I've been mulling over what the underlying features and mechanics of what made King's Quest so appealing would be and have tried to organise my thoughts in this post. Besides the obvious "It's gotta be a fun fantasy adventure with lush storybook graphics and deaths lol!" point of view.
Each episode would have to cover a wide variety of areas. For instance, say KQ5 was a Telltale "season". The first episode would take place in the first main area (the town, dark forest, desert, wooded areas, etc). The second episode would be the snowy mountains, the beach, and sailing the ocean (though puzzles would have to be longer). And the final episode would be Mordack's island. Now, that's only 3 episodes, but honestly I'd rather have 3 long episodes than 5 short ones. And I wouldn't mind waiting longer either. But if it absolutely must be 5 episodes then trimming each one down a bit or cutting them in half would make a great 5-episode King's Quest "season". But there has to be a lot of areas to explore in each episode. You shouldn't have to wait for a new episode to explore somewhere that's in the same area as the first episode (the first areas of KQ5 being an example).
Some other things, the game shouldn't help you along. There should be one goal in mind (not many) as defined by the plot and introduction/story. The rest is up to the player on how to figure out how to reach the end of that goal by discovering obstacles and solving the puzzles of those obstacles. Take KQ1. What's the goal? Find 3 treasures. How? What do you mean how? That's the game. Figure it out! This is an adventure game! Take KQ4. What's the goal? Save your father by finding a magical fruit and try to help the fairy Genesta by getting her medallion back. How? Figure it out. Honestly, the stories of King's Quest weren't that complicated. There was just a lot of convolution in attaining the end goal because of the large world that was created. Solve one puzzle to solve another to solve another etc where everything is connected until you can move on to the next area of obstacles and repeat the process to reach that ultimate goal. I don't even think KQ7 or even MOE was that complicated story-wise. King's Quest really took the best of good (but simple) storytelling and excellent game mechanics to create the best gaming experiences I've ever had.
Take KQ5 again. What's the goal? Save your family. How do you do that? Well, Cedric flies you to Serenia and that's a large step closer but the fairy dust wears off. Crispin tells you that Mordack's island lies beyond the mountains. So how do you go beyond the mountains? There's a snake (a pooooisonous snake!) in the way. How do you get rid of it? Who knows? Come back to it later. You'll have to do some looking around. As you explore you discover new areas, items, puzzles, and characters with dilemmas that you must help them with. And you realise that you've got a lot to do before you can even think about going over those mountains because there's a whole realm of areas on this side of the mountain that holds some purpose yet. You solve each puzzle and help each character and get something in return for it all the while discovering solutions to puzzles you've seen previously because you didn't have the proper item before (the 'Aha! I can use this now!' moments, those were huge in King's Quest). Each solved obstacle lets you get closer and closer to the journey's end and the attaining the ultimate goal. But you figured it all out on your own.
The point in all this is there is no clear cut sign pointing you in the direction you have to go in King's Quest games beyond your own curiosity and ingenuity. All you have is a conflict/dilemma and a goal. The rest is up to you to figure out for yourself.
The game also has to feel dangrous. This is a large adventurous and perilous world. YOU are the character. You aren't PLAYING the character. So everything should feel dangerous around you. If you make a wrong step you pay for it. Because that's the way the world is. It adds to the realism and immersion. That's huge. Deaths as well as not being able to continue immediately before your death is crucial. Autosaves in certain areas would be fine I think, but "retries" are horrible for portraying this feeling of danger to your experience. A Restore/Restart/Quit window with autosaves that don't take place right before a death is the way to go in my opinion.
So to sum up:
-Only one goal in mind. Everything else you figure out on your own as you discover the world.
-The world has to be big and full of life and obstacles to get in your way to block you from that goal. Don't give the WHOLE world away all at once, but a lot of it. There has to be some excitement to see new areas, which is what puzzles like getting rid of the snake and fixing the boat in KQ5 were all about. Getting to that new area at last!
-The game has to be dangerous and cause real feelings of suspense, thrill, and excitement. There has to be a possibility of utter failure in the gaming experience if this is to work.
Originally Posted by TomPravetz
This is the internet and you made a typo. Therefore, I won this argument. My opinion is now fact.
Last edited by MusicallyInspired; 03/26/2011 at 02:47 pm.