seawasp (seawasp) wrote,

I want to make a videogame.

Specifically, I want to create an RPG that addresses the failings I've seen in the industry all along. I know that a perfect game meeting all my preferences is impossible; however, there are some things which can be fixed in my view.

I'm talking mostly here about console RPGs, though certainly some or all of what I say could be applied to any CRPG except, in some ways, the MMORPGs; those, however, have their own major problems.

The Four Major Failings I want to see corrected:

1) RAILROAD SYNDROME. This is present in most CRPGs to an extreme extent. It is, in some ways, impossible to totally eliminate (barring true artificial intelligence), but virtually no effort has been made to even mitigate it. Railroad Syndrome basically means that you are "railroaded" to follow a particular plotline. In some RPGs this is obvious -- you literally cannot GO anywhere except one of a small set of destinations that will advance your particular plot. In others it may be at least partially hidden (you can go just about anywhere except some set of artificially blocked locations, and getting new significant events to happen depends on your choosing the RIGHT location and performing some correct set of actions. Railroad syndrome expresses in both large and small ways, and is most obvious in that most CRPGs have one or at most two or three "ending" sequences. All events are guided to ensure that you end up in one particular place in the story.

2) INTRACTABLE DIFFICULTY. Most CRPGs have some requirements that must be met in order to advance in the plot. Many of them feature puzzles and minigames. VERY few feature a way to GET AROUND these for the player who is playing for the story and may lack the skill, patience, or reflexes to pass the requirements. Why should the player have to search for a walkthrough on the net, or buy a special book? There are no good reasons why there shouldn't be a "Let me PAST this!" option, or at least a "Okay, tell me what i'm not doing right" option. A few games (E.g., Atelier Iris) have had a good hint option, but even those are sometimes cryptic.

3) OBVIOUSLY UNLIVING WORLD. In reality, given the events in most RPGs, things should vary dependin on what you do. People should come to recognize you. When you have a major throwdown with a villain that rocks the foundations of the world, trees should be downed. And trees shouldn't get in your way if you're powerful enough to beat people like that. Monsters of intelligence should learn to avoid you -- or bargain with you. A small stream should not barricade you from crossing (especially if you're in a forest with trees you could use as bridges or rafts!).

4) PLAY IN ISOLATION. There is no Earthly reason why, as virtually all systems come with two game controllers and nowadays can handle up to four or so, that these games should be NECESSARILY one-player games. If I want to play Final Fantasy or Chrono Trigger, I have to do that when no one else is around; I can't make it a real participatory game. This is simply stupid. The processing power and display capability exists to offer two-player RPGs -- even ones in which the players are in two different locations. This would be a vast change in the genre -- something permitting these games to offer the same kind of social interaction that other team sports offer. MMORPGs permit things of this nature, but as are well known suffer from a number of other failings (not the least being almost constant munchkinism destroying the ability of casual players to easily enjoy the games).

I want to write a game in which there is free choice for a player to follow many adventures. Where more than one player can participate, becoming a companion or even nemesis for the other. Where an ingenious player can use the world around him or her to assist in the quest, AND where a player mostly interest in the story can, after a few tries, decide they don't want to jump through hoops and just move on to the next plot element. A game where my wife and I could sit down and play together, rather than one or the other of us being excluded, or that I can play with my son since we both enjoy such games. A game that gives me MANY hours of entertainment, not because it has three hundred special set battles and required side-quests, but because once I've finished one quest there are other adventures waiting for me.

This may seem like a lot, but I think that the technology exists to do it now. It might not have ten years ago, but it is possible now.

Unfortunately, while I could write the scripts and world, I can't draw or program worth a damn...

There, periodic videogame rant over.
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