Complacency in Storytelling

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I'd be interested in seeing a tutorial married to one of these intro sequences. Don't know if it's been done before as I don't really follow the shooter genre, but maybe a scene in a real combat situation in which as the player is presented with obstacles we flash back to similar scenes from his training. These scenes could even be used to give more characterization for the character, like a hint as to why they joined the military or what they intend to do after (if they're not career). Then as most of these games that I have played seem to have the character being put in over his head, we can gradually have the training flashbacks become less frequent to show that the training may be inadequate for the new situations that are arising. Sorry for the block of text, but that was what came into my head thinking about how to integrate tutorials without disturbing the gripping entrance into the game.

On the subject of tutorials, I've always thought that it would be an interesting experiment to tie key/button mapping to tutorials. The game says crouch and whatever button seems most natural to you is the one you press and subsequently map.

Obviously with the option to change bindings later as permanent key binding is a terrible idea.

UberPubert:

Pseudonym2:
This is how I felt about Gears of War 3. At first I liked it as a game with good gameplay with bad aesthetics. Then by the time it had the Pompeii/Hiroshima level and started flat out encouraging genocide, I was genuinely creeped out and it really affected my enjoyment of the game. When the game makes the massive assumption that we're on board with their worldview it becomes a weird outsider art/art brut deal.

Pompeii/Hiroshima level...? You mean the one where all the main characters walk past the ash statues of dead people and act horrified? As in, they're actively condemning what happened through their reactions? Does that really seem like encouragement to you?

And if you're referring to the completely separate neutron bomb you'd know it was entirely necessary to save any semblance of life remaining on the planet from extinction if you were even half paying attention when it was explained.

Sorry I was a bit vague. I didn't like the ash level because the serious tone clashed badly with the previous scenes. The hyper-macho frat boy attitude makes references to real life disasters seem glib. I'm aware it was condemning the mass murder thing. Adam Fenix wanted to set the bomb off to preserve at least some life on the planet. Marcus Fenix didn't mind killing all the locust and seemed shocked that anyone else would. ("[Killing the locust would be be] fine with me." "You don't actually feel sorry for them do you?"])

I feel like I've been in a cave for a few years... Games aren't holding your hand "enough" now ? Hell, that might incite me to buy new titles again and stop being a retro-indie-hipster. But whatever, I agree with the article and the consensus that seem to emerge in the comments : lengthy tutorials tied into the game have to go. Or at the very least, become skippable, because they are just as obnoxious as title screens and cut-scenes.

As someone pointed out with GoW3, the epitome of ridicule is reached when you have to play through an easier difficulty to unlock a harder one, and then you have to go through the "left stick to move" thing all over again. These "tutorials" make no sense, are generally hamfistedly shoved into the story and degrade the replay value.

Yahtzee Croshaw:

They get the feeling that they've suckered in all the people they're ever going to sucker in and that they might as well let the facade drop and show absolutely no respect to their users whatsoever

Oh come on ! First, if this is their assumption, they are kind of right. Each CoD iteration might sell more than the previous, but the percentage of players new to the series or to FPS in general probably does not increase (actually I know that for a fact but can't display my proofs, so take it as an educated guess). And since when is it "showing absolutely no respect" to let the player find out stuff by himself ? Or, as suggested by a lot of comments already, leave it to him to play the tutorial or not ?

I must agree on the story-telling bit. Games such as Call of Duty seem to just assume that I care and immediately sympathize with America simply because it got attacked. I watched a walk-through of the CoD: Ghosts' campaign (I haven't actually enjoyed a CoD game since WaW.), and I was just baffled at how lazy the storytelling was. The basic premise of a South American Federation invading the US is interesting. Yet none of it was fleshed out beyond...well...the basic premise that I just outlined.

Why did the Federation form? How willing are all the South American countries to be included in such a Federation? Is there a clearly dominate member of the Federation (like Brazil or something)? Why is the Federation so expansionist? Why did the Federation invade the US? What were the terms of the truce that was eventually broken? I could go on, but I think I have made my point. CONTEXT and MOTIVATION. It isn't that hard, for Fuck's sake. It isn't like they couldn't hire a decent writer to come in and write some B-grade, schlock action plot for them. Even Pierce Brosnan-era Bond movies have villains with clearly-defined motivations (Tomorrow Never Dies is my favourite Bond movie :P), and those are the definition of schlock. They make enough money, and they sure aren't spending it on graphics, sound design or gameplay improvements.

