NPCs Should Fear You

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

So in anticipation of Dawnguard I've been mucking about with Skyrim, and I think I may have pinned down what (for me anyway) is the most immersion breaking thing about the game. And it's really simple:

Non player characters need a capacity to feel fear. Or at the very least a capacity to *learn* to be afraid.

In an effort to prove this, lemme ask you a quick question. How many times over the course of your time playing games have you faced the following scenario:

You're high level. You have all your favorite gear equipped. You've just finished piling up corpses around you four layers deep. There is so much blood the air tastes of copper. And you haven't even broken sweat yet. And as you stand triumphant over the bodies of your foes- you catch something out of the corner of your eye. Why, it's Bumfuck McMook! The last bandit/goblin/insurgent/terrorist/whocares standing. He has just finished watching you effortlessly slaughter everyone he's ever met. And what's this? He's charging at you headlong with a sword in hand. Why Bumfuck you brave, brave soul you.

You get my point here right? Unless I'm facing down mindless automatons or the criminally insane, my enemies should demonstrate that they value their own lives. I'm aware that they're just collections of 1's and 0's, but as long as you're calling them "bandits", they should behave as such.

If I get jumped by some thugs on the highway and I kill 3/4s of them in under 7 seconds by myself, then my guess is that the survivors first priority would be pissing themselves. Not charging headlong into certain death.

There are other more subtle examples of NPC fearlessness that mess with my immersion ("So you what, fetch the mead?") but the above is one of the most glaring examples, and it's one of the easier ones to fix mechanically.

Thoughts?

One of the only games I remember with a fear system of any kind was in The Thing, and that was your squad-mates. If you didn't keep their fear in check they could quite easily run away, and if pushed too far commit suicide.

Sengoku Basara sure as hell shows fear in your enemies. They fall on their asses and crawl, backing away from you holding their hands up, or come at you shaking their swords like they know they're going to die there. There's also mid-battle dialogue that exclaims how much of a man-mowing badass you are.

All this is assuming you're doing really well, of course.

Sacred 1 (and possibly 2, never got that far) had a fear mechanic of some sort, where enemies way below your level would just ignore you in the hope that you ignore them, too. Champions Online did that, too. These are the only examples at the top of my head.

One problem with it is that if you're OCD like me and want to kill 'em all, you have to go chasing them down. I think it's just more satisfying to kill every last one of those suckers even if it is unrealistic.

I agree, and if I turn up dressed as an enemy, they should flee in terror.

I think FarCry 2 had something like this. Or at least, it said it did. The more quests you did the more renown you got, and higher renown made people recognise you once you got into the fray.

Dragon's Dogma has enemies sort of like Bethesda's in that they never seem to take a hint and avoid you, but a number of them will run away from you after taking heavy damage. If you want the kill, you have to chase them and finish the job. It's a nice touch.

assassins creed does this and other games attempt it too.

i do wish i could intimidate most enemies to surrender but playing games taught me that if they do they most likely going to try to kill me again after a minuiteor they are just programmed that they flee for 10m only to turn around and try to kill you again.

there was something interesting in max payne 3.
there is one special ops that surrenders after watching his whole unit get slaughtered by me.
i dont know if it was scripted. i let him live and he didnt try to kill me.
it really baffled me for a while.

TES games traditionally have very poor AI and most of what you can call fear mechanics are strictly reserved for certain NPCs and effects from spells and special scripts. For example commoners and herbivores will almost always run away from you in Skyrim while bandits almost always attack. Sometimes enemies will try to escape once badly damaged but that's about it. I'm currently playing a nord so if I want enemies to run in fear from my prowess I use my racial power.

I love watching enemies run in fear screaming, "WE'RE ROUTED!" Thanks, I got that.

