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Gordon_Shea
10th Oct 2010, 06:26
In a recent post on the Bioware forums, David Gaider revealed that the usual process for creating a character in a bioware game is to pick a character you particularly like from another work, and file the serial numbers off by giving the character a new name and appearance, and rewriting their backstory to fit into your setting and story. In his example, Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer turned into Alistair from Dragon Age: Origins. This isn't just laziness. it's outright hackery. It's the province of fan fiction writers and sixteen year old girls delusional enough to think that their binder scribblings stand a chance of being picked up by Slave Labor Graphics. Yet Bioware do it and are praised as some of the best writers in video gaming. Obviously there's a problem with the industry as a whole.

Deus Ex wasn't well-written, as things go. It has a lot of cheesy lines, and a tendency to disappear down tangents that appear meaningful at first glance but are really more like what your stoner roomate comes up with during freshman year. However, what sets Deus Ex apart from most games is that unlike virtually every other game (there are a handful of exceptions, such as the first Bioshock, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, and Obsidian's games) is that it actually engages with other texts, cogently explores themes, and takes advantage of the fact it is a video game to reveal aspects of backstory through things found in exploration like ambient conversations or readable texts.

My big concern about the writing in Deus Ex: Human Revolution is that it might fall into some of the same pitfalls as other games that try for this kind of mature writing.

Deus Ex tied into the writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and people influenced by his philosophy. Never at more than a very surface level, but still. A lot of games that try for this like to point at what they're referencing and go OOH OOH I'M SO SMART AREN'T I? AREN'T I? like Bioshock which positioned itself as an unofficial sequel to Atlas Shrugged, chronicling the failure of Galt's Gulch. It laid it on too thick and only picked one thinker and text to engage with.

Deus Ex's themes were played pretty close to its chest. The human search for, and desire to create, God were only directly addressed a couple times. Instead, you saw more occluded and troubled references to the core ideas of it. Hell, most people still don't get how Conspiracy Theories tie into said Search for God. Other games tend to thump their themes and bring them up repeatedly, thinking that spelling them out means you don't have to actually explore them. Hence Fallout 3 and its out-of-nowhere obsession with sacrifice, or Bioshock 2 trying to be about the evils of collectivism and instead turning into a screed against ivory tower intellectuals.

The third is kind of where Deus Ex falters. The emails were great when they didn't break down into extended exposition dumps, but many of them (especially during the endgame) did exactly that. Moreover, the poor art meant that environmental storytelling (which admittedly wasn't much of a big deal back then) wasn't really feasible.

I'm kind of worried that Human Revolution will fail to deliver on these fronts, if only because it seems to rely on cutscenes and dialogues, and because they're trumpeting transhumanism and posthumanism so much in interviews and previews, making it a very obvious and very blatant core theme.

Facebyface
10th Oct 2010, 06:33
The trailers have hammered home the transhumanism theme, but the gameplay footage we've seen so far seems to work all right. The fact that Tong has a cybernetic hand and the like. I firmly believe that the story shall be presented rather well, as making it a prequel makes it sort of difficult to wallow in its successes yet to be. It's good to have an open mind of what little we've seen. Would write more but it's 2:32.

Pinky_Powers
10th Oct 2010, 07:08
I'm kind of worried that Human Revolution will fail to deliver on these fronts, if only because it seems to rely on cutscenes and dialogues, and because they're trumpeting transhumanism and posthumanism so much in interviews and previews, making it a very obvious and very blatant core theme.

Seeing as this is the moment in DX history where transhumanism really kicks off, it's important for it to be important. This game doesn't take place in the same time as Deus Ex. Society is not suffering from the Grey Death, it's adjusting to the new world.

Things should be different on this level.

Gordon_Shea
10th Oct 2010, 07:24
Seeing as this is the moment in DX history where transhumanism really kicks off, it's important for it to be important. This game doesn't take place in the same time as Deus Ex. Society is not suffering from the Grey Death, it's adjusting to the new world.

Things should be different on this level.

It's not the theme itself that bothers me, so much as the fact that it's so blatant and that in making the core theme of the game so blatant that it hits the player over the head, they weaken the story considerably. I know that transhumanism would be a real and valid topic in the setting, I just question the wisdom of making something that is necessarily that visible in the environment itself. From the sounds of things, Transhumanism is the kind of thing that talking heads would debate on TV news in the setting of HR, and honestly that leaves too much room for blatant and boring dialectic like Bioshock 2's hammering on about collectivism.

Pinky_Powers
10th Oct 2010, 09:10
Some issues aren't subtle, and shouldn't be anywhere but in the foreground.

There was a reason I connected it to the Grey Death. In Deus Ex the Grey Death was a very potent thing, politically and practically, and the streets were ravaged by it. In Human Revolution it's the dawn of Human+; a heavy thing, politically and practically, and the streets are... well, you saw the trailers. ;)

They've made something very interesting here, and it doesn't take much mental maneuvering to accept their unspoken sentiments that you can't get to Deus Ex without going through these birthing pains. It all comes together nicely, and makes sense to me.

To be honest, I'm more worried about the Icarus theme being used too heavily. In the trailers I don't mind, they're just trying to be artsy, but I don't want it to be too obvious in-game.

Gordon_Shea
10th Oct 2010, 16:53
Some issues aren't subtle, and shouldn't be anywhere but in the foreground.

