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Similarities between older RPGs and the new ones


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Well, since it's impossible to create something without influences, I think we can all agree that all games are influenced by previous cultural products. Originality is more about how sophisticated, uncommon or far fetched new hybrid ideas are (e.g. fantasy+colonial era). Some works appear as lazy, boring or predictable because of its uncreative overuse of certain narrative elements (currently playing dying light, just saying).

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Oh Really?  so the idea that a powerful race is coming back to the galaxy every 50000 years and destroying every living species is one of those 9 plots? Or the parts about the precursor race that left powerful artifacts and suddenly got ''extinct'' before they could complete their  ultimate weapon/instrument

Those are specifics. The saying "only 9 (or 10, or 12) plots" refers to the basic overreaching plot, not the minute details of how they're brought about. It's just one of those sayings, with many grains of truth but not necessarily to be taken super literally...

 

Anyway, games having similar plots is no different than the 1000's of films and TV shows with the same basic plots/premises. I can't remember the last time I saw a movie where the plot itself (not the details or how's, but the plot) wasn't something I've seen before. Video games haven't been around as long...but they are still going to be influenced heavily by whatever the developers of a game have read, watched, or played themselves.

 

I can't really think of a specific game that reminds me another game story wise, because to me they're all largely the same to begin with if that make sense - the details can make them either more or less interesting, but it still all feels familiar.

 

Oh yea? Try to find one single element in any game that is similar to PS:T. Some games are better and more original than others.

 

You're kidding, right?  The amnesiac chosen one on a journey of self discovery, and finding out that his past self is a bad person?  

That is 100% cliche.  

The 'weird' elements aren't a function of the computer game, but the D&D setting.

 

Don't get me wrong, I like the game, but the (lack of) originality isn't the reason why.

Edited by Voss
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Oh Really?  so the idea that a powerful race is coming back to the galaxy every 50000 years and destroying every living species is one of those 9 plots? Or the parts about the precursor race that left powerful artifacts and suddenly got ''extinct'' before they could complete their  ultimate weapon/instrument

Those are specifics. The saying "only 9 (or 10, or 12) plots" refers to the basic overreaching plot, not the minute details of how they're brought about. It's just one of those sayings, with many grains of truth but not necessarily to be taken super literally...

 

Anyway, games having similar plots is no different than the 1000's of films and TV shows with the same basic plots/premises. I can't remember the last time I saw a movie where the plot itself (not the details or how's, but the plot) wasn't something I've seen before. Video games haven't been around as long...but they are still going to be influenced heavily by whatever the developers of a game have read, watched, or played themselves.

 

I can't really think of a specific game that reminds me another game story wise, because to me they're all largely the same to begin with if that make sense - the details can make them either more or less interesting, but it still all feels familiar.

 

Oh yea? Try to find one single element in any game that is similar to PS:T. Some games are better and more original than others.

 

You're kidding, right?  The amnesiac chosen one on a journey of self discovery, and finding out that his past self is a bad person?  

That is 100% cliche.  

The 'weird' elements aren't a function of the computer game, but the D&D setting.

 

Don't get me wrong, I like the game, but the (lack of) originality isn't the reason why.

 

 

See "Angel Heart" an early Mickey Rourke film or "Memento" I'm sure it's been done before elsewhere aswel.

 

Can anyone think of any game stories which they felt really innovated the genre/method of storytelling? When I was younger I played console rpgs more and I remember the story's of Suikoden 2, Alundra and FF7 really drawing me in. Could be the old rose tinted glasses of nostalgia but Alundra especially was like nothing I'd ever played before or since. 

 

For the record I realise everything can be broadly categorised if that's what you want to do, I'm just interested in any stories people have discovered that have an element of freshness to them.

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Oh Really?  so the idea that a powerful race is coming back to the galaxy every 50000 years and destroying every living species is one of those 9 plots? Or the parts about the precursor race that left powerful artifacts and suddenly got ''extinct'' before they could complete their  ultimate weapon/instrument

Those are specifics. The saying "only 9 (or 10, or 12) plots" refers to the basic overreaching plot, not the minute details of how they're brought about. It's just one of those sayings, with many grains of truth but not necessarily to be taken super literally...

