Shouldn't Creators Be Allowed To Do Whatever They Wish?
This is the 'sequel' to the previous blog about oversensitivity. This time, I'll discuss creator freedom based off of my own (albeit limited) observations.
And yes, I'll again use photos taken from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
I remember a thread here once, a year ago or so that discussed Thor being a woman. Some were 'Meh whatever' and others...less so. There was a thread in the Zelda forums about whether or not Link should be a woman in a future Zelda title. Some were 'Sure! Absolutely!' while others (even other women) felt it would ruin the tradition of Link being a male.
Basically, taking a long-established character and altering him (it's usually a him) into something else. Now, in the case of Zelda or Doctor Who where there is an in-universe lore that discusses the reincarnation of the main character, I can see that. Why can't Link be a woman? Why can't the Doctor be a black guy or an Asian woman? It's right there in the lore that the new 'Link' isn't the 'Link' of the other games, or that when the Doctor reincarnates, he/she is given a new body. Even if our Doctor's body is fixed as a male, I don't see why the next incarnation couldn't be a non-white male. In the case of Thor, he's always been a male ever since his first appearance.
All in all, I get the vibe that some say the creator(s) of the respective characters shouldn't alter them in any way. Except they can, they absolutely can.
Let's take this early character I made in Skyrim. Now let's do a hypothetical scenario:
Pretend for a moment that he had his own videogame series. Shields of Valhalla or something. This is our main character, our bearded, blue-eyed dude with a tattoo marking on his face. His appearance is well-established by the fans, by video game news sites...everyone. This is the face of Shields of Valhalla. This is the face we've known for nearly 20 years. His name? Ulfgar Boneshield
OK, if there's actually a series out there called Shields of Valhalla, this is not that series. This is a hypothetical series for the purpose of this blog.
Now let's pretend that the creators of Shields of Valhalla decided to change things up a bit. They're going to alter his appearance.
This is his new face.
Now this isn't a universe where, if he died, he's reincarnated into a new body. Or a universe where the name 'Boneshield' is a title passed on down to a warrior who has proven his/her strength and valor in battle. This is taking Ulfgar and giving him a sex and race change. He's now a black woman and the name 'Ulfgar' is a unisex name.
Focusing for the moment on just the creator, could and should the creator be allowed to do this to Shields of Valhalla?
It...I dunno, I feel like everyone's kind of right in their own arguments.
ARGUMENT #1- While it is indeed the creator's choice, one could ask, 'Did this happen because the creator felt like this HAD to happen'? Or was it of their own volition? One of the last things I want for myself and other creators is to feel like we have to put chains on our own stories, restrict what we want to tell because we're afraid to offend the PC crowd. Some might think the creator did this to Ulfgar because of the PC backlash if he/she didn't, etc.
ARGUMENT #2- As mentioned in the 'prequel' blog, why not? Why can't Ulfgar be a woman this time around? Some do want to feel like they're being positively represented, and Ulfgar being a badass woman would do that for them. Tradition is what we make up in our heads because like it or not, a video game business is a video game business. If Ulfgar being a woman will entice more players, then that's what they'll do.
ARGUMENT #3- Why the change at all? It makes no sense within the universe for Ulfgar to suddenly look like a completely different person. There was nothing wrong with Ulfgar's appearance before, why make the change now? Others would even chime in with, "If they needed a badass female warrior, couldn't they just do a spin-off, or maybe a game where Ulfgar and the woman join forces and we switch between them freely?"
ARGUMENT #4- The only people who really have a say in this are the creators of the games and the characters, to hell with what the fans want. Maybe they just wanted to experiment with something a little different?
There's probably more to it than that, but I'm curious: what do you all think? How far do you think a creator's freedom can go, or should go? Are they free to do whatever they wish with their own, established, characters regardless of what the fans want?
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