PDA

View Full Version : Dynamic Dialogue and The Illusion of Freedom



AdrianShephard
8th Aug 2014, 23:00
After all this talk on writing in DX 1, I wanted to revisit the game specifically for the dialogue options that were all the craze in HR, and I was amazed. I'm going to use this video of all the lines spoken by Anna Navarre (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI6VDlaeux8) as a reference. The uploader thankfully linked the topic of the lines said with the time in the video in the description. Spoilers follow if you haven't played the original DX (and shame on you).

Though it still hasn't been confirmed, there has been some mentioning of a Mass Effect-style trilogy that EM wants to implement in Deus Ex, and I am very strongly opposed to this. It is my belief that the reason for this change in direction is the hope that the player will feel like their choices matter and that there is an increased sense of freedom. But instead of copying the ideas of an RPG series (and I stress RPG, because I have the feeling Deus Ex is going to be turned into one), EM can simply look back at the original DX that is brought up in almost every thread. Deus Ex is a linear first person game with elements of an RPG, but the game gives the illusion that the player has freedom through the dialogue that changes based on a player's actions. Of course, there is a large degree of gameplay freedom (i.e. multiple approaches to a mission), but I will not treat that here. This thread is more of the writing's effect on perceived freedom.

Ion Storm included dialogue in DX that changes based on how the player completed an objective, and this isn't just an extra line added into the preset dialogue that will always play. The player is praised or scolded for how they handled said objective, and more importantly, the game makes sure the player knows the reason why. This is best shown in the second mission of DX in Battery Park. A first-time player has two choices (really more, but play along), they could go through Castle Clinton or go to the hostage situation in the subway. In the unlikely event that they choose to go to the subway first (because we are told to first locate the Ambrosia shipment), Anna has a special dialogue prepared. She makes sure to tell the player that they have completed the objectives out of order...and it is this information that lends to the 'feeling of freedom'. The game accepts its linear structure and suggests that you accomplish one task first, but should you do one planned for later, you are reminded of the choice you had and the one you decided to make. Now imagine we redesign the mission to follow HR's 'choice gameplay', which would mean that the player is thrown onto the level and we are told of 2 objectives - the Ambrosia shipment and the hostage situation - that need to be completed, though no order is specified (like in the hubs). One could argue that this is freedom, because, well...you have a choice. But as I found, each objective feels like a separate mission in itself, so the map is essentially a couple of smaller missions forced into one area. You are never reminded of the choice you had...and I found that it never psychologically clicked that I'm 'free' -- more like I was given a list of chores to do. It is this feedback that not only adds re-playability, but also lets the player see how their actions impacted the game world (more on this later).

Because I brought up Battery Park, we shouldn't forget the other dynamic dialogue. Anna comments on how lethal you were in Castle Clinton, and again the player is reminded of their choice of lethality, adding a nice touch to the game. The developers even included dialogue for the unlikely case that you will skip both objectives and take the subway straight to Hell's Kitchen (I had no idea this was even possible!); as you can see in the video, Anna brings this up to the player numerous times while also telling Manderley (you even get hidden lines with Paul (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEn-g8s6qEw) in Hell's Kitchen). Further, Sam Carter later scolds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJb1Rp3kBzc#t=4m18sec) or praises (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zew5kIYK3U4&index=23&list=PLpizvk_kqp87mx5a1N1ugDeMiInMqNHPH) the player based on how they handled the situation in the Castle. This is only 1 mission we are talking about, and already there is more dynamic than all of HR's dialogue combined. There are only few lines/cutscenes that will change based on how you handle a mission in HR, and that is precisely why many players didn't feel like their actions had any impact. There is one exceptional case in Human Revolution, though; the conversation with Wayne Haas (specifically if you won the conversation battle with him the first time) at your apartment was touching and was probably the only time I felt I was going somewhere with the game. We see a direct consequence of our action...we got an already suicidal person fired from their miserable job. I would've liked HR a lot more if these types of conversations were more frequent.

DX is absolutely littered with dynamic dialogue. You have Gunther making a comment to Anna (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI6VDlaeux8#t=2m24sec) that changes if you gave him a weapon on Liberty Island. You have Paul scolding you if you kill the NSF commander (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2z6t-xWgN0g#t=1m47sec), and Manderley asking you about the mysterious death of the UNATCO agent. You have a completely different conversation with El Rey (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlBAcZBeqKc) if you cleared out all of The Rooks, and also an acknowledgment if you killed the drug dealer before speaking to El Rey. There is the boy in the tunnels who tells you where the NSF accountant is, but JC responds that he already knew (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaPFxHaeRc4#t=35sec). Mind you, this is only a small fraction of all of them; each one serves as a small nod to you for the actions you have taken. THIS is how you show the player what they're doing is relevant, not some trilogy ripped off an overrated series.

A word on the boss battles. Though what I'm about to discuss doesn't necessarily relate to dialogue, it pertains immensely to player freedom. EM should take a very good look at how DX handled bosses, specifically Anna, Maggie Chow, and Walton. Again, because DX is a linear game the player will have to kill all 3 (if you don't glitch) eventually, but when you do is up to the player. There are 3 instances when Anna is mortal, 2 for Maggie Chow, and again 2 for Walton. This is simply incredible; there are no fancy crap-resolution CGI cutscenes, no giant lead up, no "kill" arrow over the villian's head...just you and your decisions. THAT is how you do boss battles and give the player freedom.

I hope I explained everything clearly. It makes much more sense in my head.

WildcatPhoenix
9th Aug 2014, 17:07
There are only few lines/cutscenes that will change based on how you handle a mission in HR, and that is precisely why many players didn't feel like their actions had any impact. There is one exceptional case in Human Revolution, though; the conversation with Wayne Haas (specifically if you won the conversation battle with him the first time) at your apartment was touching and was probably the only time I felt I was going somewhere with the game. We see a direct consequence of our action...we got an already suicidal person fired from their miserable job. I would've liked HR a lot more if these types of conversations were more frequent.


And for a second there, I thought EM was going to improve on DX1's dynamic, player choice-driven approach to dialogue and NPC encounters. You have this conversation with Haas relatively early in the game, and it "pays off" much later (depending, of course, on what you say during the initial convo). These conversation "battles" were a great opportunity to surpass the original game in terms of demonstrating the effects of the players actions and choices on the game world, but they pretty much dropped the idea after Detroit.

I'd like to see DX4 go all out in this regard. Make the conversation and social side of the game a focal point of the design, and have NPCs and major characters react accordingly. I want to see bloodthirsty characters approving of your run-and-gun tactics and/or aggressive negotiation techniques. Or vice versa, I want to see pacifistic characters reward you for finding a diplomatic solution to a hostage crisis.



A word on the boss battles. Though what I'm about to discuss doesn't necessarily relate to dialogue, it pertains immensely to player freedom. EM should take a very good look at how DX handled bosses, specifically Anna, Maggie Chow, and Walton. Again, because DX is a linear game the player will have to kill all 3 (if you don't glitch) eventually, but when you do is up to the player. There are 3 instances when Anna is mortal, 2 for Maggie Chow, and again 2 for Walton. This is simply incredible; there are no fancy crap-resolution CGI cutscenes, no giant lead up, no "kill" arrow over the villian's head...just you and your decisions. THAT is how you do boss battles and give the player freedom.


I'm definitely with you on the cutscenes. Screw that nonsense. Stop taking control out of the player's hands just to show off your shiny CGI fireworks.

Again, DXHR had potential to improve on the choice-and-consequence aspect of its narrative. Situations like the confrontation with Zeke Sanders, where you do have an option to "talk him down" peacefully, would be interesting in boss fight scenarios. I certainly want to be able to avoid the fight if I choose to do so (maybe enduring some mockery from more aggressive team members?).

Most importantly, I want to feel that my actions are relevant to major events. Don't just reward me with a couple of extra grenades or a keycode for choosing a certain path or solution to a problem. Make my choices have serious consequences (and yes, that means doing the hard work of writing multiple outcomes or branches of plot/dialogue and tying it all together in the end).

AdrianShephard
9th Aug 2014, 19:57
Again, DXHR had potential to improve on the choice-and-consequence aspect of its narrative. Situations like the confrontation with Zeke Sanders, where you do have an option to "talk him down" peacefully, would be interesting in boss fight scenarios. I certainly want to be able to avoid the fight if I choose to do so (maybe enduring some mockery from more aggressive team members?).

Most importantly, I want to feel that my actions are relevant to major events. Don't just reward me with a couple of extra grenades or a keycode for choosing a certain path or solution to a problem. Make my choices have serious consequences (and yes, that means doing the hard work of writing multiple outcomes or branches of plot/dialogue and tying it all together in the end).

