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Exploration or story?

posted by Lambonius on - last edited - Viewed by 776 users

Telltale's games have always been strictly story driven, sometimes to their detriment. A great story can draw you in and really make you care about the characters, but at the same time, the strict linearity of many story-driven games (Telltale's games are VERY guilty of this) almost completely destroys the sense of exploration and discovery that was such an important part of classic adventure games.

So...which is more important to you for a Sierra-style adventure game? A strong story? Or the sense of exploration and discovery that comes with being able to wander a vast area, looking and interacting with the landscape and objects as you see fit? Or do you think a game can realistically do both?

What approach should Telltale take if they want to capture the "feel" of King's Quest?

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  • It's the idea of free-roaming exploration. Obviously this means that you won't be able to go wherever you want to go and explore; a staple of adventures (though, not Telltale adventures). Now you can only go exactly where the game wants you. Literary. Like a Myst game. I just feel like more and more Telltale is taking away my freedom to do anything in their games and removing anything to actually do work in the game at all. I wouldn't be surprised if down the road we only need to click the mouse a couple times and just watch the show. You can't walk, you can't see the whole scope of an area, you can't fail, you can't get stuck, you can't combine items, you can't interact with anything on-screen but what they allow you to, you can't do things out of order, you can't....

    Puzzle Agent was different. It was just a small puzzle game. Nothing more. Actually, it seems to be the only Telltale game that doesn't follow the standard Telltale puzzle design philosophy.

  • I actually think Myst let you explore a fair bit, moreso than JP :D

  • @doggans said: Hasn't Telltale gone on record as saying JP wouldn't be an adventure game?

    At the beginning of the video, they explicitly introduce it as an adventure game.

  • @thesporkman said: And I still don't get why people are so upset about the not being about to walk around thing. The ability to choose where exactly on the screen you want your character to stand has rarely* been important to the actual gameplay of an adventure game.

    Okay, sure, walking around a single scene, ie. between the pieces of a single puzzle in a limited location, might not always be important. But that point kinda misses the forest for the trees. The desire for exploration as an element of gameplay is about being able to move among multiple many scenes to discover a cohesive, complex game-world, being exposed to its mysteries and challenges not necessarily in the order in which they are to be solved. That, to me, is the fundamental difference between an adventure game and a puzzle game.

    @thesporkman said: I actually think Myst let you explore a fair bit, moreso than JP :D

    I think what MusicallyInspired meant about Myst is that with its first-person node-based movement system, it is indeed an example of not really needing to move within a single scene. But of course, the freedom to move among many scenes -- exploration -- was critically important to Myst. I believe it's just as important to KQ. And it would have been nice in Jurassic Park.

  • @thom-22 said: Okay, sure, walking around a single scene, ie. between the pieces of a single puzzle in a limited location, might not always be important. But that point kinda misses the forest for the trees. The desire for exploration as an element of gameplay is about being able to move among multiple many scenes to discover a cohesive, complex game-world, being exposed to its mysteries and challenges not necessarily in the order in which they are to be solved. That, to me, is the fundamental difference between an adventure game and a puzzle game.

    I think what MusicallyInspired meant about Myst is that with its first-person node-based movement system, it is indeed an example of not really needing to move within a single scene. But of course, the freedom to move among many scenes -- exploration -- was critically important to Myst. I believe it's just as important to KQ. And it would have been nice in Jurassic Park.

    EXACTLY. Being able to uncover a cohesive interesting world in the order in which you, the player, choose is such an important part of an adventure game...heck, even just a GAME itself.

    In an ADVENTURE GAME, you might come across that Triceratop puzzle, but maybe you'd need to go back to a DIFFERENT area to find something to help you solve it. It's really not that hard of a concept. What Telltale is designing is a clickable movie. Moreso with Jurassic Park than ever before (and that's really saying something, considering BttF.) This approach would be an utter DISASTER in a King's Quest game.

  • @MusicallyInspired said: Again, you can dress and pretty it up all you want but it's the same exact Telltale business model underneath it all. Granted, that's not proven yet, but it certainly isn't disproven yet either. Even by that video. If anything it all but gives me even more cause for worry.

    That's fair. But still, they've never done a presentation quite this different on an episodic game before. I support Telltale dipping their toes into experimentation, even if the experiments are only surface-level at the moment.

    @MusicallyInspired said: At the beginning of the video, they explicitly introduce it as an adventure game.

    The first mention I can hear of adventure games in the Giant Bomb video is at about 3:25, where they say "we're bringing adventure game mechanics to this"--IE, this isn't an adventure game, but we're including some of the elements. Sam and Max had shooting elements, but you wouldn't call it a shooter.

    The video description says "adventure game", but that's what Giant Bomb's calling it, not necessarily Telltale.

  • @Lambonius said: In an ADVENTURE GAME, you might come across that Triceratop puzzle, but maybe you'd need to go back to a DIFFERENT area to find something to help you solve it. It's really not that hard of a concept. What Telltale is designing is a clickable movie. Moreso with Jurassic Park than ever before (and that's really saying something, considering BttF.) This approach would be an utter DISASTER in a King's Quest game.

    Well, technically you are using something from a different area to solve it, because the interior of jeep where you play as Jess counts as a separate room that you have to use the travel menu to go to. In text adventure terms, it's essentially one screen west of the screen where you can interact with the Triceratops as Harding.

    But never mind that. That's beside the point. I wasn't trying to defended it as a good or complicated puzzle, I was simply arguing that it is, in fact, a puzzle. Using the horn and the headlights in combination in order to distract the dinosaur requires the same kind of logic as any simple inventory combination puzzle. I agree that having the two things you need to combine right next to each in the room adjacent to one with the problem you're trying to solve makes for an extremely easy puzzle, but it's still a puzzle.

    Really, it's the exact same kind of puzzle as the amp puzzle at the beginning of It's About Time. You have to talk to Marty's dad and turn up the amp in one room in order to the solve the problem of Biff in the adjacent room.

  • That's what's wrong with Telltale games (except TMI, maybe). They turn a single typical small adventure game screen into a bunch of even smaller ones.

  • @thesporkman said:
    Really, it's the exact same kind of puzzle as the amp puzzle at the beginning of It's About Time. You have to talk to Marty's dad and turn up the amp in one room in order to the solve the problem of Biff in the adjacent room.

    Which was so ridiculously simple that I didn't even realize it was supposed to be a puzzle until I read some discussion of the game after finishing it. I did those things in the right order on my first playthrough, without even realizing I was "solving" a "puzzle." Something that is so easy it could completely sneak by you really shouldn't be considered a puzzle at all.

    I'm just saying that having the solution to a puzzle be a clearly highlighted hotspot somewhere on the screen really isn't puzzle solving. Because it takes no intelligence or logic at all to simply click all the hotspots and see what happens, which is basically where Telltale games have gone at this point.

  • Same here - I did that right to begin with and it didn't even occur to me that was supposed to be a puzzle at all. Really I think that after playing a good game I should feel like I just had to work at things a bit, if I want to be entertained without any mental effort I'll go to the movie theater or pull up something on Netflix.

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