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View Full Version : Are there going to be POC (People of Color) in The Banner Saga?



jobedius
10-03-2012, 08:32 AM
Because there have been people from all over the world in Europe in Viking times (the Vikings have been as far as Constantinople so why shouldn't people from other regions have been to Europe) and since Stoic takes a realistic approach on the Viking theme (no horned helmets, yay!) I think out would make sense to include people of color.

Plus, it would be awesome!

Aduro Visare
10-04-2012, 03:34 AM
Hmm, I could see POC being used somewhere in the game. Maybe in later parts as the Viking group continue migrating there could be a chance to move into new lands and then we could see more a more diverse cast. Could also be interesting if they had a fantasy mash-up of the Vikings and the Zulu people or something similar (Zulu>Egyptians because latter is overplayed).

Still, even as a person with African roots I would feel that having POC just for the sake of it is unnecessary. And having POC as part of the Viking hoard would seem strange if there is no back story to describe why he/she is there. Maybe an immigrant that joined? Would his/her differences cause conflicts in the camp and thereby force the player to make decisions about how to deal with this problem? I could possibly see that, but having random POC sprinkled into the units would be just too unViking.

lamaz
10-05-2012, 07:46 AM
I agree with Aduro Visare that having a POC for just the sake of it would be little odd. But it would be cool if there was like one guy who'd be this wise man/great warrior/adventurer or something who had joined up with the rest of the caravan. Sort of like Morgan Freeman (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102798/)!

jobedius
10-05-2012, 11:04 AM
Of course nobody wants a token POC, nevertheless I am really bored of the whites-only Europe portrayed in 99% of all fantasy worlds (thank god Stoic chose not to include the standard goblin and orc villains but go for the Shadow of the Colossus-like Dredge).

I don't know if I really agree on the notion that POC would need a backstory on why they would be there more than any other character would need one. I have no idea how scientifically proven this is but the explanation that the Roman Empire stretched across almost all of Europe and North Africa and since the Romans did not only conquer lands but also integrated people into their society (military, bureaucracy, etc.), by the time of the Vikings Romans of African/Middle Eastern origin just where present in Europe (plus traders, slaves, scholars etc.). I think that our present picture of Europe in medieval times is whitewashed and it should not strike us as odd to have non-white vikings. They should not need an „in case your wondering“-explanation. But of course of our image of white Europe they would.

Or maybe they wouldn't. Though they don't play a huge role in the movie I like the diversity of the monks in Brendan and the Secret of Kells. (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_JFgXu4xkqW4/S8zXz5-LPVI/AAAAAAAAAQU/_Hxwg_XdqaU/s1600/illuminators.jpg) And they didn't strike me as odd or out of place at all even though I watched this movie (more than once) way before I started to care about this.

And just to feed this with at least one tiny fact: One of the two women buried in the Oseberg ship was (probably) of Iranian origin. (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Oseberg_ship#cite_ref-4)

Harukio
10-09-2012, 08:01 AM
Of course nobody wants a token POC, nevertheless I am really bored of the whites-only Europe portrayed in 99% of all fantasy worlds

I completely agree, and do wonder would the inclusion of POC characters really be all that jarring to your average player.

Also, relevant link (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BlackVikings)
(*cough cough tv tropes cough*)

lamaz
10-10-2012, 02:14 AM
Thanks for the interesting links :) POC in Viking era Scandinavia still seem to have had somewhat interesting backstories. The high-ranking woman in the Wikipedia article certainly seems to have had one. So I think a backstory would still serve a purpose.

If there would be POC in the game and none of them were a main character or otherwise explored in more detail it would probably start an outcry of some sort. The characters in the main cast will need to have backstories, would be odd if they didn't, right?

