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Preview Freedom Force sequel ramblings on PC.IGN

Saint_Proverbius

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Tags: Freedom Force versus the Third Reich; Irrational Games

The boys at <A href="http://pc.ign.com/">PC.IGN</a> posted up a <A href="http://pc.ign.com/articles/457/457368p1.html">Dev Diary</a> of <A href="http://www.myfreedomforce.com">Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich</a>, written by <b>Mr. Ken Levine</b> of <A href="http://www.irrationalgames.com/">Irrational</a>. Here's a bit on the prefabs:
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<blockquote>Admittedly, this has always been a great challenge with Freedom Force considering the size of the team's roster. Every fan has his or her personal favorites. Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich gives the whole team (and the new members) a chance to shine. We're also trying to delve deeper into what makes the characters tick. This becomes even more difficult when you add new heroes like Tombstone and villains like Blitzkrieg into the mix. Not only do you have to give them an appropriate introduction, you have to show how they play off the other characters. In a game that's so character-driven, just a few extra added ingredients results in an entirely different soufflé. </blockquote>
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Actually, one of the things I didn't like about the first one was the forced roster stuff. I'd rather have my own team.
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Spotted this at <a href="http://www.homelanfed.com">HomeLAN Fed</a>
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Zetor

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j00 g0t sc00p3d!!!11one :D
About "playing with your own characters"... eh. I think half [or more!] of the old comic books' charm was all about interactions within superhero teams, recurring nemesis', etc; those are impossible to do when the player can create their own superheroes. 'Course they could've compromised and had the player choose the stats [but not the personality] of the heroes, but I think that solution wouldn't be too well-received...


-- Z.
FF fanboi #89712985
 

Shevek

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I have to agree with Zetor. Considering this is a tongue-in-cheek oldschool superhero game, I found the premade characters very appropo. Alot of the game's charm came from those funny character backstories (El Diablo!) - I dont think I would have enjoyed the game half as much if they werent there. Though perhaps now that there will be a greater pool of heros, players will be able to have greater choice with respect to who goes in their squad on a given mission.
 

Otaku_Hanzo

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Yes, I would have to agree with Zetor as well. Forcing you to use the premade characters was their way of making the story true to comic books everywhere. It allowed them to create a story without having to be generic about it. Besides, they did allow you to create your own heroes and use them for alot of the missions. You just had to use the one or two required ones in order to keep the plot flowing along. Besides, if you wanted to delve into using your own heroes exclusively, there's always multiplayer. :)
 

Saint_Proverbius

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I think I can come up with my own oldschool superhero team just as well as Irrational could. I may have grown up in the 1970s, but that doesn't mean I haven't seen every single episode of the Adam West TV show Batman.
 

Otaku_Hanzo

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Saint_Proverbius said:
I think I can come up with my own oldschool superhero team just as well as Irrational could. I may have grown up in the 1970s, but that doesn't mean I haven't seen every single episode of the Adam West TV show Batman.

This is true, and I could easily do the same. But, the plot was designed to further show the backgrounds of the characters provided by the campaign and to build a level of interaction between them that could not be achieved were you allowed to make your own team from scratch. I do understand where you are coming from, SP, but I also understand why they did what they did. I am sure it will be moddable just like the first one and any problems can easily be solved that way.
 

Saint_Proverbius

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That can actually be done, it's just not as easy for the developers to do. Instead of making a team themselves, and then writing script pieces about their powers, you just make a system where it has bits of ramblings about all the powers and bases what it says about each character based on the powers they chose.

For example, say you made Strongguy Bob, a superhero that was super strong. Have it so the scripting of the plot stuff merely looks up the main characteristic of Strongguy Bob and talks about how strong he is.
 

Voss

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No thanks SP.

You're wandering into the realm of Completely Generic Game with No Interesting Character Development, just a Table of Random Scripts that Might Be Vaguely Applicable.

Despite the number of things I disliked about FF, I'd prefer it to that alternative.
 

Saint_Proverbius

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Funny, I've always liked games that alter themselves and what people say about me based on how I've developed and created my character. I kind of liked the way the Watcher in Prelude to Darkness told me why they'd selected my characters based on the strengths of the characters I created, things like, You were selected because you are handy with nature magic because I'd given that character that skill. I liked it when a certain ToEE monk, talking to my paladin, said, I never liked your kind, Paladin. There are numerous ways to handle this, and frankly, it's pretty hard to screw it up assuming there's no bugs getting in the way of the thing.

And there are a number of ways Freedom Force could handle this as well, based on superpowers, skills, attributes.. Even models and skins.

I fail to see how this is more "Generic" than forcing the player to play with prefabbed characters where you get the same, static descriptions of who they are and what they do every single time. If anything, forcing prefabbed characters on the player just for the sake of giving the same description and speech every single time is far, far more generic.
 

