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Formulaic and Unimaginative Gameworlds

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Neanderthal, Sep 10, 2016.

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  1. Neanderthal Arcane

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    Fantastic should be obligatory in fantasy games, along wi well simulated an detailed gameworlds that demonstrate mundane so that the fantasy elements have something to be compared to an stand out from, in my opinion anyway. Unfortunately most (an almost all AAA) RPGs have become just ARPGs, an bad uns at that, but thats what customers cheer on so I suppose you can't blame devs.
     
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  2. Telengard Arcane

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    Lots of rpgs with interesting settings were produced in the 80s and 90s and early 00s. Every single one was a flop, even Planescape, which was only saved by achieving cult classic status and having an epically long tail because of it. Twilight 2000, most people don't even know it existed. Alien Logic, DOA. And on and on through a list of dozens of titles. Meanwhile, crappy LOTR and Star Wars lookalikes sell in the millions. Suits pay strict attention to sales differences like that.

    And they know that that difference exists because of one basic thing - uniqueness-nerds talk a good game, but they never put their money where their mouth is. In contrast, Star Wars and LOTR nerds will buy even the most shittiest products if it even has a passing resemblance to their favorite thing.

    And since most rpg players are either Star Wars or LOTR nerds, if not both, that is pretty much the end of that.
     
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  3. Clockwork Knight Arcane

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    Reminds me of a Gozma (or Zomg or Omgz or whatever the fuck he calls himself this week) quote.

    http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/might-magic-x-legacy.81387/page-107#post-3134788

    Speaking of "worldbuilding is about coming up with names, yo", yesterday I found an item in Destiny that sounds like something from a Dark Souls parody.

    I DON'T KNOW WHAT THOSE ARE
     
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  4. Irenaeus Self-Ejected Patron Dumbfuck Repressed Homosexual The Real Fanboy

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    Way to go at butchering an otherwise good post with this ending.
     
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  5. v1rus Arcane

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    Is the game set in an original setting or the good ol' middle earth is completely irrelevant. It's the quality of the material that matters. Heck, I'd even play a zombie apocalypse game, if it was actually well written and designed.
     
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  6. Fairfax Arcane

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    Very hard to take it seriously or give a fuck after learning the meaning of "Thedas".
     
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  7. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    Neanderthal, there are a couple of reasons for this sad state of affairs

    - The first is Sturgeon's law that ninety percent of everything is crap. This makes sense since making great things are difficult and most developers are mediocre. Therefore, it’s natural to think that most cRPGs have shitty game worlds.

    - The players are also to blame here. It’s the law of supply and demand. Tim Cain and his colleges wasted precious time writing journals that track the player’s progression in the game world, among many other minute details, and Arcanum sold shit. I bet that if they decide to make the same game again, with the same game world elements, it would sell way less than Pillars or W2 because most cRPG players are unimaginative combatfags. They only care about combat and XP.

    - Since most cRPG players are unimaginative combatfags, it is also safer to reuse generic phantasy game worlds than risking with innovations.

    - Unlike games from other genres, cRPGs are harder to design because they usually incorporate different complex systems. The combat system is complex, the character building is complex, the itemization is complex, the dialogues and writing are complex, the reactivity is complex, etc. Thus, it makes sense that most cRPG developers will not waste their time making an imaginative game world, because they are already with their plates full. It is not a coincidence that games with more imaginative and interactive worlds like Arcanum have borderline retarded combat system.

    Anyway, I think you should try "Serpents in the Staglands", since the game allows you to interact with the environment using your spells, etc. It is a cool game.
     
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  8. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Then it's no coincidence that games like Arcanum doesn't sell well.
     
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  9. Carrion Arcane Patron

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    Not just RPGs but other genres as well: strategy games, shooters, action-adventures... Games like Sacrifice, Giants: Citizen Kabuto and Clive Barker's Undying all sold rather poorly despite getting good reviews, and the weird settings certainly didn't make them more appealing for big audiences. Plenty of games with unconventional settings were cancelled way before release, because there just wasn't all that much interest from the public. From the early 2000's onwards most major companies seem to have accepted the fact that it's better to stick with the familiar in order to attract as many people as possible, leaving the more unconventional settings for indie developers.

    There was one early 2000's RPG with a weird setting that was a massive success, though, and that was Morrowind. It's kind of reflective of the gaming industry as a whole that Bethesda continued the series years later by putting out a game that was probably the most generic medieval fantasy that the setting could possibly allow, and completely broke the bank nine years after the release of Morrowind with a game that marketed itself with such unique concepts as vikings and dragons. You could never have created the same amount of hype with something weird and unique.
     
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  10. V_K Arcane

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    Ok, but what about indies? Geneforge did sell well enough to warrant a 5-part series (now if only its gameplay was more reflective of the setting's weirdness, but that's another story). Grimrock was a huge hit, despite having mostly original creatures and not an elf or dwarf in sight (granted, the setting didn't play that much of a role in that game, but still). But those two are largely outliers, the majority of indies have just as basic settings as AAA games.
     
