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Thread: Plot Over Gameplay?

  1. #1
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    Plot Over Gameplay?

    I really enjoyed the direction of the reboot, I think that everything CD was aiming to achieve as far as telling a character-driven story was hit on the mark perfectly. However, I did notice there was a bit more scripted events than in previous games, and I know that in today's game market, this is a crucial aspect in telling a story. My question to y'all is this: In Tomb Raider 10, are we really wanting it to continue to play more like a movie, or are you wanting a "return to form" per se, and it focus more on gameplay rather than cinematics and QTEs?
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    It's not "plot over gameplay" it's random action sequences over gameplay.

    How much does the plot progress or do we learn about Lara through these cinematic action sequences? Falling out of the plane? Skyboat? The sandstorm? All of this action would be more appreciated if it were in a more traditional perspective, so that I could play a more integral role in it's outcome. There's no apparent logic behind the composition of these moments of gameplay, why are they cinematic? Because it's cool? IDK. I think video games are cooler. ._.

    Essentially, no. I don't want Tomb Raider 10 to play like a movie. Tomb Raider is the game and it's systems with the subject matter as it's face. The systems in Tomb Raider 2013 are pretty damn fine, and it's unfortunate that the devs neglect them by putting a focus on any of this cinematic stuff. You don't need to auto-tune your voice if it's good, ya hear me?

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    I wish Skyboat was more important to the game
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by LaraRocks2 View Post
    In Tomb Raider 10, are we really wanting it to continue to play more like a movie,
    I don't know about 'we' but speaking for myself: yes I do.

    The way I view games these days is more about the overall experience rather than what button I am pressing at what time.

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    this was just the first step about the character. sure gameplay is important and im sure CD will consider that as well but many want to know more about her. especially now for people who have just started to play this game and have never played any of the previous titles.
    so yes, the plot is important now.
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    ^It's a new Lara, if we wanna learn anything about her we're going to have to rely on CD to explain it, as none of us even know.

    Anypee...

    Movies aint the only medium with a plot. Y'all aint eva read a book? Tomb Raider 9 suffers excessive cinematics which do not fulfill or progress the plot. :/

  7. #7
    To be honest I find the title of this thread rather vague -why does it have to be either plot or gameplay? From my experience Tomb Raiders gameplay has never been more smooth, and it's plot never been more intricate than in TR9.
    As to the second part of the question: what in Odins name is 'return to form' supposed to be and why would a plot, cinematics and QTE's be opposite to that? You've got to be more clear on that...


    Quote Originally Posted by larafan25 View Post
    Tomb Raider 9 suffers excessive cinematics
    Says who? Obama? The pope?

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    ^ Everyone :I

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurre View Post


    Says who? Obama? The pope?
    Even better.

    Me.

    But really. You can't explore a QTE. People play Tomb Raider to play it, or at least a large enough portion of the fan base does. Most of the QTE and many of the cinematics have nothing to do with plot progression and could easily be real gameplay, but they're not. Gameplay and story are not mutually exclusive, if stories can be told through audio, video and written, there is no limitation, at all. The problem people have is that their meaningful moments of inhabiting the game world, that immersion is being destroyed by unnecessary cinematics, QTE and action sequences claiming "the time is right for a spike in the pace". Still there's no apparent justification for why these moments need to be half-interactive.

    It's as simple as this: the devs have decided on a certain composition for the game of which is not suitable or compatible with a game about exploring the world and experiencing action first hand. It's intrusive and lesser.

    It has little to do with story at all.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by larafan25 View Post
    Me.
    That's what I wanted to hear.

    This may sound like I'm trying to be a prick but it's not: I am completely honest: I find it very hard to understand anything of what you're saying.

    What cinematics are you referring to? Cutscenes? They've been around since TR1. Or do you mean sections like sliding down a hill with with airplane wreckage on our tail? How would that not be 'real gameplay?' What on Earth is 'real gameplay' to you?

    You can't explore a QTE? You can do nothing and see how the hero dies, or you can follow the instructions and see how the game progresses. That's two things to explore already...

    As I have said before: QTE's may be the least popular game mechanics, but they are a necessary evil: a way to involve the player into certain actions that are very meaningful to the hero's journey and cannot be convayed in regular game mechanics. Like the struggle with Vlad or pulling that iron rod out of her side: those sort of QTE's are part of the storytelling. It may not suit everyones taste, but that's the reason why they're still used in games. It's not like developers are using them to piss off the gamers.

