*Question of the Month is the blogging equivalent of a weaponised Furby who has disobeyed orders and gone rogue, all to the delight of those architects of anarchy at Later Levels
I’m not one for spoiling the magic, but for those of you who might want to peek behind the curtain into this strange gaming blogging world, I will say that this question caused quite a stir amongst the regular participants; there was some question over what constituted an NPC in this context. I know you’re all shouting at your monitors that surely it’s pretty obvious, but the concept of ‘Non-Playable Character’ is open to interpretation and there are certainly examples of entities within games that are both ‘characters’ and ‘non-playable’ that I wouldn’t class as an NPC.
I’d argue that the term character refers to some who has an actual personality (no matter how two-dimensional’) rather than random villager #3 who simply walks around bumping into things. I’d also argue that they shouldn’t be a key antagonist or boss; I don’t know why, but they just don’t strike me as NPC’s. Using ‘Metal Gear Solid’ as an example of my own filtering system, Otacon and Meryl are NPC’s, guards, ocelot, and metal gear Rex are not…
Regardless of your definition, I think everyone agrees that well thought out and interesting supporting characters make a game come to life, so it’s good to see this of the overlooked subset in gaming honoured by QotM. This month I’ve gone back to ‘Team Fortress 2’, a game that probably holds the crown for most hours I’ve spent playing, so here is, my nomination for “Most Memorable Video Game NPC” in 100 words or less:
The Announcer – Team Fortress 2
“Also known as ‘The Administrator’, this faceless voice (expertly brought to life by Ellen McLain) monitors, congratulates, and updates both the Red and Blu teams on the progress of their ongoing feuds in that desert wasteland. Her voice is transmitted through an antiquated Tannoy to the troops which conveys not only the words, but sadistic undertones, manic excitement, and bitter disappointment of the mysterious speaker (My favourite is at 4:18 here). Her moral ambiguity, being the voice of authority to both teams, means that she is often portrayed wearing a half-and-half suit, or purple ensemble, although she’s never actually seen ingame”
I think The Announcer is very memorable, but what about you? Remember to head over to the post at Later Levels (Going live 1st September) to read the other responses and vote!