if it's anything like dragon age 2, no thanks
Didn't see a thread about this...I know we had one over at FoH. Saw this on the front page of DragonAge.com today
An open letter from Mark Darrah, Executive Producer
We are going to do things a little differently today. Some of you may not know who I am so to start out, I'm going to tell you a little bit about myself.
I joined BioWare in May of 1997 making this year my 15th year with the Company (So, old…). I am a programmer by training and implemented the AI, scripting, and combat systems in Baldur's Gate. After that, I moved into a lead programmer role on Tales of the Sword Coast, BG2, and Throne of Bhaal. I kept my hands dirty during this time; you have me to blame for the wild mage.
After the Baldur's Gate series, I was the lead programmer on Jade Empire, though I made a brief detour to implement the first version of the DM client in Neverwinter Nights.
Then through a weird series of un-relatable stories, I ended up on BioWare's handheld title Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. I started out as Lead Programmer and finished in charge of the project. Along the way I managed to write a scripting language somehow WORSE than the one in BG, yet at the same time coded a stats system that I am VERY proud of. Fundamentally, the core achievement was that you could not die after you had already; it's surprising how hard that can be to ensure, sometimes.
Finally I moved over to the Dragon Age franchise. I have been the Executive Producer since just before Dragon Age: Origins shipped.
I am part of an active D&D campaign, love collecting pen and paper stuff and like walks on the beach.
Actually I don't like walks on the beach, too smooshy.
Okay, enough about me, why have I called you all here today?
I am pleased to confirm that we are, in fact, working on the next Dragon Age game. Not a big surprise to most of you, I know. We have been working on it in some way for about two years now with the bulk of our efforts ramping up about 18 months ago.
Part of that effort has involved you, our fans, and the feedback you've provided for Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age II, and their DLC. We've visited message boards, read reviews, and we've gone to events to have direct face to face conversations with some of our most passionate fans. We've been listening, and we will continue to listen.
Recently, I said that we didn't want to talk about Dragon Age III unless we had something to show. I'm trying to stick to that plan and won't be revealing much today. That said, a lot of information and rumors have surfaced recently and we don't want to hide from them. There are a BUNCH of things that I really want to share with you but I want to do this right, and doing it right requires some more time.
So here's what I can confirm for now:
The next game will be called Dragon Age III: Inquisition.
We won't be talking about the story of the game today. Though you can make some guesses from the title.
This game is being made by a lot of the same team that has been working on Dragon Age since Dragon Age: Origins. It's composed of both experienced BioWare veterans and talented new developers.
We are working on a new engine which we believe will allow us to deliver a more expansive world, better visuals, more reactivity to player choices, and more customization. At PAX East, we talked about armor and followers… Yeah, that kind of customization. We've started with Frostbite 2 from DICE as a foundation to accomplish this.
There's much more to talk about, of course, but it will have to wait until it's ready for the prime time.
We are going to be as open as we can. We will continue to have a dialogue with you and answer what questions we can. Keep providing us with your feedback. I'm excited about what we are working on and I hope that you will be too. I know this is going to be hard to believe, but it is just as hard for me not to tell you stuff as it is for you to wait.
With thanks for your enthusiasm, and your patience,
if it's anything like dragon age 2, no thanks
They've already said that they are forcing a character on you again like they did with Hawke so I have next to no interest in it, had they allowed us to make our own like in Origins I might have given it a chance. I don't trust Bioware anymore so this will have to get glowing reviews from almost all players before I even think about buying it.
Is it the same thing really, the difference being people liked Shepard/Mass Effect and didn't like Hawke/DA2?
I kept looking for him to say, "Sorry about DA 2. We'll do better." Not interested.
Yeah I didn't mind Hawke so much, I think the tradeoff in allowing more in depth story material and dialogue is worth the loss of a little customization.
This is definitely a 'wait and see,' I enjoyed DA:O quite a bit, and DA2 could have been great if they'd just avoided some of the fundamental flaws they built into the game. but it wasn't because they didn't, so there's no way I'm putting any money down on this one until I see how people react to it.
One thing I'd really like to see is the option to switch between the Mass Effect style dialogue outline wheel and the more traditional approach of showing you the whole text like in BG2 etc. There's absolutely no reason they can't have both, and that way those who want their allegedly more cinematic experience can have it, and those who want the chance to examine the dialogue more closely and determine the tone of the dialogue in greater depth can do so.