Battlefield 4 is just as bad:

Who is the Admiral? Did he launch a coup? I would assume so, but why? When did he muster enough forces to invade Singapore and the Panama Canal? WHY? Who is the 'magical plot-device' man that you have to protect and why is he so damn important? Why did Admiral man attack the US? Why is Russia supporting Admiral man? WWWWHHHHYYYYYY?!

Well, alright, fair points, but... the audience has evolved too. I mean, we know way more about games before they come out now than we did in previous generations; there's more mainstream advertising, more special interest sites like this one, previews, pre-release reviews, day 1 streaming 'lets plays' - if we're buying a game now, it's because we know what's in it and have some inkling that we will be 'on board' with it and like it. An audience of well informed, Internet cruising teens and adults with credit/debit cards in hand to pre-order is an audience that didn't really exist a decade + back.

Back in ye olden days the monthly (on paper, sent in the mail even) magazines with still shots and text descriptions were our preview/review sources, and they left a lot of guess work. Plenty of those who didn't have $$ to throw about without testing the waters went to the rental store for an introduction to most titles before we put them on our Christmas lists or went out and laid down our hard-earned cash at the game store counter - as the Internet was a place you bought things from only if you wanted to be robbed by Internet Pirates or whatever bogey man was out there in the WWW.interwebs world. So, getting us invested and hooked in was pretty important as an in-game function, front-loaded too, because those rentals were usually just for 1-3 days.

Also... tutorials become redundant when so many games have similar or the same controls. We know how to walk forward, look around, it doesn't take many tries to figure out where the menu button is, etc. It's just old hat for even a casual player, only the totally new will be lost without them, so pairing them down a bit makes some sense. Personally - I'd like at least some explanation of mechanics if they are special or complicated and I have no problem playing a long tutorial, but I see the logic behind reducing that if the controls are fairly close to what's become "standard."

canadamus_prime:
I believe the term you're looking for here Yahtzee is "middle ground." We don't need things over-tutorialized, but we don't want to be left in the dust either.

I thought the same thing. Yahtzee didn't made himself as clear as he wanted.

Right know I'm kinda confused because I have seen him critique some tutorialized games, where he says that they're basically treating you like a brain dead kid that needs the game to hold his hand.

I believe that tutorials should work either as some sort of nice introduction to the story (like in Thief: The Dark Project) or as an optional practice mode (A la Splinter Cell: Double Agent or Metal Gear Solid 2: VR Training).

Actually now that I think about it Thief: The Dark Project basically did both. Since the first tutorial level could be finished in a professional speed-run fashion which is fun because you can out-run the the explanation speeches.

balladbird:

V8 Ninja:

Yahtzee Croshaw:
[End-Of-Article PS4 Sales Dig]

I hate to say it, but this dig seems extremely petty Mr. Croshaw. Not only does it have very little relation to the topic at hand, but it also fails to follow up on any significant topic that you brought up. Rather than getting the impression you're going in for another blow or trying to make the viewer laugh, I get the impression that you just wanted to throw the comment in to satisfy your own disdain for the more closely related topic that the comment relates to.

you're not alone in seeing it that way, rest assured. XD Not that the sort of opinion he takes is all that uncommon on the escapist.

I try to be as divorced from emotions as possible when it comes to these sorts of things, but given that the "PC master race" is always as tactless, arrogant, and condescending as possible when they try to make a point about anything, I find myself in a position where I no longer care about how objectively superior the PC is as a gaming unit. Their elitism literally annoys me to the point where I'm perfectly happy to play on inferior consoles just so that I have one less thing in common with them.

While I agree that the "PC Gaming Master Race" can be extremely condescending and I can sympathize with feeling surrounded by pointless hate, I think Yahtzee's dig has more to do with how it's been proven that console launches always have bad/mediocre/Okay games at launch and that everybody should wait at least a year before buying a new console. Of course, that's only my guess as Yahtzee hasn't even discussed the new console launches in either Zero Punctuation or Extra Punctuation for the past several weeks.

The complacency in storytelling does break my heart just a little bit, to be honest. Especially when it comes to the CoD series. CoD4 was just incredible for what it was - it was the opposite of complacent, and that was a big part of why it kicked off the enormous franchise expansion that it did. Even MW2 and WaW were creative and memorable in certain ways. But... yes, even as a CoD fan I have to agree that the singleplayer is turning into generic, terrible, chest-thumping sludge.

