I think the criticism here has been pretty reasonable. By and large people think he made the story too linear, he focussed too much on social issues and correspondingly it was not by the standards of past installments of Heroes Rise a good game. First and foremost games are entertainment, sure you can make some subtle points on issues if you want but Redemption season was not no more subtle than pro-life people throwing up jarring posters. It seemed very much like the author lost sight of writing a good superhero story and decided to produce a game like infomercial which featured superheros. The revues are bad because the game wasn’t good and people are now less likely to buy subsequent installments. People do consider whether to buy games with mixed reviews on steam. So perhaps he ought to think about whether putting out material that preaches to the choice is really even an effective means of decimating his message.
Only now I saw your post, I’m sorry if I offended you. Propaganda in my country has no pejoractive meaning (it only means a divulgation of an idea), it is a synonym for advertise here, I didn’t know it had in english. It was really not my intention to say anything about brainwash.
I don’t even think that’s the criticism. I’ve been reluctant to call him out when so many people already have, but “too much social justice, not enough fun” isn’t what most of us here are saying. I was offended and angry not with what he was attempting to do, but how he actually implemented it.
The three power types were used to demonstrate the concept of intersectionality. I don’t see how that’s any better than turning oppressed elves into a metaphor for racism, when you could just include people who aren’t white. Superpowers are not gender identities, elves are not black people, and these metaphorical associations are problematic and cutesy literary devices that could be avoided by simply telling a good story and including the actual issue, say, a superhero who faced intersectional discrimination for real life reasons.
I have a huge problem with Transfer. Transfer changes from one stereotypical monster to the next every four days; they are only human one day in four. Hey look, the person with the more fluid gender identity also is a shapeshifter! Of all the powers to assign… Transfer also comes from an insular community of like-minded people in San Francisco, is uncomfortable leaving there, and - at least to me - doesn’t seem very likable or good with people. Also: “Transy.” Just… gonna throw that out there.
If you’re going to write inclusive games, there are basic things to get right. One is to thoughtfully code sexual orientation and gender identity. I’m bisexual, which the game allows me to select for my character with something like “I don’t care about the gender of my partner, it’s all about the person” (which isn’t true, but whatever, I knew what the author meant.) Immediately after this, the game says, “But which do you want to date next?” How should I know?? I haven’t met the options yet, am I supposed to be in a man mood or a woman mood today? Is that how bisexuals work, in his mind?
If I’m in a “I’m attracted to third gender people” mood, that’s who Weaver becomes. In a game meant to highlight the importance and dignity of marginal identities, the only two non-binary people are good ol’ Transy, and a person who only exists if I might want to sleep with them.
EDIT: I should’ve said “new characters.” There are returning characters from the last series.
I’m sure there’s more - someone above pointed out that your power set is played for laughs on more than one occasion, which isn’t exactly being positive about differences. But those are the main things that struck me as being out of place and dismissive, in a game that is also lecturing its players about the importance of diversity and inclusivity. His fan base is full of people who understand these issues; a lot of us have lived them. Writing paragraphs of blatant explanation and then missing the above points is disappointing, and it makes me angry. I loved Heroes Rise, and I expected better.
That’s good points. I don’t like any of romantic choices so I decided no pursue any romantic choice , well the game tried so hard make me romance Weaver or anyone really. And how much attracted I am. I am not attracted to any of them. I like Rana (Tarana) I felt like a sexual object when I was on feline powered, and how successful I will be being so beautiful and everyone trying to know me. Maybe it was because I was playing like a girl, but all sounded if you want to be successful you have to be a sexual object to make everyone like you. And that’s not very encouraging. Same like all the cougar stuff with Jury and Lyra. Like if you want to be a successful business woman you have to try hard bang younger people . It is degrading not only for women, for men too. So If someone trying to selling me an inclusive message instead of the super hero game I bought. Could at least don’t fall in so topical antique prejudices.
Wow, I don’t know why you were reluctant because you just worded all the points I wish I had in a much more put together and concise way.
I agree on all points, though. It’s not that I want less of the social issues and social justice themes, I’d have just liked them to be better handled. I would have rather liked them shown to me instead of told to me in rather large expositions of one individual talking on a tangent to two other individuals (haha you know what I mean?) and then doing it again later.
