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Torment had a superb story with well written dialogue throughout and an interesting setting, lore, and even slang. This game is supposed to inherit some of what made that game special, but what was it about the Torment story that made it so special? I think one answer is suspense and mystery. Torment had a suspenseful story which is almost unheard of in cRPGs, but there was more to its magic than only suspense. The story was thoughtful. It raised philosophical issues and encouraged pondering things.

 

There was also an element of tragedy and sadness to the story of TNO and also Deionarra. In general happy characters are boring. Stories are about conflict and often the more serious the conflict the better. Slight conflicts make for a slight story, but some conflicts are so serious that things can never end well. That's why I think tragic stories tend to have more emotional impact. Mark Morgan's wonderful soundtrack also helped with this of course.

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JoshSawyer: Listening to feedback from the fans has helped us realize that people can be pretty polarized on what they want, even among a group of people ostensibly united by a love of the same games. For us, that means prioritizing options is important. If people don’t like a certain aspect of how skill checks are presented or how combat works, we should give them the ability to turn that off, resources permitting.

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I think BG and PST both did a good job of making the story a personal one with out you being the 'chosen one fo save all of existence'. Yeah in BG1 you kinda averted a war but that was almost entirely by circumstance then you being the hero that has to totally stop the giant war that will destroy mankind! I mean it was even a pretty small scale war as far as that stuffs concerned. Ultimately, BG1-2 and PST where well writen, engaging, 'personal' stories that had some level of mistery as to what the **** was going on. You where always working towards discovering a few things, and when you got close new crap always popped up to muddle up the view more.

 

That said what RiceMunk said, rather simplistically, Tragic and Happy (and whatever inbetween) can be dramatic, and they can often times not be dramatic. Kinda depends how its writen. But damn if I didn't love the planescape story and just all the stuff in that game... also, said it before in these forums but <3 Annah. Fiesty, red headed, Scottish accented tieflin' girl.... so much awesome.

 

-edit-

Actually, BG2 storyline is something I think is kinda... funny how they handled it. You adverted a war as well, or stopped it from getting out of hand, and that war was the main bad-dudes goal from the outset. But, story wise, it was a backdrop late into it and had 'nothing' to do with you. Nothing at all. The only reason your character was involved was due to your soul being partially mixed with Bhaal's essense as a bhaalspawn. So you kinda had 2, overall stories, the villians and yours, and he just happened to involve you in an attempt to fix his situation so he could get his revenge on somethign else completely different.

 

You where a means to an end for him, nothing more. And in the end, you stopping the war was just a byproduct of getting your soul back (and, prior to that, saving Imoen). That game had some interesting story intertwining and managed to, at least to me, keep the bigger picture stuff a side track to what was ultimately your characters main goal - dealing with a crazed elf who done you some wrong.

Edited by Adhin

Def Con: kills owls dead

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I decided to peruse stuff on the psychology of tragedy, comedy, and other things in classical literature, and the first thing I came across was:

 

Wikipedia

 

Tragedy (Ancient Greek: τρaγῳδίa, tragōidia, "he-goat-song"[1]) ....

 

And now I can't stop laughing...

 

*cough*

 

Anyway. The Aristotelian definition of tragedy from the Poetics is really quite fascinating and I feel applies more to Planescape Torment than the modern usage, which basically requires a sad ending by layperson definition.

 

The philosopher Aristotle said in his work Poetics that tragedy is characterized by seriousness and dignity and involving a great person who experiences a reversal of fortune (Peripeteia). Aristotle's definition can include a change of fortune from bad to good as in the Eumenides, but he says that the change from good to bad as in Oedipus Rex is preferable because this effects pity and fear within the spectators. Tragedy results in a catharsis (emotional cleansing) or healing for the audience through their experience of these emotions in response to the suffering of the characters in the drama.

 

If you continue to read the entire summary on Wikipedia above, then it does seem that PS:T falls squarely in this treatment (I could be wrong--I'm not a philosopher like Avellone):

 

Common usage of tragedy refers to any story with a sad ending, whereas to be an Aristotelian tragedy the story must fit the set of requirements as laid out by Poetics. By this definition social drama cannot be tragic because the hero in it is a victim of circumstance and incidents which depend upon the society in which he lives and not upon the inner compulsions — psychological or religious — which determine his progress towards self-knowledge and death.

