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View Full Version : Ugh...Romantic Dialog (BioWare's Mass Effect)



Zoombie
08-10-2009, 11:02 AM
Right!

Is it just me, or did BioWare forget how to write romance some time in the 90s?

My friend (Jayman, the Barbarian) is playing Mass Effect and, for shits n' giggles, is playing the romantic route with the Assari biotic, Linwhatever her name is.

Not only is the chemistry between the characters completely unbelievable, but the lines are LAUGHABLY bad, the voice acting is stilted and...it makes no sense!

The *characters* even say the sudden romance is baseless and makes no sense!

My mind instantly contrasts this with the knock-your-socks-off awesome romance from my all time favorite game ever ever ever: Planescape Torment.

Not only did that build up nicely, but the character interaction sizzled, the lines were endearing, funny, cute and romantic, and it actually made sense after a fashion.

Where did Bioware go wrong?

Where did video games go wrong?

Why is it so goddamn hard for these people to write romance?!

SPMiller
08-10-2009, 11:17 AM
Bioware wrote BG2 (produced by Black Isle, the company that developed PS:T), which had good romances as far as video games go.

Zoombie
08-10-2009, 11:18 AM
Ah yes, my other friend, Paul-man...the Barbarian tells me that this is true.

But, seriously!

Is it *that* hard to write good romance in video games?

Shoeless
08-10-2009, 11:22 AM
Yes, yes it is.

Because the people doing the writing have little to no experience in this particular area. It doesn't help matters much that it's only in recent years that writers have slowly been worming their way into the industry. Writing romantic dialog takes a soft touch. Most writers in the industry lack experience with it.

Zoombie
08-10-2009, 11:23 AM
Well, I guess I'm just naturally talented, cause I kinda...ya know...wrote my first romance entirely by accident.

That might give me a slightly skewed view on the issue.

SPMiller
08-10-2009, 11:37 AM
Well, it's not like the games had much different talent. Drew Karpyshyn, the lead writer for Mass Effect, was a staff writer for Baldur's Gate 2. Lukas Kristjanson (lead writer for BG1) also wrote for both BG2 and Mass Effect.

I have no idea what happened in the intervening seven years to make them suck so much. Perhaps they handed off Linwhatever's lines to a newbie.

Zoombie
08-10-2009, 11:42 AM
Yeah, and I mean, OTHER than the tacked on romantic dialoug and the fact that 95% of everyone living in space oddly thinks they have a chance against a fully armed, three man squad of badasses, Mass Effect was a really well written game.

The universe is well done, the characters interesting, the plot good...

Its just in the romance where it falls flat on its face.

And whenever Matriarch Benezia is on the screen. God, Marina Sirtis couldn't act when she was Dianna Troy and she still can't act now!

Shoeless
08-10-2009, 11:47 AM
Well, I guess I'm just naturally talented, cause I kinda...ya know...wrote my first romance entirely by accident.

That might give me a slightly skewed view on the issue.

Oh, you're a writer for a developer? Which company?

Zoombie
08-10-2009, 11:49 AM
No, one of my first novels didn't start as a romance. Then it became a romance.

But, as I have never worked on a video game, I can safely say that I could easily write stuff.

I mean, how hard can it be!

...

Okay, I'm being a little (very) sarcastic. I know that, well, there are a lot of differences between writing a novel and writing for a video game.

SPMiller
08-10-2009, 11:53 AM
Try to write an engaging dialog graph. Just try :tongue

Zoombie
08-10-2009, 11:55 AM
I don't even know what that is!

I'm doomed to failure.

Shoeless
08-10-2009, 11:55 AM
Yeah, writing for games is a very different beast than for novels in many obvious ways. And depending on the genre of game, you might not have a writer working on the game at all, or if you do, they get brought in much later in the process.

There's a sad story in the industry now about how Rhianna Pratchett wrote a lot more narrative for Mirror's Edge than what finally made it into the game, but a lot of it was cut, because the designers felt that too much of Faith talking was distracting to the gameplay (which of course is the primary concern of a game, particularly one in the FPS genre) and so it got cut.

