Official artwork, Fan Art or imagination? A Poll!

Or, perhaps, it’s been done because the author feels that heritage is an irreversible part of a character.

One of my WiP characters–her name is Edie Bruk Zere–is Ethiopian. She’s also female. To take away her Ethiopian heritage, visually or otherwise, would be as un-Edie to me as a male version of her character. She eats w’et with injera. She has black braids and dark skin. Her mother plays the washint. She is very distinctly neither white-looking, nor from a Western culture.

There are several reasons why I include illustrations in my games, but this is actually one of them. Edie is her dark-skinned, heavy-set, lovely self, and no-one else.

I’ve also been surprised at how many international artists I’ve worked with in the past who’ve said something like, “No-one’s ever asked me to draw a Kyrgyzstani character before,” or, “Wow, that was really hard, I almost never get asked to draw heavy characters.” I’d like to see that change.

People do, of course, visualise characters however they wish…but at what point is it no longer really even a version of the author’s character?

And I agree, removing diversity–regardless of the author’s reasons for including it–is problematic. Society does enough of that for us. I hope people will make an effort to resist the tendency, not assist.

Edit: @Eiwynn, I think we posted at the same time. ( : Interestingly, showing the time period was actually never a specific reason why I chose to include illustrations–although my very patient artist and I spend a lot of time on research for the clothes and settings. I’m glad it’s helpful, though.


Very true. That slipped past me. Thank you for stating that!


I don’t think there should really be art of the MC, personally. @Shoelip mentioned the Demon Hunter game as an example that was good for them, but my only happiness over seeing the picture was that it was in the demo so I was able to hop right outta there without wasting my money. I don’t play white characters (she was so, so blonde…and to be clear, I’m not mad. I know when something’s not meant for me). To be honest, I figure most authors are a lot more likely to default their MC to white, unless it’s like Samurai of Hyuga where the ethnicity’s in the setting. (Which, I bought Samura of Hyuga because I pick black if I can get it, but I’m not super unreasonable.)

I’m not so sure about that. It seems more likely to me for people to default their MC to whatever ethnicity they are themselves, unless the setting dictates something different. (Which for some of the writers around here happens to be Caucasian.) I’d say it’s a bit of a bad habit to project your own ethnicity on games in that way, because imo whoever is playing the game should be able to imagine their MC to look whatever way they want unless it’s somehow limited by the setting. I’m pretty much against non player-specified descriptions of how the MC looks in games by default, let alone pictures.

Pictures can be nice for NPC’s though. Especially if you’ve got a more colorful cast. (Not necessarily in the ethnicity sense of the word. I’d love to know what NPC’s with more colorful hair, eclectic hairstyles or tattoos look like, for example. And aliens. Shiny metallic scales anyone?)

(But I’ll probably end up imagining them like how they look in my head-canon rather than the ‘official’ artwork anyway. ;P)


Maybe I haven’t played as many games, but the only MCs I’ve seen with fixed races have been white.

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Ignoring the ‘official’ artwork (never really pay attention to it anyway) I haven’t seen a lot of, if any, non-(semi)historical games with a fixed ethnicity for the MC. And I guess it makes sense for the MC’s in a game about for example the Spanish civil war to be, well, Spanish. Pretty much like how an MC in a game about for example Central African tribe culture (or something along those lines) would pretty much be an ethnic native from the tribe involved.

That makes me curious. Which games did you play where the race of the MC appeared to be fixed?

The only ones I can think of are Demon Hunter, Monsters (a wip I saw recently) and zombie exodus. Maybe those are the only ones but I usually leave once I figure it out. I only remembered them because demon was mentioned by another user in the thread, monsters was recent, and I love zombie. Usually it’s like a kinda implicit(?) thing like with ze where the sister’s white.

I don’t really see African stuff. There’s a lotta Europe and a bit of Asia but I haven’t seen much else. There was a cool wip where you’re a jinn in the middle east(?) but it was closed by the time I saw it and seems abandoned.

There is a current WiP where the author writes about a child-soldier coming to America. The author originally was aiming for Middle Eastern background but recently changed it to fit historical conflict in sub-Sahara Africa. It is called: Broken Lenses.

With that said, I too would like to see more stories based out of various regions of the world that are underserved currently. There are some made-up worlds in works that have more cultural diverse settings. The Inca/Egyptian story comes to mind and the Thantos stories (2 of them) have dark skinned main characters involved in them.

If I think of more, I’ll list them.

Also Choice of Romance takes place in a Spanish and Morocco border area. One of the main players in that game’s politics is the Morrocan Queen.

Edit: @Havenstone - Please forgive me - I forgot to mention your work. I know you have taken great pains to set your world in the Indian/Pakastan type of setting with multiple characters of color and with diverse cultures of all the peoples.

The thread on his work: Choice of Rebels is very large but it has lots and lots of details and discussion on everything from religion to army stuff.

Edit 2: @Cataphrak’s Sabres games has complex diversity as well but not so much the MC - but he too is working on improving things.


The first ZE? I think it had been pointed out to the author multiple times, and he’s trying to do better for the sequel. I think the demo for that is currently down though, so unfortunately you can’t really see it for yourself right now.

