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What SHOULD be changed for the new KQ?

posted by gamingafter40 on - last edited - Viewed by 468 users

There has been a lot of good discussion here about what makes King's Quest King's Quest, and what old-school styles and design elements we'd like to see retained. With that in mind, what are some things we feel SHOULD be changed for a new King's Quest? And what are some risks the new designers should be willing to take?

These are strictly my own opinions:

I for one would like to see more personality -- I never felt like I knew who Sir/King Graham really was as a person. Who is this man who apologizes for disturbing insects, yet pushes old women into ovens without thinking twice about it? Is he a wise and effective ruler, or in over his head?

I'd like to see a few conversation puzzles, along with traditional give-the-right-thing-to-the-right-character KQ interactions. There are always colorful characters in the KQ universe, and monologues don't tell us very much about them.

I'm also happy to let navigation challenges fade away -- spending twenty minutes gingerly edging around the poisonous thorns in KQ II (because I didn't find the better alternate solution, I know!) was not an experience I'm anxious to repeat. If we must have physical movement puzzles, let them be like climbing the aerie cliff in KQ VI, where it's more a matter of timing and planning a route than pixel-level maneuvering.

I'd like to see "background" elements that are transformable conceal themselves better -- this shouldn't be a problem now, but the VGA palette subdivision provided unintended hints in a few of the old games.

And I'd like to get rid of the absolute dead-ends the old games were prone to -- I realize this may be seen as dumbing-down by many, but I would argue that forced backtracking does not create play value either. I'm very happy to realize I must have missed something after beating my head against a puzzle -- but I'd like an opportunity to find my way back to where I can correct it, without having to replay what I've already done!

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @thom-22 said: When they're puzzles, ie. there is more than one possible outcome. The point is TT's dialogs never have any stakes; you just keep clicking until you hear everything.


    That's true for most of Telltale's games, but not The Walking Dead. The dialog choices lead to multiple paths with multiple outcomes. I'm definitely all for it if they implement this in King's Quest. :D

  • @Jennifer said: That's true for most of Telltale's games, but not The Walking Dead. The dialog choices lead to multiple paths with multiple outcomes. I'm definitely all for it if they implement this in King's Quest. :D



    Yes, I forgot about it in The Walking Dead :rolleyes: because it just came out and I have no interest in playing it. Does it come anywhere close to the deep branching gameplay of KQ6, or is it just another half-ass novelty for Telltale to overhype?

  • When they're puzzles, ie. there is more than one possible outcome. The point is TT's dialogs never have any stakes; you just keep clicking until you hear everything.



    Nah, even in Sierra games, when they were conversation 'puzzles' they weren't always part of more than one outcome, there was usually only one path. In Quest for Glory and Gabriel Knight for example. The 'puzzle' was simply to find a certain specific bit of information, that would give you a point. Learning that information then would allow you to ask about it from someone else, which is required to learn something important so you can move on in the game (I.E. you might not be able to pick up a certain item or evidence until you learn about it first from a conversation). Without the 'information' you can't go further. It's fairly linear. There were no 'multiple choice' questions/answers in general.

    Actually, KQ6 has a diaologue puzzles, but its rather linear, no choice version of a dialogue puzzle. That is to say you need to talk to someone, and learn a certain detail before you can push the game forward. I.E. the magic map dialogue puzzle (learn about Ali being friends with the Ferryman, and then learning about the Magic Map from the Ferryman, which then gives you the option to get the magic map from the Pawn Dealer and trade for it in the pawn shop). There are no choices in dialogue but its clearly a puzzle that has to be solved to get the map, and its pretty linear solution.

    Actually most of the telltale 'conversation puzzles' work this way... Learn information from dialogue, that then leads you to someone else, or an item. Very simplified dialogue puzzles. The only difference is that they give the player different comments to go about getting that information. From nice to more snarky choices. But all lead to the same outcome, just like in the old Sierra dialogue puzzles.

