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Just found my way to learn about this project. Very interessting and refreshing!

 

I was wondering about the possibility of failure. Yes. In most RPGs your descisions can seal the fate of kingdoms and people, your companions may live or die, even the hero can live or die. But from the moment you learn about the Big Problem, you know that you will solve it by the end of the game. Regardless of what choices you made.

 

(Except the 4th ending to a particular game that does not involve a colorful explosion. *hint*)

 

I think that if done well, failure can be as satisfying as success. It also adds a dimension to choices. Or combination of choices. "If I do what is Right in this case...is it also what is necessary? Will I save a few...but lose the war?". Or "I have two rival groups both bound to be by my great charisma..but when push comes to shove, when victory depends on cohesion...will they be able to work together?"

 

When the game ends, you can look at the ending and say "I have lost the war, but I've never betrayed the ideals and always did what is right", perhaps even something as trivial as "Alright, my character has failed to solve the problem...but he did have this amazing romance for which he sacrificed everything else."

 

What do you think? Can failure be as satisfying as success in the end?

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Sometimes failing miserably can make a success the next time all the better. Of course, you'd need the first scenario where you fail to not be incredibly depressing and make you not want to play again.

 

On top that, there's always the sacrifice victory, which has a few different outcomes depending on what you've actually sacrificed. (Yourself, your party, your relationship etc.)

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Sometimes, and especially in RPGs, I think failure would make just as good an adventure as success. I'd like to see valid failure states not just for the main quest line but also for meaty side quests. Ultimately an RPG is about the story you weave with your characters right? So it can only benefit if that tale can be full of tragedy as well as triumph.

 

There's nothing to say that the hero must always be victorious. In fact that goes against every theory of storytelling I know of. To always win is boring and predictable.

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So you basically want it to be like the Witcher 2? I want the same. If the decisions and outcomes won't be as interesting and different as in Witcher I'll be greatly disappointed.

 

Being able to choose wrong is also essential.

Edited by buggeer
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Failure is fine, so long as it's determined by factors one can control and isn't constantly contrived to be inevitable. I like the idea of some quests being completed through failure, one way or another. Also, if failure can somehow open more doors or add to additional content because of it, as well as resulting in different consequences, that's great too.

 

I think the key is not to punish the player too much, and so long as there is proper context and it's well-handled, this shouldn't be a problem.

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And sometimes a victory can be more bitter than defeat.

 

What if you save a kingdom, by sacrificing it's very soul. Destroying the very foundations of its culture and morality. You've saved the kingdom, but in saving it you've transformed it into something so horrible that may be...destruction would have been better. Or to secure a victory, you have to betray the trust of those who love you and use them up.

 

I think something like that would make for far more interessting choices in the end. For Good and for Evil alligned characters. An evil character has no qualms sacrificing others for victory...but will he be able sacrifice himself (not per se by dying). Or will he be able to put personal considerations aside when needed? Will a Good character be able to do something horrible in order to win?

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Even Ancient Greek playwright knew that the best ending is a bitter one, with just a little hint of sweetness. Perhaps a day will come, perhaps with Project Eternity, when a computer game will become a source of true catharsis. It already has with Planescape: Torment.

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I think the key is not to punish the player too much, and so long as there is proper context and it's well-handled, this shouldn't be a problem.

 

That is exactly the point. If failure is unsatisfying, it is a punishment. "Game Over : restart level" is an example of punishment. But if failure is satisfying because it makes an excellent story, reveals something about character and companions or indeed opens new doors and possiblities - then it is not punishment.

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Readind what You've guys have written here made me thing of the whole concept of making decisions in game. In my opinion it is crucial to actually NOT know if we now, at the moment, are making a decision or not. In almost every cRPG nowadays, when You make a choice, the game blow it in Your face: "Hey, Smith, now is the Big-F***-Moment when You have to chose!". It's not what happens in real life, it feels artificial. In real life the most meaningful decisions are often made without actually being aware that You chose anything. You just act in a specific way and, after more or less time, You are faced with consequences, sometimes easy to predict earlier, but sometimes totally unpredictable.

