Amy Henning: Single Player games are not sustainable at their current price

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BabyfartsMcgeezaks:

Phoenixmgs:
So how are either graphics or money key to making a great game or evolving the medium?

That's a lot of generalizations if you ask me. There are tons of great games pushing graphics that are universally liked by critics and gamers, whether you personally think they are great or not is irrelevant. Even plenty of mid-tier developers makes better looking games now than they did 10 years ago.

Better technology/graphics gives more freedom and options to the developers when it comes to expanding their games. Some games just simply wouldn't work if they used a decade old technology.

I listed how Mercenaries from PS2 is still ahead of anything Rockstar has made and that was on a system with 32MBs of RAM. How is that a generalization? It's probably still the most open-ended open world game.

Video games are addicted to basically just killing hordes of stuff, there isn't much evolution in the medium outside of refining that for the most part. And even then there's only a few games that do that with any kind of panache. Whereas in board games; I can terraform mars, hope to have my species become dominant during the ice age, race pirate ships, grow trees better than everyone else, make wine, help or stop Hilter from raising to power in a hidden agenda game, and so many more different things. Where's that kinda of evolution and creativity in the video game medium? Even in a genre (RPGs) that shouldn't be about killing, you'll kill more enemies as Geralt in a playthrough of Witcher 3 than you will as Bayonetta in Bayonetta. Even like the new Octopath Traveler still exhibits all the pitfalls that JRPGs had 4+ generations ago, you end having to grind in combat just like you always have. Combat should not be what you spend the most time doing in ANY RPG.

Phoenixmgs:
Even in a genre (RPGs) that shouldn't be about killing, you'll kill more enemies as Geralt in a playthrough of Witcher 3 than you will as Bayonetta in Bayonetta.

In The Witcher 3 you play an individual who as a boy was put through a ritual to mutate his body so he could go toe-to-toe with monsters and other supernatural threats, and who now makes a living taking contracts to kill monsters and other supernatural threats -- How is The Witcher 3 an RPG that shouldn't be about killing?

Phoenixmgs:

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:

Phoenixmgs:
So how are either graphics or money key to making a great game or evolving the medium?

That's a lot of generalizations if you ask me. There are tons of great games pushing graphics that are universally liked by critics and gamers, whether you personally think they are great or not is irrelevant. Even plenty of mid-tier developers makes better looking games now than they did 10 years ago.

Better technology/graphics gives more freedom and options to the developers when it comes to expanding their games. Some games just simply wouldn't work if they used a decade old technology.

I listed how Mercenaries from PS2 is still ahead of anything Rockstar has made and that was on a system with 32MBs of RAM. How is that a generalization? It's probably still the most open-ended open world game.

Video games are addicted to basically just killing hordes of stuff, there isn't much evolution in the medium outside of refining that for the most part. And even then there's only a few games that do that with any kind of panache. Whereas in board games; I can terraform mars, hope to have my species become dominant during the ice age, race pirate ships, grow trees better than everyone else, make wine, help or stop Hilter from raising to power in a hidden agenda game, and so many more different things. Where's that kinda of evolution and creativity in the video game medium? Even in a genre (RPGs) that shouldn't be about killing, you'll kill more enemies as Geralt in a playthrough of Witcher 3 than you will as Bayonetta in Bayonetta. Even like the new Octopath Traveler still exhibits all the pitfalls that JRPGs had 4+ generations ago, you end having to grind in combat just like you always have. Combat should not be what you spend the most time doing in ANY RPG.

Blame Dungeons & Dragons for making RPGs being so combat focused in videogames (the very first console RPGs popularized). I remember a soccer game that use RPG-like menus back in the 80's (I wonder what happened to those kind of games). Solving most problems without fighting seem to have been delegated to the genres of visual novels and simulators in the interactive media. Also, you could try Persona 5. Yes, you still have to battle hordes of enemies, but most of the game is a japanese high-schooler simulator.

AAA publishers (and developers I suppose) think that violence in games is mandatory to have good sales.

Casual Shinji:

Phoenixmgs:
Even in a genre (RPGs) that shouldn't be about killing, you'll kill more enemies as Geralt in a playthrough of Witcher 3 than you will as Bayonetta in Bayonetta.