That's how it is in games. Granted the RPG side of things pays significantly more attention to writing than the other genres, but even then, romance is something that's touched on in very small degrees. A lot of people writing in the industry just don't have much experience (or interest) with it, since it's obvious the majority of the demographic (and by that I mean the Halo/Call of Duty crowd, which makes up the bulk of gamers) simply don't want it. So for the most part, there's no perceived need to have writers with noticeably strong romantic dialog.

SPMiller
08-10-2009, 11:57 AM
I don't even know what that is!

I'm doomed to failure.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialog_tree

Never figured out why they're called "trees". Mathematically speaking, they're usually implemented as digraphs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digraph_(mathematics)) with cycles, and the presence of even one cycle disqualifies a graph from being described as a tree (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_(graph_theory)).

Zoombie
08-10-2009, 12:00 PM
Well, I guess we just need to wait till the point where graphics look so good that games will have to rely on good gameplay and story to sell.

It can't take that long to get to that point, can it?

Shoeless
08-10-2009, 12:02 PM
I'd say we're probably three console generations away from games looking so good that we hit the law of diminishing returns on further improving the graphics technology. By the time games start looking Final Fantasy Advent Children in real time, the non-technical audience will probably be happy with that level of fidelity.

And yeah, hopefully at that point, developers will HAVE to concentrate on other areas like AI in order to distinguish their products from each other.

SPMiller
08-10-2009, 12:06 PM
Well, I guess we just need to wait till the point where graphics look so good that games will have to rely on good gameplay and story to sell.

It can't take that long to get to that point, can it?And yet there's a large group of players that doesn't care much for dialog. See: the Halo/CoD crowd referenced above. They'll skip whichever conversations and/or cutscenes they possibly can. A good example of this sort of gamer is Ben Croshaw (the Zero Punctuation guy).

Zoombie
08-10-2009, 12:06 PM
And till then, we can continually wait for diamonds in the rough.

The next one I'm looking forward too issss...hmm...

Actually, I have no idea .I should look up games that are coming out soon.

Zoombie
08-10-2009, 12:06 PM
And yet there's a large group of players that doesn't care much for dialog. See: the Halo/CoD crowd referenced above. They'll skip whichever conversations and cutscenes they possibly can. A good example of this sort of person is Ben Croshaw.

And the funny thing is, COD4 actually had rather good plot and characters.

I actually felt bad at the ending!

Shoeless
08-10-2009, 12:08 PM
Brutal Legend. Cannot go wrong.

Or so I hope.

Zoombie
08-10-2009, 12:08 PM
Jack Black meets Psychonaughts meets heavy metal?

sign me the fuck up!

SPMiller
08-10-2009, 12:10 PM
And the funny thing is, COD4 actually had rather good plot and characters.

I actually felt bad at the ending!Yeah? Do people play CoD4 all the time with their buddies for the plot and characters, or for the parts where they shoot each other a lot?

Zoombie
08-10-2009, 12:15 PM
I've never played COD4 multiplayer, cause I'm a friendless, lonely, anti-social husk of a human being.

In other words: A PC enthusiast.

SPMiller
08-10-2009, 12:17 PM
To be honest, I'm also a PC enthusiast. Clearly, we're members of a dwindling minority. Only 3D ORPGs keep the platform alive.

Zoombie
08-10-2009, 12:17 PM
And the indi-market!

SPMiller
08-10-2009, 12:24 PM
Indie developers are hamstrung by ridiculous development costs. There are only so many Valves in the world to hire would-be Narbacular Drop kids.

Zoombie
08-10-2009, 12:26 PM
Well, the funny thing is...seeing at the rate consoles are trying to ape computers, I don't really see why consoles and computers should remain distinct.

I predict a kind of mixture between the two that will allow for the maximum gouging of money from us and the least amount of actual effort from the producers.

SPMiller
08-10-2009, 12:30 PM
In the past, most people didn't know much about computers. Console gaming systems enabled them to play video games without having to know about computers. Just pop in the cartridge/CD and go. But now that nearly everyone is computer-literate to some degree, consoles are less useful. It's possible that, say, the Xbox could merge with the PC, but I'd expect Sony and Nintendo to fight that trend for all they're worth.