    Another example of a fetch quest/treasure hunt puzzles mixed with simple dialogue puzzle is the simple puzzles in Roberta William's Mixed-Up Mother Goose adventure game. Which basically involved talking to someone to learn what item you need to pick up, and then pickign up that item, and then bringing it back to the character who wanted it! It's probably one of the most simplified adventure games ever...

    Hey, that gives me a great idea for a fan game! Valanice (assuming she survives her suicide attempts in TSL) plots to murder Graham for what he did to Rosella, paralleling the Clytemnestra-Agamemnon-Iphigenia myths. LOL

    Eh, TSL isn't even the official continuation of KQ (and its not part of Telltale's continuation either), and even contradicts some details from the games or official spinoff material... You could take your fanfic anyway you want to...

  • @techie775 said: The one time graham pushed a women into an oven, she was a witch who kept turning kids into gingerbread, so I don't think graham needs a psych eval for that.



    I misspoke in my earlier post, he actually pushes her into a bubbling cauldron (at least in Sierra's EGA remake of KQ 1, which my memory was trying to summon up!) I'm being tongue-in-cheek about all of this, but I think what bothered me in this scene was Roberta Williams' insensitive prose: Sir Graham "courageously" pushes the woman to her gruesome death by sneaking up on her from behind, and the popup ends with "Congratulations!" No trial, no investigation about whether she could just change the children back; it just made me feel icky. :)

    At any rate, if Graham feels any moral ambivalence about his action here, or his killing of the Yeti and Dracula at other times, it's never really presented in-game. He seems much more upset that "Drat! My sled is broken!" in KQ V. :)

  • @BagginsKQ said: Nah, even in Sierra games, blah blah



    Baggins, I know all that. I said "when", as in "in those cases" -- I didn't assert that those cases weren't few and far between. My point was that Telltale overuses such dialog "puzzles", relative to other kinds of non-dialog puzzles and gameplay, in comparison to most adventure games (or most well-regarded classic adventure games with a few exceptions of course) whether Sierra, Lucasarts, Revolution, whatever. Yes, there were a lot of single-outcome dialogs in Gabriel Knight, but they were balanced with much more exploration and puzzle-solving so the dialogs never felt like filler.

    @BagginsKQ said: Eh, TSL isn't even the official continuation of KQ (and its not part of Telltale's continuation either), and even contradicts some details from the games or official spinoff material... You could take your fanfic anyway you want to...

    Jesus Christ, it was a joke!

  • I always think conversation "puzzles" are included more for entertainment value than for challenge -- they're great for setting up jokes, and they can also be valuable for optional character development, explored at the player's discretion. The times when we WANT to pick the impulsive, inappropriate response are a great way to explore the character's personality (and inner life), and the responses when we actually do so are usually fun.

    Playing "The Secret of Monkey Island" with a college buddy of mine in the pre-talkie days was terrific, because we could not resist voicing all of the characters out loud as we played. It would SO not have been the same experience if it were limited to puzzles and pop-up, non-interactive dialogues. The writing and characters made that game -- the gameplay was solid, too, but the reason I go back to it every now and then is for the interactive dialogue. "I'm Guybrush Threepwood, and I mean to kill you all!"

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @thom-22 said: Yes, I forgot about it in The Walking Dead because it just came out and I have no interest in playing it. Does it come anywhere close to the deep branching gameplay of KQ6, or is it just another half-ass novelty for Telltale to overhype?


    It's best to watch Telltale's new projects because whatever is in them is a good indicator of whether Telltale is listening to fan concerns and implementing things fans want in their games. The Walking Dead is a good sign for things to come.

    This feature is definitely not a novelty. They definitely do make for a deep branching gameplay because decisions you make affect the outcome of the episode you play, and they also carry over to the next episodes too (episode one already shows this as the episode two preview in episode one changes based on the decisions you make). In episode one, there's already at least four different outcomes, and when you figure in the branching based on your decisions in the next four episodes, the possible outcomes factor into the dozens.

