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Felithvian

Emotional Impact

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Though they add a roleplaying aspect, the rules of traditional RPGs primarily simulate combat. Any roleplaying or dramatic situations are usually fudged with ordinary voice acting. The traditional model doesn’t support what I would like to experience in a game. I wanna hear people cry, scream, love & hate, in a more theatric way.

 

Baldur's Gate offered some decent lines in terms of love affairs, but they were merely present in the entire game.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsJIU5Sbl1Y&feature=related

 

This video alone of Dragon Age owns most if not all the dialogue in most games.

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What can I say, I truly felt bad in this scene. I refused the "aid" of blood magic to carry out my faith as a servant of the Maker, but I still felt the pain of her Mother.

 

Let us pray for the child's soul, so he can reach the Maker's grace.

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Stop LARPing and realise that Dragon Age has the emotional intensity of Pokemon.

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True, but I think it always comes down to having the best actors, the best writing, and having a lot of time to tend to production of the scene. If one spends a lot of time perfecting a scene, the better it usually becomes. On that note, seriously George Lucas, stop putting so much pointless crap in front of the camera that it's hard to see what's going on. You needlessly over-compliate too many scenes that should be simple.

 

Anyway, I think it's just a matter of keeping things realistic with the production schedule. There's just not enough time to make all the scenes look/sound/feel this one. I tend to forgive games for this because I know the technology they use is still experimental. It will take many years before computers will effortlessly and flawlessly make something look exactly as one planned.

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I don't know ... I think that cut scenes in games have been done to death and aren't really that powerful anymore ... I think if they add some sort of narrative introduction to certain key game areas or major regions it might establish more of a connection to the game in a literary sense and that might help with emotional attachment of some sort.

 

As to specific emotional events I wouldn't mind some sort of location or event where they try and build a more emotional atmosphere (but not with over the top stuff like DA). Perhaps you could encounter a haunted castle as a quest. Different rooms or areas could have the spirits acting out scenes related to their untimely deaths. The quest could allow you to either slay the ghosts (ignoring the story) or there could be clues in their reenactments that allow you to put the spirits to rest instead of destroying them (that option should offer more experience). Kind of a CSI: PE quest :)


Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.” ― Robert E. Howard

:)

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Perhaps you could encounter a haunted castle as a quest. Different rooms or areas could have the spirits acting out scenes related to their untimely deaths. The quest could allow you to either slay the ghosts (ignoring the story) or there could be clues in their reenactments that allow you to put the spirits to rest instead of destroying them (that option should offer more experience). Kind of a CSI: PE quest :)

 

Oh PLEASE NO!!

 

Man, this brings back some pretty traumatic memories. Trials of the Luremaster was madness. I was entirely unprepared going into this particular mini-quest line and suffered for it. It also doesn't help that I did this before finishing the rest of the game, thus making it all incredibly easy with all the great items and experience you get.

 

Please, no more Trials of the Cheatmaster. No more warping Skelewhores, fiendish Harpies or Spectral Guards.

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I am all for "emotional impact" as long it is not forced and you can change and influence the event. As example the DA1 situation with saving/killing/etc Connor was well done, while I truly hated the Mass Effect 1 choice that gets forced down your throat about having to let one of your 2 companions die on a certain planet.

 

Deus Ex 3's Missing Link standalone did this just right in my opinion, you get into a situation where you are offered the chance to either rescue dozens of innocent prisoners who got abducted to be experimented upon, or you could rescue a Doctor who is able to give you evidence of the wrongdoings of the local leadership which the average prisoners can't provide.

While a third option isn't named this is not an "either - or" choice like in case of the ME1 Tuchanka event, where you are not given the option to just say "**** you" and heroically rescue everyone, no, while the option to save everyone is not mentioned in Missing Link, you can still go and find a hidden room where you can blow up something to rescue both the prisoners and the doctor.

 

Another badly done "emotional impact" from the Mass Effect series is in ME3 where you are supposed to feel sad/guilty about seeing a kid die whom you can't save. The very lack of chance to save it is already a negative in my book, then comes the returning visions using the kid's image which just made me pissed off at the Bioware developers instead of making me feel anything remotedly similar to sadness. You don't even know the kid and didn't see him for longer than 3 minutes before he dies anyway, there is/was no attachment.

