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Character interaction, KotOR 1 vs 2. (very long)


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#1
Annakie

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Sorry this is so long, but it's been weighing heavy on my heart the last 20 or so hours of gametime I played and constantly ever since I finished the game yesterday.

I played through KotOR 1 about 6 or 7 times, almost always as a LS female. I found that even after the last few times, when I knew every nuance of the plot, and the concequences of every action, the thing that kept drawing me back to play would be my party's interaction.

After beating KotOR2 last night, in about 45ish hours, I think my biggest complaint (after the "wtf was that? ending) is that there the intra-party interaction seems to be sorely lacking in comparison to the first game.

I loved how in KotOR1, the party members would just stop and talk to each other. There is very little to almost none of that in KotOR2... nothing like how Canderous and Carth would argue about the differences between warriors and soldiers, or how Bastilla would knock Mission on her butt for being annoying. I loved the romance plot in KotOR1 because as a female, getting to know Carth felt VERY natural. From "Hi, we're stuck here together" to "I care about you and I want to protect you" even after we all find out that you're Revan, he runs through a lot of emotions, and finally comes back to confess his love for you, and none of it seems forced. It flows. I slowly but surely got to know him, and along the way I got to flirt with him, get him flustered, and really felt like we had a reason for our characters to feel like they did.

With KotOR2, (playing through as LS female) it just felt like after 1 or 2 short conversations with a character that they suddenly had a crush on you. Did they talk to you about it? No. They barely even hinted at it. It didn't feel like "romance", it felt like "High school drama hour." (especially after... well... see below.)

The only times you see party interaction is the occasional cut-scene when you walk back onto the Ebon Hawk after a new party member joins you or something big happens. This was really annoying because it lead to:

1) Having to walk on and off the ship 3 or 4 times in a row just to "catch up" on what you missed out on... which led to...

2) Unnatural character interaction. For example, I put Disciple in my party right after I got him on Dantooine. I finished Dantooine with Disciple and Keria. As soon as I walked back onto the ship, Atton started accusing Disciple of always looking at me in a certain way and basically saying "I saw her first!" Er, okay Atton, you JUST MET THE GUY and hadn't even seen us together yet! Then, I left the ship and came back on, and suddenly Atton and Disciple were apologizing to each other and agreeing to work together to protect me. Gosh, all in a 2 minute timespan. Neat guys! Then, they never really spoke to each other again outside of a cutscene about something entirelly different. (which was a whole 3 lines of dialogue... which I posted about in the "funny parts of KotOR2" thread)

There were a few exceptions to this, where talking with one character (usually Keria) would lead to new dialogue with another, but very few. I'd talk to every single party member, usually exhausting every single dialogue option every single time, after EVERY planet. I'd stop to talk to those in my party after any signifigant event to see if they had anything to say about it. I went back and re-visited places to see if someone new had something to say about someplace I'd been. If a situation came up that I thought a party member might have something to say about, I'd either switch them into the party or re-load to my last save to bring them in. (like, bringing in Mandalore every time there were Mandalorians. At least he got to recruit them, then. But why didn't this give me influence with him?) I tried really, really hard to get to know them all. I'm well aware that I probably missed a bunch of things, but it wasn't from lack of trying.

In KotOR1, it felt a lot more natural when the party members would just stop and talk to each other, you got a really good feel for what almost every party member thought of everyone else. I also liked being able to get to know all of them on my own time. If I was tired of an endless killing spree, I'd stop and see what Carth was feeling, or maybe get a lecture from Bastilla, or listen to one of Canderous' war stories or Jolee's long, rambling tales, or learn more about Juhani's past. Even those characters who didn't talk to you much, like Zaalabar or Mission after a certain point, got their own plot threads. Every character had a story that at some point I was WORKING ON and helping them with. I felt like I knew ALL of my party members from KotOR 1 much, much better and cared about them a lot more. (Except for T3-M4, ironically!) In KotOR2, for the most part, many of them were just along for the ride... and I did spend a LOT of time with a few of them just to try to get to at least know THEM better (Disciple, Atton, Keria, and Mandalore especially.)

