NPCs Should Fear You

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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.

Far Cry 2 jumped to my mind straight away too. That game had a few really annoying immersion breakers with it's NPCs, but this was most definitely not one of them.

In some ways, stalking a bunch of goons and hearing them get more and more terrified as their numbers dwindled was the very best part of the game.

I see that this could work in some games but not all of them. For instance: Kingdom Hearts and their Heartless/Nobodies/Unversed. These three groups of baddies all work for one thing: your death, which is understandable(they wouldn't be baddies if they didn't). However, the nature of them are different from your common bandit/rouge knight, that being that they are single minded in their mission.

Their mission? For the Heartless, it was to seek out and devour hearts, leading to the heart of the world and eating that. They come in swarms from the darkness, and the darkness in peoples hearts, meaning that if someone has so much darkness inside them, they will turn into a Heartless. The problem with this baddy and fear? They don't care if you kill off an entire planet full of them, if there's any darkness inside some one, they will be there. If there are hearts anywhere, they will be there to feed off of them.

The Nobodies I can see having some fear in them, but at the time of KH2, their leader Mansex Xemnas was stronger than them and more powerful than the mobs of white moving bags with zippers that you fought through out the game. They, just like the heartless, are aiming to obtain hearts, but only to be whole again. Since the Nobodies are created when someone loses their heart to a Heartless, they are basically hollow shells wanting to be full of life again. Because of this, their drive to regain their hearts may over-ride their fear of you or their leader.

Now the Unversed, from KH: Birth by Sleep, have no reason to fear you regardless of your planet-killing status. They are essentially made from emotions from the game's big bad's dragon. May I also mention that said dragon is all of the evil incarnate of one of the protagonists. Meaning that they are not only innately evil, they are made from chaotic emotions and only show signs of flat out killing you, or others that got in the way, on the spot. You can argue that since fear is an emotion, and that they are made of emotions, they should also feel some fear, but I could argue that what if the dragon decided not to put any emotion in them that would hamper their people killing behaviors.

I'm gonna end this saying that yes, NPCs in some games should feel some fear and run away when they see your character pop up. However, if the enemies in the game are like the ones that I posted, then they shouldn't feel any fear at all.

In Fallout 3 I would be wearing raider armor. The megaton people don't flinch, and the raiders still hate me.

the newer batman games do this (AA and AC)

City of Heroes KIND of dose this, enemy's will ether flee on sight or take off after taking so much damage, and some of the random non-target NPCs (the citizens) will express 'fear' depending on what missions you do

case in point
Alice:Did you feel that? i just walked by Tyrantess and got cold all of a sudden. like i was walking next to the Grim Reaper

random citizen AFTER i had condemned an un-know number of souls (stated several times as 'countless') to 'the void', and i was a good guy :D

In Fallout 3 I would be wearing raider armor. The megaton people don't flinch, and the raiders still hate me.

there was a mod released a while ago that fixed that, but yeah, that really pissed me off when I first played the game :/

You know NPCs only exist as cannon fodder for your blade, spells, rocket launcher, fists, machine gun, shotgun, whatever...

Yes, kinda hard to feel impressed about what you've done when every NPC and baddie in a game is practically lining up to beg you to gut, maim, flame, rend, or otherwise kill them...

It would be much more interesting to have enemies flee on occasion (saves having to kill the last of em, unless you're interested in being very thorough) or even surrender and beg for their lives after having just mowed through four fifths of their comrades. If they do the latter they can even give you the option of what to do with em.

Heck, as you go through the game and your infamy grows the ones who have more to lose by going toe to toe against you might even consider trying to negotiate with you once they so much as see you coming...

It always got me how the Blue Suns and other mercenary groups in Mass Effect were always so willing to throw themselves at Shepard when they obvious know who's just landed on their doorstep and kicked down their door. It's like, "Seriously? Like they haven't heard of this guy and they're still throwing themselves into his line of fire?" Just one example...

I mean, if I just landed at a Blue Suns base and they're already lining up outside to lay down their arms and parlay I'd feel really, really badass.

Fallout 3 had a morale mechanic. You see it most often when using weapons that set people on fire, and even more often when using the Rebalanced Fire mod. >:D

Come to think of it Fallout 3's morale mechanic is better than Skyrim's. :/

Also the guards in Skyrim should just stop bitching about the shouting after the main quest. I saved the fuckin' world, so what if I shout a few times. Hey, wanna see my pet dragon? Y'know, the one I called down in defense of Whiterun? The very same one I rode off on when I went off to save the fuckin' world?

Best game with fear is No More Heroes 2. When you turn into a tiger everyone cowers or falls and tries to crawl away. There should be more games where you are scary, and many more games where you get to be a tiger!

EDIT: Also, this!