In The Witcher 3 you play an individual who as a boy was put through a ritual to mutate his body so he could go toe-to-toe with monsters and other supernatural threats, and who now makes a living taking contracts to kill monsters and other supernatural threats -- How is The Witcher 3 an RPG that shouldn't be about killing?

I'm not saying you can't have combat in RPGs, it's that they're RPGs and you're role-playing as the character in all facets of their life (like the non-killing facets too). Whereas in Bayonetta, you're just playing through the bits Bayonetta kills shit because it's a character action game. I shouldn't be killing more enemies in a playthrough of an RPG than a character action game is what I'm saying. Plus, why would I want to fight so much in an RPG that most likely has average at best combat like Witcher 3 (and 90+% of all other RPGs)? If I'm all out of bubblegum and wanna kick ass, I wanna play a game that has good combat, which Witcher 3 is not. And it doesn't even make that much thematic sense for Geralt to be constantly fighting monsters as humans have taken good care of monsters presently and witchers have became less and less needed every year. Geralt should really just be running into the big-bads basically and the Witcher 3 should be in a sense like Shadow of the Colossus: The RPG then with only boss fights as the game's combat sequences. Then, look at the newly released Octopath Traveler that, of course, has you grinding in constant battles when only 2 of the 8 characters are "fighter" characters. Just because that's always been how JRPGs are doesn't make it a valid excuse. It's like when someone asks "why are you doing that?" and you respond with "because it's tradition", it doesn't make the tradition any more logical.

How is the medium going to get better if we're fine with the status quo and we don't demand better? And, making a game's gameplay about combat is just easier because doing stuff like actual role-playing is hard to program.

CaitSeith:
Blame Dungeons & Dragons for making RPGs being so combat focused in videogames (the very first console RPGs popularized). I remember a soccer game that use RPG-like menus back in the 80's (I wonder what happened to those kind of games). Solving most problems without fighting seem to have been delegated to the genres of visual novels and simulators in the interactive media. Also, you could try Persona 5. Yes, you still have to battle hordes of enemies, but most of the game is a japanese high-schooler simulator.

AAA publishers (and developers I suppose) think that violence in games is mandatory to have good sales.

DnD can be rather low on combat. My last Pathfinder session on Sunday only had one fight. Same thing with say Mutants and Masterminds where I recall having sessions with no fights whatsoever. DnD was derived from wargames so it makes sense that it is has a good amount of combat and you're at least playing as "fighter" characters. I get that people like "blood" but what I don't get is why people put up with substandard combat in RPGs. Most RPGs don't have good writing (because the medium has hardly any writing talent), then the RPG probably doesn't have good combat (because RPGs usually don't have good combat); so why are you putting up with a substandard experience that also can easily eat 100+ hours of your life? I can watch seasons of some great TV show plus play a character action game in that same 100 hours and get better writing and better combat vs playing an RPG.

I'm pretty sure Persona 5 would have way too much combat and I'm not a fan of most turn-based JRPG combat because again, it's rarely good turned-based combat. Turn-based combat isn't supposed to fast and flashy, it's supposed to be slow and strategic, that's why it's turned-based because there's too much going on to be done in real-time. Most JRPG combat is so simple (usually no positioning aspect whatsoever) that you can take the gambit mechanic from FFXII and put it in basically any other JRPG and they all would play themselves. Why am I going to waste my time interacting with something that I can program to play itself with a few if-then-else statements (aka gambits)?

Phoenixmgs:
I'm not saying you can't have combat in RPGs, it's that they're RPGs and you're role-playing as the character in all facets of their life (like the non-killing facets too). Whereas in Bayonetta, you're just playing through the bits Bayonetta kills shit because it's a character action game. I shouldn't be killing more enemies in a playthrough of an RPG than a character action game is what I'm saying.

That seems like an odd way of looking at it. First of all, The Witcher 3 is an action-RPG, secondly you're going to kill as many enemies as you choose, to an extent. If you don't want to go around constantly killing enemies you don't have to. But you're playing a dude in combat gear with two swords on his back -- I mean, come on...

