Meet Delsin Rowe, Native Hero of 'Infamous: Second Son' Video Game
Today, one of the top gaming series for Sony's PlayStation console gets a reboot, and a well-known protagonist is replaced by an American Indian hero.
Delsin Rowe of Infamous: Second Son, a PlayStation 4 game, is from the fictional Okomish tribe, and like many classic game and movie characters he's a regular Joe who acquires superpowers and is called upon to use them. Infamous: Second Son has been developed by Sucker Punch Studios, was preceded by Infamous and Infamous 2, and takes place in Seattle.
In a thorough interview with Digital Trends, Brian Fleming, founder of Sucker Punch, discussed Delsin Rowe at length.
On the "Okomish" tribe:
"We don’t want to accidentally – and certainly not on purpose – be insensitive to a tribe. It’s not our heritage, so I’d be afraid of making an unintentional blunder there. So we just decided it was better to make a fictional tribe. And we did meet with people from the tribes to get some ideas, you know, just to make sure we weren’t being totally stupid about stuff. But I don’t represent us as the foremost experts on this though."
On Delsin Rowe's back story:
"We were trying to find somebody, you know, a bike messenger or a kid from a reservation, who if I tell you that about them, you almost round down on them, fair or unfair. It’s someone for who the journey is particularly big, because they started from meager beginnings. And so that was part of it, we knew we wanted him to be from one of the reservations."
On Delsin Rowe's personality:
"Fairly early in the process someone said 'What if Johnny Knoxville got superpowers?' Like literally, what would happen? And we’re like, OK, that’s interesting. ... That’s a really interesting difference [from the series' previous protagonist]. Here’s a guy that’s like 'Sweet!' He’s excited to have the powers and that really makes him very different. So I think it started with a background and a bio, and an attitude."
Animation director Billy Harper elaborated on Delsin's adventurous spirit in comments to Game Informer: "He is completely getting off on his powers. ... He says, 'I don't know how to jump off this cliff and I don’t know what will happen when I get there, but I'm just going to do it and see what happens.'"
Amerian Indians with an interest in gaming will likely have their own opinions on whether Sucker Punch's decision to create a fictional tribe was the right move, and whether the Native elements in the story are handled respectfully. Delsin Rowe is modeled on Troy Baker, and his brother Reggie is played by Travis Willingham; both are veteran voice talents in the gaming world, and neither appears to be Native -- a choice that contrasts with UbiSoft's casting of Crow actor Noah Watts as its Mohawk protagonist Ratonhnhaké:ton (or Connor) in Assassin's Creed III.
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