Zoombie
08-10-2009, 12:31 PM
<nods>

And, of course, if On-Live works, that could REALLY shake the market the heck up.

SPMiller
08-10-2009, 12:36 PM
Hmm. If On-Live became popular, we'd see the ugly underside of ISPs. I don't think it can work yet.

Zoombie
08-10-2009, 12:39 PM
We'll see!

Anywho, I must sleep.

<vanishes in a puff of smoke>

LOG
08-11-2009, 12:08 AM
Sleep is for the weak-minded :P

Seriously though, I don't fault BioWare for their romance dialogue here.
A true romance takes alot to make seem realistic, and the romance in ME is only sub-plot, it's not actually needed in any way, so they wouldn't lavish the attention needed to make it a really good romance. Besides in the ME universe, romances can be lost/changed depending on what the player does, so they really wouldn't make it horribly extensive, to much work.

Here's to hoping Dragon Age does it better.

Also, if you're looking for games, check out http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=149926

Zoombie
08-12-2009, 01:20 PM
Actually, I'm playing through on my own character (as opposed to watching my friend play his character). I'm playing a chick...


Random aside: I have two reasons to play as a girl in a game. Firstly, if I'm going to be staring at a character's ass all day, I want it to be a nice, shapely ass. Secondly, I'm a guy all the time in real life and I play games to be something OTHER than myself. Thirdly, I'm a closet transgender. Don't tell anyone.

...and I found that actually, the romantic subplot with Kaiden (the human biotic) is a lot nicer to me. At least, I like it more. I think this might just be that I like him more as a character, and he's voiced by Carth Onassen from KOTOR.

And he's actually hot, unlike the Asari who always remind me of a kind of fish...I don't know why.

Anywho

Also!

Why can't male Shepard bone Kaiden? So, its okay for two GIRLS to make out, but heaven forfend if a GUY does it!

<grumbles>

dclary
08-12-2009, 08:08 PM
I'm still trying to figure out how to get the three-way chick-on-chick-on-chick romance in Jade Empire.

Adam
08-12-2009, 08:21 PM
Know what I hate?

NWN2 won't let me get it on with Neeshka!!!

Who the crap wants that elf hippy druid chick when there's a bad ass Tiefling standing no more than three feet from me at all times?!

GAH!!!

[/rant]

Zoombie
08-12-2009, 10:17 PM
HA!

Neeksha meeshka.

Its all about Annah, from Planescape Torment. She's like Neeksha, but with 100% more hotness.

Adam
08-12-2009, 10:39 PM
Huh. Never played Planescape Torment, but I may have to if there's someone THAT hot in it.

Zoombie
08-12-2009, 11:47 PM
Neeksha is basically an Annah rip off, without the Irish Accent, red hair, revealing costume or complex personality...

Adam
08-12-2009, 11:52 PM
Does Annah have a tail and horns though?

(What? I'm weird...)

Zoombie
08-13-2009, 01:23 AM
Hehe

Actually, yes.

Which leads to one of my favorite exchanges of dialog *ever*



"Do you know you have a tail?"

“Do I now?” The girl looks at her tail. “So I do! An here I was thinking that it was a trick of me eye. My, aren’t yeh a sharp cutter!"


And thus follows an awesome verbal smack down!

Jacquelyn Hyde
08-13-2009, 02:20 AM
The Asani (sp?) romance option in Mass Effect was awful, but the Kaiden subplot made me all mushy and girly. I was more than a little horrified when I couldn't woo him with my male character. Psst, Bioware. The alien is androgynous so it's not lesbianism and thus fair play need not apply? Puleease, that's a hot alien chick if I ever saw one. Jade Empire got it right. If Dragon Age Origins doesn't let me play the ENTIRE field, I'll be more than a little miffed.

On a totally geeky note, the 360 RPG Lost Odyssey had an ADORABLE romance. Sure, the main character was duller than a sack of spoons, but Jansen/Ming... omfgwtf... I was overwhelmed by the d'aww of it all. Their kiss on the White Boa was, hands down, the best love scene I've ever seen in an RPG.