Remember how an American wasn't the protagonist of CoD4 and most of MW2? Remember how you actually spent most of those games playing as/with British gentlemen? Remember how that did help distinguish the franchise from the neverending hoo-aah of other franchises? That one of the cool aspects of the CoD series even back in the WW2 days - you played not just the US, but Russia, the UK, Canada, France - even Poland.

But naaaaah, starting with Blops they dropped the non-American characters in the Treyarch sequels (when WaW, at least had a Russian campaign). Now the IW sequels have dropped them too, and replaced them with the blandest possible non-characters. I honestly had trouble telling Merrick and Keegan apart - the friend I played it with had trouble telling even Hesh apart. Generic White American Tough Guy is stale as shit, and the older games in the franchise seemed to KNOW that. Why did they forget?

Worse, I think a sequel to Ghosts actually has the potential to be one of the darkest, most heart-wrenching games ever made if someone who gave two shits about the craft of storytelling actually got hold of it. The one good thing about the entire game was the ending, and how it was the culmination of many earlier points of foreshadowing and the overall central theme (if there could be said to have been one). With the sequel, you could explore that theme even further, and go into exactly what makes a person "break", how lack of rescue starts to look like betrayal, how someone in horrific circumstances can come to identify and even sympathize with their captors. It could be the Spec Ops: the Line of the POW experience and touch on mature themes regarding the realities of war that other games in the military shooter genre gloss over or shrink away from entirely. CoD4 wasn't afraid to do that - maybe someone from the new IW could try their hand at expectation-defying, legitimately relevant media?

...Oh who am I kidding it's going to be all about Hesh saving Amurika from yet more illegals with tons of explosions until Logan drops in for the final battle and he saves him with the power of bromance.

Ugh.

I'm finding it strange that Yahtzee is offended by the fact that Batman Arkham Origins expected him to know who the various Batman characters are, and didn't explicitly tell you everything about them. Arkham Asylum and Arkham City did the same thing. All of the Batman Arkham games expect you to be familiar with the back story of Batman and the DC universe, so I don't see how Yahtzee can complain that he was expected to know the Joker's connection to Red Hood, or The Killing Joke. That's part of what makes the Arkham games good, the fact that they don't feel the need to hold everyone's hand while they're playing. If someone doesn't know the characters they can look them up on their own and find out more about them.

trty00:

LiMaSaRe:
Just because the protagonists are always Vektan doesn't mean that the developer expects you to be fully on their side. I think there are a lot of opportunities for the player to make their own judgement about who is more right or wrong, particularly with the collectible audio logs and newspapers of Killzone: Shadowfall.

A problem though, and this is coming from a huge Killzone fan who hasn't played Shadow Fall yet, is that in one to three there's virtually no implication that maybe what the ISA are doing is ultimately wrong. Yes, they HINT at it, but ultimately everybody moves on. You could also say that the writers are just expecting you to fill in the blanks, and there could be truth to that statement, but sometimes a narrative is better suited to a simple progression, and Killzone's is indefinitely one of those. For example, in Killzone 3 Captain Narville is the consistently sensible ISA agent in the entire game. He sees the value in retreating and not acting like some kind of adrenaline-fueled, jingoistic, cave-man. However, throughout the entire game, he's treated like some kind of stuffy bureaucrat, and it's completely straight.

I don't know, in KZ1 I would agree but 2-3 I got a strong impression that ISA were not in the right and quite liked it, having the enemy with a story where you could see it from their perspective as being justified felt more flushed out. Looking forward to KZ Shadowfall :-) (In Aus)

balladbird:
More on topic, I actually wonder if the trend he discusses was born precisely because military shooters came to prominence. Games that take a more hero-centric focus can't go anywhere without you because... well, without the hero, there's no story. The military "realism" for a given value of the word came to prominence, and thus was born a situation where the player is literally just one in an entire army of equally outfitted soldiers, and thus the battle will progress, more or less in the same way, whether the player's avatar was there or not. It's a strange paradigm shift, one that suits the nature of a multiplayer focused game at the expense of the singleplayer experience.

I see your point, and I think it's a valid argument. Even though the great-granddaddies of today's military shooters, the first few Medal of Honor games, were more hero-centric, as they were about the individualistic exploits of OSS agents, and were more directly inspired by WWII spy thrillers like The Guns of Navarone than real history.

But I think it's possible to tell a compelling story from the perspective of a main character who's just an average grunt. It's been done in film and TV. There are real-world memoirs from soldiers who were just cogs in a mighty military machine that are compelling. It could be done in a modern military shooter (and maybe already has, I don't play many games in the genre). The most important thing would be to make us care about the main character and his squadmates.

