MC Speech Control - Opinions?


#1

So I was wondering what everyone thought of author control over your main character - particularly control relating to speech.

Do you like to only speak when you’ve chosen to (even if it is a little embellished), or are you quite happy for the author to make you talk out of turn?

If anyone’s played Mass Effect, Shepherd often talks ‘out of turn’ where you don’t have any control over what (s)he says, even to the extent of choosing renegade or paragon - on the other hand, in Bioware’s Knights of the Old Republic they use a only speak when chosen to setup.

They’re the best examples I could think of ^^’

Edit: The Elder Scroll games are another good example of speaking only when choosing to. The Witcher (Geralt) is another example of often speaking/saying something you’ve got no input over.


#2

Kinda depends on how you’ve written the game, I guess. Having only KotOR experience, Revan/The Exile’s choices were mostly dialogue if I remember right. But if you’ve written choices like #Go left, to the Warp Core/#Go right, to the Armory, then a small bit of dialogue doesn’t bug me.

AND just now rereading the comment about Paragon/Renegade… I think if you have a need for that bit of out of turn dialogue, for plot’s sake, then okay, but I didn’t play Mass Effect, so I don’t know how out of turn that bit of dialogue was or if it had any bearing on anything.

I want to know if people have problems with pre-established dialogues, based on their previous emotional/moral choices. E.g. (if evil>10) “First, I’m gonna make you beg for death. Then I’m going to make you wish you were never born.”


#3

I don’t mind either way as long as the character is consistent. Using a CoG game as an example Heroes Rise When I played it I made every choice as a consumate Hero. When it came to Black Magic and her “secret” I chose to accept it (in my characters eyes she wasn’t hurting them and seemed to be taking care of them) yet suddenly I blanked her and it felt odd.


#4

I’m not sure what you meant by talking out of turn… but if you’re thinking what I’m thinking, I’d say it probably can be remedied by giving the player more options or “break points”, while there is something to be discussed, so that they may stir / manipulate the conversation’s direction more instead of mostly on the receiving end and as such feels rather passive.

(I barely remember playing ME2 and The Witcher, the spoken lines are actually rather cinema-quality good but it’s often that the game does the talking for you after you choose yes / no / some simple option.)


#5

My character is MINE. i hate author say you did this for that. If i want you tell me how my character is feel and dialogue i would playing a shooter or read a normal novel.

But i know is impossible in a Cog same freedom as a sandbox. So i try to do the only thing bioware did well in Dragon age 2. The dialogue tree in polite sarcastic and harsh. If you choose a role clear during game character reacts using it in automatic dialogs even in banters and some letters feels organic even if it’s fixed is clearly a ilussion, but i could believe character still mine even if not.

That’s my main problem with the witcher gerald is a setting character totally defined you cant change a comma so i can believe it or find any attached with him


#6

I prefer as little dialogue chosen for me as possible even if it affects the “flow” of the game. I often found ME3’s auto dialogue to be frustrating and at times immersion breaking but characters like Shepard, who already have some established features, in my eyes aren’t entirely my character. It works better for an MC like that. As long as the auto dialogue was consistent with my Shepard and was well written, I didn’t mind. Sadly, that wasn’t always the case. Half the time I felt like they shouldn’t of even bothered giving me an option. Like FcA touched on, it gives it a more cinematic quality which fit games set up like ME3.


#7

I like being able to direct the tone and direction of my character’s dialogue, but I also wouldn’t want to deal with the tediousness of choosing every single phrase that they say.

I think that a method worth considering (not for all dialogue, perhaps) is the “silent protagonist” method used by games such as The Elder Scrolls or Persona. The game indicates that the PC must have said something, but no explicit dialogue needs to be displayed to the player. While I don’t like that being the standard for dialogue in a game, it does well when blended in with more specific dialogue trees.

And it’s a little easier on the author since they don’t have to figure out a specific phrase to force the PC to say and then judge whether it’s tone-neutral or not. Arguably, you could go through the hassle of tracking a PC’s tone and making dynamic dialogue based on that, but that can, again, bring up the problem of the author assuming things about the PC. Maybe my character doesn’t want to be sarcastic there; maybe it’s time to get serious for once…