Plus, why would I want to fight so much in an RPG that most likely has average at best combat like Witcher 3 (and 90+% of all other RPGs)? If I'm all out of bubblegum and wanna kick ass, I wanna play a game that has good combat, which Witcher 3 is not. And it doesn't even make that much thematic sense for Geralt to be constantly fighting monsters as humans have taken good care of monsters presently and witchers have became less and less needed every year. Geralt should really just be running into the big-bads basically and the Witcher 3 should be in a sense like Shadow of the Colossus: The RPG then with only boss fights as the game's combat sequences.

The combat is subjective, and Geralt makes a living dealing with this shit, so it does make thematic sense for him to take whatever monster contract he can to earn a few bucks. One of the themes of The Witcher 3 is that the supernatural isn't even seen anymore as something to be in awe of, but just more shit people need to deal with on a daily basis.

And not all games should have to be just one thing. It's nice to have games where you can do a variety of activities, where you're not just someone who only kicks-ass, or only shoots, or only platforms, but someone who has a range of abilities for you to play around with. I'm sure Doom has better shooting than Infamous, but that doesn't mean I don't highly enjoy jumping around on rooftops zapping enemies in the latter.

Then, look at the newly released Octopath Traveler that, of course, has you grinding in constant battles when only 2 of the 8 characters are "fighter" characters. Just because that's always been how JRPGs are doesn't make it a valid excuse. It's like when someone asks "why are you doing that?" and you respond with "because it's tradition", it doesn't make the tradition any more logical.

Well, what would be the point of an RPG with a group of eight characters, if all of them are fighters? That's not about tradition, it's about variety. Having all fighters wouldn't exactly make for a lot of diversity in the combat scenarios.

How is the medium going to get better if we're fine with the status quo and we don't demand better? And, making a game's gameplay about combat is just easier because doing stuff like actual role-playing is hard to program.

Then maybe you should search for role-playing in other mediums, but I don't see how not being able to role-play to the fullest extent somehow makes all videogames stagnant. Games have always been inclined to follow trends, this is nothing new. Back in the 2D bit era all platformers looked the same, when first-person shooters came along they all looked the same, in the time of the PS1/PS2 all horror games pretty much looked like either Resident Evil or Silent Hill.

Casual Shinji:
-That seems like an odd way of looking at it. First of all, The Witcher 3 is an action-RPG, secondly you're going to kill as many enemies as you choose, to an extent. If you don't want to go around constantly killing enemies you don't have to. But you're playing a dude in combat gear with two swords on his back -- I mean, come on...

-The combat is subjective, and Geralt makes a living dealing with this shit, so it does make thematic sense for him to take whatever monster contract he can to earn a few bucks. One of the themes of The Witcher 3 is that the supernatural isn't even seen anymore as something to be in awe of, but just more shit people need to deal with on a daily basis.

And not all games should have to be just one thing. It's nice to have games where you can do a variety of activities, where you're not just someone who only kicks-ass, or only shoots, or only platforms, but someone who has a range of abilities for you to play around with. I'm sure Doom has better shooting than Infamous, but that doesn't mean I don't highly enjoy jumping around on rooftops zapping enemies in the latter.

-Well, what would be the point of an RPG with a group of eight characters, if all of them are fighters? That's not about tradition, it's about variety. Having all fighters wouldn't exactly make for a lot of diversity in the combat scenarios.

-Then maybe you should search for role-playing in other mediums, but I don't see how not being able to role-play to the fullest extent somehow makes all videogames stagnant. Games have always been inclined to follow trends, this is nothing new. Back in the 2D bit era all platformers looked the same, when first-person shooters came along they all looked the same, in the time of the PS1/PS2 all horror games pretty much looked like either Resident Evil or Silent Hill.

-Yeah, Witcher 3 is an action-RPG. I don't have a problem with action combat being there just the amount of it. Like I said, combat is easy to do so devs just fallback on that for content. Just about all the quests have you fighting stuff, exploring has you constantly fighting stuff. Then if you don't fight, Geralt will somehow be an underleveled MASTER witcher. If you look at the quests and break them down, they are structured just as poorly as every other RPG, it's just that the writing made them feel like there was more to them. Every quest is basically go to Point B, activate witcher senses to track trail to Point C, and usually kill whatever is there. Witcher 3 quests just had better window dressing with all the same pitfalls. The most engaging content in all of Witcher 3 was easily after you find Ciri and the decisions you have to make in regards to her, but that's like the thing you spend the least amount of your playtime doing in the whole game. THAT is really the core of the game but like none of the game's systems are actually built to support that core. It really boggles my mind that Witcher 3 is considered a "bar setting" game when it has all the same pitfalls of most games.

