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How important do you think a narrator is?

posted by caeska on - last edited - Viewed by 1.8K users

There are a couple of things I'd really like to see carried over from the previous King's Quest point & click games. Firstly, a narrator like there's been in KQ5, KQ6 and the fan-project The Silver Lining. A narrator just adds that much more feeling to the game, and I for one would be very disappointed if the Telltale game doesn't have a narrator.

Secondly, something I think is equally important is additional ways to interact with objects in the game world. The Sierra model has always had changeable icons for looking, touching and talking, while the Telltale adventure games do not have this feature. In the Telltale games you click on something, and the character will do whatever he's scripted to do, whether it's talking or picking something up or commenting on it.

Adventure games need to have the ability to just examine something, and in the King's Quest franchise this is especially important.
There should be the traditional "hand, eye, talk" icons and a narrator with a wide array of voice-acted lines to make the game world feel a bit more three-dimensional, or it just won't do justice to the King's Quest genre at all.

So I'm curious, what are other people's views on this? How do you feel about the TT games so far only having a mouse-pointer that doesn't change into for example an examine-icon?
And is a narrator something you guys will be expecting?

49 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @Valiento said: Even Roberta in the end thought narrators were pointless and took from the player's ability to become the character. That was one of her reasons for removing them in her later games. I can't remember any games by her that had narrators in her KQ7, Phantasmagoria, and KQ8 years.

    Yeah, but there is such a thing as over-developing a work of art. Sierra hit on a winning formula with KQ5, refined it a bit with KQ6, and then decided to reinvent the wheel just for the sake of keeping true to their "experimenting with the latest tech" roots. And then the series took a major dump and never recovered. The end. Roberta didn't know how to quit while she was ahead. Yet another reason why contacting Roberta was such an empty gesture.

  • @MusicallyInspired said: Yes, but in the KQ6 intro the cinematic ends with the ship sinking underwater and the game title comes up. Once gameplay starts you wake up on a beach during the day with no idea how you got there or what's going on. That's different from say a cinematic which would show the transition of Alex washing up on shore and ending on a camera angle where the plank is to make the person look there as a point of interest. And even in KQ5, the introduction cinematic is fairly explanatory of what you must accomplish by the end of the game, but it doesn't tell you how to get there at all. You're basically on your own to figure out how to get past the snake, which is half the game right there!

    Right. I wasn't arguing that there should be a lot of cinematics and exposition in a King's Quest game, I was just pointing out that what exposition there is usually comes from a dialogue-driven cinematic rather than narration. The narrator's job in a King's Quest game is to describe the game world and events as they take place during the gameplay, not to provide the backstory.

  • @thesporkman said: Right. I wasn't arguing that there should be a lot of cinematics and exposition in a King's Quest game, I was just pointing out that what exposition there is usually comes from a dialogue-driven cinematic rather than narration. The narrator's job in a King's Quest game is to describe the game world and events as they take place during the gameplay, not to provide the backstory.

    Yeah, that's the way Sierra did it. Part of my point was that Telltale might not do it the same way. If they're not going to give us many points of interaction or the game-world and event descriptions that go along with them -- ie. if the game is like all their others with the single mode of interaction -- then I could see Telltale still keeping the narrator but giving him/her a different "job". I'm not saying that's a good thing, believe me. Just that I could see it going that way.

  • I can see where late sierra and ttg would say well the art is clear enough to not have to narrate everything because you can see it for yourself clear as day... But I like the narrator it adds the the playing a storybook vibe.

    Also I never felt like WAS the kq character I always felt more like I was helping the character in a great story.... I do not need to feel like its me there.. Otherwise it would be a first person game.

    I say make the effort get someone great with range to narrate I'm looking at you kid beyond.

  • @Irishmile said: I can see where late sierra and ttg would say well the art is clear enough to not have to narrate everything because you can see it for yourself clear as day... But I like the narrator it adds the the playing a storybook vibe.

    Also I never felt like WAS the kq character I always felt more like I was helping the character in a great story.... I do not need to feel like its me there.. Otherwise it would be a first person game.

    I say make the effort get someone great with range to narrate I'm looking at you kid beyond.

    This is exactly why I never bought that "narrations destroy your immersion in the character" garbage. Sierra tried to make that argument, and I never bought it then either. Sierra failed to understand that narrations are a design choice, and they have pros and cons just like any other design choice. They treated narrations like baggage to be dumped when they made KQ7. Good narrations make the game feel like a storybook being read to you, which is precisely the right fit for a fairytale series like KQ. Heck, Sierra even made the design choice to change the narration style from first person to third person voice in KQ5 and 6. There is no other reason to make that change unless you are shooting for the storybook feel.

  • I do think the narration adds a certain charm. I think that when you start taking elements like that out of KQ you start to take away things that made it unique.

  • Hm, tough question. While I never thought too much of the King's Quest narrator, I LOVED the Space Quest IV narrator, as I felt it added to the over-the-top cheesy sci-fi movie atmosphere that made me love the game. With that in mind, I can see how the narrator in King's Quest could give this sort of vibe of a storyteller reading a fairytale to a child, or something along the line of that, that could add to the atmosphere. So I guess a narrator is kind of important.

    As for multiple icons, once again, hard for me to say. I wasn't a big fan of cycling through the icons in Kings Quest or Space Quest. It just felt a bit tedious having to cycle through several useless commands (seriously, how many times did you have to use the smell feature? Though some funny lines did come out of it) to find the one you want. I loved the system LucasArts used in Full Throttle though, when the icons came up after holding down the mouse button and you could quickly select what you wanted to do. I also liked typing what I wanted my character to do in the early Kings/Space Quest games, but that was hampered by the limited vocabulary of the games. Once again though, I'll say it would be more good than bad.

  • @Pocketim said: I loved the system LucasArts used in Full Throttle though, when the icons came up after holding down the mouse button and you could quickly select what you wanted to do.

    This is what became the "verb coin" I mentioned above, because the pop-up looked like a coin in the later Curse of Monkey Island. I liked that FT/CoMI interface mechanism, too. :) (But I never really disliked any of the various means for choosing among verbs, the important thing was having multiple verbs in the first place.)

  • I think a narrator is important, but it should rather underline the story than become an entire character of its own. I am not entirely sure I enjoy the immense narration that takes place in TSL, but its great they chose a woman to narrate. I think the lady who plays the computer's voice in Star Trek Voyager would be fantastic for the official installment in the KQ series!

  • That lady is Majel Barret and she did the computer voice for most of TOS and all Star Treks that came after that. She also was Gene Roddenberry's wife (creator of Star Trek). She's also dead.

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