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Enhancing replayability?

posted by Kroms on - last edited - Viewed by 159 users

I was wondering about something. What do you guys think would enhance the replay value of the series? Dialogue options in the MI2 vein - shedding choices once you've picked something - seems obvious, but what about other things like people telling you stories (like in CMI), or little easter eggs that hatch out of attention to detail (10000 grubs)?

What else? I mean, essentially, you cram these in, you improve on your puzzle design, you...you shed the three trial structure? The best games always have their stories feeding gameplay feeding stories, like the LucasArts classics. I'm thinking that the shed SCUMM interface killed a kind of puzzle, which is the "obvious solution" puzzle. In Secret, you pick up an idol to escape being trapped underwater, or picking up a shovel that's stuck on a sign like in MI2. Telltale's current interface will allow Guybrush to either pick up or examine either of those objects, but not both. Do you think Telltale needs to change their interface, or adapt their puzzles to what they're doing now? Do the "Mouth" (talk to, lick, kiss), "Eye" (examine) and "Hand" (pick up, push, slap around) buttons add anything a one-click system can't deliver on?

Maybe add more locations? Scabb had 14 (Woodtick outside, the carpentry, Wally's workplace [cartography?], the ship with the pirates and Maaad Marty, the Inn reception, Largo's room, the kitchen, the bar, the cemetery, the swamp, the Intl House Of Mojo, the beach, the plateau, and Captain Dread's ship). Flotsam, by comparison, had maybe 11, with the jungles all looking the same (beach, Flotsam outside, the five jungles, DeSinge's labs, the prison the court/Voodoo Lady's shack, Club 41/the Narwhal); variation and number help. You shouldn't tempt and not deliver, though, which was a mistake in Spinner Cay.

What would you do to add replay value? I'm trying to imagine ways to make things better. A true classic is only elevated to that status when there's a second or third try that elevates an entire colony of life undiscovered - whether jokes, easter eggs or otherwise.

Edit: I bring up Scabb Island because it feels very much like an "episode". I doubt any Part II-size episodic games existing anytime soon.

19 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Branching dialogue paths would do it for me, it doesn't have to be to the extent that what you say affects the path of the game (because I'd imagine that would be a pain in the ass to implement) it could be as simple as annoying a character to the extent that they don't want to talk to you any more, or talking to them enough to get them to tell you stories, like in CMI. I've just played through Tales again for the sole purpose of exausting as many dialogue options as possible, and that certainly entertained me.

    I'm not sure about changing the interface, I don't know how well a CMI-style interface would mesh with the mouse controls. I would really like the option to look at/use/push/pull things though. Guybrush just better hope I never get a 'kiss' option or I'd be using it with everything. (and I do mean EVERYTHING...)

  • @Jen Kollic said: Branching dialogue paths would do it for me, it doesn't have to be to the extent that what you say affects the path of the game (because I'd imagine that would be a pain in the ass to implement) it could be as simple as annoying a character to the extent that they don't want to talk to you any more, or talking to them enough to get them to tell you stories, like in CMI. I've just played through Tales again for the sole purpose of exausting as many dialogue options as possible, and that certainly entertained me.

    I'm not sure about changing the interface, I don't know how well a CMI-style interface would mesh with the mouse controls. I would really like the option to look at/use/push/pull things though. Guybrush just better hope I never get a 'kiss' option or I'd be using it with everything. (and I do mean EVERYTHING...)

    Did I say the dialogue affects the path of the game? What I meant was that different dialogue choices gave you different jokes, but selecting one makes the others inaccessible. In Monkey 2, for example, the Voodoo Lady tells Guybrush that LeChuck is about to return to stick his worm-infested boot so far up Guybrush's fundament he'll be coughing fine leather jackets by Christmas. You get to pick one - and only one - of these responses:

    >> "What can I do?"
    >> "Where can I hide?"
    >> "Can you just give me something to protect me?"
    >> "Can you just kill me now and get it over with?"

    All of these lend slightly different responses from the Voodoo Lady (the bottom three all feature a small joke about the Voodoo Lady telling Guybrush he's already doing everything he can, prompting Guybrush to ask - maybe sarcastically - "Fiddling with the change in my pocket?"), but they all lead into another exchange that gives you necessary information and even more dialogue choices. I've been playing the old games to understand what made them work so well. (I used to know, but a persistently lazy mind is a forgetful one.)

    As for the interface: the CMI gave you the choice of using hand, ears or mouth, but with a pre-determined action. It made for good jokes, like, say, "lick cannon" (I don't think it was actually lick cannon, but you get the idea). You could only talk to other people. I don't mean to have a list of a dozen verbs.

