Hero Project: Redemption Season News and Discussion


#436

I’m thankful for the various people who’ve pointed out flaws in how they viewed the advertising for the game, versus (ha) their opinions of the game itself. Good points for those of us who hope to publish games in the future and will be coming up with our own advertising copy (so, Hosted Game hopefuls such as myself).

@Shockbolt Maybe we should start a thread, ‘What Makes a Good (or Helpful) Beta Test’? I’d be just as interested in the results as anyone, to be sure. And the instructions in this thread were my original guideline for how to beta test Choice of Games well.

Specifically, with this game? The three main issues mentioned in this thread, I think, seem to be 1. The stats weren’t balanced, I wanted to play a (however) kind of character and it wasn’t really possible. 2. The advertising presented ‘Powered Heroes On Television Wheeee!’ and the game is ‘MC With Weird Powers Faces Discrimination, Takes Care of Powered Sister with Serious Health Issues in Low Income Neighbourhood’; and 3. The game forces you to make narrow choices with Miss Boss and Transfer, for instance that didn’t fit my character and that was frustrating.

If I misinterpreted or misstated any points, I’m open to correction.

For a beta tester:

  1. The ideal thing here is to say, “I was trying to play a character with traits A, B, and C. I found I was blocked off from being C in this scene and this scene - I would have liked this different option, or I didn’t like when my character had to think that one thing. Oh, and then you made me do D in this scene, and it was out of character.” I know I submitted some feedback to this effect with this game, and most others I’ve beta-tested. (Usually it has to do with, “Can I please have an option that does not involve hitting, blasting, scheming, annihilating, or otherwise forcibly dealing with that character”, or sometimes it has to do with how my MC views other characters. In this game, it was often the latter.)

  2. Beta testers don’t see the advertising, so I don’t know how beta testing could have directly addressed this issue.

  3. When frustrating scenes come up, mention to the author that you don’t like them, and why. (I’m in the middle of significantly reordering one of my scenes right now because two people told me it was boring, and why they found it boring. I’m glad they did!) Then the author can sort and adjusting according to taste.

And every author has a different way of interacting with feedback. I’ve beta tested games where almost all of my suggestions were implemented, and games where nearly none of them were. And that’s the way it should be - my suggestions might be helpful, or they might go in a direction the author chooses not to pursue. Sometimes authors respond to give more direction, or feedback, about beta responses, sometimes not. It just depends.

I’d love to talk more about beta testing in general, and hear what some of the other authors and beta testers on the forums think, but probably on a new thread!


#437

I would very much like to see such a thread happen :slight_smile:


#438

It’s also pretty annoying that the game treats trying to make life better for you and your sister as “bad” or “evil.” The game gives us all these reasons to not care about the big picture–your sister is ill, you come from a bad neighborhood, you’re not even aware of major events such as an evil president, etc–but then punishes you for playing a character that follows that path. Why set up such a situation if you’re not going to let us explore that option?


#439

Long time no see, welcome back @FairyGodfeather ! :tada:


#440

@FairyGodfeather Good to see you’re still around! I hope life is well.

Have you had a chance to play Redemption Season yet?

@Sammysam Your reply to @cyanide was very eloquently expressed. I’m in total agreement with your list of critiques.

@cyanide, @urban: Whether or not Redemption Season is a superhero game that centers around fighting discrimination or simply a game about fighting discrimination with superheros as window dressing I believe is a matter of what a player’s expectations are going into the game. Different people with widely varying expectations of what a “superhero game” is supposed to be like can very legitimately come away with markedly different feelings about the game.

@Fiogan It’s no one beta tester’s job to report all potential issues with the game. So please don’t take the comments you’ve read from others here personally. People are simply trying to understand where the breakdown they perceive occurred. Either the beta test team wasn’t large or diverse enough, or the author ignored the feedback he received in order to stay true to his muse. The latter is absolutely his prerogative, but if he doesn’t take his audience’s feedback into account he may well end up driving a very large portion of them away.

I have to say that making Miss Boss’s life depend on the MC’s thoughts on social activism really, really rubbed me the wrong way. There is no objective reason why your thoughts on social activism, one way or another, should have any influence on your ability to save Miss Boss from falling to her death. Sergi may not have meant for it to come across that way, but It feels as if the author put his own finger on the scale to specifically punish those characters who aren’t played the one true and correct way. I hope it’s just a bug that the beta testers missed and as a result was never reported.