HR is extremely straightforward when it comes to the "conversation battles"; you know there are going to be 2 outcomes...the person will bend and do what you say, or they will refuse to hear you and do what they want. There should be more than 2 outcomes for the conversation that will be of importance later in the game. Too often I would restart my last save if I failed a battle, and that completely destroys the point of multiple playthroughs. If these social battles are going to be a staple in the series, then there must be more weight placed on their impact to the overall story. Also, I didn't like the conversations in HR because I would often talk to NPCs with the goal of getting something from them i.e. I didn't answer how I actually felt. This took me out of the game completely.

My fear is that these conversations will be focused on more than the story, resulting in more lackluster writing. When there are too many joints (here, possible outcomes) in a rod, you lose rigidity and continuity and I think the same applies here. One spectacular coherent plot is more important than the having a second-rate plot with lots of player choice.

I'm incredibly sad that Ion Storm couldn't incorporate all of their ideas into DX. In this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cEg5Xo7VFU), you can see they already recorded a conversation (though left out in the final game) between Paul and JC in the Hell's Kitchen apartment when Paul tells JC to send the distress signal/find evidence that UNATCO is evil. JC responds to Paul that though UNATCO isn't perfect, they aren't evil. And so it was that JC could've stayed on UNATCO's side for a while longer instead of joining the NSF. That's something I want to see in DX4...giant decisions like that which completely change the dynamic of the game. This is what I was referring to earlier with the "answering how I feel". If DX did include this NSF/UNATCO choice in the game, the player would choose based on how they interpreted the collected information...not how they think the game would reward them for said decision. Again, HR was to clear on which choice is the correct one and which choice isn't, eliminating the exciting and unknown elements from an already uninteresting story.

EDIT: I almost forgot the choice to save Paul or not. It wasn't obvious that you could, and when you do, it makes it that much more gratifying...what a masterpiece. If only Ion Storm played up Paul's importance later if he was still alive.

FrankCSIS
10th Aug 2014, 04:12
HR is incredibly straightforward when it comes to the "conversation battles"; you know there are going to be 2 outcomes

I never looked at it that way, but this is a valid point. The amount of work put into those convo is extremely commendable, and it deserves to be said and repeated. But at the same time, the oversimplified structure of so-called pillars (sneak, talk, hack, or shoot your way in) had a negative effect on the conversations, turning them into a binary experience yielding an immediate result. Instead of having an organic conversation directly linked to the gameplay and the story opening up to different potential directions, we ended up with a mini-game, not unlike the hacking one.

It's a bit like what John previously discussed in terms of hacking. Hacking could be so much more than a binary experience yielding or not access to a door or a computer. Creatively re-routing patrol paths of anything automated to use them as a gameplay tool, using someone's account to send emails to someone else, clone a sim card to access someone's phone calls, etc...


But as I found, each objective feels like a separate mission in itself, so the map is essentially a couple of smaller missions forced into one area.

This is a MAJOR design problem of the last decade, severely compromising narrative progression and interaction. On paper, the difference between this structure and DX's "primary/secondary objectives" is minimal. But the way the player perceives the narrative is entirely different. Too often we underestimate how the underlying structure affects player behaviour, and this is one huge area where it does exactly that.

Everything else said about the game giving out constant feedback is also dead-on. As mentioned countless times, the magic was that a)the game never clearly outlined the choices you had, and b)no matter what you chose to do, it never failed to react accordingly, as if it were always meant to be that way. This is an enormous difference of approach, once again, compared to the idea of "pillars", where the choice is always outlined, and the impacts are predictable.

Jerion
10th Aug 2014, 05:59
This is a MAJOR design problem of the last decade, severely compromising narrative progression and interaction. On paper, the difference between this structure and DX's "primary/secondary objectives" is minimal. But the way the player perceives the narrative is entirely different. Too often we underestimate how the underlying structure affects player behaviour, and this is one huge area where it does exactly that.

Everything else said about the game giving out constant feedback is also dead-on. As mentioned countless times, the magic was that a)the game never clearly outlined the choices you had, and b)no matter what you chose to do, it never failed to react accordingly, as if it were always meant to be that way. This is an enormous difference of approach, once again, compared to the idea of "pillars", where the choice is always outlined, and the impacts are predictable.

The idea of "pillars" aptly serves to explain the multiple-solution concept and is a decent enough way of thinking about it, especially if you're actually having to make design decisions about that sort of thing- though the implementation in Human Revolution was a bit overt.

The problem, as you say, is the predictability of the consequences to any choice you may make, be it a decision in a conversation or choosing to travel along the Obvious Stealth Path™. That can be at least partially solved by designing long-term consequences for important (and perhaps some seemingly unimportant) narrative actions you may make. A good example of this is Sandra Renton, a character from the very early chapters of Deus Ex, showing up towards the end of the game because of a decision the player made several plot-twists ago. When the outcome of a decision is not quite so clear at first -- and more importantly when the player discovers as much -- each choice has a degree of uncertainty attached to it. When player is kept at least a bit unsure about how the underlying plot structure works, it helps build- or at least maintain- the perception of a continuous narrative.

A film is never so drawn out and thrilling as the first time you watch it. On repeat viewings, you already know what is coming. A game narrative can capture some of that magic- some good ones do the first time you play them- but the advantage of a game is that the player can make decisions. And when a player can make a difference, but doesn't quite know in advance the difference they are making, some of that magic might just stick around.

Edit: What's funny about the "grand narrative" feeling of Deus Ex is that it wasn't necessarily supposed to be that way in the first place- all the early characters re-appearing later on was simply the result of sitting down to tie up a bunch of loose plot threads. And all of a sudden, some choices had long-term consequences. Relatively minor ones, but it worked wonders.

FrankCSIS
10th Aug 2014, 16:26
Well no doubt every game out there has one pillars system or another. I'm fairly certain we're not meant to see the skeleton once we look at the whole body, however. But we've been over this before. The new premise here is I also feel the strict pillars approach has tainted the experience of the conversation battles, and limited their scope in an unimaginative way. A lot of superb work was put into a feature that is very interesting to watch unveil, but with little to no bang for its buck on the overall experience and nearly no narrative impact.


Edit: What's funny about the "grand narrative" feeling of Deus Ex is that it wasn't necessarily supposed to be that way in the first place- all the early characters re-appearing later on was simply the result of sitting down to tie up a bunch of loose plot threads. And all of a sudden, some choices had long-term consequences. Relatively minor ones, but it worked wonders.

I'm hardly surprised by this. DX isn't just rough around the edges in the graphical aspect of things. You can tell the end product in terms of narrative is likely the result of many, many patched work and transplants, but you only really start to suspect this after several playthroughs. What this suggests, however, is the team knew exactly what they wanted to achieve in terms of narrative experience. The base structure allowed a lot of room for story transplants and add-ons. I think the term pioneers can be justly used here, and trial and error has likely costed them some features and results they had hoped to further achieve. It's just a damn shame no one picks up the blueprints for a serious analysis, now that the grunt job has been done. Even with a drastically shorter game in terms of maps and levels, the structure can be used with the exact same effect. Without the slightest exaggeration, DX could be the subject of a design class. I would love nothing more than witnessing new students creatively opening up this structure in vastly different directions. Something even more extraordinary may come out of it.

CyberP
10th Aug 2014, 16:59
and b)no matter what you chose to do, it never failed to react accordingly.

Eh, Deus Ex's reactivity is the best I've ever encountered but not everything was covered, especially in the second half of the game.

WildcatPhoenix
10th Aug 2014, 20:20
Eh, Deus Ex's reactivity is the best I've ever encountered but not everything was covered, especially in the second half of the game.

Most of the best parts of Deus Ex's design came from the first half of the game, in all honesty. Towards the end, due to the requirements of the plot, it became much more linear and less reactive to player choice.

This is something I'd really liked to see improved upon in future Deus Ex releases.

AdrianShephard
11th Aug 2014, 02:01
But at the same time, the oversimplified structure of so-called pillars (sneak, talk, hack, or shoot your way in) had a negative effect on the conversations, turning them into a binary experience yielding an immediate result. Instead of having an organic conversation directly linked to the gameplay and the story opening up to different potential directions, we ended up with a mini-game, not unlike the hacking one.

Well written. I found the conversations felt like a chore to go through, but that could be because most of them only gave us mission information rather than background story or overall narrative (this doesn't fully apply to the battles).


On paper, the difference between this structure and DX's "primary/secondary objectives" is minimal. But the way the player perceives the narrative is entirely different. Too often we underestimate how the underlying structure affects player behaviour, and this is one huge area where it does exactly that.

And this is exactly why the topic needs to be brought up. From a developer's perspective, the little nods the game gives to the player may not seem like a big deal, but as a player it adds an incredible amount of immersion. I honestly don't know how EM could've missed this, as numerous developer interviews talked about going back and seeing what made DX great.