 

So my opinion in short: Well done emotional impact is good, just don't try to force us feel sad/bad about some event where we didn't have a chance to change/avoid things, plus if possible, also consider POSITIVE emotional impact, instead of trying to make everything more "griddy/dramatic" by trying to pull the "tears/guilt card". (which sadly seems to become "the new black" in games recently)

Edited by Jorian Drake
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...

Another badly done "emotional impact" from the Mass Effect series is in ME3 where you are supposed to feel sad/guilty about seeing a kid die whom you can't save. The very lack of chance to save it is already a negative in my book, then comes the returning visions using the kid's image which just made me pissed off at the Bioware developers instead of making me feel anything remotedly similar to sadness. You don't even know the kid and didn't see him for longer than 3 minutes before he dies anyway, there is/was no attachment.

 

So my opinion in short: Well done emotional impact is good, just don't try to force us feel sad/bad about some event where we didn't have a chance to change/avoid things, plus if possible, also consider POSITIVE emotional impact, instead of trying to make everything more "griddy/dramatic" by trying to pull the "tears/guilt card". (which sadly seems to become "the new black" in games recently)

The ME3 duct-kid is an especially good example on how *not* to do emotional impact. There was zero connection to that npc. This coupled with the forced traumatic dreams of the protagonist just came off as a really obvious "now you must feel sad" ploy by the devs. Imo it was even worse because the game didn't even let you decide on how you feel about it -they automatically assumed that your avatar would react sad and thus override the player in front of the tv/monitor. BAD, bad game design.

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Ha ha ha ha ha.

 

* pauses *

 

Ha ha ha ha ha.

 

(etc)

Instead of laughing it off, perhaps you can provide a better example of an emotional scene in RPGs ? ...or at least lay out why this scene doesn't work for you ? (wooden animations ? dialogue ?) ...you know being constructive to the thread.

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...

Another badly done "emotional impact" from the Mass Effect series is in ME3 where you are supposed to feel sad/guilty about seeing a kid die whom you can't save. The very lack of chance to save it is already a negative in my book, then comes the returning visions using the kid's image which just made me pissed off at the Bioware developers instead of making me feel anything remotedly similar to sadness. You don't even know the kid and didn't see him for longer than 3 minutes before he dies anyway, there is/was no attachment.

 

So my opinion in short: Well done emotional impact is good, just don't try to force us feel sad/bad about some event where we didn't have a chance to change/avoid things, plus if possible, also consider POSITIVE emotional impact, instead of trying to make everything more "griddy/dramatic" by trying to pull the "tears/guilt card". (which sadly seems to become "the new black" in games recently)

The ME3 duct-kid is an especially good example on how *not* to do emotional impact. There was zero connection to that npc.

 

Umm... I did write just that, didn't I? o.O

 

O.o


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There's only so much the devs can do with a CRPG. There is limited voice acting and they are isometric, meaning they aren't going to be as cinematic as, say, films, which can provide a variety of angles, perspectives, etc that can aid emotional impact. RPGs are really meant to be more up to the player to draw experiences for him or herself.

Edited by YourVoiceisAmbrosia

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Ha ha ha ha ha.

 

* pauses *

 

Ha ha ha ha ha.

 

(etc)

Instead of laughing it off... at least lay out why this scene doesn't work for you ? (wooden animations ? dialogue ?)

 

Do I really need to?

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I am all for "emotional impact" as long it is not forced and you can change and influence the event. As example the DA1 situation with saving/killing/etc Connor was well done, while I truly hated the Mass Effect 1 choice that gets forced down your throat about having to let one of your 2 companions die on a certain planet.

 

Deus Ex 3's Missing Link standalone did this just right in my opinion, you get into a situation where you are offered the chance to either rescue dozens of innocent prisoners who got abducted to be experimented upon, or you could rescue a Doctor who is able to give you evidence of the wrongdoings of the local leadership which the average prisoners can't provide.

