Choose Main Character or Auto-Switch

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Korimax, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. Korimax

    Korimax Architect of Procrastination Veteran

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    So I've been working on a project for a while now. Just finished transferring it to MV.


    And I've reached the point in the project where the two main characters are separated for a solid duration of the story.


    I was curious whether it would be more appropriate to have a player choose who's route to follow, or to have it switch at appropriate cutscenes.


    So I thought I'd ask others for their input before taking a chance on a decision that I might change later.


    So to summarize, what do you think of games that branch of into different routes following one group, versus games where multiple groups are followed in one telling of the story?
     
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  2. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I have played and enjoyed both types and my last game followed two different parties switching between them at appropriate moments.


    IMO, it all boils down to the story and how you want to tell it.  In my game, the choice I made was dictated by the story itself.  It would have made no sense to follow one party all the way up to the moment they joined together (so the reverse direction to yours) and then switch back.  Story tension and dynamic would have been lost. 


    Having said that, done well the totally separate choice does provide potential for more replayability.  @Matseb2611's game Atonement did that, and did it well, if you want to have a look at a game which followed that route.


    You might want to have a look at this thread which discusses splitting parties in general.
     
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  3. Vito The Boss

    Vito The Boss Someone better than you, or will become Veteran

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    For my commercial game, i used something like you: I used the variables to make two different Group. For the Inventory, exist a plugin, that create a inventory for each Group...if I remember right, is of HimeWorks.
     
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  4. Korimax

    Korimax Architect of Procrastination Veteran

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    Thanks for the thread suggestion, that definitely helped. However the way you described it I thought I'd clarify.


    When I mentioned following a party's route I never meant that when you follow one you go back to the other's when meeting up. As you said that'd make no sense.


    A good example for me would be like Fire Emblem 8 Sacred Stones for the Gameboy. You followed a set route for a few chapters and then split. Then you met up again only getting a few details about the other route. Only getting the full story by playing both.
     
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  5. LaFlibuste

    LaFlibuste Veteran Veteran

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    I'd say it depends, here are a few things to consider:


    - Is there a route that's essential to the story, that if you missed it the story would not make as much sense or wouldn't be as enjoyable?


    - If both routes are interesting and relevant, do you need both of them for the plot to make sense and not feel like it's full of holes?


    - Is most of your game a single-route linear storyline? Is the split a negligible part of the game's length? For example, would a player interested in seeing both routes have to endure say 50% of the game's length in linear gameplay he's already seen to witness 5% of new-ish story elements and then proceed with 45% of unchanged, linear gameplay to finish this playthrough? In other words, would playing the game twice to see both routes feel like an un-fun chore of death?


    If you answered yes to any of these questions, I'd consider not making the player choose one route or the other but manage it so he could see both of them with appropriate switches in a single play-through. Conversely, if you want to make the player choose one route or the other, in my opinion they would both have to feel complete in term of plot and storyline and be long enough to warrant a replay. The one point I'm not too sure on is wether or not the fact that both routes feel like basically the same be an argument for or against having to choose. Maybe it'd be an argument towards "Why split the party at all? Just rework one of the routes".
     
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