Games that lie

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by leenat40, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. leenat40

    leenat40 Veteran Veteran

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    Possible spoilers for: Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice

    Hello everyone! Long time no see!
    But in that long time I have played lots of different games and got lots of ideas for the future. But the one idea, that continues to stick to me is: a Psychological Thriller that depend on the player believing in its lies. (An easier explanation would be: a game that lies to you to immerse you more and create a stronger atmosphere)
    What do you feel about an idea like that? A good example being in Hellblade: he game says if you die too much, your save file will get deleted. We know that it's just a hoax now, but all the players first time believed it and played the game a lot more carefully.
    That's the type of atmosphere and lies I want to deliver to my story. I have an idea of what kind of lie I want to tell, but I won't say it here as if the game, would get made, knowing the lie would ruin it. (But you could ask me about it trough a letter.

    So, would you think an idea like that would/could work in an RPG Maker Game?
     
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  2. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    It could be done as easily in an RPGMaker Game as in any other engine, because it relies on the quality of the writing to ensure that the misdirection works.

    Speaking personally, I would be very cautious about this approach, however. Unless it is done extremely well it could well come across to the player as the developer trolling them. I think you also need to ask yourself if this game is worth playing (i.e. fun) if the player knows that they are being lied to, via the internet/friends/played it before. If the whole game experience depends on the player not knowing, then you have a problem. It has to be of high enough quality and interest to be worth playing anyway.
     
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  3. leenat40

    leenat40 Veteran Veteran

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    Thanks for advice. I actually never thought about it needing to have good playing quality. If the whole game is based on repetition to represent the mental downfall of the MC, does it still count as quality or just a way to avoid creating new content? :D
     
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  4. Poryg

    Poryg Pixie of the Emvee kingdom Veteran

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    Depends on the final product. Good quality can't be hypothetical. It has to be case to case.

    It's like asking if a story is good... There is nothing such as a good story or a bad story. Only well written or badly written story.
     
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  5. leenat40

    leenat40 Veteran Veteran

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    I don't want to seem hipster or narcissistic, but I prefer stories to be looked at as art. Meaning, you either like the story or you don't. :kaopride:
     
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  6. Poryg

    Poryg Pixie of the Emvee kingdom Veteran

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    I completely understand that, however that doesn't change anything. You only like the story if you consider it well written and if it is your type of a story. But there is no story that is good by itself. In other words you like story not based on what is told, but on how it is told. You may only dislike the story based on what is told, because it may not be your type... But no story is good by itself. It needs to be well told if it's supposed to be good.
     
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  7. OnslaughtSupply

    OnslaughtSupply Blaaaah!!! Veteran

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    I think as an independent dev, its not the greatest idea. You are trying to build credit and reputation in the gaming community. Some people will get what you're trying to do, and think "aha, you got me, good one dev, that's clever." Others will be pretty mad that they were lied to, and not ever want to play your games anymore for fear of getting tricked again. And some, especially the ones who enjoy indie games, will think that you that you totally botched a game play mechanic and failed to take out whatever dialogue or lore that lead them astray, further ruining your reputation.

    Personally, I think it is an interesting and different idea, but you would be walking a fine line between success and failure.
     
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  8. Basileus

    Basileus Veteran Veteran

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    I'm more of an engineer than an artist but I'll take a crack at this.

    Say you really want to paint something like a Monet. You study Monet's paintings, you practice his techniques. You market your painting to people that like Monet. Then they get into the gallery and see that it looks a lot more like a Picasso and doesn't resemble Monet's work at all. Your painting might be a very good Picasso, but you marketed it as a Monet so everyone in the crowd was expecting a Monet, and your painting is no Monet. It's only natural that people would be disappointed even if the finished product is still excellent from an artistic standpoint.

    Or to put it another way - You could make the greatest-looking Art Deco style building the world has ever seen, but if it is not structurally sound then it is still a failure as a building.

    The story may be an "art" but it is still something that requires technical execution to have merit. Writing itself is a form of communication and is designed to have strict rules so that the meaning of what is being said is sufficiently clear. Tons of literature plays around with these rules but at the end of the day you are still limited since you need the audience to actually have some idea of what is happening. Deliberately lying to the audience is one of the trickier rules to break - do it wrong and your work will be seen as complete garbage.

    You should look more into "creative un-truths". There are a lot of ways to misdirect people without directly lying to them and many stories use this to great effect. You can trick the player into making assumptions, use very exact wording in your rules and prophecies, or you can simply omit certain key facts.

    In Fate/Stay Night, our POV character Shirou is frequently deceived by Kotomine and Archer despite both characters almost never stating a direct lie. Kotomine prefers to word things in such a way that people would take what he says at face value and come to one conclusion, but if they had asked one or two questions to probe for more info would realize that he meant something completely different. Archer is more the type to give vague answers but will also give information that is completely true with certain vital facts omitted to preserve his big secret. Archer especially completely relies on an assumption the player makes in the beginning of the game about the very premise of the game itself, involving a huge loophole in the rules that is concealed by the wording of the rules. There is certainly enough info there for players to figure out Archer's secret before it is revealed, but it doesn't ruin anything because the story doesn't rely on it being a secret to the player. It makes for a cool reveal, sure, but the core of the story is always the characters so the only thing that actually matters is what this information means to the characters. What makes it truly important is how it affects Shirou and his arc, so even if the player figures it out ahead of time from the foreshadowing the big moments of the reveal and afterwards don't lose their impact.

    Deception in a medium reliant on words to convey information will rely entirely on the quality of the narration and dialogue to make that deception work. It isn't enough to HAVE a lie. You need to SELL that lie. You need to convince the player of what you want them to think, otherwise the player will just think it's a plot-hole and a fault of yours as a writer. Even if you want your story to be looked at as art, you still need the technical skill to execute your intention. "You either like it or you don't" only applies to finished art. Fail to convey your intentions to the audience and nobody will like your work because it isn't a complete story.
     
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