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Default Editorial - Open World Games Should Scale Back

March 16th, 2018, 06:44
Twinfinite think that Kingdom Come: Deliverance proves that open world games should scale back.

At some time or another, an unspoken set of rules was agreed upon by the creators of video gaming’s most popular open world RPGs. This decree insisted that a protagonist should be brave, heroic, and have some sort of unique power. They would need a suitably noble cause to fight for, too, and their plight would take them from humble beginnings to dizzying heights, preferably saving the world from its untimely destruction in the process.

This never ever happened, of course. But in all honesty, if I had genuinely just let the cat out of the bag, would you actually be that surprised? Almost every notable open world RPG follows this same absurdly epic narrative beat, insisting on trying to dazzle its audience with enormous scale and apocalyptic stakes. Final Fantasy, The Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and even Zelda – these trendsetting franchises lay a blueprint that has been repeated time and time again. And it’s become super tedious.

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March 16th, 2018, 13:34
Reading the title I though it was about scaling back the game world size. It's actually about scaling back the "epic heroics" storytelling, which I personally don't think is just affecting open world games and he mention Mass Effect/Dragon Age which aren't exactly what I would call open world games too.

Also, he clearly didn't play that many Elder Scrolls games or got as many "Henry is coming to see us!" in Kingdom Comes as me.


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March 16th, 2018, 13:43
If the epic heroics is bothering RPG players maybe they should step away from the keyboard for a while and do some real world stuff. Too much of one thing will jade you. I certainly prefer to be the all powerful hero when I play!
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March 16th, 2018, 13:56
I don't think I've ever heard of this site and I didn't read the article, but I want to be the all powerful mage (okay other classes are acceptable too)!
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March 16th, 2018, 14:04
The natural conclusion to this type if thinking is you end up like a few characters on this board that think 99% of all RPGs are trash unless they have zero respawn & scaling, are shockingly punishing, have dire consequences of choices and maybe perma-death.
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March 16th, 2018, 14:54
Can't agree and IMO noone will end up like me.
That aside as it's offtopic.

I also thought based on the article title it's about world size(s) which is something worth talking about, for example FO4 feeling bigger than it is on the map just because of added vertical exploration, or another example richness of Gothic 2 content on a rather small area compared to huge walkingsim space in Skyrim that's actually empty as there is nothing od significance except everspawning trashmobs in it.

But the article is about "chosen one" vs "noone" narrative.
I do love KCD, honestly I do. But I don't think all openworld games should go that route. It's never about the protagonist, it's about the presentation.

One of examples in the article is FF games. I'm sick of it's newest iteration, FF15, but not because the main hero is a prince chosen to be "king of kings". The whole game is designed as one huge meaningless filler where being an ordinary person or #1 in the end is completely irrelevant.
While FF15 is all male party, it's counterpart FF10-2 about all girls party is completely different. In that one the main heroine's story does not feel irrelevant at all regardless of again too much of filler in a game.

Then DA was mentioned. DA3 is openworld so I guess it's about that one.
Again, the problem is not the main hero (who got the mark and became "chosen" out of plain luck, or bad luck), the problem is meaningless filler in the game. I loved playing so called inquisitor (main "campaign"), yet hated design crimes like revamped ME2 sonar.

Then there is another game the article forgets and it's Raven's Cry. It's (sea) openworld and you're playing a villain instead of world savior. You're not Blackbeard there, you're playing a noname pirate. What critics said about that one? Should games really scale the main character's bloodcells back then?

I could bullshit more about all of this and analyze everything, but IMO it's never about the initial game hero setup, it's all about their presentation in a world concept.
In other words I don't care if I'm roleplaying space Jesus Shepard or blacksmith's bastard Hal as long as their presentation is fun and exciting to follow, but I care if the world is rich with different content or is full of meaningless grind, timewasting and boring minigames, bugs and etc.
What needs to scale back in openworlds is design crimes copied from inferior hardware (for example checkpoints only savesystem). Not heroes.
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March 16th, 2018, 15:14
What he says, as far as I understand the article, is that not every RPG needs to be of the world-saving hero type. Can't see much wrong in that.

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March 16th, 2018, 15:41
Yeah I think I agree with the article. I'm a bit bored with the "chosen one" narrative approach. It's interesting when games try a different path.
Doesn't stop me from enjoying "chosen one" games when the content is good though.
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March 16th, 2018, 15:59
If the story is compelling enough, the scope really shouldn't be a factor. When the story simply falls apart, it won't make me quit the game, but the chance of me ever replaying it dwindles significantly.

Next people will be saying we shouldn't be killing the nice rats or escaping from jail situations, which would nullify about eighty percent of all games!
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March 16th, 2018, 16:17
Whatever pops me out of immersion in a story is what kills games for me.
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March 16th, 2018, 16:26
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
Next people will be saying we shouldn't be killing the nice rats or escaping from jail situations, which would nullify about eighty percent of all games!
There are nice rats????








I actually like the classic "rats in the cellar" quests older RPGs had, lol.
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March 16th, 2018, 17:46
Most rats seem to be pretty nice, they only tend to get ornery when other animals or people get in their face(s). There are notable exceptions to this, of course!
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March 16th, 2018, 18:44
I used to have a pet albino rat. I called him Pinky. He was cool.
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March 16th, 2018, 19:38
I had two hairless rats. The hairless rats are a breed, so that was normal, but one of them was also born without eyes. Named them Fink and Blink. Despite the name Fink, and her somewhat mischievious nature, she was also very sweet. Both of them were.
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March 16th, 2018, 20:54
What he's saying about open worlds also tends to be true of Tolkien-styled fantasy novels as well. If the writers are attempting to reproduce mythological-style tales, then there's bound to be a degree of epic-ness to them. I don't really have an issue with that. The jaded attitude of the reviewer is his problem, not ours. Give us more epic games, damn it!
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March 16th, 2018, 22:17
First sign that you are the chosen one: you do not want to be the chosen one.
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March 17th, 2018, 00:27
The first rule of Chosen One is "Do not talk about Chosen One".
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March 17th, 2018, 03:27
I don't think scale is all that relevant. Saving the world, saving the castle, saving the universe, saving the neighborhood… whatever. Just make it a good story with interesting characters.
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March 17th, 2018, 05:41
I agree that RPGs should be more subtle and do more with less than what they're given.
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March 17th, 2018, 12:55
The last few times I played Skyrim, I was a simple miner and blacksmith. So yes I'm tired of saving the F'ing world That's what I love about AD&D. You simply try and survive and increase the power of your character with a few magic items.

Look at some of the old David Trampier art. Those weren't heroes. They would leave the party or stab you in the back to save themselves. That's true role playing. Games like Zelda have turned roleplayers into morons like millennials
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