That really rubbed me the wrong way as a writer myself. I think there are better ways to handle social issues and I don’t think making big speeches like that was one of them. Ironically speaking…
I mean, well, yeah it is a good way to hammer in a theme like that, but only if it’s got the required build up needed for a powerful, moving speech that ultimately sets the tone for the climax of the story. And it’s usually set toward the end, not in the middle, where the audience is usually shown first hand the issues that are to be corrected later in the story. The conflict here, well, it was given to me rather than built up in a way that let me deduce what’s happening beneath the surface layer of conflict.
I dunno. I love the social issues that ZS likes to write about mainly because they have to do with someone like me and it gives me the choice to not make that kind of story a tragedy. I just wish this time it could have been handled with more tact than it was given, you know? Still a wonderful writer. Still love his work. But this one’s on the bottom of that list and it came after such a successful finale that it’s hard not to criticize and compare.
I understand where you are coming from, I do a lot of beta testing on other places and I’ve had some absolutely toxic team members, not to mention the general community of some things are incredibly toxic as well. But I don’t think that really applies to this topic, we’ve all been fairly understanding and not really vitriolic. I also disagree with your point, discussing recurrent author’s styles/habits seems like it would be a fitting topic for the forum.
Minor nitpick, but in your first point you mention intersectional discrimination for real life reasons, but the Heroes series takes place 100 or so years in the future. One can’t really blame Sergi for hoping or even assuming that we’ll be past discriminating between people on things as minor as gender/orientation/skin color by then. So he had to create the two new power categories (Morpho and…I forgot the other one), and attempted to disguise them as metaphors for modern discrimination.
I apologise - I must not have been clear. I didn’t intend to say the forum, or this thread, have been hateful or vitriolic. They’ve not, not at all. My point was that the author could have been responding to some really dreadful comments and feedback, and we’re seeing the reaction to that - not to this thread.
I’ve also edited my previous post, in hopes of clarifying.
As a writer (character types, common plot devices or rhetorical habits, so forth), certainly. As a person (lack of feedback response, ignoring or misjudging responses, doesn’t address valid criticism, doesn’t want to understand criticism - all comments that have appeared here), I would think perhaps not. The ‘discuss ideas, not people’ concept might be applicable here.
I would love for a mod, or @jasonstevanhill, to weigh in on appropriateness here.
And yet people like Transfer, for gender identity reasons, are still living in these isolated communities where they don’t get out much? I feel that it’s hand-wavey, it’s dismissive, it’s oppressing the elves because in our heroverse we’re too enlightened to be racist. I don’t believe that escapism mixes well with discrimination literature. It leads too easily to the kind of problems I had with this game.
I have to agree with @Fiogan: let’s focus more on the text and not theorize about the reasons for ZS’s actions or reactions.
Focusing on the text without context or knowing intention is hard to do - is the constant shifting of the MC meant to accentuate the social crusading or to allow some way of dialing down the intensity? Reading the text, it could be either.
@Fiogan points out how negative and harmful criticism can affect an author/programmer but most who have not walked in the shoes of ZS or @Fiogan really can not feel it on their soul. The reasons for reactions isn’t important here, what I think is more important is that ZS is able to overcome the acid etch his soul has gone through here
@Sashira puts into words some of what I’ve been mulling on, especially when it comes to Transfer and San Fransisco and the appearance of forced constructs being made to accomplish the goals set forth.
However, that is not the only concerns I have with the approach taken in this particular series: As I said this prior: to me this story does not seem to be a sequel but rather an alternative to the first series .
The canon lore seems to be twisting and turning in a fierce storm in this installment - it was not just retconned from the original series but characters like the former First Lady seem to be entirely re-written. to the point where any attempt of attaching the past to the present fails.
I can not help but to contrast this story with the just released Mer story - Faye as a character vs Transfer as a character and the contrast is striking to me…
Transfer is a whole other can of worms that in all honesty, I would feel more comfortable with in the hands of a trans author. There are trans people out there who do act the way Transfer does, and this character brings up things that are still being debated in trans discourse today. It’s not a place where cis people should be involved, unless there is a trans person heavily involved in its development.