Yeah I am in full Daedric armor with 2 Daedric swords that are dripping blood and fire and Braith isn't scared at me. Seriously it is like the kids in Bethesda games know they are immortal so the be as annoying as possible. I really hate Braith and that one child of the Jarl. I would love to go throughout the land and murder every one of those little bitches. Which is why pc has mods :). You are right I have slaughtered your friends effortlessly and am not hurt in the slightest and you think you can take me. If that was me I would be running away in very wet pants.

Yeah the AI doesn't seem to comprehend death. As a stealthy character i back stab a pile of bodies and someone walks up and says, "I'll find whoever did this." When he should be saying, "Nuts to this. I'm out of here."

I'm sure a fear mechanic is possible in Skyrim, but i'm not sure how it would work since baddies can't seem to even get through doors sometimes.

I think NPCs should auto-fear me. In vegas i killed any NPCs i didn't like and ate them.

maybe the enemies have more heart then brain.

Biodeamon:
I think NPCs should auto-fear me. In vegas i killed any NPCs i didn't like and ate them.

that actually made me laugh

henritje:
maybe the enemies have more heart then brain.

Biodeamon:
I think NPCs should auto-fear me. In vegas i killed any NPCs i didn't like and ate them.

that actually made me laugh

unlocking the Dine and Dash perk didn't help my addiction

wow use to have a fear mechanic. mobs would run off on low hp and go get their mates... dunno if thats still in or not? dont play anymore :)

Biodeamon:

henritje:
maybe the enemies have more heart then brain.

Biodeamon:
I think NPCs should auto-fear me. In vegas i killed any NPCs i didn't like and ate them.

that actually made me laugh

unlocking the Dine and Dash perk didn't help my addiction

but at least you can eat tasty human on the go.
hmmm human

The newer Assassin's Creed games did this.

Often the last enemy in a group would cower in fear or drop his weapon and run.

Same for Arkham City.

that's the only thing that annoys me in Pokemon. The Anagonist is always a masssive dick even when you stomped him stupid for the 35th time.

at some point this really should come into play, especially when you're widely known as a mass murder machine (even if you're just murdering bandits)

eventually the city guards should be hesitant to try to arrest you, knowing full well you could start a massacre at any moment if provoked

I remember the enemies in RAGE trying to flee or retreat when they noticed they were getting overrun. Pretty well done I must say.

And of course Halo is a good example of it. Shoot a pack of Grunt's beloved Elite leader and they start soiling their pants. Run little ones, run!

Ralen-Sharr:
at some point this really should come into play, especially when you're widely known as a mass murder machine (even if you're just murdering bandits)

eventually the city guards should be hesitant to try to arrest you, knowing full well you could start a massacre at any moment if provoked

I'll echo that sentiment with a vengeance. And on a related note, the whole "knowing you could start a massacre at any moment if provoked" thing should definitely tie-in to any existing "intimidate" mechanics in a game. Because I've been sent into frothing rages more than once in an RPG whilst playing a sociopath by a smug NPC telling me *to my face* that I'm bluffing when I say I'll kill them if they piss me off. And here's the thing, when I make claims like this in a game:

I'm not fucking kidding. My default character in Skyrim has an entire wardrobe stuffed to the brim with black soul stones who used to be incredibly stupid people.

I think it should also refer to Townsfolk.

Listen up you little chickenshit, I've murdered hundreds of thousands of people for trying to attack me, I've killed a bunch of dragons/trolls/demons, and I have survived it all and gotten stronger. Now show me some respect!!!

Emiscary:
You get my point here right? Unless I'm facing down mindless automatons or the criminally insane, my enemies should demonstrate that they value their own lives.

I think the worst part is that they attempt[i] to show that but fail miserably. When I started playing and finally got enough firepower to stand up to an enemy without hesitation (or the need of potions/running/meneuvering, etc) Just some blasts of flame and the enemy was left whimpering on the floor begging for their life. "I yield" was what the guys said. I barely had a scratch on me and the flame spell was ready - it would take my character the same time to flip the guy off [i]or to kill him (and that's an inclusive or there) and he just straight charged at me when he managed to stand on his feet. Despite "yielding". And I was so glad that Bethesda had introduced an "OMG I'm begging for my life, please let me go" mechanic only to be utterly disappointed seconds afterwards.

