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Telltale's Sam & Max games getting remastered


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Hiring a white actor to do an african-american accent, is the voice acting equivalent of blackface.

 

Also, this is not a US-specific "trend". Using white actors to portray minorities is controversial throughout western Europe, and rightfully so.

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1 hour ago, Laserschwert said:

Why exactly are you assuming that the devs did it to please someone other than themselves? If it's THEIR wish to make this change, because it reflects THEIR political views, what bad place is that exactly?

Because this happened in this day and year, of course. 

 

Me assuming they did it for that reason, does not necessarily mean they actually did it for that.

 

However, I mean, just look what is happening in the industry, it cannot be just coincidences. Nobody seems to want the "bad" kind of attention and companies rush to make changes at the first tweet.

 

The "bad place" is an answer to the question about the slippery slide ie. "we may be heading there". Obviously, it's not a "bad place" for a developer to make a decision that reflects their political views, albeit it is a bit more complicated than than, when that decision concerns work already published, like in this specific case. 

  

1 hour ago, Bagge said:

Hiring a white actor to do an african-american accent, is the voice acting equivalent of blackface.

 

Also, this is not a US-specific "trend". Using white actors to portray minorities is controversial throughout western Europe, and rightfully so.

Well, from my perspective, that is an overreaction. 

It didn't use to be "controversial" and it really is not at least among the people I'm talking to.

 

And Sam n Max season one released in the mid to late 2000's. A modern era. People were cautious to avoid racism back then, too. It wasn't that much different then, but it seems in US the line for "racisim" has been moved.

 

I am also aware that the trend is also in some western European countries. I kind of think that it originated in the US and it's more prominent there, but I may be wrong about that one. All I'm noting is that it's a weird trend which in my opinion it will ultimately and inevitably die out. Because it's not leading to the good place it hopes to. 

Edited by cinnamon
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Keep in mind though that they are not making any changes to the existing games (to my knowledge). So a game that gets updated to better fit in with the current world technology-wise, might just as well get updated society-wise too. It certainly won't alter my enjoyment of the product, if the new actor's performance is equally good (or even better).

Edited by Laserschwert
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On 11/15/2020 at 8:18 PM, kralex said:

I think it might also be the controversy the original voice of Bosco has found himself with on his youtube channel, sounds like he's kinda made himself into PR poison.

 

Unless they are recasting Jimmy Two-Teeth as well, Joey Camen's work will continue to be heard throughout the game, so this decision doesn't seem to be a repudiation of a voice actor. The reason for recasting Bosco appears to be the reason Skunkape has given.

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Is it stated explicitly in the games that Bosco is african-american? Or in the comic? To me, that character model could be any number of ethnicities, from hispanic to a really tan white dude.

 

Well, it was confirmed by the devs themselves in the Vice article when it was revealed they'd decided to recast the part because having a white actor playing a black man didn't sit well with them 🤷‍♂️

 

Quote

They recast the voice actor for Bosco, because it was a black character voiced by a white actor, a creative decision that didn't exactly sit right with the team when they decided to revisit it.

 

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On 11/18/2020 at 3:41 AM, cinnamon said:

The modern sensibilities change as time passes and politics shift. The dangerous slide is to try and respect the most loud complaints. It's hiring and firing/dismissing based on skin color, it's "respecting" that an actor cannot voice a black character because he/she are not black themselves, it's "respecting' that an actor cannot portray a paraplegic because he is not paraplegic himself. This goes on of course, it's not just two or three examples, and all just in the past year. 

 

It's a slide towards a really bad place. 

Inclusivity is never a bad thing, for any of those you listed.  There are black and brown voice actors who are not being hired for black and brown characters because white voice actors are hired in their place. There are paraplegic actors who are not being hired because able-bodied actors are being hired in their place.

 

Trevor Noah put the situation quite well over the controversy surrounding the original intention for Scarlett Johansson to play a transgender man, before she stepped down so an actual transgender man could play the role. Paraphrasing Mr. Noah, "The issue isn't that [non-minority actors] can't play the part. It's that [they] can play the part as well as any other part they want to play". Minorities don't get that option, especially in the voice realm, since casting directors will often go with a non-minority actor, meaning the opportunities they actually do get are few and far between.  The changes that are happening now are making sure that the playing field is fair, where it absolutely wasn't before, and that's actually taking the to industry to a really good place.

