I'm admittedly somewhat trepidatious when it comes to the story of Axiom Verge. You see, as anyone who's played video games is aware, game designers love embellishing their interactive entertainment with weighty dialogue - even when they're not especially good at it, or when it's not appropriate for the particular game. Oftentimes, both. How am I to know I'm not one of them?
Case in point: My most beloved game series, Metroid. It began wonderfully with a strong, silent protagonist exploring an alien world. She was a bounty hunter, she looked like Boba Fett, and she kicked butt. That was basically all anyone knew about her. Retro Studios' 3D Prime series was largely content to leave her this way, which I appreciated. However, in further, 2D iterations of the series, meddling writers couldn't resist the pull of her otherwise blank template, beckoning them to place their own stamp on one of gaming history's greatest icons. Gradually more and more dialogue was written, and her character morphed from stoic and silent to insecure and talkative. Metroid Fusion was seemingly inspired by a teenager's LiveJournal. Metroid: Zero Mission revised Zebes into Samus' hometown, retconned the Chozo into Samus' adoptive parents, and finally revealed her to be The Chosen One. I'm only slightly ashamed to admit I didn't bother with Metroid: Other M, where I hear it was also revealed that Samus built C-3PO when she was 9. I figured I could do without those memories.
So here is where I'm supposed to say that Axiom Verge features another strong, silent protagonist, and that I'm going to keep him that way, dammit!
Hell no! Of course I think it was bad for Nintendo to change Samus' character so drastically, but my complaint is more of the change than about what she was changed to. If I'm going to be perfectly honest, most video game characters - or action game characters, anyway - are really just the same character. This character is really tough and strong, has no neck, is a bit rough around the edges, and mostly does the right thing - but maybe had a criminal past or something. As everything explodes around him, instead of being admitted for Post Truamatic Stress Disorder, he plugs onward, undaunted. I'm cool with that in Samus, since she was one of the first (and was a she, which adds a bit of depth to it), but overall, I don't want to make another game about this character. Really, there's enough of him!
And so, Trace. I thought I'd start by giving him a neck.