#441

And seemingly to most in this thread amongst other things.


On Beta Testing
#442

That’s really interesting. I’ve never really had to beta test anything but ‘open betas’ where feedback was more on mechanics and the like. I’m not a numbers person; I’m more inclined to pay attention to story than battles. And I love that you had something to say on dealing with situations where there’s all these options to hit the enemy and none that’s non-combatant. I love great fight scenes and I’m here for non-gratuitous violence, but I really love creative use of powers in ways that aren’t combat oriented and I feel a lot of games should implement something like that for players who don’t like taking a violent stand. MGS comes to mind on a few occasions just because I’m pretty sure there’s an achievement in one of the games centered on getting through the entire story without killing anyone/sneaking through it. Undertale also comes to mind with it’s entirely Pacifist run.

It’s good to get insight on what beta testers do, especially in games like this where it’s a lot to do with story and I can’t help but think that’s it’s hard to please everyone, even with a diverse beta tester pool. And it’s hard to try to please everyone while staying true to your story. I commend Zachary for being able to make a story that’s staid true to who he is as a person (and how incredibly inclusive he is; it’s not an easy feat and I hate that it’s such a big risk in today’s society to even think about including non-binaries and non-binary pronouns. Heroes Rise actually was the first time I’ve ever seen the pronouns even used). He’s a great writer, even if our vocal minority in this thread have put in a lot of criticism for this latest installment in the series.

When you beta test do some of the producers/authors ever reply to any feedback that you give them? Do some of them set up some kind of rapport with their testers, provided they don’t have like a hundred or even twenty? Or has your experience noted that most of them don’t and you kind of have to find out if they took your feedback or not in the next build of the game?


On Beta Testing
#443

I think this is inherently the problem. I think a lot of people here have felt they’ve been punished in a way for making certain choices in the game where they should be able to play multiple different types of characters with varying degrees of Pros and Cons. It seems to me anything that’s not swayed toward being socially active in representing Underrepresented Powers has a far heftier list of Cons with maybe a few Pros in the mix.

I think it’s balance. In a Choice of Game, balance is everything to the player and everything to the story. This kind… of… reminds me of Mass Effect 3, in a sense, where it’s deeply eschewed that a lot of Renegade choices come off as far, far, far better in the long run and that Paragon choices seem to punish the players for trying to save everyone. At least, that’s how I felt because I’m a sucker and I play the Paladin, Inherently Good, Captain America type of character (which makes romancing the assholes all the better ahahaHAhuh).

Reading through the thread, I think that’s what I’ve been seeing a lot of in people’s views of the game. It’s a bit unbalanced and favors one side a little to heavily without giving option to anyone else. @Fiogan pointed out that there was literally no options to play a Showboat-y, in it for myself/the prize kind of character, which I think the first Hero Project provided (correct me if I’m wrong). Of course, they’re both different characters and I think this recent MC seems a lot more subdued and mellow than the trilogy MC.

Regardless, I feel really put off by playing the MC as ‘keeping his head down’ because I don’t feel like I’d enjoy myself, as much. However, this is just the beginning of the series and I’m hoping that, while there’s been a lot of consequences for caring more about yourself and JK and less about being the head runner of a social issue that it’s going to feature a lot more options in the second and third episodes. I’d really love to see how the world would change if this MC really felt strongly about giving himself and JK a better life (omg worst typo in the existence of this world) by any means necessary.

But yeah, I feel like this episode seemed more like a set up to the others and I’m hoping that’s what it was and that we, as the audience, can get a lot more choices in how we play this MC. And I know someone said the ability to change animal forms willingly reminded them of Beast Boy… but I had a thing for Beast Boy in the comics and >> << I’d definitely be all for that - even if we somehow turn red or green. Aha. >> <<


#444

Or he asked people to only test for bugs, continuity errors, and so forth. Or the people testing thought their job was to only test for bugs and that they weren’t allowed to comment on the story. Any number of things could have happened.


#445

But that’s the thing. I didn’t pay for the next episode’s excitement. I paid for the excitement and enjoyment of this game. I’m not investing in an uncertain future. I was paying for a product that failed to deliver and only leaves vague promises of improvement. If the story really couldn’t stand on it’s own weight, he shouldn’t have released it and claimed it was a finished product.