I also have an incredibly soft spot for Meryl and Johnny in MGS4...

Zoombie
08-13-2009, 02:33 AM
Also, that is the two headed smoking cat from Transmetropolitan!

Also, anyone else think the Reapers from Mass Effect are doing what they're doing entirely for shits and giggles?

I mean, what other explanation makes sense?

They let organic life grow, prosper, then come in and kill it...cause they think that its really really funny.

LOG
08-13-2009, 12:07 PM
Also, that is the two headed smoking cat from Transmetropolitan!

Also, anyone else think the Reapers from Mass Effect are doing what they're doing entirely for shits and giggles?

I mean, what other explanation makes sense?

They let organic life grow, prosper, then come in and kill it...cause they think that its really really funny.
It's supposed to be some unexplainable machine reason...

Zoombie
08-13-2009, 12:17 PM
Balderdash. We shall doubtlessly learn more in the sequels, but I'm hedging my bets on "they were bored"

SPMiller
08-13-2009, 09:38 PM
Huh. Never played Planescape Torment, but I may have to if there's someone THAT hot in it.Never played Planescape: Torment? Get thee to a used game shop or second-hand bookstore or ebay or anywhere else, and buy it asap.

Zoombie
08-13-2009, 09:41 PM
Oh yeah, anyone else think that the Mass Effect engine would be perfect for a remake of Planescape Torment?

Cuase in PST, there are a ton of things that happen in dialog, things that graphic engines were completely unable to animate in the 90s.

But with Mass Effect, aha, one could actually SHOW the stuff the text was telling us before!

And all the voice actors who did the original characters are still alive too!

Imagine the possibilities!

Adam
08-13-2009, 09:45 PM
Never played Planescape: Torment? Get thee to a used game shop or second-hand bookstore or ebay or anywhere else, and buy it asap.

I've been looking but the cheapest so far is 25! Used! :eek:

I ain't made o' money y'know. :D

Zoombie
08-13-2009, 09:58 PM
If I could, I'd have paid full price.

As it is, I bought it twice, once on four disks, then again on two disks cause I got sick of switching disks...

SPMiller
08-14-2009, 12:12 AM
Oh yeah, anyone else think that the Mass Effect engine would be perfect for a remake of Planescape Torment?Yes plz.

It's too bad PS:T doesn't have the Freespace 2 EULA clause that let everyone give the game away to friends for free. In fact, it's too bad that didn't catch on for all games.

Zoombie
08-14-2009, 12:28 AM
We should write a letter to Bioware!

Zoombie
08-14-2009, 12:37 AM
I have written a letter to Bioware!

JoNightshade
08-14-2009, 12:58 AM
This entire thread is basically why I don't play many videogames. I'm the kind of person who, for example, really likes comics - for the writing first, THEN the art. I'm the same way with games. Oh, sure, I'll play some little easy fun games like Zuma once in a while, but for actual GAME games, I cannot STAND horrific storytelling or dialogue. IT HURTS MY BRAIN. There's so much potential, and yet... sigh.

It's not even because programmers or gamers suck at romance. The majority of guys at hubby's company are married. They're not antisocial freaks hiding in closets. It's just that they don't see writing as a priority.

I have to wonder how many potential gamers are being lost because of this oversight. Just as an example, a few years back I was watching some animated Batman movie. (Forget which one.) My aunt was visiting, and at first she was like "Oh, cartoon. Boring." But then she walked through the room a couple of times and by the end she was sitting next to me on the couch, riveted. Why? Because the story was compelling. The dialogue WASN'T idiotic. It was good writing, and in spite of the fact that she didn't usually watch cartoons, it reeled her in.

I have this mental image of a mother in the kitchen, overhearing her kid playing some videogame. To her, it's not about the action or the pushing of buttons. All she's hearing is inane, stilted dialogue that barely makes any sense. No WONDER she says, "Son, how can you STAND that garbage?"

STORY has the power to pull people into mediums they would not have explored otherwise. I just don't think developers understand HOW powerful it is.