V8 Ninja:

While I agree that the "PC Gaming Master Race" can be extremely condescending and I can sympathize with feeling surrounded by pointless hate, I think Yahtzee's dig has more to do with how it's been proven that console launches always have bad/mediocre/Okay games at launch and that everybody should wait at least a year before buying a new console. Of course, that's only my guess as Yahtzee hasn't even discussed the new console launches in either Zero Punctuation or Extra Punctuation for the past several weeks.

Ah, of course you're right. XD That is indeed the most logical way to interpret his words.

Talk about letting outside events color one's perspective! guess I'm only human, after all.

hermes200:

But now, it's almost as if the player has been roped to the game without the game's knowledge, and the game is simply proceeding forwards, oblivious. Sometimes it pauses as the player becomes momentarily caught on something, but then it just gives an extra-strong push and continues. Let me know if I'm not explaining this well.

You are explaining yourself quite well. I have the same issue with a lot of games...

The first one that I noticed and really bothered me was God of War 3, where it assumes Kratos is justified to commit genocide because he just IS. No explanation is ever given to show it as more than a tantrum and it never stops

This was my only problem with God of War. His motivation felt pretty clear in the first game and I loved the idea that Mars needed to pay, but Kratos also really deserved to suffer. Two great agents of destruction collapsing in on themselves, cause and effect finally turning a weapon against the god that created it. That made sense. Played through 2 because the game play was fun and I'd really enjoyed 1, but Kratos became less and less sympathetic of a character. His motivation for killing Zeus in 3 was kind of like they were trying for the same vibe as Kratos vs Mars, but by the time I got to then end I just didn't care. Both Zeus and Kratos were just asshats by that point. Kratos should have died at the end of 1. I would been ticked off at the time, but it would of been such a great, bitter-sweet way to end a revenge story.

There are 2 kinds of tutorials in games I think
1 where all mechanics are given at the start and you get a little training course
2 where you get some mechanics at the start and gradually unlock new mechanics which are then tutorialised
I think I prefer the second. I think AC4 was pretty good with this. Things are taught as you proceed with the main story.

Anyways, BF4 review soon?

Pseudonym2:

UberPubert:

Pseudonym2:
This is how I felt about Gears of War 3. At first I liked it as a game with good gameplay with bad aesthetics. Then by the time it had the Pompeii/Hiroshima level and started flat out encouraging genocide, I was genuinely creeped out and it really affected my enjoyment of the game. When the game makes the massive assumption that we're on board with their worldview it becomes a weird outsider art/art brut deal.

Pompeii/Hiroshima level...? You mean the one where all the main characters walk past the ash statues of dead people and act horrified? As in, they're actively condemning what happened through their reactions? Does that really seem like encouragement to you?

And if you're referring to the completely separate neutron bomb you'd know it was entirely necessary to save any semblance of life remaining on the planet from extinction if you were even half paying attention when it was explained.

Sorry I was a bit vague. I didn't like the ash level because the serious tone clashed badly with the previous scenes. The hyper-macho frat boy attitude makes references to real life disasters seem glib. I'm aware it was condemning the mass murder thing. Adam Fenix wanted to set the bomb off to preserve at least some life on the planet. Marcus Fenix didn't mind killing all the locust and seemed shocked that anyone else would. ("[Killing the locust would be be] fine with me." "You don't actually feel sorry for them do you?"])

How did it clash with the previous scenes exactly? The scene which happens immediately beforehand is the one where Dom died...

Although considering the sales figures of the PS4 a lessening of respect for one's fellow man is something I can sympathize with.

Yeah, BEEP you too, Mr. Croshaw!

You just want everyone to be stuck in the past, so you don't have to pay $1000 of next-gen hardware. Lord, you are such a witch-burning caveman!

If you want things to change, then cough up the money. It's been 8 bloody years, it's time to move on.

There is so many reasons why we really, really, really need to go to the next-gen, and you are just too full of yourself to see it.

CnlAngus:
I feel like I've been in a cave for a few years... Games aren't holding your hand "enough" now ? Hell, that might incite me to buy new titles again and stop being a retro-indie-hipster. But whatever, I agree with the article and the consensus that seem to emerge in the comments : lengthy tutorials tied into the game have to go. Or at the very least, become skippable, because they are just as obnoxious as title screens and cut-scenes.

