The Replayability

Ahh, no. What I mean with the “regret” is when you read those conditional check inserted among those texts, especially when it’s on the latest version of CScript :sweat_smile:

still XD.
I’d say it takes away the ‘ok, how the f*ck did I manage THAT’ factor (also, major plus if authors manage to put such scenes in without relying on stas maxing etc)

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In my case this strongly depends on the game. You see, after finishing game once i briefly look into script to see exactly HOW replayable it is.
So, in case of game like Tin Star, Mecha Ace or Infinity series - I done large number of playthroughs, greatly enjoying each of them. In case of Fatehaven, single playthrough was enough, since choices there mostly to add “color flavour” rather than actual difference.
In case of gameplay-heavy Lost Heir, I done literally dozens of playtorughs. I spend with this game almost game as much time as with vanilla Witcher III.

Well, no, no more than learning how anything else works. I get the suspenseful, personal version of the story once. Then I get to see how the author put things together, and really get to appreciate their craft. To read the whole thing and get a fuller appreciation for all that’s there. There’s mystery, suspense, and excitement in seeing how everything intertwines and seeing the work as a greater whole, at least if the author did well.


My first playthrough is for going with my gut and trying not to overthink choices, even (and especially) if they are suboptimal for my PC. I’ll almost always replay several times at least, especially if there are hints of other intriguing-looking routes to try, or different love interests to romance.

I find it really rewarding when I’ve replayed a game a few times and uncover something new! Even something as small as different flavour text based on the PC’s background - it shows off that the author has put a lot of thought into the details, and makes it feel extra fleshed out. Conversely, where there’s a path I particularly enjoy, I’ll replay using those choices in the same way I’d reread a static novel.


Can’t agree with that. Yes, seeing how everything intertwines is a plus, but I rather discover other paths by actually playing or talking with other people who picked a different path when playing as well, than checking the whole thing.
To me it takes, as stated, the surprises away that come when you wonder ‘mhnn… does doing this have an influence on stuff’ to find that, yeah, the author actually did take it into account.
Matter of taste, at the end of the day, I’d say. Example, though?

In Hero: Unmasked, I still don’t know if what happens if you ask BOTH, Firebrand and Bloodmist to help at the wedding. Is it even possible? Do charisma and your relationship with them have an influence on things? Similar with Study in Steampunk. I know there’s a hidden achievement for playing as the Ripper and going full out murderer. But I’ll probably never know, because at the end I never have the heart to dare picking the options in question.

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I LOVE a really replayable game, however for my playstyle I’ve noticed that a really solid storyline is almost in direct opposition to replayability. If there’s a really strong, very wordy narrative I’m significantly less likely to try it again. Maybe because I consider the first playthrough my canon one.

I’d replay a game if there multiple paths and builds available to play the game like @JimD’s ZE-SH (Just played yesterday with a delusional hacker build), @Eric_Moser’s CCH and Versus series by Zachary Segi

I feel the same way…in Steampunk I never dare to harm or sadden the countess or duchess (or something like that who is RO) and ended up with her death :cry:

I’m utterly shocked by people not replaying these games. To each their own of course but to me, playing with the permutations of branches and just with different builds is part of the fun. Unless it’s a three parter where the build that took you nicely through the two games before suddenly craps out on you in the end cause none of your main stats seem to matter. Anyway.

Curiously I’m currently conceptualizing a story set up as six distinct acts. There is an overarching plot and each act also has its own plot plus the odd vignette. I was considering allowing the player to choose one extra subplot for each of the 4 middle acts from among Romance, Conflict, Secrets and Power.

Romance options would give you an extra run at one of the four ROs, Conflict would likely lead to a fight, Secrets would center on a mystery or exploration and Power is the protagonist actively pursuing the acquisition thereof. It’s a bit rough to go into greater detail on those four without a lot of exposition about the plot but I trust this is sufficient.

