|Posted by Josh Griffiths on January 26, 2015 at 11:50 AM|
I don’t like tooting my own horn (or making fart jokes) but I really like what I’ve done with Brooklyn. I promise, this will be the only blog I write in which I talk myself up. Don’t worry, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops.
If I were to hazard a guess, I would say Brooklyn is by far everyone’s favorite character. Not Graham Edmond, voiced by myself, so points off for that. It’s easy to say Brooklyn is so loved because she is a woman, because she’s headstrong, her excellent voice acting (you have Kristyn Mass for that), or due to her past. However, all of the characters share these traits, especially Graham Edmond whom I voice. Did I mention that? He’s pretty cool.
I say the public opinion of Brooklyn is so strong likely because, being the narcissist that I am, she is my favorite character as well. Not Graham Edmond who I voice and blah, blah, blah. Perhaps my opinion is skewed in that regard; however I do know her true origin. Of course I’m not talking about her origin, that’s told almost entirely in War Trash. Instead I refer to how I originally envisioned her as a character.
When I first devised War Trash, in fact even after the first draft of the outline, Brooklyn was very different from how you know her today. Back then, she was a drug addicted whore who had sex with everyone, not because she was a liberated woman, but because I wanted the player to feel dirty. Brooklyn was essentially a dick holster; someone you slept with and did drugs with to establish your cover as a mercenary terrorist, as well something to establish the gang as a group of “bad” people.
I realized there are very few games that had a strong female lead, and far too many games that feature an over-sexualized woman there solely for the benefit of teenage boys. I also hated how I set up prostitutes as “bad” people. That simply isn’t true, and it’s a cliché that needs to be stopped.
The act of poisoning Freeside and killing innocent people was still part of the package, which is why I was comfortable in changing things. Thinking back on how I originally designed Brooklyn makes me sick to my stomach, even as I’m writing this.
The fact of the matter is having a strong female is more interesting than the same old clichés. You’d expect a man to go on a hate filled rage, becoming a soldier so he could kill the people that slaughtered his family. You expect a man to torture someone to extract information, or to inadvertently say he doesn’t care about the lives of one of his men. That kind of thing rarely, if ever, happens with a woman.
I decided to play on everyone’s expectations. I remember when Alchestbreach played War Trash and he found Brooklyn’s diary before meeting her. He thought Brooklyn was a man and said he felt sorry for him, and that he’d like to meet him. Then he was totally shocked when he realized Brooklyn was a woman.
One thing that did make the final cut of War Trash that I regret is Brooklyn’s rape backstory. It seems even I can’t escape the “wanting to show everyone I’m strong” cliché. To double down on the double downing, I’m well aware of the fact that I did the same thing with Olivia. Although it is a bit more justified here since DWNB was actively about slavery. That’s my excuse anyway.
My own incompetence doesn’t stop there. In the original draft for Do We Not Bleed (called Buried at the time), Brooklyn was going to die towards the end. She was going to take a bullet for Edmond, and he would get angry and go on a killing spree, which is grounds enough for removal due to another cliché. It was on upon reflection I realized her death did nothing to further (or rather end) her story. Her death would have only reinforced Edmond’s narrative. Brooklyn deserves more than that, by a lot.
Truth be told Brooklyn is the most important character in the series. Edmond was a minor character in War Trash, and while his importance grew exponentially in Do We Not Bleed the real heart of the series comes from Brooklyn. I’m incredibly proud of all the characters and their dialogue with one another, but something about Brooklyn clicks with me. She is absolutely the best character I ever wrote.
The writing is only half of what makes Brooklyn great. I’m proud to have Kristyn Mass as the voice of Brooklyn. It’s funny, Brooklyn was the first character I cast, and Kristyn was the first voice actor I contacted in my life. I essentially wrote a novel detailing the plot, the character, and why she should accept the role. Again, I have to give Kristyn credit, where most people would back off, she immediately accepted, just like that. If only every character was that easy to cast…
My hope is that other writers will read this and realize that while stereotype’s and clichés sometimes have their place, they’re better off being left out. Examine your characters, especially the female’s, and ask yourself if they’re strong and interesting. Also be sure to find a great voice actress as well, don’t simply grab your sister or raise the pitch of your own voice.
Fun fact: I was going to do a trailer in which I would appear on camera and say that I replaced Kristyn with Kiefer Sutherland. I would have downloaded some of Sutherland’s lines from Ground Zeroes and put them in the mod, then show it off in the video as well as clips from him in that reveal trailer where he did the monkey face. I didn’t do it because I was afraid people wouldn’t get it, plus I was worried about copyright stuff. I can promise you it would have been hilarious.
Oh, and for those asking, Brooklyn’s real name is