There was a reason I connected it to the Grey Death. In Deus Ex the Grey Death was a very potent thing, politically and practically, and the streets were ravaged by it. In Human Revolution it's the dawn of Human+; a heavy thing, politically and practically, and the streets are... well, you saw the trailers. ;)

They've made something very interesting here, and it doesn't take much mental maneuvering to accept their unspoken sentiments that you can't get to Deus Ex without going through these birthing pains. It all comes together nicely, and makes sense to me.

To be honest, I'm more worried about the Icarus theme being used too heavily. In the trailers I don't mind, they're just trying to be artsy, but I don't want it to be too obvious in-game.
Yeah but the Gray Death wasn't the core theme of the game, it was just a major problem of the setting.

GepardenK
10th Oct 2010, 19:30
Yet Bioware do it and are praised as some of the best writers in video gaming. Obviously there's a problem with the industry as a whole. Who in he** says bioware is one of the industries best writers???? That’s crazy, their stories are nothing but a big pile of cheesy lines and unneeded background information.

Does no one play games from companies like Black-isle, Double fine, Cyan, Obsidian, old-lucasarts etc?

JCpies
10th Oct 2010, 19:35
I heard Mirror's edge had the story written based around the levels they created beforehand. That's terror.

I've played KOTOR II and such.

pringlepower
10th Oct 2010, 19:43
Who in he** says bioware is one of the industries best writers???? That’s crazy, their stories are nothing but a big pile of cheesy lines and unneeded background information.

Does no one play games from companies like Black-isle, Double fine, Cyan, Obsidian, old-lucasarts etc?

The background information's pretty awesome though. Makes the world feel alive. Also HK-47 is pretty good stuff.

Gordon_Shea
10th Oct 2010, 21:18
The background information's pretty awesome though. Makes the world feel alive. Also HK-47 is pretty good stuff.

I disagree. If you have to explain your setting in huge long codex entries, chances are you've put way too much work into it and not enough into the story. Also, HK-47 is pretty horribly written. The lines are saved by a strong performance.

Facebyface
10th Oct 2010, 21:28
I disagree. If you have to explain your setting in huge long codex entries, chances are you've put way too much work into it and not enough into the story. Also, HK-47 is pretty horribly written. The lines are saved by a strong performance.

"I just don't like organic meatbags! Except for the master of course... Heheh."

I like him personally. Bioware may have a bit of flawed execution in story, but I find KotOR one of the best written games I've ever played. Helps there's a bit of rosy lightsaber nostalgia but I honestly think what they laid out was great. Better than the original Mass Effect in my opinion.

Kodaemon
10th Oct 2010, 21:29
The background information's pretty awesome though. Makes the world feel alive.

Which makes the instances where they screw up their own lore all the more jarring. Example? Dragon Age established that enchantment can only be safely done by dwarves and tranquil. Awakening? Runecrafting for everyone!

Ashbery76
10th Oct 2010, 21:41
Baldur's gate2,Mass Effect,Dragon age has some of the best story and character's in gaming.No Rpg developers comes close to their success today.

DX was just ripped every known conspiracy theory and made a story out of it.It was hardly original work.

Kodaemon
10th Oct 2010, 21:47
Uh, as much as I like BioWare games, they're not exactly what I'd call original. (http://gza.gameriot.com/content/images/orig_320200_1_1257581825.png)

GepardenK
10th Oct 2010, 21:51
Baldur's gate2,Mass Effect,Dragon age has some of the best story and character's in gaming.No Rpg developers comes close to their success today.

DX was just ripped every known conspiracy theory and made a story out of it.It was hardly original work.
Wow. Ok, Baldurs gate 2 wasnt that bad, but Mass Effect and DA?? Yes they might be good games, but "best story and character`s in gaming" is stretching it way too far. Have you even played RPG`s like Planescape, Vampire:bloodlines, Arcanum or Fallout 1-2?
And even non RPG`s like Grim Fandango, Full throttle, Riven, Psychonauts, Thief, The longest Journey etc etc

Now enjoying games is a matter of opinion of course, but Biowares storytelling abilities is far from the best in the industry...

neoWilks
10th Oct 2010, 22:13
Mass Effect is good like Commando is good. Meaning it's good good because it's is the pinnacle of cheese. I mean, I love Mass Effect. Not because I think it's well crafted writing, but because it's so obnoxiously bad ass all the time, I can't help from giggling.

The scene where you are trying to land on Ilos, and it's suggested they try to launch the Mako and someone's all "There isn't a big enough landing zone!" And Shepard's all "WE HAVE NO CHOICE!" And everyone is shouting at each other and then Joker is like, "I can do this..." That whole exchange was stupid, very stupid. But my skin was tingling the whole time because of how over-the-top it all was.

Also, KotOR II was better than the first in just about every way possible.

GepardenK
10th Oct 2010, 22:22
Mass Effect is good like Commando is good. Meaning it's good good because it's is the pinnacle of cheese. I mean, I love Mass Effect. Not because I think it's well crafted writing, but because it's so obnoxiously bad ass all the time, I can't help from giggling. Oh, ok. I have serious sam for that:)

And soon a new nukem game! yay


Also, KotOR II was better than the first in just about every way possible. Yes. It was written and made by someone who actually know how to do good stories in games: Obsidian entertaniment

neoWilks
10th Oct 2010, 22:25
Yes. It was written and made by someone who actually know how to do good stories in games: Obsidian entertaniment
It's too bad they can't get themselves organized for ****. :/

GepardenK
10th Oct 2010, 22:35
^low budget and high ambitions does that to people. All their games with big supporting money companies in the back has turned out good. Next up is New Vegas, and it will kick the original FO3`s ass. Trust me:)...