It has been a while since I played HR so my memories could fail me, but did anyone else notice that most conversations (i.e. AJ talks too) with NPC's gave you dialogue choices? Not that this is a bad thing necessarily (it does make the game feel more RPG like...ugh), but a lot of DX's story came through well used non-interactive dialogue. While I do think the player should have some choice, it removes the natural flow of the conversation and, as HR did it, oversimplifies things by limiting your reaction to the usual positive/negative/neutral responses. It's unoriginal and makes the game...well, gamey. Looking back at DX, there are times where I wish I could have a say in the conversation (the one with Morpheus, for example), but there are also a great many more where it wouldn't fit i.e. almost every major story convo. The lack of control didn't draw me out of the story at all -- though we did have a smart protagonist that responded like a normal educated person (yeah, AJ was pretty stupid and slow at figuring things out). Accommodating for more than one possible response by the player restricts narrative structure and therefore quality if not done right -- and I don't think EM can pull it off.

For the quests in HR, the conversations with the quest-giver usually have a "Details" tab that I reluctantly click on because I know it's a sneaky way for the writers to throw some information at us without putting effort into the writing. DX handled mission-critical information rather cleverly: NPC's would tell you about booby-traps or possible entries/secrets in the initial conversation under the guise of explaining the map or item they just gave you. For example, in the first mission Harley Filben gives you a map of the statue and mentions multiple ways to gain entry to the NSF commander; in the second mission, Anna gives you an EMP grenade and tells you about the booby-traps in the subway. These are nice and clean ways to give the player information without them having to choose 10 options for something so simple.

CyberP
11th Aug 2014, 02:18
Most of the best parts of Deus Ex's design came from the first half of the game, in all honesty. Towards the end, due to the requirements of the plot, it became much more linear and less reactive to player choice.

This is something I'd really liked to see improved upon in future Deus Ex releases.

Yeah. The story gets epic and you have much power by this point though so this kinda makes up for the lack of reactivity & at times linearity (in the gameplay and narrative).

LeMoN_LiMe
11th Aug 2014, 05:58
This is easily the best thread I've ever read.

I agree with every word.

And the damn links make me want to play Deus Ex right now. Didn't know Paul subway dialogue.

AdrianShephard
11th Aug 2014, 13:29
This is easily the best thread I've ever read.

I agree with every word.

And the damn links make me want to play Deus Ex right now. Didn't know Paul subway dialogue.

Thanks bud. It took me forever to find the links to all the convos but I thought it would make for an interesting read. These little dialogues don't get any love on this board.

And the Paul dialogue is hilarious. The game accounted for every action that you did.

CyberP
11th Aug 2014, 14:11
These little dialogues don't get any love on this board.

Not sure if serious. DX's dialogue & reactivity is often quoted, referenced and used in arguments as examples of what EM should be doing...

AdrianShephard
11th Aug 2014, 14:44
It was semi sarcastic, but I haven't seen the reactivity aspect being tied to perceived freedom, only that it is a cool thing that EM should emulate.

CyberP
11th Aug 2014, 15:19
It was semi sarcastic, but I haven't seen the reactivity aspect being tied to perceived freedom, only that it is a cool thing that EM should emulate.

All been discussed before. Don't let one good thread go to your head :p

AdrianShephard
11th Aug 2014, 15:27
All been discussed before. Don't let one good thread go to your head :p

Like I said, never seen it discussed.

Go back to the GMDX thread you always bump :rasp:



Edit: What's funny about the "grand narrative" feeling of Deus Ex is that it wasn't necessarily supposed to be that way in the first place- all the early characters re-appearing later on was simply the result of sitting down to tie up a bunch of loose plot threads. And all of a sudden, some choices had long-term consequences. Relatively minor ones, but it worked wonders.

Yup. Just found out that if you skip the secondary objective of rescuing Gunther in the Statue of Liberty, he brings it up when you meet him in Paris (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=po0ZGv1PrXg).

besyuziki
12th Aug 2014, 15:31
What we need to recapture what the original Deus Ex achieved is a long, brutal and nitpicky playtesting process, and a "will be released when it's done" mentality, contrary to deadlines set on stone and rushed design processes.

Remember Miguel's last line when you escape UNATCO and make it to the chopper, he thanks you and says he'll be fine from then on. No fancy expensive reward, but it was heartwarming which is reward enough. Or Joe Green's different line in the Free Clinic if you haven't met him in the early possible locations. Or when Harley Filben is annoyed and ask for his money anyway when you climb to the statue without talking to him first. Or... These made the game for me.

In Human Revolution, NPC's also respond to your actions to a certain extent. They can differentiate between your lethal and non-lethal approach etc. but it's not as thorough as the original Deus Ex, because the flags and conditions which trigger dialogues are simpler. If you convince Zeke to release the hostage, and kill him in the back alley when he calls you there, the game pretends that Zeke was killed back in the plant. There's no complex branching tree of conditions, it's binary, dead or alive, which is too simple and disappointing for a Deus Ex game, if you think about being yelled at by Alex and Paul after killing the surrendered NSF leader, etc. There wasn't a simple dead/alive flag there.

But in some cases they paid attention to the this, like when you trace Sevçenko's signal and it leads you to Tong. As stated by Mary DeMarle in the commentary, there's a different dialogue if you haven't met Tong earlier in the Hive.

They needed more time and more thorough playtesting. Maybe next time.

AdrianShephard
13th Aug 2014, 16:55
I stumbled across this gem some time ago that many of you may have already come across: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2013-01-04-the-deleted-scenes-of-deus-ex . It's the partial design document of DX with Spector's notes on it. You can see that the game was going to have a radically different plot, and there were some early ideas that were admittedly very far fetched. One thing that didn't change throughout the constant revisions is the focus on character interaction, an area where HR is obviously lacking. This bit from the article brought a tear to my eye:


In the end, it's hard to argue with that sentiment - the idea of character-driven interaction was one of the things that made Deus Ex great, not the fact that it had levels in recognisable places. The 1997 story draft of Majestic Revelations opens with a sort of design manifesto for the project and the recurring theme is that character development should be prioritised over everything else. No weird game spaces, no technological ambitions for the sake of it; character development is all that matters and it's spelled out through sections titled 'Deep Simulation, Small Environment', 'Problems, Not Puzzles' and 'Believable, Object-Rich Worlds'

"We want character development to be a vital part of the game," reads one part. "If, by game's end, we can make each character unique (and, therefore, each player's experience of the game, each player's unique), then we win."

"Make each character unique". This is very clearly the case in DX as each character has a distinct personality and every conversation with an NPC has some substance, whether that's backstory of the character or information about the world/society. How can we classify characters in HR? Well, most conversations with NPCs are mission-oriented thus removing the personal and emotional attachment we have to the character. The handful of people we do have intimate conversations with never deeply reveal themselves to the player. A good example of this is the chemistry between Malik and Jensen: there obviously is something going on between them, but their relationship is never explored passed Malik giving a personal quest to Jensen and then later calling him "spy boy". We were so close to learning something meaningful about her, and more importantly, about Jensen. Malik was perhaps the best chance to show Jensen's human side because of her critical supporting role. Similar to the relationship between Jock and JC where Jock would often risk his life to land his helicopter, Malik's allegiance is essentially to Jensen, not Sarif, so it would make sense that Jensen would open up more to her instead of just giving her the somewhat affectionate nickname "fly girl". Megan Reed is another facepalm character. After you figure out that she's been working for the people trying to kill you, Jensen reacts in the same way I expect a robot to, he ingests it and shows no visual emotion opting to tell Megan how to escape rather than confronting her. The only unique aspect of HR's characters is the measure of how dickish they are to the player on a scale of Malik to Pritchard.

"Each player's experience of the game [is] unique". Again, as stated in the opening post of this thread, DX guarantees that each player will have a different experience because of all the dialogue options. A player that chooses to rescue Gunther in the first mission will have a different dialogue with him in Paris than if you didn't. A player that chooses to let the Renton's die (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4vzsn0gWss#t=3m19s) at the hands of JoJo will learn that he knows Paul. Granted these aren't major experiences, but it does make the game unique with the number of contingencies programmed. As 502 pointed out above, there are very few instances where multiple conditions are accounted for. This is especially noticeable when Jensen overhears story critical conversations between NPCs -- like how Darrow's name is brought up in the Omega Ranch as the mastermind of everything going on -- but then acts like he just heard the news for the first time when the game officially makes Jensen realize the truth. I suspect the use of cutscenes is the culprit here because different cinematics that are triggered by different conditions would run up the production budget quickly. Still, those cutscenes were ugly, unnecessary, and aren't an excuse for not acknowledging the player's exploration with a simple extra line added in to the tune of "I already know". DX did this a countless number of times and it showed that the developers actually care about player interaction.

