How many choices can you tolerate in a prologue?

I’m in the middle of outlining my prologue for a WIP and am thinking of giving the player a chance to customize the character a bit, but the scene is a fight scene. Is deciding a character’s motivations in the middle of a fight annoying?

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As with many questions about whether or not I’ll like something in a game–it depends.

I don’t think I can give a blanket no or yes. If it’s done well, then it probably wouldn’t bother me. It’s the doing it well thing that’s hard, regardless of the thing being done.

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It depens on what kind of fight you are in, is it a battle, where the MC has time to think and analyse the situation. Then this with the decision of motivation could fit in.
But if it is a ambush, total chaos and the MC must struggel to survive every moment, I think it would fit more to relate to the immediat stuff of combat and the philosophy behind it when the character can catch their breath

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Adding to the depends votes. Narritive style is in full force in the intro scenes and character building, and if you sell me with the setup I’ll go with literally whatever and answer you basically anything (I mean, ZE: Safe Haven’s pretty well loved, and that one has an intro where you fill out some forms, make a dating profile, and read your email). With fights, so,long as you keep with the pace, it’s fine.

The general advice would be “if it comes up, or ‘you’ would be thinking about it, ask about it.” If I’m in a fight, I expect questions regarding my stats and fighting style, maybe motivations, team dynamics or if I’m, say, sarcastic, so ask those as much as you need. In a generic fight for example, I definitely know if I use tech or punchy, I can recognize someone calling my name, and I might notice my hair getting into my eyes because it’s [choice of length]… But I’m not likely going to be thinking about what color eyes I’m looking around with or if I’m gonna date the boys.

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For me, how annoying a customization choice is depends on how well it flows into the rest of the narrative. So something like this in the middle of a fight…

The enemy attacks you! You attack the enemy!

And by the way, what’s your motivation?
*choice

(Yes, this choice_you_made is the reason why you’re fighting!) And the enemy attacks you again!

…would feel clunky to me, especially if you remove the line in the parentheses. Without the parentheses, the choice breaks the tension of the fight for both the narrative before and after it. With the line in the parentheses, at least the choice flows into the next part of the battle.

But that’s just an example, and like the others have said, it depends!

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Honestly? I’m fine with anything, but I think I prefer more than too little. I love being able to establish a character and have ground rules set from the beginning, y’know?

I really love deep customization options, to the point where not having many or having to play a pre-made character can cause me to lose interest in a game. But, like others have mentioned, just having them isn’t enough; they need to be implemented well. The subtler the game is with acquiring the information, the better.

I also feel like this might be a good time to mention how much I appreciate unusual customization options. In one game I played, I was asked which language(s) my charactrer spoke. I loved that, although it didn’t turn out to have much effect on gameplay. Games that let you choose a personal style that’s aesthetic-based rather than stat-based are great, too. Flavor choices like that, especially when the characters in the game regularly reference them, really make me feel not only more attached to my character, but to the world she’s wandering through.

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Pretty much agree with @Jenna_V .

While obviously, it’ll all depend on the execution, I tend to like customization options that are done in a somewhat unusual way. And thinking about it, I can see how it’d work very well y doing it mid-fight. So if you feel you might hold on to something with your idea, then by all means, go for it.

I agree with this. It’s very immersion breaking to be in the middle of an action packed fight scene to get stopped after every blow with questions like"why are you here again? (Insert info dump on the characters back story) Or character creation like: Blood stains your… What colour hair is it? Then you glance down at your hand that is… what skin tone? Then yell a battle cry in… what language? By the way are you tall average or short? Etc. On the other hand if it’s something like do you: a)You strike defensively, only trying to get away. Afterall you were the one tresspassing in your efforts to seek a short cut. Or b) You weild your sword aggressively trying to finish them off as quickly as possible. You will not have your quest delayed for any reason. (Etc) that can tell you a lot about the character’s motivations without it becoming too stilted.

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Agreed with the “depends” crowd. I think that just stopping to ponder seemingly irrelevant aspects of yourself in the heat of battle could be jarring, but I also think it could be finessed in rather well with the action. Just off the top of my head (so forgive the simplistic brevity), I could see choices like this working:

You parry the attack and take another swing, keeping the pressure on. That's what he gets for...
*choice
	#Insulting my mother!
	#Trying to steal my money!
	#Lying about my reputation.
	
He lunges, reaching toward your neck.
*choice
	#He ends up with a good fistful of your long, flowing hair and pulls. Hard. Ouch!
	#But, he misses. Good thing you're quick on your feet and keep your hair short!
	#He knocks off your hat and grabs you by your high collar. Curse your excellent taste in clothes.

Good luck, whatever you decide!

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Honestly, my favorite thing is prologues that introduce me to the character and situation without danger. Think Lost Heir or Tin Star.

Those both have pretty mid-length prologues to allow you to get to know your character and the world, without feeling the pressure to do everything just right.

Plus, I live for childhood vignettes.

That said, I agree with everyone else in terms of introducing customization during a fight scene. Fight scenes are tense and suspenseful. You’re worried about doing the right thing, to get the best outcome, not what color hair you have or whether you wore boxers or briefs this morning.

It can be done well, if it’s truly immersing, but I don’t particularly recommend it. It’s going to be hard to do right, and there will always be people who hate it, simply for it being in the middle of an action scene.

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I like it when we’re dropped straight into things. I would suggest you include choices that are small, immediate indicators of larger aspects of our personality that we can flesh out in more detail later. Maybe not too much visual customization, because that can feel a little contrived, but if it is included I like how @MizArtist33 suggested doing it in a way that informs the action rather than pausing it.

Another thing worth considering is flashback. “Pausing” in the middle of intense action to go back to an earlier moment with (more) character creation (including establishing MC’s motivations/background/whatev) could be effective. Could be. I maintain that everything is dependent. You just gotta feel it out and see what works