Jerion
10th Oct 2010, 23:25
I have to contribute to the OP's discussion, that I quite like the Tarantino method of storytelling, where he takes from every genre he likes and brings it all together in a way that improves each part.

Pinky_Powers
10th Oct 2010, 23:28
Yeah but the Gray Death wasn't the core theme of the game, it was just a major problem of the setting.

That's okay. It doesn't diminish the blinding truth of what I said.

pringlepower
10th Oct 2010, 23:38
Wow. Ok, Baldurs gate 2 wasnt that bad, but Mass Effect and DA?? Yes they might be good games, but "best story and character`s in gaming" is stretching it way too far. Have you even played RPG`s like Planescape, Vampire:bloodlines, Arcanum or Fallout 1-2?
And even non RPG`s like Grim Fandango, Full throttle, Riven, Psychonauts, Thief, The longest Journey etc etc

Now enjoying games is a matter of opinion of course, but Biowares storytelling abilities is far from the best in the industry...

Planescape was great, Vampires was great, Arcanum was GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREAT. God I love that game.

We're different types of gamers I guess. For me, characters and storytelling is important of course, but what I love is a well-developed, fleshed-out world with tons of backstory, random little details, etc. That's why I loved Fallout 3, because of how well Bethesda did the setting, with all those creepy little tidbits like the radio messages. And that's the thing with Arcanum. Sure it's got a cool storyline (finding out the gnome conspiracy was pretty awesome) but the writing and dialogue really weren't great, the characters (other than Virgil) were shallow, but the world was amazing. And they put so much detail into the thing, such as tweaking the Industrial Revolution with magic.


Mass Effect is good like Commando is good. Meaning it's good good because it's is the pinnacle of cheese. I mean, I love Mass Effect. Not because I think it's well crafted writing, but because it's so obnoxiously bad ass all the time, I can't help from giggling.

Also, KotOR II was better than the first in just about every way possible.

Why do you think they have filmgrain as an option? Bioware's very aware of this. You might notice that the add campaign (and the game itself) for Mass Effect 2 heavily focused on everything Badass. The Kasumi DLC even mentions a "Badass Monthly" magazine. If nothing else, Bioware's aware of what it does.

As for KOTOR II, I think it was equal with the original. They improved the gameplay a ton, Kreia was very interesting, but this might sound weird: KOTOR II felt wrong somehow. I had fun throughout the game, but there was this nagging feeling, I dunno. Also you can't beat KOTOR's great twist.

Fluffis
11th Oct 2010, 00:25
Wow. Ok, Baldurs gate 2 wasnt that bad, but Mass Effect and DA?? Yes they might be good games, but "best story and character`s in gaming" is stretching it way too far. Have you even played RPG`s like Planescape, Vampire:bloodlines, Arcanum or Fallout 1-2?
And even non RPG`s like Grim Fandango, Full throttle, Riven, Psychonauts, Thief, The longest Journey etc etc


Haven't played Full Throttle, so I can't say anything about that. However: The rest of those are flipping fantastic.

Special mentions:
Psychonauts. Amazing, hilarious, inventive setting, great characters, you name it. Only downside: I just wish it was a bit longer... "I hate to be so blunt, but YOU have the insanity...of a manatee!" "I know, people are always saying that. What do you think's wrong with my brain, doctor?" "How should I know? I'm a dentist! But here's what I do know: if the tooth is bad, we pull it!" Pure genius.

The Longest Journey. Truly epic in the best sense of the word. Only downside: no AA, unless forced, and that leaves graphic bugs. But they're forgiven, since only the chars are 3D.

Ah... Grim Fandango... Words just can't do it justice. It's just one of those games that are perfect in just about every conceivable way. Only downsides: Slightly buggy at times, and the control scheme can be a bit annoying, but that's insignificant next to the power of Glottis.

GepardenK
11th Oct 2010, 00:32
Planescape was great, Vampires was great, Arcanum was GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREAT. God I love that game.

We're different types of gamers I guess. For me, characters and storytelling is important of course, but what I love is a well-developed, fleshed-out world with tons of backstory, random little details, etc. That's why I loved Fallout 3, because of how well Bethesda did the setting, with all those creepy little tidbits like the radio messages. And that's the thing with Arcanum. Sure it's got a cool storyline (finding out the gnome conspiracy was pretty awesome) but the writing and dialogue really weren't great, the characters (other than Virgil) were shallow, but the world was amazing. And they put so much detail into the thing, such as tweaking the Industrial Revolution with magic.
I don’t think we`re so different. I loved Arcanum for exactly the same reasons, it my absolute favorite RPG ever (Closely followed by Vampires). The thing is that I define all those things you mentioned as storytelling. Sure, Arcanum is not a character piece, but the story is told and unfolds in a masterful way that is only possible to do in interactive games. Those guys at Troika really "got" how to tell a story (or multiple ones at once) in a way that is not possible in any other medium. Plus their games always had DX-style "play it your own way and find your own solutions" gameplay!

EDIT: Fluffis, you just gave me a bad case of the nostalgia

neoWilks
11th Oct 2010, 00:34
Why do you think they have filmgrain as an option? Bioware's very aware of this. You might notice that the add campaign (and the game itself) for Mass Effect 2 heavily focused on everything Badass. The Kasumi DLC even mentions a "Badass Monthly" magazine. If nothing else, Bioware's aware of what it does.