 

Anyway, games having similar plots is no different than the 1000's of films and TV shows with the same basic plots/premises. I can't remember the last time I saw a movie where the plot itself (not the details or how's, but the plot) wasn't something I've seen before. Video games haven't been around as long...but they are still going to be influenced heavily by whatever the developers of a game have read, watched, or played themselves.

 

I can't really think of a specific game that reminds me another game story wise, because to me they're all largely the same to begin with if that make sense - the details can make them either more or less interesting, but it still all feels familiar.

 

Oh yea? Try to find one single element in any game that is similar to PS:T. Some games are better and more original than others.

 

 

 

Are you familiar with Bioware story cliche chart?

I wasn't, but now I am. That's pretty funny.

 

http://www.psu.com/forums/showthread.php/214782-BioWare-RPG-clich%C3%A9-chart

 

Oh yea? Try to find one single element in any game that is similar to PS:T. Some games are better and more original than others.

You're not understanding the difference I was making between overall plot points vs. details aspect, are you?

 

There is nothing like this game, not like its' overall plot (there is no real antagonist and your mission is to die) and not like its' detailed aspects. It won't fit into any cliche table like Dragon age and there isn't a single character that will fit into

Look.

 

Besides the fact that someone has already explained how cliche the premise of Planescape is, nothing is going to be 100% original.

 

Nothing.

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Waiiiit a minute... I think I've seen another thread before, in which someone suspected things of being ripped off of other things. THIS THREAD IS A RIPOFF!

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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A.Again, I never posted anything about me having a problem with that but I do think that inspiration is an interesting subject to talk about . The only case I called a rip off was Mass Effect, and that is because some central ideas of the main plot were actually taken directly from star control. I am not saying that the game wasn't very original or great and it was definitely better than Star control 3 but it is obvious that Star control is the main spiritual predecessor of this game.

 

B. Some of the posters who replied to me don't make any difference between general similarities like "both games have swords" or "both games have a villain" to more specific things like having a female  companion with a powerful personality that lost her husband or having  dreams as integral part of the main plot.  Also the concept of souls and gems is also a commonly used concept as you can see in the Elder scrolls games.

 

C.

 

 

 

 

Oh Really?  so the idea that a powerful race is coming back to the galaxy every 50000 years and destroying every living species is one of those 9 plots? Or the parts about the precursor race that left powerful artifacts and suddenly got ''extinct'' before they could complete their  ultimate weapon/instrument

Those are specifics. The saying "only 9 (or 10, or 12) plots" refers to the basic overreaching plot, not the minute details of how they're brought about. It's just one of those sayings, with many grains of truth but not necessarily to be taken super literally...

 

Anyway, games having similar plots is no different than the 1000's of films and TV shows with the same basic plots/premises. I can't remember the last time I saw a movie where the plot itself (not the details or how's, but the plot) wasn't something I've seen before. Video games haven't been around as long...but they are still going to be influenced heavily by whatever the developers of a game have read, watched, or played themselves.

 

I can't really think of a specific game that reminds me another game story wise, because to me they're all largely the same to begin with if that make sense - the details can make them either more or less interesting, but it still all feels familiar.

 

Oh yea? Try to find one single element in any game that is similar to PS:T. Some games are better and more original than others.

 

You're kidding, right?  The amnesiac chosen one on a journey of self discovery, and finding out that his past self is a bad person?  

That is 100% cliche.  

The 'weird' elements aren't a function of the computer game, but the D&D setting.

 

Don't get me wrong, I like the game, but the (lack of) originality isn't the reason why.

 

TNO is definitely not a chosen one but a tormented soul ,and he had many past incarnations and it is hard to generalize them as totally "bad" or "good".

