulk's is okay mind, but everyone else is just no, just no...

  3. CrimsonViper Wednesday 29th Jun 2011 at 12:42

    I'm already starting to hate this Shulk guy just because they don't want me to. I can't say my true feelings of the screen shot as this is a family forum. Shiggsy recently said that Link was never meant to be cool yet everyone likes Link. Monolith say that they want people to like their character and I instantly hate him.

  4. Riverlution Wednesday 29th Jun 2011 at 14:05

    I don't think so. Not in my opinion, anyway. I love most RPG heroes, I have to say that a lot of JRPGs however have very similar heroes (ie. Whiny school kid who ends up saving the world) but there are a fair few of them that I love the characters in aswell. (Tales of Vesperia in particular :D)

  5. barrybarryk Wednesday 29th Jun 2011 at 14:09

    I'd have to agree, generally they're way too emo for me lol especially JRPGs

  6. RobertK Wednesday 29th Jun 2011 at 14:27

    I really don't know where they get that idea, only one I can think of that you would hate would be Squall from FF8

  7. Eragon Firesword Wednesday 29th Jun 2011 at 14:38

    The only RPG hero I've ever hated was Layle from FFCC: Crystal Bearers, simply because he and his game were crap.

  8. Captain Kuchiki Wednesday 29th Jun 2011 at 15:20

    So the intention was so I don't sulk about Shulk?

    Personally, I find them more bland if anything.

  9. masamune Wednesday 29th Jun 2011 at 15:48

    The ones that don't talk are cool.


  10. Zenuous Wednesday 29th Jun 2011 at 15:52

    He should stop playing Final Fantasy games.

  11. Waldy565 Wednesday 29th Jun 2011 at 19:10

    hhmm... yeh, I think hated is a bit to harsh a word, in fact, I dont know where they got it from either! :P

  12. EtherealWings Wednesday 29th Jun 2011 at 19:39

    I have encountered quite a bit of hate for RPG protagonists (starter characters) on forums, though seen little if any on ONM. Usually reasons are excessive 'arrogance' (i can think of another phrase...) or angst. Similar problems for manga etc.
    Ironically, the supporting characters are more popular as a result; the ones thrown in sometimes just to fill the roster.

  13. Amethyst Link Wednesday 29th Jun 2011 at 20:08

    i have just one name to mention: Zack Fair from Crisis Core. it's impossible to not like him, anyone who's played Crisis Core will know what i mean.

  14. dm_1782 Thursday 30th Jun 2011 at 08:43

    Obviously hasnt played Golden Sun, loved those characters.

  15. Red-Wolf Thursday 30th Jun 2011 at 16:02

    CLOUD! :evil: CECIL! :evil:

    Personally, I prefer it when the main character in an RPG doesn't speak. Chrono Trigger, Golden Sun, Dragon Quest, Legend of Zelda and Pokemon are some of my very favourite games, partly because the hero is silent, and this helps it feel like the character is, to put it honestly, me. This is because I can have my own reactions to the events instead of the character's often poor script doing it for me. This gives me a greater emotional investment and makes playing through the adventures of and sharing the character's experiences all the more enjoyable.

    I'd say my personal exeption is Neku Sakuraba. He's an excellent character with a realistic personality that I could relate to and his growth throughout The World Ends With You made for some truly touching moments and provided powerful emotional reason to keep playing. The fact that the script is perfect doesn't hurt either.

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