Sometimes when I pick up a game magazine and see what’s looming over the horizon I just want to strangle a CEO and go “Get it right you losers!”
Bandai is teaming up with Koei to create a game that’s like Dynasty Warriors but with Gundams. Yay! Two of the most perfect exercises in mindless monotony are coming together to create an even more perfect exercise in mindless monotony.
Next up is a game from everybody’s favorite company, Squeenix. It’s a CardRPG for the DS called Chocobo Tales. Oh yeah, because everybody knows how well the last two games featuring everybody’s favorite yellow chicken did.
Well what am I complaining about? 90% of games these days is all by-the-numbers anyway. Truly original stuff never sells.
Or perhaps they are simply games that aren’t meant for you specifically?
Koei is a very Japan-centric game company. Their Dynasty Warriors series, as well as their Nobunaga series, are some of the most consistent sellers in Japan. There is also a very large fanbase for the Gundam series in Japan, so combining the two is a natural fit for that market. For the US and Europe? Not so much.
As for the Chocobo game, same thing - I guarantee that it’s targeted at the Japanese market.
The Chocobo game I can see coming over here and doing okay. The Gundam thing? Arrgh. The Japanese can keep it! Dynasty Warriors and any knock-off of said formula is getting stale and needs to be killed.
Point taken. I mean this is all my opinion anyway, but I’m just getting tired of all this “game-in-a-can” attitude to creating videogames. But that’s what sells, isn’t it? That’s why a lot of big name games sell well is because they’re all by-the-numbers. Why risk buying something different and innovative when you can buy something where you know what you’re going to get? And from the company point of view, their job is keep appealing to their demographics.
The trick is in building a diverse lineup. You build up a few franchises that become your bread and butter. Then, if you can become successful enough to take risks with millions of dollars of other people’s money, you try breaking new ground. Most of those games will fail (there’s a key point), but every once in a while, you’ll find something that manages to balance appeal with innovation.
Played it and am good friends with the producer (On the publishing side, not the developer)
It’s a brilliant game for the first couple of hours. Then it quickly drops off in quality, IMO, as the story starts to really fall apart, and the focus of the gameplay moves away from the interactivity of the environments to more QTE sequences, etc.
But, there were moments of distilled awesome in that game
I agree that I wish there were more games for gamers that are more interested in creativity. There are occasional games like that, but they are few and far between. Problem is that if you spend millions building a game and nobody buys it, chances are that you will have to close up shop, and nobody wants that. What I’m hoping for eventually, though, is for the industry to get to a point where it’s no longer about the technology, as the technology will be so standardized that anyone can access it. Just like how making movies was limited to a few people who had access to movie equipment, now people can make movies with a simple camera. If/when that happens, you’ll likely see the rebirth of indie game companies…
We can agree on that Abadd. Let’s see what the future holds. IMO, storytelling in games hasn’t really peaked yet.
I noticed the references to certain other games in Indigo Propecy as well (like Jade – sweet). I need to buy the soundtrack. You can tell straight away that a lot of love went into some games such as this.
[quote=“Geoffrey Duke”]We can agree on that Abadd. Let’s see what the future holds. IMO, storytelling in games hasn’t really peaked yet.
Agreed thought GOD II comes close imo. The script writters shoud win awards for that game , as should the voice cast . Love all this Greek mythology its like taking part in a Ray Harryhausen epic . And I’m a massive fan of Ray
To be honest Indigo Prophecy took the wrong approach for storytelling in games in my opinion. Not just because the storyline is downright ridiculous, but because the so-called “next step” in adventure games is more like an interactive movie than a game. Like Abadd said, the first few hours of the game showed a lot of potential but later on the interactivity disappeared completely. Basically the demo showed the best part of the game, it only went downhill from there. It’s exactly interactivity that should allow games to differentiate themselves from other media. Games like KOTOR for example show much more potential for storytelling in games than the likes of Indigo Prophecy.
But, the beginning of Indigo Prophecy showed a level of interactivity that KOTOR wasn’t even close to. Heck, even KOTOR is nothing but finely crafted rails (albeit 2 different rails). A lot of the stuff you do/say in KOTOR is absolutely inconsequential, but they make it feel like your actions have consequence. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was the first RPG I’d finished in years, but it wasn’t without its shortcomings.