-I don't really care to get into how bad I thought the combat was (subjective and all) but just controlling Geralt around town even sucked, CDPR patched in "alternate" movement because it sucked. Yeah, it makes sense thematically to take monster contracts to earn a buck but monster contracts made up a small percentage of the actual fights you encountered. Just swimming in the water or traveling by boat had you using the lame crossbow to kill stupid drowners and those flying things, how is that engaging content? Speaking of making a living, CDPR made a thing about how witchers gotta live job-by-job and put in the haggle mechanic, but there was no point in buying anything in the game. Whereas in just about any board game with money, having more money is extremely important to doing well in the game because like real life, money solves many problems. Why can't Geralt be doing his contracts to make money in order to make the best life for Ciri? That would be a rather good excuse for taking time off the main quest while allowing money and the haggle mechanic to actually support the core of the game.

Geralt doesn't have a range of things he can do though. I think only 1 skill/ability in the whole game had something that didn't affect combat. Witcher 3 rather failed at making me feel like I was role-playing as a witcher.

-You can have variety in fighters like standard fantasy whether it be DnD or LotR, the characters that constantly fight were trained to fight whether it be standard sword/shield, bow and arrows, magic, etc. Then the characters that don't fight (like Frodo and Sam) aren't constantly fighting enemies. Why is a scholar constantly fighting enemies in his storyline in Octopath Traveler for example?

-I hardly do play any video game RPGs because they are usually the longest games with also the least amount of engaging content. In the opening area of Divinity Original Sin, you can solve a murder by stealing a smelly clothes like panties and having the owners dog sniff them. Then, you can wear said smelly panties for a +1 charisma bonus. That's what an RPG is all about, the stuff you can do that doesn't involve combat (because like every game already does combat and usually better). RPGs are definitely stagnant. Most other genres are pretty stagnant too. What has say Rockstar done that hasn't just been GTA3 with improvements? They're still making the same game, just better. Just about any real advancement to gameplay usually comes from the mid-tier/indie section where graphics and budgets are low. I was originally responding to the comment that graphics must improve to avoid stagnation when the AAA games feature the most stagnation. Thus, lots of money is not a requirement to make a good enough looking innovative game like the both Amy Henning or the poster I was responding to have claimed.

Phoenixmgs:

How is the medium going to get better if we're fine with the status quo and we don't demand better? And, making a game's gameplay about combat is just easier because doing stuff like actual role-playing is hard to program.

It's less "hard to program" and more "oh holy shit we have to make tons of additional plot branches and new maps and content and hope to god that we can keep all of it straight and also still relevant"

Programming-wise, it's easy. Design-wise it's hard.

Speaking as someone with (some) experience in the industry, trying to keep every decision relevant without causing it to bloat massively and require tons of extra content got pretty tricky at times. Every new branch often leads to exponential amounts of testing to make sure that each branch works in any given situation.

Turn-based combat isn't supposed to fast and flashy, it's supposed to be slow and strategic, that's why it's turned-based because there's too much going on to be done in real-time. Most JRPG combat is so simple (usually no positioning aspect whatsoever) that you can take the gambit mechanic from FFXII and put it in basically any other JRPG and they all would play themselves. Why am I going to waste my time interacting with something that I can program to play itself with a few if-then-else statements (aka gambits)?

Here's the dirty secret that I've learned from playing a lot of turn based RPGs and making my own for fun.

Unless you're using a full tactical grid type system (XCOM, Divinity 2), probably with some procedural generation thrown in to throw you curveballs frequently, good turn based combat is a puzzle for you to solve.

But what happens when you not only "solve" the puzzle, but figure out the most efficient solution? At that point, battling that enemy again is just you re-inputting the right solution. So if the system is slow and not fun to look at, it starts to get tedious. So, the solution is to have it feel fast and remain fun to look at, while maintaining the depth. That way, your first encounter with a new monster might take a solid ten minutes, but after you've killed a bunch of them, you should be able to punch through it in about a minute.