APostLife
14th Aug 2014, 12:28
I really liked it when you kill all the The Rooks in the subway, then go talk to El Rey. JC actually chuckles in this convo if you have full LAMs and cannot carry anymore, something really unexpected of him. Though more of an evilish chuckle I might add. This is the only convo in the game where JC actually laughs, which made me love the game even more.

It was also a hard find, because normally I wouldn't kill every single Rook in each playthrough.

If you also extract the voice files for the Deus Ex, there is one where Paul says he is too scared to come outside of the Ton hotel, and wants you (JC) to come. I believe this was for the NSF Signal distress mission but wasn't included. I found this convo very touching, some brotherly love shown from Paul to JC.

besyuziki
15th Aug 2014, 00:39
Heh heh.

InGroove2
17th Aug 2014, 05:15
After all this talk on writing in DX 1, I wanted to revisit the game specifically for the dialogue options that were all the craze in HR, and I was amazed. I'm going to use this video of all the lines spoken by Anna Navarre (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI6VDlaeux8) as a reference. The uploader thankfully linked the topic of the lines said with the time in the video in the description. Spoilers follow if you haven't played the original DX (and shame on you).

Though it still hasn't been confirmed, there has been some mentioning of a Mass Effect-style trilogy that EM wants to implement in Deus Ex, and I am very strongly opposed to this. It is my belief that the reason for this change in direction is the hope that the player will feel like their choices matter and that there is an increased sense of freedom. But instead of copying the ideas of an RPG series (and I stress RPG, because I have the feeling Deus Ex is going to be turned into one), EM can simply look back at the original DX that is brought up in almost every thread. Deus Ex is a linear first person game with elements of an RPG, but the game gives the illusion that the player has freedom through the dialogue that changes based on a player's actions. Of course, there is a large degree of gameplay freedom (i.e. multiple approaches to a mission), but I will not treat that here. This thread is more of the writing's effect on perceived freedom.

Ion Storm included dialogue in DX that changes based on how the player completed an objective, and this isn't just an extra line added into the preset dialogue that will always play. The player is praised or scolded for how they handled said objective, and more importantly, the game makes sure the player knows the reason why. This is best shown in the second mission of DX in Battery Park. A first-time player has two choices (really more, but play along), they could go through Castle Clinton or go to the hostage situation in the subway. In the unlikely event that they choose to go to the subway first (because we are told to first locate the Ambrosia shipment), Anna has a special dialogue prepared. She makes sure to tell the player that they have completed the objectives out of order...and it is this information that lends to the 'feeling of freedom'. The game accepts its linear structure and suggests that you accomplish one task first, but should you do one planned for later, you are reminded of the choice you had and the one you decided to make. Now imagine we redesign the mission to follow HR's 'choice gameplay', which would mean that the player is thrown onto the level and we are told of 2 objectives - the Ambrosia shipment and the hostage situation - that need to be completed, though no order is specified (like in the hubs). One could argue that this is freedom, because, well...you have a choice. But as I found, each objective feels like a separate mission in itself, so the map is essentially a couple of smaller missions forced into one area. You are never reminded of the choice you had...and I found that it never psychologically clicked that I'm 'free' -- more like I was given a list of chores to do. It is this feedback that not only adds re-playability, but also lets the player see how their actions impacted the game world (more on this later).

Because I brought up Battery Park, we shouldn't forget the other dynamic dialogue. Anna comments on how lethal you were in Castle Clinton, and again the player is reminded of their choice of lethality, adding a nice touch to the game. The developers even included dialogue for the unlikely case that you will skip both objectives and take the subway straight to Hell's Kitchen (I had no idea this was even possible!); as you can see in the video, Anna brings this up to the player numerous times while also telling Manderley (you even get hidden lines with Paul (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEn-g8s6qEw) in Hell's Kitchen). Further, Sam Carter later scolds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJb1Rp3kBzc#t=4m18sec) or praises (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zew5kIYK3U4&index=23&list=PLpizvk_kqp87mx5a1N1ugDeMiInMqNHPH) the player based on how they handled the situation in the Castle. This is only 1 mission we are talking about, and already there is more dynamic than all of HR's dialogue combined. There are only few lines/cutscenes that will change based on how you handle a mission in HR, and that is precisely why many players didn't feel like their actions had any impact. There is one exceptional case in Human Revolution, though; the conversation with Wayne Haas (specifically if you won the conversation battle with him the first time) at your apartment was touching and was probably the only time I felt I was going somewhere with the game. We see a direct consequence of our action...we got an already suicidal person fired from their miserable job. I would've liked HR a lot more if these types of conversations were more frequent.

DX is absolutely littered with dynamic dialogue. You have Gunther making a comment to Anna (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dI6VDlaeux8#t=2m24sec) that changes if you gave him a weapon on Liberty Island. You have Paul scolding you if you kill the NSF commander (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2z6t-xWgN0g#t=1m47sec), and Manderley asking you about the mysterious death of the UNATCO agent. You have a completely different conversation with El Rey (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlBAcZBeqKc) if you cleared out all of The Rooks, and also an acknowledgment if you killed the drug dealer before speaking to El Rey. There is the boy in the tunnels who tells you where the NSF accountant is, but JC responds that he already knew (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaPFxHaeRc4#t=35sec). Mind you, this is only a small fraction of all of them; each one serves as a small nod to you for the actions you have taken. THIS is how you show the player what they're doing is relevant, not some trilogy ripped off an overrated series.

A word on the boss battles. Though what I'm about to discuss doesn't necessarily relate to dialogue, it pertains immensely to player freedom. EM should take a very good look at how DX handled bosses, specifically Anna, Maggie Chow, and Walton. Again, because DX is a linear game the player will have to kill all 3 (if you don't glitch) eventually, but when you do is up to the player. There are 3 instances when Anna is mortal, 2 for Maggie Chow, and again 2 for Walton. This is simply incredible; there are no fancy crap-resolution CGI cutscenes, no giant lead up, no "kill" arrow over the villian's head...just you and your decisions. THAT is how you do boss battles and give the player freedom.

I hope I explained everything clearly. It makes much more sense in my head.


i think you're basically right on here. I think HR was not as self referential as it needed it be to give it a proper DX feel. And I should mention that I think HR is plenty Deus Ex... but could be alot more. I even think many of the character face models fit right in with the old DX look... but I digress.

HR could definitely stand to be way more organic about their side quest/secondary objective approach. I love a secondary objective that isn't a quest, but a favor you do for bum so that he give you a code. or by feeding a kid so you can get... well another code. objectives that create variety in how you get through a mission... not just an objective that is an EXTRA thing you COULD do.


Frankly I love the --- out of HR and think its definitely a proper DX game. When i play through it (and i have many times) and listen to the commentary... I really appreciate how much the devs really seemed to care and be aware of what a DX experience is. the commentaries are basically a list of things that they wanted to do to make the game MORE complicated and interesting but just couldn't due to practical matters.

when i think about how subtle the situations are that you are referring to... its really no wonder no one else could do what DX did. There's no good way to sell simple things like adding a little line of dialogue that says "i was already there" or "i already picked up that key" or "i was pursuing the primary objective". How could you possibly convince a bean counter that calling in your voice actors for that stuff was worth it?

CyberP
17th Aug 2014, 11:26
when i think about how subtle the situations are that you are referring to... its really no wonder no one else could do what DX did. There's no good way to sell simple things like adding a little line of dialogue that says "i was already there" or "i already picked up that key" or "i was pursuing the primary objective". How could you possibly convince a bean counter that calling in your voice actors for that stuff was worth it?

Spector did it. Tell Anfossi/JFD to activate their pheromones or something.

InGroove2
17th Aug 2014, 14:27
Spector did it. Tell Anfossi/JFD to activate their pheromones or something.


riiiight... but not really the same gaming environment these days. Don't think anyone asked Anfonssi if he wanted to make his dream game...

CyberP
17th Aug 2014, 16:38
Yes, so we should give up dreaming about DX4 being significantly better...

AdrianShephard
17th Aug 2014, 19:01
Don't think anyone asked Anfonssi if he wanted to make his dream game...

It's all about the $$$ which is why the franchise shouldn't be in the hands of a person who isn't as passionate as Spector (who wanted the series back, BTW).



when i think about how subtle the situations are that you are referring to... its really no wonder no one else could do what DX did. There's no good way to sell simple things like adding a little line of dialogue that says "i was already there" or "i already picked up that key" or "i was pursuing the primary objective". How could you possibly convince a bean counter that calling in your voice actors for that stuff was worth it?

Not adding the small lines such as "I already was there" does more harm than having them in and being glossed over. It really sticks out when you clearly have been someplace but AJ acts like he's never been there in a conversation. As for how to sell it? Well, the marketing machine could use the words "freedom" and "living, breathing world" and actually be honest about it for once.