While a third option isn't named this is not an "either - or" choice like in case of the ME1 Tuchanka event, where you are not given the option to just say "**** you" and heroically rescue everyone, no, while the option to save everyone is not mentioned in Missing Link, you can still go and find a hidden room where you can blow up something to rescue both the prisoners and the doctor.

 

Another badly done "emotional impact" from the Mass Effect series is in ME3 where you are supposed to feel sad/guilty about seeing a kind die whom you can't save. The very lack of chance to save it is already a negative in my book, then comes the returning visions using the kid's image which just made me pissed off at the Bioware developers instead of making me feel anything remotedly similar to sadness.

 

So my opinion in short: Well done emotional impact is good, just don't try to force us feel sad/bad about some event where we didn't have a chance to change/avoid things, plus if possible, also consider POSITIVE emotional impact, instead of trying to make everything more "griddy/dramatic" by trying to pull the "tears/guilt card". (which sadly seems to become "the new black" in games recently)

 

True. I didn't think saving Connor was emotionally important for me, but I still liked the quest. The Connor situation was properly established and then the game looked to you, and asked what you wanted to do. There were some arguements for killing him and against killing him. You could do whatever you wanted within reason. But yeah, sometimes games fail here. If a game offers you many choices, but then takes it away at character defining moments, then the game has failed. You've already mentioned a few good examples, but yeah, there are definetly many badly written choices... Especially when children characters are involved. It's so easy and lazy to use the "Child in danger" scenario to force your character into a specific situation. Suddenly, the chaotic evil black guard is forced to do a momentary 180 alignment-change because the writer thinks he can justify forcing the player to feel sorry for a poorly established child-character, incidentally much like Mass Effect 3's did -.-

 

That reminds me of the Jimquistion episode: Think of the children

http://www.escapistm...of-the-Children

 

It argues that a character should be established properly before being given a role, like "Kid in danger and you should emotionally care." To really do it well, a part of it is making it real a choice you can ignore, add too, or harm. In a well done scenario, you're not forced to look after the kid, but if the kid happens to be really cool, then the game asks you a question: This kid does this and this, do you like her enough to care about her? If not, awesome. You can ignore her or be outright mean to her. You're also free to leave and do whatever you want. However, if you do decide you like her enough to care for her, you intuitively include her thoughts and feelings in mind before making a decision. The real kicker is that a writer can't force you to like someone/something. That's why I like games that offers a lot of dialouge options and choices. I love the having the abillity to exclude things/people I don't like, and include people I do like. Obsidian happens to be expert at just this feature so I really look forward to the game :)

Edited by -Zin-
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There's only so much the devs can do with a CRPG. There is limited voice acting and they are isometric, meaning they aren't going to be as cinematic as, say, films, which can provide a variety of angles, perspectives, etc that can aid emotional impact. RPGs are really meant to be more up to the player to draw experiences for him or herself.

They can still write/depict a scene/event in text if nothing else

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There's only so much the devs can do with a CRPG. There is limited voice acting and they are isometric, meaning they aren't going to be as cinematic as, say, films, which can provide a variety of angles, perspectives, etc that can aid emotional impact.

 

More reason to implement a wide variety of emotional dialogue. By the way, how the hell is a 2d engine rpg gonna be limited in terms of voice acting.

 

RPGs are really meant to be more up to the player to draw experiences for him or herself.

 

What year are we in?

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Another badly done "emotional impact" from the Mass Effect series is in ME3 where you are supposed to feel sad/guilty about seeing a kid die whom you can't save. The very lack of chance to save it is already a negative in my book

 

No, definitely not. That you can't save it is exactly what you should reflect upon. That inevitable doom, it's a bit of memento mori. If done right, it really works well. I remember Mafia 2 (which I think is a masterpiece because the closedness of the world is THE main aspect of the game) when you get a non-criminal job at the beginning and you can do it for a long time but the longer you keep up doing it the more your character loses faith in that job and you're all "No, dude! Come on! You can do this!" and then it's a "NO GODDAMMIT YOU'RE NOT BECOMING A CRIMINAL, THAT'S YOUR DOOM!" - This was one of the things I really enjoyed in Mafia. There were certain plotpoints where your character decides radically different than you and that makes quite an impact on a self-reflecting player. I like that approach a lot more than the do-whatever-you-want-nobody-cares-approach in Skyrim.


