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What SHOULD be changed for the new KQ?

posted by gamingafter40 on - last edited - Viewed by 1.4K 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: I've heard of all of this before. Long-winded "defenses" that are nothing more than generalities about what Telltale has done in the past.


    Nothing I said was untrue though (you argued with me about the difficulty of The Devil's Playhouse. Fair enough, as a level of difficulty can be neither true nor untrue as it is subjective). Telltale hasn't released a game based on an adventure property since 2010, so we have to base our expectations on that release (based on Dan Connors own words that their games are broken up into categories). It's like casual games in 2009. Telltale hadn't released a casual game since 2007. They didn't drop them, they just took a break from them. Thus, it's logical that the same is true this time around, but in the opposite direction.

    @thom-22 said: I don't agree with that. Or at least I don't think being merely "respectful" (which is really too vague for useful analysis) is an adequate measure of how successful they are in adapting a license. Telltale has on occasion done what they wanted to do, regardless of whether it fit with the property or not. There were a number of aspects of Tales that I found to be quite un-Monkey Island-like. The Devil's Playhouse had a significantly different tone and style of humor than the previous seasons.


    They changed things around in The Devil's Playhouse and Tales of Monkey Island, no doubt (the complete overhaul of game mechanics in The Devil's Playhouse, a much more murderous LeChuck in Tales of Monkey Island, etc). Any change is due to alienate some portion of the fanbase, but I'm of the mind that change can be good. And I thought the change in those two franchises were worthwhile. The Monkey Island creators Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman thought the changes were good in Tales (and even contributed to them). Sam & Max creator Steve Purcell thought the changes in Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse were good (and ditto with the contributing to them). King's Quest creator Roberta Williams has offered advice to Telltale for King's Quest, which the team found "invaluable". So, it's likely there will be change. But, the change could be good for the franchise. We'll just have to wait and see.

    @thom-22 said: Rewind back to the time between The Devil's Playhouse and BTTF, their first "EZ" adventure. If you had said BTTF would follow a pattern established by previous games, you would have been wrong! You have absolutely no way of knowing that the pattern you're describing will hold.


    It does follow a pattern though. There were four Telltale CSI games starting in 2007, each an EZ adventure, and that was a licensed property not based on adventure games. Back to the Future is a licensed property not based on adventure games (or based on a property that already had an adventure game). Following that pattern, it would make sense that Back to the Future was an EZ adventure like CSI.

    @thom-22 said: It's simply not an answer to the things Telltale has repeatedly been saying in interviews and elsewhere about their game design philosophy. They didn't say, "we don't think walking around is important for how we want to do our Jurassic Park game in particular"; they said, "Walking around is boring." Period.


    It may not have been said explicitly, but it turned out to be referring just to the game play of Jurassic Park. There is walking around and exploring in The Walking Dead.

    The biggest point I was trying to make was about Dan Connors realizing that Back to the Future is a different category than Sam & Max and Monkey Island. This is a very good thing. Before that, I was worried too that they would carry the casual gameplay to King's Quest and any future adventure based property. The fact they know that Back to the Future is not a traditional adventure game is a load off my mind.

  • I think thom's point was more specifically that there was no way we could expect that The Walking Dead would allow walking, seeing as Telltale had previously gone on record for Jurassic Park (TWD's immediate predecessor) saying that "walking was boring". No more can we assume any less anything for any future titles based on design decisions and PR statements regarding their current games.

  • @Jennifer said: Nothing I said was untrue though

    I didn't say it was untrue, I said it was over-generalized and inconsequential.

    @Jennifer said: Telltale hasn't released a game based on an adventure property since 2010, so we have to base our expectations on that release

    No, we don't have to do that. I mean, you can if you want to, but you can't tell me I can't take into account Telltale's statements about game design and their lack of even the mildest affirmation that they intend to modify their current design principles for KQ when I express concerns about its prospects.

    @Jennifer said: It may not have been said explicitly, but it turned out to be referring just to the game play of Jurassic Park. There is walking around and exploring in The Walking Dead.

    Oh, FFS. Way to miss the forest for the trees. The walking thing was merely an example of how they have transitioned away from the fundamentals of adventure gaming. Of course they made some changes to the approach used in a game that was trashed from here to kingdom come by a huge majority of reviewers. But the basic structure of TWD is the same as JP: exceedingly linear gameworld, little exploration beyond the immediate environment, mundane tasks and simplistic, self-contained puzzles masquerading as gameplay. (I admit that I have not played TWD, but I am taking my information from credible sources, ie. players who are NOT fanboys/girls of Telltale.) It simply doesn't wash as evidence that Telltale is likely to do a complete 180° and give us a KQ that measures up to the originals in terms of meaningful exploration and interactive and puzzle-solving complexity.

    @Jennifer said: The biggest point I was trying to make was about Dan Connors realizing that Back to the Future is a different category than Sam & Max and Monkey Island. This is a very good thing. Before that, I was worried too that they would carry the casual gameplay to King's Quest and any future adventure based property. The fact they know that Back to the Future is not a traditional adventure game is a load off my mind.

    I'm sorry, but I find that laughable. Acknowledging that his fans see the obvious distinctions among their existing games produced by their own changes in approach to design is a far cry from saying he actually cares about making games using the previous approach.

  • Bottom line IMO is that there are two mindsets regarding the upcoming Telltale interpretation of King's Quest. None of us has seen anything concrete about the game, so all of this discussion is necessarily speculative. Those who are optimistic and those who are pessimistic can both find evidence to support their arguments based on Telltale's track record.

    I choose to be optimistic. But for the sake of self-awareness I will note that I'm not a huge fan of the King's Quest games to date -- I've played through all of them, but only once each in most cases -- so it's more likely that I will see changes as good things.

  • @gamingafter40 said: 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 agree. Graham comes off as a douche in part 5. For instance, refusing to give back the Gnome's spinning wheel unless he gets the grandson's puppet as a reward. Moreover, deceiving and holding the elf hostage until he tells him the way out of the maze. It was confusing considering that the guy was depicted as a kind and gentle king.

  • Come on Graham is the sort of king who would sacrifice his own daughter if it would save his own life!

    He also stole the leprichaun king's scepter!

  • Am I the only one who remembered Cedric? I hope to god he never appears in another game again.

  • I liked Cedric... Especially the non-voice version of the character...

    Richard Aronson's falsetto can be annoying...

  • @BagginsKQ said: Come on Graham is the sort of king who would sacrifice his own daughter if it would save his own life!

    He also stole the leprichaun king's scepter!

    Point taken

  • I can at least accept him pushing the witch to her death. I mean she did try to capture him outside in the woods... He had to duck to miss here! She kept on mumbling about making him dinner... She was heating up the oven, claiming she knew he was there, and preparing things for him... Plus in the remake, those children outside the cottage! She was likely the same witch who stole the magic chest, and wronged King Edward as well...

    She wasn't some 'little old lady'!

    Although, one could ask the moral and ethical questions, was it right for Graham to trespass on her property, to plan his attack? Plus the cheese and note robbery after?

    Plus, what's so wrong about killing a dragon? Perhaps his mistake was letting that dragon live! Maybe as it grew up, it grew two more heads, and came back for revenge! Maybe, it left to another kingdom and caused havoc, after it got its flames back?

    He has a weird mixed sense of justice...

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