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So yeah, I was originally going to message this to Mr. Avellone (it was either this or just geek out and tell him how awesome I think he is), but it looks like he isn't accepting messages at this time. Instead, I'm going to post this here. I'm sure other people have great ideas too, and maybe the developers will take notice put some of our more choice ideas into the game.

 

So here's my idea (which I think would work beautifully with the new South Park game). I read in gameinformer that the player character will be mute, and I'm guessing this'll be in the style of Gordon Freeman where it's implied that Gordon speaks but the player doesn't hear it.

So my idea is that the player character has extremely complex and dramatic conversations with NPCs, but we only hear what the NPC says and never know what the PC says. Instead the camera cuts back and forth between the dramatic NPC and PC who just stares unblinkingly straight into the camera. It could even work that the cut back to the PC is the PC interrupting the NPC, or maybe the PC says something thatl makes the NPC laugh, rage, or pause and reflect.

The funny thing that I see is the cuts to the PC just standing there not moving, but people reacting like he's speaking. It'd be the like a cross between the "Dude" scene in BASEketball and the scene between the Black Knight and King Arthur in Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail.

 

What does everyone think?

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[...]

I read in gameinformer that the player character will be mute, and I'm guessing this'll be in the style of Gordon Freeman where it's implied that Gordon speaks but the player doesn't hear it.

[...]

What does everyone think?

 

I think you misunderstood the 'mute' thing. It isn't like Gordon Freeman, it's more like every RPG before voice-acting became so common in the last few years. We will be able to choose what our character says, it just won't be dubbed.

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I think you misunderstood the 'mute' thing. It isn't like Gordon Freeman, it's more like every RPG before voice-acting became so common in the last few years. We will be able to choose what our character says, it just won't be dubbed.

 

Here's the specific section from Gameinformer:

 

Parker has always preferred RPGs that feature silent, customizable protagonists. "One of my least favorite parts of RPGs is having some character stand there and talk, and me not being able to hit a button and skip past," he admits. "That's one of my main things when I first came into the meeting. I was like 'Okay, your character, whoever you're playing in the RPG, can't talk.' That's why I love Zelda so much. You can just fill in the blanks of 'Well, here's what I would say right here.' Whenever I'm playing an RPG and hear this voice go 'Well, what am I gonna do about this?,' I think, 'That's not what I sound like. That's not what I would say.' It always pisses me off and takes me out of it." (Gameinformer Issue 225, page 47, paragraph 2)

 

I'm not entirely sure where you're coming from on this. Trey seems to pretty consistently point to a silent protagonist (e.g. "[...]whoever you're playing in the RPG, can't talk.' That's why I love Zelda so much, You can just fill in the blanks[...]"). I know he mentions Oblivion later in the article, but that's not specifically about this game in particular. It's the same with how Matt likes FIFA: it's anecdotal and not about the South Park game itself.

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Parker has always preferred RPGs that feature silent, customizable protagonists.

 

I'm not entirely sure where you're coming from on this. Trey seems to pretty consistently point to a silent protagonist (e.g. "[...]whoever you're playing in the RPG, can't talk.' That's why I love Zelda so much, You can just fill in the blanks[...]"). I know he mentions Oblivion later in the article, but that's not specifically about this game in particular. It's the same with how Matt likes FIFA: it's anecdotal and not about the South Park game itself.

 

This quote : "Parker has always preferred RPGs that feature silent, customizable protagonists." I think this points to a system like RPGs of 'old', not a system taken from a different genre, like FPSs or adventure games.

 

Also, I can't imagine how a 'mute' protagonist could work in an RPG, especially one where you can apparently build up a reputation with different factions and make choices that could alter the storyline. The kind of mute protagonist you're describing implies a completely railroaded plot, one where the player has no choice in what his character is saying. I don't think this is what they're going for.

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It's been so long since I played Half-Life so I don't remember what that was like, but you didn't have any dialogue options, right? So everyone just pretended that Gordon Freeman said something back at them, or something.

 

In this case we really only have two possibilities - (1) the protagonist has lines you can choose from, but they're not voiced; (2) the protagonist only has response types/styles/keywords, and so you have neither voice nor exact lines. In both cases, it's an 'old school' RPG approach.

 

Anyway, Influx's original idea could still work within that system. The only problem I see is that even with a comedy game like South Park, something like that would cease to be funny after a few times, then just appear weird (and some people will think their game is bugged).

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Also, I can't imagine how a 'mute' protagonist could work in an RPG, especially one where you can apparently build up a reputation with different factions and make choices that could alter the storyline. The kind of mute protagonist you're describing implies a completely railroaded plot, one where the player has no choice in what his character is saying. I don't think this is what they're going for.

