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View Full Version : Avoid This IW Pitfall, Please



Graeme
4th Jan 2009, 04:33
Yes we all want that non-linear, choose-your-own-style feel that Deus Ex brought to the gaming world, combining element of FPS, RPG and even strategy. Yes we all want to choose how we play the game and how we solve its problems. We want multiple paths and we want our decisions to affect the later stages of the game.

...however...

Since the 'zomgchoosewhichsideyouwanttojoin' and the 'zomgyourchoicesactuallyaffectthestoryline' crazes have swept across the gaming world (largely due to the original Deus Ex), games have become so forward and boastful this 'style' that it becomes unattractive. What do I mean? Well, the idea of having choices that affect things is great but its gotten to the point where its so OBVIOUS. Games brag about how "Decisions you make will influence the plot" so much that an hour into the game (Invisible War) its basically laid out on a platter, you can have A, B or C. You can join this organization that does this, this and this OR you can join that organization that does that, that and that OR you can join the other organization that does the other, the other and the other. Personally, I hate that. Invisible War did it, both KOTOR games (which I really liked despite this) did it to an extent as well.

The beauty of DX1 is the balance between linearity and non-linearity. Deus Ex never said, "here are your choices, do this one, this one or this one" (until the end of the game). First of all, there weren't even question-marks about anything until a few missions in when things started to become 'not as they seemed'. DX:IW on the other hand had me feeling like I was applying for a job at A, B or C an hour in. Mind you, things got more complex with the IW story but it had never really gripped me enough prior to those plot-twists to make them really ground breaking. In short, Deus Ex went from STABILITY to WHAT IS GOING ON? whereas DX:IW went from WHAT IS GOING ON? to more of WHAT IS GOING ON? (a much less profound transition in my humble opinion).

Yes, we get that we'll be able to choose our own way of doing things, don't labour the point and please don't make it painfully obvious that its a game about choosing your own methods of problem solving. Obviously that is a part of the game but unlike IW, it shouldn't be the main feature of the game. Deus Ex 3 should be about the plot and as the players go deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole they choose their own way of doing things but don't make it all about doing things your own way and leaving out a thrilling plot.

Anyone agree, disagree?

(And is it really going to be in 3rd person?)

GmanPro
4th Jan 2009, 05:57
Yes, that was a major flaw of IW imo. It certainly seems to be the trend with rpgs. You can see that style of choice making in games like Mass Effect, Fallout 3 and Farcry 2 also. Usually they are just aesthetic changes anyway which is massively disappointing...

The Witcher did a great job of giving you choices and almost always the consequences of your choices were unpredictable and pleasantly surprising. It always felt like you didn't realize that you had made a major choice until way later when you are dealing with the consequences of that choice. Soooo much better than IW.

Romeo
4th Jan 2009, 06:34
I do have to agree with you. The stupidest thing was that after killing 99% of an organization, you could still do a favor for them at the end and then the game would end with and their leader holding hands skipping off into the sunset. :hmm:

K^2
4th Jan 2009, 06:48
I do have to agree with you. The stupidest thing was that after killing 99% of an organization, you could still do a favor for them at the end and then the game would end with and their leader holding hands skipping off into the sunset. :hmm:
On the other hand, if someone offered me world domination on silver platter, I don't think I'd be bothered with how many of my minions they killed previously.

Sure, it doesn't make sense, but only as player's actions. Only someone completely delusional would lay waste to hundreds of soldiers for a particular cause, then joining in at the last moment. But if the player choses to play out such a delusional character, then so be it. It shouldn't be counted as game's flaw.

I'm not saying there aren't problems with that. Things like Templar leader asking your for assistance after you have been making it very clear that you don't side with them through the entire game, that's what breaks this. But if you chose to hand victory to a faction at the end, I really don't see any reason for them not to accept it. Not like they ever treat their soldiers as anything but cannon fodder. As many as it takes, as long as goals are achieved. Well, goals are archived, what else could they want?

Tracer Tong
4th Jan 2009, 07:27
IIRC it was Warren Spector who said that even in DX1 they wanted the player to choose his/her ending only during the final "stage" of the game, simply because one should not have to restart the game and play it wholly with different choices just to see the other endings.

It's not a pitfall, it's a feature ;)

GmanPro
4th Jan 2009, 07:56
Well, the Witcher pretty much forces the player to start a new game if they want to see all the different endings. If I wasn't so busy with my mod I'd totally replay that game. If only for the story aspects (that game would have been like 9000x better they had used a Dark Forces: Jedi Knight style combat system).

Radius86
4th Jan 2009, 09:17
I agree. In fact I'd go as far as to say that when the devs give us the whole A, B and C scenario, it's almost a slight against your intelligence.The beauty of the original DX was the fact that sometimes you just HAPPENED upon your choices. This is best illustrated with how you get hold of Anna Navarre's killswitch. It won't happen if you're lazy and don't hack a few systems.
When I go through DX3, I want that effect back! That 'Oh My God moment' for instance when you THINK you have choices but you don't. LIke going out guns blazing against Gunther at Battery Park, and then waking up in MJ12.

Right now, games behave like game shows on television.

"So Stan, will it be Door No.1, 2 or 3?! 1?? Well congratulations! You've won yourself an Absolutely free augmentashaaan! ...brought to you by the good folks at Versalife!"

And that sucks.

Mezmerizer
4th Jan 2009, 12:26
I agree Graeme. What you say is true and should be considered by dev team.
Btw haha Romeo I just remembered when i killed Duclare ( or whatever her name is ) and then the leader of WTO said 'what the hell you did Alexandra, anyways your next mission is...' :friends:

Graeme
4th Jan 2009, 18:42
IIRC it was Warren Spector who said that even in DX1 they wanted the player to choose his/her ending only during the final "stage" of the game, simply because one should not have to restart the game and play it wholly with different choices just to see the other endings.

It's not a pitfall, it's a feature ;)

I wasn't criticizing the first Deus Ex at all. I was saying that DX1 only has obvious choices/options at the finale (which is fine) whereas DX:IW goes out of its way to make the entire game about "Do I run errands for this group, or that group?". In Invisible War it was all too obvious. Deus Ex's choices/consequences felt more like results of 'how' I played the game (obviously specific dialogue choices had a role but consequences were also a result of exploration and curiosity) whereas IW's choices/consequences hinged entirely on whether you choose A, B or C. Not only that but the results of your actions were often instant and you knew they were going have an immediate affect (because it was made so obvious). DX on the other hand doesn't have you realize that, "Oh s**t, I shouldn't have done that mean thing to that person four missions ago" until its too late. Its subtle, IW was too upfront. Subtle is the key word I think.

We could sit here all day comparing and contrasting the two games but lets not labour the point (as I have just done). Thanks to those who are contributing and I do hope the devs take this into consideration.

Romeo
4th Jan 2009, 23:29
On the other hand, if someone offered me world domination on silver platter, I don't think I'd be bothered with how many of my minions they killed previously.

Sure, it doesn't make sense, but only as player's actions. Only someone completely delusional would lay waste to hundreds of soldiers for a particular cause, then joining in at the last moment. But if the player choses to play out such a delusional character, then so be it. It shouldn't be counted as game's flaw.

I'm not saying there aren't problems with that. Things like Templar leader asking your for assistance after you have been making it very clear that you don't side with them through the entire game, that's what breaks this. But if you chose to hand victory to a faction at the end, I really don't see any reason for them not to accept it. Not like they ever treat their soldiers as anything but cannon fodder. As many as it takes, as long as goals are achieved. Well, goals are archived, what else could they want?
Because they'd probably have long since given up on trying to convert you. As you mentioned, someone who's cut through hundreds of your own men probably doesn't have any intention of joining you. This is also on top of the fact that without men, these organizations would have a tough time keeping their control (save for the Illumnati ending) without minions. It just seemed horribly flawed to me. At what point does the complete genocide of a group make you an enemy?

Mindmute
4th Jan 2009, 23:45
Its subtle, IW was too upfront. Subtle is the key word I think.

Absolutely, though what I hated even more was the way that despite what you did, nothing changed.
The consequences felt so minuscule that I seriously got bored of choosing half way through IW and just picked at random.

rhalibus
5th Jan 2009, 00:57
At the risk of being controversial with a whole bunch of intelligent people, I believe the entire concept of "choice affecting story" was not a major component of Deus Ex. :eek:

One of the most succinct descriptions of Deus Ex ever given by Warren Spector was that the developer chooses the what, and the player chooses the how. There is a linear story prevailing through Deus Ex, and everyone who plays the game will definitely be at location X, trying to help Y by achieving Z. However, how you achieve Z is entirely up to you.

Sure you could affect the game in small ways--rescue Tiffany and get another canister; enter the ladies' room and get busted; warn the smuggler about the raid or Jock about the helicopter bomb and you can save either one--but the major Everett/Tong/Helios choice was only at the very end of the game.

DX:IW's idea to put choices throughout the whole story sort of backfired: it took away the perceived freedom of Deus Ex by limiting the player to either/or choices, like a "choose-your-own-adventure" novel.

I hope that for DX3, Eidos Montreal keeps the small choice details intact, but continues to focus on the freedom of accomplishing the primary goals. :)

K^2
5th Jan 2009, 02:51
Because they'd probably have long since given up on trying to convert you. As you mentioned, someone who's cut through hundreds of your own men probably doesn't have any intention of joining you. This is also on top of the fact that without men, these organizations would have a tough time keeping their control (save for the Illumnati ending) without minions. It just seemed horribly flawed to me. At what point does the complete genocide of a group make you an enemy?
But that's what I'm saying. They should have given up. That's the part that doesn't make sense. But if you just happen to bring them victory in the end, I see no reason for them not to forgive and forget.

And keep in mind that you were not wiping out anything even close to the full numbers of their minions. You just cleared through some cannon fodder that the leaders were happy enough to sacrifice for the cause.

Mindmute
5th Jan 2009, 12:32
And keep in mind that you were not wiping out anything even close to the full numbers of their minions. You just cleared through some cannon fodder that the leaders were happy enough to sacrifice for the cause.

Not at all, you did have the chance to muder Dumier's wife and co-conspirator and Tracer Tong while still joining their factions...
I wouldn't call those two cannon fodder.

K^2
5th Jan 2009, 13:27
Yeah, these I can see as something to hold a grudge about. And it would be a nice thing of the authors to make it affect the endings. At least some sort of a "This doesn't change anything, you're still dead," speech. But even so, it doesn't prevent the player to chose an irrational action and grant victory to that faction. That part, in itself, isn't a flaw on the writers' part.

Larington
5th Jan 2009, 20:48
I'll tell you one way in which IW really did fail though.

You know how in not great novels, TV and so on, a character who isn't being actively shown doing stuff seems to disappear into the ether and have no impact on events until they reappear later? The end of IW pretty much does that, all of the great big enemies come to the same friggin island and what do they do?

Nothing.

They just stand there waiting for something to happen, for you to do something. All this time spent scheming for world domination and for it to conclude like that? Frankly, that island should've been a war zone, considering the convergence of characters that happens at the end of the game.
In the very least, if you've spent a while ignoring one factions troops whilst killing all of another factions troops, maybe the faction thats had an easier time of things should have a few extra defenders waiting for you at the final island if you decide to side against them, maybe said faction has a strike force preparing to assault the weaker faction that wouldn't mind an extra gun to help 'em out.

Radius86
6th Jan 2009, 10:36
I'll tell you one way in which IW really did fail though.

You know how in not great novels, TV and so on, a character who isn't being actively shown doing stuff seems to disappear into the ether and have no impact on events until they reappear later? The end of IW pretty much does that, all of the great big enemies come to the same friggin island and what do they do?

Nothing.

