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Linear vs non linear story


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#41
Malekith

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Personally, my big worry is, linear or not, Obsidian will focus too much on forcing a great big "epic" plot chock filled with "moral dilemmas" and "philosophical ideas" and "choice and consequence." All I want is to just be dumped into a well-crafted setting.

I hate this approach to games. I never liked a single Bethseda game, not even Morrowind which even Bethesda's critics say it were good. Personally i hope we get something like Torment, entirelly focused on the narrarive. It seems we won't,as they aim for BG2 type of game, but sure as hell i don't want something in the vein of TES or Arcanum-Fallout. I loved the latter 2, but this is supposed to be an IE successor, where all the games were about story. For an Arcanum successor i wouldn't had pay the same amound.



#42
Micamo

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You failed to provide an explanation of what "well-crafted" means.

 

 

The specifics are hard to describe, so I'm going to give you a frustratingly vague answer instead: Some of my favorite parts of fantasy novels are those maps the really good authors put in the front pages of the book. If you do it right, you don't even have to do any work in trying to get the reader to care about the place. They just look at interesting spots on the map and say to themselves "Wow, I want to go there!" They're already invested and engaged in the work before even reading the first sentence. The best maps don't need a story to justify them; They justify themselves.

 

Likewise, the best settings in video games are the ones where I don't need a quest giver telling me to go visit someplace or talk to someone: I'm interested because it's there. The setting justifies itself.

 

Now, I'll be the first to admit, I'm a rather easy gamer to please. Give me a good setting, and I'll love your game in spite of basically all else. Bugs? Not a problem. Terrible gameplay? Don't sweat it. Vomit-inducing dialogue and voice acting? Meh, not a big deal. So long as you manage to keep me interested in what's over that next hill, I'll keep climbing over it no matter what it means I'll have to endure. It's why I'm such a rabid Elder Scrolls fan in spite of the series's mountain of flaws.

 

And the worst settings in games are the ones where the writer comes up with a plot line in their head, then everything in the setting is built purely in subservience to that plot. No place exists unless something important happens there except to provide a buffer of endless mooks for the player to wade through as they move from A to B (or worse, back from B to A). Nobody exists unless they have some piece of exposition to deliver about what you're supposed to do next. Everyone just apparently stands around all day waiting for the player to show up, and nobody ever has any problems unless they're somehow directly relevant to whatever storyline the writer has intended. And everything matches convention unless the plot specifically requires otherwise, or the writer is trying to be clever by "subverting" a convention with something just as played out as the default, or just using the default with a different (usually stupid) name.

 

Honestly? I'm worried this is the road Project Eternity's headed down. Maybe I'm being unfair because we really don't have that much info on the setting/story yet, but most of what I've seen so far has been a bad sign. The creative spark behind the Dyrwood seems to be "Well, 4/5 of the IE games we're using as inspiration were Forgotten Realms, so our setting can't be too different from FR. Also, there's guns, souls work different, there are cat people, we call bards 'Chanters', psions 'Ciphers', and Planetouched 'Godlike'." We're also told that the plot will have a big emphasis on "Moral Dilemmas", a fad that should have been discredited with Jade Empire. Furthermore pretty much all the updates we've received about the game, especially since the kickstarter ended, are about the mechanical and technical aspects of the game. Those are nifty and all, and it might just be that it's what they're focusing on in development right now, but I'm worried the reason they aren't talking much about the setting is because they think that nobody really cares about it.

 

That's not to say it's all bad news: I think the colonialism angle has interesting potential. I'm also happy to hear they're implementing these "dilemmas" through a reputation system where you choose between multiple factions to support rather than a morality meter: I think this worked out really well in New Vegas.

 

 

Also: I thought Planescape: Torment had an amazing setting. In fact, it was one of my favorite parts of the game. You don't have to be a TES/Fallout/Arcanum-like complete wide-open world game to have an interesting setting.


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#43
Malekith

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You failed to provide an explanation of what "well-crafted" means.