I could see it going too far maybe, but I'm also wondering why you would attack someone wearing armor made out of the scales/bones of the dragons he has killed. Occasionally the guards notice, but the bandits seem clueless.

Might work if it was armor made out of the faces of bandits...


maybe the enemies have more heart then brain.

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

Now that you mention it NV definitely had the 'fight bail' set up. I had to chase this final raider around for like 5 minutes because they would keep darting in and out of some ruined house (I was playing mellee for the record)

... blood is red because of the iron in it that oxidises when it contacts air. Wouldn't the air thusly smell of IRON, not copper?

Back in the day there was this side story to the Shin Megumi Tensei series, maybe you have heard of it:


the third and fourth games are really great and use a mechanic that makes the shadows run away if you are so many levels higher than them. The first two games (or three in japan) have a weird little game you can play with the monsters where you chat with them and make them sad, angry, happy or afraid. Based on this they would give you various things, run away or even go beserk. It was a neat little mechanic, but it eventually was gotten rid of in favor of things like social ranks (which are awesome!) and indirectly controlled allies (which seriously held P3 back for me as being a good game).

In the later assassins creed games if you kill like 7-8 people without taking a hit the rest of them get scared and run away.

In skyrim I can see why they don't do it. There's spells and some actions that will cause enemies to run in fear, some of which have been featured in previous elder scrolls games, and thus someone would probably b**** about it if they were removed/made practically useless. I approve of them because fear is a badass spell, it makes me feel like the scarecrow, and turning into a werewolf, seeing some knight in shining armour shout "die, beast!" and then roaring at him and seeing him piss his pants is f***ing hilarious.

Also, skyrim's main religious beliefs are similiar to viking beliefs, in that they believe dying in battle will lead to a glorious afterlife. It kinda makes sense, then, that a lot of enemies wouldn't run.

Still, there is something to be said for enemies reacting with fear to you. Especially in stealth games, I find. Picking off enemies one by one, them knowing that you're there, but not knowing where you are. The batman arkham games do this pretty well, with your detective view actively telling you how scared the enemy is.

My favorite was the child in solitude going: "you don't look so tough, I bet my papa could beat you." to me while I'm wearing full enchanted Daedric armor and duel wielding. I made sure to murder his father. I mean, I wasn't really sure who his father was, so I just wiped out solitude.

It really does not seem like it takes that much effort to add it in, and it adds a huge level of immersion. I mean I can't remember even half the quests from assassins creed(1 or 2 I forget, maybe they both had it) but I definitely remember chilling out and instantly counter-killing everyone without getting touched. Until its just one poor guy left, who takes a look at me, goes 'fuck this', drops his sword and runs. I usually chase those people down and kill them though. Aint nobody gets to attack me and then dip out just cus things don't look good.

... blood is red because of the iron in it that oxidises when it contacts air. Wouldn't the air thusly smell of IRON, not copper?

No, blood is red before it contacts air. And it's just a phrase - blood does smell/taste metallic due to the iron. How copper came around to describe it, I'm not exactly sure, though.


... blood is red because of the iron in it that oxidises when it contacts air. Wouldn't the air thusly smell of IRON, not copper?

No, blood is red before it contacts air. And it's just a phrase - blood does smell/taste metallic due to the iron. How copper came around to describe it, I'm not exactly sure, though.

Not sure myself, but the first time I heard it someone was comparing the way blood smells to the way a penny tastes (not a contemporary one, obviously).

[Prototype]. When you start wreaking havoc, people run away screaming. Some of them even get down on their knees and start praying. Grand Theft Auto does something like this, too. Although, for both of these franchises, I'm not so sure about the actual enemies behaving like this. I haven't played their more recent installments.

AC implemented it (the original probably did it best). If you killed the shit out of people, enemies would start to have doubts, maybe attempt to not throw up after a particularly gruesome kill or just generally looking like they want to run, at which point you could stab them freely with the hidden blade. If you killed enough guys in a large group, those still alive would run (say, you kill 6, the remaining 4 run like hell). Wasn't perfect, but worked. Somewhat.

In the later Assassin's creed games, if you kill all the members of a group of guards except one, sometimes the remaining one will run away screaming.

I don't know about that, but I certainly liked it better when NPCs didn't speak unless spoken to. I'm looking at you Diablo III.



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.

Doesn't stop my character from eating like 100 human flesh from his backpack at one time. But for the sake of realism, that wouldn't explain why he can't strip meat off with the Dine and Dash perk as long as he has room in his pack.

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.


They're Nords, they never run.


Far Cry 2 did this,
Eventually after fucking enough things up and killing enough soldiers, vehicle convoys tend to crash into you head on while you're reading the damned map while in your car, and lone enemies will drop their weapon and run to the hills.

I am reminded of playing the dark side of Infamous, when people just wander up, shout mean things at you, and start throwing rocks immediately after you've slaughtered dozens of people fighting some random mook.

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