Now, there is an alternative solution to the problem, as you're pointing out. More role play, less combat. But this a) cuts out people who enjoy the combat system and want to keep engaging with it, and b) it also necessitates building additional content, which can easily spiral out of control.

I would LOVE more role playing opportunities in games. I was so gobsmacked by how much choice I had in VTM: Bloodlines that I played the game about 8 times through. More opportunity to role play in games is always something I appreciate. Hell, the most fun I had with Skyrim was trying to play as a character who was trying her hardest to just be a regular NPC type person until eventually she got roped into the whole hero thing. I even LARP, to get my fix of proper role playing.

But I understand why JRPGs have plenty of combat. In fact, I love those kinds of games too. The Etrian Odyssey series is a straight up Dungeon Crawler that's almost entirely combat, with some map-drawing and labyrinth navigating to it, and it's one of my favourite series. I just LOVE solving combat puzzles, it turns out.

In terms of JRPGs, Persona 5 just about nails things, though. On one hand, battles can be resolved speedily and they look stylish as all hell. On the other hand, you have to spend time figuring out each new enemy until you find the "solution". AND there's additional strategy involved in which personas you fuse. Me and a friend of mine would both spend upwards of 20 minutes to an hour in the Velvet Room pretty frequently trying to figure out what the best possible personas to fuse would be for maximum coverage and potency.

You can be fast, flashy AND strategic. You just won't notice the "fast" part at first while you're still figuring out the encounter, but you'll appreciate it eventually.

And finally, to wrap up...JRPGs have always been about following the story of a particular character. It's the more western RPG variant that based itself on D&D and role playing a character's decisions, and rewarding creative thinking.

Phoenixmgs:
Why is a scholar constantly fighting enemies in his storyline in Octopath Traveler for example?

A matter of variety and expediency.

On one hand, they wanted to have a scholar character who can solve mysteries by scrutinizing people and have his "chasing forbidden knowledge" story. On the other hand, having him come with a bodyguard character to fight for him kind of makes him less important to his story arc, as he's no longer the one the player is controlling in battles, which happen frequently.

So, rather than trying to make him a non-combat character and relying on other characters for that, they made him able to use magic and suck at physical attacks and voila, he now feels like he's not a "real fighter" while keeping him involved in the battles.

Is it perfect and believable? Not if you really stop and think a lot about it. But it's considerably more clean and expedient than a lot of the alternatives.

aegix drakan:
I would LOVE more role playing opportunities in games. I was so gobsmacked by how much choice I had in VTM: Bloodlines that I played the game about 8 times through. More opportunity to role play in games is always something I appreciate. Hell, the most fun I had with Skyrim was trying to play as a character who was trying her hardest to just be a regular NPC type person until eventually she got roped into the whole hero thing. I even LARP, to get my fix of proper role playing.

Now, I'm not crapping on you specifically because this is a trend that has manifested itself among several posters, but this seems a particularly...unevolved...perspective on role-playing in video games.

Who said dialogue and combat were the only aspects of role-playing? Sure, they're the most visible and easiest to understand in terms of player/character dichotomy and user interfaces, but shouldn't perception, risk assessment, problem solving and conflict resolution strategies, character-as-distinct-from-player intent, and priority enter the conversation as well?

People who play video game RPG's live in this neat little bubble where we conceptualize 'role-playing' as building an (statistically idealized) avatar of ourselves within the pre-defined constraints of classes, traits/perks/feats, dialogue trees, or whatever game mechanics proffered us, or playing the story of a character not created by us and developing stats as a matter of course. Having to really consider what it means to create and build a character, and step beyond ourselves, our perspectives, our beliefs and values, falls to the periphery, especially when one starts considering metagame-related phenomena like knowing a game has a given B-plot and choosing to experience it, min-maxing or considering problem-solving strategies as a consequence of having developed a character in a certain way, or experiencing content we'd otherwise now for the sake of achievements.

A really good example of the disconnect can be found in Mass Effect: whether or not the punch the reporter. If you do it Hackett chews you out, but that's the closest to a real consequence you face for having done it in the entire trilogy. And if you ask people who've played the game about it, more often than not the answer you get is really whether or not the player would do it in Shepard's place. Rarely do you get an answer to the tune of "well, during this playthrough I decided Shepard believes this, and therefore would have decided to do that" which would express a conceptualization of Shepard as another person, as whom the player is role-playing.

