Today the game devs opened up a forum for people to voice their opinions on game ideas. Here's mine:
The post is titled: "Don't *Make* Us Play Another Straight-Haired White Person"
This is suggestion with two versions aimed at the same goal.
One of the things I loved about PS:T was how startling the protagonist looked. He was clearly human, but... he wasn't some generic white male model like the guy plastered on the Mass Effect covers or wearing the Dovahkiin helmet. He was a six-foot-plus gray-skinned zombie with dreadlocks and features that obscured his ethnicity. He looked more like Frankenstein than a mass-market-approved ultra-Aryan dude.
In mass-market fantasy RPGs there's an extremely limited palette. Like... you know how in Dragon Age and Skyrim, you can't be a black person without straightened hair? And you can't be an Asian person at all? Ethnic cleansing's a bitch, I guess.
That shit's going to be even weirder in Numenera, which is supposed to be Future!Earth.
I know we aren't going to get much PC customization... and that's fine. But here are some things I WOULD like to see.
**SUGGESTION THE FIRST**
* Let us change the race of the PC. Black, brown, Asian, at least.
* Let us have curly or afro-textured hair. (If you don't know what the former looks like, go see "Brave". If you don't know what the latter looks like, google "natural hair" or "afro-textured hair".) And dreadlocks! The Nameless One had dreadlocks, dammit. You don't even have to google those!
* While you're at it? Throw in a couple beards. This is off-topic, sure. But let's call it 'diversity'. Yeah, that's the ticket. Seriously, everyone wants beards.
* If we CAN'T have the above... then instead of MAKING us play a white PC, then make the PC look at least as racially ambiguous & unique as The Nameless One. The current artwork for the female PC is lovely and badass-looking (seriously, I love that painting), but she's no racially ambiguous gray-skinned dreadlocked zombie. She's a white chick. Assuming the male PC currently looks the same.
This is sort of the like the 'more portraits' topic but much more specific & basic. Which is why I'm putting it in this forum, instead of the stretch goals one.
PS yes, I'm poking fun, but this is a serious suggestion. I spent years as an artist. I know exactly how it is to only draw white people or straight-haired people because that's pretty much the default that you're taught to draw. That's why I think it needs to be a suggestion in the first place: it's something the devs may not have thought of.
Finally... I'd be disappointed if Torment, after bucking this annoying trope in the original game, went right back to it on the second go-round. Isn't Torment SUPPOSED to be bucking RPG tropes, after all? Why not this trope too?
Let's see if it starts a clusterfuck or not. I honestly really hope it's non-controversial and that the developers think it's a good idea. But... Heh. We'll see!
PS: Yes... I engaged in some oversimplification... But it was already such a wall of text. :P And there's some problematic assumptions with "racially ambiguous"... but I would definitely prefer that to the 'default white' route that I'm worried they'll go in. Personally, at least. Feel free to argue that point in the comments.
I basically included what I thought would be a "good start" that's conspicuously missing from a video game. If you're as into "Torment" as I am, feel free to go weigh in there.