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Risking Alienation

posted by wilco64256 on - last edited - Viewed by 612 users

I keep seeing comments from Telltale about how they use the model they do for games to keep from alienating players, but the more I see that concept the more I wonder about it. It seems that the more effort you put into "not" alienating players, the more players start showing up who start to get bothered by things being simplified. Back to the Future didn't alienate me because it was too difficult, it alienated me because it was far too simple.

I'm of the opinion that the best games knowingly take that risk of alienating people and accept that they're not going to please everyone. Some of the best games I've played in the last year (Demon's Souls, Resonance of Fate, Final Fantasy XIII) turned off a lot of people because of their mechanics, but I absolutely loved them.

I wonder what the balance is between not alienating people and still making a game that people enjoy playing.

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    puzzlebox Telltale Staff

    I'm with the Irishmile philosophy of modship. I wouldn't be a mod if it required me to say things I don't believe or unabashedly love every single thing Telltale does. If that were the case, there wouldn't be much point in us posting at all.

    The mods here are just fans same as everyone else, and opinions are kinda what the forums are here for... of course I generally like what the company does, otherwise I wouldn't have stuck around here for this long. ;)

  • Hey Puzzlebox, here are some sources on game completion rates :) In the last article, it says the industry average completion percentage, which is supposedly 20-25%

    Here's an interesting Gamesutra article that talks a little bit about this, http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4171/staying_power_rethinking_feedback_.php . It goes into the completion rates on some of the top games the year the article was published.

    http://www.1up.com/news/bioware-details-mass-effect-2-stats is a quick look at a single game. Bioware released some statistics about Mass Effect 2, and it showed that roughly 50% of players finished the game. This one strikes me as particularly crazy, since the game is both narratively driven, one of the most critically acclaimed games of the year and actually rewards you for completing it by allowing you to import your saves into Mass Effect 3.

    Finally, it seems to be true that more people finish adventure games, http://ps3.ign.com/articles/115/1153279p1.html . Turns out about 72% of gamers finished Heavy Rain.

    While I agree that it isn't necessairly a great reason to make games easier, I think it is most likely a consideration they take into account.

  • But does whether or not players finish a game have anything to do with sales? From what I was able to find, Heavy Rain moved about 500,000 copies in its first week, while Mass Effect 2 did over 2,000,000 in its first few days.

  • Yah Mass Effect 2 definately outsold Heavy Rain by a wide margin.

    But with Telltale doing game series like Wallace and Gromit, or Back to the Future, which might appeal more to casuals and movie fans than traditional adventure gamers, I just wonder how much the noticeably lessened difficulty is a result of a desire to make sure that the players do go through all the episodes. You don't want people to turn off a show after the 4th episode, even if they already bought the DVD set.

    In one of the Jurrasic Park video previews they even mention that they are going to have puzzles but they don't want anyone to ever get stuck.

    My hope is that when it comes to a King's Quest, which is going to appeal more to old-school adventure gamers, they will at least return to a Tales of Monkey Island challenge level. I always played King's Quest more for the puzzles and exploration than the story.

  • @icedan said: Isn't this the dilemma of games we have been seeing a lot in just about every genre these days?

    Imagine if Roberta Williams or Al Lowe were to make a game that looked and played exactly like one of their best games but with a new story, would you rush to it with drooling mouths? I think you would. Isn't it ironic that companies don't give what the fans want because it sounds economically stupid - who would make a game that looks like it came out of the early 90's, who would expect it to sell? This is exactly the kind of stigma that is probably hurting sales in the first place. Someone, somewhere has to take that "leap of faith", trust the fans arguments and see where it takes you, maybe the fans are right, maybe giving us what we want is actually more profitable.

    Many people in this forum and similar forums would rush to that with drooling mouths, yes. But why do you think that pleasing some hardcore fans on obscure adventure game forums is going to equate with commercial success? (I'm speaking more to the fact that you seem to want graphics to be identical to those from 1991, I have no comment on gameplay).

    The "leap of faith" that adventure game companies have to take is to actually get current with technology (Telltale is still not there - compare their latest with Heavy Rain), not step back further.

  • I think the biggest challenge in relaunching King's Quest is going to be blending the Lucasarts-inspired storytelling style of Telltale with the more technology/puzzle-driven Sierra approach. I never cared much about any of the stories in King's Quest I-VII (I have not played VIII), and most of the characters were simply obstacles, unsuited to conversation-driven puzzles of the sort I love in the "talkie" era.

    Sir/King Graham is pretty much a cipher -- we don't know anything much about his personality, other than that he is an unfailingly good and just adventurer/ruler except when it comes to stealing things and coldheartedly murdering people different from himself. :) Modern adventure game characters have humor and flaws and deeply-felt emotions; King Graham was so busy being admirable that he couldn't even be bothered to go looking for his kidnapped infant son, and seemed only mildly enthusiastic about his return some 18 years later.

  • If you want a deeply emotional King Graham with flaws then check out The Silver Lining.

    :D

  • Speaking of which

    Is that Silver Lining game any good? I've only seen some screenshots, which look pretty much like The Sims 2 to me, but if the story/gameplay is good, I'd probably still want to play it.

  • Hahahaha! The Sims. Excellent. The models do kind of look that way hehe. Anyway, it depends on what you're into. The graphics are actually spectacular for a fangame. It's not perfect, but definitely fantastic for a fangame.

    Story-wise, eh....it's very VERY dark. Be prepared for that. A lot of retcons, some of them blasphemous to some.

    Game-play wise, it's not bad. Better than BTTF, anyway.

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