Time to Kill Silent Protagonists10 May 2017
I just wrapped up Persona 5. I loved Persona 4 and I am even more impressed by Persona 5. If you’ve got any love for JRPGs or grandiose stories, go play it now. But there’s one thing I think story-heavy series like Persona need to do soon: kill silent protagonists.
Persona 5 weaved an intricate story in a rich and interesting world. As the protagonist, you interacted with tons of people and helped them grow by learning more about them and helping them solve their problems. But a lot of this world-building and character development was done without any significant input from you. You get to pick how the protagonist responds during certain situations but this input is a drop in the bucket of all that is said during the game. The silent protagonist, by definition, lacks a voice. Great stories are not built by introducing a character who plays a central role and then simply having that character listen to everyone else.
Giving the protagonist a name goes hand-in-hand with the killing off silent protagonists. I don’t care much about having my name in the game and I’d much prefer having characters say a name for voice-acted lines as opposed to “him” and “our leader.”
All this said, Persona 5 is an amazing game and I can’t recommend it enough. Atlus knocked this one out of the park. But I do hope they’ll consider adding a protagonist with a voice to their arsenal of story-telling tools in the future.