 

In terms of PC games, almost always You decide which path to follow during a dialogue. You chose one answer or another and that's it. It would be GREAT to have a lot of decisions to make, but to be made as a consequence of BEHAVIOUR, not the dialogue. For egzample:

 

Some lord told You to kill his long time enemy, a nobleman that lost his money and title and then start robbing other lord's lands. You meet the ex-nobleman in some tavern. He know about You and Your connections, so he instantly attacks You. What You can do? Of course, You can kill him and take the prize. But You can also use a "knock-down" skill (yes, use a SKILL, if You have it, not just reduce his HP to 0 and chose a dialog option). When ex-nobleman is unconscious for a while, You can use an ITEM (a rope, which You acquire somewhere else, not connected with this quest), bound him and talk to him. Or just bring him bounded to the lord. Or You can leave him there, in a tavern. In most games it will just not mark Your quest as done, and You can't do anything about it. But here the ex-nobleman, when awake, could gather a group of companions and consider killing You in revenge his "live-or-die" goal. You can meet him again in random location, maybe in very undesirable moment (when fighting a dragon or having pleasant night with some cute girl.

 

It's just an example of what i mean. Maybe to complex for a videogame, but... Well, it's far better and more believeable to make choices by acting, not talking. It's how it happens in real life, and the more real and convincind the gameplay, the better.

 

[sorry for my terrible english, it's not my native language - i hope everything was understandable]

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There should *always* be an option for tradgedy. The only question is whether there should be an option for a "golden ending" where most things work out, and if so, how difficult it should be to achieve.

 

What bothers me is when games punish gameplay failure with player tedium, rather than story consequencies. If you constantly refuse material rewards for your heroics and therefore don't equip your character, you shouldn't be able to save-scum your way to a perfect playthrough - bad things should happen.

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Even Ancient Greek playwright knew that the best ending is a bitter one, with just a little hint of sweetness. Perhaps a day will come, perhaps with Project Eternity, when a computer game will become a source of true catharsis.

Yes yes YES.

you can watch my triumphant procession to Rome

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Not going into specifics (though I've touched on it a bit in another post), but while Mass Effect was generally a disappointment to me, some of the best scenes I saw in the entire series were because of conditions that were generally considered 'failures' of a runthrough. There were awesome scenes that very few players saw because they involved choices portrayed as suboptimum, and were very easy to avoid. Even I fall prey to this trap. Years of gaming have conditioned me to want to win, so I've chickened out on decisions that immediately had negative ramifications and reloaded.

 

So not only should we be able to fail, and not only should that failure be rewarded by content every bit as detailed as a success, but we should NOT KNOW we've failed until it's too late. At least for me, because I lack willpower.

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Failure is just as fun as winning, as long as it is presented in a way that is entertaining. (Not necessarily comical; tragedy is also a form of entertainment.) I am against being able to "fully win" (or, at least, it should be only accomplished on an n-th playthrough, where you have some experience about what kind of consequences should you expect - or with extreme luck).

"Lulz is not the highest aspiration of art and mankind, no matter what the Encyclopedia Dramatica says."

 

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As long as the story feels completed and some stories cannot feel completed with some tragic scent. That said, generally speaking, Obsidian writers are good at writing such endings. As already mentioned, Planescape: Torment is one of them. Actually, I think this is one of the essential factors which make the story more tolerable to mature audiences.

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This is one of the many things which PS:T did, and so few games have done since. There are two cases (that I can think of) in the game, in which one can reach a fail state which feels like a reasonable end to the story. Not a GAME OVER RETURN OF GANON. Rather, the player's decisions simply meant his quest was at an end. Perhaps they had been right and good decision, and this ought to be his fate. But he had no further fate to fulfil.

 

I adore the way this sort of thinking does away with the gaminess which can often be so prevalent, in RPGs. Make me ask "is this a right and proper fate?" Don't make me ask "did I win?" If the answer to the first question is ambiguous, some game writer has done something very right.

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I think failure should lead to new quests and stories. For example, if you fail to prevent a town from destroyed by a monster or an invading army, there could be a quest later on where you help the refugees of that town defend against bandits or find/build a new home.

Edited by Giantevilhead
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I think failure should lead to new quests and stories. For example, if you fail to prevent a town from destroyed by a monster or an invading army, there could be a quest later on where you help the refugees of that town defend against bandits or find/build a new home.

 

Or a part of said refugees may hold a grudge (for one reason or another) and badmouth you or in the worst case scenario try to kill you.

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