Anyway, I think Stoic has answered a question concerning this matter in some interview.. I just can't find the interview now.

ali123
10-31-2012, 05:53 AM
good is good----------

Troll
10-31-2012, 09:47 AM
Thanks for the interesting links :) POC in Viking era Scandinavia still seem to have had somewhat interesting backstories. The high-ranking woman in the Wikipedia article certainly seems to have had one. So I think a backstory would still serve a purpose.

If there would be POC in the game and none of them were a main character or otherwise explored in more detail it would probably start an outcry of some sort. The characters in the main cast will need to have backstories, would be odd if they didn't, right?

Anyway, I think Stoic has answered a question concerning this matter in some interview.. I just can't find the interview now.

First of all, to have a POC in a far northern country, that person would obviously have some kind of story, since at that time he could only hve been there by having traveled (or made to). And I totally agree that it mustn't feel strange to see the guy without a single reason for his presence.

If you think of a The 13th Warrior style background, now that makes things interesting.

Rymdkejsaren
11-05-2012, 03:16 PM
Historically a person of colour amongst the vikings would most likely have been taken as a slave and then brought back home. They could then have worked their way to become a free man or woman. The vikings valued skill highly so if you were good at what you did (fighting, keeping house, a craft) then you could earn your place amongst them no matter what your skin colour was (not that it would have been an easy road, their society was very brutal).

Enorthmar
01-04-2013, 05:23 PM
As a Norwegian I couldn't be more strongly opposed to that idea. It'd ruin the authenticity of the setting, and greatly reduce my immersion in it. It'd be contrived political correctness, akin to when Hollywood changed our pagan god Heimdallr ("whitest of the gods") into an African in the recent Thor movie. I trust Stoic to remain true to their current vision.



But it would be cool if there was like one guy who'd be this wise man/great warrior/adventurer or something who had joined up with the rest of the caravan. Sort of like Morgan Freeman (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102798/)!

That's possibly the most stereotypical kind of character (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MagicalNegro) that exists in the American film industry, and Morgan Freeman almost always plays that exact character in different kinds of settings.

Grits
01-05-2013, 01:18 AM
Interesting post. I'm all for diversity but not if it's forced. No reason why every game needs to have one character from each race.

jobedius
01-12-2013, 02:03 PM
@Enorthmar:

I'm repeating myself and others here but since you seem to largely ignore everything that has been said before in this thread, here we go again:

"As a Norwegian" I'm sure you will have noticed that there are POC walking the streets of your country right now. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_to_Norway) Why would you think that they have not been there at Viking times, especially when back then the Muslim world was the center and the technologically most "advanced" culture of the "western" world? The Norwegian Vikings made their money mostly with slave trade if I remember correctly (I think Dublin was set up as a slave trading post) and the slaves where brought to Constantinople and other places in the Mediterranean by the Vikings. That's why you find Arab silver coins in Viking graves.

Anyway, it's pretty bizzare to grant the Vikings that they might have traveled as far as America but at the same time to believe that none of the Arabs ever went to Europe. And this is just plain wrong: Arabs did travel to Europe: the real life inspiration of the main character of the aforementioned The 13th Warrior, Ahmad ibn Fadlan (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmad_ibn_Fadlan), was an Arab scholar who traveled to today's Russia and gave first hand witness of a Viking ship burial.

So it is a fact that non-white people and Vikings have met in the north of Europe and if POC in the Banner Saga would brake your immersion that doesn't have to do anything with "authenticity" at all but with the (unauthentic) whitewashed picture Hollywood and other media paint of this era (history being written by the winners …).

I think it would be nice if the Banner Saga would be one of the places where we start working against this distorted view of reality so in the future people don't have to be "opposed" to POC in the North.

I'm sorry that racebending Heimdallr hurt your pagan feelings but now you know how lots of people all over the world feel almost constantly because that happens the other way round all the time, (see racebending.com (http://www.racebending.com/) and their tumblr (http://racebending.tumblr.com/)). Also, did it ever occur to you that Morgan Freeman "always" plays the Magical Negro because that's one of the few roles (white) Hollywood screenwriters can think up for black actors?