 

D.Repeats might be a very common phenomena in games made by Bioware ,but there are many different cliches in other games as well. There was a leak about Bethesda making a new Elder scrolls title. No one knows anything about this game except the fact that it will probably take place in the Black Marsh ,but I am willing to bet that you will start the game as a prisoner as usual...

Edited by barakav

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The Memento thing isn't really THAT crazy. Anyone who's thinking of an interesting story about an amnesiac (of any kind), who gets the idea "Maybe he figures out how to leave himself notes, since he knows he's going to forget later on." What's one of the most permanent ways in which you could write a note to yourself? A tattoo. You can't misplace a tattoo, and it's not going to get wet and wash away, etc.

 

That's pretty much just simple reasoning. "Hey, what if a guy has amnesia and doesn't ever leave himself clues" isn't as interesting of a thing, and "What if a guy just leaves post-its all over the place, but they all get stolen and he wonders if HE actually wrote them?" isn't very interesting, either.

 

*MASS EFFECT SPOILER ALERT*

 

Also, I can't comment directly on Star Control, but the whole "precursor race with giant technological secrets" is pretty much 70% of all space games ever made. I sure hope Mass Effect's story wasn't directly copied from another game, because, if it was, I feel bad for that game. "This race of cyborg beings are the culmination of all consciousnesses of the last bajillion years, but they can't come up with a better plan to ensure the continued prosperity of all living beings than 'brutally mutilate-and-repurpose all the races I can find into giant death machines that will periodically annihilate a bunch of stuff and brutally mutilate-and-repurpose a bunch more living beings so that the cycle can continue forever."

 

Honestly, before I got to the end of the game, I kind suspected "Okay, I get it... to stop these civilizations from just building up to nukes, then destroying all the planets through the escalation of war, they're giving them a collective enemy, so that they must band together and develop unity. Also, some of the technology and war-waging resources are lost in the conflict." But, instead, it was just like "*shrug*, I just figured we'd very convolutedly cull people every so often. But, now that you happen to have made it into my central chamber, I guess I'll just let you decide a new course, arbitrarily. That's probably an awesome idea."

 

*END MASS EFFECT SPOILERS*

 

In general, I don't know what else to tell you, though. You've said "Hmmm... maybe all these coincidences are, at the very least, inspired by the previously-existing-similar-instance?". To which numerous posters have replied "Maybe, but not necessarily. We can guess, but we can't really know that without more information."

 

To which you're like "Yeah, but it seems to me like they are." Cool. I mean, if you like guessing, by all means, go ahead. You could be right. Or, you know... they could be coincidence. Here we are with a couple of possibilities. We can pretend there's only one, if you'd like. Or we can just go "Okay, it could be either. Not sure with the given information."

 

You're acting as though we've told you that it can be nothing BUT a coincidence. You're also acting as though "strong female character loses husband" is somehow a ridiculously specific detail (for example). The examples you've pointed out throughout the thread could easily be coincidences. Easily.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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TNO is definitely not a chosen one but a tormented soul ,and he had many past incarnations and it is hard to generalize them as totally "bad" or "good".

 

No, not it isn't.  It is quite easy to tag at least two of the incarnations (three with the original) you're made aware of as utter scumbags, entirely deserving of hellish torments.

As for not being a 'chosen one' trope... uh, OK. Not sure how you'd define the special protagonist-only ability of immortality and being the only person anywhere in the multiverse with the ability defeat the 'villain.'

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*MASS EFFECT SPOILER ALERT*

 

Also, I can't comment directly on Star Control, but the whole "precursor race with giant technological secrets" is pretty much 70% of all space games ever made. I sure hope Mass Effect's story wasn't directly copied from another game, because, if it was, I feel bad for that game. "This race of cyborg beings are the culmination of all consciousnesses of the last bajillion years, but they can't come up with a better plan to ensure the continued prosperity of all living beings than 'brutally mutilate-and-repurpose all the races I can find into giant death machines that will periodically annihilate a bunch of stuff and brutally mutilate-and-repurpose a bunch more living beings so that the cycle can continue forever."

