Hello again! I want to share a bit about my motivations behind Monster Jaunt's player characters.
Many indie party games will opt for some kind of generic player character that can be customized with colors and hats. Think of something like Gang Beasts; you play as a generic ragdoll-esque character, which matches the silly style of the game and lets players choose outfits that they like.
That's fun and all, and it lets the devs reuse animations and add new costumes easily, but there's something about it that gives me pause: We're in the midst of (hopefully) a rise in diverse characters and representation in our games, and making the player character generic might imply a "default" character to many players, which would likely be white and male.
That won't do. How about no white dudes this time?
It's a low bar, I know. I really should do more to have characters in Monster Jaunt who are meaningfully diverse, instead of merely representational. I know I'm only representing along a handful of axes -- I've not considered neurodiversity, age diversity, and many more -- but I believe that this mere representation is in its own way important.
We know that people can become entrenched further in their beliefs if confronted directly, so why not try an indirect approach? Especially when I don't have more than a few text boxes and some animations with which to flesh out my characters, I think it'd come across as heavy-handed to be too preachy. Over time, mere exposure will make people more tolerant!
I've also tried to weave in a few other ostensibly disruptive designs as well. Having Joel as a male ballet dancer is particularly important to me, since I have a background in dance myself. I also wanted to have a young woman with a background in tech since we need to continue expanding diversity in the games industry.
And, of course, I had to include some animal friends for us furries. =3
If you have any thoughts on the characters of Monster Jaunt, I'd love to hear them! If you haven't already, you can also join the Discord to help choose their alternate colors and get the free Cheat Codes DLC!
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