They just stand there waiting for something to happen, for you to do something. All this time spent scheming for world domination and for it to conclude like that? Frankly, that island should've been a war zone, considering the convergence of characters that happens at the end of the game.
In the very least, if you've spent a while ignoring one factions troops whilst killing all of another factions troops, maybe the faction thats had an easier time of things should have a few extra defenders waiting for you at the final island if you decide to side against them, maybe said faction has a strike force preparing to assault the weaker faction that wouldn't mind an extra gun to help 'em out.

I wonder how ofter (if ever) Harvey Smith reads this stuff. :rolleyes:

NK007
6th Jan 2009, 13:45
I think he has better stuff to do then read forums about a game he's (thankfully) not making. But on the slim chance that he does, I don't think he would take it into account too much.

rhalibus
6th Jan 2009, 22:43
...maybe the faction thats had an easier time of things should have a few extra defenders waiting for you at the final island if you decide to side against them, maybe said faction has a strike force preparing to assault the weaker faction that wouldn't mind an extra gun to help 'em out.

That's actually a great idea--Too bad the IW engine couldn't have handled all the extra NPC's. I hope the Crystal Dynamics engine allows--if not crowds--at least a realistically populated world...

ZylonBane
7th Jan 2009, 00:02
At the risk of being controversial with a whole bunch of intelligent people...
I can see you're new here.

Larington
7th Jan 2009, 01:16
Heh, now I suddenly feel a little bit guilty about the criticism I made above and feel I should add that I'm commenting with the benefit of hindsight here. Its my understanding that often times things like that are overlooked simply because the development team has gotten too close to the project to see it objectively... That can potentially even include the playtesters, unless theres some kind of rotation of testers going on (It helps if the testers have a brief of not just testing gameplay but also point out higher-level conceptual issues).

I could go so far as to say I would be quite capable of being guilty of overlooking that myself were I in the same situation as he once was.

Necros
10th Jan 2009, 08:27
...
Anyone agree, disagree?
I don't know if this has been in any other previews (I can't remember them all right now :D) but Mary Demarle, the lead writer said they were very disappointed with IW in this regard too so they want to do things differently, they want the choices to feel real.

(And is it really going to be in 3rd person?)
If you use the cover system, yes the camera will go to 3rd person but you can just duck behind cover too. And it's not clear yet but there might be some sequences where the camera will go external, maybe they'll build in an option to disable this, I don't know. Or a modder will take care of that. :)

(that game would have been like 9000x better they had used a Dark Forces: Jedi Knight style combat system).
I'm not sure about that, I liked the combat system in The Witcher. I needed some time to get used to it but after that it was great.

Jerion
10th Jan 2009, 08:29
If you use the cover system, yes the camera will go to 3rd person but you can just duck behind cover too. And it's not clear yet but there might be some sequences where the camera will go external, maybe they'll build in an option to disable this, I don't know. Or a modder will take care of that. :)

I'm not sure about that, I liked the combat system in The Witcher. I needed some time to get used to it but after that it was great.

It has been stated officially that the 3rd Person 'feature' is enabled by pressing a key. It doesn't happen automatically.

http://forums.eidosgames.com/showthread.php?t=80786

:)

GmanPro
10th Jan 2009, 08:31
^^ It felt a little bit boring though. Like I was playing Diablo or something. Just click click clicking. A Fable style combat system would have fit in nicely too. The Witcher is still a great game though.

The game is set up perfectly for a Jedi Knight style combat system. You've got a melee weapon and you've got a few specialized magical powers. The camera is set up the same way and everything.

Necros
10th Jan 2009, 09:14
^^ It felt a little bit boring though. Like I was playing Diablo or something. Just click click clicking. A Fable style combat system would have fit in nicely too. The Witcher is still a great game though.

The game is set up perfectly for a Jedi Knight style combat system. You've got a melee weapon and you've got a few specialized magical powers. The camera is set up the same way and everything.
It's a bit more complex than Diablo, don't compare this game to that hack & slash. ;) I didn't miss a more direct combat system because to me it wasn't among the most important parts in the game.

Thanks, Kieranator, I forgot about that. :o