As someone pointed out with GoW3, the epitome of ridicule is reached when you have to play through an easier difficulty to unlock a harder one, and then you have to go through the "left stick to move" thing all over again. These "tutorials" make no sense, are generally hamfistedly shoved into the story and degrade the replay value.

Yahtzee Croshaw:

They get the feeling that they've suckered in all the people they're ever going to sucker in and that they might as well let the facade drop and show absolutely no respect to their users whatsoever

Oh come on ! First, if this is their assumption, they are kind of right. Each CoD iteration might sell more than the previous, but the percentage of players new to the series or to FPS in general probably does not increase (actually I know that for a fact but can't display my proofs, so take it as an educated guess). And since when is it "showing absolutely no respect" to let the player find out stuff by himself ? Or, as suggested by a lot of comments already, leave it to him to play the tutorial or not ?

I think his evidence of "showing absolutely no respect" is the large number of games that hamfistedly shove tutorials and other content into the story and degrade the game and it's replay value. He might just be feeling a little down when it comes to this stuff and it's understandable considering how many AAA, multi million dollor games have turned out to be broken on launch or boring after the first playthrough.

"The game's position seems to be that all it needs to do is say that the US is being attacked, and then proceeds with the assumption that you're on board. It doesn't have to establish or build upon anything else, just spend the rest of the time showing off military hardware and going into slow motion every time a building collapses."

Bowser took the princess Mario, HALP! This is not a new thing.

"And anyway, tutorials are something I miss about games these days. It was nice being put through a small, disconnected prep school before getting your teeth into things."

GoW 2 had a good system and it fit with the story.

Pseudonym2:

Sorry I was a bit vague. I didn't like the ash level because the serious tone clashed badly with the previous scenes. The hyper-macho frat boy attitude makes references to real life disasters seem glib. I'm aware it was condemning the mass murder thing. Adam Fenix wanted to set the bomb off to preserve at least some life on the planet. Marcus Fenix didn't mind killing all the locust and seemed shocked that anyone else would. ("[Killing the locust would be be] fine with me." "You don't actually feel sorry for them do you?"])

What "hyper-macho frat boy attitude"? You realize Dom died in the scene just before that, right? You know, the one where he killed himself to save his friends and join his wife in death, the one where Marcus almost cries? I don't think you were paying close attention to the narrative.

Also, if you know anything about the Locust then no, you shouldn't feel sorry for them, because they're genocidal monsters who started the genocide of humans to begin with and refuse to stop trying to destroy the human race even after being dealt serious blows and set back a few centuries of progress.

Good tutorials, like physical manuals, have become a lost art, often an afterthought sloppily thrown together or lazily done more out of a sense of tradition or obligation than part of the game.

On a side note, what's his problem with the PS4?

I spent hours as a kid playing the tutorial level of Tomb Raider 2.

Instead of taking you by the hand and telling you which buttons to push, it simply left you in a training ground at Lara Croft's house while you worked out how to perform all the actions you needed in-game by trial and error.

Plus it was fun bullying the butler.

Sarge034:
"The game's position seems to be that all it needs to do is say that the US is being attacked, and then proceeds with the assumption that you're on board. It doesn't have to establish or build upon anything else, just spend the rest of the time showing off military hardware and going into slow motion every time a building collapses."

Bowser took the princess Mario, HALP! This is not a new thing.

However, the Mario example is a premise, not a story. A jumping point to justify you starting the adventure. Games that can pull it off successfully don't have much of a subsequent story that might conflict with said premise.

While "the US is being attacked by a bigger threat" is also a premise, its part of a game that has a fully developed narrative, so when the game reveals the bigger threat is, of all places, South America, and USA is nowhere near the underdog it was meant to be by the premise, the whole thing falls apart. There are other instances in the game where we are supposed to care because the game tells us we must care, not because it has built into it.

Compare that with "the world is attacked by aliens" in XCOM. While the premise is similar and we are just supposed to go with it just as well, the game has a paper thin narrative build in and a constant reinforcement of the idea that we are the underdog.

Sarge034:
"The game's position seems to be that all it needs to do is say that the US is being attacked, and then proceeds with the assumption that you're on board. It doesn't have to establish or build upon anything else, just spend the rest of the time showing off military hardware and going into slow motion every time a building collapses."

Bowser took the princess Mario, HALP! This is not a new thing.

