I’m not just a clown, I’m the whole circus. One week later I called him GenshinScaramouche’s most annoying character, Scaramouche’s storyline broke my heart into tiny pieces and made me spend gacha currency on him. Since Genshin launched two years ago, players have been grumble relentlessly that the choices of dialogue in the story”it meant nothing.” Now it finally does, and I suffered with it for several hours last night. This was probably the hardest choice I’ve made in any video game this year.
Scaramouche is a recurring villain who’s been a pain in the ass since his November 2020 debut. He’s always had a rude personality, but he first earned my ire for helping create weapons that killed their unsuspecting wielders. Several months later, I discovered that he was using a stolen divine object to transform himself into a god. Again, I understand this is all coming from a textbook villain arc, but what really pissed me off was the superior attitude from him. He’s an artificial puppet who feels abandoned by his creator, but that doesn’t really excuse his terrible personality. Or his desire to become a tyrant god.
The last main story quest attempts to redeem him. After defeating his divine form in the last patch, he has become an assistant to the God of Wisdom. She showed him a traumatic memory from his past that proved that his loved ones hadn’t betrayed him. The revelation was so shocking that Scaramouche tried to erase himself from reality using a fantastical supercomputer. It worked, more or less. The world created another version of him to replace the one that disappeared in this new timeline. This is what you put into the character gacha. Most importantly, you can give it a new name. This name will appear in all cutscenes and HUD text. While this is normal for a game like Pokémonbeing able to rename playable characters is a first for any gacha character I know of.
Here’s the catch, though: The new guy won’t accept just a name. Players report that you I can’t give it its old name. Also, you can’t call it after the mother who “abandoned” him.. He refuses any names based on his former colleagues, as they had abused and exploited him. He has a personalized answer to each rejected name, which some have pointed out is similar to the naming mechanism in Undertale. If you decide to give him your name, he expresses approval. The game will let you rename it in the future, but warns that it can only be done a limited number of times. The developers truly I want you to pay attention to naming the character and treat him as seriously as names deserve.
I was pleasantly surprised by the process, because naming video game characters can often be a way to strip them of agency. It has become a meme give to rival a demeaning name in Pokémon Red And Blue. But demonstrating clear preferences for specific names, the Scaramouche clone seems more like a “real” person to me. Giving it a name didn’t seem just a matter of personal aesthetics. He seemed to satisfy a specific emotional need that had been denied him for so long. Despite all this, you can still name it Booty shaker69 or bigchungus. One popular first name That has swept through the world of fans is “baby girl.”
Thankfully, many people are more thoughtful about it. Some people are doing lists of potential names as if they were a first-time parent. A fan has even been created an entire Google survey to ask other players what name they had chosen. Others are looking for the meanings certainly Japanese names, as his homeland is based on Japan. Honestly, this is such an amazing gaming experience. I can’t think of any other artistic medium that could force players to put so much effort into simulating the experience of choosing someone’s name. In choice-focused games, I’m used to making decisions about which NPCs live and which ones die. This led me into an emotional decision-making process that felt exclusively personal.
I was greeted with a conundrum. Names are new beginnings. It is impossible to use names to describe the past or the present. So I gave him a name that represented my hopes for his future. Shohei (rise, even/flat) seemed to adjust to his new wind-based Anemo element. And just as his mother, I too wanted to give Shohei some freedom and free will, but without the tragedy that Scaramouche experienced. The previous incarnation of him felt abandoned as he wandered the world. Wherever Shohei goes in his new life, I hope she goes with purpose.