In response to “Blood and Trumpets in the Rastan Saga” from The Escapist Forum: It is interesting to note that there is an article about Howard fantasy and Lovecraft fantasy in the same issue; Howard and Lovecraft were correspondents and, apparently, friends.
– Bongo Bill
In Response to “Richard Garriott: The Escapist Interview” from The Escapist Forum: I very much respect the hard work Richard has done over the years, but I have a very hard time reconciling what he’s saying here with his new chosen medium.
MMOs are a poor vehicle for telling a story. While all MMOs HAVE a story, the players are usually so busy squabbling over mechanics or questing for loot that they couldn’t care less about WHY they’re doing it. I agree wholeheartedly with Richard’s stance on bringing accountability to gaming actions; that, to me, would be far more dynamic then deformable terrain. Anyone can destroy a building, but it would take real effort to rescue the destitute of an entire city. This kind of action almost requires a persistent world, but I don’t believe that the MMO players of today have been trained to think of their games in this manner.
In Response to “Richard Garriott: The Escapist Interview” from The Escapist Forum: When I think of seeing both sides of an issue, I think of Dark Messiah. I always sneer when the hero pauses to listen to the baddie’s monologue at the climax of most stories, but with Dark Messiah I found myself doing it out of choice. I stood there, weapon raised but genuinely wanting to hear the opposing view.
The plot may have been bunk in general but it did a fantastic job of making you ask difficult question about your morals and justifying the so-called bad guy’s actions.
– Tom Edwards
In Response to “Richard Garriott: The Escapist Interview” from The Escapist Forum: When Quite simply, sincerely, I cried.
There, right there, is a person who understand.
Unique, unparralelled and unequalled.
Whether Tabula Rasa succeed or fail as a game, Richard is forever my hero.
In response to “Gaming’s Fringe Cults” from The Escapist Forum: As for “the industry has moved on,” it has and it hasn’t. It’s not that much different. For instance, Cain once said about Fallout’s combat: “It also showed how popular and fun turn-based combat could be, when everyone else was going with real-time or pause-based combat.” That’s no different now, everyone else is going with real-time or pause-based, only this time so is Fallout.
So if anything has changed it’s that the unique situation behind Fallout can’t be reproduced. Not because the people aren’t there, but because the companies have closed ranks, and even a proclaimed independent like Bethesda joins those ranks. Only Blizzard remains, I guess, with their hearty sod off to the, as CVG put it, “‘big new feature’ kind of showmanship.” … I’m sure Bethesda’s Fallout 3 has the potential to outsell the Fallout 3 BIS was working on, but BIS didn’t need to sell a million copies just to break even.
The base investment cost of the license and ludicrous expenses like their PR department (including a community manager who doesn’t really do anything, from what I can tell) or hiring Liam Neeson are choices Bethesda made, and only because of those choices do they have to compete in three markets to so much as break even. That’s not inherent of today’s gaming market, but I’ll admit it’s predominant, and it will have to collapse in on itself someday. These high-risk high-profit ventures are a way to instable base for an industry. Heck, you don’t see any other industry doing it.
– Brother None
In response to “Cthulhu: Why So Difficult?” from The Escapist Forum: I think there needs to be some flexibility, both on the part of developers and fans. It’s entirely possible for a design to retain certain fundamental elements of Lovecraft while discarding ones that don’t translate well. Allen did a great job of isolating the latter category.
If it’s the kiss of death to market your game as Lovecraft-inspired (and I’m not necessarily sure it is), then don’t wear it on your sleeve. Joe Gamer doesn’t need to see tentacles or go insane or be gimped in a fight to be chilled by the realization that we’re very, very small in a cold, indifferent Universe. Allen’s right, that realization isn’t sustainable, but it doesn’t need to be. While that’s the point where many of Lovecraft’s works climax, we needn’t stop there. After all, the realization isn’t the hard part – the hard part is living in the world with that terrible knowledge.
True passion for Lovecraft and his themes shouldn’t be about adhering to the letter of the Mythos, but rather the spirit. Dump the stuff that doesn’t work in games and drive home the core horror of the human condition. It’ll make the tall guy proud.
– Erik Robson
In response to “Cthulhu: Why So Difficult?” from The Escapist Forum: Just because no game has successfully awakened the Old Ones yet doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen.
With respect to the issue of the cerebral path that the protagonist takes, hunting down clues and piecing together information, this describes the pure adventure game (Myst-style, not Zelda) perfectly.
But to create the slow realization of the apocalypse … You have to gradually realize that you, personally, are responsible for the end of the world. I think that means that it has to be an MMO (for persistence, can’t just restart into a new, undestroyed game world) where the final endgame for one very powerful character is to bring down the game server, to make it unplayable.
Now, to prevent the *server* from simply resetting once the game is over. You can’t, really, so you have to make the initial state of the game as boring as possible. Given Game 3.0, I think that this could be doable. A thin baseline of meta-rules would allow players to gradually build up a complex, rich, well-developed world, something really worth keeping and missing; and eventually to unmake it forever. That is the apocalypse.
And, yes, I do expect a lot of players to react to the realization that their lovingly crafted world is doomed with something akin, if not to insanity, then at least to raw unreason and panic. Compare Corrupted Blood: people react to catastrophe as they would in real life. The Cthulhu game waiting to be made is a nomic with a tragic flaw.
Just like real life.