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Simple or complicated story telling?

posted by BagginsKQ on - last edited - Viewed by 495 users

What do you prefer?

Do you prefer how the original KQ series kept the plots mainly stand-alone, with only a few 'plot points' tied together... There are very few 'interconnected' bits between the games (beyond just occasional narrative reference or backstories in the manuals)? With the understanding that later KQ games particularly KQ3-7 started adding more and more character development, and connecting some events and characters (but certainly not every single villain or character together of the series). In general only two to three games of the series were ever connected directly, in self contained story arcs, KQ1/KQ2, KQ3/KQ5/KQ6, KQ3/KQ4, KQ4/KQ7, etc. Sierra gave only simple details bridging the stories inbetween each game in the series(oftentimes mentioned only in the manual, or the following game's introduction cinema). By simple, thus does not mean an individual story or mini-arc will lack depth, just that it avoids 'complicated' plot twists tieing more than one game together by every detail. It is very possible for individual games (or mini-arcs) to contain their own individual depth. Remember simple does not equal 'depth'.

Or do you prefer how many of the fan games do it, connecting every little story together, under grand series arching prophecies... With all villains organized, connected, in unison in an attempt to manipulate the royal family, and rule the world. Most if not all subplots are part of the greater whole.

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  • The Tales of Monkey Island approach would definitely work best, but Telltale should absolutely be careful to limit the game's "connections" with previous games in the series.

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    Vainamoinen Moderator

    @Irishmile said: I know KQ has been traditionally simple... but I think I would rather a story with some depth..

    But a simple story can have depth as well! It might not be the the example for everyone, but I think that James Cameron's Avatar achieved a relatively impressive emotional depth with a really simple story. The same is true for a lot of my favorite games. That might not be everyone's cup of tea, though. ;)

  • Ya that is true.

    People shouldn't confuse 'simple' with lack of depth. Depth is a completely different factor.

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    exo

    It doesn't matter how complex a story is if it is told well. Examining authors who have mastered short fiction I think will show that 'smart' writing, foreshadowing, and subtlety will out weigh heavy handed writing any day.

    Unfortunately I think that is where fan games fall - they don't have a "professional" writer outlining the events and making sure each line of dialogue is worth recording.

    We have all played games that are gorgeous visually and full of interesting gameplay, but with horrid voice acting and cliche dialogue. It can ruin an otherwise great game. I think games like Zork and the such show that the average person is much quicker to forgive graphics and technojazz if the story is compelling and well written.

    As far as the game goes, I think I'd rather see a new nemesis. Going back to any previous villain inherently invites more comparison than is necessary, and I just don't see that being a positive thing.

    I agree that the story line needs to be connected, but i fear that an episodic game will ground the protoganist too much in small areas. Part of KQ for me was exploration. If I was forced to play KQ6 island by island, without deciding where I wanted to go next.... well, that would have taken away the expansiveness of the world. KQ always did a great job of making the world feel bigger than it truly was (I think I read this elsewhere on these forums previously). Finding a flower on one island that can be used on another island is key to making the world seem linked, and not a series of bus stops.

    The more episodic it is, then the more linear it is. There is something to be said for walking through KQ4 and seeing the haunted house for the first time at night, or cupid by the pool. As a 12 year old, it made me want to stay away from certain parts of the map at certain times of day - and I don't believe any game ever instilled that sense of avoidance in me before. Going in and conquering those damn zombies was a milestone for me and made that sequence very memorable. Maybe I am wrong, but my assumption is - if you took kq4 and made it episodic.... then you have a very specific part of the game were you are forced to deal with this section of the game, and you can't make the decision on your own to explore elsewhere for the time being.... hence making it much more linear.

    I just love exploration though, which is why I currently live in Skyrim.

  • I think a problem with TTG's episodic gaming is that the physical separation between chapters (each chapter it technically its own individual game) creates an unavoidable disconnect in the story. In ToMI, when I was exploring Flotsam Island in Chapter 4, I didn't really feel like I was revisiting Chapter 1's Flotsam at night. The fact that each chapter is its own game forces a barrier between locations. I think the physical separation of each episode into its own physical game, on its own, limits the feeling of exploration. When you start Chapter 2, whatever you did in Chapter 1 didn't matter because you could have physically started Chapter 2 having never played Chapter 1 before. The story suffers if you do that, but the gameplay doesn't. That's not right.