Edited by Jenni
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Just now, Jenni said:

Inclusivity is never a bad thing, for any of those you listed.

Inclusivity is a good thing. 

 

I argue that how it is currently applied in the gaming industry (and movie industry and other sectors) leads to a bad place for the reasons I've listed. I don't see it promoting unity, or even harmony in business or the society that receive its products.

 

I do see it used as a new marketing "weapon" or an evasive maneuver to deal with a current overreacting crowd and/or signal allignment with specific politics. It will unfortunately change if or when the tide shifts. And the tide is guaranteed to shift because when you apply inclusivity in an extreme way, it builds up resentment or at the very least people get too weirded out.

 

To make the point more ridiculous, should black people only voice black characters? Should chinese-americans only voice chinese-americans? Is a purple character in a game (eg. other Sam & Max) considered a person of colour and thus -- just to be safe -- a black actor should voice them? Should voice actors be changed for new remasters of other games or movies of the 2000's or before in anticipation of not angering twitter people?

 

Noah has a point. As a *counter* bit you could watch Bill Burr's "Paper Tiger", about a comment on Bryan's Cranston's case being cast as a paraplegic. You cannot expect (or demand) an actual paraplegic to be cast in a paraplegic role because it severely limits the options and talent available, and it's also not your (or any random person's outside the production crew) choice to make. Nor does a random person know the specifics of making of a movie or how not getting your first (second or third) casting choice (and being presented with an outsider's choice) or recasting to avoid complaints affects production. Or how a script re-write potentially affects plot cohesion, characterisation. Even under the "normal" circumstances that require re-writes and recasts, like unforeseen unavailability, illness, death. 

 

In the end, it's a director, a producer and possible a marketing consultant that make the decision. These people rarely actually care about inclusivity or being fair to minorities, especially if it goes against the movie or game making profit. It's just that they care about it this specific period, because the media and loud people on twitter "care", and that creates backlash and the bad kind of attention. 

 

However, for actors like Cranston or Johansson you could make the argument Noah makes, but without it being specifically about minorities. The big (and arguably quite good at their job) actors will get more roles, even roles that could very well be played by less popular or unknown actors (not even necessarily minority ones). This is how the industry works, and it's not about minorities or someone being racist, or whatever -ist or -phobic. People will make it being about minorities and racism or whatever, media will make it about that too, or at least enhance the complaint, but they are completely missing the point, as I see it anyway,

 

But being enhanced and encouraged this is surely leading to a very bad place because it is a overreaction and hyperbole, on top of it being poorly justified (and with a poor understanding of why things are the way they are) and that cannot be sustained for long without causing serious issues to products and possibly an ugly backlash.

 

I'm already reading the word racist and every kind of -ist and -phobe thrown around on Twitter and such, as if they lost their actual meaning. People barely have to provide reasoning or proof for a claim and they get their way based on the crowd they influence or how much harm they can make to a newly released product.

 

None of this is good. And none of this was like that when this trend started. It's not getting better. It's getting worse.

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12 hours ago, Jenni said:

Inclusivity is never a bad thing, for any of those you listed.  There are black and brown voice actors who are not being hired for black and brown characters because white voice actors are hired in their place. There are paraplegic actors who are not being hired because able-bodied actors are being hired in their place.

 

Trevor Noah put the situation quite well over the controversy surrounding the original intention for Scarlett Johansson to play a transgender woman, before she stepped down so an actual transgender woman could play the role. Paraphrasing Mr. Noah, "The issue isn't that [non-minority actors] can't play the part. It's that [they] can play the part as well as any other part they want to play". Minorities don't get that option, especially in the voice realm, since casting directors will often go with a non-minority actor, meaning the opportunities they actually do get are few and far between.  The changes that are happening now are making sure that the playing field is fair, where it absolutely wasn't before, and that's actually taking the to industry to a really good place.