" I wonder if you are destined to be forgotten. Will your life fade in the shadow of greater beings?"
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHH! Go fuck yourselves. Until someone on that team comes out and says explicitly "DA2 was a complete fuck-fest, full of shitty ideas lazily implemented" they can go and stick their social media campaigns up a basilisk's cunt. I don't believe a fucking word of it.
The difference is, in Mass Effect you started from the first game having this character so didn't bother me. In Dragon Age you started the first game getting to make your own character then in the second one you only get to choose your class. I'll take a silent character with the ability to choose my race and class over a "forced" character just so it can be voiced any day. But really had Hawke been a decent character I wouldn't have minded so much, but Hawke was one of the most ineffective "heroes" I've ever seen. He/she did almost nothing on their own, only reacted after something already happened. Plus there is the whole Dragon Age 2 sucking thing.
I'll take Hawke and Shepard over any silent protagonist ever. Silent protagonists are a relic that served their purpose, and served it well, and they do not need to make a return. In the age of high definition and cinematic scenes a protagonist who does not actively participate in events and conversations massively takes away from the experience. Your hero needs to be part of that, not a bystander.
Bioware's systems for their characters and how you shape your hero need to progress and move forward, there's tons of room for improvement and things can only get better going in that direction. Regressing to silent protagonists would be a massive step backwards.
Yeah, DA2 had a lot of flaws, but the switch to Hawke was not among them.
the silent hero commonly used in rpgs is a representation of the player. it serves a purpose so why abandon it?
Both are fine. In DA3 though you better have very strong control of your character. In a GTA game the devs can go nuts controlling the character.
It's just my opinion, I prefer to choose the race and class of my character when playing an RPG, it makes it a lot more fun to me. If I have to deal with a silent character to get it I'll happily accept it. It'd be really boring to start a D&D game and your DM told you everyone can only make Human characters.
I think the Shepard/Hawke solution works very well. A fully voiced protagonist definitely adds a lot. As long as it does not limit your ability to customize your character I'm all for it. However, if I have to chose I would take a silent protagonist over limited customization.
Apples to Oranges, they are not comparable scenarios. Dead Space worked because it was a survival horror game that was about isolation and being alone. You should know better than to try to make such a bad comparison.
In big RPGs that have a narrative a silent protagonist only detracts from the quality of the game. Mass Effect would have been a terrible game without Shepard interacting with and talking to people, being part of the action, actively participating in events, etc. People give such a huge fuck about Mass Effect because they connect with their Shepard far more than they do with any blank hero.
The worst part of Skyrim and other ES games for me is how disconnected I feel from the world because my character is a mute. Everyone just talks at you and it's impossible to care about anything that actually goes on in those games. The only good part of them is the exploring, everything else about them is garbage.
And again, gonna have to go with Sean and Vorph here - there's something to be said of the cinematic quality that Shep/Hawke style adds to a game, the wife (previous to having her own PS3 now) would literally sit there enthralled watching many games that sit there almost the entire time barely breaking cinematic quality. (She loves DA:O for example, but actually found it impossible to watch me play - versus the worse game of DA2 actually was more watchable for her)
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy Bethesda style games still even without a voiced character - but in comparison it feels more like a game and less like an experience/movie. Which isn't a bad thing, but the latter is so much fresher of a concept - in games - that it's more appealing.
Last edited by Vaclav; 02-16-2013 at 09:50 PM.
different types of silent protagonists exist. there's the established, defined character who simply doesn't speak and there's the often nameless character customized to the player's liking. they serve different storytelling functions. the best way i can put it is like this: one character allows you to FEEL like the hero and the other allows you to BE the hero.
not every game has cinematic qualities. there are countless games in which variations of the silent hero are effective. there's half life, fallout 3, and the elder scrolls series to name a few.
the silent hero route would work in mass effect if it were in first-person and lacked cutscenes
They worked in the past, but they're outdated for RPG experiences. The Mass Effect model is better in every single way. The narrative structure in newer Fallout games and the Elder Scrolls titles is also absolutely awful.
Nonsense, they lend themselves to different storytelling experiences but one is not inherently better than the other.
character perspective is simply used to influence the way a player relates to the character. you can take shephard and stick her in fallout 3 without changing anything else.
Going to have to completely disagree. Skyrim's storytelling is completely fucking awful.
Using Bethesda games as a case against Sean's argument really doesn't help your cause a whole lot. Storytelling? LOL.
what's wrong with bethesda's storytelling?
