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Default The Witcher 3 - What we want to see @ PC Gamer

January 18th, 2013, 22:56
PC Gamer joins the speculation that The Witcher 3 will be announced on February 5 by listing the improvements they'd like to see:
Consequence Over Choice Nobody sane would say that The Witcher 2 lacked for choices to make. The end of Act 1, the entire of Act 2 and most of Act 3 didn’t so much have a critical path as a critical spaghetti pile. Make no mistake, this was seriously impressive and deserves credit.
That said, while choices did have big consequences, the scale of the game and sheer number of paths did have a tendency to trip over its own feet – key characters simply disappearing or being shoved into the background, massive events being dismissed, and most painfully of all, much of the plot that Geralt should have been uncovering during the game having to be explained via the final boss actively holding an expositional Q&A. It was also unfortunate that your choices tended to be a step removed from what you were actually choosing – the lead-up to Act 2 being the decision to throw your hat in with Roche or Iorveth, not Henselt or Saskia – or simply swept under the table with the politics of Act 3.
For The Witcher 3, it would be good to see that willingness to take the tough road put to more focused use – the world itself changing as a direct result of decisions, for good and bad, rather than the focus being on altering the path through it. A central city like Vizima wouldn’t hurt for this, with its development over the game altering based on who you kill, and what relationships you form. Kill too many crooked officials, and the entire thing becomes a fascist state out of fear, for instance, or have the monster population of the area directly tied to how much killing you bother to do. Direct responses, with unexpected twists, tend to be what make choices interesting. Especially with…
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January 18th, 2013, 22:56
It was also unfortunate that your choices tended to be a step removed from what you were actually choosing – the lead-up to Act 2 being the decision to throw your hat in with Roche or Iorveth, not Henselt or Saskia – or simply swept under the table with the politics of Act 3.
Yeah, that.
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January 18th, 2013, 22:59
i never played until the enhanced edition came out.

in short, the witcher 2 was a hot mess, i enjoyed the path leading up to the ending, but act 3 was terrible.
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January 18th, 2013, 23:28
I just read the quoted post here, but what the author is wanting is pretty unrealistic I think. The main thing that's unrealistic is having the game change the world based on the player's decisions.

As Ken Rolston has stated in the past, it's near impossible to actually change the world in a meaningful way. It takes too many resources to do. You can FAKE it to an extent, with dialog and other little narration tricks to make it seem like the world has changed, but having anything more than that is just limited by the technology and resources available.

I doubt Witcher 3 is going to stray too far from Witcher 2 in terms of choices and consequences. What we see in Witcher 2 is probably how the next game is going to be as well.
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January 19th, 2013, 01:04
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
As Ken Rolston has stated in the past, it's near impossible to actually change the world in a meaningful way. It takes too many resources to do.
I kind of disagree with that. If developers would focus on filling their RPGs with meaningful and interesting content instead of wasting their precious resources on boring filler crap to extend game time…
I mean do we really need sewers in every RPG or other boring samey dungeons that we have seen a million times before?
I would say we don't and I have been hoping for a long time for a game that is maybe only 15 - 20 hours long but that is fun and exciting from start to finish because of serious world-changing consequences. Due to such a game's inherent replay value you would still get 30 - 40 or maybe even more hours out of a game like that since it would hopefully be quite interesting to explore the story from all possible angles.
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January 19th, 2013, 01:21
To many people are thinking the game will follow the Skyrim formula. I remember in earlier posts about Cyberpunk 2077 being built in Hubs to play like its open world. It's probably the same for Witcher 3.

No company has ever built an open world game that hasn't diluted the story in some way. They all suffer from to many fetch and kill quests aka game extenders. I may be proven wrong with there next games but time will tell.

I'll end end my post by saying I'm still exited, but I would be lying if I said I don't have any doubts. Sometimes changing a game because you can doesn't always mean it's needed.(Look at Dragon Age 2)

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January 19th, 2013, 01:43
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
If developers would focus on filling their RPGs with meaningful and interesting content instead of wasting their precious resources on boring filler crap to extend game time…
I'll just ask you this then. If you think creating a game with serious world-changing consequences is possible, why hasn't it happened yet?