 

 

The specifics are hard to describe, so I'm going to give you a frustratingly vague answer instead: Some of my favorite parts of fantasy novels are those maps the really good authors put in the front pages of the book. If you do it right, you don't even have to do any work in trying to get the reader to care about the place. They just look at interesting spots on the map and say to themselves "Wow, I want to go there!" They're already invested and engaged in the work before even reading the first sentence. The best maps don't need a story to justify them; They justify themselves.

 

Likewise, the best settings in video games are the ones where I don't need a quest giver telling me to go visit someplace or talk to someone: I'm interested because it's there. The setting justifies itself.

 

Now, I'll be the first to admit, I'm a rather easy gamer to please. Give me a good setting, and I'll love your game in spite of basically all else. Bugs? Not a problem. Terrible gameplay? Don't sweat it. Vomit-inducing dialogue and voice acting? Meh, not a big deal. So long as you manage to keep me interested in what's over that next hill, I'll keep climbing over it no matter what it means I'll have to endure. It's why I'm such a rabid Elder Scrolls fan in spite of the series's mountain of flaws.

 

And the worst settings in games are the ones where the writer comes up with a plot line in their head, then everything in the setting is built purely in subservience to that plot. No place exists unless something important happens there except to provide a buffer of endless mooks for the player to wade through as they move from A to B (or worse, back from B to A). Nobody exists unless they have some piece of exposition to deliver about what you're supposed to do next. Everyone just apparently stands around all day waiting for the player to show up, and nobody ever has any problems unless they're somehow directly relevant to whatever storyline the writer has intended. And everything matches convention unless the plot specifically requires otherwise, or the writer is trying to be clever by "subverting" a convention with something just as played out as the default, or just using the default with a different (usually stupid) name.

 

Honestly? I'm worried this is the road Project Eternity's headed down. Maybe I'm being unfair because we really don't have that much info on the setting/story yet, but most of what I've seen so far has been a bad sign. The creative spark behind the Dyrwood seems to be "Well, 4/5 of the IE games we're using as inspiration were Forgotten Realms, so our setting can't be too different from FR. Also, there's guns, souls work different, there are cat people, we call bards 'Chanters', psions 'Ciphers', and Planetouched 'Godlike'." We're also told that the plot will have a big emphasis on "Moral Dilemmas", a fad that should have been discredited with Jade Empire. Furthermore pretty much all the updates we've received about the game, especially since the kickstarter ended, are about the mechanical and technical aspects of the game. Those are nifty and all, and it might just be that it's what they're focusing on in development right now, but I'm worried the reason they aren't talking much about the setting is because they think that nobody really cares about it.

 

That's not to say it's all bad news: I think the colonialism angle has interesting potential. I'm also happy to hear they're implementing these "dilemmas" through a reputation system where you choose between multiple factions to support rather than a morality meter: I think this worked out really well in New Vegas.

 

 

Also: I thought Planescape: Torment had an amazing setting. In fact, it was one of my favorite parts of the game. You don't have to be a TES/Fallout/Arcanum-like complete wide-open world game to have an interesting setting.

 

Well, when you put it that way i almost agree with you. Yes, the setting is very important.Fallout,Arcanum,even Baldur's Gate were so good because of the setting. When i said that storis the most importand part of the game for me, i included  setting.I put setting,story,characters,atmophere all together in the "narrative" part of a game, and that part is the most importand. I hate the TES games because except of the setting, all other parts of the narrative are bad. Story-no. Characters-no. Good writing-no.

As for the updates, i agree with you. I think most people are interested in the story or the setting and not so much in game mechanics. But many things about those would be spoilers to have them revealed.



#44
mcmanusaur

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Personally, my big worry is, linear or not, Obsidian will focus too much on forcing a great big "epic" plot chock filled with "moral dilemmas" and "philosophical ideas" and "choice and consequence." All I want is to just be dumped into a well-crafted setting.

I hate this approach to games. I never liked a single Bethseda game, not even Morrowind which even Bethesda's critics say it were good. Personally i hope we get something like Torment, entirelly focused on the narrarive. It seems we won't,as they aim for BG2 type of game, but sure as hell i don't want something in the vein of TES or Arcanum-Fallout. I loved the latter 2, but this is supposed to be an IE successor, where all the games were about story. For an Arcanum successor i wouldn't had pay the same amound.

