I’d pretty much agree, and unless you’re a younger person that really NEEDS to squeeze that time out of your limited finances…I don’t see much point to super long RPGs beyond making alot of it optional.
Aside from my time just being more limited, it’s a quality and pacing issue. My quality of fun matters to me in a game more now, and I tire of games that engage in rote repetition with some exp numbers to fake that I’m making “progress”. I want new kinds of encounters, or some story that keeps moving instead of grinding samey stuff.
If you game is designed with more dynamic mechanics for emergent moments, you can extend your game, which tends to happen with Skyrim for me. I have other games to get to as well, so I’d rather they show me their very best, and end gracefully, instead of lingering on so they can put a bullet point of 50+ hours on the back of the box.
Also it’s worth noting that W101 isn’t a drama or a weighty piece of political intrigue, it’s a relentless, non-stop thrillride about a group of heroes learning to work together to stop an alien invasion. Remove all of its cutscenes, replace all the dialogue with cute noises and sobbing and I think the gameplay alone could carry that story.
That’s the thing, I’d very much agree that title’s gameplay could easily carry it along, since most Platinum Games games’ do that. My point was only referring to the article where the story and gameplay are limited in how they’re connected with each other, and it’s purely just in context to each other. They are still fairly separate from each other, because they’re not interacting with each other, literally because cutscenes themselves aren’t interactive by nature.
I don’t think cutscenes diminish the gameplay that is established, because gameplay has proven to stand on its own. I’m only talking about the article, where it’s touching on gameplay coinciding with story. Coincide as a word implies they’re happening at the same time. Story largely told through cutscenes inherently prevents this, because you can’t have gameplay during them.
If gameplay is coinciding with narrative, I would say implicitly it HAS to effect that narrative, and the narrative effects what the player decides to then do with gameplay tools given to them. My focus may seem restrictive, but I’ll just say this…linear games with cutscenes are the vast majority of games produced. So to me, I’d say those developers should try working out of their restrictive comfort zone, and try out something more in the realm of what I want.
The fact that there is little terminology to even describe games where gameplay effects narrative shows you how little it is even explored, and most of the time it’s just dialog trees in RPGs. Heck, even non-linear sandbox games tend to follow the GTA model, where you just pick the order of missions to go on, and when in the mission it’s pretty much just another sectioned off linear experience, or you’re just left open to do emergent havoc. The lack of experimentation with non-linearity also means we still see alot of games suck at implementation, which would improve with more devs trying it. It sucks that I can look back at 2000 with Thief 2, and how it structure its spaces to be non-linear, and then how pathetically the new game this year tries to do the same.
Emergent gameplay is interesting, and I kinda assumed by now more people would highlight it. Plenty of games do this from Civilization V to Far Cry 3.
While I like all of the games you listed, I still find in those experiences the “story” and the “play” are still walled off from each other (except Ico). The themes and tone may be contextualized by say the combat in Revengeance, but the actions in the over-arching story are self-contained to cutscene Raiden. It’s an old formula, where the gameplay is composed of these challenge arenas using largely combative methods to express yourself, while the drama in the narrative relies more on conversation that I’m not a part of in static cutscenes.
Brothers on the other hand is a story informed by my actions throughout. It doesn’t make much use of cutscenes, because most of the story is the world reacting directly to the action I just perform. Gameplay isn’t some self-contained thing I do for a long period of time, consisting of emergent narrative, before I hit the next cutscene. Instead, the crux of the story, which is based around these two brothers relationships, is built and learned based on the actions I perform myself. Constantly story is drip fed when I use gameplay to move through a given space, and the context and tone keeps shifting.
Papers, Please, Dishonored and Deus Ex go a bit further still, where the story bends around the actions the player makes through gameplay. The stories in these games are more personal to the player, because the story will acknowledge specific actions or choices you made, and alter the narrative to react to them. Gameplay itself is inherently non-linear, where at any time you have at least two options, whether that be whether you passed or failed a challenge, or whether you perform and action or just stay motionless. For story to ever truly mesh with gameplay, it too much be non-linear, and adjust to what the player does. It doesn’t mean the player is god or anything, but one person that can have some effect on the game world. Papers, Please has a family and immigrants whose lives are dramatically effected by your choices in your job. Deus Ex constantly asks you what you want to do, from which path in a level to take, to how you deal with enemies, how you get information out of people, to even convincing someone not to kill themself. Dishonored similarly presents you choices of how to navigate a space, and deal with enemies, but in the context of being an assassin with specific targets, all of whom can be removed without killing.
Far Cry 2 is a bit more difficult to describe, because it’s inherently a survival simulation, where the themes and core message the designers bring up, you end up finding out what their answers are through how you play…and unlike most games it doesn’t want you to feel powerful doing it.
I didn’t mean to diminish your examples by any means, as I think on their own each are interesting for reasons outside of this article topic, but I feel other games have done more to merge story and gameplay together outside of just self-contained emergence or context to cutscenes.
I can’t see mobile game streaming being that important or entertaining when the games are designed so much around short bite-sized play sessions.
Until that changes, no one will care, and it will only cost Twitch money.
Well most games seem to just be happy having gameplay match the tone or context of the narrative, which is alot of what I’m seeing listed here, or focus on emergent narrative (which can be incredibly interesting). Personally, I wish more devs would go further than this, but having gameplay actually effect narrative would take away from their desire to be “cinematic” I suppose.