Anyway, fear not: I'm pretty sure that there won't be any POC whatsoever in the Banner Saga and you can immerse yourself fully in this authentic Aryan version of Viking life (with authentic horned gods an authentic strange glowing creatures).

Allvaldr
02-20-2013, 06:01 PM
Sure enough there were POCs (what silly term is that anyway? Did I miss the latest step in political correctness?) in Viking Scandinavia ... in the major port cities. To start claiming here you'd find POCs all over the place is just a completely idiotic point of view.

Heck, I was born in the 1980s and I never even saw a living, breathing POC until my first visit to a major trade city as a teen.

And to get back to this Achmed type ... why do you think his travels are considered so historic, why is his name still known in history? Because it wasn't normal what he did. If you were to find a kebab shop in every viking hamlet, obviously this person wouldn't have been of any relevance to history.

The New Romance
02-20-2013, 07:47 PM
In this context, what about Asian characters? I believe they most likely also existed in or around Viking society, seeing as the Vikings went as far as what is commonly seen as the border of Asia (Constantinople, Volga river).

Jorgensager
02-21-2013, 03:33 PM
I don't know where people arguing "POC" lived among the Vikings in Scandinavia get their facts, but it sounds very implausible. If you have any trustworthy links on this I would be interested, however most of what is presented as arguments in this thread so far largely appears as grasping at straws to me.

Flickerdart
02-21-2013, 06:40 PM
In this context, what about Asian characters? I believe they most likely also existed in or around Viking society, seeing as the Vikings went as far as what is commonly seen as the border of Asia (Constantinople, Volga river).
I'm not really sure that anyone, when asked what race the Turks or Slavs fall under, would say "Asian".

The New Romance
02-21-2013, 09:04 PM
I'm not really sure that anyone, when asked what race the Turks or Slavs fall under, would say "Asian".
Maybe not the Slavs, that's true. However, the Turks are, well, Asian. This map (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_Turkic_countries.svg) shows the current Turkic states. I'd say they lie in Asia. As a comparison, take this map (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Asia_(orthographic_projection).svg). Maybe there's confusion about the words, as "race" is a quite complex term, but I'd say modern Turk people definitely are part of Asia, and thus - at least in my nomenclature - Asian.

As an example, take the Khazar Empire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khazars). This realm conincided quite nicely with the Vikings, and as a quite important player and ally of Constantinople most likely even had direct contact with Vikings (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Viking_Expansion.svg). Part of the empire lay in Asia, and they may have looked like this (http://www.tallarmeniantale.com/pics/Khazar-warrior.jpg). Of course, these are not Chinese (or otherwise classically Asian) features, but still different from your typical Viking.

However, I don't want no quarrel - I just want to point out that Asian and Arabic/North African-looking people might be more realistic in a Viking setting than straight out "POC". Also, if you like chaos, put the opening paragraphs of this blog post (http://ashinaroyaldynasty.blogspot.de/2011/10/promethease-revealed-ak-khazar-dna.html) into the fray to discover that apparently Khazars may have consisted of both "black" and "white" people (or maybe it was just a confused historical source).

I don't even know where this leads us with regard to the current discussion, but yeah. Apparently a lot is possible - whether it makes sense in the game is a different matter.

Ziggy
02-26-2013, 09:52 AM
It'd ruin the authenticity of the setting, and greatly reduce my immersion in it.
That's massively subjective, and kind of a strange artificial line in the sands of your disbelief. You've excepted that it's Scandinavian based, rather than an authentic representation of Medieval Scandinavia, and while certainly "as many elements as possible" go towards retaining the essential look and feel, I don't believe you can hold any one of them up as vital.

Which isn't to say I think there should be coloured characters for the sake, given the way they're using art assets the implementation would probably be weird, but that I find that point odd.