Zoombie
08-14-2009, 01:12 AM
Hey, Jo...there ARE games with good stories out there.

Mass Effect was a good one...heck, that's true of most Bioware games.

SPMiller
08-14-2009, 02:02 AM
There were also "interactive novels" back in the day, though I'm pretty sure it's been twenty years since the last one. Some were well-written. Others... weren't.

Zoombie
08-14-2009, 02:24 AM
And some (from Japan) was porn!

Oh Japan ...what would we do without yee?

K. Andrew Smith
08-14-2009, 06:35 AM
Based on the raves in this thread, I picked up Planescape: Torment. Thanks for the recommendation guys!

Zoombie
08-14-2009, 06:46 AM
Yesssss!

How far have you gotten?

K. Andrew Smith
08-14-2009, 10:32 AM
I've installed it.

LOG
08-14-2009, 10:32 AM
I've installed it.
Wow, that's farther than I've gotten :P

Zoombie
08-14-2009, 10:35 AM
Bah.

whistlelock
08-14-2009, 06:29 PM
In defense of no one: romantic dialog is the hardest to write.

You can only say, "I think I love you" and "I love you" so many ways before it gets trite.

SPMiller
08-14-2009, 08:51 PM
Meh. There are well-known methods for drawing out the courting phase. Ask any romance writer. Nowhere near as difficult as it has been made out to be in this thread.

Problems arise the same in any romance, though. Let 'em actually fuck, and the tension deflates. Need some way to keep the relationship developing. That's when you turn to conflict, as in, say, BG2's Viconia romance.

SPMiller
08-14-2009, 09:15 PM
I've installed it.Cool. First things first: if you got the 4CD version, you need the v1.1 patch.

As for other IE games, you can find mods (http://www.shsforums.net/index.php?autocom=downloads&showcat=14) and so forth with ease. I recommend the first one at that link.

Also, I hope you reaaaalllllllly love dialog.

Jacquelyn Hyde
08-14-2009, 09:50 PM
This entire thread is basically why I don't play many videogames. I'm the kind of person who, for example, really likes comics - for the writing first, THEN the art. I'm the same way with games. Oh, sure, I'll play some little easy fun games like Zuma once in a while, but for actual GAME games, I cannot STAND horrific storytelling or dialogue. IT HURTS MY BRAIN. There's so much potential, and yet... sigh.

It's not even because programmers or gamers suck at romance. The majority of guys at hubby's company are married. They're not antisocial freaks hiding in closets. It's just that they don't see writing as a priority.

I have to wonder how many potential gamers are being lost because of this oversight. Just as an example, a few years back I was watching some animated Batman movie. (Forget which one.) My aunt was visiting, and at first she was like "Oh, cartoon. Boring." But then she walked through the room a couple of times and by the end she was sitting next to me on the couch, riveted. Why? Because the story was compelling. The dialogue WASN'T idiotic. It was good writing, and in spite of the fact that she didn't usually watch cartoons, it reeled her in.

I have this mental image of a mother in the kitchen, overhearing her kid playing some videogame. To her, it's not about the action or the pushing of buttons. All she's hearing is inane, stilted dialogue that barely makes any sense. No WONDER she says, "Son, how can you STAND that garbage?"

STORY has the power to pull people into mediums they would not have explored otherwise. I just don't think developers understand HOW powerful it is.

Now, now. Proportionately, there are just as many bad comics out there as there are good games. I'm a gal who adores both.

Games are tricky to write for. Unless it's an RPG... or Japanese, game developers are trying to interject just enough story to keep your average 14+ boy amused.

Some developers get it right. Bioshock was incredible. Most anything by Tim Schafer is ten shades of awesome. Heck, Gears of War has barely enough story to keep me pleased, but I'll be damned if I don't care for those characters - namely Baird and the Carmine family.

Then there's the Japanese stuff - Metal Gear Solid (a personal favorite. BEST. Convoluted. EPIC. Storyline. EVER.). RPGs like Tales of, Xenogears/Xenosaga, Disgaea, Shin Megami, Arc the Lad, Star Ocean (Not the new one on the 360. That was terrible.), Mana Khemia, ect. Survival horror like Silent Hill (Newest one got handed over to an American developer and was a little blah), Clocktower, Fatal Frame, Resident Evil, Parasite Eve, Kuon, ect, interactive novels like Phoenix Wright and the list goes on and on and on...