 

If we think about TNO's existence in the game, his reality hinged entirely upon his choices (not as a "chosen one" by external fate), and we know that he was/is a very capable person. The entire character study of TNO in Planescape: Torment revolved around his inner compulsions thus. There was catharsis in Deionarra's situation despite her sad "end." In fact, I rather liked PS:T's ending as it pertains to TNO even if it was abrupt--there was cathartic closure to the cycle. I just wish there was more closure for TNO's companions like in BG2.

 

(P.S.: Aristotle's definition of tragedy says that the change in fortune from bad to good still counts, which I find intriguing. I'm not sure I've run across that in media.)

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Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

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"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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Tragic stories can be dramatic. They can also sometimes be really trite and boring.

Happy stories can be dramatic. They can also sometimes be really trite and boring.

 

Agreed.

Every emotion can be profound in a well written narrative, but the problem is when people shove tragedy into a story for the sake of having tragedy in a story, or any other emotion or aspect of story for that matter.

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I think that's what you consider a bitter sweet type ending? Bad things happened, ****s horrible, but its overs, the worlds in a better place now in general... but all the bad crap that happened still ultimately leaves things feeling rather tragic. Often times a lot of good comes out of horrible acts... no idea if thats what he meant though heh.

 

-edit-

This thread, oddly enough, thinks gotten me to thinka bout BG and PST story lines more then I have in recent times. I know I liked em but they where really good damnit heh.

Edited by Adhin

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I like the comment of Ieo because he outlined something which in my opinion is quite more important that the differentiation tragic and happy. It's the differentiation between tragedy and drama. People often tend to talk about "tragic" events when they watch a drama in which the persons are victims of their environment. But real tragedy is the effect of the personal and emotional struggle of the protagonists. They're not necessarilly in a bad position but their thinking, their emotions and their decisions lead to the downfall of themselves and the people around them. I think it's much harder to write a decent tragedy than a good drama because in the former the writer has to dig deeply in the heart, brain and souls of his characters and he has to describe reasonable but tragic ways of their thinking and not only their reactions to the overall situation.

Edited by LordCrash
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I love tragedy when it's poetically justified, not so much if it's just "rocks fall, everybody dies." I wouldn't say it's more dramatic though.

 

There's a certain gut punch that sticks with you after a particularly well done tragedy, especially in video games where the tragedy is happening to "you", but it can also feel very cheap since a lot of people play games to win. They want to be the hero and save the day, not necessarily to fail tragically.

 

I find being put through a lot of horrible **** that makes it look like a tragedy but everything turns out alright in the end works a little better for games. Make the player really earn that happy ending and they'll appreciate it that much more.

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What is important is the ability of the story teller. Tradgdy can be depressing. Happiness can be boring. A happy ending can be trite and feel forced. I don't think that the Infinity Engine game stories were either happy or tradgic. In a way IWD II was because I felt sorry for the twins. Don't remember their names. Torment had tradgedy in it but was not depressing. A good story does have conflict in it. The games may be fantasy but they still reflect life and life is both tragic and happy. One of the things I did like about Oblivion was the sense of ambiguity about good and evil that it raised. There was a depth there. You could ignore it or you could pay attention and question.

 

I love mystery stories. How ever with a game once I have played it the mystery is solved so there needs to be much more to the story than that. What draws me back to reread a story or replay a game is the intricacy of the story or the game. With game how many different ways can I do it. Can I take a different path?

 I have but one enemy: myself  - Drow saying


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In general happy characters are boring.

 

No, not really. Maybe it's just me, but I don't want to be the psychiatrist to the majority of the companions.

 

I wasn't referring to the kind of trivial problems that Bioware might come up with if that's what you're thinking. I'm not talking about neurotic companions that you have to fix so that you can sleep with them or anything like that. I'm also not talking about melodramatic soap opera stuff. Remember I'm trying to deconstruct what it was about Torment's story that was so compelling. That's my context. Not Biotrash games. In terms of tragedy it may be that I just personally find it more compelling and believable.

JoshSawyer: Listening to feedback from the fans has helped us realize that people can be pretty polarized on what they want, even among a group of people ostensibly united by a love of the same games. For us, that means prioritizing options is important. If people don’t like a certain aspect of how skill checks are presented or how combat works, we should give them the ability to turn that off, resources permitting.