Being aware of it, doesn't mean much to me. From Dusk til Down was certainly aware of the campy, b-grade horror it took it's inspiration from, and the film is definitely fun, but it doesn't mean it's a bastion of good story-telling. Bioware, on the other hand, is often cited as exactly that in the games industry. Perhaps we're shooting too low.


As for KOTOR II, I think it was equal with the original. They improved the gameplay a ton, Kreia was very interesting, but this might sound weird: KOTOR II felt wrong somehow. I had fun throughout the game, but there was this nagging feeling, I dunno. Also you can't beat KOTOR's great twist.
I thought KotOR's twist was extremely typical, not even considering Bioware seems to have this compulsion to put one in every single on of their games.

The original's plot was typical Star Wars fare, nothing revolutionary, generic space opera. Without that twist, is there anything about the game that stood out as truly compelling narrative? The Sith Lords, while having a rushed ending, dared to approach the Star Wars universe in a way that did not presuppose a hard line between good and evil. It questioned the very nature of the force. And, much like Deus Ex, never gave any one of the espoused philosophies preference. Each antagonist, from Kreia, to the Councel, to the represented extremes. None of their views were wholly right or wholly wrong. They are so fanatical in their ideologies that it becomes difficult to choose any single side, but each is developed enough for you to sympathize with their positions.

Unfortunately, because of Lucas Arts' meddling and the rushed ending that followed, none of the awesome plot thread's got their deserved closure.

pringlepower
11th Oct 2010, 01:07
I don’t think we`re so different. I loved Arcanum for exactly the same reasons, it my absolute favorite RPG ever (Closely followed by Vampires). The thing is that I define all those things you mentioned as storytelling. Sure, Arcanum is not a character piece, but the story is told and unfolds in a masterful way that is only possible to do in interactive games. Those guys at Troika really "got" how to tell a story (or multiple ones at once) in a way that is not possible in any other medium. Plus their games always had DX-style "play it your own way and find your own solutions" gameplay!

EDIT: Fluffis, you just gave me a bad case of the nostalgia

Well you did say that Bioware games were full of unnecessary background info in codexes, but Arcanum is pretty much the same, just instead of a codex they have the library of Tarant, with stuff about biology, physics, politics, etc.. Which, frankly I never finished reading. What I like about Bioware codexes is they update gradually as the game goes on, so you read little snippets of the world's history and then go back to gameplay, instead of reading straight up novels. Eventually gave up doing that in Morrowind too, after the first hundred hours or so.

GepardenK
11th Oct 2010, 01:16
^True. But the key word here is unnecessary. In biowares games that background information, at least in ME and DA, has always felt "forced". It may be because of the codex form, or because they are typical high-scifi/fantasy "old history" backstories. But it is clear when you read them that they are just filler in a desperate attemp to create a whole new universe during the course of one game.

The books in Arcanum was written and presented in a way that made them feel like a natural part of the world. Also, the clever part of Arcanum’s storytelling was never the actual backstory, but rather the world itself and how you slowly discovered it, and stumbeled upon its problems, at your own pace (read not forced)

pringlepower
11th Oct 2010, 01:21
^True. But the key word here is unnecessary. In biowares games that background information, at least in ME and DA, has always felt "forced". It may be because of the codex form, or because they are typical high-scifi/fantasy "old history" backstories. But it is clear when you read them that they are just filler in a desperate attemp to create a whole new universe during the course of one game.

The books in Arcanum was written and presented in a way that made them feel like a natural part of the world. Also, the clever part of Arcanum’s storytelling was never the actual backstory, but rather the world itself and how you slowly discovered it, and stumbeled upon its problems, at your own pace (read not forced)

Ah there's where we differ then. Regardless of if I discover it myself, or it's spoonfed to me, I'm just a sucker for detail and backstory. And Dragon Age's roots in our history just made it sweeter. Arcanum too. That biology book that had some Tarantian scientist explain microbiology using a microscope and techniques developed from elven mages gave me nerd chills.

Fluffis
11th Oct 2010, 01:28
The original's plot was typical Star Wars fare, nothing revolutionary, generic space opera. Without that twist, is there anything about the game that stood out as truly compelling narrative? The Sith Lords, while having a rushed ending, dared to approach the Star Wars universe in a way that did not presuppose a hard line between good and evil. It questioned the very nature of the force. And, much like Deus Ex, never gave any one of the espoused philosophies preference. Each antagonist, from Kreia, to the Councel, to the represented extremes. None of their views were wholly right or wholly wrong. They are so fanatical in their ideologies that it becomes difficult to choose any single side, but each is developed enough for you to sympathize with their positions.

Unfortunately, because of Lucas Arts' meddling and the rushed ending that followed, none of the awesome plot thread's got their deserved closure.

Agreed. Kreia is the best character to come out of the SW universe, to my mind. She's one of the best computer game characters all categories, tbh.

pringlepower
11th Oct 2010, 01:45
Agreed. Kreia is the best character to come out of the SW universe, to my mind. She's one of the best computer game characters all categories, tbh.

She was definitely great, but it didn't help that she was so unmistakably evil.

Fluffis
11th Oct 2010, 02:05
She was definitely great, but it didn't help that she was so unmistakably evil.

I dunno... I think they did a pretty good job making her seem... neutral with an evil slant, I suppose. Until the betrayal, that is. She never advices the Exile to do things that are inherently Evil. They come across as being merely reactions to being blindly Good; prompting afterthought, if you choose to do what's "moral".