The only characters you really got to talk to a LOT outside of all of their initial party joining were Keria and somewhat with HK-47 (though, again, he joined the party late, as well.). When I FINALLY got Atton to open up, it all came out in one very long, rambly conversation. True, if I'd gone to Nar Shaddar earlier to start his Jedi-quest he might have spoken to me in 2 or 3 shorter sessions rather than this one loooong speech where I found out everything. It just felt forced and unnatural with the way it came about.

In KotOR1 if you didn't keep up with talking to your party members, then you'd have to play catchup, too, but I could still do that on my own time, and not just have to wait for a cataclysmic event before they'd talk about anything at all. It was slightly annoying sometimes, but I was happy for it at the same time.

Other characters, like Disciple and Visias... they had a LOT to say when I first met them, (but for the most part, not more than any KotOR1 character would have) but even with VERY GOOD influence with them, both of them shining beacons of light like me, (Especially Disciple, I took him EVERYWHERE!) he had nearly nothing to say to me afterwards... just the same things over and over. I went to Nar Shaddar last, and so I didn't have a chance to do anything but do the walk in and out of the ship to see 3 or so cutscenes for G0-T0, and a short one with Mira and Atton. The one with Mira was laughable, too, because she was threatening to spill Atton's secrets about his past to me, when I already knew it, but Atton (who was already a Jedi!) was like "Oh no, please don't tell her!"

Keria was by far the most well-put together character in KotOR2, but I felt like I was travelling with a party of strangers for the most part with most of the rest of them, even after trying very hard to dig as deep as possible into all my companions. >_< I feel like the potential is there, many of them seem like they could be very interesting, if only they'd really, actually talk to me.

Oh, and also, why didn't Mandalore recognize T3-M4 and HK-47? It was nice to see that T3 recognized HK and was still afraid of him, but there seemed like a whole huge dialogue that could have opened between Mandalore and the droids that never did. Also, I suppose Mandalore could have not wanted Carth to know he's Canderous or anything about him, but it might have been cool to see the two of them together for a short scene too, even just to ask each other "Have you heard from her?"

Next time I play though I'll probably do the planets in a different order... I'm thinking after Telos I'll still go to Dantooine first, then Nar Shaddar, then Onderon and do Korriban last. (I went Dantooine, Onderon, Korriban and Nar Shaddar this time.) I'll try focusing on just a few characters to see if I missed any of their options (like, I'd love to know why Bao-Dur thinks that the descruction on Malachor V is his fault, I never did get him to Jedi, he just told me he'd "changed" after fighting in the Sith Temple)... but I think it's silly that you have to focus so hard on just a couple of characters to get to know about them, rather than to get to know your entire party well every time. I played through KotOR1 about seven times, and I'm going to try KotOR2 one more time to see if I can pull the same depth and feelings out of it I got for 1, knowing what I know now.

All that aside, even though I was hoping to see even more Carth, the bits and pieces we did see from him were very satisfying, and I'll repeat an earlier post I made and say "Bravo" again for his scene asking about the LS female Revan. It was amazing and absolutely perfect. I just wish something from this game would make me care about these characters as much as I care about Carth and Revan.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Discussion?

#2
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too long for me too read past the first sentence

#3
Boiler98

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Agreed. (nice and short) :luck:

#4
The Yeti of 66

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Well that's disappointing. One of the things I wanted from this game was more interesting party interaction.

#5
Peekaboo

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I agree. Too many times I tried to communicate with the characters only to find out that there wasn't any more dialogue options to choose from.

Sequences where members of my party talked to each other were interesting but scarce.

I felt that after the ending too many stories were left untold. It left a bad taste in my mouth ;)

#6
athenian

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Agree with Annakie

#7
Exar_Kun

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Annakie did you have enough influence with each of the characters? I don't know, the character interactions seem good to me. And in the first game when characters did talk to each other it was brief. Overall I'm liking the game so far.

I think one of the reasons you don't talk to the characters much is because of what Kreia is telling you, not to trust them or whatever. I don't know, I don't think the devs wanted you to care about the party members, hence Kreia's comments.

#8
Boiler98

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You should be able to care about your group members though, that is the point of some of your responses to Kreia.

#9
Aaron Contreras

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I attempted to exhaust conversation options with party members after every completed planet. They often appeared broken - Bao Dur was almost mute my entire game.

Having your two party members stop and talk to each other randomly would've been great. It was a real breath of fresh air in KOTOR 1.

The character design and dialog of KOTOR 2 is awesome...but yeah, I feel like I really didn't get to know any of them aside from Kreia.

