I really hope for pseudo-cutscenes in isometric game-view just like the old JRPGs did. Imho that's the best way to spice up dialogue and making the player not want to skip it without voiceover.
I posted that in the pitfalls thread, but here's a quote for you guys, just because I feel it summarizes what I hope PoE dialogue would be:
Yes, I know this goes against the spirit of the IE games and may cause hardcore roleplayers to beat me with their plastic figurines, but with a game that is announced to have no voice-over, I just don't want to read three pages of text for every random NPC I talk to.
This does not say I want meaningless dialogue or no choices; hell no! I just want NPCs to threat me like the busy adventurer I am and go straight to be point.
A well written interactive story provides narrative by a combination of text, actions, art and mechanics. A game is not a book. I'm totally fine with reading a book when I'm actually reading a book. But a game is an interactive medium that has so many other ways of delivering a message. At the very least, if you have a lot of information for the player to swallow, chop it up into smaller pieces by good quest design. There's no reason a questgiver should give me lengthy background lore on a temple to investigate when I can be presented with that lore in a more interesting way (for example, by solving a puzzle).
This is one of the things that old JRPGs just did right. While they suck at making dialogue matter (since basicly, your protagonist auto-talks without any choice), they excel at presenting both lore and relevant information in a usually straight-to-the-point and interesting fashion.
I NEVER skipped dialogue in games like FF7, even if there was no voice-over at all.
I think a huge part of why JRPGs are so good at delivering dialogue that nobody skips is, that the dialogue is presented in huge letters on the screen to allow them to be seen on the low-resolution TVs of past days. This forced writers to compress information into very few lines and use other means to give information. The most famous one being the "flashback cutscene":
A lot of old JRPGs did that. Instead of the generic villager telling you that he wants to seek revenge for his killed sister, you actually see a cinematic (with a color filter or something indicating that it's a flashback) of soldiers breaking into her home and murdering her.
I just don't understand why modern RPGs totally neglect this way of presenting narrative. And you don't even need fancy 3D cinematics to do something like that. Old console games always had such cinematics in isometric perspective and it totally worked.
If 20 year old games can do that, I don't see why PoE can't.
Edited by Zwiebelchen, 13 May 2014 - 03:35 AM.