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By saying you want more theatrics and then posting that video as an example of "ownage" all I'm left to assume is that you relish melodrama? That's easily the least compelling and interesting type of emotional expression I can imagine in a game (or a play or a movie).

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No cheap melodrama please, we're British.


"That rabbit's dynamite!" - King Arthur, Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail

"Space is big, really big." - Douglas Adams

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Another badly done "emotional impact" from the Mass Effect series is in ME3 where you are supposed to feel sad/guilty about seeing a kid die whom you can't save. The very lack of chance to save it is already a negative in my book

 

No, definitely not. That you can't save it is exactly what you should reflect upon. That inevitable doom, it's a bit of memento mori. If done right, it really works well. I remember Mafia 2 (which I think is a masterpiece because the closedness of the world is THE main aspect of the game) when you get a non-criminal job at the beginning and you can do it for a long time but the longer you keep up doing it the more your character loses faith in that job and you're all "No, dude! Come on! You can do this!" and then it's a "NO GODDAMMIT YOU'RE NOT BECOMING A CRIMINAL, THAT'S YOUR DOOM!" - This was one of the things I really enjoyed in Mafia. There were certain plotpoints where your character decides radically different than you and that makes quite an impact on a self-reflecting player. I like that approach a lot more than the do-whatever-you-want-nobody-cares-approach in Skyrim.

 

okay, I admit, it may be good "if done right", sadly I never seen it done right, and your Mafia example is just a bad one in my opinion, basically it is about a nonsense railroading "but thou must" situation, but that wasn't even an RPG to begin with, an RPG where "your character decides radically different -actions- than you" without the player consent is in my opinion a bad one, this is why people wanted to kill the damn Overseer at the end of Fallout 1, this is why books/movies/games/series get certain expansions, sequels, specials or alt-endings (examples mostly in anime), or even add details to and change endings (like one of the most recent games Mass Effect 3)

 

The scene when a choice is a fake one (like in your example of in the Mafia game trying not to become a gangster) is even worse IMO, especially if it pops up in an RPG.

 

In RPG it is especially annoying if the main character, "YOU" in other words doesn't act or speak as you want it to, the tone and speech are two of the main reasons why those who hate voiceover for the main character in RPG-s are against it. In the case of Mass Effect many just didn't like what tone their character spoke in, but there are more extreme cases in games where you can make a young or old character ("optimistic beginner adventurer" or "old grey-haired gruff veteran") and the voice wouldn't even fit the age of it, not to mention the imagined tone of speech. I don't recall what game it was, but did you ever play an asian looking young martial artist and suddenly your character spoke up in heavy irish accent? Well, I have. (even though it was a fantasy setting it was still annoying)

Edited by Jorian Drake

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I can totally see your point - having to put up with a game-decision is something that gets in the way of what you actually want is annoying if you look at the game as just a consumer experience. I wrote an article about that stuff in Mafia 2, it's a bit difficult to express that opinion in English - maybe you speak German :D There was a convention a few years back, called GameCulture. There are a lot of artists and curators involved and we had discussions exactly about that. Your perspective is the consumer perspective while I try to see that developer-decision as a decision of art (like the infamous Call of Duty mission at the airport which is quite frankly a lesson in power over people if you want to take that lesson as a player) . Of course that's a whole other topic...


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Eigentlich kann ich etwas Deutsch, aber bin schon eingerostet, und benutze Englisch mehr seit mehrere Jahre. ((translation: Actually I know German somewhat, but I am a bit "rusty", and use English more since years))

 

I am from Hungary, I know 5-7 languages, so that is no problem (number depends on adding languages I can understand but not properly write/speak, or not) :)

 

I guess the argument of yours just made it seem as if it was something different in "the light I read it". For me it looked as if you support ingame situations where true choice is taken away from the player, or the player char acts against the wishes of the player even.

Edited by Jorian Drake
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