I think that, plus the revelation of her extreme true nature, is what makes her so interesting.

pringlepower
11th Oct 2010, 02:11
I dunno... I think they did a pretty good job making her seem... neutral with an evil slant, I suppose. Until the betrayal, that is. She never advices the Exile to do things that are inherently Evil. They come across as being merely reactions to being blindly Good; prompting afterthought, if you choose to do what's "moral".

I think that, plus the revelation of her extreme true nature, is what makes her so interesting.

Well Atton says it later in the game just how obvious it was that she was evil. You know with the whole survivalist everybody for themselves thing. It's probably just within the context of Star Wars and it's straight good-evil themes, but as soon as you have a conversation with Kreia you know someone's wrong with her.

The freaky eyes didn't help.

neoWilks
11th Oct 2010, 04:58
Well Atton says it later in the game just how obvious it was that she was evil. You know with the whole survivalist everybody for themselves thing. It's probably just within the context of Star Wars and it's straight good-evil themes, but as soon as you have a conversation with Kreia you know someone's wrong with her.

The freaky eyes didn't help.
The thing about Kreia was she never pretended to be anything, but who she was. The "betrayal" was hardly that. It simply ceased being convenient to travel with you. Throughout the entire game prior to that, she had cautioned you against acting in ways considered "good" or "evil". Both paths, to her, were practically equal. What she was truly fanatical about was not some scale of morality, but the force itself. She hated it, because she saw it's supposed will as controlling infringing on the free agency of those it coursed through. And in the Exile, a hole in the force, she saw salvation from it's influence.

Her position was that of practicality. Kreia admires Revan's actions not because of her "darkness", but because Revan sought to sacrifice her purity to save the galaxy. The true threat looming at the edges of space that Revan aimed to stop. Revan's goal was to unify the republic under a military rule, the dark side gave her the strength required to do this. Whether or not you agree that it was the best course of action, it certainly put Revan's "fall" in an entirely different light.

She was an embodiment of "The ends justify the means." If saving the galaxy meant submitting to a military dictatorship, she supported it. Idealists may have thought better solutions existed, but Kreia saw herself as a realist. Idealism for it's own sake was masturbatory and unworthy of the slightest amount of respect.

Fluffis
11th Oct 2010, 14:04
Well Atton says it later in the game just how obvious it was that she was evil. You know with the whole survivalist everybody for themselves thing. It's probably just within the context of Star Wars and it's straight good-evil themes, but as soon as you have a conversation with Kreia you know someone's wrong with her.


She does take caution you if you perform evil deeds as well.
I think she's the embodiment of True Neutral from the D&D games.

It's her hatred of the Force that makes her seem "evil", I suppose, along with her - as Wilks wrote - "the ends justify the means" attitude.



The freaky eyes didn't help.

She's blind.

Kodaemon
11th Oct 2010, 15:31
It shows something about BioWare's originality when skimming the posts about the KotOR games (which I haven't played, as Star Wars usually turns me off) I constantly get Mass Effect and Dragon Age flashbacks.


She was an embodiment of "The ends justify the means." If saving the galaxy meant submitting to a military dictatorship, she supported it. Idealists may have thought better solutions existed, but Kreia saw herself as a realist.

Saren!


Idealism for it's own sake was masturbatory and unworthy of the slightest amount of respect.


Well Atton says it later in the game just how obvious it was that she was evil. You know with the whole survivalist everybody for themselves thing. It's probably just within the context of Star Wars and it's straight good-evil themes, but as soon as you have a conversation with Kreia you know someone's wrong with her.

Morrigan!

neoWilks
11th Oct 2010, 15:46
Saren!

Saren was different. His "ends" were to just not die. He was not shooting very high. Kreia's support of Revan woulld be more similar, I think, to letting the Councel die in Mass Effect. Kreia never wanted to join the true Sith threat, she wanted to stop it. If that meant sacrificing certain freedoms and embracing the dark side, then so be it.

Anasumtj
11th Oct 2010, 16:20
It shows something about BioWare's originality when skimming the posts about the KotOR games (which I haven't played, as Star Wars usually turns me off) I constantly get Mass Effect and Dragon Age flashbacks.

Saren!

Morrigan!

Kreia was not Bioware's creation, but Obsidian's (Black Isle). And you do realize that you are matching up both Saren and Morrigan to Kreia's character? If we're doing this tit for tat...

Any way, if you actually did play the KOTOR games - or at least just the second one - I think you'd find your parallels are kinda off. It's easy to draw these similarities with a paragraph or two of text, but while Kreia and Morrigan do share a few of the same stripes, on the whole they are very different.

Irate_Iguana
11th Oct 2010, 17:44
Kreia was not Bioware's creation, but Obsidian's (Black Isle).

Delicious MCA writing is delicious.

Anasumtj
11th Oct 2010, 17:54
I've never not enjoyed the writing in any Black Isle game I've played.

I'd love to see a 9th grader write something on par with KOTOR 2 or - god forbid - Planescape Torment. Then I'd have some faith restored in our education system.

[FGS]Shadowrunner
11th Oct 2010, 18:04
The writing in Deus Ex 1 and DXMP leads to some confusion.
Officially the game is set in 2051. But the .utx textures that contain dates all contain the date 2057.
It could just be a bad choice of typeface, but betting 50/50 most DXMP players opt to assume its 2057.
So we have always lived Deus Ex in the year 2057.

Shralla
11th Oct 2010, 20:18
Deus Ex wasn't well-written, as things go. It has a lot of cheesy lines, and a tendency to disappear down tangents that appear meaningful at first glance but are really more like what your stoner roomate comes up with during freshman year.