R00K
03-03-2013, 07:41 AM
There are two distinct examples of how this could work if it had to: the Redguard in the Elder Scroll series and European traders/priests in Shogun/Shogun2 total war. Each has a different approach as one is fantasy, and the other historical - both are great games.

This is a fantasy game, so there are options, but why? Functionally, why? Imagine that all of the characters were blue...what then? As this game is clearly based on Northern European culture pre-1066, inclusion of other groups would be odd if not done carefully. For example, I would be disappointed if there were white samurai in the Shogun 2 game/addons.

Historically, the Vikings sold European slaves to Arabs, but did not buy slaves from Africa. THe Vikings were after silver. They had plenty of European slaves from raids all over Europe. The trade also occurred in and around the south shore of the Black Sea (Turkey), not in Northern Europe, so there would have been no encounters in Northern Europe between those living there and Arab or other "races". Historical Scandinavia, the Baltics, Wendland(Poland), the Rus, and Viking lands to the west, were homogeneously white. Likewise, Japan was strickly Asian, etc.

The most authentic possibility would be to include Sami, or even "Skraeling" (Inuit–Yupik) peoples.

Ask yourselves why someone might want other races or cultures expressed in this setting. Also ask yourselves how much do we want to make of race?

Have fun!

As an addendum, Viking history/lore does include references to leaders going to Finland for Sami magic. If magic users were included, Sami-esques people would make sense. The Sami for those who do not know, are an isolated "race" with a yet unclear origin. http://www.utexas.edu/courses/sami/dieda/hist/genetic.htm

FriskyDingo
03-03-2013, 04:48 PM
@OP: There was really no need for such an utterly obnoxious and insecure reply to Enorthmar's post. Your thematic suggestion is an outlandish and an unlikely one as you yourself have noted; counter opinions are inevitable. If you think that hiding behind a guise of political correctness makes your rudeness any less tiresome to others then you are quite wrong, sir.

Oskmey
03-05-2013, 08:58 AM
I can see POC exisiting within large viking settlements, but if there where any then they would most likely be foreign traders selling the goods they brought.

It is very unlikely that they would be part of warring society. Also, in these times, religion had a major role for the people. So for a muslim/arab/mor to take part of a society that was not sharing their religion would probably not happend.

And as far as a wise mor warrior to just pop up and be welcomed into the society would be even more unlikely. The vikings would rather listen to their own elders, jarls and kings then to listen to an outsider. The jarls and kings would think that this mor was trying to unsurp authority, and he would likely be exiled or killed.


This topic should probaly be in the longhouse section (general discussion) and not a part of the Beginner's Circle, not that it matters much.

BJSV
03-05-2013, 07:34 PM
I want Antonio Banderas as my viking. xD

OldManBobson
03-05-2013, 09:57 PM
I don't know where people arguing "POC" lived among the Vikings in Scandinavia get their facts, but it sounds very implausible. If you have any trustworthy links on this I would be interested, however most of what is presented as arguments in this thread so far largely appears as grasping at straws to me.



I love how POC is very implausible and breaks one out of their " immersion in the world" but a race of Giants? No problem! Skin color is a strange place to draw the line of gritty realism and historical accuracy, given the stylized fantasy of the game. You'd be way more likely to see a Steppe Archer in a long boat than a Shieldbanger

Jorgensager
03-06-2013, 04:57 AM
I love how POC is very implausible and breaks one out of their " immersion in the world" but a race of Giants? No problem! Skin color is a strange place to draw the line of gritty realism and historical accuracy, given the stylized fantasy of the game. You'd be way more likely to see a Steppe Archer in a long boat than a Shieldbanger

I don't think you understood what I was arguing, which was the factual claims of some people in this thread. Using those as justification is illogical because they don't hold water. If the argument is to include "POC" because it's a fantasy game and they can do what they want, then that is not something I can argue with.

OTOH, including characters/animals based on Norse myths makes sense. If that includes artistic freedom on the colouring, then again, that is not something I can argue with, even if I don't agree (it's a matter of opinion).