Bethseda main story lines being weak or not isn't the point. The silent protagonist in an open world like that allow you to create a story experience not allowed in a Mass effect type game. If your inability to enjoy it hampers that style, then fine that is preference. However I find that style just as engaging.
bethesda's storytelling is very solid. you extract bits and pieces of the story from the game's characters. it's not shoved in your face through cut scenes.
And what you're talking about above touch isn't relative to a STORYLINE really - that's like saying your real life with all of its minutia included is a storyline, a storyline requires narrative flow and the such - something that BethSoft games do not. They do make good "semi-reality" sims where you can literally spend 25 hours literally getting nothing done just screwing around with pointless stuff (I tried making a pyramid out of cabbages once myself - couldn't get past 3 rows stacked right though on PC) - but that's not storyline, one could say it's diametrically opposed to storyline IMO.
Last edited by Vaclav; 02-16-2013 at 10:48 PM.
no. you just have a very narrow definition of storytelling.
Enjoy it for what it is, but storytelling it is not. Your variant of the definition is like calling a blank canvas with a set of paints next to it art.
PS - Sean, I think Desert Bus technically would have worse storytelling than them... slightly...
Last edited by Vaclav; 02-16-2013 at 10:54 PM.
Sometimes you just watch what the developers created for you, but for some games the real story is, what you go through in the sandbox that was put there for you and some plotline is just a background. In the first case, I am talking about how I felt about the story put there for me and in the second, I'm talking about the ability of the game to create stories on the fly. Minecraft, Skyrim, every decent MMO - those games can create great stories based on how you as a player interact with them. My Dragonborn was too busy stealing clothes of every person in Whiterun, no sane writer would write that into a story when making a game. Yes, the first type can produce endless gushing about Deus Ex, Portal and Dishonored, but everyone went through what you are writing about. Only Mass Effect could blur those lines somewhat and it took 3 games and like 6 years to get to that point with fully scripted and voice acted characters and I'd guess that most of our Shephards were very similar if not the same because we just did minmaxed playthroughs to get ready for ME3.
dude, elder scrolls games are populated with hundreds of npcs who share information about the games' worlds and often send you on quests. that's what storytelling is.
uhhhh what? i've acknowledged that there are different forms of narrative
the problem is you think the traditional linear form of storytelling with a primary conflict and climax is the only one that exists. while games like fallout 3 and skyrim do have central plots, their strengths lie in the breadth of secondary conflict and character personality. every conversation you have involves storytelling. every quest involves storytelling.
DA2 was just ok, I prefer DA:O over it if compared either product in its entirety. I've probably commented Ad nauseam on this, but Mike Laidlaw. One of the few people that I'd like to punch in the throat, if I could reach through the internet.
I don't really have any hopes for DA3, but I'll probably play it.
Last edited by kaosu; 02-16-2013 at 11:32 PM.
people are placing too much emphasis on character perspective. a silent hero wouldn't change the storytelling of mass effect 3 much. like i said, it would simply change the way you relate to the character. you would feel like you were part of the story as opposed to being on the outside looking in.
oh, i forgot. you wouldn't be able to hear the protagonist speak in cutscenes. you have absolutely no idea why different perspectives are used. and there are games other than elder scrolls that use the silent protagonist convention.
i'm not trying to argue. i enjoy the more cinematic games with third-person views. all i'm saying is that there is a very good reason for using silent first-person characters.
Last edited by supertouch; 02-17-2013 at 12:35 AM.
Supertouch - The main thing with how storytelling in Elder Scrolls/Fallout 3 works (NV to a lesser extent - NV is probably the best example of storytelling in an open world format in fact) is that largely the storytelling is being done by YOU, instead of being a scripted thing with limited avenues that they can tighten up narrative flow and everything, it's entirely up to you.
I can absolutely see the "storytelling aspect" but again, it's like the canvas and paint = art analogy I gave before - it's not much of a story when the product lands in your hands - YOU make a story, and your story might be completely different than someone else's - which is awesome, but it can easily go the opposite way as well.
Especially bad in the ES/FO3 variant is the whole "the world levels with you" thing that reduces tension and other important storytelling elements. (Note that say Dark Souls did semi-open world with a similar "you've got to look for it" storytelling - but due to static difficulty that gated many areas for a while it still created a relatively constant narrative flow while being more minimalist than ES that honestly felt to me like a better narrative flow - words on a page it's probably as slim or even less - but yet creating a sense of tension etc does wonders)
And I'll absolutely agree that SOME games make it work to create a wonderful story - ES though are about the worst examples to use however.