Because Commander Shepard, as a character, is intended to be a player avatar and still exists within the constraint of pre-defined responses...which include punching the reporter.

Eacaraxe:

aegix drakan:
I would LOVE more role playing opportunities in games. I was so gobsmacked by how much choice I had in VTM: Bloodlines that I played the game about 8 times through. More opportunity to role play in games is always something I appreciate. Hell, the most fun I had with Skyrim was trying to play as a character who was trying her hardest to just be a regular NPC type person until eventually she got roped into the whole hero thing. I even LARP, to get my fix of proper role playing.

Now, I'm not crapping on you specifically because this is a trend that has manifested itself among several posters, but this seems a particularly...unevolved...perspective on role-playing in video games.

I know you're not talking about me, because:

Rarely do you get an answer to the tune of "well, during this playthrough I decided Shepard believes this, and therefore would have decided to do that" which would express a conceptualization of Shepard as another person, as whom the player is role-playing.

I actually do this!

When I was playing that skyrim character who was trying her best just to be a "normal person", for a good ten hours or so of gameplay I let myself be robbed by basic-ass bandits armed with kitchen knives (who I could easily have taken with my bare hands), because her natural response would have been "Oh no, take my money! I don't want any trouble!".

I frequently miss out on gameplay stuff or pick the less profitable option because "this choice does/doesn't fit my character".

Hell, even in Octopath, I'm playing Therion (the thief) and I was walking through the priestess's town and was like "Therion would TOTALLY not help her out or recruit her. I guess I'll skip her for now". I'm likely only going to go back once I've recruited enough other people (whom Therion would go "Ha, if I take them along, they'll make for excellent cover for my thieving job!") that they would be able to pre-empt him and recruit the characters who are further along the "noble" spectrum.

aegix drakan:
Snip

Yeah, the design part is much harder. RPGs don't need to be 50+ or 100+ hour games. It's hard to keep your content engaging for just 10-20 hours let alone 50-100 hours. Any game should just be about giving the player only the good stuff as I always say. Shorter games would encourage multiple playthroughs as well. I don't think I've ever replayed an RPG because of the sheer time commitment alone.

You're right that good turn-based combat is mainly a puzzle to solve. I would say most JRPGs don't have good puzzles even the 1st time honestly. Say FFX for example; hit the flying enemy with dude that throws the blitzball, cast ice magic against the fireball enemy, heal someone when they're at like 25% health, etc. The combat outside of maybe the occasional boss battle had zero strategy and depth to it. Freaking Checkers has more to it than that. Either lower the amount of combat with longer fights but far fewer like say how XCOM or Valkyria Chronicles have far far fewer encounters, or add things that make the fight dynamic like different terrain or how the elements interplay with each other in Divinity OS. You can make a puzzle with say 3 ways to solve it so then you can use that 1 puzzle then at least 3 times while making 2 of the 3 completion methods difficult thus forcing to player not only identify all 3 ways to solve it over time but identify which is the effective way to solve it each time. Resonance of Fate had a really interesting combat system but there was really only 2 strats you ever had to employ in the entire game.

Board games have been doing turn-based systems (and I'm not even talking about combat) that play differently and dynamically every playthrough. Video game devs should look at the many different systems found in board games to apply certain techniques to video games whether for combat purposes or not.

Phoenixmgs:

aegix drakan:
Snip

Yeah, the design part is much harder. RPGs don't need to be 50+ or 100+ hour games. It's hard to keep your content engaging for just 10-20 hours let alone 50-100 hours. Any game should just be about giving the player only the good stuff as I always say. Shorter games would encourage multiple playthroughs as well. I don't think I've ever replayed an RPG because of the sheer time commitment alone.

I can relate. In my personal projects I try to keep things short and sweet. Although having a nice 60-80 hour portable dungeon crawler for the daily commute to work is always a plus. :P

You're right that good turn-based combat is mainly a puzzle to solve. I would say most JRPGs don't have good puzzles even the 1st time honestly.

Well, your examples ARE pretty well known for being wonky.

Like, the only FF game I feel really had good combat puzzles was FF4, and the DS remake of it at that.