    Instead of making vague complains about unnecessary cinematics, why don't you tell how you would have done it? Because I think saying things like the composition not being suitable for the game is a very bold statement. You're basicly saying that you know things better than a 100 or so developers who produced a game with over 4 million sales.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurre View Post
    That's what I wanted to hear.
    Though it's not just me.

    This may sound like I'm trying to be a prick but it's not: I am completely honest: I find it very hard to understand anything of what you're saying.
    I figured this.

    What cinematics are you referring to? Cutscenes? They've been around since TR1. Or do you mean sections like sliding down a hill with with airplane wreckage on our tail? How would that not be 'real gameplay?' What on Earth is 'real gameplay' to you?
    A cutscene is a cutscene, we all know what that is. A QTE is a QTE, we all get it, wiggle the sticks, mash the buttons, etc...

    Yes. Tomb Raider 1 had cutscenes, and so did every other Tomb Raider game. Though they were considerably less, they did not constantly interfere with my presence in the game world, nor did they destroy immersion. They served the purpose of conveying plot development, for what was, back then, a very simple plot requiring far less cutscenes.

    note: I used to do this a lot and probably still do to a certain extent. Love the older games, they're wonderful, they set a precedent and are revered. But just because someone doesn't like something from the new games that also happened to be in the older games, does not mean they're okay with the feature in any of the games. It simply makes most sense to critique the most current game. I'm not going to get anywhere shouting "Tomb Raider 2 has too much combat" in 2013. Some times we suspect fans of having some nostalgic bias, and allowing certain rules to be broken in the older games, of which they will not accept in the new games. However it's not always that black and white.

    As for real gameplay, real gameplay is different for every game. For Tomb Raider, this is what real gameplay looks like:




    I won't go on about it further, because I've already written a long enough post about it, with enough detail.

    You can't explore a QTE? You can do nothing and see how the hero dies, or you can follow the instructions and see how the game progresses. That's two things to explore already...
    Tomb Raider is a game about movement and exploration, that's legitimately what it's about, as a game, regardless of the subject matter, that's what it's about. Moving around environments to progress and discover. The game has a whole set of systems to provide the player with such an experience, hence why we can run, jump ,climb, shoot, etc...

    Placing the player in a tiny bubble, in which they cannot move or have no control, does not provide this experience of movement and exploration. That is what a quick time event does, it traps the player in a moment of less interaction, in favor of whatever the designer's intentions are.

    Another thing I used to do which I see you doing is trying to convince another person that what they're missing, is not really missing. Technically, yes, having two options to explore is something to explore. However that is most definitely not the type of exploration I was looking for, nor is it presented on a scale that would ever be enough to satisfy me, and it kills me that you seemed to think it would. Two routes to explore, okay that's good. A confined moment, scripted directly into my course in which I have two choices, with the press of one button, in which one choice ends the game for me, is not satisfying nor suitable. Thus, that is not "two things to explore already", that is grabbing at straws.

    As I have said before: QTE's may be the least popular game mechanics, but they are a necessary evil: a way to involve the player into certain actions that are very meaningful to the hero's journey and cannot be convayed in regular game mechanics. Like the struggle with Vlad or pulling that iron rod out of her side: those sort of QTE's are part of the storytelling. It may not suit everyones taste, but that's the reason why they're still used in games. It's not like developers are using them to piss off the gamers.
    I don't think they're a necessary evil. They're the result of trying to stick actions into you're game which somehow are not suited to the type of game or the level of control your game usually provides. We don't have a special button for pulling out spikes, which is why the spike scene was a QTE. The reason the spike scene was not just a cutscene was because the devs wanted, as you said, to "involve the player" in a certain action that was meaningful and would tap an emotional connection between the player and the screen. And I cannot think of another way to perform that action in-game.

    The struggle with Vlad, however, can be done within the gamer's reality, I do think.

    Instead of making vague complains about unnecessary cinematics, why don't you tell how you would have done it? Because I think saying things like the composition not being suitable for the game is a very bold statement. You're basicly saying that you know things better than a 100 or so developers who produced a game with over 4 million sales.
    [/QUOTE]

    I made a very long thread that nobody read, followed by a lil post which was still too long. I'm long-winded and repetitive, there is nothing vague about my complaint.