The point is that they're two different forms of RPG, I think silent protagonist works best for open ended ES type games (at least until it's viable to create voices for dozens of race/class combinations), but for the relatively linear games with a strong protagonist around whom the story moves, like Dragon Age or Mass Effect, the voiced, relatively-preset hero provides a better experience.
That said, one thing I didn't like about DA2 and the Mass Effect sequels is the lack of gear customization. Restricting the ability to customize gear setup doesn't provide anything extra to the game experience, it's just plain lazy, and robs the game of a lot of it's RPG feel.
" I wonder if you are destined to be forgotten. Will your life fade in the shadow of greater beings?"
Agreed. I think the people that are arguing in favor of silent protagonist aren't even really doing that. At least for myself I enjoy the directed protagonist when it makes sense as in ME but I don't feel that in every situation a voiced/directed hero is hands down superior to a silent main character as Sean was stating with his sweeping this is fact proclamation.
I'll take a voiced character every time if I'm allowed to make my own character, but if my character has to be silent for me to make the character I want I'll choose that over a character that is "here's your character pick your class". I'm far more connected to my Skyrim characters and my Wardens in DA:O because I got to make the characters I wanted. I loved my Shepards and Hawke was ok but they were Biowares characters not mine. I understand some games require that and that's fine, but they better give us a good character and not "Oh something big happened I could have prevented, guess I better take care of it now" Hawke.
Personally, I'm always more concerned with party members over protagonist, be they silent or Shepard/Hawke. Anders being a huge twat and being the only real healer was a much bigger problem for DA2 than Hawke. Same with Skyrim having virtually no character I cared about...really at all, outside of "me".
No need to be intentionally obtuse, saying one specific aspect of game design is superior isn't the same as saying a whole game was superior. BG2 was amazing for a whole ton of reasons which had nothing to do with the way dialogue was managed.
Hell, can you imagine how good it would be if they combined the two? I'd give my first born, or at least a limb, for a remake which doesn't touch the content or gameplay any more than absolutely necessary, but redesigns it in 3D with a high end graphics and Mass Effect style cinematic dialogue and voice acting in place of the text box*. It would even be worth removing the option to choose your race because, lets face it, the different was purely aesthetic anyway.
*but for the love of god, not that shitty abbreviated dialogue choice wheel.
Last edited by Azrayne; 02-17-2013 at 02:53 PM.
" I wonder if you are destined to be forgotten. Will your life fade in the shadow of greater beings?"
And yes, I realize that fully voice-acting several race/gender combos would require a lot more work, but at this point, if BioWare wants to reclaim the notoriety they once had, it's definitely going to require going above and beyond and just blowing us away in whatever their next game is going to be. As it is, BioWare needs to find a new way of telling a story that isn't such a binary good/evil option system, and this could work very well with that.
Bioware needs to stop putting in meta moral choice meters and putting in special rewards for maxing them. I should be able to decide based on the choices presented, not due to some meta reason that gives me arbitrary points.
I think the morality systems in KOTOR and Jade Empire were fine, it was the Mass Effect shift to Paragon and Renegade and the 'make your companions happy for stat bonuses' shit with DAO where they started to fuck it all up.
Myself, in Mass Effect etc, I turn subtitles on and skip dialogue as fast as I can read it. I simply don't care about listening to my character be voiced, hence, the customization allowed by having a silent protagonist is vastly superior to having a voiced protagonist.
But, I'm able to recognize that not everyone has the same preference as I do.
No, it's really not my "opinion". It's fact - that system is superior from a Narrative and Storytelling perspective over silent protagonists and how Bethseda does things in every single way.
TES games don't have a story to speak of, hell they don't even try to have one. They're an afterthought, a joke. On the plus side you can say that those games aren't really about that, they're about fucking around and exploring and shit so their complete lack of a narrative and storytelling doesn't matter much. To try to say that there is even a speck of quality in how they present things on story level though is some asinine, koolaid drinking bullshit.
Well, there's no accounting for Bad Taste.
If you take a pile of dogshit in your hand and smear it all over a canvass it's not art, it's dogshit smeared all over a canvass. That's what Bethseda's style of storytelling and narrative is, dogshit smeared on a canvass. Now someone might try to tell you that's art, but chances are they eat paint chips. There's a level where subjectivity is complete bullshit. Stop eating the paint chips.