Zahar
03-06-2013, 02:38 PM
It could be used IF the character(s) were interesting.

For instance, later on the saga (it will be a trilogy) the vikings could meet Roman troops in the isle of Britain - and those roman troops could have drafted some Numidian infantry after they fought Hannibal of Carthage (discovering those numidians are hard to beat as heavy infantry), etc.

It would be nice. I just don't want collor pallet swaps to allow darker vikings. That kind of politically correct is so fake it makes me feel kinda bad for it.

Jorgensager
03-06-2013, 05:30 PM
It could be used IF the character(s) were interesting.

For instance, later on the saga (it will be a trilogy) the vikings could meet Roman troops in the isle of Britain - and those roman troops could have drafted some Numidian infantry after they fought Hannibal of Carthage (discovering those numidians are hard to beat as heavy infantry), etc.


The Romans and Vikings raged around in Britain in different centuries, and Hannibal died around 600 years before the Viking Age begun... so if they want to come up with something to introduce differently-coloured humans [for whatever reason], I'd hope for the fantasy argument rather than far-fetched, implausible historical links.

OldManBobson
03-07-2013, 04:23 AM
Again, I don't think historical accuracy is really germane to anything in a game that has magical giants as one of the key races. So vikings fighting Romans would be inaccurate, but Ice Trolls would be accurate? Nonsense. If you're looking for historical accuracy in your PVP game play, One of the total war titles would be more up your alley.


That said, if you're looking for racial diversity in your PVP game, a game based on vikings is probably not where you should look, either.



One thing I found interesting about this game is the designers said they wanted to draw on other fantasy influences besides dwarfs, elves and orcs, so went with a Viking theme. I Found that strange, because Dwarfs and elves, at the very least, come from the same germanic/norse mythological tradition that this game is drawing on. LOTR was very much inspired by that mythological tradition. So, if this game is really going to be drawing on the myths of the north, I think that well is going to dry up fast without employing the elf/dwarf style.

I think , for the long term health of the game ( and this is sheer speculation here), that there's only so much Viking material for them to draw on. I think they will have to introduce other peoples besides vikings ( and I do NOT think consideration should be given to the historical accuracy in developing these other factions) I think many cultures have rich fantastic traditions, you could easily have a Japanese style faction with samurai and asian dragons, North african elephant riders, Steppe horse people and on and on. If diversity ever comes to the game, it shouldn't probably be in the viking faction, but should be in other factions that are eventually brought in.

That's all assuming that the game is a hit ( which it seems to be already) and they want to expand the PVP beyond it's modest ( but fantastic) roots. I think eventually they will.

Zahar
03-07-2013, 12:35 PM
The Romans and Vikings raged around in Britain in different centuries, and Hannibal died around 600 years before the Viking Age begun... so if they want to come up with something to introduce differently-coloured humans [for whatever reason], I'd hope for the fantasy argument rather than far-fetched, implausible historical links.

If you take it historycally accurate, vikings were little more than an annoyance to europe, raiders at best. They should make a game about Macedonians, Romans or Mogols.

Still, we're all playing a game about Vikings as if they were incredibly relevant because they were cool - and the same apply to numidians in Hannibal army, it's a very cool detail that can make we feel like it's there for a reason. Ok, wrong year, so a numidian FAMILY tracing to Hannibal army that lead to a soldier left by a roman legion that settled in Britain countryside, etc; they can come up with a story, my point is - there are pseudo-historic ways to make it work, just don't come with black vikings for political reasons alone, that kind of thing destroy the immersion.

OldManBobson
03-07-2013, 02:21 PM
If you take it historycally accurate, vikings were little more than an annoyance to europe, raiders at best. They should make a game about Macedonians, Romans or Mogols.