Just because it's not new doesn't mean it isn't a problem. Also, Mario tended to not really go on much about the story anyway. You get a "try the next castle" a bunch of times in the old games and nothing at all in the newer ones. It's really just a thinly-veiled "Mario, go do some levels".

hermes200:
Snip

C14N:
Snip

You both took my comment out of context. He made it sound like this was a new thing and I disagreed. This was the particular section I was being snarky toward.

"Believe it or not, my point is not whether or not the alleged good guys have a claim to the moral high ground. My point is that it's a growing trend that new games can't even be bothered to try to convince you that they do, and simply sweep forward, without glancing backward to make sure you're keeping up. Games are not waiting for the player anymore. It used to be merely that games felt overly linear and that they were pulling the player on a length of rope through a sequence of challenges and set pieces, like a cartoon character being hauled through the workings of a clock. But now, it's almost as if the player has been roped to the game without the game's knowledge, and the game is simply proceeding forwards, oblivious. Sometimes it pauses as the player becomes momentarily caught on something, but then it just gives an extra-strong push and continues."

This is not a new thing and the fact he takes issue with it in games he openly dislikes while not mentioning the long standing tradition of other games doing the same fucking thing is hypocritical if nothing else. I quoted the other section because I thought my point would be clear enough, I was mistaken.

I love how the only time I ever see anything but slavering agreement and praise towards Yahtzee from his fans is when he takes a dig at Sony. You guys might want to at least try to obfuscate your true colors just a tiny bit. Mommy and Daddy aren't actually fighting.

Don't see what Yahtzee's complaining about Arkham Origins for. The tutorials seemed sufficient to me (though I have played Arkham City) and if you didn't know who anyone was, there was a profile page available for them. Also, was it not pretty obvious from the start that Black Mask was a big crime boss?

V8 Ninja:
While I agree that the "PC Gaming Master Race" can be extremely condescending and I can sympathize with feeling surrounded by pointless hate, I think Yahtzee's dig has more to do with how it's been proven that console launches always have bad/mediocre/Okay games at launch and that everybody should wait at least a year before buying a new console. Of course, that's only my guess as Yahtzee hasn't even discussed the new console launches in either Zero Punctuation or Extra Punctuation for the past several weeks.

I don't think this particular issue has been touched on enough, and I lay the blame for it pretty squarely at the feet of the consumer. An inherent problem with console gaming (which does crop up on occasion in PC gaming when some new class of technology like PhysX is made available) is that, when you have a new console come out, everybody aside from the console's creators is at Square One. This wasn't so much of a problem when console gamers were more excited about the hardware than the games, and first-party releases were enough to tide them over until third-party devs had a better handle on the hardware and could put out quality titles.

That's really not how it goes these days. It seems to me that now gamers expect and demand a full stable of AAA games (especially sequels to their favorite franchises) to be available right on Launch Day, and the console devs bend over backwards to help meet this demand- but the problem is that, with as tight as console development schedules have gotten and as complex and expensive AAA games are to make nowadays, it is nearly impossible for any game developer that doesn't have "most favored" status with the console makers to get the assistance needed to put together a quality game within that window. But the customers have their expectations, so game devs cut corners and hit launch date with incomplete or buggy games- a problem only made worse by the advent of the "release now, patch later" culture, long a PC gaming issue, into the console biosphere.

Unfortunately, there's something of a Catch-22 here. The ideal path would be to hold off, to allow the technology to be explored and for quality games to come out before buying the console- but releasing a next-gen console is ridiculously expensive, and if a company doesn't think they'll get their investment back within a short amount of time, they're either not going to bother at all, or take shortcuts themselves... shortcuts that would harm the console's release, meaning that it might not sell as well, and so therefore game developers wouldn't bother to make so many games for it. Yahtzee may pan those who rush out to buy at launch day, but if they didn't, how would the industry cope? Maybe there's a better way, but I can't see it from here.

Penguin_Factory:
I still remember being extremely wierded out about how the opening cut-scene goes out of its way to pain the Helghans as slaves of an oppressive Nazi/Stalinist hybrid regime, but then a) you never actually see any Helghast who aren't loyal soldiers trying to kill you and b) you end up destroying the entire planet at the end.

I get the feeling they were going for a parallel to Hiroshima- brutal war ends with a highly morally questionable act of destruction against the enemy side- but the thing is if America had literally reduced the entirety of Japan to ashes at the end of WWII I think even the most die-hard jingoistic warmonger would have trouble condoning it. I remember sitting there thinking "wait didn't that just kill, like, millions of Helghast children? Aren't I the bad guy now?"