I, of course, said nothing about the Bethesda games. I'm not a big fan of the storytelling in them myself, so that's a poor comparison. At least the Elder Scrolls games don't try and fit in a voiced protagonist to make it's poor storytelling even worse.
You mean it's really not that different from kotor's light/dark side? Although I guess I should clarify a bit. Mass Effect is where they started making the renegade actions more of petulant douchebaggery, the fact that they started calling it paragon and renegade wasn't what I was complaining about. In Jade Empire, 'Closed Fist' had some pretty fucked up things you could do throughout the entire game. Hell, one of the very first evil things you can do in Jade Empire is permanently cripple one of your fellow students, for no reason other than sadism. In Mass Effect, you become a renegade by punching a reporter and hanging up on the council during after mission briefings. Now granted, a military operative (Mass Effect) has a lot more oversight than the leader of an adventuring group (KOTOR/Jade Empire), which may interfere with your ability to get away with some of the really evil shit, but it seems like it would have been trivially easy for Shepard to get away with a lot of shit if he were inclined towards evil.
Didn't help in Mass Effect 2 when they watered down Paragon vs Renegade even further, or even flip flopped on it like they did with Legion's loyalty mission.
Then offer up an example, because that's what most people were using as a comparison.
But yeah, when I play an RPG, I provide the voice for my character. I don't need it provided for me.
And any attempts to do so are a jarring experience that takes me out of the role I'm playing. It's for that reason that I've only completed one Final Fantasy game since Final Fantasy 9 for instance.
For those that prefer fully voiced characters; I'm glad they make games for your preference. I, however, continue to be glad that games are made for my preference as well.
JRPGs and not the kind of silent protagonists or narratives being talked about. Bad troll is bad.
That's why I was disappointed when DA2 switched over to how Mass Effect does the story. In my opinion, there's enough room in the genre for both approaches, and it would've been great to see BioWare develop and innovate both rather than taking the lazy approach and make all their games relatively similar.
Though, obviously, both still have their faults. Inevitably, they become more about making sure you choose the right thing to say rather than how you feel the character you've created would actually respond. For a genre that is supposed to be about roleplaying, it's a very flawed form of storytelling due to it encouraging restriction.
Last edited by Cantatus; 02-17-2013 at 11:38 PM.
"I'll take Hawke and Shepard over any silent protagonist ever"
Bold and underline is my emphasis.
Ever means ever. Now people bring up examples and you keep giving lame-ass excuses why they don't fit your narrow definition. Let me clue you in son, "ever" is a pretty broad definition, not narrow. For you, "ever" apparently means "only applies to RPGs made on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States that aren't part of the horror genre, first-person perspective, and was made within the past 2 years". Except you're upset we aren't mind readers to figure out what you mean by "ever", which for literate people is more closely translated to "in all instances". If anybody is trolling here, it's you.
the silent protagonist is a more effective way of allowing the player to feel like he's part of the story. that's precisely the reason that viewpoint is used. i'm not even sure why we started focusing on elder scrolls games because countless games have used the silent hero to great effect.
Is there a form of storytelling where the man character doesn't talk or emote throughout the entire story?
My thoughts on the matter:
1. The only way to really max out player involvement with the game's story is to have a fully voiced protagonist who is very active in the dialog scenes and where the dialog scenes greatly impact the gameplay and story through the game.
2. If you have a strong protagonist (hawke, shep, niko(gtaIV)) you run the risk of annoying the player by taking control away from them(My biggest problem is when the hero is largely reactive and has no plans, options or goals of his own) and by annoying the player if your team isn't talented enough to do it very well. (Most gamers find shitty writing more tolerable if it's not their character saying the dumb things).
3. Sandbox games or silent protagonists can definitely elicit emotional attachment from the player. Whether specific games do or not is player preference and contingent on the games themselves. Personally I have a lot of attachment to TES3 and 5, but not so much to 4 (3/5 were much better than 4 in most aspects). Ex: The last quest I finished in Skyrim was in some shit village where a kid wants to be an adventurer. I can either tell him to farm mud, or persuade/buy/intimidate his father into accepting his son's wishes. If I go through with it and come back the kid will be clad in armor and have enough renown to be named Eric the Slayer or whatever. I love that shit.