I feel like I hear this a lot, but I haven't figured out how it's bad. The conversation with Morpheus is EXACTLY like a stoner conversation, but everybody heralds it as being one of the greatest moments in Deus Ex.

I figure you don't know any "stoners" personally, and you just assume that all they produce while under the influence is either something obvious, or something pointless.

luminar
11th Oct 2010, 21:17
I feel like I hear this a lot, but I haven't figured out how it's bad. The conversation with Morpheus is EXACTLY like a stoner conversation, but everybody heralds it as being one of the greatest moments in Deus Ex.

I figure you don't know any "stoners" personally, and you just assume that all they produce while under the influence is either something obvious, or something pointless.

Seconded. It's probably due to the hollywood portrayal of stoners as stupid, losers. I have a friend who is deep into hardcore drugs but is actually really smart.

Mushroom
11th Oct 2010, 23:32
"wall of text"

What about books like "A Clockwork Orange", where the concept of taking away a persons freedom to choose is pretty hammered to the reader? Still the book manages to do incredible things with the idea. Also, The Lord of the Flies is pretty ovbious about how it represents a world where man's basic animal evil isn't restriced by the rules of society, but it's still one of the greatest books ever written.

Even if the transhumanism is the core theme, they could use it to explore interesting ideas. Such as; The purpose of augmentations and implants are to make life more easier, to make the society run better. How a natural body becomes obsolete in a new technological word. How were becoming more and more like mindless computers and our only purpose is to make to little cogs of society turn for one day, so we can do it again the next day. How were creating pointless pieces of technology to create more pointless pieces of technology to run a world that has become a pointless piece of technology. This was just one thig off the top of my head.

Bladerunner used the idea of artificially created humans and their humanity to do the same thing. I mean, the title of the book was "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", I think the theme of the story is pretty ovbious. Still they managed to explore some really interesting concepts. I mean, the final scenes of the movie are just mindblowing.

Of course there is a chance that the developers completley missed the point of the original game, and make an "awesome" sci-fi FPS were you can choose to either shoot a guy's head off or stad him in the back, and not having anything intellectually challenging whatsoever.

The thing I loved about the original game was how it used gameplay as a method of telling a story. Silent Hill was another game that managed to do this (kinda). For example in most games, there is a basic story that the world and the character go by. Their only purpose is to follow the story; NPC gives portagonist rocket launcher, portagonist shoots down helicopter. There was nothing you could do to make any diffrence in anything, the game will go on as the designer wants it to. But in Deus Ex the characters and the world would respond to how you played the game. Of course there will always be restrictions to how much freedom a game has, and to make a completely non-linear game is to make a game that has no story, because stories will always be linear. But the world that Deus Ex gives you, is unlike anything I've played before.

In a game like Mass Effect you're given some choices that then affect the rest of the game and the sequels. But what it basically came down to was that the game had difrent paths that you had to choose during cutscenes, and that's not the case with Deus Ex. Every choice you made, you made with how you played the game. To explain this more simply, the story of Mass Effect could be written as a "Choose Your Own Adventure"-book, but there is no way Deus Ex could ever be written as a book. Deus Ex is sort of an example on how to really use gaming as an storytelling device and an artform. Sort of what Watchmen did to graphic novels.

GepardenK
11th Oct 2010, 23:53
^very nice first post:thumb: I agree very much about Mass Effect contra Deus Exs storytelling.

Welcome to the forums!

Gordon_Shea
12th Oct 2010, 00:02
Clockwork Orange wasn't an especially well-written book. There's a reason the film is much more famous and influential. Hell, the final chapter is basically the biggest example of what NOT to do when ending your novel.

FlyingDove
12th Oct 2010, 00:33
Yeah, the writing was not the most impressive in a video game, at least when it comes to character development. JC felt very bland, as did many other characters. However, the plot was pretty interesting and original, in the sense that very few games before its time dealt with conspiracy theories. Which brings me to a question: Will we get to see more conspiracy theories in DXHR, especially when organizations/societies like Skulls & Bones, the Bohemian Grove, etc. were not touched upon? After all, there are some theories surrounding them. Why would Eidos Montreal just decide to abandon the original game's premise when it can probably flesh it out even more, especially seeing how Jensen feels more realistic and less bland than the previous DX games' protagonists?

I love character-driven stories more than I love plot-driven ones, but DX1 was one of those exceptions. Yet, I feel like there is more potential that lies with solid character development rather than trying extremely hard to nail down a very original plot (hardly ever happens in any form of media today). Transhumanism is an interesting theme for the game, and I hope that it greatly helps us feel empathetic to the characters, as they struggle to use it "properly."

Considering how much naivety surrounds the masses, I think a good degree of political themes should be included as well. Hopefully, that will be the case. I'd love to see the struggle between two forms of a totalitarian society: socialism (for corporations) and communism (for governments controlling everything). Also, if this series is all about the NWO, why aren't there cameras everywhere? By that time period, I would expect our society to be a surveillance state.

These are just some suggestions for the future, seeing how it might be too late to implement them in DXHR.