Let's be real, many great RPG developers and minds including Rolston have dreamed about creating a game like you are describing. Thus far it just has not been possible, and it doesn't look like it will be possible any time soon. Maybe it will take some fresh new talent to think of how to execute this in a game, mixed with a ton of resources and time, and maybe some day someone will be able to pull that off. I just don't see that game being Witcher 3 or any game coming out anytime soon.
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January 19th, 2013, 03:18
I'm sorry, but you're either being willfully ignorant, or just have very little knowledge of the kinds of choices and consequences that you can already find in particular cRPGs.

The whole concept in game design was actually a key feature of the games made by Troika for instance. (Arcanum, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines in particular…)

Some more notable games that feature strong choice and consequence off the top of my head:

Fallout
Fallout 2
Fallout New Vegas
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines
Witcher and Witcher 2
Mask of the Betrayer
Ultima IV
Torment
Gothic

I'm sure other players can list more and even illustrate the specific instances of where player agency is capable of affecting a game world and showing its consequences.

Edit: Forgot to give a couple of "what I'd like to see" in the Witcher 3.

1. The eradication of QTEs.
2. A return of the pastoral "folk feeling" from the first game, perhaps something less epic than W2. (Vague and abstract, but noticably missed for me from the sequel)
3. A more unique combat engine (Although, admittedly I'm yet to play W2 enhanced…)
4. A more obvious neutral path; or more tangible narrative focus upon Witcher neutrality itself.
5. Deeper alchemy system.

Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
Last edited by Pessimeister; January 19th, 2013 at 14:17.
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January 19th, 2013, 09:07
On computers, two ways to write stories:

-scripted way: the story is written in advance and the requirement is that the player advances it.

-non scripted way: the game feeds the player with narrative elements that the player strings together to elaborate the story.

Players for most of them prefer the scripted way.

The scripted way is the least adapted to video games and comes with limitations.
It is mostly navigating through a flow chart of various narrative branching.

Bioware's experience showed that it can not be sustain in the mid term (from one episode to another) as the project collapses under the developpment costs to follow up all the branching (if then else)

Instead of taking that into account, that scripted stories, the choice and consequences stuff (another so called hallmark to socalled RPGs) is not sustainable, this author now wants to step up the game and would want an elaborating narrative AI.

The elaborating narrative AI, once fed with the general directions of a story, will developp by itself the story, according to the inputs of the player.and while maintaining the general direction of a story.

Quite a programm.

Days when RPGs were about role playing are long, long gone. Now players want a parent telling them bed time stories and adapting the story according to the reaction of the child.
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January 19th, 2013, 13:33
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
On computers, two ways to write stories:

-scripted way: the story is written in advance and the requirement is that the player advances it.

-non scripted way: the game feeds the player with narrative elements that the player strings together to elaborate the story.

Players for most of them prefer the scripted way.

The scripted way is the least adapted to video games and comes with limitations.
It is mostly navigating through a flow chart of various narrative branching.

Bioware's experience showed that it can not be sustain in the mid term (from one episode to another) as the project collapses under the developpment costs to follow up all the branching (if then else)

Instead of taking that into account, that scripted stories, the choice and consequences stuff (another so called hallmark to socalled RPGs) is not sustainable, this author now wants to step up the game and would want an elaborating narrative AI.

The elaborating narrative AI, once fed with the general directions of a story, will developp by itself the story, according to the inputs of the player.and while maintaining the general direction of a story.

Quite a programm.

Days when RPGs were about role playing are long, long gone. Now players want a parent telling them bed time stories and adapting the story according to the reaction of the child.
Always confusing role playing with roll playing… Those long gone days when RPGs were "about role playing" in fact means: those long gone days when RPGs adopted as their paradigm the D&D rules (no matter which edition, it could be AD&D even), which, as everybody who already played other pen & paper RPGs knows, were no more than a bunch of rules to kill monsters, loot and receive experience points. Quite awful rules, in fact, but no more than that, a board game without the board (though usually gamers make their own boards, mapping the dungeons in paper). And in those long days what was being adapted to computer role playing games was the mechanical part of the role playing games: the rolling of dice, the random encounter tables, the NPC reaction tables, the encumbrance rules, the THAC0 rules, the movement rules, the inventory management. Hence the turn based combat the party based games, the isometric view (better to study the strategic moves), and all that "amusing" stuff. Amusing as a bloody arithmetic test!
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January 19th, 2013, 13:37
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
I'm sorry, but you're either being willfully ignorant, or just have very little knowledge of the kinds of choices and consequences that you can already find in particular PC cRPGs.

