User Avatar Image

How to Handle Deaths (Revised Poll)

posted by chucklas on - last edited - Viewed by 1.6K users

There has been much debate over how to handle deaths in this game. I want to present a single option asd ask, would this be ok with you?

So, if they were to implement the retry option as the default and allow the user to disable it and only save manually if they choose, would you be satisfied with that compromise?

168 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • User Avatar Image

    I don't have an ultimate veto power. It was more of a heated up conversation and me exposing the reasons why it should be implemented and finally convincing the rest of the directors that it was the way to go.

    After analyzing it a lot, to me, having to constantly save in fear of trying things becomes a distraction to the immersion of the game. I don't consider having to access an interface to enter some random name on a save file part of the gameplay, and it's something that interrupts the experience --especially when you become self conscious about it. I recently replayed Kyrandia and it was a pain to have to do it.

    There's a counter argument to this in which people say that if you add instant retries, then you remove the element of danger of the game. There is truth to this, but the problem with King's Quest is that deaths can be totally random. I'm of the mentality that repeating a bunch of things that you already did is not fun --essentially because if it happens, you start to skip through everything quickly so that you can go back to the point where you were because normally adventure games do not offer the different replay experience that other genres do (such as using a different attack strategy or a different magic spell to say something) --I personally do not enjoy this in this type of game, and I'm sure there are many others that don't either. To me, it's an "old-school" thing that I was so happy to see changed when they started to do so.

    Now, if they add both options of retry and restore, whoever wants to play by the old rules can do that --which is the way TSL is set up. If you don't like it easy, simply omit the fact that there is a retry button. If you use it, it means you actually prefer the option.

  • This is the first time I've fully agreed with everything Cez has written. Good job. Save early save often was such a weird thing that everyone just accepted. Anytime you thought there was danger you would save but sometimes you would die randomly so you'd save when you enter every single room, then your saves would overwrite the earliest ones because hey, who would ever go back there. Then you found out you used the boot at the wrong time and now you have no pie for the yeti. Even though you've saved early and often you're totally boned when it comes to yeti pie.

    Obviously this was mostly restricted to King's Quest V but unless the danger is immediately obvious, cliffs of logic, ogres on screen, or an archer with a bow poised at you from the top of a gate it's really counter intuitive to be saving all the time. Monkey Island did have a couple of spoof deaths in the series and they implemented the retry option or the story just keeps on chugging. Sure these are jokes at Sierra's expense but they're well deserved.

    Saving does work for Quest For Glory though(because I see where you would argue this), even if you didn't die in an action sequence it's totally conceivable to die when you're riddled with arrows on a frontal assault on a brigand camp or get killed by the seduction of the Resulka. These are acceptable deaths that happen outside of combat because the game is constantly threatening you, however in what I can only think of as one exception in QFG1 you can use the same file the entire game for saving and not be screwed. I'd be against autosaving for the same reason I would in any other RPG.

  • Despite all of this, retries negate the effect of a death in a game. If that's the way adventures MUST go then remove deaths altogether because there's no point for them. But then there goes half the experience. I couldn't disagree more.

    I think I'm done with this debate. What's been said has been said a hundred times on both fronts and neither ends are closer to being persuaded or even understood. I'll just lament the end of adventure games due to the overruling of simple puzzle games.

  • I don't personally see a need to turn off the Retry option, but if it makes hardcore fans happy, then I'm all for it. To me, the deaths were always for fun, not for dead-ness.

  • User Avatar Image

    @MusicallyInspired said:

    I think I'm done with this debate. What's been said has been said a hundred times on both fronts and neither ends are closer to being persuaded or even understood. I'll just lament the end of adventure games due to the overruling of simple puzzle games.

    Actually, I did say I understand the element of removal of danger. I just don't necessarily agree, personally, but, because I understand it, I said it's fine to have the "retry, restore, quit" option. Then anyone can decide how they want to play it.

    I do not see, however, how forcing you to remember to save changes the difficulty of a game. That should come from the game itself, the puzzles, the experience, and again, I fail to see how having to go to a save menu needs to be part of that experience altogether (except for the fact that it was a common thing to have to do in the past).