Yes.

the fact it's barely/isn't addressed should speak for itself, even Spec Ops: The Line was more morally sound, my guess is they tried to harness the whole Deathstar imagery but failed to actually think of the implications.

Then again a lot of these AAA games are having very poorly thought out stories, FF13, Tomb Raider, or most shooters.

V8 Ninja:

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Although considering the sales figures of the PS4 a lessening of respect for one's fellow man is something I can sympathize with.

I hate to say it, but this dig seems extremely petty Mr. Croshaw. Not only does it have very little relation to the topic at hand, but it also fails to follow up on any significant topic that you brought up. Rather than getting the impression you're going in for another blow or trying to make the viewer laugh, I get the impression that you just wanted to throw the comment in to satisfy your own disdain for the more closely related topic that the comment relates to.

Anyways, I pretty much agree with the article. It seems extremely odd that game developers don't just segment their tutorials to an option in the main menu so that the developers can get on with creating interesting game content rather than trying to cram in a tutorial.

balladbird:

you're not alone in seeing it that way, rest assured. XD Not that the sort of opinion he takes is all that uncommon on the escapist.

I try to be as divorced from emotions as possible when it comes to these sorts of things, but given that the "PC master race" is always as tactless, arrogant, and condescending as possible when they try to make a point about anything, I find myself in a position where I no longer care about how objectively superior the PC is as a gaming unit. Their elitism literally annoys me to the point where I'm perfectly happy to play on inferior consoles just so that I have one less thing in common with them.

More on topic, I actually wonder if the trend he discusses was born precisely because military shooters came to prominence. Games that take a more hero-centric focus can't go anywhere without you because... well, without the hero, there's no story. The military "realism" for a given value of the word came to prominence, and thus was born a situation where the player is literally just one in an entire army of equally outfitted soldiers, and thus the battle will progress, more or less in the same way, whether the player's avatar was there or not. It's a strange paradigm shift, one that suits the nature of a multiplayer focused game at the expense of the singleplayer experience.

Regarding Batman... I think that may well just be a case of a long-running franchise game assuming everyone has already played the games leading up to it... more a case of not being considerate than anything.

I think you guys might be missing the point or maybe I'm over reading into things. I don't think it was a direct dig at the PS4 but keeping in line with the theme about how many people have already bought the thing when there is so little worth playing on it yet. (not a dig just a temporary fact I'm sure ps4 will have plenty of good games in the future) The whole article talks about how game producers are getting complacent with games and a contributing factor would be some people's take my money attitude towards established brands. Honestly unless you need to be first buying a console day one instead of in say six months leaves you with a poorer experience for your money and that's assuming you don't get one of the broken ones. I think that's the point he's making. People are already willing to jump in so quickly why shouldn't they be complacent. We do nothing to protect ourselves from it.

Loki_The_Good:

V8 Ninja:

Yahtzee Croshaw:
[Yahtzee's PS4 Dig]

I hate to say it, but this dig seems extremely petty Mr. Croshaw. Not only does it have very little relation to the topic at hand, but it also fails to follow up on any significant topic that you brought up. Rather than getting the impression you're going in for another blow or trying to make the viewer laugh, I get the impression that you just wanted to throw the comment in to satisfy your own disdain for the more closely related topic that the comment relates to.

I think you guys might be missing the point or maybe I'm over reading into things. I don't think it was a direct dig at the PS4 but keeping in line with the theme about how many people have already bought the thing when there is so little worth playing on it yet. (not a dig just a temporary fact I'm sure ps4 will have plenty of good games in the future) The whole article talks about how game producers are getting complacent with games and a contributing factor would be some people's take my money attitude towards established brands. Honestly unless you need to be first buying a console day one instead of in say six months leaves you with a poorer experience for your money and that's assuming you don't get one of the broken ones. I think that's the point he's making. People are already willing to jump in so quickly why shouldn't they be complacent. We do nothing to protect ourselves from it.

That...is actually a pretty good explanation for Yahtzee's PS4 comment. I guess I just didn't get it because that's not the first parallel I would come up.

The one thing to love about Killzone is how they actually painted the whole thing. The whole point is that Helghast are in the right and ISA is the villain, it's how it's all played is amusing. I mean, imagine a game where you play as a soldier in Nazi Germany army. You'd instantly know for a fact that main character is fighting on the evil side. But with Killzone you fully realize it only in second game.
The issue though is that this card is played so starting with Killzone 3 and forward players know that ISA is the villain, but they play it as a new thing every time.

oldtaku:
Killzone: Shadow Fall lost me in the first 15 seconds because apparently (I don't think this is a spoiler, because it literally is the first 15 seconds of opening movie): The Vektans nuke the Helghast planet into a lifeless cinder, then invite all the remaining Soviet Nazi Space Empire back home and give them half their home planet. What could go wrong?

