This is my 1st topic so hope ive done this right…so I’m thinking of writing a choice game and im wondering about endings and how linear a choice game should be, so this question is market research but also Ive been thinking of Mass Effect 3 and its ending and the fall of Telltale Studios lately so this is topic I’ve really wanted to discuss.
When someone plays a choice game, specifically a choice game which is planned to be a singular book: how much actual control do they need over the events of the story? how linear should it be and how much should player choice effect the ending?
If we talk about a game like Wayhaven, in each book the game is linear in the fact that the main events and plot points of the story will always happen in the same order. In the 1st book the player will always be the Detective will always meet Unit Bravo at the werehouse and not know who they are, they will always be kidnapped by Murphy and at the end they will always be the newest member and human liason of Unit Bravo. The ‘Choice’ in the game comes from the amount of control and options the player can respond in character, and more variation comes from the ROs and the choice of which RO the player wants their character to interact with at that point in the plot. While the game is very linear in plot, there is massive amounts of reply value in PC personality and RO choice.
On the other hand, take Mask of the Plague Doctor (one of my favourites). The story line is less linear and their is a branching point in the story which leads to a few different endings which change the fate of your Doctor and the fate of the town.
A ‘mainstream’ example outside of COG or HOG that received massive backlash over the amount of choice a player had in influence the game would be Mass Effect 3. The main complaint Mass Effect 3 came to “there was only 3 endings which were the same ending with a different filter”. Shepard could shoot the thing and destroy the reapers, they could merge all organic life with artificial life or… they could join the Reapers? it’s been a while since I’ve played.
The thing is in Mass Effect there was loads of choices you could make throughout the series:
Play as Male or Female, choose your characters background and class, which companion you could save over the other, who to romance, destory or save a whole colony, chose to make a entire alien race extinct or save the last of their kind. Choose friendships, choose to kick someone off the side of a building. Choose who joins your final battle to defeat the Reapers. But people didn’t like the ending and thought that the player should have had more choice and there should have been more variation.
So my ‘Big Question’ is how much influence does a player want in the ending of a story?
Would a game with a singular predetermined ending, with Choice in the form of how a character reacts to predetermined events be successful or have backlash?