This is not historically accurate. While the Alexander the Great was certainly a more centralized conqueror, the Romans were a historically great empire, and the mongols were a hybrid of both of those, the Vikings were much more than "raiders at best". The Vikings conquered deep into what is modern russia. In fact, that Name "Russia" comes from "Rus" which was the slavic name for Vikings. The State of Kievan Rus was founded directly by Vikings, Kiev itself freed from Khazar tribute in 882 ( There's some people of color for you, vikings fighting Turkic Horse archers)

The raiding was so bad in western europe ( Paris was sacked by vikings) that the king of France gave the coastal area to one tribe of Vikings, whom they called the "Normans" (North Men) to form a buffer between the Viking raiders and france. I'm sure you know what the Norman's did, but if you don't, they 1) Conquered england 2) formed the kingdom of the two Sicilies, 3) Created the Principality of Antioch, the longest lasting crusader state 4) nearly crushed the Byzantine empire. by the time the Principality of Antioch was formed, they could hardly be considered vikings anymore, but they were the direct legacy of Vikings. Also, the Kingdom of Sweden was formed by vikings, which eventually became one of the most powerful states in Europe until they lost the Great Northern War.


My point is, that the Viking Age, while not the organized empire of Rome or the Mongols, had a wide ranging impact all across Europe, from Ireland in the West to the Urals in the east, from Norway in the north to Sicily in the south. They were more than raiders.

RobertTheScott
03-07-2013, 04:43 PM
It would be nice. I just don't want collor pallet swaps to allow darker vikings. That kind of politically correct is so fake it makes me feel kinda bad for it.

Actually, it can be worse than fake--in Dragon Age: Origins, you can play as a noble of any skin color--but you'll still have white parents. Saying that Vikings have multiple skin tones is one thing (one can imagine that's how your viking society works); making a random superficial change that violates the basically Mendelian genetics that apply to everyone else is another.

I have no problem with Vikings from a certain island being dark-skinned, or brown-skinned, or purple, or green. It's a fantasy world, with its own rules. But it seems to me that skin tone ought to be there for a purpose, just like any other narrative element. Otherwise, things become ... silly.

Morgenstern72
03-09-2013, 08:19 AM
First, I would like to see some evidence that POC did fight among "vikings" (which never called themselves that way; fara í víking = "to go on an expedition") in such a scale, that you would really have a chance to see them as standard part of society.

As in Africa you could and can find very light skinned people (Berber, Tuareg) and it is pretty obvious that some of them made it to mix with darker skinned people, still most would find a game based on African traditions and legends of the deep heart of Africa quite strange, when you would have light skinned people among them. Especially the people, that cry now for POC in this setting, would see most likely an affront. that the "white man" has to be everywhere.

Let's face it: the cradle of humankind is Africa and we all have dark skinned ancestors. That's a fact and nothing to get emotional about it. The more black you are, the more pure homo sapiens you are. The more white you are, the more neandertal genes you have (http://bit.ly/10lAm7J). Still we changed skin color and appearance over the years and jsut because something can exist, it does not mean, it has to portrayed as a standard.

But these facts have nothing to do with game settings, dipping deep into norhern legends. In this legends you read of gods, dwarves, giants, dragons, wolves and many more things , but not about POC. And that's the only reason there is, that no POC are in this game. Every other interpretation is trying to force a political correct agenada in trying to shame people that they are racist, when they are clearly not.

And what then about gay people? Or transgender? They certainly existed. Shall every game show any possible combination just because it existed? Or is it allowed to experience a legend and fairy tale, just with some basic setting? I strongly believe it is and the game is good as it is!

Dreylad
03-09-2013, 11:20 AM
It's pretty weird that people are trying to make historical arguments about whether or not POC belong in a fantasy setting. It's a fantasy setting. One drawn from a particular cultural tradition, but that doesn't mean you can't add different skin colour options to the game.

I don't really see who it hurts, other than people getting butthurt about some kind of "political correct agenda" which is both delightful and hilarious that people are worried about that sort of thing.