Now maybe there's some backstory or whatever that makes this less stupid than it sounds, but that just reinforces the main point of the article. I lost track of the Killzone lore long ago (first game) because it was so WoW-ishly bad I just gave up caring. So for I, or anyone else who has never played a Killzone before, you start out with the plot being completely asinine before you've even gotten into the game. And then, yes, it does seem to expect you to have played all the previous games to make sense of anything other than 'Okay, we need you to go here and do this Dead Space bit.'

Well, DUH. Have you played previous games? ISA officially fought against Visari's regime, you know, to supposedly save poor Helghast miners from oppressive dictatorship. Of course nobody asked the miners.
It makes perfect sense that they put surviving Helghast on Vekta.
But you are 100% right about one thing: you can only get into this game if you're well familiar with previous games. It is as Yahtzee wrote, complacent.

A_Parked_Car:
I must agree on the story-telling bit. Games such as Call of Duty seem to just assume that I care and immediately sympathize with America simply because it got attacked. I watched a walk-through of the CoD: Ghosts' campaign (I haven't actually enjoyed a CoD game since WaW.), and I was just baffled at how lazy the storytelling was. The basic premise of a South American Federation invading the US is interesting. Yet none of it was fleshed out beyond...well...the basic premise that I just outlined.

Why did the Federation form? How willing are all the South American countries to be included in such a Federation? Is there a clearly dominate member of the Federation (like Brazil or something)? Why is the Federation so expansionist? Why did the Federation invade the US? What were the terms of the truce that was eventually broken? I could go on, but I think I have made my point. CONTEXT and MOTIVATION. It isn't that hard, for Fuck's sake. It isn't like they couldn't hire a decent writer to come in and write some B-grade, schlock action plot for them. Even Pierce Brosnan-era Bond movies have villains with clearly-defined motivations (Tomorrow Never Dies is my favourite Bond movie :P), and those are the definition of schlock. They make enough money, and they sure aren't spending it on graphics, sound design or gameplay improvements.

Battlefield 4 is just as bad:

Who is the Admiral? Did he launch a coup? I would assume so, but why? When did he muster enough forces to invade Singapore and the Panama Canal? WHY? Who is the 'magical plot-device' man that you have to protect and why is he so damn important? Why did Admiral man attack the US? Why is Russia supporting Admiral man? WWWWHHHHYYYYYY?!

Ironically, the problem you're talking about is defended by several gaming journalists (not on this website, thankfully), because apparently the "geo-political gobbldygook" kept flying over the heads of players in previous COD/Battlefield games, especially with Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3. So the plots of Battlefield 4 and COD: Ghosts were straight up stated to have tossed out narrative focus on the geo-political mechanization of the villains, and would allegedly build up the interactions between the player and their squaddies instead.

That does sound like a reasonable trade-off in theory, but since the only thing I'm hearing about COD:Ghosts' and Battlefield 4's story is "jack-fucking shit outside of gamers and reviewers face-palming at how stupid they are", the only thing we got was subtracted context from the villains with no additional context to the heroes.

Ironically, I think pretty much every other Call of Duty game before Ghosts and even Battlefield 3, managed to balance out how much you needed to know about the player character, how much you needed to know about the bad guys, and how much you needed to know about the geo-politics. True, some of the geo-politics got more than a little sketchy (how did Russia get powerful enough to launch a full-scale invasion of East Coast America/all of Europe in MW2/MW3? What are the real motivations of the terrorists in Battlefield 3?), but all the important elements were there. All the bad guys establish their villainy with a certain atrocity, all the heroes establish themselves as guys who are willing to do anything to take them down for good, and even the overall politics are explained "just enough" so that it could seem somewhat plausible.

...Technically, they're still aren't very GOOD stories, but it's still better at explaining their stories more than COD:Ghosts or Battlefield 4 - hell, even "focusing on the player character", the parts of the stories COD:Ghosts and Battlefield 4 claimed to want to fix, were probably done better in all the other COD games and Battlefield 3 than COD:Ghosts and Battlefield 4! At least they didn't waste time with "relationship building" that doesn't work, and just kept to moving the story along.

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