From the back cover of the original DX:



A richly simulated world of unparalleled interactivity, engineered to react to your every action.

Among the hundreds of games that advertise what's in the quote above, DX is the only one I've encountered that didn't lie.

CyberP
17th Aug 2014, 19:45
It's all about the $$$ which is why the franchise shouldn't be in the hands of a person who isn't as passionate as Spector (who wanted the series back, BTW).

If it is indeed all about the money then agreed, but you are forgetting it is unofficially in the hands of the people too: anyone can contribute to DX by making DX1 mods/TCs.
DX:HR was very obviously a passionately-developed game though, but certainly not enough to be truly DX-worthy and certainly there was much compromise because money. Backhanded compliment: I'd prefer it to "officially" be in EM/SE's hands than most these days however.


From the back cover of the original DX:

Among the hundreds of games that advertise what's in the quote above, DX is the only one I've encountered that didn't lie.

To be truly honest it would have "(within reason)" on the end there. It doesn't react to everything, but certainly a commendable effort in creating a simulated world, more so than any other game that isn't an Immersive Sim.

AdrianShephard
17th Aug 2014, 19:50
DX:HR was very obviously a passionately-developed game though, but certainly not enough to be truly DX-worthy and certainly there was much compromise because money.

Ah, of course of course.



I'd prefer it to "officially" be in EM/SE's hands than most these days however.

I'm still going to hold on to my dream that SE will create another Eidos studio headed by Spector and Smith and the DX franchise will be handed over to that studio. Then EM can mutilate whatever is left of Thief and wouldn't impact the development of the next DX games. If that doesn't happen (and it won't), I think Arkane Studios should be given a shot. They do, after all, have Smith there and I firmly believe he can create another DX level game given the guidance of Spector.

Jito463
17th Aug 2014, 20:54
Then EM can mutilate whatever is left of Thief and wouldn't impact the development of the next DX games.

Gee, thanks for throwing us Thief (the classics, not the brainless reboot) fans to the wolves.

AdrianShephard
17th Aug 2014, 21:37
Gee, thanks for throwing us Thief (the classics, not the brainless reboot) fans to the wolves.

Ha ha I'm a hardcore Thief fan myself, but unfortunately I have less hope of a "true Thief" (i.e. as good as the classics) than a true Deus Ex. I honestly think that Thief as we knew it is dead, or we'll see another reboot in 4-5 years. Besides, for Deus Ex to survive the wolves have to be preoccupied with something else, and that's Thief's job.

CyberP
17th Aug 2014, 22:43
Besides, for Deus Ex to survive the wolves have to be preoccupied with something else, and that's Thief's job.


As sad as it is I agree. I'd rather no Immersive Sim (or any great game series for that matter) went to the wolves but I value DX more.


Ha ha I'm a hardcore Thief fan myself, but unfortunately I have less hope of a "true Thief" (i.e. as good as the classics) than a true Deus Ex.

Eh, DX is very complex and obsesses over the little details, such as those that have been discussed in this very thread. Thief, whilst still very much an Immersive Sim, is a lot simpler in it's systems & easier to understand from a player's perspective and therefore in theory should have a far greater chance of being revived properly.
I don't ever expect a "true" DX game from EM, though I hope they try. They butchered the hell out of Thief and a lot of it was just unnecessary even from a business standpoint I say. ******* contextual jumping. Design decisions like that make me raise the room temperature.

AdrianShephard
17th Aug 2014, 22:56
Eh, DX is very complex and obsesses over the little details, such as those that have been discussed in this very thread. Thief, whilst still very much an Immersive Sim, is a lot simpler in it's systems & easier to understand from a player's perspective and therefore in theory should have a far greater chance of being revived properly.

Very true. But HR was more to DX than Thief (2014) to the classics. I still don't know how EM managed to completely botch Thief...could be the turmoil in the studio during the development, which I admit gets me scared if something like that will happen to DX4.

InGroove2
18th Aug 2014, 03:33
It's all about the $$$ which is why the franchise shouldn't be in the hands of a person who isn't as passionate as Spector (who wanted the series back, BTW).



Not adding the small lines such as "I already was there" does more harm than having them in and being glossed over. It really sticks out when you clearly have been someplace but AJ acts like he's never been there in a conversation. As for how to sell it? Well, the marketing machine could use the words "freedom" and "living, breathing world" and actually be honest about it for once.

From the back cover of the original DX:



Among the hundreds of games that advertise what's in the quote above, DX is the only one I've encountered that didn't lie.

of course I... we get that games like this shouldn't be made for money... but.... they are... so... i feel i have to adjust my expectations accordingly.

CyberP
18th Aug 2014, 03:39
Or just give up on AAA (except for the occasional gem) and support the more passion-driven devs...
Deus Ex is an exception. We should demand the best, no less ;)

AdrianShephard
18th Aug 2014, 04:14
of course I... we get that games like this shouldn't be made for money... but.... they are... so... i feel i have to adjust my expectations accordingly.

Just because a game is made to generate money doesn't mean we should give it a free pass. RDR is an excellent game that is extremely well made and sold volumes...and it's from the same company that makes the over-hyped (but ridiculously fun, nonetheless) GTA series.

Shralla
18th Aug 2014, 04:24
All I want is RDR on PC. You'd never have to use Dead-Eye for anything ever. Also shooting from your horse would be so much easier.

AdrianShephard
18th Aug 2014, 04:39
All I want is RDR on PC. You'd never have to use Dead-Eye for anything ever. Also shooting from your horse would be so much easier.

RDR on PC would be great. Dead-Eye is a nice feature, even if you don't really need it on the PC. I love the gold rustic filter and the noise that you hear when in Dead-Eye...just adds to the Wild West feel.

CyberP
18th Aug 2014, 04:47
All I want is RDR on PC. You'd never have to use Dead-Eye for anything ever. Also shooting from your horse would be so much easier.

You're obviously just not very good with a pad. Dead-eye is not necessary, nor is aim assist (which is why it can be turned off as in most console shooters).
The only time I used dead-eye was when snuck up on by a bear or mountain lion. I would be accepting of dead-eye if it didn't regenerate so damn easily. As is it's just a crutch.
Also, hardcore multiplayer lobbies all the way (no dead-eye or aim assist).

WildcatPhoenix
18th Aug 2014, 05:30
I'm still going to hold on to my dream that SE will create another Eidos studio headed by Spector and Smith and the DX franchise will be handed over to that studio. Then EM can mutilate whatever is left of Thief and wouldn't impact the development of the next DX games. If that doesn't happen (and it won't), I think Arkane Studios should be given a shot. They do, after all, have Smith there and I firmly believe he can create another DX level game given the guidance of Spector.

As much as I'd love for either of these two scenarios to occur, we all know it isn't likely to ever happen.

There is a simpler alternative, of course. Keep the franchise in current hands, but give the PC community a set of functioning mod tools for an updated, modern engine. Then EM/Square can go on trying to sell the general public on its "streamlined" Deus Ex (a fool's errand if ever there was one), while the mod community can get to work pushing the envelope of immersion and giving the franchise a true sequel, one worthy of the vision that Spector, Smith, and co. had for the future of gaming back in 2000, with no financial risk or corporate shareholders to appease.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
18th Aug 2014, 13:19
The franchise should stay with EM, of course.
Spector himself said he loved DXHR and that EM successfully captured the spirit of Deus Ex.
Yes, there were a few things in the game he didn't like; but there were other things he really liked; typical of any gamer's review.

WildcatPhoenix
18th Aug 2014, 14:47
The franchise should stay with EM, of course.

Debatable, but as someone said above, it could be in much worse hands.



Spector himself said he loved DXHR and that EM successfully captured the spirit of Deus Ex.
Yes, there were a few things in the game he didn't like; but there were other things he really liked; typical of any gamer's review.

Spector said what every single person in the corporate gaming industry says about a rival company's games. You don't say anything overtly negative about a future potential employer. I doubt we'll ever know his real opinion of DXHR, on or off the record.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
18th Aug 2014, 15:19
Debatable...
Of course....


Spector said what every single person in the corporate gaming industry says about a rival company's games. You don't say anything overtly negative about a future potential employer. I doubt we'll ever know his real opinion of DXHR, on or off the record.
I suppose you have a point if you believe he has some reason to tailor his critique. Personally, I believe any individual of worth who wishes to be heard, will be heard; particularly if driven by passion and purpose. If Spector had something truly negative to say about HR, I believe he would have said it.

AdrianShephard
18th Aug 2014, 16:46
There is a simpler alternative, of course. Keep the franchise in current hands, but give the PC community a set of functioning mod tools for an updated, modern engine. Then EM/Square can go on trying to sell the general public on its "streamlined" Deus Ex (a fool's errand if ever there was one), while the mod community can get to work pushing the envelope of immersion and giving the franchise a true sequel, one worthy of the vision that Spector, Smith, and co. had for the future of gaming back in 2000, with no financial risk or corporate shareholders to appease.

