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Writing Elaine

posted by Kroms on - last edited - Viewed by 1K users

Edit: Ahhh, I had a huuuuuge post written out here that I deleted by accident. I'll try to summarize and be brief.

The gist of it was how would you improve on Elaine being more likeable? To me, she:

1. obviously needs to snap less at Guybrush and consequently us, the players;
2. she needs to sound more like a sweetheart or a loving wife than my best friend's mum.

I think a total re-do of the character model would help, as she looked so...charming and pretty in the first and third games, whereas now she's more like a middle-aged woman - she seems 20 years older than Guybrush. And very, uh, British, as she says phrases like "Buckets" when Guybrush asks if she's missed him. Which is fine, but phrases like "Buckets" make her sound more like she's from Keeping Up Appearances than Monkey Island.

Elaine works best when she has the upper hand on everything - the better the comeback she has against Threepwood's enemies, the cooler she is. Obviously, after Trial and Execution, her character has developed enough that she doesn't trust herself that much anymore. Which I think means she'll be more open, which means she'll hopefully be more likeable...

I'm not suggesting that her being older is unappealing by default. I'm just saying that Elaine works best when she's more of a sweetheart and less of an angry mum. And her character model, unfortunately, reflects more of the latter than the former.

Just to elaborate, to me, this is the appealing Elaine:

MonkeyIsland1_06.png307251-elaine3_super.png

Exotic and mysterious, in a way, and Alexandra Boyd's voice, which was softer and smoother in CMI than Tales, added to it. It's much harder to do that with this Elaine, who also looks like she has extra bones in her cheeks:

talesofmi_ch2_guybrush_elaine-540x303.jp

I hope it's not an unreasonable request to re-do her character model and make her more likeable. I love Elaine, when she's working; Guybrush loves Elaine by default. It'd be a shame to see her become a fifth wheel.

Edit: I don't mean she should be pretty and smart, aka some sort of man's woman. I'm not like that. I'm just saying that I enjoy my girlfriend's company when she's being nice. I take the good with the bad, but it wears on me if it's 80% bad and 20% good.

105 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Yeah, playing cute doesn't really work for her either. She's not the pretty girl next door you take on dates anymore.

    Man, Elaine must be a tough character to write. She's witty, intelligent and swashbuckling, yet shy. Up until now, she hasn't been particularly introverted...

    I mean, she's more like a swashbuckling Juliet than anything. On the one hand, she doesn't need to say "Ah harrrr, I be a pirate!" (like in Spinner Cay) because she's enchanting and cool enough, say in the first game, to be able to get away with just being normal. She doesn't need to shout. She no longer has the self-confidence to do it. To Guybrush, she's the most beautiful woman in the world, right? She was certainly that in SMI. Why not re-kindle that feeling?

    On the other hand, he can get away from her prison hold, dress up some monkeys in a bridal dress and just make fun of her tormentor. She's intelligent and witty.

    But she is not a shouting, angry mum...And I really think a re-design of the character model would help with getting rid of that image.

  • Speaking as somebody who has a perpetually shouting, angry mum, who incidentally is actually named Elaine, I can honestly say that the Elaine of Monkey Island is definitely a much more pleasant individual than the Elaine I have to live with. :P

  • I do not want to sound mean or anything... but Alexandra Boyd's voice has changed and she kind of now sounds too old to be Elaine.... especially when she is sounding "evil" or yelling....

    Obviously I am not suggesting she be replaced but its just something I noticed.

  • Yeah, sort of. I like her, though. Maybe sound engineering can make her sound softer? If you look at videos of CMI, for example when Guybrush emerges from LeChuck's ship, she has a wonderfully soft voice that captures the character rather well.

    Is that kind of thing even possible?

  • @Irishmile said: I do not want to sound mean or anything... but Alexandra Boyd's voice has changed and she kind of now sounds too old to be Elaine.... especially when she is sounding "evil" or yelling....

    Obviously I am not suggesting she be replaced but its just something I noticed.

    I almost feel bad saying this, but I really disliked her performance in Tales.

  • @Fealiks said: I almost feel bad saying this, but I really disliked her performance in Tales.

    I preferred her 'soft' voice to her 'angry' one myself. She's great when she says "I love you", but when she says, "(sigh) Right then" or something, I dislike it. And phrases like "You hussey!" to Morgan only make her sound older, though that's more of a writing thing.

  • @Kroms said: I preferred her 'soft' voice to her 'angry' one myself. She's great when she says "I love you", but when she says, "(sigh) Right then" or something, I dislike it. And phrases like "You hussey!" to Morgan only make her sound older, though that's more of a writing thing.

    There were a lot of bits like "hussey" and "buckets" that seemed like 1960s/70s British slang rather than contemporary British slang that were really jarring, imo.

    I did love her voice in CMI, and it was the best one yet, for me. I just think that Alexandra Boyd's acting in Tales wasn't her best. There were some parts where the delivery sounded a bit over-the-top, for me. Like the line in the opening scene where she says "You don't spend several years at the side of Guybrush Threepwood, mighty pirate, without picking up a few tricks, darling." That line is delivered with the whole "I'm rolling my eyes as I say this" tone, but it went on for too long to be a rolly-eyes thing (if that makes ANY sense at all).

    I suppose it was a good performance overall, though. I'm being kind of nitpicky :p

  • Haha! Keeping Up Appearances is amazing :p

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