Is it? I think it will take the industry to a very segregational place and that's not a good thing. The whole point of acting, specially voice acting, is that one can pretend to be someone else, fictional or not. And in regards to voice acting, how one look is even less of a factor. I don't know what criteria casting directors have when they choose one actor over another. It might be personal preference, it might be pure discrimination against a certain factor or trait, it might be perception of financial return, it myght be all of these or none of them. But it's dangerous and sets a bad precedent to generalize and run with assumptions for the entire industry in order to try to solve an apparent problem of equality of opportunity with equality of outcome.

In this case though, they admitted that it was purely out of ethniticity, which only feeds the idea that (voice) actors should take roles where they share certain immutable traits.

Personally, I'm not a fan of this decision, but it is what it is. The remaster does look great.

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14 hours ago, cinnamon said:

Inclusivity is a good thing. 

 

I argue that how it is currently applied in the gaming industry (and movie industry and other sectors) leads to a bad place for the reasons I've listed. I don't see it promoting unity, or even harmony in business or the society that receive its products.

 

I do see it used as a new marketing "weapon" or an evasive maneuver to deal with a current overreacting crowd and/or signal allignment with specific politics. It will unfortunately change if or when the tide shifts. And the tide is guaranteed to shift because when you apply inclusivity in an extreme way, it builds up resentment or at the very least people get too weirded out.

People demanding that minority characters being played by minority actors is absolutely not overreacting, though. The entertainment industry is heavily tilted against minorities. You absolutely can't achieve inclusivity and social change without progressive politics. That's the raison d'être for that whole movement.  

 

Speaking from experience, as an actor/voice actor myself, I know that there are tons of people of all ethnicities and backgrounds having seen them when I respond to casting calls, even in an area as small as mine. Casting minorities definitely is not limiting the pool, it's actually expanding the pool because these groups of people wouldn't even be considered under normal circumstances. That's actually the crux of the problem that this particular progressive movement is striving to address.

 

The progress that's being made now won't shift back, the same way progressive politics didn't cause the entertainment industry to shift back to minstrel entertainment and blackface back during the 1950s-1970s US civil rights era. Looking back on that era from today, 40-70 years on, almost everyone would say it's extremely good that we don't hire white actors in black makeup to play black characters. The same thing will hold true 40-70 years from now, where people will agree that having white voice actors make voices that "sound" like African American, Asian American, Native American, etc. dialects is not a good thing, especially when there's a huge field of voice actors to choose from that actually belong to those groups.

 

14 hours ago, cinnamon said:

Is a purple character in a game (eg. other Sam & Max) considered a person of colour and thus -- just to be safe -- a black actor should voice them? Should voice actors be changed for new remasters of other games or movies of the 2000's or before in anticipation of not angering twitter people?

If the "purple character" you are referring to in Sam & Max is Bosco, then I think the important thing that you are missing in this is that he speaks with an African American dialect (not to mention the fact that Momma Bosco is very obviously African American herself). So, yes, if a "purple character" speaks in a dialect or accent of a specific ethnic group, or is said to be of that ethnic group, then that "purple character" should definitely be played by an actor that is actually from that specific ethnic group.

 

As for changing actors for new remasters, that's up to the company (Skunkape chose to do so with the Sam & Max Save the World remaster, but they weren't compelled to by anyone other then themselves). However, if a company leaves things unchanged, they shouldn't be surprised when they're opened up to criticism or even limited sales because of it due to the product being released in today's market (as was the case in my Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded example above).

 

14 hours ago, cinnamon said:

In the end, it's a director, a producer and possible a marketing consultant that make the decision. These people rarely actually care about inclusivity or being fair to minorities, especially if it goes against the movie or game making profit.

Yes, but with more and more people flexing their wallet towards inclusivity (see the huge success of Black Panther, Black-ish, etc.), the tides are changing.

 

As an example of progressive politics changing people's viewing habits to the benefit of minority actors, people used to love minstrel shows and blackface too (most of the early cinema included these and were runaway successes). But, with the progressive politics of the civil rights era, more and more people (and not just minority audiences) became turned off by these types of films.  40 to 70 years later, almost everyone around the world doesn't want to watch that anymore.

 

Another 40 to 70 years down the line, the majority of people will be turned off by fake "ethnic" dialects by white voice actors too. The progressive push is starting here, and the industry will only go for inclusive casting more and more as time rolls on.

Edited by Jenni
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It seems the people who think this is wrong are upset purely with hypothetical situations.

