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Marcvs Caesar

Narrative, Setting, Depth, Immersion and Choice and Consequence

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There doesn't seem to be much discussion on the elements that, in my opinion, are the most important in a role-playing game. The elements that gave the Infinity Engine games the quality that they are renowned for: Narrative, Setting, Depth, Immersion and Choice and Consequence.

 

Here are the topics analyzed by a youtube personality called MrBtongue in a insightful, articulate and entertaining way:

 

Narrative: TUN: The Shandification of Fallout

 

Setting and Immersion: TUN: The Elder Scrolls VI - Youtubia

 

Depth: Creepy, Obsessive Nerdlove: Planescape: Torment: Colons

 

Choice and Consequence: TUN: Choice and Consequence

 

 

What is your opinion on these topics? Do you agree with MrBtongue on all of them? How important are these elements to you?

Edited by Marcvs Caesar
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It's Obsidian, thus the reason why there is not much discussion of these issues is simply that we think of these as a given. In my opinion at least.

 

Edit: One of the deciding factors in many backers inclination to support I expect.

Edited by Nonek
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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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It's Obsidian, thus the reason why there is not much discussion of these issues is simply that we think of these as a given. In my opinion at least.

 

Edit: One of the deciding factors in many backers inclination to support I expect.

 

Some of the gameplay mechanics are making me worry, there's not much information about the game yet but I still worry. Gameplay mechanics should adapt the narrative and setting not the other way around. I hope the developers aren't focusing too much on balance and accessibility, this is a singleplayer game so that shouldn't have high priority.

 

Did you watch the videos?

Edited by Marcvs Caesar

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Well, the Narrative I've seen in the real thing thus far seems awesome (plus, read the official wiki). The plot, world, universe, pantheon, lore etc. etc. is all top-notch awesome stuff (in my opinion).

The narrative in the BB is also really good.

There's like, nothing more I can say about it xD every lore update or lore question on Josh's Tumblr or Formspring/Spring.me has been good across the board since start. It might be a boring answer but... it's just really good :D

EDIT: I didn't answer the questions about the videos/analysis' btw.

Edited by Osvir
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I believe I did watch those videos at a certain point, some points I agreed with, others I did not. However of the issues I have with the game, I am quite confident that narrative and such will not be one of them, simply from an experience of Obsidians products. Integrating gameplay into the narrative more organically, and having the experience be more unified is perhaps an area I shall ask for upon completion of the finished product, until then I am not sure. I asked for and backed an Obsidian made product, not my own definition of the perfect game, and am content to wait for the finished product and review then.

 

At which point I am sure Obsidian will want feedback, and make changes which please the majority of their fanbase and backers. After all no product survives unscathed upon first meeting the consumer.

 

Edit: Personally i'd have added the Realism vid as well.

Edited by Nonek

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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Immersion #1. If the world is not believable then I do not believe I am playing anything other than some 1s and 0s (because I know that so well at all times that I am), my two feet are on the ground so well.

 

Narrative is probably the biggest thing creating immersion (setting = story) so its important.

It's Obsidian, thus the reason why there is not much discussion of these issues is simply that we think of these as a given.

Good. Ive never played an Obsidian game before but that makes me look forward to PoE even more, ty.

 

Also, momomomorpegers :grin: .

Edited by Sheikh

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Edit: Personally i'd have added the Realism vid as well.

 

I didn't think it was that important. As long as the story is deep and interesting, I don't mind which type it is.

Edited by Marcvs Caesar

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MrBtongue talked about the things that are important to me.  I expect a game by Obsidian to have a good story, good narrative and good characters.  Role Playing games take plae in a fantasy world whether they are sci-fi or fantasy or even current time.   The world should give the illusion of being real that is where at least in part, a great part to me, immersion comes in.  While I am playing the real world is put aside and I am living in a world different from the mundane world I live in.   I like a story to be integrated into the gameplay.  I played Oblivion and Skyrim for many hours and enjoyed them but I did not feel that the story line was important.  Skyrim was a smidgen better although I found the "main quest" of being dragonborn a joke and played it that way.  I found the civil war quests more interesting.

 

Morrowind I loved, Planescape/Torment was in my opinion outstanding.  Fallout:New Vegas was another favorite of mine.  Oblivion and Skyrim I ended up installing an alternate start mod and just ignoring the Mod.

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The OP is as right as it could be.

 

Narrative- story- game world- player choice are the more important aspects of a great game.

 

And, as it was mentionted, most of us take that for granted for a company as Obsidian.

 

What we've shown so far proves us right.

 

The Campaign World is a great place to venture, with rich and deep history.

 

The narrative is top-notch, as shown by the BB.

 

Things we hope to be there:

 

-an interesting story and side-stories, immersive with deep thematics

 

-actual player choices, in the form of disposition/rep influence, multiple endings (update #87 states a play-tester reached an early game ending) and meaningful companion interaction to all that.

 

Put all that in the sac and you have a true role-playing experience, unlike anything we've had before.

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This are all things that Obsidian has promised to focus so that game will offer a top notch experience in these aspects. Backer Beta shows in it limited scope that Obsidian seems to have kept their promise and continues to produce top notch narrative experiences where player's decisions matter. It is one aspect in their games that their fans are most confident that they can produce in way they like, as it is usually reason why we are their fans in first place.