The whole concept in game design was actually a key feature of the games made by Troika for instance. (Arcanum, Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines in particular…)

Some more notable games that feature strong choice and consequence off the top of my head:

Fallout
Fallout 2
Fallout New Vegas
Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines
Witcher and Witcher 2
Mask of the Betrayer
Ultima IV
Torment
Gothic
I haven't played some of those games, but having mentioned FONV, Vampire and both Witchers I must agree with you. Those games really have choices and consequences introduced in an entertaining and interesting way. I would also mention Fallout 3. BioWare games not so much, although the relations between the main character and his party usually take those things into account, but in a different way.
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January 19th, 2013, 14:13
So, PC gamer wants to see improved C&C stuff in a game they didn't choose as a GOTY.
It's like supporting and voting for Obama's opponent then printing an article what should Obama do. Bah.

Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
I'll just ask you this then. If you think creating a game with serious world-changing consequences is possible, why hasn't it happened yet?
No brainer there. It's all about publishers. They don't see a cash-cow in that. Especially nowadays when the trend is dumb games for smartphones. No more clicky-clicky, now it's touchy-touchy. Yuck.

See… It's easy for PC gamer to make an article, but would they fund a dev team who'd make a game like that?
Well, neither would Ubisoft or EA. Let's hope CDprojekt will. If that doesn't happen, there's always Kickstarter.
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January 19th, 2013, 14:23
Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
I would also mention Fallout 3.
Well, I deliberately left that game out because I don't think it deals with player agency as well as the other Fallout games. There's no real factional interplay to speak of and apart from the Megaton decision, very few game-affecting choices.
I also won't mention the vanilla ending, because the lack of choice there was a disgrace for a "Fallout" game.

Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
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January 19th, 2013, 14:40
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
Well, I deliberately left that game out because I don't think it deals with player agency as well as the other Fallout games. There's no real factional interplay to speak of and apart from the Megaton decision, very few game-affecting choices.
I also won't mention the vanilla ending, because the lack of choice there was a disgrace for a "Fallout" game.
Yes, the lack of factions is a problem, although I can remember a few more decisions with impact apart from Megaton (Tenpenny Tower, for instance). But I won't argue that's on the same level as FONV as far as in-game consequences are concerned. It has other strong points, but overall I think New Vegas is the better game.
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January 19th, 2013, 15:52
Originally Posted by MigRib View Post
Always confusing role playing with roll playing… Those long gone days when RPGs were "about role playing" in fact means: those long gone days when RPGs adopted as their paradigm the D&D rules (no matter which edition, it could be AD&D even), which, as everybody who already played other pen & paper RPGs knows, were no more than a bunch of rules to kill monsters, loot and receive experience points. Quite awful rules, in fact, but no more than that, a board game without the board (though usually gamers make their own boards, mapping the dungeons in paper). And in those long days what was being adapted to computer role playing games was the mechanical part of the role playing games: the rolling of dice, the random encounter tables, the NPC reaction tables, the encumbrance rules, the THAC0 rules, the movement rules, the inventory management. Hence the turn based combat the party based games, the isometric view (better to study the strategic moves), and all that "amusing" stuff. Amusing as a bloody arithmetic test!
That depicts perfectly my position. Even though you'll have a hard time finding a single post of mine going in that direction and plenty of posts recalling that it is not possible to sum up a RPG to its mechanics, RPG elements, rule set or whatever.

One thing with internet forums is that people do not invest time in them, forgetting what other people say but still want to keep contributing to "discussions".

Narrative game players are chasing a ghost here: we are far from being able to get that AI that could rewrite a story according to the player's inputs.

Maybe projects like Sui Generis/Drox Operative and a few others might help to progress toward what it would take to get an AI rewriting a story as it goes but still far from the goal.

Best scripted effort so far: narrative charts, more or less complex but that only reflects the writer's anticipation of what inputs a player must be interested with feeding his/her game.
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January 19th, 2013, 17:10
At least it has choices and consequences at a degree. Which can not be said for nearly all of the RPGs in this era. Cd projekt could take the Mass Effect or Skyrim approach and could do a choiceless but long game.

Main problem of c&c is most of the players play a game once. So big publishers want to insert all the content into one big playthrough. So c&c means poor investment in the eye of publishers.