@Zolataya already mentioned how The Sea Eternal handled gender, but in contrast to the mostly decent way it wrote about it, the number of characters in this game made it difficult to give other characters any sort of character development, which ended up making Transfer seem like the only two notable things about hir are that zie is trans and changes form every few days. As a genderfluid person, in theory I don’t mind the whole shapeshifter being genderfluid trope, but I do mind that there is little to no focus on Transfer’s character outside of it, and it makes it seem like thats the only thing important about hir.
If I could clarify - I was not talking about criticism (which is healthy, certainly when it’s constructive, and like anything easier for some, harder for others). I was talking about personal insults, hate speech, even threats. None of that is present here, but we’ve no way of knowing what is surfacing through other channels - some of which are private.
And I appreciate the many salient points @Sashira, @RedRoses, and many others have covered regarding the game, and even more so the suggestions for specific points which could have been altered to be much better. I hope that will also help other authors who might be reading this to sensitively and wisely cover these topics in their own games.
So perhaps both are valid interpretations?
[quote=“Fiogan, post:595, topic:15108, full:true”]
If I could clarify - I was not talking about criticism (which is healthy, certainly when it’s constructive, and like anything easier for some, harder for others). I was talking about personal insults, hate speech, even threats. None of that is present here, but we’ve no way of knowing what is surfacing through other channels - some of which are private.[/quote]
Within “negative and harmful criticism” I include personal insults, hate speech, even threats. Not all criticism is positive, constructive or even valid.
We have no idea what is being received - I’ve experienced and seen other coders/programmers receive threats and the rest. The FBI and local authorities may be involved if ZS has received any of the above; this is exactly why it is important that “that ZS is able to overcome the acid etch his soul has gone through here.”
Some authors and programmers never recover from such. That is the real worry.
At least in my reading, the two are exclusive due to subsequent writing. If that was ZS’ goal, then he tried having it both ways and he did not tie the two together later in his subsequent writing.
11 posts were split to a new topic: Writing good characters with marginalized identities
i’m planning to buy this game… just finished a heroes rise trilogy run for it… but i figured i’d try the demo first… long story short, can i stay human in this game?.. i mean no beaks, no talons, no weird eyes, i dont mind the wings but are you forced to evolve throughout the game?.. because uhm, that may affect me wanting to buy this game or not…
No, you can’t stay human. The main character’s power set doesn’t allow for it - in fact, the MC and related powers are one of the central driving forces of the game.
Writing good characters with marginalized identities
oh… so like the… i forgot the name of the gangs, from the first trilogy where they had animalistic features… hmmm… well i guess since it doesn’t cost much, i’ll just buy it to support the author but not play it… thanks for the info…
The thing that hadn’t been mentioned here but bothers me is game acting like blind people (Weaver in this case) don’t care how someone else look. I think that most of them wouldn’t feel completely comfortable knowing that their partner every day looks and/or even sounds diffrent (they must after all remember someones voice, facial lines or scent to recognize them, and if most of this things changes overnight then it must in some way impact them, right?), but maybe i am exaggerating… what do you think?
ps. this has been only our MC assumption (“I don’t feel self-conscious around Weaver because my visual Ani-changes don’t matter to her/him as a visually impaired person.”) but still…
Or how the people think Weaver is deaf or plain stupid. Gg was totally unfair and rude with her him hir. The game is all about being anti discrimination. However, the game committed really typical stereotypes that annoying me. Weaver ones. The Transfer San Francisco and how talking about Crystal. The worst are The if you’re a good looking successful woman you have to bang youngsters like a cougar to proof it to everyone. Or if you want to be successful You have to be pretty leopard. People would flirting with you in funerals.
This is a real life phenomena, though. In the first fifteen seconds of the average joe meeting someone, they’ve developed a predetermined notion as to that person’s character by how they look, speak, sound, dress, and carry themselves. Visually impaired individuals have about half of that taken out of the equation. Scent may be a strong factor as well as vocal tones, but lets not forget that speech patterns and personality itself play a large role, as well. I was rather pleased with the author’s interpretation and didn’t think it unrealistic.
If we’re to understand that while the MC considers their powers a boone yet has identity issues, or insecurities regarding their body and its changes, then someone like Weaver instantly negates about half of their worries, and puts them on what they, the MC, feel is a level playing field. The MC even makes mention of being afraid that if she’s not accepted by Weaver, then its because their personality is the problem, not their looks.
And given that I’m not blind myself, here’s a quick jaunt into youtube for reference.