Allowing a player to continue a series when their protagonist dies - thoughts and opinions?


#1

While this question currently pertains to my Unnatural series, it is also relevant to game series in general.

My question is this;

If the MC of the game series dies in (for example let’s say - but could be in any game of the series) the first game. Would you be interested in being able to start the next game as a completely new character (unrelated to the original MC)?

To give an example I’ll use Unnatural.

In season one the MC is an Azure and they can die at several points in the game and let’s say in one playthrough they do would you be interested in porting that save into season two. Which would mean you assuming the role of a MC who is brought in from another branch of the S.R.T (and is completely human). The MC has to deal with the same things the original MC would have had to but without bonds already formed with the main npcs - maybe even having certain npcs dead if the season one MC died before people could be saved.

What made me think of this is I recently replayed the Mass Effect series and I wondered what would happen if I played it badly and got Shepard killed at the end of ME2 during the suicide mission and if I could load that save into the ME3 but you couldn’t which I thought was sad.

So I’m just curious on what peoples thoughts on the idea in general are?


#2

It seems like that would be a massive amount of coding - but I love the concept!

For one thing, playing as a human would be fun. For two, it’s almost like attending one’s own funeral, isn’t it? You’d be able to see the lasting effects of your previous MC. And three, I like the idea of one character of mine having to pick up the mess another character of mine (may have) left behind.


#3

Coding wise? Terrible.
Story wise? Very interesting, but you’d also have to be able to draw people into liking their new MC. Also the new MC would have big shoes to fill (depending on how well your play through of season 1 went…), also they’d very much be in the dark about the Azure’s (the current MC doesn’t know too much anyways, but it’s still more than most)


#4

Well, if your first MC died, the play-through of 1 can’t have gone that well, surely?


#5

Thinking about it if I limit it to a single point (let’s say the end of Episode 6) and create a variable player_dead the save file would load up all relevant stats anyway then I could use player_dead to lead players to a bit to create their new character which would revise the non story relevant stats i.e general abilities. I think it’d be doable.


#6

Yes, I would like that very much, for a few reasons. First and foremost it add another replayability level to the game, seeing how the story unfolds with MC 2.0. The author can give more details to the major NPCs with what kind of trauma (if any) plot central NPCs will be going through (or if enough time has elapsed recovered from). Reason two is that this add more depth and realism to the game giving its own life, so to speak, showing how the world has changed with the absence of the original MC.

The benifits of carrying over a save from a fallen pc is great if used well, but bear in mind there will be more work on the sequel due to the fact it needs to be larger due to the affect of considering what happened to the MC in the original.


#7

I am a role-player so I am so used to a permanent death of my characters. Always you could let me choose some interesting backgrounds and origins I am pro it. However code wise is not worthwhile except you make it as a dlc , too much work for a game price. I would certainly buy a dlc or a extra money for your game. I don’t like having powers anyway lol


#8

Depends really. In my own experience you can be great at something, but if you overextend yourself you can still fail.

Also it doesn’t necessarily have to mean skill wise. It could also be the MC’s rapport with the other characters as well.


#9

This is an interesting idea.
It could definitely be done, Champion of the Gods includes switching between the main MC and another character and back again mid-game, and introducing a new MC for a sequel game shouldn’t be more difficult.
Storywise it gives some important new options. It would give more importance to the way the first MC dies, a heroic sacrifice should have different consequences than the stupid death of an MC who screwed up everything. Also, when writing the second game the new MC and the death of the first game’s hero could be the default option in a stand-alone play, with the events of the first game either chosen in a summary given to the new MC or randomized.


#10

I guess the difference is that Champion doesn’t allow you to play as either MC1 or MC2 within the same scene - but this would, essentially requiring almost an alternate version of each scene, and possibly some entirely unique scenes for each possible MC as well.


#11

Not more than in any game series where the ending of the first game has important consequences. Look at the Dragoon Saga or The Lost Heir for comparison, the different endings of the first game have a great impact on how certain scenes in the sequels play out, what happens to NPCs and entire chapters are completely different depending on the ending.
If the first MC died, only the introduction chapter of game 2 has to be completely different, but once the new MC has esteblished a relationship with all NPCs the old MC knew, the rest of the game wouldn’t need to be fundamentally different as the MC would face the same challenges no matter if they are the survivor of game 1 or a replacement.


#12

I like the way @Cataphrak starts his Guns installment. He allows you to:

  1. Import a character from the first installment.
  2. Create an independent “fresh” character from scratch that makes the “important decisions from the past” in a short prelude
  3. Choose premade characters that have the “important decisions from the past” made interesting and different ways.

I’d like to adopt this format myself in some form or another as I continue my WiP forward.


#13

One implementation that could be really interesting is if the MC were to die at the end of the previous game, and they were either hailed as a hero or villain. The new game could revolve around a new MC who is perhaps living up to their legacy. Or if the other MC failed then perhaps they could be the ones to complete what the first MC started.

The flipside of that could be if the MC was unknown, and part of the new game revolves around uncovering the legend behind this enigmatic figure people only barely knew.

Another alternative is that maybe the MC didn’t die, but the new MC is actually fighting against the old MC, be it heroically or villainously. Therein making one of the goals of the new game to kill your old MC. Or at least defeat them.


#14

You need to remember about the returning NPCs say if MC1 romanced one of the NPCs, they should still be grieving and not eligible for romance if a long enough time has not elapsed. It is not just about the introduction about the sequel it about what happened prior and how that effects the current world state.


#15

But my point is that the main plotline would stay the same. If the first MC had important personal relationships with certain NPCs this should have impact on how they will interact with the new MC, but this should be established at the beginning of game 2, for example if a character becomes ineligible for romance or becomes friend or enemy of the new MC.


#16

I have some notes jotted down for a sequel. The MC from Monsters of New Haven High can reach vastly different endings, so their appearance in the next game will be a cameo. If they aren’t alive or it isn’t feasible for them to show back up in person, there will be mentions of them on the news or in your classes because of the ways they changed things.


#17

Interesting topic.

As a CoG player, I’d say it would certainly add a unique experience to a game if one manages to pull it off well.

On the writing side, it’s a spectacularly daunting task. You have to consider just how much, or even if, you need such a feature. Consider the NPCs and how they might interact with a wholly new PC, a stranger who doesn’t at all know them like the past MC did. Consider how this might affect certain events. Consider that it might be akin to writing a story from two different viewpoints at once.