    For example and *spoilers* ahead on King's Quest VI: You go to the isle of Wonder and save. You go get the lettuce, and figure out it will help you in the isle of Beast. You go to the Isle of Beast, try it on the pond, yes, it works! Cross the pond, get killed by an arrow. Now you restore the game. Your experience to get back to where you were is EXACTLY the same. The difficulty of the pond/lettuce puzzle did not change at all, you just have to repeat something you already figured out. Now, if because of dying now the lettuce isn't where it used to be, or now the pond is red and you have to use something different instead --that would have changed the difficulty because now you have to rethink the puzzle you just solved, not just repeat the motions that you just did. As it is, Adventure Games hardly do something like that, and dying is more of an annoyance than a challenge.

    for me, like Snabott said, I enjoy the deaths because they are fun, never because they pushed me back 40 mins in gameplay because I forgot to save :) I can live with this in an RPG, or an action game --like I said, I can try different things as I do it a second time, but not in an adventure game.

  • @Cez said: I said it's fine to have the "retry, restore, quit" option. Then anyone can decide how they want to play it.


    It's Restore/Restart/Quit and Retry/Quit.

    There should not be a Retry/Restore/Quit screen because if the option to retry is always right there in front of you, why the heck not use it?

    There should be an option(s) in the settings (as well as perhaps at the start of a new game) to turn "Retry" on or off and/or to turn Autosave on or off.

    Retry shouldn't just always be there on the death screen expecting hardcore fans not to use it.


  • User Avatar Image

    If a "hardcore" fan is so determined to want to play "old school" they will use the restore. If the same fan uses "retry" instead of "restore" that means that the fan is just talking crap and at the end such fan prefers the easy way out. That's the same thing as turning it on and off at the beginning of the game.

    If your point of view holds, what's the point of the "restart" button, other than if you never saved the game at all. In a way, "Retry, Restore, Quit" and "Restore, Restart, Quit" are almost the same thing in terms of "if there's a save, why not use that instead", as opposed to, you get killed, it's the ultimate penalty, you have to start from the beginning. The decision is always made by the player at the end on how they wish to take the challenge.

    In a way, the "restore" is a cheat implemented by designers so that you could just save your game and not have you start from the beginning all over again every time. In the same way, the retry allows you to not have to replay small sections of the game again. Games became longer, and one could argue that saving became a necessity, but in the days of King's Quest I, you could certainly finish that game in one sitting without needing to save. The point I'm trying to make is that "save" itself is a cheat already, so what's the problem of taking it to the next level? In the Nintendo days, there was almost no saving function. You had to finish games like Mario and Mario 2 in one sitting and with limited lives --now THAT'S hardcore. I don't hear complaints about being able to save in Super Mario Galaxy, however. Again, you can argue length of a game as a defining factor, and you can say that games like Mario only allow you to save every time you clear a level, but then again, I can enjoy playing and replaying a mario level. It's always a different experience.

  • *is glad Zelda let you save your game*

  • @Cez said: The point I'm trying to make is that "save" itself is a cheat already, so what's the problem of taking it to the next level?

    I get what you're saying, and in some ways I agree with it, but isn't this the logic that led to "adventure game" travesties like BttF? Interactive movies that have no "game" value at all? The logic is basically, "IF such and such is good, then such and such times ten will be even better!!"

    Basically, following your logic, if people like cinematic elements in adventure games, then why not just go all the way and make the games so movie-like that basically the player isn't playing anything anymore? We've all seen how well THAT worked out.

    You're basically saying that if something is good in moderation, then it will also be good in excess, which most certainly is not always the case. :)

  • User Avatar Image

    It's more of a case by case scenario, and really looking at what is it that made it good or bad. Certainly, the cutscene experience enhances the game, but you are right that there is a question of what is too far. I wouldn't mind a cinematic experience as long as the gameplay is still there. And then, as some games have already shown, sometimes they put you in control of the cinematic experience, which is taking this a step further --for example, by controlling them through quick time events to say something.

    But with this particular case, it's a flawed design choice for reasons already stated. It's something that doesn't work as good as it could work. "Retry" is a way to deal with it, but as I pointed out, there are other ways to deal with it --change the puzzles and give me something different as a penalty for dying, for example. My bottom line is that repeating actions in an adventure game just because you didn't save and you like to explore everything, most likely resulting in a death, is just not fun because there's no added challenge to doing so (and there's even less fun in becoming self-conscious of saving every 5 mins)

    Or, maybe the solution is to present you with the option of the death, but then give you an element that you look around for retries (almost like somehow finding extra "lives" within the game and hide these in an extra challenge way so that you can prevent these situations by means of being prepared), or put you in a dangerous situation in which you triggered a death sequence, but you can still save the day by going into a QTE sequence, or something.

    Again, it's just a question of making it better in a way and less unfair/random/absolute. Making something that was there and was a cool element of previous games something much better (as opposed to making it crappier like the all cutscenes experience you mentioned).

Add Comment