 

Fun fact: Hattie McDaniel was the first black actress to win an Oscar in 1939 for Gone with the Wind. The second black actress to win an Oscar was Whoopi Goldberg... in 1990. People of colour didn't historically get cast in notable roles very often (and still struggle now).

 

Hollywood has a long history of casting white actors to play people of colour. A long history. They'd just put them in dark makeup and that would do. Due to societal pressure they slowly stopped putting people in dark makeup... but they still cast those roles with white people. They just changed the ethnicity of the character instead. Not good. With voice acting, nothing changed for a long time because controversial makeup wasn't an issue.

 

But today doing such things, even unintentionally, harkens back to this troubling history of consciously excluding people of colour. Refusing to acknowledge this fact is denying reality. It happened, for decades, and now it needs to be consciously addressed because it was wrong. 

 

Also refusing to acknowledge that Bosco is a black man is denying reality. It's like saying Homer Simpson isn't a white man because his skin colour is yellow.

 

1277991-bosco.jpg

 

Trevor Noah summed up the issue perfectly.

 

 

Edited by ThunderPeel2001
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This conversation feels like it’s going in circles. The same few people stating the same opinion over and over. No minds are going to change, no new ideas are going to be introduced; I strongly suggest moving on.
 

The long and short of it is we didn’t want the performance in the game anymore, we had the power to change it, and we did. We also changed the old lighting that we didn’t want in the game anymore. We will be making sure the original release remains available for anyone who wants to play it. 

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The article here mentions that on GOG one should see the discount at the game's page, if they already own the original. 

This is not working like that, not yet anyway. The game's page (on GOG) still shows the full price.

You have to click on "preorder now" on the game's page to see the discount (and at the same time the game gets added in the shopping cart).

 

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8 hours ago, cinnamon said:

The article here mentions that on GOG one should see the discount at the game's page, if they already own the original. 

This is not working like that, not yet anyway. The game's page (on GOG) still shows the full price.

You have to click on "preorder now" on the game's page to see the discount (and at the same time the game gets added in the shopping cart).

 

Thanks! I can't update the Mojo post but I will update that in support documentation so it's more clear.

 

4 hours ago, Longcat said:

What if you bought the games on Telltale AND GOG, like I did? Do I get the remaster for free? 😛

You can get two copies for the price of one :)

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I'm really excited for this! And I paid full-price because I hope it's successful enough to convince them to do the other seasons as well. 


I had actually just (like a week before the announcement) re-purchased all 3 seasons from Steam since I discovered that I can't get Season 2 to run - because I had it direct from TTG (and it's not a DRM-free version).  Then discovered that I can't get the Steam version to work on my current computer - because I'm running Catalina (and I can't downgrade for other reasons), and I can't run it on my old computer - because the OSX is too old and doesn't support the Steam client.

 

So this kind of came at exactly the right time and is pushing me to actually finally set-up all of the various systems I need in order to run the things I want to. 

 

If there is a potential for Season 2 & 3 in the future...I would hope to see the Mac versions also being available as remasters. 

 

 

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For what it's worth, my Steam copy of Season 1 says it's only available on Windows (I don't have Catalina, I deliberately stayed on Mojave for moments like this). I'm sure I have a physical copy of Season 1 somewhere, but I can't find it... so maybe not 😕

 

Edit: Found all three seasons :) Windows only 😕

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Sorry, my previous post probably wasn't clear. 

 

Season1 always was only released on Windows (and I also still have my copy of that too), I'm just hoping that if the other two get made they don't forget about the Mac version too. :)

 

 

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34 minutes ago, Sopabuena said:

I think it's pretty safe to assume that all three seasons will get remastered, as they are listed on the official website


1953989b-0ba8-4c87-8125-114e46832117.jpg

It'd be great if Jake or anybody could give some official word on that. I imagine it's pretty likely that they're already in development but whether they actually come to light will be determined by the sales of the first season. 

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10 hours ago, Jake said:

Thanks! I can't update the Mojo post but I will update that in support documentation so it's more clear.

 

You can get two copies for the price of one :)

 

Great. So I guess I will have ... 3 ... copies of the same game (4 if you count the physical release) 😛 Is it at least possible to gift my GOG key to someone else if I claim it? I can't really claim a game I already have in my library

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