R00K
03-10-2013, 09:25 AM
It's pretty weird that people are trying to make historical arguments about whether or not POC belong in a fantasy setting. It's a fantasy setting. One drawn from a particular cultural tradition, but that doesn't mean you can't add different skin colour options to the game.

I don't really see who it hurts, other than people getting butthurt about some kind of "political correct agenda" which is both delightful and hilarious that people are worried about that sort of thing.

I agree, I think.

The big question is why is it necessary? Will leaving things as they are mean that transparent people will have more fun than people of colour? If the issue is identity, what about gender or species? "I don't want to play giants and women because they don't look like me."

It would be interesting to hear from the devs about motivation for the particular colour palette. I'm sure there was no racial motivation, and therefore no need to "fix" it.

Gl hf.

shipwreck
04-09-2013, 04:14 PM
It's not necessary at all. This is the same line of thinking that people take when they claim Tolkien was racist.

The only thing that matters is whether or not it suits the characters and story. If it doesn't, leave it alone.

So there! ;)

Bjarki
04-21-2013, 10:10 AM
.....

SeraphimLoki
05-17-2013, 10:47 AM
Why does it always "black people" whine about rasism? There arnt any asian vikings in the game, have you seen asians whining about not having asians in Wow,TBSF counterstirke or whatever? Oh just get over it it. This is a game about viking if you want to go historical then most likely a black person would be killed by viking or slaved as a wrose kind. Im not an Norweyan but if i would be, i wud feel offended if someone even say that there where black vigins, thats a missmatching the history. Have nothing to do with rasisim.

Rensei
05-17-2013, 05:07 PM
Don't know if I am allowed to speak as a white person, but I think I would feel more offended being called PoC than simply black. Who comes up with those names?

Aethelric
05-24-2013, 07:59 AM
"PoC" is used as a catch-all term for non-white people; it's a fairly common and accepted in the context of social justice discussion, but certainly some people dislike the term for various reasons. It's a useful term, though, so it gets used.

The Vikings interacted (as traders, raiders and conquerors, at different times and in different places) with people of every skin tone imaginable. Completely excluding these cross-cultural interactions from the story would be to ignore a very important and valuable part of the Viking lifestyle and experience. There's no need for a lily-white game, why make one?

Butters
05-24-2013, 11:08 AM
I post in this thread against my better judgement...

You know what else was an important and valuable part of the Viking lifestyle and experience ? Farming. Do you want that in Saga too ?
Setting aside the fact that TBS is not a historical recreation of Viking culture...
Every game takes from its setting the elements that the devs consider useful towards advancing the story they want to tell or the gameplay they want to achieve. Assuming that TBS's world is set in a world similar enough to ours that it includes foreign lands with people of different skin coloration (why would it be ?), I don't see what reason there is for this part of the game world in particular to be put forth regardless of relevance to the story or art direction.
I also don't understand the argument that we need to be able to palette swap characters into having black, green, or blue skin. What exactly is the purpose ? This is not about integrating different cultural influences, just skin tones with 0 background or consistency ? What does that achieve ?

Kletian999
05-24-2013, 12:56 PM
Any art variation is extra work for the artists, then the UI programmer must code some way to select that variation, then Cut scenes must track and reproduce those variations, etc.

Another thing I think people forget is that artists create what know how to make and like to see unless it serves a specific purpose. If not careful the effort does not come out well. My wife who does her own writing constantly remarks on female characters in books written by male authors, how "wrong" they are with admittedly some exceptions. When you ask an artist to draw "A person of color" are they supposed to draw what they'd draw "normally" in a different skin tone, should they represent the phenotype differences in that race or avoid them in fear of making "racist caricatures".

From what I've picked up, the art thus far has been old-Disney inspired while using motion capture of the Stoic team and friends/family. They'd need good reference material to do a comparable job with alternate races.

Aethelric
05-27-2013, 03:50 AM
You do a good job of laying out both the reason why Stoic should take the extra effort to include people of color in your post, Kletian, though I imagine you did not intend to accomplish such a thing.