4. I think Bioware has shown that player attachment to the story is mostly tied to the lives and futures of the closest NPCs that the player comes across. Even more so if those NPCs are companions.
5. Pursuant to the last point, the best instances of storytelling have:
A. Elements that are decided by player choice (And real choice, not two ostensibly divergent paths that merge at the first opportunity.
B. Affects the gameplay in a significant way.
C. Involve NPCs that the player has an attachment to.
D. Use a fully voiced hero the player fits into.
The above listing is why the Tuchanka scene in ME3 is the best storytelling in a game ever. Everything from the clutch ride with Wrex to the final destination of Mordin was A+ quality, but also A: player's choice has a massive impact on the scene, B: the primary gameplay elements are driven by the story (is Wrex/Mordin with you), C: Finish the story of the top squad mates in the game (wrex/mordin) and the entire thing is made possible only by the heroic actions of the player.
That's also why the ending to ME3 was such a huge disappointment. Once you say goodbye to all your buddies in the most forced dialog ever, there's almost none of the above list in it.
I don't know when Bioware stopped doing little scenes or at least dialogue at the end of a game or series arc to tell you what impact your actions had on all the characters you cared about and NPCs in the game. I always loved this. Not having it in mass effect was a kick in the balls. I'd have far preferred it to the 'lol stranded all your favorite NPCs on a deserted jungle planet.'
Having even a blurb of dialogue for each major NPC, race, etc. would have almost made up for the shitty anticlimactic reaper ending on the end-a-tron 3000.
Baldur's Gate 2 did an amazing job of this, Neverwinter Nights Hordes of the Underdark did a fantastic job of it, Dragon Age 1 did a pretty good job of it. And after that.....nothing, why the fuck would they stop doing what works?
I always thought that was done because it prevents being able to arbitrarily create expansions.
That's silly, neither of those two outcomes have to be the answer. Bioware already did something better than both of those choices before with the Dragon Age Awakening expansion. DAO had a great epilogue and DAA was a good little expansion that was set post game that did a good job of incorporating a bunch of the choices you made into the beginning of it. Bioware's already proved that you don't have to bullshit your players like the two choices presented above. I think the key here is making good expansions rather than just throw away DLC chunks.
DA2's Legacy DLC was also a great mini-expansion that fit in nicely with the rest of the game, even if you completed it post game and it didn't feel disconnected or pointless. It also happened to be 100 times better (and that's understating it) than the rest of the game and fixed a ton of design mistakes, so I have some hope for DA3 based off it. I honestly wish Bioware hadn't cancelled the full DA2 expansion to devote more time to DA3, I think they could have bought back a lot of good will if it had been as good as DA2 Legacy was.
I don't really think that awkward DLC is a necessary flaw. I just think that it can be with bad developers. I do agree that it's been a problem for a lot of DLC.
But really, I ignore most DLC and pirate the rest because it's rare that I think it's worth it.
For the most part I agree with Sean, but I hated DA:O compared to Mass Effect. The one statement I'll make about the "superiority" of having a vocalized main character is those times when you make a decision and you expect it to be delivered one way and it's delivered completely differently is a huge immersion break.
Then again this happened in DA:O even with a mute character. Fucking friend zoned by Leliana and somehow on the verge of fucking some queer elf.
Last edited by The Ancient; 02-18-2013 at 10:41 PM.
Another big thing that ME did that other games should implement is the paragon/renegade interrupts. They really broke the dialog mould and they're the only time I liked QTE though I wish the delay was longer so I didn't have to drop my sandwich all over my desk just because Shep dropped a QTE on me when I thought I was safe.
Personal opinion on silent protagonists is that the way you create your character and view them is mostly illusion. Think of the games you've played with silent characters, where you are in their shoes. I could make choices after choices and my character so rarely reflected that. If someone sat over my shoulder and asked me about my moon elf assassin/shadow dancer/thief, the way I think of them would be utterly different from what they saw. Would they know that I killed a bunch of unarmed villagers, or fed them to some ogres? Would they know I was so chaotic evil characters in games instantly gave me the evil options?
No, they wouldn't. The "silent storytelling" works for people in the same way that others have better experiences reading books instead of watching the movie. Once you hear the characters you love, see them, and it doesn't match what you've made in your head, then for some people it loses something.
So what you have is a storytelling mode, wherein the developers, designers and writers have put just enough information in there to let you think of the rest of it yourself.