 

Honestly, before I got to the end of the game, I kind suspected "Okay, I get it... to stop these civilizations from just building up to nukes, then destroying all the planets through the escalation of war, they're giving them a collective enemy, so that they must band together and develop unity. Also, some of the technology and war-waging resources are lost in the conflict." But, instead, it was just like "*shrug*, I just figured we'd very convolutedly cull people every so often. But, now that you happen to have made it into my central chamber, I guess I'll just let you decide a new course, arbitrarily. That's probably an awesome idea."

 

*END MASS EFFECT SPOILERS*

*star control/ME spoilers*

In the star control series you are following the trail of a precursor race that had vanished some time ago and in star control 3 you discover that every X years an ancient civilization of eternal beings is harvesting all the highly intelligent species in the galaxy leaving only the non advanced ones for future harvests. the precursor race nearly finished building a device that would have allowed them to defend themselves against those beings but failed. In this game you must finish building this device and you need to unite all the galaxy species for this effort.

 

sounds familiar?

 

many other main plot elements in ME about why the reapers do what they do and the stuff about "the order of the machines against the chaos of the living" are less convincing and appealing  IMO.

 

*end spoiler*

The Memento thing isn't really THAT crazy. Anyone who's thinking of an interesting story about an amnesiac (of any kind), who gets the idea "Maybe he figures out how to leave himself notes, since he knows he's going to forget later on." What's one of the most permanent ways in which you could write a note to yourself? A tattoo. You can't misplace a tattoo, and it's not going to get wet and wash away, etc.

 

That's pretty much just simple reasoning. "Hey, what if a guy has amnesia and doesn't ever leave himself clues" isn't as interesting of a thing, and "What if a guy just leaves post-its all over the place, but they all get stolen and he wonders if HE actually wrote them?" isn't very interesting, either.

Maybe you are correct but I do think that writing a note in a diary and putting it in your pocket will still work instead of leaving a message that will not be erased forever. Even after you made your revenge and everything...

 

And I need to see the movie that joby just recommended . It will be interesting...

 

You're acting as though we've told you that it can be nothing BUT a coincidence. You're also acting as though "strong female character loses husband" is somehow a ridiculously specific detail (for example). The examples you've pointed out throughout the thread could easily be coincidences. Easily.

And people are acting as though I posted that every similar modern age game is ripping off the old ones.And I think that the female warrior storyline is pretty specific, it could have been a gentle Arie like character or something like that...

Anyway, I won't argue because you are correct on your general statement IMO.

 

 

TNO is definitely not a chosen one but a tormented soul ,and he had many past incarnations and it is hard to generalize them as totally "bad" or "good".

 

No, not it isn't.  It is quite easy to tag at least two of the incarnations (three with the original) you're made aware of as utter scumbags, entirely deserving of hellish torments.

As for not being a 'chosen one' trope... uh, OK. Not sure how you'd define the special protagonist-only ability of immortality and being the only person anywhere in the multiverse with the ability defeat the 'villain.'

 

villain ,what villain? TTO is not a  villain. At least not in the classic sense of the word he doesn't threaten anyone but you (and maybe Ravel which deserves it) and wants to be left in peace. Your mere existence creates more deaths than he does. BTW the lady of pain can also kill him by killing you.

 

And your "special ability" is actually a curse. No one chose you for any great title.

 

And the paranoid incarnation isn't totally evil IMO, he is just mentally unstable because of a trauma. This is not a KOTOR kind of amnesia story with obvious dark and light sides.

Edited by barakav

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@barakav,

 

The ME writers may very well have intentionally copied start control. But, at the same time, when it comes to space, a lot of threats just seem petty, shy of some nigh-unstoppable force. And a nigh-unstoppable force that's always around isn't as interesting as one that mysteriously shows up every so often. And a precursor race is very, very common in space-themed stories. So, I mean... even if they had played Star Control before, and knew how similar their stories were, it wouldn't necessarily mean they just couldn't think up a story until they heard Star Control's story. BUT, they could've. Who knows. They could've known from the get-go, and just said "Hey, let's borrow that."

 

And yes, some people are, indeed, exaggerating your stance on the matter. I don't think that's reasonable of them to do. And I'm not trying to be antagonistic (I realize the tone pure text can take on). But, it does sort of encourage one to believe your point goes beyond what it actually is when you sort of (maybe unintentionally) keep emphasizing something as a possibility that someone else did not deny. Or, basically, you started out saying "You think maybe these newer games were inspired by these older games (example list here)?", and several of us pointed out "Could be, but keep in mind that coincidences do exist, and it's not that crazy for them to be coincidence (some examples and references)." To which you went a little "Yeah, but specifically a female character, who lost her husband? I mean that really makes it seem a lot less likely, 'cause it's so specific." Which got a little confusing, because some of those examples you emphasized aren't really that specific, all things considered.

 

Basically, the initial counter-point was just "that's not as much evidence toward probable inspiration as you think it is." So to sort of butt heads with that point -- that we would still pretty much be assuming one way or the other -- doesn't exactly tell people "I'm totally not saying that these things must be ripoffs," even if it doesn't tell people that you definitely are trying to suggest that emphatically (which is why people don't need to assume that of you, in the exact same way we don't need to assume the mere existence of these similarities in a lot of game stories are intentional OR coincidence).

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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villain ,what villain? TTO is not a  villain. At least not in the classic sense of the word he doesn't threaten anyone but you (and maybe Ravel which deserves it) and wants to be left in peace. Your mere existence creates more deaths than he does. BTW the lady of pain can also kill him by killing you.

 

And your "special ability" is actually a curse. No one chose you for any great title.

 

And the paranoid incarnation isn't totally evil IMO, he is just mentally unstable because of a trauma. This is not a KOTOR kind of amnesia story with obvious dark and light sides.

Just because something has a different context does not mean it's not the same idea.

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You know ,in real life science you have to rely on statistical power to support your point:

 

 

For example ,when you are managing a study and comparing two or more groups of individuals ,you might assume that the chance that a single individual might behave very differently than most of the others is pretty high ,and so are the chances that two individuals. But as the number of different  individuals in each group is rising, your hypothesis is becoming more and more powerful (until you reach statistical significance and then for no good reason everyone assume that your hypothesis is correct)

 

 

In ME and SC3 case you can argue that non of the main plot themes is purely original but the chances that so many of the exact same plot elements were put together in the same way and the same settings by chance or by any other circumstance is practically zero! so as far as I am concerned it is a rip off.

 

 

Even the chance that only two close elements that are related to each other and don't have to be will be the same is not very high so you can assume that they might be connected (And I am aware that the chances that two or more unrelated things will be the same between two games is extremely high).

 

 

So yes there are all sorts of connections possible ,but I do believe that it is more probable to assume that a developing company that tend to repeat many of it's own cliches again is doing so based on it's former successful games and not copying them from different sources again and again.

 

 

villain ,what villain? TTO is not a  villain. At least not in the classic sense of the word he doesn't threaten anyone but you (and maybe Ravel which deserves it) and wants to be left in peace. Your mere existence creates more deaths than he does. BTW the lady of pain can also kill him by killing you.

 

And your "special ability" is actually a curse. No one chose you for any great title.

 

And the paranoid incarnation isn't totally evil IMO, he is just mentally unstable because of a trauma. This is not a KOTOR kind of amnesia story with obvious dark and light sides.

Just because something has a different context does not mean it's not the same idea.

 

You should change the "X"  into a "N" a context is related to the setting like where or when the plot takes place. I am sorry but in this case the content is different, your point is just like saying Pokemon and DAO are the same because you are playing a hero that assembles allies against some sort of adversary...

In this case the Devil ""hides""  in the details.

Edited by barakav

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The Nameless One has not been chosen by anyone, the whole point of his story and incarnations is that he is a man whom has championed self determinism, sometimes very much to his and the multiverses detriment. He is entirely responsible for his own fate, and no prophecy or choosing by any higher power has compelled him at all, other than the deals he made and the decisions he chose. This is one of the main themes of the game, and is reinforced throughout, with the nature of the antagonist, the shadows and his past incarnations from the heavenly to the diabolic.

 

He is an anti Chosen One, this is intentional and extremely obvious, a reverse of the trope that examines what can occur when a man is the master of his own fate.

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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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You're kidding, right?  The amnesiac chosen one on a journey of self discovery, and finding out that his past self is a bad person?  

 

That is 100% cliche.  

The 'weird' elements aren't a function of the computer game, but the D&D setting.

 

Don't get me wrong, I like the game, but the (lack of) originality isn't the reason why.

 

PS:T is a gaming example of Roger Ebert's saying that 'it's not what a movie is about, but how it's about it.'

 

An amnesiac 'chosen one'* discovering his past self was a bad person may not be original, but the way it was handled certainly was. And really, that's what it boils down to; having a familiar plot isn't a bad thing, since there have been so many stories over the course of human history you're almost certainly copying something or other in terms of the basics, but handling it in the exact same way you've seen it handled a billion times before suggests the writer is either unimaginative or lazy. 

 

*Not so sure TNO counts as a chosen one, since he chose himself and his journey is entirely about him and his decisions, not some grand prophecy that he will save the universe or whatever. He's hardly a Harry Potter or a Luke Skywalker. 

Edited by Death Machine Miyagi
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 He's hardly a Harry Potter or a Luke Skywalker. 

 

 

More of a Walter White?

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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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You should change the "X"  into a "N" a context is related to the setting like where or when the plot takes place. I am sorry but in this case the content is different, your point is just like saying Pokemon and DAO are the same because you are playing a hero that assembles allies against some sort of adversary...

In this case the Devil ""hides""  in the details.

Yeah, I'm not continuing this discussion if you're more intent on proving why everyone else who replies to you is wrong than actually having one at all.

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I wanted to have a brainstorm about all kind of repetitive and reused elements in many plots and games and even to discuss about why the same specific elements or plots can click together and make one amazing story in one game and an awful one in another.

 

 

Few posters got the idea and actually posted interesting replies and others just attacked me with annoying arguments forcing me to defend myself. And an argument by default is a discussion in which each side is trying to prove the other is wrong...

 

Some posters also tried to 'talk' about specific plots of specific games and not to stick to the subject. I have no problem with that being in this thread as it is also an interesting subject to read about but that just wasn't the discussion I had in mind...

Edited by barakav

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There is this one website that lists cliches, explains them and gives as many examples as possible. You can most likely find one about strong female who has lost her husband etc. and many examples. Games tend to use archetypes to make character interactions easier. JRPGs in general rarely make any original characters. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, I'm still enjoying the games since the characters are not total ripoffs. 

 

If you take elder scrolls from 3-5, you can easily explain their basic story structure with same sentence(s). Same goes for all the games in Tales JRPG series. Yet every game in the series are significantly different. It's about the details. The most common story in RPGs involves saving the world, and cycles are one way to make the conflict natural.

 

Since we most likely are over the 'ripoff' accusation this didn't even need to be mentioned.

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There is this one website that lists cliches, explains them and gives as many examples as possible. You can most likely find one about strong female who has lost her husband etc. and many examples. Games tend to use archetypes to make character interactions easier. JRPGs in general rarely make any original characters. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, I'm still enjoying the games since the characters are not total ripoffs.

If you're talking about tvtropes, they ended up writing out in "trope" category pretty much every distinctive detail of many stories regardless of their actual tropishness, just because. Wiki project, what else you could expect?

 

I agree that using actual cliches or tropes (which is cliche without negative undertone) might not be an irritating thing, depending on how author fits them into finished story. But imo it's just kinda impossible to distinguish specific reasons why in one particular story cliche fits organically while in the other it sticks out like sore tooth. I mean, that depends on who read/watched/played said stories, right?