And Resonance of Fate was just...Weird and messy with its combat system. I don't know what 2 strats were perfect. I just kept doing crazy stuff like waiting for the first boss to try to cover himself in oil and grenade him as he's picking up the oil can for massive breakage, or standing in the way of chapter 3's statue to keep it from moving into harm's way. I wouldn't know about later in the game, the story eventually left me cold enough that I gave up on it.

Either lower the amount of combat with longer fights but far fewer like say how XCOM or Valkyria Chronicles have far far fewer encounters, or add things that make the fight dynamic like different terrain or how the elements interplay with each other in Divinity OS. You can make a puzzle with say 3 ways to solve it so then you can use that 1 puzzle then at least 3 times while making 2 of the 3 completion methods difficult thus forcing to player not only identify all 3 ways to solve it over time but identify which is the effective way to solve it each time.

Yeah, that would be kinda ideal. That's why I enjoy Immersive Sims like Deus Ex and the new Prey. :P

Board games have been doing turn-based systems (and I'm not even talking about combat) that play differently and dynamically every playthrough. Video game devs should look at the many different systems found in board games to apply certain techniques to video games whether for combat purposes or not.

Yup yup, a good designer is always looking at other systems for inspiration.

I've heard this before and I'm not sure how true it is.

Yes, inflation is a thing, but at the same time there is more of a base than ever before.

Maybe if the major game making companies didn't treat their employees like serfs...then maybe the employees would work smarted because they were able to give a shit.

Moral in the workforce can save you TONS of money.

Tanis:
I've heard this before and I'm not sure how true it is.

Yes, inflation is a thing, but at the same time there is more of a base than ever before.

Maybe if the major game making companies didn't treat their employees like serfs...then maybe the employees would work smarted because they were able to give a shit.

Moral in the workforce can save you TONS of money.

This and the fact a lot of these AAA companies seem to be making a metric fuckton of profit every year, if not every quarter, so hearing them act like they're starving and "$60 per game isn't enough" just reeks of bullshit. I could understand smaller studios using the excuse since they live far closer to their margins but EA is making bank, on top of buying out all of their competition.

aegix drakan:
I actually do this!

When I was playing that skyrim character who was trying her best just to be a "normal person", for a good ten hours or so of gameplay I let myself be robbed by basic-ass bandits armed with kitchen knives (who I could easily have taken with my bare hands), because her natural response would have been "Oh no, take my money! I don't want any trouble!".

Yeah, that's the thing of thing I was looking to point out. Gamers as a class tend to not conceptualize any of these things as role-playing per se, and to a certain extent are disincentivized from doing so because of content gating, gear unlocks, stat boosts, and/or achievements. It's a strange, paradoxical place into which discussions like the one being had can enter, which lead to fundamentally wrong questions being asked, because gamers as a class don't frame the question of what constitutes role-playing quite properly.

Phoenixmgs:

BabyfartsMcgeezaks:

Phoenixmgs:
So how are either graphics or money key to making a great game or evolving the medium?

That's a lot of generalizations if you ask me. There are tons of great games pushing graphics that are universally liked by critics and gamers, whether you personally think they are great or not is irrelevant. Even plenty of mid-tier developers makes better looking games now than they did 10 years ago.

Better technology/graphics gives more freedom and options to the developers when it comes to expanding their games. Some games just simply wouldn't work if they used a decade old technology.

I listed how Mercenaries from PS2 is still ahead of anything Rockstar has made and that was on a system with 32MBs of RAM. How is that a generalization? It's probably still the most open-ended open world game.

Video games are addicted to basically just killing hordes of stuff, there isn't much evolution in the medium outside of refining that for the most part. And even then there's only a few games that do that with any kind of panache. Whereas in board games; I can terraform mars, hope to have my species become dominant during the ice age, race pirate ships, grow trees better than everyone else, make wine, help or stop Hilter from raising to power in a hidden agenda game, and so many more different things. Where's that kinda of evolution and creativity in the video game medium? Even in a genre (RPGs) that shouldn't be about killing, you'll kill more enemies as Geralt in a playthrough of Witcher 3 than you will as Bayonetta in Bayonetta. Even like the new Octopath Traveler still exhibits all the pitfalls that JRPGs had 4+ generations ago, you end having to grind in combat just like you always have. Combat should not be what you spend the most time doing in ANY RPG.

