Well, of course they are important since this is choice of games but sitting here and designing one I stared to ponder a little and would like to ask some advice from you people since you are obviously more used to these things.
The way I see it, there are three kinds of choices.
1: Character choices. These don’t affect the story in a major way, at least not to the point of heading it off into entirely new pathways. Things like gender, skills and the like shape how you solve things, not what kind of paths you walk. Most of the time.
2: Minor choices. This is a bit like sidequests in other games, they send you off on a tangent, then eventually returns you to the main plot. Do you visit point A or go and see person X kind of things.
3: Major choices. These decide the major choices of the game, often opening a whole new fork to go down.
I guess my question is, how much choice is enough?
After all, the more of the major choices you add, the greater the replay value is and the more you will feel like this is your story to shape. On the other hand, the more work you have to do as a writer, and the more text you will never get to see in the game when you play it.
So, if we assume that there is a set number of words being typed and a set amount of time spent on a game, the more choice you have (type 2 and 3) the shorter it gets.
A lot of choices would make it more game like, I suppose, allowing for a lot of replay and trying to get new endings and min-maxing stats.
Fewer big choices would be more of an interactive novel, a bit like Telltale Games stories, where all the scenes are fixed, and the decoration is added/changed.
What are people’s opinions on these things? What kind of choices do you like? When are you starting to feel like everything is linear? Do you replay games a lot?
I’m just interested in starting a discussion about these things, since I am new to the genre and not exactly a typical customer in most things.