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KoTOR 2 was a pretty nasty story that diminished the force as a straight metaphor for belief or faith that guides human beings to act heroically, defy authority, oppose oppression, to struggle for something above your own interests etc but is itself not substantial.

Kotor 2 says well the force is stupid because you can't have binary morality and even your apparently altruistic impulse to say give aid to a beggar can theoretically lead to a greater harm which is like not even moral relatavism it's more like moral abatement. It's bad to have basic human qualities like empathy and advancing aid to a fellow human being in need is wrong. A very ugly view of things.

I see you've been listening to Kreia. I have a spoiler to share with you, but it seems I can't find the code for the spoiler tags in this subforum …

Fnord.

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Oh yea? Try to find one single element in any game that is similar to PS:T. Some games are better and more original than others.

Someone else already brought up TVTropes, so I might as well link their page on PS:T. Follow this link to lose hours from your life.

 

As for tropes and cliches, as has been pointed out with an Ebert reference, and as TVTropes themselves will point out: Tropes are not inherently bad. Think of them as tools a storyteller uses for crafting a story. If they are poorly applied, the story will be bad. If they are used well, the story will be good. Tolkien set out to write stories that would fit the mythology of other germanic countries. The Belgariad (TVTropes link) was written with trope use in mind:

 

David Eddings wrote the series after taking a course on literary criticism, digging out all the tropes he could find, and decided to build a world that was simultaneously Strictly Formula and really, really good. Because Tropes Are Not Bad. He also deliberately focuses on the characters rather than the tropes, injecting liveliness and sardonic humor into stock situations. The end result is a series that's incredibly popular and well-loved by fantasy fans the world over.

PoE will have tropes in it. It already has a TVTropes page. Whether these tropes'll work or not is somewhat orthogonal to the existence of tropes. The people making the game seem like competent storytellers, and I'm confident that they'll wield their tools well.

 

As for the games that seem repetitive and like ripoffs: Writers can get stuck writing the same story over and over again; companies apply a formula to making a game. Much like a band that seems to make the same album over and over again, or an architect that keeps drawing the same building even though it doesn't fit in half the locations. It's not the tools that are bad, but their application.

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Fnord.

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I think that there is a basic angle that has been missed in this discussion: if you want a game with a boygirl humanelfdwarforcother protagonist you are forced to a very limited set of plot devices.  If you want your protagonist to have context - actual relationships that predate the game period - you don't get to mix and match gender / species / background in arbitrary ways.

 

What made Torment special was that you were able to figure out, as the story progressed, that you actually *had* connections to the other characters and history.  Similarly, they at least made an attempt in Dragon Age: Origins to give your characters distinctive origin stories.  Unfortunately, they then folded into a generic storyline.  I also think that the strongest aspect of the Witcher series is precisely that this isn't yet another condemned prisoner / amnesiac / adopted foster child - it's a lead character who is embedded in a culture and roles with others.

 

Therefore, I don't see this as "laziness" ; it's a response to a specific problem, namely that people want to paint their pixels with a range of superficial choices that drive a very narrow and superficial set of possible plots.

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I also think that the strongest aspect of the Witcher series is precisely that this isn't yet another condemned prisoner / amnesiac / adopted foster child - it's a lead character who is embedded in a culture and roles with others.

That not game developer's doing, though. CD Projekt just made the right call taking novels of a decent writer as a base, starting out with solid fleshed out world and several charismatic characters, including Geralt himself. That blasted "sex happens every time you turn around" part that so many people hated outright was just another thing brought up from novels in sake of consistency. It resulted in slight confusion when the game's script poses itself as continuation of the events in the books and uses entire scenes from those at the same time. What, it's all happened again in exactly the same way as before?

 

In context of rpgs, I guess writer have to use different tricks depending on whether protagonist is a predefined person or supposed to be fully customazible by player. The latter tends to be a little nonsense-generating occasionally.

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