There are plenty of video games out there that focus on world building and strategy vs killing hordes of things, no? Civilization, Minecraft, Portal, Skylines, etc. The problem is they don't have the kind of mechanics you are a fan of in video games, which involve...killing hordes of things, so they aren't brought up.

aegix drakan:
Well, your examples ARE pretty well known for being wonky.

Like, the only FF game I feel really had good combat puzzles was FF4, and the DS remake of it at that.

And Resonance of Fate was just...Weird and messy with its combat system. I don't know what 2 strats were perfect. I just kept doing crazy stuff like waiting for the first boss to try to cover himself in oil and grenade him as he's picking up the oil can for massive breakage, or standing in the way of chapter 3's statue to keep it from moving into harm's way. I wouldn't know about later in the game, the story eventually left me cold enough that I gave up on it.

Yeah, that would be kinda ideal. That's why I enjoy Immersive Sims like Deus Ex and the new Prey. :P

I don't have much JRPG experience as I've found very few that were engaging so I haven't played many. I kinda feel that FFX type combat was "standard" or "classic" JRPG and most of the genre had combat rather similar with ever-so-slight tweaks. As I saw it most JRPGs are either FF/DQ turn-based or Tales/Star Ocean action combat systems. I, of course, know there's more tactical series out there as well but far less prevalent. When I see the heroes and baddies standing across from each other trading blows, it instantly makes me disinterested. I have played Xenosaga 2 which had a cool "break" system where you did have to plan ahead but the downfall was that the enemies didn't do it to you (or it took them way too long to break you) that there wasn't much you had to really think about once you understood the system because the AI wasn't pushing you to get better or change it up. All the fans hated Xenosaga 2's slower battle system and the series devolved back to that "standard" JRPG combat. Resonance of Fate had a similar issue where the AI couldn't do what you could so they were hardly threatening strategically speaking.

I enjoyed Resonance's battle system as it did make positioning important (though not super important) and you could do stuff to the enemies during those "hero" moves; you could knock enemies up then knock them back down for more drops. Then, you had that triangular attack thing to pull off where everyone was doing "hero" moves at the same time. One of the strats was to start doing scratch damage with machine guns, then convert all that with scratch damage to real damage via a handgun to destroy a health bar to get back your AP tokens (or whatever) to keep doing your "hero" moves. The other strat was to leadoff with your handgun to basically break a big health bar into multiple smaller health bars so that you could then execute aforementioned 1st strat. You basically wanted to always get AP back via getting rid of health bars to constantly do "hero" moves. It was a good prototype that needed to be developed more. I enjoyed the characters and story early on when it was just your group taking random jobs to get by, but once the main storyline kicks in, it got super anime trope-y with convoluted end of the world stuff and all that. I recall even having to read the wiki to get the whole story and understand just the opening cinema (that the game never even answers).

That's what I love about immersive sims as well, Arkane is probably my favorite "AAA" dev right now. Prey especially early on was really good trying to figure out-of-the-box ways of dealing with the enemies on limited resources/powers and using the environment to your advantage as well. There's one moment I'll always remember from Prey. Early on I would set up a turret outside a room and run around basically aggro-ing all the mimics and leading them to the turret. Then, one time I did that, picked up the turret and was moving to the next room, and a mimic popped up from a table and scared the shit out of me because apparently mimics will stay as the object if a turret is in view.

hanselthecaretaker:
There are plenty of video games out there that focus on world building and strategy vs killing hordes of things, no? Civilization, Minecraft, Portal, Skylines, etc. The problem is they don?t have the kind of mechanics you are a fan of in video games, which involve...killing hordes of things, so they aren?t brought up.

There's really not that many. There's not that many Portals out there with that same puzzle quality? Braid was really great, Quantum Conundrum was rather disappointing, Sexy Brutale was decent, Rime wasn't very good. Something about Talos Principle and The Witness just hasn't pulled me in enough to try them. I'm not really a fan of building games that just go on forever like Minecraft or SimCity/Cities. I'd rather play more of a set match and try to be the most efficient builder like say Civilization though its AI isn't very good, thus my civ game of choice is Through the Ages. My most anticipated "video game" right now is actually the digital version of Terraforming Mars, which just recently got delayed.

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