Yes, the game needs a more realistic AI. My character right now is a stealthy archer. Imagine, if you see your buddy falling dead with an arrow suck in him, then your other buddy, and then your other buddy, and then all your still living buddies start running towards where the arrows most likely fly from, only to fall dead after a few paces. When this is happening, does it make any sense at all to run at the BIG DARK PLACE WHERE SOMEBODY ONESHOTS ANYTHING MOVING or would you rather want to survive? I'll let them go if they wanted, I swear but anything else is classed as suicide in my book.

In Samurai Warriors 2 killing the leader of a squad will cause the rest to run away in fear.

And let's not forget these guys from Spyro the Dragon...
image

Ha, I was just talking to someone about how I wanted to show mercy to the Red Faction enemies who run away but right afterward they turn around and shoot you again :/

I dunno I like the idea of more realistic AI but not at the expense of game play. If enemies forever ducked behind cover, ran away or stopped fighting half way through a battle it would quickly become tiresome.

I think better voice acting and maybe fear used sparingly would be good so that it doesn't brake up the action or flow, or maybe just have the odd cowardly enemy types. I think realistic fear like I mentioned would be better in games where the player feels fear himself. Either fear of dieing because the player doesn't have many hitpoints like in Dark Souls or a full on horror game.

Most of the examples of how fear is used in existing games is good

Batman: Arkham Asylum had great workaround for this, enemies were threatened by the Joker if they tried to retreat (so the enemy retreat wasn't a problem), but when you knocked out most of them, the remaining ones would get scared of things like noises coming from a boiler, and voices changed to be more scared.

Agreed. Also fix the enemies who try to beg you for their life, Bethesda.
I can't count how many times I almost killed an enemy when they go "Please, spare me! I have a wife and a child to support" etc etc so I let them live then they go "NAO UR GONA DAI!!!!" then I respond by hitting them in the face where they die. I'd prefer it if they get up, and cower in fear in the corner, or don't get up at all.

The Total War series implements this pretty well. If you decimate enough of an army, the remaining troops will become significantly demoralized and flee. Of course, this can happen to you, too.

In Borderlands, it is implied that the bandits are pretty much insane anyway. That helps the immersion for me. There's just something about how it's set up that helps me slaughter away without fear or annoyance.

...I can't wait for Borderlands 2 *wipes tear*.

Biodeamon:
I think NPCs should auto-fear me. In vegas i killed any NPCs i didn't like and ate them.

Yeah, you'd think anyone who catches someone devouring thugs would be like, "Oh shit." and run away. Or at least attempt to kill you without being seen. Also, you'd think the corpses would turn into skeletons after being eaten.

You want your enemies to run in fear from you, thus depriving you of their loot and the experience from slaughtering them wholesale?

Next I suppose you'll want them to be capable of strategy. Laying ambushes, using hit-and-run tactics, and razing a village for each bandit lair you clean out.

In all seriousness, I can see both sides to this. Personally, I was more annoyed by Skyrim's lack of a New Vegas-style hardcore mode.

samaugsch:

Biodeamon:
I think NPCs should auto-fear me. In vegas i killed any NPCs i didn't like and ate them.

Yeah, you'd think anyone who catches someone devouring thugs would be like, "Oh shit." and run away. Or at least attempt to kill you without being seen. Also, you'd think the corpses would turn into skeletons after being eaten.

Do you have any idea how much meat is on your average human being from their skeletal muscles alone? I'll give you a hint: Far too much to fit in your stomach.

I'm more frustrated that I can't spare, or at least ignore enemies in Skyrim who say "Stop! I cannot best you!" because 10 seconds later they're insulting my mother and swinging a sword at me again.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked