Lifeline character shares name with horrible real life criminal

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Vahx, Dec 3, 2017.

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  1. Vahx

    Vahx Starting Off


    I got the YOSE edition of the game a few months ago and while playing through the Lifeline DLC I was shocked when I had to go rescue one of the worst known criminals of my country (Belgium): Michelle Martin

    I understand that this is probably something that never made the international news and even if it did, the name will probably not have stuck in people's memory.
    I would like to link this article in English to show who this person is in real life.

    I understand that you probably have a clause that says "any resemblance to real life people or situation is coincidental" and that you cannot check every possible name that comes up in the game.
    But still, I hope some effort will be made to avoid such situations in the next game.

    Throwing the name into Google will instantly reveal if the name is linked to a known person(and criminals) or just a handful of Facebook profiles.

    I am sorry for pointing this out in such a great game, If someone already did before me, then again, sorry.

    Looking forward to State of Decay 2!
    LiNanMian1984 and Bob Crees like this.
  2. Goonie

    Goonie Here To Help

    Yikes at that article. However, I'm sure there are lots of women with that name. Can't let one awful person sour it!
  3. Alan Gunderson

    Alan Gunderson Here To Help

    Welcome to the forum!

    State of Decay uses a random name generator from a list. Michelle and Martin are relatively common names so you will get some convenient matchups from time to time.

    In the case of if the name was scripted, Michelle Martin is a name lots of women have and I extremely doubt there is any need to avoid this in the future due to the extreme lack of negative connotations that follow the name. This is the name of the wife of a murderer for unfortunate events that happened in the 90s, so forgive me when I point out that it's already disconnected to the infamy of some degree, regardless of how big her role was.

    Being honest, this is the first I have heard of Michelle Martin, but I have heard of her husband. I also know somebody with the same name but of slightly different spelling, so it's not like anybody is jumping to get their name changed because of a very unfortunate crime.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
    Bob Crees likes this.
  4. Vahx

    Vahx Starting Off

    I understand that this was not intentional and that the name is somewhat "disconnected to the infamy" as you put it. But the article I linked, was from 1 year before the release of the game, so maybe not as disconnected as you might think, simply infamy on smaller scale and area at that moment.

    This is also the first time in 20 years of gaming that I ever encountered something like this.

    I just wonder if they have a character named Eric Harris or Stephen Paddock in the next storyline if anyone will react to that.

    And I get,.. 99% of the people reading this are going to think "geez,..this guy is making a big deal out of nothing".
    But I felt the need to point this out, the creators of the game can decide what to do with the information. They can choose to ignore it or shrug it off or do something with it in their future games.
    I don't expect an apology from anyone, nor do I feel any resentment towards the creators of any kind.
    I will still buy the next State of Decay and hopefully enjoy it as much as I do the first.

    If no one tells them that this happened, they cannot (re)act to it in the future.
    This isn't to point blame or to shame anyone, this is just informative or trying to at least.
    LiNanMian1984 and Bob Crees like this.
  5. Alan Gunderson

    Alan Gunderson Here To Help

    My point wasn't to say that you are making a deal out of nothing, my point was that there isn't really a need to fix this or that changing this will do any good. There isn't a lot of negative connotations attached to that name in the same way there is of historically known figures. It would be a lot less subtle if a character was named "George Bush" or "Winston Churchill". Even Eric Harris or Stephen Paddock could be a coincidental name choice due to the common aspect of both first and last names. And people do have those names that aren't these ones that probably don't have people pointing fingers at them all day. The "Michelle Martin" I know has never had anyone 'react' to her name, she isn't American and travels to Europe once a year. It has just never come up.

    Why fix something that's based off of the sole worry that an extremely specific case might react negatively towards it when most people worldwide don't even associate the name with this or would be offended anyways? It's because it is a relatively common name. Local household names with negative connotations get used and re-used in my country because they simply aren't unique or rare or uncommon and constantly get mixed up with other people. Should my old high school ban a boy's name from being used as a character name in drama productions because one specific person with that name bullied me 7-8 years ago? Probably not, even if I'm going to recognize the name.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
    LiNanMian1984 and Bob Crees like this.
  6. QMJS

    QMJS Famous

    As this refers specifically to Lifeline, that is not a random character. She is the HFF person you are sent to recover from their offices.

    <DescriptionText Flags="" Notes="Character Bio" Text="Local administrator of the HFF. Worked out of a nearly-abandoned building in the bad part of town. Hard to avoid the impression that something shady was going on over there." />
    <NameText Flags="Do Not Localize" Notes="" Text="50 VIP Michele Martin" />
    <NameText Flags="" Notes="" Text="Michele" />
    <NameText Flags="" Notes="" Text="Martin" />

    However, it is not an uncommon name. According to census records, there are 2,110 people in the U.S. named Michelle Martin. So, counting the rest of the world, there are probably thousands more.

    Edit: On a technical level, however, it would take forever to check every possible name to see if there was someone notorious that had the name. It is not even worth considering for the huge majority of characters.

    Edit2: Although for hero/vip types who only have one name, it probably would take about an hour... so it may not be a bad idea to run down the list for any that only can have one name. If there's a story on the first page of Google, take a look and think about it.

    Edit3: I just noticed that the character's name is actually Michele and not Michelle... so even if looked up it may not have found anything. There are only about 590 of those in the US.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  7. Vers

    Vers Here To Help

    Welcome to the forums, Vahx!

    Personally, I don't think there was any lack of oversight here or that there needs to be steps taken.
    LiNanMian1984, QMJS and Bob Crees like this.
  8. Alan Gunderson

    Alan Gunderson Here To Help

    Thank you @QMJS . I feel stupid for not realizing that since I spent a good 15 minutes adding her to the breakdown survival pool and didn't even remember.

    It's good to note that the name isn't spelled the same as well. Intentional or unintentional, it's still not the same name even if by a letter.
    LiNanMian1984, QMJS and Bob Crees like this.
  9. MrFish

    MrFish Got Your Back

    This is ridiculous.
    Doc Roley and Bob Crees like this.
  10. Undead Nicole

    Undead Nicole Community Manager Staff Member

    Hi there. First, welcome to the community. We're glad to have you.

    Second, I am sorry to hear that you found the character name disturbing. The similarity to any person living or fictional in this case was not intended. I've been privileged to watch how names are generated here at the Labs, and oft-times, we throw names into a spreadsheet (names that we like) and then they get mashed together in our name generator. There is a set of names that we won't ever use for obvious reasons, but I'm not sure what those parameters are and how rigid they are. I guess my entire point is, we never meant to upset you and I'm sorry that it happened.
    LiNanMian1984, Bob Crees and MrFish like this.
  11. Sailorwolf

    Sailorwolf Famous

    In my work I make deliveries to a woman named Michelle Martin....very nice woman and she is great with horses and dogs. I see no harm in the name, the fact that you have a child killer there with the same name in your country is sad and after reading about it....I think your writing to the wrong people. Your court system gave that woman a slap on the should be writing the courts. Here in Oklahoma she'd either gotten life in prison no parole or the death sentence. But 16 fucking years!!! That's a slap in the face to the victims and their families.

    Oh and welcome to the forums :)
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  12. Furie

    Furie Here To Help

    I remember that case. She's and her husband are true monsters and the fact that she was let free at all is a travesty. I can't even begin to imagine how the parents of those children feel about this.

    Having said that, the name appearing in the game was very likely unrelated. At worst it'll be a case of someone seeing the name in a newspaper and it just sitting there in their subconscious until they have to pick a name out of the ether.

    As for efforts to alleviate such an event occuring in the next game, you should know that it will have a name generator for survivors although there is a chance some of them will be specifically named. They even ran an event on the forum where members can add their own names to the list so that they might show up in the game somewhere. Chances are some of those combinations could make up the names of equally vile examples of humanity, and they simply can't plan for all examples of that. Even if they did, that leaves the people with matching names being actively punished (and this is only one small way) for having the same name as a psychopath, which is unfair to those people just as much as it's unfair for someone triggered by the mention of a psychopath to see that name from their past showing up.
  13. CharlieChainsaw

    CharlieChainsaw Here To Help

    Interesting. Never even heard of her.
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