 

Well, maybe I'm the only one who aspires to be able to make a choice with regard to what "role" I'm playing in RPG's. After all, if you can't play different roles, what separates it from another game, such as action/adventure games as I've been mentioning. Then it comes down to how superficial the player's supposed freedom to play their role is. Does the freedom end after character creation is complete if the narrative is linear, or do players continue to make meaningful choices to define their character's role throughout the game? As much as people like to talk about how modern RPG's have straggled away from the past greatness of RPG's, in some ways you can see the same trends in the Infinity Engine games that this game follows. For me it ultimately comes down to the fact that games either use the flawed DnD system or they streamline their mechanics to hell like with Skyrim. In terms of narrative though, I think that less linearity can only be a good thing, as long as it's not just choosing between "generic good option" and "generic evil option". From a strictly narrative perspective with regard to drama, sorry but there's nothing superior about Infinity Engine games in comparison to modern RPG's in my humble opinion.



#45
Malekith

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Personally, my big worry is, linear or not, Obsidian will focus too much on forcing a great big "epic" plot chock filled with "moral dilemmas" and "philosophical ideas" and "choice and consequence." All I want is to just be dumped into a well-crafted setting.

I hate this approach to games. I never liked a single Bethseda game, not even Morrowind which even Bethesda's critics say it were good. Personally i hope we get something like Torment, entirelly focused on the narrarive. It seems we won't,as they aim for BG2 type of game, but sure as hell i don't want something in the vein of TES or Arcanum-Fallout. I loved the latter 2, but this is supposed to be an IE successor, where all the games were about story. For an Arcanum successor i wouldn't had pay the same amound.

 

Well, maybe I'm the only one who aspires to be able to make a choice with regard to what "role" I'm playing in RPG's. After all, if you can't play different roles, what separates it from another game, such as action/adventure games as I've been mentioning. Then it comes down to how superficial the player's supposed freedom to play their role is. Does the freedom end after character creation is complete if the narrative is linear, or do players continue to make meaningful choices to define their character's role throughout the game? As much as people like to talk about how modern RPG's have straggled away from the past greatness of RPG's, in some ways you can see the same trends in the Infinity Engine games that this game follows. For me it ultimately comes down to the fact that games either use the flawed DnD system or they streamline their mechanics to hell like with Skyrim. In terms of narrative though, I think that less linearity can only be a good thing, as long as it's not just choosing between "generic good option" and "generic evil option". From a strictly narrative perspective with regard to drama, sorry but there's nothing superior about Infinity Engine games in comparison to modern RPG's in my humble opinion.

 

If you compair them with older games,sure. Black Isle were never a " hardcore"  RPG company. Fallouts and Torment were too easy and had very small areas(minimal exploration).

IWDs were completely linear. BGs set most of the trends that modern games follow like romances, the nonsensical "theme park" approach Bethesda follows etc.

But for most people were the best RPGs ever created. If that is true or not does not matter. What matters is that people paid for a IE game.

 

 

"From a strictly narrative perspective with regard to drama, sorry but there's nothing superior about Infinity Engine games in comparison to modern RPG's in my humble opinion"

The only IE games that focused on narrative were PS:T and in a lesser extend BG2.(which are the two most popular by the way).

From a strictly narrative perspective with regard to drama, tell me a modern RPG that can compair to PS:T. The closer is MotB, which is also semi-linear.



#46
mcmanusaur

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Inb4Iaccidentallyquotedthewrongpostsorrybro


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#47
Lephys

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The specifics are hard to describe, so I'm going to give you a frustratingly vague answer instead:

...
...
...

Also: I thought Planescape: Torment had an amazing setting. In fact, it was one of my favorite parts of the game. You don't have to be a TES/Fallout/Arcanum-like complete wide-open world game to have an interesting setting.


