Over at Midway studio Surreal's "Surreal Game Design" developer weblog, Rick Luebbers, has found a blight infecting games, and he's not afraid to shout about it. What is it?
This evil, this disease, is the idea of a Silent Protagonist. Its symptoms are easy to diagnose: the protagonist never speaks and as seemingly important events fly by he/she says nothing... further, all the NPCs go to great lengths to talk around the player and advance the story almost in spite of him... It appears as a terrible, horrific, mark upon otherwise good or even great games. Half-Life 2 and Dragon Quest 8 are perfect high profile examples in people's recent memories.
Luebbers believes that "...the whole premise is counter-productive and totally immersion breaking" - but how about you good folks? Are you happy for the main character to shut up and "be you" while you play?
Kill The Silent Protagonist [Surreal Game Design]