    When I say the "composition of the game" I mean how the gameplay, in that moment, is composed. Is it the traditional state in which I have the traditional amount of control over Lara's actions? Or is it this cinematic world we enter through QTE, in which I have less control over Lara's action? As I said in the beginning of this post, the lack of movement control within a QTE is not compatible with a game about moving about an environment with choice and freedom.

  12. #12
    Honestly, the way I see it, Crystal D was trying to make a game that had what the general gaming community expects from a triple A title these days.

    In my opinion, they succeeded close to flawlessly.

    It's game with cutscenes that tell a story, QTE's that convey a certain involvement, action sequences that make for some variation in gameplay and exciting moments. They're the exact same things found in games like Assassins Creed, Uncharted, Arkham City and any other triple A title...

    And I wouldn't want it in any other way.

    However, if you have issues with something so ordinary and common as a cutscene, and other things, (QTE's I can understand, but cutscenes?) maybe you should ask yourself whether you have any business in modern, big games at all. Because from the sound of it I don't think any of those would suit you. Maybe there's some indie studio that makes exactly what you're looking for or maybe you find your bliss in becoming a retrogamer with an Atari 2400 or whatever it's called.
    But I really don't see the point of arguing why Tomb Raider should take a course that is wildly different of the general triple A blockbuster stream. And I think you're smart enough to realize that with the success that the recent TR has brought them, the developers are never going to change something radically...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurre View Post
    Honestly, the way I see it, Crystal D was trying to make a game that had what the general gaming community expects from a triple A title these days.

    In my opinion, they succeeded close to flawlessly.
    "Which isn't good" - Legend Lara

    It's game with cutscenes that tell a story, QTE's that convey a certain involvement, action sequences that make for some variation in gameplay and exciting moments. They're the exact same things found in games like Assassins Creed, Uncharted, Arkham City and any other triple A title...

    And I wouldn't want it in any other way.
    Now see, two out of the three games you've listed have more exploration, freedom and immersion than the game about exploration, freedom and immersion through both it's systems and subject matter. And that, is flawed.

    Nor are other games the benchmark for Tomb Raider simply because they're capable of selling copies in today's market. Tomb Raider should like to have grace & integrity during it's evolution, as opposed to aggressively adapting to the ever-changing spotlight of AAA games. If Tomb Raider does Tomb Raider well, people will see that.

    However, if you have issues with something so ordinary and common as a cutscene, and other things, (QTE's I can understand, but cutscenes?) maybe you should ask yourself whether you have any business in modern, big games at all. Because from the sound of it I don't think any of those would suit you. Maybe there's some indie studio that makes exactly what you're looking for or maybe you find your bliss in becoming a retrogamer with an Atari 2400 or whatever it's called.
    But I really don't see the point of arguing why Tomb Raider should take a course that is wildly different of the general triple A blockbuster stream. And I think you're smart enough to realize that with the success that the recent TR has brought them, the developers are never going to change something radically...
    So, what you're saying is... everything I've said means nothing because the game's making money and you're along for the ride? Okay.

    You have a very small idea of what it is I want.

    The point: is to respect the fans who have helped the success and evolution of the series instead of leaving them high and dry, like they've just had a one-night stand with Lara Croft. It would be nice to have a couple of action adventure games that don't all play like the same game with a different subject matter slapped onto it.

    That, and on a global scale for games of Tomb Raider's caliber and simulation, that they might achieve a higher level of emotional contact with the one playing the game, instead of acting as fast food for lore-whores to gobble up and throw away.

    As long as Skyrim was successful, Tomb Raider is failing itself to some extent.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by larafan25 View Post
    So, what you're saying is... everything I've said means nothing because the game's making money and you're along for the ride? Okay.
    It means nothing to me, and I would be highly surprised if it would mean anything to the folks of Crystal Dynamics. Because your wishes are highly specific and completely non-compatible with the way a triple A title works. Now so far you haven't given any examples of existing games that follow your philosophy so not only can I not wrap my head around what you want exactly, but I also have no idea how far/whether that would be possible at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by larafan25 View Post
    The point: is to respect the fans who have helped the success and evolution of the series instead of leaving them high and dry,
    They owe you nothing, they owe me nothing, we owe them nothing. They're not our friends. When it comes down to making hard decisions, they're businessmen, and we are business partners. We trade money for products. Once you realise that you've never have to be bitter over disappointments. This is something that I will also always argue in these console equality discussions.