All three of the Heroes Rise games stood on their own in addition to forming an enjoyable series. This game fails to do the former and it’s up in the air if it’ll do the latter.

I also find your claim that the big showdown was epic to be…strange. Did we play the same game? I never felt any kind of danger for my MC, though I barely cared what happened to him at that point regardless. I also never felt stressed or carefully considered my options against the Voiceless, all the correct options were fairly obvious unlike in Heroes Rise where enemies had certain counters against particular manifestations of your powers. They weren’t a threat, they were an annoyance that was in the way of me killing Miss Boss.

@FairyGodfeather
Using CoG to teach others is all well and good, but outright deceiving people is not. The game was advertised as a game about Superheroes, going into it expecting Superhero antics is not unrealistic. Had this been advertised as a game about social discrimination with the backdrop of the Heroes Rise world, that would have been fine.

The fact that we’re highly critical of his games means nothing. One can be both critical and supportive. I don’t think anyone in this thread actually thinks Sergi’s a bad writer, simply that he could use some improvement, and considering how good HeroFall was we are rightfully worried he’s slipping back into his old habits that took an entire trilogy to break out of. The forums may be for the fans, but an author not utilizing them for feedback from their main audience is abnormal. Trying to say that the Choice of Game forum members are not the main audience of games posted directly on the Choice of Games site is also a pretty weak argument. Do you actually have any examples of major dissonance between sales and forum opinion? As far as I can tell Zombie Exodus, Robots, and Sabres are all the most popular games on the forums and are easily the best selling.


#446

No heros don’t fight injustice, they fight villians. Superman didn’t go to Mexico and build sustainable housing, that would be one boring ass comic book. He fought General Zod. Daredevil did not fight for awareness for the blind, he fought Kingpin. One kind of conflict is interesting, another is boring. That’s the difference.


#447

With the critiques going around, I do think we should be careful with how we talk about the discrimination storyline. There is a difference between expressing dissatisfaction with the focus on it and how it is executed and mocking stories about discrimination that the author may have based on what he has experienced.


#448

I think it’s best when you can combine these two things in a superhero story. Injustice is such a fickle thing and I think we’re floating on two extremes in these views. Most of the time, villains in superhero stories tend to personify the injustices that the hero’s fighting and the conflict molds itself around that. Daredevil’s a perfect example of that. Kingpin’s status and ability to pretty much be untouchable by the law personifies almost everything that Murdock is against, all the injustices he wants to correct. (haha that’s all i’m gonna say on that for the fact that i actually don’t know that much about Daredevil)

But, yeah, I agree that we should tread carefully around some of the critiques. We’ve been pretty respectful of Zachary and his game, so far, and the criticism has been pretty constructive without being harmful to anyone. Things have been pretty awesome, so far, and the discussions have been engaging and enjoyable. We should definitely try to keep it at that level. D:


#449

I beta test games. (Or at least did when I was well enough to). Someone please, feel free to start a general beta-testing thread and I’ll contribute in more depth about my process if you like.

I almost always do give feedback on how a storyline effects me. I give feedback on things like intersectionality, if I feel something is too heavy handed and that sort of thing. I’ve actually found Zachary Sergi’s one of the best authors in responding to my feedback. I know he reads the beta-test feedback, as does Choice of Games. They do take it into consideration, even if they don’t do everything that’s listed in it, it doesn’t mean our opinions aren’t valued. Just as they’re reading this thread.

@P_Tigras I played a small amount of one of the beta versions of Redemption Season. I found it immensely triggering, for reasons not actually discussed in this thread, and so I won’t actually be playing the full game. I don’t know if the storyline I found so upsetting is still there, of if it’s been changed. I did leave feedback on it, but I was unable to do any further testing.

I am still interested in the world, and interested in the game, so I’ve been reading this thread to find out what’s happened.

@Sylfaen

I already gave an example, the first Heroes Rise game, was heavily criticised on the forums. It is also one of their most popular games. Have a look at the Heroes Rise facebook page, in contrast to the comments here. There’s so many people who absolutely love the games.

I think we’ve got a unique insight here, given that we are the most passionate about the games, and often we get to see under the engines of them, so to speak. I’m not saying anyone’s opinions aren’t valid, just we’re a small, vocal part of a larger whole.

I know that this thread wouldn’t be so long, and that people wouldn’t be posting what they did if they weren’t actually invested in the Heroes Rise series.