Artists assume a certain racial/gender "normal" of white male. This is a bad thing and does often lead to stereotyping and, but I do not believe Stoic is incapable of doing people of color the justice of being included. If they can, they should. It being hard or the artists/writers being "afraid" is the opposite of an excuse.

As for the "why" they should be included in TBS, or anything else: the world is not actually based around the white hetero cis-male normality we currently see displayed with stunning consistency across all forms of media. Any honest, well-considered art will take this assumption of "normal" and do its best to deconstruct it. There are far more interesting stories, unfamiliar stories to gamers, that could come from the well-written inclusion of people of color.

raven2134
05-27-2013, 05:51 AM
Can't we just drop the politics and look forward to the game, POC included or not? I mean it's hardly something so significant we actually have to take it seriously here. It's not as if TBS needs to make a statement. Let's just have fun with it ;).

Kletian999
05-27-2013, 07:08 AM
Artists assume a certain racial/gender "normal" of white male. This is a bad thing and does often lead to stereotyping and,

but I do not believe Stoic is incapable of doing people of color the justice of being included. If they can, they should. It being hard or the artists/writers being "afraid" is the opposite of an excuse.



My point was the artist assumed the standard race/gender of "whatever they happen to be". The work of a POC artists (unguided by a commercial interest asking for otherwise) is full of POC characters- and I mean any kind of art from the Boondocks comic, Tyler Perry movies, or plays like Raisin in the Sun or the Color Purple. There's nothing wrong with this, people are just making what they can the best. When you force people to try to portray otherwise, it's not going to turn out as well as if they chose the character for their own purposes (which is the practice needed to eventually be able to do it well). It's not just hard to do well, it's really hard. That's why so few people out there do it.

In the anime world, 90% of the characters (once you except the much broader pallet of hair colors as normal for anyone) are either "Japanese" or "Alien yet unremarkably different from Japanese based on the Japanese character's reaction to them/their ability to be mistaken for normal". When an "American" or even "European" character is portrayed, they go out of their way to tweak the art style (odd face, much larger build, etc) and or go heavy on an accent, quirk, etc: and even the characters will verbally comment that difference. Skin color from pale to dark is still within the "Japanese" bubble in this due to tanning trends that exist there. Yet if you showed an anime scene to a foreigner unfamiliar with the show, they would likely think all those characters were of European descent. Japanese people would presume they are Japanese and not just from my statistical guess above.

The above art philosophy is referred to as Musuo-seki, roughly meaning "no race". The absence of any detail that makes the character "different" from the observer makes them believe the subject is their own race. African Americans in anime, I've seen both cases, either just dark shaded normal style, or some combination of sporting "Ethnic" hairstyles, having large lips, being "blinged out", or being fatter or more muscular.

What I'd like to know is when people ask for POC, do they want "Musuo" depictions, or the ones where ethnic markers are present? If the latter, what crosses the line between "well done" and "caricature". Seeing that line is another reason art can be hard. If the audience between Musuo and Ethnic is evenly divided, then a large group of people will always be unhappy.

In terms of "story gamers are missing without POC characters"- perhaps in other games this is true, but our rank and file units have no story. The NPCs that drive the plot have stories, but unless they are going to tell us about some racial persecution they suffer in a non-historical fantasy world that now mirrors ours, then the stories that drive "whatever the Banner Saga plot/sidequest is" could be told by anyone, even non-human fantasy characters. There's already racism in Banner Saga between human and Varls: real life humans never had a sentient other to help make the lines of race seem arbitrary. Star Trek also used "First contact" with aliens as the reason we got over racism in that continuity.

Addition: the above is nothing to do with politics, it's about the artist's desire and ability to create what they wish. On a much lighter note: here's a game with Black Vikings: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.406943-Ouya-Announces-Exclusive-From-Quantum-Conundrum-Dev