#10
Alyt

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I agree with much of what is said. For my next playthrough, i'm going to try to gather as many of the NPC's as possible before actually trying to do anything. This will get me more travelling time with them but i don't know how feasible it is.

I think there's a truckload of stuff there concerning the NPC's, but i missed it because i rushed through the game. I'm definetely going to throw alignment out of the window and try to influence them as much as i can as well.

#11
Annakie

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Thanks everyone for your positive responses (and for reading through my very long post, I know I can be verbose. ;) )

Exar_Kun: I did my best to get influence with everyone. I would try to respond exactly how I'd think they wanted me to respond every time, and if I ever lost influence with someone, I'd load the game back up and try a different route. Plus, I talked to them all, ALL THE TIME. I read through some of their dialogue so often that I feel like I could recite it in my sleep, just in hopes of hearing something new. I made notes of who had influence failures and the moment I gained influence with them I'd again run through all options in hoping to hearing something new. Now, sometimes you didn't know what would be good or bad to say to someone, so I'm sure I missed some positive influence along the way, and there were some characters I didn't take out as much as the others. However, I did decide to focus on a few characters to see if I could bring out more dialogue at least with them. I rotated between mostly keeping Disciple, Mandalore, Keria and Atton in my party as much as possible, and then HK-47 once I got him. I thought at least I could dig down into my mentor's mind, the two "romance" options and the characters who knew Revan.

There was SOME interaction with all of them, but it just wasn't even close to the level of what was in KotOR with any of the characters, save Keria. I even found myself doing silly things like giving the Ebon Hawk away to the guy who said it was his ship on Nar Shaddaa just because I hoped it would make people mad enough to talk to me. Mandalore and Atton, who were in my party at the time, said "I don't think that's a good idea", but I went back to the ship right away and nobody said anything, nor was the guy there trying to claim his ship (in fact, apparently later he snuck in, right as the gang members who tried to take over the ship were there. Why was he doing that? I told him he could have the ship! The "take back the Ebon Hawk" part WAS quite cool, though.!)

I loved the influence system, I thought it was a very cool improvement in the game, but at the same time, it just seemed like even if you had a TON of influence with the person, too much of the time, they still had nothing to say. There'd be an initial burst of talking when you met them, and maybe once or twice more they'd talk to you... then.... nothing new. Compared to KotOR1, most of the party members were practically mutes, even those that had their own mini-quests to complete. There was a little, but not nearly enough interaction.

As to "caring about my party members", my character, I'm sure did care about them. But me, as a person, couldn't give a flip about most of them. I really, really cared about what happened to Carth, Bastilla, Juhani, Jolee, Zalabaar, Canderous, etc. None of the new characters gripped me with their stories like those in KotOR1 did. I really, really felt like some of them had the potential to, if only they'd talk to me like the KotOR1 characters would. Mandalore was the only one I was really concerned about, because well, he's Canderous.

I wanted Atton to tell me more about his time as a Jedi killer and how that affected him, past what he tells you just before he agrees to Jedi training. I wanted him to tell me how he was doing, maybe how that whole "forgiving yourself" thing was coming along, but he never did. I wanted Visas to tell me more about herself, her homeworld, her anguish. I was actually shocked near the end when Visas went to the meditiation chamber and released her anger at her homeworld being destroyed, I had no idea she was so upset about it. (Maybe she only tells you if you're male?) I wanted Bao-Dur to reminisce with my character about the wars some more, but he didn't. I wanted to go on quests to help out every one of them like I went on in KotOR1... quests that had nothing to do with the story, like Mission's brother, Sunry's trial, etc... but none of them really needed my help. I actually questioned why some of them were here, and not back on their homewords. My character being a great leader is fine and good, but so was Revan, and (s)he found the time to give aid to nearly everyone in the party.

I still really like the game, but I just felt like there could have been so much MORE.
I'm hoping that the fact that my female PC and female Revan were both referred to as male in upwards of 30+ lines of dialogue only happened because they couldn't fit any more data onto the disk, and that all of that will be fixed on the PC version. More character interaction, more plot holes filled (like, G0-T0 and remote on Malachor V at the end of the game, what was THAT all about?) and more little bugs like the gender-bending females would go a long way to making this game tie ad my favorite RPG of all time with KotOR1. :)

Annnd... now I've gone and made another very long post. Erk, sorry. :)

#12
ladymurasaki

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Annakie, I completely agreed with you and didn't mind the length of your post since you write well and articulately.