Too bad that would be leaving the writing/narrative in the trash (where it already was).

CyberP
18th Aug 2014, 17:01
Too bad that would be leaving the writing/narrative in the trash (where it already was).

:scratch:

So nobody can write an exceptional story except Pacotti?
Modders can write entirely new stories and get them fully voiced. It's been done before, I've already pointed you to them.

WildcatPhoenix
18th Aug 2014, 17:04
I suppose you have a point if you believe he has some reason to tailor his critique. Personally, I believe any individual of worth who wishes to be heard, will be heard; particularly if driven by passion and purpose. If Spector had something truly negative to say about HR, I believe he would have said it.

I disagree. The media went to him for comment, and he gave them a polite response. It's not as if Spector took it upon himself to promote DXHR or ranted and raved about how wonderful it was. He did what professionals do. Does that mean he secretly hated DXHR? No, probably not.

Of course, if you go back and look at some of the initial comments he made about Invisible War, they'll give you some indication as to how worthless these kinds of public statements to the media really are.


Too bad that would be leaving the writing/narrative in the trash (where it already was).

I'm going to take this as a personal insult...j/k.

But there are those of us in the mod community who care just as much about story, characterization, and plot as they do gameplay (*ahem*). We/they just need a chance to prove it.

InGroove2
18th Aug 2014, 17:12
Just because a game is made to generate money doesn't mean we should give it a free pass. RDR is an excellent game that is extremely well made and sold volumes...and it's from the same company that makes the over-hyped (but ridiculously fun, nonetheless) GTA series.

who gave it a free pass? i believe i agreed with the main griped of the OP. but calling out developer names, in my view... is tedious. haven't played RDR since i only play on PC, i'll have to just take your word for it that it does the kinds of things that equate to what you're saying HR should have done.

CyberP
18th Aug 2014, 17:12
But there are those of us in the mod community who care just as much about story, characterization, and plot as they do gameplay (*ahem*).

I'm going to take this as a personal insult...j/k. :p

I very much value story, but gameplay first. Besides, DX's story has few flaws.

I do very much want some new vendors in the game. There's locations that are perfect for them and they are needed to give credits/DX currency more weight. How they can be meaningful in terms of narrative...that I haven't thought of yet (I've had ideas but no real focus), but that would be primarily the job of the writer as I'm just not skilled in this field.

AdrianShephard
18th Aug 2014, 17:38
:scratch:

So nobody can write an exceptional story except Pacotti?
Modders can write entirely new stories and get them fully voiced. It's been done before, I've already pointed you to them.

Sorry, I was thinking more of the GMDX type of mod. Haven't come across too many story mods that are worth my while (then again, I haven't been looking hard). But would it be far fetched to say that the overall quality of the narrative and writing (including the scripting of dynamic dialogue) would be less than if the developers did it in the first place?

How could you flesh out more from a character without having the original voice actor? And it would seem to me that the story would be more constricted because it will have to fit in the ready made maps, unless some people take it upon themselves to create entirely new levels. Just seems a bit implausible to expect a DX quality story through modding a EM game ;).

Lady_Of_The_Vine
18th Aug 2014, 17:47
I disagree. The media went to him for comment, and he gave them a polite response. It's not as if Spector took it upon himself to promote DXHR or ranted and raved about how wonderful it was. He did what professionals do. Does that mean he secretly hated DXHR? No, probably not.
Its fine to disagree, but by doing so you imply that Spector is too shallow to be honest regarding his critique of a game, and because he's a "professional" then he is willing to be dishonest to himself and others, right? I don't believe Spector is this type of person; but I could be wrong and you could be right.
He didn't "rant and rave" about HR, no... but this is what I would expect from a "professional". Did he love the game? He said he did.


Of course, if you go back and look at some of the initial comments he made about Invisible War, they'll give you some indication as to how worthless these kinds of public statements to the media really are.

Okay, so what did he initially say about IW? I can't remember.
Still... we're not talking about initial comments or previews.... we are discussing reviews. Spector gave his critique after he played DXHR, not before it.

WildcatPhoenix
18th Aug 2014, 18:03
I do very much want some new vendors in the game. There's locations that are perfect for them and they are needed to give credits/DX currency more weight. How they can be meaningful in terms of narrative...that I haven't thought of yet (I've had ideas but no real focus), but that would be primarily the job of the writer as I'm just not skilled in this field.

The problem here isn't so much the dialogue, which is simple enough to write, but the voice acting. It'd be difficult to find someone who could perfectly imitate JC's voice. Even if you found someone who could do a decent imitation, it'd still stand out from the rest of the dialogue.


Its fine to disagree, but by doing so you imply that Spector is too shallow to be honest regarding his critique of a game, and because he's a "professional" then he is willing to be dishonest to himself and others, right? I don't believe Spector is this type of person; but I could be wrong and you could be right.
He didn't "rant and rave" about HR, no... but this is what I would expect from a "professional". Did he love the game? He said he did.


It isn't shallow to want to avoid "burning bridges," so to speak. Everyone who works in videogames knows that one of the downsides of the industry is its volatility (let's not forget the fate of Ion Storm, after all). Spector didn't work for Square or Eidos Montreal at the time of DXHR's release, but that doesn't mean he won't some day find himself as a supervisor or as an employee of some of those people. A smart professional, and Warren Spector is definitely one of these, doesn't make enemies by openly bashing the work of potential future colleagues in the media.

What did he actually say about DXHR? Did he say he "loved it?" From what I can find (http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-03-16-warren-spector-on-deus-ex-human-revolution-i-screamed-at-the-television-as-i-played) he said:

"You know I've tried to stay out of that discussion since the game came out... It was one of the few games I finished, and I know the guys on the team and I know how dedicated they were and how respectful of the original they were; their hearts were in the right place and they did a wonderful job."

He then goes on to say:
"The interesting thing was - and we don't have time to get into this right now, even if even if I were ready to get into it - my wife will tell you, I screamed at the television as I played this game. I loved the game, at the end of the day, but I screamed constantly because there were two, three, four things they did where I just said 'Nooooo, why did you this? Noooo!' and, and it wasn't that it was right or wrong, it was different than what I [expected]," Spector noted.

So make of that what you will.



Okay, so what did he initially say about IW? I can't remember.
Still... we're not talking about initial comments or previews.... we are discussing reviews. Spector gave his critique after he played DXHR, not before it.

Some samples (and yes, you're right, most of this is promotional BS released before Invisible War came out):
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/i_deusexiw

"Warren Spector: Exactly. The last thing in the world I want to do and the last thing I want Ion Storm to do, is just crank out another piece of sausage. The fact that there's a figurative "2" after the game is irrelevant to the creative decisions we made every single day. You don't have to avoid risk or repeat yourself to make a sequel. You identify the core of your experience and go with it. Magnify it. Ammo type is just not core to the experience."

"Doing what you want and seeing what happens. [Invisible War] is differently maximalist, but we really didn't lose any of the functionality. Lost some of the surface level stuff, but nothing of significance."

"Kieron Gillen: Perhaps "elegant" is the word then. Invisible War has everything, but in a more elegant way. You don't notice the joins. When I play it, I'm finding it easier to express myself, as I'm seeing it as an integrated skillset. It didn't always feel that way in Deus Ex.

Warren Spector: We're trying to remove barriers to belief. Trying to remove barriers to action, trying to remove barriers to plans. That's true. I would call Invisible War a more sophisticated game. Deus Ex was like early automobiles. They didn't know what they were doing! They were putting Wagon Wheels on this, and a steam engine and... they were making stuff up! And that's where we were in Deus Ex. Invisible War is a very calculated attempt to streamline and make more sophisticated."

Ugh. That last exchange makes me want to murder the whole wide world.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
18th Aug 2014, 18:12
I really don't see any profound reason why Spector wouldn't just be honest. He's critiquing a game, not giving away state secrets. If he genuinely feels no need to bash DXHR, then he isn't going to. You seem to think that just because he didn't bash it, its because he's choosing to pretend he likes it in order to be professional. Perhaps you are right... but I think you are wrong.



What did he actually say about DXHR? Did he say he "loved it?"
Yes, to be found in your quotes. He does say there are a few things he disliked and things he liked... but, at the end of the day, he loved the game.
This appears an honest appraisal, particularly as it is typical and similar to that from regular fans.

I particularly wanted to see Spector's critique of IW after he played the game. Thanks for all the info... I'll go look myself if I find time later. :thumb:

WildcatPhoenix
18th Aug 2014, 18:23
I loved the game, at the end of the day, but I screamed constantly because there were two, three, four things they did where I just said 'Nooooo, why did you this? Noooo!' and, and it wasn't that it was right or wrong, it was different than what I [expected]," Spector noted.

