Hello again, Lusi-sprites. It is Thursday which means someone in my household gets paid and will be bringing home Chinese take-out (yum!) and, more importantly for you all, I will be treating you all to my random weekly ramblings. This week my quirky ol’ brain is fixated upon character names.
Due to the ever-increasing popularity of in-game voice acting, more and more games are forcing the game’s characters to have certain names. As hilarious as it would be, the FFXII game code does not know how to make Vaan yell “Stinkypants lives!” or “I’m Captain Stinkypants!” so unfortunately, Basch must be named Basch, there is no option to rename him to Stinkypants or anything else. Now for me, this is fine. It is rare for me to re-name a character. I believe that a character’s name says something about them and you lose part of their essence when you change their name. For instance, it is tempting to rename Chrono Trigger’s ‘Frog’ to ‘Glenn’, or FFVII’s ‘Red XIII’ to ‘Nanaki’, but the fact that these characters introduce themselves the way that they do, says something about them. Something rather sad, actually.
Occasionally I will rename a character. Due to a bug in the Suikoden 2 code, I was advised to name my Suikoden 1 hero something that begins with the letter M. I know, it’s weird. Just trust me here. So rather than name him Tir which is the unofficial official name of the hero, I named him Milon. Now he is always Milon, even if I no longer have a copy of Suikoden 2, even if I rarely used McDohl when I had Suikoden 2. The dude in the green head scarf-thing is Milon. Additionally, sometimes a name just strikes me as really fucking stupid and I simply must change it, and I do enjoy having the freedom to do so when needed.
On the whole, though, I still maintain that the developers usually know what they are doing when they choose names. Sometimes they are mistranslated and I will correct this in-game when possible (Aerith/Aeris, Lenna/Reina, etc) but in general I try to keep the default names in place. When there is no default name or even a generally accepted unofficial name, I become confused and irritated. In Disgaea, for example, I decided to name my mages after their respective elements. The green mage was named Brieses, the frost mage was named Frieze, and the fire mage, well, I could not think of a name for her that meshed with the other two, so she was never created. Names are that important to me.
I know that some people could care less, and often change a character’s name just for fun. I know that Lusipurr has a save file of FFIX where Freya has been named Ginia, sacrificing the statement Squeenix tried to make by naming the character after a Norse Goddess. So I wonder, is it bothersome to other people when there is no option to rename a character? Or are most people like me, and prefer to use the default names unless there is some goofy reason to do otherwise, such as code errors or misspellings? What do you all think? Do you rename characters often? If so, why?