I've seen a lot of Mass Effect talk in this thread. BioWare is company that continuously pleases. Their RPGs are the stuff of legend. Then there's Valve with Half-Life and, come ON, motherfuckin' Portal.

Games are their own special, little media outlet. Comics do things novels and movies can't; so do games.

Nakhlasmoke
08-14-2009, 10:06 PM
...

Problems arise the same in any romance, though. Let 'em actually fuck, and the tension deflates. Need some way to keep the relationship developing. That's when you turn to conflict, as in, say, BG2's Viconia romance.

this is kinda sad. I hate protracted sexual tension for a fade out fuck.

*sigh*

Zoombie
08-14-2009, 10:08 PM
At least Mass Effect gives you 5 seconds of alien or human ass, depending.

SPMiller
08-14-2009, 10:34 PM
this is kinda sad. I hate protracted sexual tension for a fade out fuck.

*sigh*Well, I happen to agree it's unfortunate that romances tend to be built upon neverending unfulfilled tension, but that's what a lot of readers (and, hell, gamers) want. The life of a writer :(

Jacquelyn Hyde
08-15-2009, 12:14 AM
No game wants the dreaded "A" rating. If I want sex in games, I go to my snazzy collection of imports. They make a lot of translated PC titles these days. Some of them are pretty damn good. You can usually choose if you want the sweet, gradually building relationship or the interactive, hardcore porn.

God bless the Japanese... Though, I'll admit, you have to weed your way through some awfully creepy titles to find the worthwhile stuff. Nothing horrifies me quite like shota or lolicon.

I don't think that sex necessarily signals the end of romantic tension. My favorite romances usually involve quite a bit of steam (either on-screen or off) before the... "climax" seems like the wrong word to use here.

I can think of several examples, but most of them are pretty obscure. The Meryl/Johnny romance in MGS4 was close. Some minor spoilers here. (Though, if you haven't already played this game, there's something wrong with you.) You have some steamy scenes and some implied happenings between the two. The climax of their relationship is the badass proposal scene rather than sex... though, it is a rather gloriously sexy... and violent proposal.

As long as a relationship still has complications, you can keep the tension going. Unfortunately, most RPGs where you're creating your own character to traverse the game world suffer from Sim's Woohoo syndrome. I came. I saw the hot chick/dude. I conquered. I'm done.

Shoeless
08-15-2009, 02:05 AM
No game wants the dreaded "A" rating.

This. Right here folks. It's all about that rating. Unfortunately the companies that manufacture console hardware all have a universally firm policy about games. If your game gets an A Rating by ESRB standards, that game cannot be published on a gaming console. This does not apply to PCs, but since a fairly significant portion of the gaming industry gets their revenue from console sales, an A Rating is basically the kiss of death.

It's one of the reasons why David Cage's previous title "Indigo Prophecy" got edited for North American consumption. In its original European incarnation as Farenheit, there were actual sex scenes in the game. However when that same game got evaluated by the ESRB, the A Rating was a foregone conclusion until said scenes were removed.

It's all just part of the generation gap. In the same way that comics were largely viewed as the entertainment of children from the 50's all the way until the mid-80's, games are in the same boat.

Zoombie
08-15-2009, 02:11 AM
I got the European version and, jesus christ people!

The sex scene was pretty tame...and more than that, ITS JUST SEX!

Its not like we're letting kids play games that allow disemboweling, murder or grand theft auto.

...hey...

Shoeless
08-15-2009, 02:16 AM
I got the European version and, jesus christ people!

The sex scene was pretty tame...and more than that, ITS JUST SEX!

Its not like we're letting kids play games that allow disemboweling, murder or grand theft auto.

...hey...

Yeah, but that's how it is. In North America, sex is considered an incredibly corrupting influence, whereas genocidal rampages are patriotic. Go figure.