I too really miss the character interaction that existed in KOTOR 1. I remember how, when I was nearing the end of the first time I played KOTOR1 through, I just didn't want it to end because I was going to have to say goodbye to the characters! I thought, "What a wierd reaction I'm having -- an emotional connection to video game characters." And yet, they really felt like companions. The characters in KOTOR2 share less personal history, and less with each other and it does affec the emotional reasonance of the game.

I read an interview with a developer somewhere who talked about his take on romance -- about how his take is more like Terry Pratchett, or something and how this guided how he wrote the "romance." I was disappointed by this because the romance side quest in KOTOR1 was such a wonderful surprise. Also, KOTOR is a fantasy, for goodness' sake! Of course the romance is in KOTOR1 was fanciful. As if lightsabers and gizka aren't too!

#13
Tainted Mustard

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I read an interview with a developer somewhere who talked about his take on romance -- about how his take is more like Terry Pratchett, or something and how this guided how he wrote the "romance." I was disappointed by this because the romance side quest in KOTOR1 was such a wonderful surprise. Also, KOTOR is a fantasy, for goodness' sake! Of course the romance is in KOTOR1 was fanciful. As if lightsabers and gizka aren't too!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Agreed. I love a dark romance (or dark anything, really), but I also want it to be satisfying. Tragic, emotional endings are better than a sudden drop off a cliff, as was the case with the interactions in this game. And to add frustration, you're told what will happen to all of the characters (in one case, up until their demise) and the main character is never even given a chance to respond! I didn't feel much attachment to them, either, but yeesh... they could have been given the opportunity to come into their own in a sequel. They had a great base. It just needed to be built upon. Obsidian abandoned them, in my opinion. But maybe that was just another side-effect of a restrictive timetable. I'll always hate you, LucasArts. :)

#14
nightcleaver

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I don't think he was saying anything about it being fanciful, just that that wasn't necessarily to his taste as much. However, I would darn well expect... given you show interest in two characters... that they fight a little bit. I think they were trying to go a more subtle route, to, to befit the mood of being Jedi/Sith... partially... but people, expecting the Bioware method of romance, instead saw it as, "Why are these people fighting over me?" Perhaps a little TOO subtle.

I pretty much agree, overall... although I'm a little less harsh about it, and a little more harsh about the KotOR I system. In my opinion, this could all be solved with more dynamic interaction... but that would also mean far more work than bioware had to do, I can imagine. I think they were too ambitious for the amount of time they had, probably. It was an improvement in certain ways, but it needed touching up and expansion.

#15
Annakie

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Annakie, I completely agreed with you and didn't mind the length of your post since you write well and articulately.

I too really miss the character interaction that existed in KOTOR 1. I remember how, when I was nearing the end of the first time I played KOTOR1 through, I just didn't want it to end because I was going to have to say goodbye to the characters! I thought, "What a wierd reaction I'm having -- an emotional connection to video game characters." And yet, they really felt like companions. The characters in KOTOR2 share less personal history, and less with each other and it does affec the emotional reasonance of the game.

I read an interview with a developer somewhere who talked about his take on romance -- about how his take is more like Terry Pratchett, or something and how this guided how he wrote the "romance." I was disappointed by this because the romance side quest in KOTOR1 was such a wonderful surprise. Also, KOTOR is a fantasy, for goodness' sake! Of course the romance is in KOTOR1 was fanciful. As if lightsabers and gizka aren't too!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thanks for not minding. :D I just feel really strongly about this subject, you know? I wanted really badly to love this game as much as KotOR1, and I'm just disappointed that, although I really like it and there are some things that are even better than KotOR1, I don't LOVE it... mostly for the reasons I'm talking about here.

I felt EXACTLY the same way you did when I was near the end of KotOR1. I really didn't want the game to end! I was really happy when we had "extensions" of the game on the Leviathian and then the unknown planet because they made the game longer. I was sorely disappointed when any of the characters finally ran out of dialogue. I'd find myself running back to the ship after levelling up, anxious to hear what new things they had to say to me. I did that here, too, but was in constant frustration that they almost never did, even after gaining influence with them.

