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Narration in CRPG is generally extremely linear (yes you might be able to choose the order of the event, but they unfold chronologically, the narration itself is linear, even if the game is not) and almost totally main character centered, I get why. As a rule of thumb you should avoid anything that might make the players feel they are less connected to the (main) characters they are playing. But it is a little disappointing to me, it lacks flavour and variety.


Even something like temporarily controlling one of your companions or a team of companions when they are away from your character apparently sets some people teeth on edge.


The paradox is that games in order to escape this linearity have used out of gameplay narrations . Cutscenes of course (all the IE games had them). IWD had a frame story, but minimal, not a playable one, just enough to sew the story together. I think that is a shame


Dream sequence, death mechanism (think going to hell) can be, and have been used to toy with that linearity (Planescape of course comes to mind). I've never played in a precognitive dream for instance, could be fun. Variation and repetition and what not.


Flash backs seems like a perfect mechanism, they actually give you more control over your character. Obsidian has done that a little if I recall correctly. Imagine meeting one of your future companions, or arch-enemy, starting a conversation and discover that you actually met before… and play through the recollection. Your action in the flash back having consequences when you come back to the present.


Maybe hiding something in a flashback, that you then know where to look for in the present. Or, I don't know, having the option to mention that you are arachnophobic in a dialog with a companion. Then being confronted by a huge spider, taken back to the event in your childhood that triggered the phobia, actually do something significant for the rest of the story there (that might or might not have anything to do with any spider, but resulting for the short term in malus , or not, for your present day combat with the monster), etc. OK this example is stupid and needlessly convoluted.


Anyway what do you think?

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