For what it's worth, I just really wanted to know what you meant by "well-crafted," so thank you for taking the time to answer, ^_^

And I hear ya. Even about the map thing. I couldn't even tell you where half the places are in the Wheel of Time books, in relation to each other, or the shapes of their borders, etc., but each nation/region/city has so much friggin' character in that series that you can't help but get kind of attached to them. And, strangely enough (human psychology and all that, maybe?), those awesome maps in the beginning of the books make it feel like a world full of character and significant detail, even before you start reading about it all.

I think the simplest way I can put my take on the whole linear-vs-non-linear thing is... The world/setting needs to supply all the reactive scenarios, and it should be up to the player to serve as the catalyst. Think of a bunch of cauldrons, each filled with 70%-complete potions, and the character has to go around adding the final ingredients. But, different final ingredients will result in completely different end-products, even though you're always dealing with the same starting 70% of the mixtures. Sometimes, there are cauldrons that may or may not have the lids off, or that may start out in different mixtures depending on how the player handles previous ones. But, the player never just determines all 100% of a cauldron's contents.

I think you can do this, and still have the cauldrons geographically spaced out, and have the overall path/sequential link between them be a lot more interesting than a single straight line. However, you've ultimately got to start at one, and arrive at another. You can't just literally go in any direction you so choose at any time. And you can't just ALWAYS get to go wherever you want, at any given time, with no consequences, or that means the story never is important enough to require your action within any specific limitations. It's basically a priorities list. Sure, you can go rescue that kitten before you go deal with these bandits who are plotting to take over this city, but you can't just run off and check out 72 sets of ancient ruins for 5 weeks, scattered around the globe, THEN expect the bandits to not have done anything in the amount of time it took you to travel the globe aimlessly exploring.

It's not even that fine of a line, really. But, I digress...

I WILL say that, though I don't have any proof, I believe your heavy concerns for Obsidian's handling of this matter are for naught. I don't think they're going to do what you think they are. Pure hypothesis, but, I really, truly don't. I believe you may be overly-worrying yourself, in this regard, before there is sufficient evidence or reason to do so. Not that I think you sit around all day with raised blood pressure because you can't stop thinking about how Obsidian's gonna mess up the story and setting, heh. But, I'm just saying... I recommend giving them the benefit of the doubt, until we know more, :)
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#48
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I personally think that BG2 is probably the best game I've ever played, particularly in regards to it's story.

 

When you break it down it's essentially a linear story with a couple of this-or-that options along the way. Thieves or Vampires. Portal or Ship. This didn't disadvantage it simply because it was such a good story.

 

I think that choice is good, the illusion of choice is almost as good. Even better is not caring about the choice because everything is just so frickin' awesome anyway that whatever happens, it'll be worth the ride.*

 

*Note to the developers of CoD etc. Explosions do nor make things frickin' awesome.

 

BG2 was great because of all the rest of the game was binary non-linear (i.e. do it or don't). The characters were rich and interesting. the interactions between the NPCs was fantastic. On my first playthrough I couldn't believe it when 5 minutes after I'd told Imoen to sneak off in Spellhold, Haer'dalis left me when Aerie chose me over him. It's moments like that that make a game great. I've played through BG2 about 6 or 7 times (just finished my first solo run) and I discover new things all the time (also thanks to the awesome modding community but often stuff that was always been there).

 

AGX makes a good point to differentiate narrative and game design linearity. I would argue that Fallout: New Vegas is probably the least linear game I have played (outside of sandbox) with regards to it's core story. You can choose right at the beginning, change your mind mid way through and switch factions, each of which has a very different experience. The game has many flaws but it did a very good job of allowing real player choice with it's core narrative. It is also non-linear in game design of course (open world).

 

Many people laud Skyrim for its non-linearity but this is a half-truth. The core story is actually 100% linear with the sole exception of who you kill along the way, the end result is always the same. The only things that are non-linear narratively are outside of the core quest and even those are generally binary linearity.

 

Mass Effect, for all their talk about player choice, was essentially a linear game. It didn't make it a bad one (well, the final ending was a disappointment but the whole experience was still great).

 

Linear can be great, non-linear can be bad. A good story goes a long way to making people care less either way!