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January 19th, 2013, 21:41
I have to agree with the whole "final boss Q&A" thing. I like a good plot twist and all, but being kept in the dark 99% of the game only to get the revelation in a lengthy (quite friendly) chat with the final boss just seems awkward from a story telling point of view.

Other than that, I feel the game did C&C very well. It was one of the highlights for me.
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January 19th, 2013, 23:46
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
I have to agree with the whole "final boss Q&A" thing. I like a good plot twist and all, but being kept in the dark 99% of the game only to get the revelation in a lengthy (quite friendly) chat with the final boss just seems awkward from a story telling point of view.
I strongly disagree and I actually considered this "final boss Q&A" conversation to be one of the most satisfying end boss confrontations. Also, what I liked about it is that the "end boss" is …
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January 20th, 2013, 01:33
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
1. The eradication of QTEs.

Thank you!
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January 20th, 2013, 08:56
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
That depicts perfectly my position. Even though you'll have a hard time finding a single post of mine going in that direction and plenty of posts recalling that it is not possible to sum up a RPG to its mechanics, RPG elements, rule set or whatever.

One thing with internet forums is that people do not invest time in them, forgetting what other people say but still want to keep contributing to "discussions".

Narrative game players are chasing a ghost here: we are far from being able to get that AI that could rewrite a story according to the player's inputs.

Maybe projects like Sui Generis/Drox Operative and a few others might help to progress toward what it would take to get an AI rewriting a story as it goes but still far from the goal.

Best scripted effort so far: narrative charts, more or less complex but that only reflects the writer's anticipation of what inputs a player must be interested with feeding his/her game.

Well, in my opinion, and based on my experience as a pen & paper role player it isn't that hard to emulate the RPG experience in a computer game, even with the limited AI of today. Why do I say this?
Because, again in my experience, the average pen & paper gamer rarely speaks in-character. He indulges in long discussions about rules with the GM, he makes thorough plans to steal keys from guards, to bribe city officials and to storm heavily guarded compounds to loot money and (maybe) rescue a damsel in distress. The average gamer does all this off-character. He doesn't mind spending hours pondering about the pros and cons of mystical claymore swords versus enchanted scimitars, and if this or that spell will be better suited for his purposes. In my experience, the average pen & paper role player likes to discuss every combat to the most boring detail - before it even begins. After that, it's just the rolling of dice…
On the other hand, in modern computer RPG games the average NPC has dozens of scripted lines, usually voice acted by professionals. The player character, normally, has a few scripted responses to those dozen of scripted NPC lines. Sometimes this exchange, and the characters actions, brings some choices and, latter, consequences to the game world. Sometimes the choices and consequences are very limited. Sometimes they don't exist at all, but there's (almost) always an illusion of choice and consequence. If the player is not obsessive compulsive, and if he does not test all the options available to him, he will probably never break the illusion of choice and consequence. If a game is well made it will even have a generous dose of the replay factor. But not to the obsessive compulsive gamer, of course.
In my experience (unfortunately, of course) my most gratifying role playing moments were spent playing modern day computer RPGs, and not around a table with the average pen and paper role playing gamer (to explain better, I'll say that, in my experience, 4 out of 5 average pen and paper role players are "old school geeks" who lack the social skills to interpret a character, with no real interest in exploring anything else but the evolution of the character - rules wise, only -, and looting and amassing gold coins - or credits, or whatever is the game's currency. In my experience 4 out of 5 P&P RPGers lack the imagination, but have a very cunning analytic thinking and like to indulge in strategic approaches to solving problems. They hate talking in-character, but love solving intricate puzzles. They have very little interest in literary fiction, except for a few choice high fantasy and hard sci-fi writers, have very little interest in other arts, except for a few choice fantasy and sci-fi cult movies and heavy metal bands from Nordic countries. In my experience 4 out of 5 pen and paper role playing games should have another hobby - maybe playing MMORPGs - but definitely not playing pen & paper RPGs).
That is why, in my opinion, and based in my experience, modern day computer RPGs are doing a good job of adapting P&P RPGs. It's damn easy not to do worse than what happens around most RPG gaming tables!
Even not being perfect, usually they convey a sense of immersion, a degree of entertainment and an illusion of "being there" (reinforced by the gradually perfected graphics, voice acting and musical score) that the average pen & paper game session does not have. So, CRPGs are not perfect, but people are not perfect as well. Both of the Witcher games do, in my opinion, a very good job and I would like very much to see a 3rd one.
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