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How important do you think a narrator is?

posted by caeska on - last edited - Viewed by 556 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
  • TSL's narrator has more in common with space quest than KQ, Graham and the narrator even talk to each other... Way to much 4th wall breaking stuff.

    But it was worse than SQ because she drones on and on, nagging and nattering, at times insulting or condescending to the player (narrator in SQ usually just insulted Roger), and tries too hard to be funny. Gary Owens actually is funny. It all just comes off feeling forced.

  • TSL's narrating is definitely out of place. And over-explanatory. Nothing like KQ. And like you said, the humour doesn't even measure up to SQ. But it's just a fangame.

  • I feel bad for recommending a dead lady to be the narrator now. How about Betty White?

  • I always felt like the extensive narration in the CD-ROM KQ games was a leftover from the text adventure days, when the player had to EXAMINE every object available looking for clues. There were no visual or audio cues, and as the games were strictly text and turn-based there were no animation timing hints either. So any identifiable object would have a description written for it.

    In the case of KQ V, it was pretty obvious that the text was written for popup windows and felt (IMO) longwinded when read aloud. The streamlining that has occurred in this area is welcome, in my book.

    And I agree with those who felt narration was distancing once we entered the "talkie" era. I'd rather have the character give me his or her impressions firsthand, from the character's own perspective at this point in the story, than some mostly-omnisicient but occasionally oddly-limited narrator. I write for radio once in a while and I always have to remind myself, "Don't TELL the listener what's going on too much -- whenever possible, find a way to communicate through sound effects and dialogue."

  • I don't think the multiple interactions are needed, if there are other good qualities. like fun puzzles, or multiple endings. A narrator would be cool, but once again, not really needed.

  • Don't forget about Leisure Suit Larry 6 & 7. The narrator in those games gave description and mocked Larry as well. I really enjoyed the narrator in Love for Sail

  • Yeah the narrator in the Larry games provide opportunities to tell a joke that wouldn't make sense for the characters on screen to say...

  • I'd argue that the narrator in early KQ games was there to give the games more of the 'storybook' feel. If you read most fairytale, and the narrator is the one that tells you the story, and gives you background details related to characters, events and places...

    If you remember KQ is inspired by the fairy tale storybook it makes absolute sense to have teh narrator in there for that reason. As long as it doens't get too long winded. It gives the game 'style' and a 'feel'. Something it kinda of lost in KQ7, and KQ8.

  • I think narration works best when it truly is narration -- setting up the story, or covering a transition handled offscreen, written and delivered as if by a storyteller (the Voodoo Lady in some chapters of TOMI handles this role nicely.) It can be very effective for framing an epic tale.

    What I disliked was having an audible narrator describe objects visible onscreen -- these popup blurbs never felt like they flowed when read aloud, and they were usually much quicker to scan in text form. "An old lamp hangs on the line." "Another old lamp waits for a customer." "This old lamp is a fine-looking antique." "A rusty lamp looks just heavy enough to KILL ME NOW."

    A lot of incidental details that a proper story would edit out or summarize were dragged kicking and screaming into the audiovisual era in KQ V and VI.

  • @gamingafter40 said:
    What I disliked was having an audible narrator describe objects visible onscreen -- these popup blurbs never felt like they flowed when read aloud, and they were usually much quicker to scan in text form. "An old lamp hangs on the line." "Another old lamp waits for a customer." "This old lamp is a fine-looking antique." "A rusty lamp looks just heavy enough to KILL ME NOW."



    The point of narration I think is to get you immersed in the story, which they did splendidly in KQ6 in particular. Narration can't be bland, generic or unimaginative. The narrator in KQ6 does a great job of describing the important objects which are needed to advance the story, but he also describes unimportant objects in a way I think is entertaining.

    For example if you look at a rock on the Isle of Crowns: "Rocks abound on this mystical island."
    Or if you try to talk to a rock: "The rocks remain silent, as they have been for ages untold."

    The seriousness and objectivity with which the narrator says these things always makes me smile :)
    John Bell in the KQ redux games is also a dear favorite of mine, some of his comments are questionable but he never really broke the fourth wall.
    A narrator in a KQ game has to be detached from the actual story, only recounting the events that take place in the game without being involved in the story itself.

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