#49
TMZuk

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The best stories in video games are always semi linear. Planescape:Torment, Mask of the Betrayer, Baldur's Gate 2, Witcher 2 etc.

On the other hand non linear stories are at best servisable (Fallouts, Arcanum).Until now at least.

New Vegas and Alpha Protocol are not famous for their stories. Not a flaw, as they had diffirent focus and New Vegas would be a poor Fallout game with a linear story. Fallout 1 is the same. Great game but noone played it for the story.

Yet Josh said in an interview that he would like to try for a nonlinear, find the waterchip approach. If someone can do this, is Obsidian, but until now they haven't managed it.

Your thoughts? What would you prefer for P:E? A story in the vein of Planescape:Torment and Mask of the Betrayer, or more open like Fallout or Arcanum?

I must disagree. In my opinion, New Vegas has an excellent story, as does Fallout 1 and 2.

 

Fallout 3 has a very weak story, and is at the same time extremely linear.


Edited by TMZuk, 26 April 2013 - 05:24 AM.


#50
Malekith

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The best stories in video games are always semi linear. Planescape:Torment, Mask of the Betrayer, Baldur's Gate 2, Witcher 2 etc.

On the other hand non linear stories are at best servisable (Fallouts, Arcanum).Until now at least.

New Vegas and Alpha Protocol are not famous for their stories. Not a flaw, as they had diffirent focus and New Vegas would be a poor Fallout game with a linear story. Fallout 1 is the same. Great game but noone played it for the story.

Yet Josh said in an interview that he would like to try for a nonlinear, find the waterchip approach. If someone can do this, is Obsidian, but until now they haven't managed it.

Your thoughts? What would you prefer for P:E? A story in the vein of Planescape:Torment and Mask of the Betrayer, or more open like Fallout or Arcanum?

I must disagree. In my opinion, New Vegas has an excellent story, as does Fallout 1 and 2.

 

Fallout 3 has a very weak story, and is at the same time extremely linear.

 

Notise i didn't even mention Fallout 3? It was intentional. That game was crap from start to finish in my opinion. Others may disagree.

As for the other Fallouts, it depends to what you consider story in a game. Some people consider setting or atmosphere and characters part of the story. In these parts Fallouts were excelent. But story? No. The first Fallouts had good individual stories for each area, but the game's main story was... what? Find the waterchip, you find it and traces of an evil horde enemy, go kill the master, the end. The story is as basic as it goes. I don't mean that as a critisism as the game's focus was elsewere for the start. But i haven't seen anyone say that he played Fallout for the story, or that the story was the best thing about the game, as i have seen people do with PS:T and MotB.


Edited by Malekith, 26 April 2013 - 06:27 AM.


#51
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That game was crap from start to finish in my opinion. Others may disagree.

 

For the record: Fallout 3 was a good game, but a terrible RPG.


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#52
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The best stories in video games are always semi linear. Planescape:Torment, Mask of the Betrayer, Baldur's Gate 2, Witcher 2 etc.

On the other hand non linear stories are at best servisable (Fallouts, Arcanum).Until now at least.

New Vegas and Alpha Protocol are not famous for their stories. Not a flaw, as they had diffirent focus and New Vegas would be a poor Fallout game with a linear story. Fallout 1 is the same. Great game but noone played it for the story.

Yet Josh said in an interview that he would like to try for a nonlinear, find the waterchip approach. If someone can do this, is Obsidian, but until now they haven't managed it.

Your thoughts? What would you prefer for P:E? A story in the vein of Planescape:Torment and Mask of the Betrayer, or more open like Fallout or Arcanum?

I must disagree. In my opinion, New Vegas has an excellent story, as does Fallout 1 and 2.

 

Fallout 3 has a very weak story, and is at the same time extremely linear.

 

Notise i didn't even mention Fallout 3? It was intentional. That game was crap from start to finish in my opinion. Others may disagree.