Zoombie
08-15-2009, 02:22 AM
<grumbles>

More reason for me to build by BioDome Zeppelin of Love!

Adam
08-15-2009, 02:26 AM
<grumbles>

More reason for me to build by BioDome Zeppelin of Love!

I'd like to reserve a seat please. ;)

Zoombie
08-15-2009, 02:27 AM
Only bisexual transhumanists allowed.

Adam
08-15-2009, 02:30 AM
Only bisexual transhumanists allowed.

I'm bisexual, and have a character with a bio-mechanical arm in my latest novella. Good enough?

Zoombie
08-15-2009, 02:31 AM
YES!

Adam
08-15-2009, 05:47 AM
Woo!

*Happy dance* :D

Zoombie
08-15-2009, 06:30 AM
Now, back on topic...

Does this thread have a topic?

Guess so.

Anywho, I think the real issue is with the way games are made, with story a secondary focus.

How can we change that?

SPMiller
08-15-2009, 07:04 AM
Can't, and it's going to get worse.

Zoombie
08-15-2009, 07:12 AM
...well you're a bright bit of sunshine, there.

Shoeless
08-15-2009, 08:35 AM
He's being pessimistic, but he's got some justification. People who care about stories in games are clearly in the minority. Sales in the last several years confirm this. The worst performing games in terms of sales are adventure games (which are all but dead now and strongest in plot) followed by RPGs, Bethesda and Bioware excepting.

Most gamers RESENT the presence of story in their games since it gets in the way of teabagging opponents, which seems to be the primary sales point of gaming, if, by gaming, you mean first person shooters since that's currently the dominant, best-selling genre.

Nakhlasmoke
08-15-2009, 09:37 AM
*sadface*

I love games with stories.

Zoombie
08-15-2009, 01:15 PM
There will come a day, where the allure of graphics fades, when gameplay only goes so far, when story will be important once more!

And it will be AWE-SOOOOMEEE!

Also, um, frankly Adventure Game sales have sucked cause most adventure games suck.

SPMiller
08-15-2009, 04:40 PM
As far as I know, the last good adventure game was The Longest Journey. That was, what, the late 90s? Shit. They've been dead for ten years.

Let's be fair, though. Valve has done good work with the FPS genre.

Shoeless
08-15-2009, 09:14 PM
As far as I know, the last good adventure game was The Longest Journey. That was, what, the late 90s? Shit. They've been dead for ten years.

Let's be fair, though. Valve has done good work with the FPS genre.

There is some decent writing in FPSes, but you're right, they're almost unicorn-like in rarity. Valve did some interesting things with Half-Life and Portal. 2K Boston did some impressive stuff with Bioshock, and Troika managed to inject some of the flavor of Vampire: The Masquerade into the bloodlines game.

But yeah, the genre as a whole isn't really doing itself any favors.

Zoombie
08-15-2009, 09:40 PM
Vampire: The Masquerade was a dyed in the wool RPG, though.

The only reason it might be mistaken for an FPS is cause its viewed from the first person perspective, and if you're a raging idiot, you can pick up a gun rather than simply mind-tricking and steal thing your way around enemies...or using a katana.

Shoeless
08-15-2009, 10:07 PM
I did neither, I was always big on the Tremere clan.

Adam
08-15-2009, 10:09 PM
Ooh, I lurved that crazy vamp that owned the club (shan't spoil the plot). :D

Not much in the way of "romance" though.

Got an urge to reinstall now. ;)

Zoombie
08-15-2009, 10:26 PM
Ah yes, she was awesome, but no one is better than Jack.

"Garlic? Useless! Crosses? Shove em right up they're ass! Running water? Eh...I bathe. Occasionally."

Adam
08-15-2009, 10:27 PM
Haha, yeah, he's the best character by far. No romance option with him either. :D

Zoombie
08-15-2009, 10:30 PM
I know, wtf!

Anywho, I think we need more bisexual characters in video games.

I mean, there are like a few gay characters (none of them main characters) but nooo, can't have someone doing both people!