The first game that I felt truly showed a story that only a video game could do was Ico. The primary emotional hook in that game is the fact that the player must actively hold Yorda’s hand throughout the game. Using this as the crux driving the emotional core of the game, each action the player does takes on an emotional context. “If I go over there, Yorda can’t come, and she might get hurt.” It borrowed very little from movies, and relied on trying to manipulate the user’s emotions.
Well, even the beginning of Indigo Prophecy does nothing more that make it feel like every one of your actions will have a consequence. After playing the demo I was really looking forward to the rest of the game, only to find out that it really didn’t matter what you did in the beginning just like in KOTOR. The only difference is that KOTOR continued to offer the same level of interactivity throughout (almost) the entire game and continued to let the player make different decisions. And those actions did have consequences btw, they just didn’t change the ending. In Indigo Prophecy your actions often didn’t matter at all (except for changing the mood of the main character but that didn’t really change anything either). Sure KOTOR had its flaws but when it comes to choosing which one of the two games showed the most potential for storytelling in games, I don’t see anything in Indigo Prophecy that KOTOR doesn’t do better.
Actually, Indigo Prophecy had multiple endings, all depending on how you play the game (caveat: more on that later). There are 3 endings, in fact, but there were plenty more that were planned, but never implemented.
My point about KOTOR, though, was that each of the individual actions that you did that appeared to have consequence did not have consequence outside a small bubble. For example, if you failed to finish a subquest with adequate results, it did not affect anything on any subsequent planets and whatnot. The one thing that tied all your actions together was your light/dark meter.
In Indigo Prophecy, sure, your actions ultimately end up not having much consequence to the overall story (the endings are determined by several factors, but all those factors happen toward the end of the game), but they have consequence on how the main story unfolds… just not in the way that the first 5 minutes of the game promises. Your actions in the beginning determine how you proceed to the next scene, but the results are diluted. And as you continue further down the story path, they get more and more diluted until you get to the point where you don’t feel like you are in control anymore.
When it comes to multiple endings both games were very similar, since the ending was only determined by one choice you make at a certain point in the game (I don’t remember what that choice was in Indigo Prophecy, but I’m certain I only needed to load the last savegame to unlock all three endings in about ten minutes time).
Yet KOTOR does exactly the same thing. For example at one point in KOTOR you have to decide whether or not to kill someone. If you killed that person, someone else turned to the dark side and later on in the game you would encounter that person again. That’s still part of the main storyline (you had to make that choice), but it just didn’t really change the key events that followed afterwards. Indigo Prophecy really does nothing more and doesn’t offer any subquests, it’s just the beginning of the game that fools the player into believing that every decision they make would have a serious impact on the rest of the story. The only difference is that KOTOR didn’t try to fool us into thinking that it would offer more than it could.
What it comes down to is when you finish KOTOR you feel like you really were the main character (partly because of an awesome twist in the storyline). When you finish Indigo Prophecy you feel like you just watched a bad movie. I fail to see how these “interactive movies” should be considered to be a good formula for games to follow.
Ah yes. Ico. That’s a rare formula that I reckon will never be duplicated. Ico is pure gold because it tells a lot but shows little. However I think my favorite “true” adventure game is The Longest Journey.
D-unit - Agreed. Indigo Prophecy didn’t live up to the promise, whereas KOTOR exceeded expectations. Where KOTOR succeeded better than IP, though, is that the ending isn’t determined by a small number of actions, but rather, your Light/Dark meter. Indigo Prophecy’s endings are actually determined by a series of 3 or so actions that are all in the end of the game.
So certainly KOTOR is the more successful of the two (in terms of narrative) when all is said and done, but Indigo Prophecy certainly had a much higher potential.
Ico’s narrative was successfully recreated with Shadow of the Colossus. The tension of the story is carried solely by the bleakness of the environments as well as the animation of the main character. You can see his pain in each of his animations: how he struggles when climbing the colossi, how he appears pained when he stabs them, etc. Beautiful, really.
Well. It’ll never be duplicated by anybody else, I should say. XD
Shadow of the Colossus was a gorgeous game that rewarded imagination and patience, traits the average gamer doesn’t have. Can you believe there are players trouncing this game basically saying “It’s too slow. Where’s the blood and killing?”