Prototype 2’s protagonist was almost yet another white dude

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Sgt._James_Heller

Quick, name two things that the majority of video game character protagonists today have in common. If you said being white and Nolan North, then you guessed right. Now, while no one is accusing the gaming industry of being racist or xenophobic, it is dull playing as the same Caucasian template every time we fire a game up.

After all, a lot of gamers identify with the main character, so it should only be fair to mix things up a little, and give players some variety. The deranged sandbox sequel, Prototype 2 features such a character, in the form of Sgt. James Heller, who at one point was also going to be yet another white male character.

"We started off with an amalgamation of Hugh Jackman and Clint Eastwood, and the resulting render looked remarkably similar to James Marsden, so we were like ‘Okay, scratch that one out,’" Ken Rosman, Prototype studio head, told Official PlayStation Magazine.

"As we were going, there was something about a concept sketch of some ethnicity or other that wasn’t just the the generic Caucasian guy and we were all drawn to it," he explained. "We started riffing on that character and ended up with Heller."

According to Rosman, the issue of race had nothing to do with the final design. “It’s more about conveying the stature, the position and swagger of a hero”, Rosman said, while Activision’s MacLean Marshall added in “Skin colour is obviously involved and that’s where we ended up but it’s not where we started”.

As long as Prototype 2 manages to live up to the open-ended mayhem of the original title while fixing several gameplay issues, the main character could have the skin tone of a plum for all I care.

Last Updated: December 7, 2011

Darryn Bonthuys

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