Story Design: Evidence vs Opinions

Mother 3 attempts to convince the player that Lucas is a crybaby by incessantly claiming that he is. It doesn't really work, because not only does Lucas almost never cry in the game, but no plot point occurs that necessitates he be a crybaby for the course of events to make sense.

This resembles the trope Informed Ability, except usually when Informed Ability occurs the story is constructed such that, though the audience may never witness the ability or trait in question, the plot would not progress in the way it does if the Informed Ability were a lie. In other words, we don't ever see a character doing something they are supposed to be capable of doing, but if they weren't doing it somewhere offscreen the plot would not progress in the manner that it does, in fact, do. Squirrel Girl's tendency to defeat off-screen villains is an excellent example of this -we see the aftermath of these fights, so somehow Squirrel Girl either defeated the villain or arranged to be in position right after something else took them out, even though we never see the fight, itself. As such, we have to take it on faith that somehow she did, in fact, win a fight against Doctor Doom or whoever. Or possibly take credit for someone else's victory, but then why would Doctor Doom not reveal who actually defeated him? It would have to be even more humiliating than being defeated by Squirrel Girl.

Whereas in Mother 3, the claim that Lucas is a crybaby is unnecessary for the story to make sense and entirely unsupported by the events observed within the game. Lucas cries twice throughout the entire game, both of which are in response to extremely traumatic, personally horrible situations. That's it. Crying is a part of gameplay as a status effect, yet Lucas has no special behavior regarding it to fit with his claimed crybaby status. The prologue of the game offers a perfect opportunity to show off Lucas crying over little things: it doesn't. Literally the only evidence that Lucas is a crybaby is that people keep saying he is, and the people claiming it are not reasonably objective observers. The audience has no reason to trust these characters' interpretation of Lucas as an objective and accurate observation. Arguably the audience has reason to distrust their view, given it doesn't seem to jive with observable reality, among other potential reasons.

The game has a number of characters throughout the game either describing Lucas as a crybaby or, later in the game, commenting on how he seems less of a crybaby than he used to, and in general Lucas gets described by people as "gentle" or otherwise indicated to be emotionally vulnerable... but we see no proof and the plot doesn't demand it be true to function. It's just a "fact" that is repeated at us in hopes that we'll believe it. Why should I believe that every character is an unimpeachable source of truth? People lie or misunderstand things all the time, and Mother 3 has plotpoints built around people doing so! This isn't a world where people speak nothing but truth, so it's a bit strange that Mother 3 expects the audience to uncritically accept this claim.

It's especially strange since this is basically Lucas' only character trait ever (deliberately) suggested by the game. Odd stuff.


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