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Tragic stories can be dramatic. They can also sometimes be really trite and boring.

Happy stories can be dramatic. They can also sometimes be really trite and boring.

 

This x1000.

 

It's not the "kind" of story that makes it a great story, it's how it's written and implemented into the game that does.

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"Console exclusive is such a harsh word." - Darque

"Console exclusive is two words Darque." - Nartwak (in response to Darque's observation)

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I like the comment of Ieo because he outlined something which in my opinion is quite more important that the differentiation tragic and happy. It' the differentiation between tragedy and drama. People often tends to talk about "tragic" events when they watch a drama in which the persons are victims of their environment. But real tragedy is the effect of the personal and emotional struggle of the protagonists. Their not necessarilly in a bad position but their thinking, their emotions and their decisions lead to the downfall of themselves and the people around them. I think it's much harder to write a decent tragedy that a good drama because in the former the writer has to dig deeply in the heart, brain and souls of his character and he has to describe reasonable but tragic ways of their thinking.

 

The more I think about the Aristotelian view, the more I appreciate PS:T (if that was even possible). PS:T's ending was not bad; in fact, I wouldn't even classify it as a sad ending. The takeaways I think most people should get from Aristotle's classic literary definition is that a tragedy is not a social drama, and a tragedy doesn't necessarily have a "tragic" ending.

 

@OP

Oh, and to actually answer the title: Compared to what? :p But no. Dramatic content is very broad and depends on execution. (Tragedy, comedy, and satire are actually all classified as drama under the Poetics.) But about the specific dramatic punch of PS:T--

 

According to Aristotle, "The change to bad fortune which he undergoes is not due to any moral defect or flaw, but a mistake of some kind." The reversal is the inevitable but unforeseen result of some action taken by the hero. It is also a misconception that this reversal can be brought about by a higher power (e.g. the law, the gods, fate, or society), but if a character’s downfall is brought about by an external cause, Aristotle describes this as a misadventure and not a tragedy.

 

I think this is the perfect definition of what happened to TNO and critical in the treatment you're talking about in re PS:T compared to lay treatment of depressing tragedy. The reason why tragedy brought about by protagonist choice creates greater tension in the audience is explained in Poetics as what we might understand to be the fatal flaw. From the psychological point of view, as I see it, a mistake by a mortal that brings about tragedy is much easier for the audience to identify with than a "higher power" instigating some bad situation around the protagonist--the latter is more distant and lends more a feeling of powerlessness and absolute 'inevitability', nor would the audience necessarily feel compelled to support the protagonist if they believe in the higher power. Free will versus the heavens/hells is a concept constantly used to frame human struggles.

The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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Tragic stories can be dramatic. They can also sometimes be really trite and boring.

Happy stories can be dramatic. They can also sometimes be really trite and boring.

Tragedy as an emotional trigger is also subjective, especially in entertainment when you know it's not real. No one likes to feel manipulated, but people have different thresholds for that.

 

So the answer to the question is "yes and no." :)

“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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Tragedy seems easier. More seductive. I'm not intentionally invoking Yoda, but it just so happens to align.

 

I've never been solidified on why that's the case, however. Are we simply engineered to notice tragedy and sadness more to aid conditioning? Sadness and tragedy are more likely to connect to evolutionary fail states, so they're given extra weight? Are they perhaps rarer in our lives and media, so we notice it more as a novelty effect? I don't really know, I don't have the data on any of it.

 

What I do know is that I cry every time I watch Man on the Moon. The Andy Kaufman biopic starring Jim Carrey. Which makes it more memorable than most other films, even though it doesn't do as much as most of my other favorites. Does this mean it's more dramatic? I can't say that.

"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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am not liking the call of the question. is tragedy more dramatic than... what? need context.

 

...

 

am s'posing it is ultimately irrelevant. given the setting and genre, we will assume that eternity gots a heroic tale... just as did bg, iwd, ps:t, fallout and all other games from which eternity is 'posedley drawing inspiration. the Real question, in our opinion, is whether or not eternity story will involve sacrifice. heroism and sacrifice is necessarily intertwined. am guessing that some folks will debate that point, but for the nonce we will assume that it is axiomatic. regardless, game mechanics makes some heroic sacrifices far less meaningful. run into burning building to save a child is heroic 'cause the hero is placing his own life in the balance, but in a game with reload, we know that the hero won't genuine die. is much more difficult to makes for meaningful sacrifice when you gots functional immortal heroes.

