Yeah I just realized thats why I can't stand a lot of jrpgs. I couldn't wrap my head around lost odyssey's harry potter magic theories, or any of the tales games onslaught of obscure fantasy terms, or any game with an obvious anti-religious theme. Just kicks me right out of it if the setting sucks balls.
Obviously that doesn't apply to every jrpg since earthbound and nocturne exist.
Yeah, that's more like a "buy or no buy" compromise. but if you do like the setting, you should be able to milk it with a strong plot, IMO. So an RPG needs to strike a balance between "i like where I am" and "i like what I'm doing". Whereas you have games like Fallout 3 where liking what you are doing is basically the same as liking where you are.
So uncharted 3 is about to come out and having to explain to dudes that I dont like the games every time they ask me if Im getting it was getting old, so now I just say I'm too poor. But it did make me think about the reasons I dislike the games beyond the whole playing a movie aspect. This applies to a lot of games I'm sure.
In uncharted 2 I never felt like I had options. Games are composed of meaningful options, so you can see how that bugged the shit out of me. If you recall the early splinter cell games where if you do one thing the designers didn't want you to do, everyone would flip their shit and kill you -- that's how I always felt. Also I never felt like anything I was doing was me. Did I just escape that near death situation or did drake do it and I just supervised. Oh well this game sure is cinematic!
Which isn't inherently bad. The game is gorgeous, the animation is ridiculously good [so good it captures really annoying habits actors have (like can that chick talk without fucking waving her hand around like its gonna fall off)], and the music is typical emotionally manipulating hollywood stuff.
But its like nothing I was doing was original. Now obviously if people play through the same game they're going to do a lot of the same shit, but you FEEL like you're a badass because of a game's inventiveness and your own urge to discover new stuff. Like oh shit I killed a dude in halo by blowing up a traffic cone. No such thing in these scripted games because they're so carefully pieced together as to limit your interference with the plot.
And you read a review where the writer says oh I did this awesome thing. Oh yeah? We all did. We all did the exact same shit. Maybe we shot dudes in a different order, but for the most part we could have all sit in the same living room and watched a dude play the game.
To be entirely honest I would interpret Uncharted 3 to be a "gamer's game". It's basically: you are Drake, are you good enough to do all of the things we expect him to do? And I think the general appeal of that game is watching the character called Drake do things, because the things he does are so awesome, living vicariously through him and testing our gaming mettle by taking on his challenges. So yeah, I mean, I understand what you're saying completely, but I don't think that RPGs and gamer's games have the same selling points.
Actually, nevermind. I get you. JRPGs kind of suffer from the same thing. So I would chance it to say JRPGs are the story-tellers and WRPGs are the pen and ink. Ultimately WRPGs are more so RPGs than their counterpart, but I think they could use the added edge of a strong central plot.
Last edited by CypressDahlia; 10-31-2011 at 12:38 AM.
Aren't most games about this though? I mean, what would Halo be if Masterchief wasn't Masterchief, and didn't do things a Spartan would do. Or if Kratos didn't swing chains and bang multiple women at the same time at the press of a button?To be entirely honest I would interpret Uncharted 3 to be a "gamer's game". It's basically: you are Drake, are you good enough to do all of the things we expect him to do? And I think the general appeal of that game is watching the character called Drake do things...
Well, in respect to the role-playing aspect of RPGs, no, not really.
Maybe not but the point Im getting at here is the inherent flaw of games with incredibly well crafted "this is my baby" kind of stories. Im so sick of a lot story based games right now that if I'm really interested I'll just watch/read a let's play. Uncharted for me was just climbing and shooting until I got to the next scene. RPGs for me are just random battles until I get to the next scene.So yeah, I mean, I understand what you're saying completely, but I don't think that RPGs and gamer's games have the same selling points.
The more I think about your question -- why can't we have both? -- the more I think about writers that just want to craft a good story, and how hard that must be if they have to think of every conceivable outcome. Hamlet's ending is rad as fuck because the build up is so intense. But what if you could effect it? Like say you could go on a quest to cure ophelia. You've lost a huge chunk of what made the story awesome, at the cost of giving the user control over the game world. In order to succeed in doing both you'd have to write like a million stories that are all super good.
After actually playing dungeons and dragons and playing the games that try to emulate it I can honestly say we are nowhere fucking close except for maybe the first dragon age.
Immersion is part of story telling. I say this because every story that is told has to provoke immersion on the reader (watcher or player), and the immersion can only be provoked thanks to the narration (which mean: cinematic, images, art, context, interactions, dialogues, etc). So yeah, you shouldn't say "this game has a great story" without judging the immersion.
Now the immersion in a game should (and must, as my opinion) different than in a movie, because in here we interact with the information. One of the most used way to provoke immersion in games are side quest (the most evident one), which can be pulled well if it has a meaning for the character, example: My character has to save X kingdom from being invaded, but he stop in his quest because a guy ask him for help to rescue his goats. In this case side quest is crap, because it goes against the main motivation and goals of the characters, but if the side quest were to help some potential ally for my quest, then the side quest has a meaning, and it can go deeper in how the world works.
Immersion has more than one way to pull us in the story, and this is where narration come. When you play a fps, open the last door of the stage and you lost control of your character (in here your character play as himself) and you are forced to see what he see, that is a narration and a mechanism to pull immersion. Of course narration has been discussed a lot in the video game industry, you have games like in Bioshock were you see things, but you never lose the control of your character; which mean a story related event is happening through a window, if you don't see the window you miss it, if you do, you will watch it. The big deal in here, is that you need to provoke (through atmosphere, context or others) a need for the player to watch the window, so he/she doesn't feel the need to mess his experience.
Another way to pull narration is through cinematic, in here you lose control and even more you watch what is happening as a movie and not as a player, you lose control over the situation and you are just watcher. Uncharted is kinda like this, the game flows under pauses of dialogues and events where you only watch or you interact pressing certain buttons. The good side is that you can't miss the experience, but the bad side is that you can't immerse, because you are out of character.
My point is, immersion is part of story telling, it is the most evident and constant (it should be constant), but also the one that goes more silent, when we start a game contextualized in the Middle Age, the constant remainder of the character, places, social structure and so, are part of the immersion and even more are part of the narration. The deal is that, as video game industry hasn't worked seriously (or not enough) the story telling, we are going to keep having a npc who will ask us to find his goat while he does obvious comments about his life and context (giving no room for deduction to us) or collectives with some stories.
Brave Fencer Musashi was a great game, just because it always remains you about its world, every villain had a story, every character had a story, and you never do anything that is not related to the main goal, even if there are characters to find and help, everyone of them is important in some way at the end.
Where narration start(again) and where it ends?
How would I narrate the story? (cinematic, dialogues, images, etc)
Should I private experiences to different ways to be played the game?
Should the story take in consideration the level system (or challenge curve) when it's delivering the narrative experience?
How much information do I gave to the player? (Do I tell them details of the life of a minor villain? does he have the same knowledge as the character?)
How would I give information to the player? (would I use dialogues, cinematic flashback, interactive flashbacks, etc)
Last edited by ClockHand; 10-31-2011 at 05:22 AM.