I just read a really useful analysis on the Battlefield Hardline beta (for the record, overall, I like it). It's linked below if anyone else would like a useful critique. Hopefully, they will implement these things recommended by Mr. Evangelho.
I've been watching my partner play the beta. And yes, I agree with the points that Jason Evangelho made in his analysis. But all of these points were the least of my concern. They were lost upon me as I cringed at the game. I didn't cringe at the sub-par graphics. Or the simple physics. Or the light weight movement. What I couldn't overlook (and for those of you who know my work, you know exactly where I'm going), what I couldn't ignore, was the script. Did Doakes from Dexter provide the narrative?
Did he provide the ad libs? I swear, they say muh'fucka after everything! And I have to wonder why????
The most recent issue from Memory Insufficient: Language and Games History is so timely right now. As Oscar Strik (@qwallath) states, we only consciously pay attention to language: when it is problematic or surprising for us.
Now, for most consumers of mainstream media, you are used to this stereotypical speech. You have grown accustomed to Black people speaking this way. In movies, music, video games, and other media, they give you this singular vernacular of Blackness. For Black people, we're tired of it. This is not how we talk.
This form of linguistic profiling is similar to racial profiling and can lead to discriminatory practices (stereotyping, racism, etc). It may confirm the negative assumptions that people have about Blacks. It confirms the singular narrative of ignorance, stupidity, etc. So when a person happens upon a Black individual who doesn't fit this profile, you hear things like this: "you're not really Black."
This singular story told of Blackness in video games essentializes Black life creating a universal Blackness that isn't universal at all. Sure, there are some Black people who talk like Cole Train (my uncle!). But I also have an uncle that talks like Soap.
In recent months, you've heard the cry for gaming to diversify and create characters that better reflect our reality. I don't think Hardline got the memo.