 

am recalling discussing this point in the context of the, "dragon age will be more mature and dark" threads over at bioware boards. we were genuinely shocked by the feedback we were seeing. Gromnir suggested that to be mature, dark, and meaningful heroic, the writers would be necessarily forcing the players to make hard choices with no obvious easy win options. we further suggested that such choices would needs have genuine costs that would not just be borne by the character, but by the Player. we were stunned at the numbers and volume of dissenters to our way o' thinking. maybe not a majority, but something close to 50%, were not wanting any hard choices in DA, and they sure as heck didn't want any meaningful sacrifices. we were informed, quite forcibly, that da were a Game. games were 'posed to be fun... escapism from real world hardships. rare is Gromnir shocked by fan feedback, but we were genuine shocked at the response to DA claims o' dark & mature.

 

so, leaving aside the near impossibility o' finding a generally accepted definition o' dark or mature, we instead focus on sacrifice. heroic tale need heroic sacrifice. those sacrifices should be considerable fuel for Drama, but the real question is whether or not the eternity fanbase is the same as the da fanbase: do you actually want hard choices and sacrifice? well, do you?

 

HA! Good Fun!

"If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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One thing a tragedy can do well is serve to illuminate the lighter moments of a narrative, if in the midst of a dark and grim tale such as Dead Money you have Frederick Sinclair the one good man in the whole story, who will not compromise his ethics for the sake of petty vengeance or wounded pride. That counterpoint is brought shockingly into focus when compared to the amoral obsessed behaviour of Dean Domino and Father Elijah. I prefer those little victories over the super happy fun time endings that frankly should never happen.

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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One thing a tragedy can do well is serve to illuminate the lighter moments of a narrative, if in the midst of a dark and grim tale such as Dead Money you have Frederick Sinclair the one good man in the whole story, who will not compromise his ethics for the sake of petty vengeance or wounded pride. That counterpoint is brought shockingly into focus when compared to the amoral obsessed behaviour of Dean Domino and Father Elijah. I prefer those little victories over the super happy fun time endings that frankly should never happen.

this is very true.

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Tragedy as an emotional trigger is also subjective, especially in entertainment when you know it's not real. No one likes to feel manipulated, but people have different thresholds for that.

 

So the answer to the question is "yes and no." :)

For some reason this reminds me of the story in a game titled Silent Hill. There was this character Lisa where we met several times as she helps "us" (as in the character we play.) she shared her fears and so on that I felt attached to her as the game progresses, there's this feeling that I wanted Lisa to survive along with me. She later turned into one of those undead nurse and it really made me angry for some reason, lol. Its as if I was that character Harry and I was feeling what he felt as he realized he couldn't save her.

 

I like that in a game's story. Silent Hill 2 did the same for me as well. Its as if we could really feel the emotion of the character we're playing. This is why whenever someone asked me which game have the best story I've came across, I would immediately say Silent Hill 1 and 2.

 

If a story could be told in such a way that it invokes emotions in the player, I think its great, even if its a tragic that makes me say I really wish that didn't happen.

Edited by Hornet85
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I would prefer the Odyssey to Oedipus Rex personally.

 

The problem with tragedy in a game like this is that it will invariably lead to end game situations that will anger part (and if done well, potentially a significant part) of the fanbase. While Obsidian may have a willingness to tackle such tough themes, this might not be the right game, the launching of a potential franchise, to do so.

 

Gromnir's point about sacrifice is also well made, I also think that transformation goes hand in hand with it. If we can power through the game without ever having moments where we question our actions or regret (even to a small degree) our decisions I will be disappointed. Likewise, if I reach the end of the game and feel that my PC hasn't changed in some fundamental way other than having more hit points or shiny trinkets, I will be disappointed.

 

Chris Avellone stated in the posted Gamestar interview that the game won't be, "Doom-and-gloom fantasy" and will have emphasis on environments. This can lead to a journey oriented game, with the potential for the thematic elements I mentioned above. I'd be happy with that.

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