    I hope Telltale continues using it in Fables and King's Quest and beyond, because I feel it's actually the best thing to happen to Telltale's episodic gaming structure since they switched to monthly episodes with Sam & Max Season One. It helps give the entire season a feeling of cohesiveness as a complete game in a way that was never there before.

  • @Jennifer said: This feature is definitely not a novelty. They definitely do make for a deep branching gameplay because decisions you make affect the outcome of the episode you play, and they also carry over to the next episodes too (episode one already shows this as the episode two preview in episode one changes based on the decisions you make). In episode one, there's already at least four different outcomes, and when you figure in the branching based on your decisions in the next four episodes, the possible outcomes factor into the dozens.



    Maybe. That's if they don't just have 4 alternate pathways that simply don't deviate much through the entire season. We'll have to see.

    I think the main point thom was trying to get across is that conversation puzzles shouldn't be the ONLY puzzles.

  • @gamingafter40 said: I always think conversation "puzzles" are included more for entertainment value than for challenge



    Of course. But include too many at the expense of other kinds of gameplay and you don't really have a game anymore; you have a trivially interactive content-delivery system. If Telltale wants to do that to its TV/movie properties, fine, but it is the antithesis of what King's Quest is.

    @gamingafter40 said: It's best to watch Telltale's new projects because whatever is in them is a good indicator of whether Telltale is listening to fan concerns and implementing things fans want in their games. The Walking Dead is a good sign for things to come.

    The Walking Dead is simply a very good fit for Telltale's existing game design philosophy and the kinds of things they've been saying they want to do wrt storytelling. It's an evolution of a design they tried to graft, Frankenstein-like, onto Jurassic Park for which it was NOT an appropriate fit, and for which many fans said -- way in advance! -- that it wasn't an appropriate fit.

    Moreover, Telltale has consistently portrayed their trivially interactive content-delivery system game-style not merely as something different, to be used only where appropriate, but as some kind of "wave of the future", an "improvement" or "correction" or "modernization" of the basic structure and elements of classic adventure gaming for which they have, on various occasions, expressed utter disdain.

    So I cannot rationally regard TWD as evidence that Telltale responds to fans or take it on faith :rolleyes: that they're going to do a 180° on game design, which is the only possible way to do KQ right.

    @gamingafter40 said: I hope Telltale continues using it in Fables and King's Quest and beyond

    I hope they don't, only because there's only so much they can fit into those teeny tiny episodes and they need to focus on more important aspects of getting KQ right. Dialog "puzzles" -- whether single or multiple outcome -- do NOT make a game in and of themselves.

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    Jennifer Moderator

    @thom-22 said: Of course. But include too many at the expense of other kinds of gameplay and you don't really have a game anymore; you have a trivially interactive content-delivery system. If Telltale wants to do that to its TV/movie properties, fine, but it is the antithesis of what King's Quest is.


    I don't think they'll ditch the traditional game play in favor of having more conversation puzzles. They definitely don't have to go to the extremes of The Walking Dead with you choosing which character to save and the other stays dead in the upcoming episodes (and I really don't see how that could work in King's Quest anyway), but branching dialog choices that affect the gameplay from episode to episode would certainly be a welcome thing. There's no reason Telltale can't make a series with plenty of inventory puzzles as well as a good mix of dialog puzzles and branching dialog.

    I highly doubt they'll treat King's Quest like The Walking Dead (but as I said, implementing the multi-episode branching dialog feature introduced in that series wouldn't be a bad thing). Telltale have said they still plan to make games in several adventure game styles (adventure game (ala Sam & Max and Monkey Island), EZ adventure (ala Back to the Future) and cinematic adventure (ala Jurassic Park or The Walking Dead). King's Quest would fall into the first category, and Telltale knows this.

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