I think it's not that uncommon in jrpgs.

IIRC protagonist of Chrono Trigger never said a single word.

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Anyway, as pmp10 points out, there is some precedent for a RPG in which the protagonist doesn't speak (think Zelda, Dragon Warrior, Chrono Trigger, Fable 1 & 2) and, sticking close to what Trey says in the article, that seems to be what South Park will be. Not the most common western fare, but, like my idea points out, still a source for humor.

That's just one idea though. I'd love to see what other ideas people have for South Park. For example, the article also says that the game will be a side-scroller, so does anyone have any fun ideas for what Obsidian can do with a side-scrolling RPG? Personally my favorite side-scroller is Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee, but the only side-scroller RPG that I can think of is the second Zelda game.

 

Oh, and Tigranes makes a good point about my idea getting repetitive, so I would mainly see it as something for special occasions (not every moment is funny, dramatic, or insightful). Otherwise the player character would just do what Link does and project meaningful expressions, or maybe it will be like Half-Life (lol, sort of since that's of course an FPS) and the camera will just focus on the NPC during the brief pause when the player character is supposedly speaking.

Edited by Influx27
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  • 2 weeks later...

It's been so long since I played Half-Life so I don't remember what that was like, but you didn't have any dialogue options, right? So everyone just pretended that Gordon Freeman said something back at them, or something.

It's been a while I played the Half-Life single player campaign too, but I think in HL1 the other characters just ignored and downplayed Gordon's muteness. On the other hand, in HL2 it's even lampshaded a couple of times. Valve likes to go for this mute protagonist route because they believe it breaks the immersion if the character does anything the player has no control over.

SODOFF Steam group.

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One of the ideas for Van Buren was that there would be another group of adventurers and the player was going to be affected by their actions and vice versa. It would be great if they implemented that idea in this game but also made the rival adventurer completely silent too. So when you meet up with the other adventurer, there's a completely silent conversation with no reactions from either side.

 

In fact, the rival adventurer interacts with the world the same way the player does. When you as the PC, enter into a conversation, the NPC says their dialogue and you get the chance to pick your reponse. As soon as you pick your response, the NPC responds to it immediately. Think about how that conversation goes from the NPC's perspective. The NPC starts the conversation, pauses and waits about half a minute where the PC's just standing there doing nothing. When the PC responds, the NPC is able to immediately respond to it. That's how the first conversation with the rival adventurer could go. When you pick your dialogue choice, there would be this pause before the rival responds and when they do "speak," it's just a flash of text before you have to respond immediately. Only after an NPC intercedes, can you have a real conversation with your rival and even then it'll be through an NPC intermediary acting as an interpreter.

 

The rival adventurer would also use player mechanics like persuasion skill, conversation interruption, skipping dialogues/cutscenes, etc. It would be funny if there's a clash between your use of gameplay mechanics with your rival's use of gameplay mechanics. For example you could run into a situation where you get into a conversation interruption loop with the rival where he/she interrupts your dialogue and then you interrupt his/her interruption and then he/she interrupts your interruption and so on.

 

It would also be great if NPC's commented on more meta components of the game. For example, if you skip too many dialogues/cutscenes, you'd get special conversations where an NPC would stay silent for a few seconds and then say something like, "oh, you're not going to skip this conversation too? Because you've skipped every other conversation. OK, fine." In fact, there could be special dialogue based on when you skip a conversation/cutscene.

Edited by Giantevilhead
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  • 3 weeks later...

I can understand people not being thrilled by the idea of a silent protagonist, but that's what the Gameinformer article stressed. I appreciate people's input, but I think we should stick close to the information we have rather than move against it. So, for example, there is no mention of anyone else as silent, so it's safe to say that the regular South Park characters do speak. Also, while Van Buren would have been a terrific game, we're not building on current ideas when we try to insert old ideas.

 

Anyway, another idea I had was about classes. The article stressed real world objects as apart of the character's equipment as well as something akin to a cross between LARPing and actual fighting for encounters. Based off of this, I had an idea about how the standard classes (thief, magic user, fighter, cleric) could be those classes as well as being somewhat real world-esque.

 

My idea is that characters would not use fantastical abilities per-se, but would re-purpose abilities from real-life to fit their class. For example, the thief wouldn't use lockpicks, but a screwdriver to either unlock a door (like you can do with a lot of door that are inside houses), unscrew the lock from the door, or just jam it in and force the lock open (:oP I did all of these things when I was a kid, although I used a bottle opener for forcing a lock). The other classes would follow suit, so the mage would use firecrackers and explosive pellets (think "Happo-Fire Burst" from Ranma ½), the cleric would use neosporin (lol, I'm extremely open to suggestions on this class), and the fighter would use football maneuvers to block incoming hits. There can even be class trainers specific to these types of ideas, e.g. the fighter would train with a football coach (I was going to say Scott Tenorman's dad since he's supposed to be a former Denver Bronco, but Cartman turned him into chili so it'd have to be someone else) and the magic-user would take chemistry classes to make bigger explosions.