Wait, Mass Effect has bisexual women...<grumbles>

SPMiller
08-15-2009, 10:53 PM
Bisexuality of any sort appearing in any entertainment medium is a big step forward, though it's still far from ideal.

Adam
08-15-2009, 10:55 PM
I believe there was a mod for NWN2 so a male character could start the romance dialogue with Bishop (think that's the guy). Never got around to trying it though.

Jacquelyn Hyde
08-15-2009, 11:12 PM
Oooh, bisexuality in games. My favorite. In Jade Empire you could go either way. It looks like you MIGHT be able to do the same in Dragon Age. My boyfriend called me over while looking up info on the game, (something he does obsessively) pointed to a flamboyant-looking elf fellow and said, "There. That's for you." Based on some of his in-game quotes, I might have to agree.

At great risk of showing just how big a dork I really am, Shin Megami Tensei Persona 4 let you swing both ways... arguably. There were romance options with the ladies, but they were optional. You could cross dress (badly), and tell one of the two other male characters (one of which was homosexual depending on your dialogue choices.) that you found them attractive.

What a wonderful and horribly confusing game that was...

Zoombie
08-15-2009, 11:12 PM
Well then...its time for a game to be made by writers, for...people who actually like storylines combined with gameplay!

See, the problem with you telling us about JRPGs like Persona is that they give me hives.

The only JRPG I finished was one that shan't be named, but goddamn, the pink haired elf got naked and had sex a lot, I tell you!

SPMiller
08-17-2009, 01:02 AM
And for the record, I was also fond of Fall-From-Grace.

What crazy damn characters.

Zoombie
08-17-2009, 01:15 AM
Grace was cool! The cleric that worships no gods, who is also a lawful good succubie that is celibate.

Most traditional DnD players' heads implode around there.

SPMiller
08-17-2009, 02:52 AM
Not just celibate (refuses to marry) but also sexually abstinent. For good reason. At least that's the feeling I got. On the other hand, she rather liked my Nameless One, so who knows? Maybe celibate's the best descriptor ;)

I'm pretty sure the design team set out to turn fantasy tropes on their heads. Old-school D&D fans probably blew gaskets right from the start, what with the immortal Nameless One who has to die to get through parts of the game. It was such a mindfuck when I went through.

I know there wasn't a sequel, and that's fine, but I could use more games in the same setting. Damn it.

Zoombie
08-17-2009, 02:57 AM
And DnD 4th ed completely BUMFUCKED the cosmology!

No, seriously!

Blood War?

Gone!

Fuck, half the planes are GONE! They have no more Lawful Evil OR Chaotic Good...gahgghgasdas!

SPMiller
08-17-2009, 03:04 AM
4ed was designed to simplify the game even further. Mind you, I can see why they did it: most people don't like fiddling with details while they're roleplaying. Another side effect is that the video game implementation will be much easier.

That said, I think my favorite version was 3.5ed, but that's history like everything else.

Zoombie
08-17-2009, 03:06 AM
Well, there's still Pathfinder!

Have you looked into Pathfinder?

Its basically 3.5ED with bugfixes, additional things, and a new art style. I used the beta and I really really enjoyed it.

SPMiller
08-17-2009, 03:06 AM
Haven't looked into that, but I will.

Zoombie
08-17-2009, 03:10 AM
Its commin out this week.

My favorite thing about it is it made Sorcerers waaay cooler. Now, instead of just being "You can cast all the time, rather than having to memorize", you also get to pick bloodlines. The bloodlines represent what gave you your magical abilities, and they grant you cool abilities and stuff. Like, angelically descended folks can grow wings for short periods of time, dragon descended folks have claws, and people who are just mutants can do weird things like spit acid and stuff.

Its quite cool.

SPMiller
08-17-2009, 06:35 AM
That sounds familiar, which makes me think WotC may have already done that in some obscure 3.5ed caster book.

(I tend toward playing lawful evil or chaotic good spellcasters of various sorts.)

Zoombie
08-17-2009, 06:48 AM
The people making Pathfinder are people in WoTC who were unhappy with 4th ed, so they decided to try their own shtick, so its likely they're culling ideas from all the good sources they can find...