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  11. Cabazone Educated

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    A lot of miserabilism in this thread, and mostly unjustified too. You people say there isn't original settings nowadays, and that is because they aren't commercially viable because sheep peoples don't like uniqueness and things like that. Well, I don't think it's true.

    First, there is an insane number of niche games with really creative settings, I don't think we can argue with that. As for AAA games... well, big safe boring games have safe boring worlds, not a big surprise. Actually, that isn't entirely true. The setting is often the first component of a game where publishers are inclined to take risks, far ahead of the gameplay. There are a bunch of big budgeted games with original universes : the Bioshocks, the Assassin Creeds, Dishonored, etc.

    As for games with original settings not being commercially viable... Sure, some of them haven't sold well... but tons of games with utterly banal worlds to explore haven't sold well also. Truth is : each year, games galore, for varieties of reasons, are ignored by the public, and some of them have a unique setting. But that doesn't mean they failed because of it, just that having that kind of setting doesn't protect you against it.
     
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  12. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    The curious thing about Triple-A games is that they do allow some creativity along as it doesn’t get in the way of the simplistic gameplay that popamole players want. You can create a new mythology in a God of War or play as a hacker in Watch Dogs. Hell, even in shooters like Far Cry 3 you have real actors doing interesting monologues. As long these things “don’t get in the way” of the action, players and publishers don’t care. The truth is that is not enough to implement an innovative setting. The setting should well thought-out and make sense, instead of being just an excuse to pander to player’s ego. More than that, the setting should be seriously integrated in gameplay instead of being just an artistic license of bored developers. Playing Bioshock and Dishonored feels like playing another generic shooter.
     
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  13. Bohrain Liturgist Patron

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    I'd argue that a lot of those poor sales boil down to nonexistant marketing and the products having not being good overall. The suits understand that things are easier with established series and fanbases, since the information is expected to spread beyond the advertisement with existing networks through word of mouth, on the other hand with entirely new series it's always a gamble since you can't depend on that.
     
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  14. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    We know that suits are addicted to franchises, but I wouldn’t say they are afraid of different settings. They only thing that matters for them is trying to copying the latest hit. FO4 looks a lot like Skyrim and DA:I looks a lot like a generic MMO, and each one of these games have their own setting. The truth is that most of the popamole games are becoming like one big faceless mixture, with different settings or not. This shows that interesting settings don’t matter much if there is no substance in the core mechanic of gameplay. In fact, I would say that Triple-A studios invest more in settings than medium sized or indie studios because they are attempting more and more to emulate movies with high graphical fidelity. The cRPG genre looks stale in comparison, since 99% of the games look like another generic Tolkien/dungeon crawler rip-off.
     
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  15. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I must admit I would rather play a game with great game mechanics and a generic world, than a shitty game with the an original and imaginative gameworld.
     
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  16. V_K Arcane

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    It's kinda funny how this thread constantly slides into a dicussion of settings and how they are written, when the OP was largely about gameworlds and how they work. I mean, U7's setting is about as generic as they go, but its gameworld is the highlight of the game because of its level of interactivity and simulation.
     
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  17. Lurker King Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    Well, but most triple-A games also have more interactivity with the game world than most cRPGs, which shows that this type of feauture is much more common than we believe. Perhaps they are more frequent in the popamole medium because they don't need to invest in sophisticated gameplay systems, and maybe some players would be happier playing mainstream action games instead of cRPGs. I don't know. In any case, I think we could just as well ask why there are so few cRPGs with interesting settings, because they are also important. The ability to interact with the game world in many ways is great, but presenting a game world in a believable manner is also important. Why is the point of interacting with the game world if everything is there just pander to player’s ego? People standards of immersion regarding cRPGs are atrocious.
     
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  18. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator

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    Why do hate Planescape octavius?

    :M
     
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  19. nikolokolus Arcane

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    You need Greg Stafford (Glorantha/RuneQuest/King of Dragon Pass)
     
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  20. Unorus Janco Lurker

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    Several other RPGs with unimaginative settings also became failures. On the other hand, Fallout and Diablo were huge successes and started their own trends, and games like Arcanum and VTMB, while not enough to save Troika, did make some profit in spite of their unpolished nature.


    A fantasy setting leaving behind its magical and idealistic roots and about to enter an industrial and liberal era, introducing ideas like capitalism, socialism, nationalism, feminism, democracy, and so on, is not that generic, I would argue.
     
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  21. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Haven't played it. And I never had a strong urge to play it either, since I bought it from the bargain bin. Interactive story + immortal protagonist + shitty (from what I've read) encounter design = not my cup of tea at all.
    But it is on my play list, so I'll get around to playing it some day.
     
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  22. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator

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    [​IMG]


    :M
     
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