 

While not as hilarious as my previous idea, I think this one has definite potential for role-playing.

Edited by Influx27
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Parker got it good here.

I warmed up to silent protagonists since I realized they managed to convey a much better image of the hero i want to play. When the hero is voiced, you have to go along with what he's saying, how he's acting. With a silent hero, you choose how he behaves and what his personality is. It's way better for roleplay and it permitted to get attached much more easily to my characters in KOTOR2 or NWN2 while I couldn't bring myself to care during Mass Effect or The Witcher.

The only game that managed to bring us a talking protagonist while still giving us the possibility to choose his behavior was Alpha Protocol but it required a ton of work. Deus Ex: Human Revolution also worked fine but not always, with the hero sometimes spouting lines you didn't want him to.

 

Oh, and GEH? That's an awesome idea! I hope someone from the creative design team will read and implement it.

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  • 1 year later...

Taking the advice from a moderator on another site, I have submitted this epic item for consideration in South Park: The Stick Of Truth.

 

Balls Of The Dragonborn.

 

These artifact level balls were lost in a battle between an ancient dragonborn and some random dragon atop mount hrothgar in a battle longwindedly voiced by an on looking Greybeard:  "As much a titanic struggle between dragon and man as when my pet terrier finally tore asunder his favourite fluffy rat toy.  I expect the dragon wouldn't have stood a chance - and I know we may have needed this dragonborn fellow - but he was clearly going to start making a racket, so I found myself echoing the advice of a great orc chieftain at the start of every battle; 'Go fa tha soft bits'.  In the end the dragonborn ended up making a racket after all ...Terry didn't take several days with his nemisis...and in retrospect it was really all a bit of a mistake on my part".

 

As the dragon finally reared back to bellow his triumph it almost choked on it's hard won prizes, and in a catastrophe henceforth referred to as the 'sundering', each ball was spat both east and west from atop the mountain - or as the greybeard onlooker would refer to as: "A bit of a lefty and righty moment". 

In the most cataclysmic snowballing example of destruction Skyrim had ever seen the two balls rolled a path of devestation through the land and finally came to rest at Dawnstar in the east and the vampire stronghold in the west.   After each faction shood away the seemingly unkillable travellers embedded in each snowball, they were crafted into two of the greatest flails skyrim had ever seen, and after centuries of war were brought together in a resounding clang during an epic battle that shook the mountain walls and kept the surrounding province's up for days. 

 

Each flail was lost after the two remaining leaders of each army struck each other instantly dead by either critically hitting the other simultaneosly in the eye, or perhaps because they had an indeterminate amount of health left.

 

Statistics:

 

Ball of the East:
More powerful at sunset, was used as the bell clapper in the dawnstars belltower for centuries and hangs slightly higher on its chain than the ball of the west.
This makes it an excellent choice as a off hand weapon. 
Able to twist on its chain and perform a twisted torsion/whirlwind attack 1/day.
 

Ball of the West:
More powerful at sunrise and during the day. It was used in a failed attempt to strike down the sun, didn't quite get there and landed back at firing point - blasting a hole in the roof and allowing the vampires to become more powerful anyway as they soaked in the daylight. 

Rumours were that this flail spent most of it's time since in the castle dungeons.

If the ubove is seen as inverted, or back to front, thats ok; Powers are interchangeable depending on whether user is facing north or south, or whichever way the flail heads happen to be hanging.

 

Artifact Level Powers:

Closer inspection reveals each ball to be possessed of a sentience, the ball of the east being a force for good that demands its owner scale a high point once per day to sing a hymn of righteousness, while the ball of the west remembers it's time as a debauched implement in the vampires dungeon and requires a less than paladin like action per day to maintain it's loyalty.
Failure to perform either of these acts results in a roll of 1D20 vs deaf and blind status effects respectively for 1D10 hours.

 

Regeneration: (If combined).
Similiar to a rumoured hand and eye once owned by a lich god, if the user were to take advantage of the incredible regenerative powers of these artifacts the ultimate sacrifice could be made for the ultimate gain.

 

Subsequent user rolls per adult mod based encounter thereafter may result in the artifacts planer shifting back to their original owner and no assumptions of permanent ownership should be made.   

Edited by Chippy
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