  • @Kroms said: Did I say the dialogue affects the path of the game?

    You didn't, I was just saying that I thought game-altering dialogue choices would be hard to implement. I agree that similar dialogues like the one you cited with the Voodoo Lady in MI2 would be a good thing, that's the kind of thing I'd keep going back to until I'd gotten all the responses.

  • I like the Curse verbs the best. 9 verbs like in the originals is overkill, but 3 is nice.

  • @apenpaap said: I like the Curse verbs the best. 9 verbs like in the originals is overkill, but 3 is nice.

    But does it add anything to replayability? It 1. increases play time, since you don't just click on something and have Guybrush do the right thing. 2. Adds a few jokes ("I don't want to pick that cow up" or something), 3. Creates different puzzle styles (the "obvious solution" I mentioned in the original post, the "examine" option revealing lice on a coat, etc). Are those reasons enough to add it?

  • @Otis said: I think that Tales actually was too easy. The environment should have more details to examine, more items to pick up and more those original puzzles like in MI1 and MI2.

    Item combining system in Tales was also horrible. It was so unpractical and slow compared to the item combining systems of MI 1, 2 and 3 for example. And besides, I remember that in the very beginning of ToMI chapter 1 you had to combine something and as I saw the new system I hoped that theres not much items to be combined in the next chapters. Luckily, there were only a few occasions in the whole series.

    I hope that they change the backgrounds, inventory and examining controls so, that theres lot more details to be examined, more items to pick up and maybe combine. (but only if they change the system) These improvements would also add a little difficulty to the future Monkey Island games.

    Some of these things mentioned in this one I posted on a different thread would also enhance replayability.

    So yeah, a) More locations

    b) more detailed backgrounds

    c) more things to examine = more chances to mislead you = more playing time

    d) more items to pick up

    e) if there is more items in your inventory, theres lot more choices to try them on, and some of them you might have to combine with other items.

    f) controls design should take a few steps back, so that you can try more things, (more wrong things) its stupid if the game always points you automatically the right thing to do.

    The inventory was kind of crappy I thought, and especially the item combining. I think they were at their best in CMI.

  • The inventory was crappy? In what way? It was a little bit weird to get used to, sure, but what makes it "crappy"?

    [quote]c) more things to examine = more chances to mislead you = more playing time[/quote]

    Woah there, soldier. Listen. Larger gameplay time is not necessarily a good thing. I'd say that, within certain limits, it's a bad thing. I think Telltale are aiming at 4 hours per session. Having you struggle for ten hours per chapter is a very bad idea...

    [quote](more wrong things) [/quote]

    This is probably going to be more frustrating than fun. You need to be able to progress logically through a game. Having you randomly combine a plate with a bunch of forks to make a dartboard is the kind of thing that killed adventure games.

  • @Kroms said: This is probably going to be more frustrating than fun.


    Ehm, that's what adventure games are all about. Just look at te amount if items you carry around in MI2 or CMI at a time to solve sollutions, and how many stuff there is to click.

    Sure, it can be frustrating at times, but that makes solving the sollution just that more satisfying (or use a walkthrough if you can't bother).

    Replayability to me would be several different paths to the same destination. So the journey is the same, but the way you can get there is different. Thus; you have a reason to replay it and do it differently. Obviously this is pretty hard to implement...

  • @Hassat Hunter said: Ehm, that's what adventure games are all about. Just look at te amount if items you carry around in MI2 or CMI at a time to solve sollutions, and how many stuff there is to click.

    Sure, it can be frustrating at times, but that makes solving the sollution just that more satisfying (or use a walkthrough if you can't bother).

    Replayability to me would be several different paths to the same destination. So the journey is the same, but the way you can get there is different. Thus; you have a reason to replay it and do it differently. Obviously this is pretty hard to implement...

    Carrying around a few dozen items in your pants is fine, so long as you have a clear goal of what you need to do. If the game has you resorting to randomly clicking on things to find solutions, then it's messed up. If it actually makes you look at a walkthrough, it's messed up. If it frustrates you, then it has really messed-up. But becoming frustrating for the sake of being a "real" adventure game is a wrong, wrong, wrong ideology. You might as well call it a sequel to King's Quest.

  • @Kroms said: If it actually makes you look at a walkthrough, it's messed up.


    MI did, MI2 did, MI3 did, MI4 did. Okay, the latest one may be messed up.
    Day of the Tentacle did, Full Throttle did, Sam&Max Hit the Road did.

    What can I say? I suck at adventure games... still find them fun. But I can pretty much breeze through ToMI, that should say something of it's difficulty.

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