Papers, Please, like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons have the mechanics of gameplay directly drive the narrartive, and alter it depending on what the player chooses to do. It creates a story where you’re not just empathizing with the decisions and motivations of other people, but of your own.
Dishonored and the Deus Ex series (less so Invisible War) focus on the moment to moment engagements you choose how to engage with effect your story, and allows you to strike your own path in a given level with the narrative reacting to it.
Far Cry 2 has you directly deal with the themes of the narrative through the gameplay, and how the dynamic systems react to how you choose to engage in combat situations. How enemies always find you, how your guns randomly jam, how you deal with the ever present malaria (as clunky as it was), directly ties into showing you a dangerous and brutal world that you must survive. Far Cry 3 also tried to do the survival premise, but it was only cutscene deep, whereas Far Cry 2 made you feel it through play.
Yeah…so have objects that make my character trip while running, doors that require work to open, or something that makes contextual sense. In order to instill fear, and make it organic, I the player should struggle with those issues, not have a control scheme artificially add difficulty to basic movement and tasks.
I’m happy Dead Space saw that, and chose to forgo using it.
Never got into Mario or Sonic that much as a kid, so Warcraft 2 was the game that pulled me in. Something about the larger scope of building and controlling an army across land, sea and air. Age of Empires 2 and Starcraft soon followed.
Baldur’s Gate and Planescape Torment introduce me to RPGs, Sim City and Roller Coaster Tycoon to simulation games, Thief: The Dark Project to stealth, and Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena to shooters.
Looks interesting, but the awkward control scheme being necessary to instill fear in Resident Evil I don’t remotely agree with. A basic human can move freely, regardless of whether they’re a badass military office, or a random average joe. It’s a cheap technique to instill fear, when there are other ways of accomplishing it.
I do think the controller is more important than people give credit, as the better games do tend to design around it, or adapt the game to whatever ports they make to keep the experience engaging for everyone.
No kidding, because I would likely buy a Titanfall gamepad, even though I wouldn’t use it for shooters. Only thing holding me back is if the PC gamepad is for some reason different, or there is a deal when buying the PC wireless receiver with it.
I hope it doesn’t take a full year, because the PC landscape is different. Aside from PC gaming being bigger, the 360 over time became the defacto PC gamepad to support, and they could easily get more sales of their controller just putting out drivers to retain that dominance.
Alot of those reviews offer pretty valid complaints. It is a lesser game compared to the first 2 Thief games in most areas except graphics. The level design, contextualized jumping and rope arrows, and story limit what the player can do as they go along. Add in some broken AI in areas, and you get a merely ok game.
I’m hoping they say something soon, because I really do want to get one. The Xbone controller is still the most comfortable gamepad I’ve held in my hands, and my 360 controller is pretty well worn for my PC.
3. It’s my favorite game this gen, so that means a bit to me. The game’s non-linear level design, flexibility between stealth and action, and robust mechanics/powers that can be applied in seemingly neverending ways that bring me back. The great DLC helps as well.
I do think Titanfall could very much tip things towards Microsoft’s favor in the short term this year, or at least the first half of it. What will really count is which platform holder can keep the exclusive content and services going to get consumers excited.
Loot 2.0 is actually already implemented just last night. I was able to tell the difference immediately, though unsure if there is anything else they’ll add to it once the auction house shuts down.
I’m sure plenty of devs would love the option to experiment with it.
Geez, another thing in March that I want, but won’t get because the month is already clogged with titles. No idea why they wouldn’t just go with a April release date when there is less competition for people’s money.
The game looks fun though.
Save/loading your way through the game is only a faster method of repetition, that still lets the player cheat death…unless you’re a rogue-like with perma-death, the design is still harmed when the player has to repeat past a few times.
I’d argue the lack of saving anywhere limits players being able to indulge in their favorite sections over again, and outside a few games have never added much to the design.
Well I’m looking forward to this just for the complete changes to difficulty modes are handled, and the better itemization.
Well that’s unfortunate…can’t say I found anything either Seth Rogan or Evan Goldberg has done good. Hopefully this will be the first, but not holding my breath.
Open-world is very much a discussion that makes sense in context with a Thief game. Not because Thief is open-world, but that it and especially Thief 2 were quite non-linear in respects. Abeit levels were more mini-sandboxes, like Dishonored, where you have multiple routes in a given area to get to what you need, and it was the player’s job to find or even make them. It’s gameplay stressed a very simulated place with rules, not scripting that is very rigid and curated like alot of cinematic-focused games these days.
Metal Gear Solid level design was not remotely that similar, as it often had only one very direct path, with specific places to hide, while Thief games often afforded you far more options. AI were more dynamic as well in this environment, running to other guards for help to track you down, and not using some timer to countdown to when it’s safe as some guards will just keep looking for you. The degree of emergent events happening is fairly high in the Thief series.
Also, relax with the open-world obsession…linear scripted games are vastly the majority of games, so it’s not like you’re being underserved.
Well Thief The Dark Project was very much an experiment in game design, with Thief 2 in the devs own words was them recognizing what did and didn’t work, improving on the core foundation where they could. Level design enough so that they build the levels first, and the rest of the game around them.