    Quote Originally Posted by larafan25 View Post
    That, and on a global scale for games of Tomb Raider's caliber and simulation, that they might achieve a higher level of emotional contact with the one playing the game, instead of acting as fast food for lore-whores to gobble up and throw away.
    You can describe it as scornfully as you like but in the meantime Crystal D managed to put Tomb Raider back on the map, because they were able to do what was necessary to make it to the top. Again, is there any game out there that is to your taste, and how big is it?
    Now from a personal point of view Tr9 did not everything according to my taste, but that would be impossible since no game is tailor-made for me. I can accept that. So while you're complaining I am enjoying the game with a bright and promising future ahead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurre View Post
    It means nothing to me, and I would be highly surprised if it would mean anything to the folks of Crystal Dynamics. Because your wishes are highly specific and completely non-compatible with the way a triple A title works. Now so far you haven't given any examples of existing games that follow your philosophy so not only can I not wrap my head around what you want exactly, but I also have no idea how far/whether that would be possible at all.
    Having a game that plays... in-game, is compatible with any game. Batman Arkham City has hardly any QTE if any at all. It doesn't seem to be bogged down by mindless cinematic action either. There's a game. Skyrim won game of the year some time back, didn't it? Not a piece of scripted, cinematic action in place of real gameplay, no unnecessary cinematic bogging down the player's immersion.

    My wishes are not highly specific. Watching a film, as interesting as it may be, is not the same as playing a game. And of all the reasons for which a game may need to rely on film for story-telling purposes, CD have over-used and abused it, and enough people see that. Perhaps even CD themselves.

    They owe you nothing, they owe me nothing, we owe them nothing. They're not our friends. When it comes down to making hard decisions, they're businessmen, and we are business partners. We trade money for products. Once you realise that you've never have to be bitter over disappointments. This is something that I will also always argue in these console equality discussions.
    It's called customer service then, if you wanna put it that way.

    You can describe it as scornfully as you like but in the meantime Crystal D managed to put Tomb Raider back on the map, because they were able to do what was necessary to make it to the top. Again, is there any game out there that is to your taste, and how big is it?
    Tomb Raider is popular again. Yes. Is that supposed to be good? The concept that I deserve anything as a Tomb Raider fan simply has to do with me... caring about myself. It's just that, and thus I won't throw a party for something that I don't think is good. There are a thousand and one ways to reboot Tomb Raider and a million more ways to simply make the game good, or popular. So no, as horrible as it is, I don't think Crystal carefully navigated a maze of thorny bushes in order to reboot Tomb Raider with the intent of it being Tomb Raider. Does that mean it was easy? No. A game was made, and that in itself is hard work.

    Now from a personal point of view Tr9 did not everything according to my taste, but that would be impossible since no game is tailor-made for me. I can accept that. So while you're complaining I am enjoying the game with a bright and promising future ahead.
    What did TR9 do wrong for you?

    This is much more than taste or slight preference. Perhaps TR2 has too much combat for certain Tomb Raider fans, fair enough. Perhaps TR3 is too hard for the likes of some Tomb Raider fans, fair enough. Some people prefer braids, some ponytails, we'll not see them both in one game. These are preferences, yes.

    My preference for being in-game, because it's truthfully more impactful to me, on an interactive level, is much more than just preference. I think it's a concept that surpasses the awareness of many gamers, and if the request was met, I don't think most gamers would blink an eye. I don't think most of y'all know what it is or can name it, for it to be something you prefer or dislike.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by larafan25 View Post
    What did TR9 do wrong for you?
    On an objective level, nothing but too easy puzzles in the optional tombs.

    On a personal level, I don't like ancient Japan very much, I would have preferred something with Aztec or Mayan culture. I hate that line 'late shift at the nine bells.' I hate the wolves. I hate the Russians. I hate Reyes. I hate it that Roth died. And probably some more things that I can't think of right now.

    None of that are things that I could blame Crystal Dynamics for since the game is not custom made for me, so you won't see me complaining about it (apart from mentioning it once or twice). But I have put forward my idea of what a game custom made for me would look like: it's in my signature.