" The characters in KOTOR2 share less personal history, and less with each other and it does affect the emotional reasonance of the game."

That's EXACTLY what I've been trying to say, all summed up into one neat little sentence, thank you!!

I found myself not particularly wanting my PC to have a romance with either Disciple or Atton. I was prepared to do it, I knew that neither of these characters would be Carth, but neither of them really gave me a reason to WANT to. I didn't even like Atton as a "person" that much until he finally spilled his secret. My PC could have looked past that if he'd just actually come to her and talked to her about what he was feeling. Likewise, Disciple was like the shy kid that had a crush on the popular girl at school... admiring her from afar, but too afraid to talk to her.

I read the same thing from the Developers that the romance options wouldn't be the same, but I didn't feel like I had "romance options", I felt like I was nice to the people in my party like a Lightside Jedi should be, they got crushes on me, faught about me behind my back, faintly hinted once or twice that they kind of liked me, and... that was the end of it. Like I said before... more like High School drama hour and not much like adult interaction. We didn't need a clone of Carth and Revan's relationship, but I didn't feel like there was any "romance" in this game... at least down the LS Female path I took.

]Agreed. I love a dark romance (or dark anything, really), but I also want it to be satisfying. Tragic, emotional endings are better than a sudden drop off a cliff, as was the case with the interactions in this game. And to add frustration, you're told what will happen to all of the characters (in one case, up until their demise) and the main character is never even given a chance to respond! I didn't feel much attachment to them, either, but yeesh... they could have been given the opportunity to come into their own in a sequel. They had a great base. It just needed to be built upon. Obsidian abandoned them, in my opinion. But maybe that was just another side-effect of a restrictive timetable. I'll always hate you, LucasArts.


Exactly! Not only did we not get to know them well, but there was no REAL resolution. I was told "Oh, Atton loved you but he knew he had nothing to offer you, so he never spoke up." and "Disciple always loved you for the rest of his life from afar, but he never spoke up." We never got to know these characters well, and in the end, we just pretty much severed ties with them.

I'd LOVE to have some of them as well as more of the KotOR1 cast reappear in KotOR3, they could say something like "Well what Kreia saw was one of many possible futures." and then we could actually dig in and get to know some of these people better. So much potential, I really liked all of their concepts, but so little depth!

....but people, expecting the Bioware method of romance, instead saw it as, "Why are these people fighting over me?" Perhaps a little TOO subtle.


Much too subtle. It just felt unnatural and forced... or thrown in at the last moment. I can only speak for the female romances in this case, I'll probably play through as a male character at some point to see if it feels the same way.

In my opinion, this could all be solved with more dynamic interaction... but that would also mean far more work than bioware had to do, I can imagine. I think they were too ambitious for the amount of time they had, probably. It was an improvement in certain ways, but it needed touching up and expansion.


I agree, it probably was a time issue. A lot of things about the game seemed rushed... for instance going back to all of the times my female Revan and PC were referred to as males, plot threads that were picked up and then immediately dropped (Remote / G0-T0's thing at the end) and a lot of other things.

I wish that companies, whoever made the decision to rush the game, which it sounds like was LucasArts, would realize that we'd all rather have a game that's well put together and satisfying... we'd rather wait an extra two or three months to get that game rather than something that ends up leaving us feeling sort of empty, dissatisfied, and full of questions that could have - and should have - been answered.

At the end of KotOR1 I felt like I wanted MORE, but I also felt satisfied. My Jedi had saved the universe, defeated the bad guy (for now at least) and had fallen in love with someone she really cared about. I'd have liked to have seen Revan and Carth's first kiss, I wanted to know what happened to them, and all my party, afterwards. But I never felt HOLLOW about any of these things. If KotOR2 had never been made, and we never found out any of their fates, I was okay with that. That's what imagination, and fanfic, is for. At least we got to meet them and get to know them.

And I think that's my biggest problem with this game. We met them, barely got to know them, and then at the end we're told what happens to them. I feel like "meh, okay." I don't care that much, and I really wanted to care.

That's why I loved the Carth scene where he asked after Revan. I care about them, I almost feel like now I need to see KotOR3, to find out if they're reunited (and Revan/Bastilla for male Revan.) I already "know" that the Exile and Disciple and/or Atton never go anywhere, and I don't care. I want to care, but I don't.




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