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Nerd Unemployed is a weekly podcast that aims to inspire and inform from words of experience. Each guest, a member of a different part of a "Nerd" industry provides their own story and gives advice and cautionary anecdotes about their work.
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So it may be clear at this point that I am very late to Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, and much of that would be attributed to my own personal fatigue when it cam to the series. The characters were the primary point of exhaustion, particularly Ezio and his trilogy of games. Connor on the other hand, excited me as the game was first announced, but when his time in the spotlight finally came I felt his arch was simple and the rich history of the American Revolution was underused. So until recently I had passed on the AC series pirate adventure and  disregarded it as a game made only to reuse the popular Ship Battle system from AC III.

Man was I wrong, and apart from some minor frustrations (hacking, sharks, and 100% Sync) I think it might be my favorite in the series so far. What’s more, I found that Edward Kenway (the iteration’s Protagonist) is the most refreshing and interesting character I have seen in a far too long. To start on the list of things that I like best about Kenway, is that he is not an Assassin. In fact throughout the entirety of the game he never becomes official indoctrinated with their creed and is repeatedly condemned by the Assassin’s. His story details the journey of a man who backs into the war between Assassins and Templar’s, and decides to make his allegiances as and when they profit him.

On the surface he is a terrible man, everything he does is motivated by one thing: greed. There is a back-story which more clearly describes his lust for wealth, as a means to create a life of comfort for his estranged wife back in Swanzy. But this is the start of what makes him more interesting than most. Outwardly Edward Kenway is a a lecherous scoundrel with  little to no concern for anything beyond the bow of his ship. This is what makes him great! He’s not a  a typical hero, hell he’s not even a reluctant hero. What I found is how refreshing it was to embrace someone who was selfish, short sighted, and impulsive so that I can just accept a loose sense of “morality” for a change. Edward Kenway isn't the scoundrel with a heart of gold, or the Han Solo archetype, he is a true bastard which is what I like about him. Making his motivations do a much better job to justify his behavior throughout the narrative.

Motivation is a powerful instrument for a characters development, however the confusion between motivation and goal needs to be clear. Our heroes motivations are sometimes defined because as players they are motivated by our actions. Meaning that our actions are motivated by our ability to interact or complete the experience of the game.  That is to say that our objective in the game becomes the characters motivation in an underdeveloped story. We would get the key, save the princess, solve the puzzle etc. We don’t spend much time on why, because it doesn't service the gameplay. As for Edward, once I adopted his ethos as the player, I found terrible joy in the game as a plundering pirate of the Caribbean Sea.

What it comes down to is how unique a character Edward is. It is his complete lack of altruism that makes him so interesting. His actions, being motivated by his greed lead him directly into poor decisions, so much so that he finds his dispositions a bit worse for ware. Often governed by a propensity toward anger, Edward is for lack of a better term – a fuck up. He fails, often and sometimes to monumental effect. In ways that would in any other games only present themselves as obvious challenges to overcome, Edward instead climbs into a bottle in an effort to redirect his rage. Sometimes it would seem that the appropriate action is to stumble off drunk before you can stand up again.

The theme of Edward’s story does come into focus the further you get into the game, and as you would expect Edward does become something of a heroic character. His story isn't about revenge, love, or courage and at the same time it could be said it is about all these things. Creed is a word that is brought up often in the story, and as we know “Nothing is true, everything is permitted” is the Assassin’s Creed. An appealing motto to a lecherous pirate, debauched by a life of open seas and the freedom of a privateer. Edward’s understanding of the Creed is never solidified as his own creed remains paramount, and it is one that only just overlaps with the Assassin’s.

In the moments that he kills his targets as with other games there is a dissertation of ideologies. These are usually two opposing arguments that seem to only mirror each other and function as a moral guide post for the series. I always liked these moments as they tore away all the posturing and rhetoric to better illustrate the series themes. Edward’s moments with his target’s are different though, as even though is targets are Templar’s his feud isn’t ideological but personal. The conversations then aren’t long winded feuds about morality, but instead are quick and simple moments between two characters in more basic fray for life and wealth.

Edward Kenway is by no means an inspirational hero,  he should not be modeled after, or imitated.  But he is flawed, he makes mistakes, and he is driven by greed and guilt. But when we see how important it is that not all heroes need to be magnanimously good. I like that, and I think that more characters like Edward could help enrich the landscape of game heroes. But what also hope is that I never seem him again, his story is told and to hear more of it would probably ruin what made this tale so great.








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This week I talk with Borderlands 2 Lead Writer Anthony Burch. Our hour long chat takes from Portland-ish Arizonians all the way to turning Clap Trap into Charlie Brown. But it won't cost you five cents to hear how this Destructoid Community Member made good with a AAA game.


Anthony's Stuff

Twitter: twitter.com/reverandanthony



















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About the show:The entire idea is to inspire and inform from words of experience. Each guest, a member of a different part of a "Nerd" industry provides their own story and gives advice and cautionary anecdotes about their work.

This week on Nerd Unemployed we talk up the life and work of the New York Times bestselling Author James Swallow. Our conversation takes from his work on Novel and UK Radio work to video game writing. James lives and works in London continuing his life long passion in writing. For anyone who wants to be a writer this is a great listen, James gives amazing advice and anecdotes about a his career in writing.

Listen to the show on the Main Site, iTunes, or Stitcher

James Stuff:

Twitter: @jmswallow (twitter.com/jmswallow)
Blogspot: RED FLAG (http://jamesswallow.blogspot.co.uk/)

Things you can buy!
[url=http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=James Swallow]Amazon[/url]

Some Video Games:




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Next Week on Nerd Unemployed my guest is Anthony Burch! Favored son of Destructoid and Lead Writer of Borderlands 2! Subscribe to the show to get automatic updates for all new episodes.








Hello Dtoid,

So by now the layoffs at Square Enix has been filed under the more unfortunate history of the Video Game Industry. So too are my few moments that have been captured on the internet, even here on Destructoid:

Mindjack (Yeah that game)

Sleeping Dogs

and a small cameo in E3 2011 in 30 Minutes

But my bad acting, tired appearance, and pretty good gameplay aside, while at Square there was one questions I was asked repeatedly:

Why don't you remake Final Fantasy VII?

But to be honest even while at Square Enix, I can only say that this was not a decision that was up to me. There was another question that I got frequently:

When is Kingdom Hearts 3 coming out?

Answer: I don't know, but there is another question I can answer:

How do I get a job in the industry?

Which is why I have decided to start a Podcast, but instead of another hour long talk-fest gushing or bashing the latest game I wanted to provide an answer to that important question. No not that one, or that one, the third one. So here is what I have set out to create.

Nerd Unemployed is a weekly podcast that aims to inspire and inform from words of experience. Each guest, a member of a different part of a "Nerd" industry provides their own story and gives advice and cautionary anecdotes about their work.

My time in the industry has given me the opportunity to meet a great number of personalities throughout the video/comics/ and film industries. So what I considered what better way to answer the question is by having great guests answer it better than I could.

I have two episodes already live, one speaking about Video Game Journalism and the second about Production. So even though this blog post is a bit of a shill I wanted to spread the word to the Destructoid Community about this endeavor.

So without further ado please listen, subscribe, like and follow Nerd Unemployed:

The podcast is available on itunes


Nerd Unemployed Site

Facebook

Twitter

I have plans to make this podcast a resource for anyone who wants to get ino the Industry, whatever industry that may be so please don't hesitate to ask questions, or leave feedback. Thank you for your time and I hope you like the show.

-Johnny Fournier The Nerd Unemployed
(No longer the current leader on the Sleeping Dogs Social Hub)