    But I don't think that many other people make this distinction between objective and personal complaints. Criticism from a personal point of view I think is rarely (never?) fair, and since I think that the game is objectively nearly flawless I'll be the first to come to it's defence...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaraRocks2 View Post
    My question to y'all is this: In Tomb Raider 10, are we really wanting it to continue to play more like a movie, or are you wanting a "return to form" per se, and it focus more on gameplay rather than cinematics and QTEs?
    Generally I think QTE's are bad for modern gaming as they can really break the flow of modern games often being the most difficult element of those games. From the TR series I would take the example of the Lost Valley in TR1. In TR1 you walk into the main valley and when the T-Rex arrives it's so scary. In TRA it goes into a QTE cutscene at that bit and the shock of the moment is gone. If the big moments in a game end up being QTE it just makes the player feel the game is playing itself rather than as connected to the events.

    Where QTE's integrate well in to the gameplay they work much better like the scavenger trying to grab Lara and having to shake Lara free. That felt immersive and still like you were responding to what was happening rather than the game choosing how Lara should handle a fight.

  18. #18
    Gameplay. And when I say gameplay, I mean actual Tomb Raider gameplay... if the title still has a meaning.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Error96 View Post
    Generally I think QTE's are bad for modern gaming as they can really break the flow of modern games often being the most difficult element of those games. From the TR series I would take the example of the Lost Valley in TR1. In TR1 you walk into the main valley and when the T-Rex arrives it's so scary. In TRA it goes into a QTE cutscene at that bit and the shock of the moment is gone. If the big moments in a game end up being QTE it just makes the player feel the game is playing itself rather than as connected to the events.

    Where QTE's integrate well in to the gameplay they work much better like the scavenger trying to grab Lara and having to shake Lara free. That felt immersive and still like you were responding to what was happening rather than the game choosing how Lara should handle a fight.
    Exactlyyyyy

    And, because the T-Rex shows up in-game, as an enemy who can kill you, with you, who can die, it makes it's a much more real experience. Combine this forgotten phenomena (pdlsfgh) with the incredible graphic effects of today's tech... games would be amazing, Tomb Raider would be amazing.

    Cutscenes and QTE's of no other purpose, or that are unnecessary, or even perfectly necessary but too close together, it breaks up what is otherwise the exploration of a real world. It tells me "you're playing a slide-show", essentially.

    For example, the man who attacks us in the scavenger den, he could have totally been a real enemy stalking the winding caves. No QTE, just an enemy who, if caught us, would tackle us to the ground, cause a struggle, and if we didn't escape, would kill us. That sequence... pits you in a tense environment, in which you're fully in control, sneaking around this unknown cave you've just woken up inside of, with a creepy man's shadow casting around the corners of the cave. Trying not to be caught, and if you're caught, running for your damn life.

    I don't get how something like that wasn't thought up, or wasn't chosen over QTE. The QTE tell me Lara is frightened and a creepy guy is creepy, with some facial animations. But otherwise the player has less involvement. It would be a much more real and impactful experience if it were not a QTE.

    blergey blger

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Error96 View Post
    Generally I think QTE's are bad for modern gaming as they can really break the flow of modern games often being the most difficult element of those games. From the TR series I would take the example of the Lost Valley in TR1. In TR1 you walk into the main valley and when the T-Rex arrives it's so scary. In TRA it goes into a QTE cutscene at that bit and the shock of the moment is gone. If the big moments in a game end up being QTE it just makes the player feel the game is playing itself rather than as connected to the events.

    Where QTE's integrate well in to the gameplay they work much better like the scavenger trying to grab Lara and having to shake Lara free. That felt immersive and still like you were responding to what was happening rather than the game choosing how Lara should handle a fight.
    my thoughts as well. imagine half life 1 at the very end if there would be a QTE to avoid these teleporter spheres this huge headed alien shoots at you. or the fight as such.
    that would be boring and stupid.
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  21. #21
    Not a very popular idea here I reckon, but I'd want them to keep making future TRs exactly like they made TR9. Keep all the cutscene-gameplay-whatever proportions exactly the same. Just cut out those goddamn cutscene QTEs.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by pirate1802 View Post
    Not a very popular idea here I reckon, but I'd want them to keep making future TRs exactly like they made TR9. Keep all the cutscene-gameplay-whatever proportions exactly the same. Just cut out those goddamn cutscene QTEs.

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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Metalrocks View Post


    I'd want them to keep making future TRs exactly like they made TR:Anniversary, but more awesome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychomorph View Post


    I'd want them to keep making future TRs exactly like they made TR:Anniversary, but more awesome.

    what you mean with "more awesome"?
    more QTEs
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  25. #25
    And moar cutscenes, now after every 5 seconds!

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