Pinky_Powers
12th Oct 2010, 03:42
Great first post Mushroom! :thumb:

Gordon_Shea
12th Oct 2010, 03:53
Also there weren't really a lot of different paths you could take that could substantially effect the story. Outside of breaking sequence in Hong Kong (Say, getting the Dragon's Tooth before meeting with Maggie or either Triad leader) there wasn't really a lot you could do that would alter the flow of the main plot. Praising it for having you make your choices through gameplay is all well and good, and part of what the game does right, there aren't really a lot of those choices. At all. Unless we're going to start counting side-quests as choices, in which case snarking at (admittedly awfully written) bioware games is hypocritical because they've got oodles of sidequests.

Mushroom
12th Oct 2010, 09:19
Also there weren't really a lot of different paths you could take that could substantially effect the story. Outside of breaking sequence in Hong Kong (Say, getting the Dragon's Tooth before meeting with Maggie or either Triad leader) there wasn't really a lot you could do that would alter the flow of the main plot. Praising it for having you make your choices through gameplay is all well and good, and part of what the game does right, there aren't really a lot of those choices. At all. Unless we're going to start counting side-quests as choices, in which case snarking at (admittedly awfully written) bioware games is hypocritical because they've got oodles of sidequests.

I was writing my post in the middel of the night, so I might have sprouted some of my arguments out of my ass.
I'm too lazy to read my post again, so I'm just going to say this:

What I basically meant was, how in games that have a moral choice system, the game basically keeps track of your morality by giving you either "good"-points or "********"-points. The only reason for the points would be, to somepoint give you a special feat you could do if you had enough "********"-points. In Deus Ex there was a morality aspect, but it wasn't measured with points. For example, you could do a mission going in guns blazing, Jock wouldn't be pleased and he'd refuse to give you some equipment, but Anna Navarre would warm up to you. You didn't have to have enough "********"-points, gained from shouting vulgarities in conversations, to please Navarre, it was all done in gameplay. There are a lot of better examples from the game, but this was just from the top of my head.

These choices don't affect the main plotline, but the way you play the game affects JC Denton and the characters and envoirments around him. I think that the characters and the setting is a big part of a story.
As I said before, Deus Ex couldn't be adapted to a book or a movie.

Also, I didn't mean any disrespect towards BioWare games, I liked every single one I've played from them.

Edit: You can't say d 1ckhead? I thought DXHR was rated 18+, who would be offended by that?

Red
12th Oct 2010, 09:51
Well, d 1ckheads, of course :D

Ninjerk
12th Oct 2010, 15:47
Why would Eidos Montreal just decide to abandon the original game's premise when it can probably flesh it out even more, especially seeing how Jensen feels more realistic and less bland than the previous DX games' protagonists?

JC and Alex were meant to be bland.

Facebyface
12th Oct 2010, 15:50
JC and Alex were meant to be bland.

I highly doubt that. I think it was much more about rudimentary writing skills back in those days. Nobody really knew how to write properly for a video game and fell back on rather action movie dialogue to carry them through. Character dialogue is still rather bad today, steadily improving as writing in video games becomes just as important as the games themselves.

beastosterone
12th Oct 2010, 16:17
Character dialogue is steadily improving?

Geez, point me in the direction of those games, please!

GepardenK
12th Oct 2010, 16:41
I highly doubt that. I think it was much more about rudimentary writing skills back in those days. Nobody really knew how to write properly for a video game and fell back on rather action movie dialogue to carry them through. Character dialogue is still rather bad today, steadily improving as writing in video games becomes just as important as the games themselves. What? u mad!
Writing has become steadily worse as games try to be "epic" and hollywoodish. The only thing games have going for them these days are overal improvement in presentation (thanks to higher production values). But writing and storytelling was better around late 90s/early 00.

Today, game writing is even worse than your average sci-fi channel series, and thats bad!

Facebyface
12th Oct 2010, 16:55
You guys are just looking in the wrong place then. Don't go looking for improvements in big budget games that are hyped like movies. Some games out there are rather artsy and I think RPGs in general have better bits of character interaction, and I'm not talking about those that are translated over to English. Of course I always point to VALVe as well when it comes to writing, but I know that there are plenty of numb skulls in the woodwork wanting to try and disprove me.

GepardenK
12th Oct 2010, 17:06
^Im not looking for artsy games, Im looking for good storytelling. I agree Valve is quite good at this, but then again they dont have much writing or dialouge, they use the enviorment instead. I also agree that the best games are never the hyped ones.

But give me a strategy game that has better writing than the original homeworld.
Give me one game made after 2005 that can tell a story better than the top ten of the old lucasarts/sierra adventures.
Give me an post 2005 RPG with better writing than Planescape, or vampire:bloodlines for that matter.
Give me an action game with better story than Freespace 2, or Outlaws...
And what about games like Riven?

There are tons of examples. The truth is that good storytelling is no longer a aim for videogames. But of course a small gem appears from time to time. Looking forward to Epic Mickey btw:) Mr. Spector usualy know what he`s doing

My point is that writing is not getting more important for games in general, sadly. Or; at least they aim in the wrong direction with the writing they are trying achieve (see run-of-the-mill RPGs like Oblivion and Mass Effect, who try to do writing "right")

JCpies
12th Oct 2010, 17:10
I highly doubt that. I think it was much more about rudimentary writing skills back in those days. Nobody really knew how to write properly for a video game and fell back on rather action movie dialogue to carry them through. Character dialogue is still rather bad today, steadily improving as writing in video games becomes just as important as the games themselves.

Well you play as JC Denton, you ARE JC Denton, you're meant to shape him as a character the way you play.

MaxxQ1
12th Oct 2010, 17:13
^Im not looking for artsy games, Im looking for good storytelling. I agree Valve is quite good at this, but then again they dont have much writing or dialouge, they use the enviorment instead. I also agree that the best games are never the hyped ones.