It’s not abnormal for writers not to read every review, not to read every single piece of feedback they get. Actually I think that sort of thing tends to be discouraged, since then you have things like the time Anne Rice started replying to feedback on Amazon.

Choice of Games staff play a very important role in shaping all of the official games that are written. They have heavy involvement in the whole game-writing process. They’re reading this thread, and that’s far more important than the author doing so, because it means they can take it into consideration for all of the games they’re making. We’re not going unheard.


#450

Just for clarification when I was talking about hired beta testing, it has been just that, hiring beta testing, not the people of the forum who like me beta free just because we love the games. External beta is important because we could see how casuals may think about it. Sergei is one of my favorite writers here and yes I am yes, Icritical with the games he made, because I like it, If I actually don’t like something I don’t care even in post comments about that game. I think he focused too much on the discrimination and too little on building and with our hero. I think I would like the game even so heavy it is in propaganda if we had more e insight of character development and personality. Don’t tell me about the beach scene with jk. Show me the care and sense of empathy with her in the beach. That would be a good starting place for game and suddenly our sister have and attack and have to go to the fortune cookie heal girl who gives the order of participate in the tv show. Character just feel predetermined and that kills the illusion of choice for me, and too much you feeling this even if stats or my choices show otherwise. No enough show me.


#451

@Poison_Mara

As far as I’m aware, Choice of Games do not hire beta-testers. The beta-testers, are those of us on the forums who do it for free.


#452

Ah, I thought they had for official games. Maybe I am mistaken Cog with Derelit or others who actually pay for professional beta testing. In some cases I think a external site beta could be good to see casual people perspective on a game. I have beta some games Including Versus and some other ZS games and he is supportive with feedback from people.


#453

I tried playing through this using an import from one of the other heroes I’ve run through the original trilogy and it’s just painfully boring. There have been games of distinctly mixed quality from CoG but this is the first game I genuinely regret buying.


#454

I’ve read through the demo and I found it somewhat lacking. There was little, if any, buildup and therefore little motivation for me to actually buy the game. (Which, in my country, is more expensive than a full length novel)

Now don’t get me wrong. The writing is good, very solid. The world building was okay but was not as good as in Heroes Rise: Prodigy. Which is rather odd considering that Prodigy had the far harder job of introducing us to a whole new universe while Redemption Season is just introducing us to a place we’ve been to before and a ‘show’ we’ve participated in before, so it should be easier this time around. But no.

I have loved and thoroughly enjoyed the Heroes Rise Trilogy and was stoked when I found out that Redemption Season was out, but the demo disappointed me. The MC was very bland and I couldn’t bring myself to care for him/her (or whatever identity you choose). In fact, the only characters I found interesting were your partner, the astronaut (I’ve forgotten his name already. Sorry!) and JK, your sister.

It also spent far too much time and words telling me how I felt, telling me what happened, telling me this and that. But not showing. It seems that this wonderful author has forgotten the classic ‘show do not tell’ adage of storytelling. Telling me, and just doing that, will make me give the same amount of ^&@*s as I do when I read a History text book.

And I believe everyone has already said things about the overly done political and discrimination stuff. If I wanted to learn more about such things, I’d ask genuine LGBT people. Or read an article and watch the news. I do NOT really want to see them as main themes in games.

Can anyone still convince me that this game is still worth buying despite all of that? Is the full game any better, or is it more of the same?


#455

It’s a good question. I missed Prodigal enough that I was thrilled to see her back, in whatever form. (She’s your new MeChip’s default personality.) At several points in the story, I fell into the writing and really enjoyed myself. The action scenes, the relationship with your sister, and the power set are all interesting, as are some of the themes. I wouldn’t have been so disappointed with the low points (which I think you pointed out really accurately, amazingly so for someone who only played a demo) if I didn’t expect such amazing things from the author and the series.

It’s up to you whether it’s worth the price of admission to gamble on this addition to the world. A lot is still up in the air - whether certain characters will come back, whether you’ll have more freedom over your character in the next installment, even whether you win the contest at all, which is left as a cliffhanger at the end of this game.

I enjoyed Redemption Season (I was immersed enough to play it straight through) but it also pissed me off. It’s the B movie cousin of Heroes Rise, your least favorite Final Fantasy game that might set up the next one that you liked. If I had the chance to do it over, I’d buy and play it again, flaws and all. But the choice is yours.