This is a classic example of disguising criticism through praise. This whole "don't get me wrong, I loved it, really I did" and "it wasn't bad, it was just different" kind of language doesn't convince me at all.

I really don't understand why you think a professional game designer would openly criticize anything produced by peers in a "on the record" setting? That's basically career suicide, even for someone as respected as Warren Spector.

DeMolay
18th Aug 2014, 18:27
:scratch:

So nobody can write an exceptional story except Pacotti?

Pacotti understood the world they were in. The conspiratorial, historical, quasi-mystic religious aspects were captured perfectly while HR seemed embarrassed/confused by it, and pushed it toward the common (Wow, technology man!) neo-tokyo-manga style of universe.

The captured NSF commander's (DX mission #1) sub-lines say more about the DX world than all of HR combined. My god, they don't even feature a European/or Old World city in the entire game. Not to mention a lead character that doesn't seem interested in the higher levels of society he's become witness too.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
18th Aug 2014, 18:37
This is a classic example of disguising criticism through praise. This whole "don't get me wrong, I loved it, really I did" and "it wasn't bad, it was just different" kind of language doesn't convince me at all.
It is? I've said similar in my reviews with no intention whatsoever to disguise criticism through praise. Its just an honest appraisal. There are things I disliked, things I liked, but (at the end of the day) I really loved the game and enjoyed playing it and wish to play a second time and so on.


I really don't understand why you think a professional game designer would openly criticize anything produced by peers in a "on the record" setting? That's basically career suicide, even for someone as respected as Warren Spector.
Like I said, its because I don't believe that anyone driven by passion and a sense of purpose would ever wish to lie to themselves, let alone others.
I don't believe the excuse of "career suicide" is at all realistic. True worth never diminishes, people will always desire your "genius"... and, anyway, Spector did openly criticise certain elements of HR.

AdrianShephard
18th Aug 2014, 19:03
I don't believe that anyone driven by passion and a sense of purpose would ever wish to lie to themselves, let alone others...I don't believe the excuse of "career suicide" is at all realistic.

Yeah...it's not lying to yourself if you don't want to screw yourself over. We don't live in this happy world where honesty & passion > greed & money. May sound nice, but that isn't how society works. To make it, you have to shut up, keep your head down, and don't piss off people who may potentially help you in the future...especially in a volatile industry like videogames. If you don't believe in "career suicide", you've either never worked in a cut-throat industry, or we live on opposite ends of the world. I know of many grad-students in the sciences who criticized or belittled other professor's/grad student work and couldn't find a job upon graduating (if they did) because of it. More often than not, during a thesis defense, the insulted prof will ask the toughest and most specific questions just to get back at him/her. Show me someone who openly criticized a work and didn't get a crap ton of flak for it.


True worth never diminishes, people will always desire your "genius"...

Yes it does. You can be the greatest genius but be hard to work with...and being open and flexible is important for a studio. Again, "true worth never diminishes" is a phrase I might find in a self-esteem Health magazine, but it doesn't always apply to the real-world.


Pacotti understood the world they were in. The conspiratorial, historical, quasi-mystic religious aspects were captured perfectly while HR seemed embarrassed/confused by it, and pushed it toward the common (Wow, technology man!) neo-tokyo-manga style of universe.

:thumb:

That's what I think happened. The writers didn't know how to treat the complicated and mature topics of DX so they opted for the run-of-the-mill plot.

InGroove2
18th Aug 2014, 19:20
Yeah...it's not lying to yourself if you don't want to screw yourself over. We don't live in this happy world where honesty & passion > greed & money. May sound nice, but that isn't how society works. To make it, you have to shut up, keep your head down, and don't piss off people who may potentially help you in the future...especially in a volatile industry like videogames. If you don't believe in "career suicide", you've either never worked in a cut-throat industry, or we live on opposite ends of the world. I know of many grad-students in the sciences who criticized or belittled other professor's/grad student work and couldn't find a job upon graduating (if they did) because of it. More often than not, during a thesis defense, the insulted prof will ask the toughest and most specific questions just to get back at him/her. Show me someone who openly criticized a work and didn't get a crap ton of flak for it.



Yes it does. You can be the greatest genius but be hard to work with...and being open and flexible is important for a studio. Again, "true worth never diminishes" is a phrase I might find in a self-esteem Health magazine, but it doesn't always apply to the real-world.



:thumb:

That's what I think happened. The writers didn't know how to treat the complicated and mature topics of DX so they opted for the run-of-the-mill plot.


i doubt they were daunted by the "complicated & mature topics". They're not THAT complex. Clearly they just didn't think it would appeal to people and that they needed a "strong personal narrative" and then tied it all together with a strong (and incredibly repetitive) theme about trans humanism.

frankly, the worst thing about HR's plot is that they forced this personal/emotional thing on us and didn't just let the game be our emotional basis.

the whole megan thing stinks... having to care about wayne haas stinks. DX games need to be about what's happening in the world... not whats happening to one guy. which is why when you play JC, you look out for your OWN story rather than have to integrate with the story the game gives you.

ultimately the DX story is about a giant consipiracy and the guy who merges with an AI. It's not about how JC feels about it.... or about his life as a whole or anything. Anything you feel for JC and his friends comes from (almost 100%) the things that happen to you IN THE GAME.

AdrianShephard
18th Aug 2014, 19:35
frankly, the worst thing about HR's plot is that they forced this personal/emotional thing on us and didn't just let the game be our emotional basis.

the whole megan thing stinks... having to care about wayne haas stinks. DX games need to be about what's happening in the world... not whats happening to one guy. which is why when you play JC, you look out for your OWN story rather than have to integrate with the story the game gives you.

ultimately the DX story is about a giant consipiracy and the guy who merges with an AI. It's not about how JC feels about it.... or about his life as a whole or anything. Anything you feel for JC and his friends comes from (almost 100%) the things that happen to you IN THE GAME.

Good points. The game was too emotional for my liking.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
18th Aug 2014, 19:43
Yeah...it's not lying to yourself if you don't want to screw yourself over. We don't live in this happy world where honesty & passion > greed & money. May sound nice, but that isn't how society works. To make it, you have to shut up, keep your head down, and don't piss off people who may potentially help you in the future...especially in a volatile industry like videogames. If you don't believe in "career suicide", you've either never worked in a cut-throat industry, or we live on opposite ends of the world. I know of many grad-students in the sciences who criticized or belittled other professor's/grad student work and couldn't find a job upon graduating (if they did) because of it. More often than not, during a thesis defense, the insulted prof will ask the toughest and most specific questions just to get back at him/her. Show me someone who openly criticized a work and didn't get a crap ton of flak for it.
I get what you're saying in general and I have heard of 'career suicide', of course. It depends on the circumstances... and we're talking about WS after all who, with respect, has already "made it". He has nothing to lose by being honest and, as a third party, he is legally free to say what he wants.


Yes it does. You can be the greatest genius but be hard to work with...and being open and flexible is important for a studio. Again, "true worth never diminishes" is a phrase I might find in a self-esteem Health magazine, but it doesn't always apply to the real-world.
If you are a genius... you are a genius. That is your worth; your uniqueness. There is nobody else that could ever replace you. There is great power in genius.

All of us will have to agree to disagree because nobody can really prove whether he was honest or lied. I believe the former, you (and others) the latter.

AdrianShephard
18th Aug 2014, 20:03
If you are a genius... you are a genius. That is your worth; your uniqueness. There is nobody else that could ever replace you. There is great power in genius.

Ah...I didn't interpret that as 'self-worth'...more like worth to others. I think you can be a genius and worthless if you can't communicate clearly (assuming that it is necessary).

Lady_Of_The_Vine
18th Aug 2014, 20:17
Sure. This covers self-worth and your worth to others.
I'm saying, as the genius WS is, I believe there is no need for him to hide, pretend, lie, tread carefully or be worried about his career when being asked to offer critique of HR.

AdrianShephard
18th Aug 2014, 20:20
Sure.
But back to WS. I'm saying, as the genius he is, there is no need for him to hide, pretend, lie, tread carefully or be worried about his career.

Eh...unless he wants to be a part of a future Deus Ex title (which I'm sure he does).

Shralla
18th Aug 2014, 20:22
Spector himself said he loved DXHR and that EM successfully captured the spirit of Deus Ex.

He definitely did not use the word "love" and definitely also did not say that it successfully captured the Deus Ex spirit.

What he did say is that it was a pretty good game and he had fun, but there were a number of design decisions that caused him to yell at the screen. Which I imagines is the experience of most Deus Ex fans who played the game.