But give me a strategy game that has better writing than the original homeworld.
Give me one game made after 2005 that can tell a story better than the top ten of the old lucasarts/sierra adventures.
Give me an post 2005 RPG with better writing than Planescape, or vampire:bloodlines for that matter.
Give me an action game with better story than Freespace 2, or Outlaws...

Gotta agree with this guy. Admittedly, the only LucasArts game I've played is Grim Fandango, but the writing on that game was fantastic. Also, never played Outlaws. <sigh> I wish there had been a Freespace 3 to tie up all the loose ends from FS2...

Facebyface
12th Oct 2010, 17:21
But give me a strategy game that has better writing than the original homeworld.
Strategy games are a fickle bunch. Making a strategy game with a good narrative is really difficult. Also I don't play many strategy games so I couldn't answer you off the bat. I played 7 hours of SCII and that was about it. What I saw I liked but I'm sure someone will again come out to say it's crap. I find it to be sort of like Resident Evil 4 in that it holds itself on a style of campiness as well as having a serious bit to it. Then again, I haven't finished it.


Give me one game made after 2005 that can tell a story better than the top ten of the old lucasarts/sierra adventures.
What's with the 2005 limit? What did 2005 do? Well again, the Half-Life episodes and if you're looking for humor then Portal as well. While they were both short they had brilliant narrative. That's VALVe's strength, they make a story flow. Otherwise I've not played every game in the last half decade so I'm unsure.


Give me an post 2005 RPG with better writing than Planescape, or vampire:bloodlines for that matter.
I have Planescape installed on my computer, need to get around to it eventually. Hear it's rather good, but I need to beat Baldur's Gate first or I may never beat either. Like I said, a lot of Western RPGs that aren't translated over do character dialogue rather well. Better? Don't know.


Give me an action game with better story than Freespace 2, or Outlaws...
And what about games like Riven?
I don't know! Haven't played it!


Looking forward to Epic Mickey btw:) Mr. Spector usualy know what he`s doing
I am as well. Apparently he's doing a very simplified Deus Ex system for the story telling. Doubt it will be the pinnacle of his work though.

GepardenK
12th Oct 2010, 17:22
I wish there had been a Freespace 3 to tie up all the loose ends from FS2...
We all do... we all do...:(


Strategy games are a fickle bunch. Making a strategy game with a good narrative is really difficult. Also I don't play many strategy games so I couldn't answer you off the bat. I played 7 hours of SCII and that was about it. What I saw I liked but I'm sure someone will again come out to say it's crap. I find it to be sort of like Resident Evil 4 in that it holds itself on a style of campiness as well as having a serious bit to it. Then again, I haven't finished it. Well, I`ll play the guy thats says its crap then:) Sure the presentation is good, and I know they know its kinda cheesy. So on many levels its not crap, and I understand why people enjoy it. But it dosent even begin to touch games like Homeworld when it comes to good narrative.


What's with the 2005 limit? What did 2005 do? Well again, the Half-Life episodes and if you're looking for humor then Portal as well. While they were both short they had brilliant narrative. That's VALVe's strength, they make a story flow. Otherwise I've not played every game in the last half decade so I'm unsure. 2005 = the decline of gaming!!!! No, im kidding. Its nothing really. I just wanted to put a defenite line between what was recent games and what was not. The HL episodes are good, but its all about atmopshere IMO. Its not eksactly good storytelling, or deep characters. Portal however shines when it comes to comic writing!


I have Planescape installed on my computer, need to get around to it eventually. Hear it's rather good, but I need to beat Baldur's Gate first or I may never beat either. Like I said, a lot of Western RPGs that aren't translated over do character dialogue rather well. Better? Don't know. I envy your position to experience that game for the first time:)!


I am as well. Apparently he's doing a very simplified Deus Ex system for the story telling. Doubt it will be the pinnacle of his work though. As far as storytelling goes, I think Mickey will beat DX pretty good. But as you I dont think it will be a classic game of the same scale

Laputin Man
12th Oct 2010, 19:48
I highly doubt that. I think it was much more about rudimentary writing skills back in those days. Nobody really knew how to write properly for a video game and fell back on rather action movie dialogue to carry them through. Character dialogue is still rather bad today, steadily improving as writing in video games becomes just as important as the games themselves.

No, JC was definitely meant to be that way. The game was an RPG, at least in part. And one of the first I can remember at least where the main protagonist that you played as actually spoke, instead of lines of text. I believe it was said somewhere that they had the guy who did the voice for JC deliver his lines in that sort of monotone, cold, emotionless tone. So that way the player could still choose a line of dialog and wouldn't think that something is implied in any certain way. That way the player could fill in the blanks themselves. I swear I saw an article or something on this somewhere.


Ahhh here is the quote.... it actually addresses 3rd person perspective as well.


Spector: Yeah. Third person has its strengths. I've always resisted it because the whole idea behind the games I've worked on is to make it feel like it's you in the world. J.C. Denton in Deus Ex has this flat, monotone delivery to his lines because I want the player to provide the emotion. I want the player to feel like "I'm angry." If the character is happy, happy, happy and the player is angry, all of the sudden it's not you in the world anymore. I want you to believe it's you.

Manipulating a puppet ... here's the perfect example. When people play a Tomb Raider game, they say, "Lara jumped across that chasm. Did you see when she did this!?" When people play System Shock they say, "Did you see what I did?" and that "what I did" is what makes games special.