As for the other Fallouts, it depends to what you consider story in a game. Some people consider setting or atmosphere and characters part of the story. In these parts Fallouts were excelent. But story? No. The first Fallouts had good individual stories for each area, but the game's main story was... what? Find the waterchip, you find it and traces of an evil horde enemy, go kill the master, the end. The story is as basic as it goes. I don't mean that as a critisism as the game's focus was elsewere for the start. But i haven't seen anyone say that he played Fallout for the story, or that the story was the best thing about the game, as i have seen people do with PS:T and MotB.

 

Okay, I take your point about Fallout 1 and 2. But then you can include BG in that list as well, the story was a very basic vengeance tale, combined with "fulfill your destiny".

 

Regarding New Vegas I must still disagree. Yes, it ends with the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, no matter what. But how you get there, whom your allies is and why you fight, that is a great tale, and especially as the play throughs can wary so much, it's almost like a different game.

 

MotB was epic as well, one of my all time favourites. PS:T ~is~ my all time favourite.

 

But in my opinion, New Vegas was the proof that you could take a non-linear story with many branches and many options, place it in a sand-box world, and still create an epic tale. The best of two worlds.


Edited by TMZuk, 26 April 2013 - 06:41 AM.


#53
Malekith

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The best stories in video games are always semi linear. Planescape:Torment, Mask of the Betrayer, Baldur's Gate 2, Witcher 2 etc.

On the other hand non linear stories are at best servisable (Fallouts, Arcanum).Until now at least.

New Vegas and Alpha Protocol are not famous for their stories. Not a flaw, as they had diffirent focus and New Vegas would be a poor Fallout game with a linear story. Fallout 1 is the same. Great game but noone played it for the story.

Yet Josh said in an interview that he would like to try for a nonlinear, find the waterchip approach. If someone can do this, is Obsidian, but until now they haven't managed it.

Your thoughts? What would you prefer for P:E? A story in the vein of Planescape:Torment and Mask of the Betrayer, or more open like Fallout or Arcanum?

I must disagree. In my opinion, New Vegas has an excellent story, as does Fallout 1 and 2.

 

Fallout 3 has a very weak story, and is at the same time extremely linear.

 

Notise i didn't even mention Fallout 3? It was intentional. That game was crap from start to finish in my opinion. Others may disagree.

As for the other Fallouts, it depends to what you consider story in a game. Some people consider setting or atmosphere and characters part of the story. In these parts Fallouts were excelent. But story? No. The first Fallouts had good individual stories for each area, but the game's main story was... what? Find the waterchip, you find it and traces of an evil horde enemy, go kill the master, the end. The story is as basic as it goes. I don't mean that as a critisism as the game's focus was elsewere for the start. But i haven't seen anyone say that he played Fallout for the story, or that the story was the best thing about the game, as i have seen people do with PS:T and MotB.

 

Okay, I take your point about Fallout 1 and 2. But then you can include BG in that list as well, the story was a very basic vengeance tale, combined with "fulfill your destiny".

 

Regarding New Vegas I must still disagree. Yes, it ends with the Second Battle of Hoover Dam, no matter what. But how you get there, whom your allies is and why you fight, that is a great tale, and especially as the play throughs can wary so much, it's almost like a different game.

 

MotB was epic as well, one of my all time favourites. PS:T ~is~ my all time favourite.

 

But in my opinion, New Vegas was the proof that you could take a non-linear story with many branches and many options, place it in a sand-box world, and still create an epic tale. The best of two worlds.

 

Oh, of cource it can. Or at least Obsidian can do it. But FNV was buggy. The more non-linear is the story, the most open the game, the more resources you have to spent to develop and then check and double check  every single thing. I don't know if for P:E that is a valid approach. 



#54
Micamo

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As for the other Fallouts, it depends to what you consider story in a game. Some people consider setting or atmosphere and characters part of the story. In these parts Fallouts were excelent. But story? No. The first Fallouts had good individual stories for each area, but the game's main story was... what? Find the waterchip, you find it and traces of an evil horde enemy, go kill the master, the end. The story is as basic as it goes. I don't mean that as a critisism as the game's focus was elsewere for the start. But i haven't seen anyone say that he played Fallout for the story, or that the story was the best thing about the game, as i have seen people do with PS:T and MotB.