Warren Spector's career is almost non-existent at this point. I have no idea how much money he has saved up but he made Epic Mickey, which flopped. Since then he's barely done anything, and even before that he was barely doing anything. He has every reason to tailor his responses, all the same reasons as anybody else who works in the industry.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
18th Aug 2014, 20:27
Eh...unless he wants to be a part of a future Deus Ex title (which I'm sure he does).
His very genius means he has nothing to worry about, surely.



He definitely did not use the word "love" and definitely also did not say that it successfully captured the Deus Ex spirit.
He actually did... and what he said is already quoted in this thread.

AdrianShephard
18th Aug 2014, 20:28
Warren Spector's career is almost non-existent at this point. I have no idea how much money he has saved up but he made Epic Mickey, which flopped. Since then he's barely done anything, and even before that he was barely doing anything. He has every reason to tailor his responses, all the same reasons as anybody else who works in the industry.

Funny as I was just looking up what he is currently doing. Yup, not much going on for him ATM so he shouldn't walk around dissing other people's work -- I'm surprised he even said he yelled at the screen.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
18th Aug 2014, 20:29
I'm surprised he even said he yelled at the screen.
Don't be surprised, he was being honest... because he can.

AdrianShephard
18th Aug 2014, 20:33
Don't be surprised, he was being honest... because he can.

Honesty can get you into a lot of trouble you know...

Lady_Of_The_Vine
18th Aug 2014, 20:35
Honesty can get you in a lot of trouble you know...

So can dishonesty.

AdrianShephard
18th Aug 2014, 20:37
So can dishonesty.

Dishonesty gets you into trouble when you are caught lying. Honesty, on the other hand, voluntarily invites trouble.

Shralla
18th Aug 2014, 20:45
"The interesting thing was - and we don't have time to get into this right now, even if even if I were ready to get into it - my wife will tell you, I screamed at the television as I played this game. I loved the game, at the end of the day, but I screamed constantly because there were two, three, four things they did where I just said 'Nooooo, why did you this? Noooo!' and, and it wasn't that it was right or wrong, it was different than what I [expected]," Spector noted.

This is very obvious marketing speak for "It was a good game but it was a very poor Deus Ex game, but I need to remain professional.

I was wrong about his choice of words, but the intent carried by these phrases is blatant. You don't spend the whole time screaming at a game you genuinely love, regardless of whether or not it's a sequel to a game you made.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
18th Aug 2014, 20:51
Dishonesty gets you into trouble when you are caught lying. Honesty, on the other hand, voluntarily invites trouble.

Be brave and true, or be a coward. Its a choice for the individual to make, of course. Honesty dwells on higher ground.

AdrianShephard
18th Aug 2014, 20:59
Be brave and true, or be a coward. Its a choice for the individual to make, of course. Honesty dwells on higher ground.

Honest and penniless or dishonest and rich.

Sadly that is literally what happens on Wall St.

Lady_Of_The_Vine
18th Aug 2014, 21:05
Honest and penniless or dishonest and rich.


This may be so; but you are surely not saying this is true of every single case.
One could easily flip the coin there and say dishonest and penniless, or honest and rich.

WildcatPhoenix
18th Aug 2014, 21:16
Be brave and true, or be a coward. Its a choice for the individual to make, of course. Honesty dwells on higher ground.

This is naïve at best, childish at worst. I'm all for integrity and honesty whenever possible. It doesn't change the fact that people in an industry with near constant job turnover are not going to vocalize negative opinions about their colleagues' work, not if they know what's good for them.

Anyway, this whole conversation about Spector is a major digression. My apologies for contributing to derailing the thread.

AdrianShephard
18th Aug 2014, 21:26
Anyway, this whole conversation about Spector is a major digression. My apologies for contributing to derailing the thread.

No worries. Whenever a thread gets derailed like this...it's as good as dead anyway. The last on-topic post was on page 1 :D

Lady_Of_The_Vine
18th Aug 2014, 21:29
This is naïve at best, childish at worst. I'm all for integrity and honesty whenever possible.
If you're all for integrity and honesty then why consider it naive and childish?



It doesn't change the fact that people in an industry with near constant job turnover are not going to vocalize negative opinions about their colleagues' work, not if they know what's good for them.
If we're back to talking about the industry and not honesty in general, then my earlier points still stand. I don't see any valid reason why WS isn't being honest in the interview quoted. He clearly states a negative opinion about the game in any case so I'm not sure what your point is.


No worries. Whenever a thread gets derailed like this...it's as good as dead anyway. The last on-topic post was on page 1 :D
Fair enough. I'm done if everyone else is. :D

Shralla
18th Aug 2014, 22:37
Missed this.


You're obviously just not very good with a pad. Dead-eye is not necessary, nor is aim assist

I'm better than most people with the pad. It's absolutely necessary, and you are full of **** if you're going to say you never had to use it while aiming backwards off your horse. Either that or you were using a completely different control scheme. Or you weren't playing the game like a real cowboy.

FrankCSIS
18th Aug 2014, 22:46
Neither especially good or bad with a pad, but I would've much preferred a mouse and keyboard to further enjoy this great game. Too often my control struggles or use of aim assist took me out of the game (or reminded me I was playing a game), sometimes in insanely frustrating ways. I got better over time, but regardless, it didn't feel as fluid as it could have, unless you master the damn thing.

CyberP
20th Aug 2014, 15:38
Missed this.

I'm better than most people with the pad. It's absolutely necessary, and you are full of **** if you're going to say you never had to use it while aiming backwards off your horse. Either that or you were using a completely different control scheme. Or you weren't playing the game like a real cowboy.

Like I said, there are hardcore multiplayer lobbies where everyone does this. No aim assist, no dead-eye. It's not uncommon. That said, I remember having trouble when aiming backwards whilst riding a horse galloping, but it'l be a problem using mouse too. You're bouncing all over the place and are unable to predict the terrain you are riding over (inclines etc will throw your aim off and you wont even see it coming).


This is very obvious marketing speak for "It was a good game but it was a very poor Deus Ex game, but I need to remain professional.

It's sad we all forget: Spector was still involved with Invisible War. It was his IP and he butchered it. He doesn't really have a say on what EM did right or wrong unfortunately. Well he does, but he'd be a hypocrite.

WildcatPhoenix
20th Aug 2014, 15:47
It's sad we all forget: Spector was still involved with Invisible War. It was his IP and he butchered it. He doesn't really have a say on what EM did right or wrong unfortunately. Well he does, but he'd be a hypocrite.

This is true, although he did take somewhat of a backseat to Harvey Smith during the development process. I'm not absolving him by any means. Re-reading that interview I posted earlier about Invisible War was nauseating.

I still think Warren would try to push the immersion/emergent gameplay envelope a lot further than EM seems willing to go, if he were in charge.

Shralla
20th Aug 2014, 18:27
Like I said, there are hardcore multiplayer lobbies where everyone does this. No aim assist, no dead-eye. It's not uncommon. That said, I remember having trouble when aiming backwards whilst riding a horse galloping, but it'l be a problem using mouse too. You're bouncing all over the place and are unable to predict the terrain you are riding over (inclines etc will throw your aim off and you wont even see it coming).

I'm just talking about single-player. Not terrain but the fact that to keep your horse going you either have to hold or tap the button to make it go with the same thumb you would otherwise be using for aiming. So unless you use dead-eye you can't really aim at all while keeping your horse up to speed.


It's sad we all forget: Spector was still involved with Invisible War. It was his IP and he butchered it. He doesn't really have a say on what EM did right or wrong unfortunately. Well he does, but he'd be a hypocrite.

Very true. But in the same way that he wouldn't ever actually say anything bad about Human Revolution, he'd be straight shooting himself in the foot if he ever openly admitted the mistakes he made with Invisible War, no matter how much better it might make us feel.

CyberP
20th Aug 2014, 19:48
I'm just talking about single-player. Not terrain but the fact that to keep your horse going you either have to hold or tap the button to make it go with the same thumb you would otherwise be using for aiming. So unless you use dead-eye you can't really aim at all while keeping your horse up to speed.


What you say could be true. I need to do a replay, it's been a while. I've always strongly been against mechanics like this though, but hey, maybe I did use it as a crutch when popping hoes on my tail.
Edit: well, my problem isn't so much with the semi-automated functionality of dead eye-like features, it's how they are handed on to you on a plate. You shouldn't be able to spam it as you can...as you can in many action games that uses a similar mechanic these days.



Very true. But in the same way that he wouldn't ever actually say anything bad about Human Revolution, he'd be straight shooting himself in the foot if he ever openly admitted the mistakes he made with Invisible War, no matter how much better it might make us feel.

Tbh I'm not so sure. He's always been a big critic of other developers. He's slammed numerous other's work with more arrogance than I even :p His most recent target was Wolfenstien: The New Order.
But hey, I think he's earned the right to rest on a high horse and his points are often valid...though not always imo.