You might want to point that out to @Shawn_Patrick_Reed, preferably with some examples of where the MC’s ethnicity is implied. He might still be able to do something about it since the game is still in its WiP stages.

Me neither. I guess it’s because most people are inclined write about themes they are familiar with. It would be kinda cool if there was such a game though. There’s so much fascinating cultural heritage all around Asia, Africa and Oceania that is sort of forgotten about in most western history books, and it’d be a shame if that knowledge would be lost forever just because people weren’t really paying attention to it when they’d still got the chance to learn about it.


I have to go do stuff (liike I shouldn’t even be replying to this, but I’mma leave right after lol) but I haven’t seen this at all and am gonna totally check it out ASAP. THANK YOU.

There are so many cool settings and places worldwide with awesome cultures/myths/etc Totally love to see more of this. Romance was my first choice of game and I always appreciated that about it.

I don’t know about Rebels. I only ever played the first chapter through the religious route (really fun) and it seemed great, but pretty Christian to me. Maybe it’s because that’s what I was raised as and I don’t know too much about Islam/Hinduism/etc to be honest. Lost interest when MC had to keep track of their rebellion. Responsibility gives me hives.

I don’t know about male MCs, but my chick was a “fiery redhead” so I never felt like whiteness was implied so much as blatant. (Plus, redhead’s being called “fiery” isn’t much better than calling latinx people “spicy” as far as corny factor so that also turned me off…though I guess corny can be good.) It could be dye, but I didn’t feel that. I didn’t know why she had to be a ginger, but that’s his game and his decision.

It’s good that it’s been pointed out and he’s doing better, but it was still a white MC so I gave it as an example. Not to beat a dead horse or anything.

Yeah. I mentioned Africa because that’s the example I saw, but I’d be down for pretty much anything that’s not medieval Europe-y. There are a few of those, at least, but that’s not the author projecting their ethnicity onto the MC. It’s a setting thing.

I was taking mythology from Persia and Mesopotamia (as well as other lesser known mythical sources like Finnish) in my work but that too is on hold for now.

The time period it is set in is the ancient world so race in of itself was not an issue but being a “barbarian” was. As a matter of fact one of my main npc rulers was meant to be of African decent, ruling over an Italian town … and a leader of chariot race teams in the Byzantium empire and one of the heroes the MC fights is African too… lol.

Sometimes (if you know your history) you can be very inclusive writing hirtory based games :stuck_out_tongue:

No African gods yet in mine…

that reminds me: @aprilhare - there is a wonderful work with main NPC characters of African decent called Children of the Gods - the art made by @Rohie is art I bet you’ll like too… her world is based on Percy Jackson’s.

To confirm @Cecilia_Rosewood, you can pick the MC’s race in the sequel. You can also make them multiracial if you so choose, or you could skip picking a race entirely. :yum:


I think the MC nationality can be left up in the air for the most part. But it’s tricky considering how many descriptors you have to avoid as an author. Not to mention relatives ect.

I draw my own characters and ethnicity does make for a good way to break up the color palette and give you a feel for whom they are.

Like Vyde for instance. He’s Brazilian and even in his costume and general look it has a kinda Carnevale kinda look to it.

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I tend to prefer my own imagination in these matters. Even if my subconscious has the tendency to “cast” a variety of actors I know in the various roles.


Did you pick a pre-set MC? (meaning you picked one of the available names, instead of typing in your own)
Those MCs are pre-made characters of their own.

If not, then. Yeah, maybe should be attended to.

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I’d like to choose my own appearance. (please note this option is not available at this time, but will be added later)

Funny thing is the description ends up me with bangs and no glasses :astonished: Anyway he’s already got it planned for this to go in

Well my intention there is play a blond haired, blue eyed, “white” guy, just one who happened to be born somewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. Thanks to Europeans colonialism most of the African Nations are actually far more diverse than most of us realise.
Technically this would make him a newly minted African-American and one who came to America as a slave to boot. :wink:

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South Africa has a very high number of whites from Dutch origin. The language Afrikaans is a derivative of this. SO being a white African is quite possible.
Ever seen District 9?


I believe the mc in “through broken lenses” is from somewhere far more shitty than South Africa though, but even in the heart of “Dark Africa”, like say the Central African Republic (which is kind of shitty enough with frequent civil wars to be the location of that mc’s childhood). Even there the French did bankroll Bokassa’s Central African Empire and some whites stuck around or are trapped there now, plus one of our parents could always be a foreign doctor without borders type, aid worker or foreign mercenary.
Lot’s of possibilities to get almost any look you could want a human mc to have almost anywhere in contemporary Africa.

Nah, but i know my history and I’ve certainly seen Pistorius. :wink:
Of course, Afrikaans is the “uncanny valley” of language to me.

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Angola or Zaire are hot spots too.
Could be a war orphan or a merchant knocked up mommy or mommy was a merc. So many little fun back stories. Just check out the back stories of Frank Jeagre and Jack/Raiden both white child soldiers under the Mgs series games. BUT Kojima is pretty whacked in the area of barely/nearly realistic

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