Voss

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FF had fairly long background stories. Its one thing to do a throw-away line of dialogue about a skill or power, but quite another to do a five minute bit on the background, reason for existance and personality of a character based on traits that happen to get selected by the player.

Toss in that most gamers can draw the line between their characters and the game's characters. Its one thing for the game to assign all those details to game characters. But most people aren't likely to accept getting personality and background assigned to them because they took StrongGuy! or MysticBlast. Is StrongGuy! a dumb hulking brute? Or does he get his strength from a mystical convergence, or a secret formula that he devised with his ultra-intellect?

Its generic because all the characters ultimately end up one-dimensional, because they're based off a finite table, rather than a worked out background. Its also generic because of what generic means- its a bland example of a type, with no distinguishing characteristics or features that differentiate for others of that type. Whereas Diablo is a fireguy with a Hispanic background, that grew up in a bad part of town, has x,y,z personality traits and etc... Its easy to distinguish him from generic FlameGuys!

Both your examples are good illustrations of generic, as well. if PtD says that to every character with nature magic, whats to distinguish them. And Turoko will say that to every paladin. 1 out of 11 character classes. So Turoko tosses that line to all paladins, and treats the other 10 classes as the generic type not_paladin.
 

Shevek

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I can see freeform character development/party makeup being of significant importance in a RPG (particular the nonlinear kind). I can appreciate those generic responses which highlight player character development choice in a RPG. I like crafting an entire team and having my own adventure and what not in a RPG. However, FF is a different animal. Like JA or Silent Storm (both of which have pregenned characters - with the notable exception of the protagonist), its a squad based tactical game and thus should be judged by the standards and goals of that genre.

I can see what you are saying about having some script churn out a bunch of generic stuff based on player chosen stats/abilities/whatever, but I find that solution flawed. I mean, come on - you just cant toss in a mish mash of powers and stats into a proverbial box and expect a scripting engine to come up with anything that would do the original FF justice (voices, art, story, etc) - its not about laziness, its about reality.

In a RPG, the generic responses you allude to, which help draw in the player by reflecting his character's attributes, are not merely adequate - they are prefered (at least to me) since they improve player immersion. However, this would not work well with FF since the game is not meant to be immersive. It is meant to be a spectacle. We dont spend play time getting immersed in a world by roaming across landscapes, interacting with npcs, trekking thru dungeons in a freelance way, etc. Instead, the game presents the player with assorted stages of linear mission based play and gives him a quirky story to watch (note: watch, not construct) along the way. Having the player whip up a text bio or having some script whip it up for him just wouldnt cut the mustard for FF I don't think. I really feel the game needed those spiffy background stories and the set narrative.

As I stated at the beginning of my post, we should not be criticizing a tactical squad/mission based title for not being an RPG. If it was the developers intent to immerse us and give us a wide open sandbox style world for our handmade troops of superheros to run about in, then yes your criticism would be a bit more appropo. However, this is not what FF is.

*editted for clarity a couple times*
 

Otaku_Hanzo

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Shevek said:
However, this would not work well with FF since the game is not meant to be immersive. It is meant to be a spectacle. We dont spend play time getting immersed in a world by roaming across landscapes, interacting with npcs, trekking thru dungeons in a freelance way, etc. Instead, the game presents the player with assorted stages of linear mission based play and gives him a quirky story to watch (note: watch, not construct) along the way.

Well said. :) I love to create my own story in a game just as much as the next guy, but I also love to watch a good story unfold even if I have no control over the outcome. As long as it's done decently and has decent gameplay. Look at Clive Barker's Undying. That game was about as linear as they come, but the story was damn cool and they did an excellent job of setting the mood for the player. Sure it was 'just another FPS' to some people, but you gotta look at the story and the setting as well. I don't mind FPS' as long as they have a plot and use that plot well within the game.

FF is there to tell you a story and allow you to have fun punching bad guys into outer space while it does it. Plain and simple. :)
 

Saint_Proverbius

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Shevek said:
As I stated at the beginning of my post, we should not be criticizing a tactical squad/mission based title for not being an RPG. If it was the developers intent to immerse us and give us a wide open sandbox style world for our handmade troops of superheros to run about in, then yes your criticism would be a bit more appropo. However, this is not what FF is.

It's a dungeon crawl, sure, but that doesn't mean it can't tell a story and allow for open ended creation and story telling. Hell, look at Jagged Alliance 2.
 

Voss

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What about it?
They would have been better off replacing your merc with one with some real skills and personality that could interact with the others the way they could.
Sure you could do a couple open missions and change the order of the queen's 'Beating Elliot' speeches, but it didn't change the game in any appreciable way.
And it was extremely light on story, particularly when compared to FF.
Queen took over country. She's mean...no evil...no psychotic... and theres scifi bug things. And hurray, you took the country back. Not much of a story.
 

HanoverF

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I don't get where the argument is coming from, apart from the origins, there wasn't much character specific story development in FF. The option of leaving out the origins and letting me make my own team of Super-Heros would have made the game much better.
 

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