I like the protagonist with a voice, more than I care that I couldn't make Hawke an elf. (Fuck elves anyways.) Someone watching me play dragon age 2 could tell in probably 10 minutes that my character was romancing Isabela, that she was a smart ass, that she preferred to take the hard route if it meant saving lives, that she supported the templars, that she was a rogue, that she killed Fenris's sister etc. That same person watching my rogue in Baldur's Gate? "Uh her skin is purple?"
There is more of a storytelling aspect with a voiced protagonist, because more of the story unfolds in front of you, without you having to fill in the blanks. That's just fact.
Which is better? Who can say, people like both. I was not angry or annoyed I couldn't create another race with another background in DA2 really. My personal opinion is that DA:O made more sense with a noble human background, or a noble dwarf background because the other ways the backgrounds became grey wardens seem contrived and stretched, just to give you customization.
What I guess I'm saying is, I'd rather have a more fully fleshed out, intricate, personal story with a lot of details, than be given a silent hero, with virtually no way to tell (except for what I'd pictured in my head) who she was, who she loved, who she supported. I love Bethesda games, and there's a lot of choices you can make, but the only real way to figure out who your character is is when guards talk to you, picking things out about you. I followed every daedra prince and did all sorts of unspeakable things for artifact weapons, but i could waltz into a village and women would bring me their children to kiss.
Had it been written like DA2 and ME were written, the likely hood that I'd be chased out of the village or punched would have been higher, and would have really spoken to who my character was.
It's why SWTOR imo was so fantastic; they managed to merge a lot of customization with a very personal story, in which people reacted to choices I'd made. AND, you did stick to a morality system, but it was able to be picked apart; you didn't have to be evil, but taking money instead of doing stuff for free was viewed as dark side points. That was kind of cool - I'm not evil but I love me some cash.
However, if the price of a better storytelling experience is less customization, I'll take it, and gladly. When I want to think up my own story and my own hero, I have dnd pen and paper for that.
And I think you have to understand what Sean is saying; you think he's giving opinion, but I don't view it like that. The type of games with voices etc, do have a better storytelling aspect, because they wrote that part of the story in. There's nothing ambiguous about that. Is it a better overall experience for you? That's the opinion part.
Last edited by LadyVex; 02-19-2013 at 01:35 AM.
Instead of writing my own long post, just read Vex's again.
I'll even embarass myself and say that SWTOR (and Saints Row 2/3) is what converted me from favoring "voiceless" to "voiced" main characters. So much so that I can't recognize SR2/3 without my guy & voice. Of course tgese games gave voice AND customization.
There's really nothing that says Bethesda couldn't design a game where your actions had more of an impact on how people viewed you around the world, or even one that gives you more details about who your character is.
Last edited by Cantatus; 02-19-2013 at 04:17 AM.
I think you could but it exponentially complicates the game due to you cutting yourself off from factions and therefore that faction's quests/story/rewards so you need to add in more quests on a different faction now or the game simply becomes shorter. Also the more of these factions and consequences you add the more things can fuck up and the game ships with a day-1 bug that makes it through QA that if you shoot the hooker outside the bar for no reason in the first 10min of the game it makes the game. unfinishable for faction end D, E and G withought a 6 gig two month of work patch
We say "storytelling" as an aspect of the game, whether it is voiced, or silent, or given to you piecemeal through quests. I think of storytelling as a verb, wherein the story is actually told to you, based on your choices.
I prefer that method, just because it feels more complete. The story can't quite be told to you if it's not there, and a good many games with silent heroes miss out on key chances to reinforce or even introduce elements because you walk around like you bit into a peanut butter sandwich -just- as someone asked you a really important question.
"And man, fuck those guys? Am I right? What say you, Dragonborn?"
"Mmfph mm mmfph pah!"
Last edited by LadyVex; 02-19-2013 at 04:53 AM.
Yea, I was very much looking forward to the DLC, especially since I thought DA2 ended with things "up in the air". The reason for Varric describing the entire thing is because the divine march has happened and he's being interrogated etc.
Also, my main play through romanced Sebastian, and iirc part of the DLC was going to retake Starkhaven, so I was all set to become a Princess. Bastards took that away too.
On the site, when they said they were cancelling the DLC, they said they would wrap Hawke's story up for those following it, just not in game form. They havent done anything and I'm uncertain what that means. In DA3? With some crappy fanfiction? TELL ME WHAT HAPPENS.
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