Anyway. So at the start of the story you’d essentially be asked to set your preferences for each act with some vague allusions as to who or what you’d encounter (eg. ‘The most beautiful flower blooms in adversity. (marker indicating Romance)’ or ‘The greatest evil is the indifference of good people (Conflict marker)’ etc.) This is not so much to offer people 16 theoretical playthroughs before plot branches but moreso to offer players to skew the experience towards their preferences. If people want a lot of Romance or play the field or work towards a Harem they can do that. If people want no Romance at all they can do other things. Most likely they’ll mix and match.

But this does reward multiple playthroughs to an extent and now I’m wondering if this wouldn’t turn off people who play these stories only once, not affect them or even encourage them to play again.


It’s a little glib to say “you’ll never make everyone happy,” but it’s still true in lots of game design decisions, and very much so when it comes to replayability. People who only play through once will judge your story based on their single run; if the forum threads on this are any indication, there are lots of “one-and-done” players, and you won’t talk them into playing multiple times.

If you’ve written your story to be highly replayable, these readers’ judgments will miss lots of what you were trying to do. They may well feel disgruntled, especially if you’ve written a reasonable-length game, which inevitably has some measure of replayability/length tradeoff. (If you write an unreasonably long game, you may end up with something both lengthy and replayable, but your editors will be unhappy – and it will almost certainly not be even close to economical.)

Personally, I write what I like to read; I accept that people who like different things will leave bad reviews; and I take satisfaction as long as people who like the same things as me are enjoying my work.

For example, I enjoy CoGs where the MC is highly customizable but not 100%, where there’s some measure of personality and background that the reader doesn’t control. Because of that, I’ll generally not mind reviews that complained “you told me how my MC felt!” or “you didn’t give me the option to…” if I think that’s linked to a clearly identified piece of character background.

Similarly, I like high replayability, and any reader who only reads XOR once will miss a tremendous amount of it. So I’m fine with any complaints I get from the one-and-done brigade.

Of course, I’m also not doing this with an eye to profit, so that gives me a lot more freedom to not care about 1-star reviews as such. I’ll only care about them where I agree with them. I’d encourage anyone who’s not already actively supporting themselves as a professional writer to try adopting the same attitude. You probably won’t make much money doing this, so write for yourself and for other people who like what you like, not what you hope will bring in the widest possible audience.


It’s not so much writing for the widest possible audience I’m concerned with but people reading something I produce and feeling wilfully left out by design if that makes sense.

For me, the preset side plots are kinda something I dreamed of because in my imagination it should be a more organic story flow than reaching a point where you can chat up a RO OR chase a thief OR look for a secret area at the library. More flow, more immersion. More immersion, more fun. At least that’s my hope.

We’ll see. I’m actually still shocked at people only playing these once. Even some of the tighter less branchy stories (eg. Slammed!) can feel completely different if you switch your approach.

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While I see your point (actually, I’m really on your side), I can see how people can be not so interested in other options of experiencing the game - it is a matter of how much personal their playthrough becomes to them. If one gets a complete immersion from their first try in the game, it may be really unnatural to try and re-live this virtual life.


I’d like to object strongly when the same people who read the sourcecode complain about having to pay for the game then.

See, I have a particular playstyle where not only I tend to get attached to my character I also lean towards the choices that make the most sense for their personality or that “I” would make in their shoes. I don’t like backtracking unless the path I took led to some catastrophic events or death. I’m not exactly a perfectionist when it comes to gaming but I like to I have some degree of control over what is going on and prefer it when my choices give me beneficial results, lead me where I want to go or, in case where they do not, are at least interesting enough to carry on.

In fact, when I finish a game I usually accept the path I chose as final even if it leads to a bad/sad ending (bad-endings mid-game don’t count) simply because it is a direct result of my choices, the choices I like/wanted to make, and therefore and I’m ok with it. That said, I also have to admit that most VNs I play are usually quite long and somewhat draining (specially after a sad ending) so I don’t always have the patience/will to undergo it again just to see what could have been different. But on some occasions I can be persuaded to replay it again if the game proves to be good enough.