 

Immersion is quite large umbrella term that means several different aspects of the game at same time, which is why it often means different things for different people, but we can partition it to its core aspects and analyze/guess how PoE probably will fare on them. Obsidian's games have nearly always had good narrative immersion (or emotional immersion), which means that players (readers, watchers, listeners depending on media) become invested in story, meaning that it actually matters for them what happens in that story and they have preferences and ideas how it should go and they even create emotional connections with the characters in the story. Because this kind immersion happened to me in backer beta at least in some degree, I am quite confident that same will be case in full game and story. Another aspect of immersion is tactical immersion (or sensory-motoric immersion), which means that game or something else that person is doing needs physical skill from person to be mastered and this mastery makes person feel that they are "in the zone" or "in the fire" or some similar expression that describes that person has focus and skill to excel in said task. Tactical immersion is aspect of immersion in which PoE probably will not offer in such scope that it will keep players playing it. Strategic immersion (or cognitive immersion) is aspect of immersion that means mental challenges which keep people interested on the product, this could for example to be picking right/correct/best solution from broad array of solutions. Strategic immersion is something that PoE's combat aims more than tactical immersion, but as roleplaying game PoE's story and other narrative aspects will have at least some aspects that will/should give player strategic immersion. Last aspect of immersion is spatial immersion which means feeling that person is part of the game/product or in the game/product, which is probably aspect of immersion that PoE is least capable to give for its players, as its nature and mechanics aim to separate player from the game. 

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Thats a good way to look at what the game offers the player.

 

For me, the most important is one you didnt mention: World/environment immersion.

 

You can have many more "x/y/z immersion"s, almost infinite in fact. But the most important ones can be summed up in about 10 or so.

Edited by Sheikh

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You are right though that the excessively built, elaborate and clunky game mechanics do aim to seperate the player from the world and that kills alot of the immersion and that is PoEs biggest downfall.

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I am not in the beta, so I can't speak specifically as to PoE, but mechanics alone do not take me out of "immersion" unless it's something truly obnoxious like, the "one heart left in Zelda and you hear an obnoxious blink blink blink" sound.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a great example. Screen full of information floating around, numbers, bars, little symbols, but I feel completely immersed in what is going on, how my squad is doing.

And I feel that any game can do that. Even if it is a "Fantasy" game, numbers, bars, symbols floating above heads, to me, never "take me out" of immersion. They draw me in, because I'm invested in my people, and I'm like "oh crap, JoeRanger has Curse, and SwordBob is bleeding out, I need to do something!"


Usually it's lack of information that frustrates me. When I don't even know that one of my people is on fire, and that somebody else is at full heath, but it turns out they have a debuff that is making them miss every attack but I don't even notice. **** like that just frustrates me.

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Funny fact about moden bioware games. The in-game cut scenes that are supposed to imerse you in the game, and give you a feeling of "being there" since it uses the in-game draphics actually take me OUT of the imersive experience many times. Especially in the DA series. (DA:I getting a new agent)

 

The sometimes VERY awkward scenes when your character moves weird, has a stupid look on his face, or the dialogue has a second or two between the sentences of the persons without anything in between ends up breaking it horrible, but when I look on the games that use text based "cut-scenes" or rather no cut scenes, I can't really think of times where it took me out of the game, as long as it's well written and the characters stay in character. (Fourth wall breaking can be very bad imo)

 

I trust enough in the writers of Obsidian that it won't be a problem in most cases, there is no weird CGI to take you out of the game, or break it up with movie scenes between dialogue boxes. I'm very interested in how well the drawn scenes will work with the full game, but as a whole I feel this type of game has it MUCH easier than more modern style games in keeping the game experience fluid and imersive.

 

A good example was one library scene in Torment, when I read codex entries in DA I do it because me as a player am curious, when I spent several hours reading lore in Torment, it flet like I was doing it both as a player and as a chracter, because the story and writing was so compelling that it made me want to stay and read as much as possible, because my character wanted the information.

The FFish cut scenes when casting some spells on the other hand worked in the opposite way, the first few times it was cool (first time was awesome) after that it became a time sink that took you out of the game imo.

 

TL:DR

This type of game has it easier than most modern games to keep an imersive and fluid story going, I feel this is one of the safest areas to have faith in Obsidian!

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He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster . . .

when you gaze long into the abyss the abyss also gazes into you

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Thanks a lot for helping me learn about this yt channel! Finally someone who has actually studied literature produces quality criticism of games.

 

I don't know if you've seen this dev update yet, but it lifts the curtain on the setting and I'm very satisfied by what I see there: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/61324-update-20-lore-tidbits-campaign-almanac-big-ol-stretch-goals-and-environment-screenshot/


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Completely agree that story and C&C are what make a masterpiece, especially in an RPG.  I regularly see games that have been completely trumped by graphics and gameplay still be played 15 years later because the story is good.  Every once in a while there is a game that had a great mix of a combat system or other gameplay mechanics but everyone focuses on those so much they are improved all the time.

What do I expect from Obsidian? Pretty good to great.  Some favorites of mine are New Vegas, Planescape, Aracanum, and MCA likes FFVI so it should be a home run.

At the very least I expect it will be the start of a good series.

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All the writing will be good, for the reasons listed above. They've got good people building a world they are excited about.

 

I'm glad they are keeping story and characters close to the vest. It's too easy to click the wrong link and learn something you didn't want to know.

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