    Here's where I mention King's Quest 7. King's Quest 7 does have chapter separations, but each chapter immediately segues into the next (like the first four Monkey Island games do). We don't encounter the physical break of being kicked back out to the OS and having to run the next chapter. Also, in Chapter 5 we get the opportunity to travel across the entire land at will (with the exception of Vulcanix). This freedom of movement further ties the different chapters together, in how we're not made to feel forced to visit a previous area because we have to, but that we can visit a previous area because we want to. I know KQ3 and KQ5 have their own sections that once you leave a certain area you can't then return to it, but these games do not have chapter breaks with the ability to start the game at any chapter at any time (which makes all previous activity in the game feel predetermined and moot).

  • Chyron, you make a great point. I never understood why in many Telltale games we weren't allowed to simply launch into the next episode right from the menu screen. It seems to me that creating a global menu system that could connect to each installed episode without breaking back out to the desktop would not only be pretty simple, but also like you said, ultimately beneficial to the player's immersion.

  • Actually in KQ7 one of the major problems is that the chapters are more or less simultaneous/parallel to each other. They are not linear.

    Chapter 1 and chapter 2 are parallel.

    Chapter 3 and 4 begin where chapter 1 and 2 ended.

    Chapter chapter 3 & 5 are relatively parallel to 4.

    And 6 takes place after 4 & 5.

    There are quite a few reviewers found the approach confusing. For example rosella and Valanice would have to pass each other in the woods but never see each other. And Rosella reaches Falderal after Valanice saved the moon, but she doesn't save the moon until the next chapter. Beyond that there really is only the 'Nymph Statue' to offer any clue how the 'two storylines' overlap, as to where Rosella is in relation to Valanice at any given time. For example IIRC, when you first get the statuette, Rosella is just escaping from the underground into Ooga Booga, and later when you get a chance to use it again, she's just about to leave the swamp into the woods (as you are about to enter into the woods).

    With the first couple of chapters you have to wait until, the chapter after to see the ending to the cliffhanger.

    Personally I hope telltale avoids this approach. I don't want to wait 3-5 months for chapter 3 to see the end of the cliffhanger in chapter 1.

  • @BagginsKQ said: Actually in KQ7 one of the major problems is that the chapters are more or less simultaneous/parallel to each other.

    I thought this was clever.

    There are quite a few reviewers found the approach confusing.

    I didn't find it confusing at all. On first playthrough, I did wonder if I could figure out where Rosella/Valanice was and run into her, but it didn't confuse me. If people are confused about the KQ7 timeline when playing the game, how much more would they have been confused by the Lord of the Rings timeline while reading the books? It's not Sierra's fault that some people confuse easily.

    I don't want to wait 3-5 months for chapter 3 to see the end of the cliffhanger in chapter 1.

    You have a point. However, when it all becomes fully available to buy together as one game, it won't matter so much.

    @BagginsKQ said: Chyron, I never understood why in many Telltale games we weren't allowed to simply launch into the next episode right from the menu screen. It seems to me that creating a global menu system that could connect to each installed episode without breaking back out to the desktop would not only be pretty simple, but also like you said, ultimately beneficial to the player's immersion.

    Unfortunately, I don't know if this will happen. So many Monkey Island fans asked for this to be done for ToMI (including myself,) but it never happened.

  • I didn't find it confusing at all either... I have no problem with the idea that they 'just missed each other' in the woods.

    But judging from the amount of interviews I've read, quite a few people did... There are quite a few fan sites, that claim the story has 'plot holes' as well.

    I know quite a few people who wouldn't want Telltale to mimic KQ7 as the end all and be all of KQ games. Especially since its the closest to a Lucasarts game in style and humor, it would be the easiest for them to mimic... But is that something that KQ should start turning into for the rest of history?

    ...and personally I'd prefer if they stick to one character for the entire story arc, as not to dilute the storyline any further than they have to...

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