 

 

Only if you confuse quality with quantity. It wasn't super-complicated, but it was a lot more effective than the plots in a lot of games that were far more complex (Modern Warfare, Indigo Prophecy, Assassin's Creed, etc.). It does exactly the job that it was meant to do.



#55
Lephys

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I would just like to emphasize that I don't think "linear" means "you can draw a line between all the things you can do in a playthrough," but rather "you pretty much can't stray from a single line that makes up the story and always has the same shape/direction/length."
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#56
cleric Nemir

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I would just like to emphasize that I don't think "linear" means "you can draw a line between all the things you can do in a playthrough," but rather "you pretty much can't stray from a single line that makes up the story and always has the same shape/direction/length."

Agreed,I understand and support the need of a story that has a main line.

But wouldn't you agree there's no need the choices that truly change the game story are,in most games,made at the very end rather than in the midgame? I would perfectly enjoy having my good/neutral/evil choice offered a lot earlier,that way I could approach the final evil (what else? :grin: ) from different sides and with different intentions. If there was a crossroad point earlier that clearly defines one of these alignments,I could choose one and easily (add: gladly) follow it towards the end - and there I would consider law/neutral/chaos ending that suits me most. To me,this would be a perfect setting. Add the ToEE's different beginnings and sum t up as such:  begin differently based on alignment,arrive to midgame point that is same for all,end midgame with alignment-based choice that will define the endgame and make a final law/neutral/chaos end based on chosen good/neutral/evil path. Bonus on the replay value would be also tremendous,since alternate paths and choices would remain unknown.



#57
Lephys

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^ Definitely. I was only emphasizing, since it seemed some here were thinking of any game with so much as static story pivot points as "linear." All I'm saying is, you can have as many paths as you want, criss-crossing and leading leagues to the north and south, but, ultimately, you've gotta start on one side of the proverbial mountain range and end up on the other. Just because the game has a definite, consistent "forward" direction doesn't mean that it's restrictively linear.

Granted, every single step of the game doesn't need to be "you have to go here... then you have to go here... then you have to go here...". But, at the same time, you can't just let the path go anywhere, in whatever order and direction the player chooses. That leaves the story with little coherence.

#58
Melhelix

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What I'm hoping for are player-made choices that have consequences, both immediate and delayed, both superficial and plot-line shaking. Things that combine to create a dynamic epilogue full of a plethora of options. I don't mind if a game says go to Zone A (lvls 1-3) then Zone B (lvls 4-5) etc, I don't even mind if it is solve quest chain 1, 2, 3 in that order by talking to people X, Y, Z. I also don't mind if a game is far more open world and is all like, go wherever you want, if you are constantly dying try somewhere else! But what I really, really adore and what always stands out to me in games are the actual player choices with ramifications. From the way a conversation is handled, to how a quest is solved, or if a quest is abandoned, or if you killed someone, or even if you sold someone something. Even little tiny things like, "Aha! The town NPCs notice and react when I'm not wearing clothing! Or if I'm armed! Or if I just broke into their house!" Even if the choice is in the character generation and the NPCs take notice of your stats/religion/race/class/traits etc. Delayed consequences can also be really enriching to a story and add to the replay-ability. The moments where I go, "oh no! If only I had known Y was going to happen! Wow, X really mattered (and it was 3 hours ago)! I want to play this again and see what happens the other way." The epitome of this is of course multiple endings that describe your character's impact on the world around you. Essentially anything the dev-team can add to make it seem like the player's choices actually mattered is beyond amazing in my book.


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#59
Lephys

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^ Yup. It's not about the dynamicism of the actual, physical journey, as much as it is about the Variance Spectrum. How the world and story are affected as you go, even if you're going the same places.

("Variance Spectrum" trademark pending... ... ... not really. 8) )

Edited by Lephys, 18 May 2013 - 12:10 PM.


#60
cleric Nemir

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So the same places for all and different choices to be made at them? This is good. Add in the change to the area itself,for example a destroyed town or saved and prosperous after your character storms trough it with his decisions. I'm for it all,as long as it will make me want to play it again and see it all different.






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