How does everyone feel about every decision counts games?

KarmaGodQ

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I may make a game off the idea and I was wondering how the community felt about them. Also tell me if you're the person who plays through with your decision or stops and restarts from the save if they didn't like what they did.
 

KanaX

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It's rare to find a game that choices actually branch out to multiple storylines. And it's rare because it's difficult. Usually, the developer has a single linear course for the story which will make an interesting plot. It's difficult to come up with several plots and use them consistently at the same time and those who end up doing that, often create uninteresting stories. Even Tell-Tale Games  doesn't really escape their linear plot.

If you plan on making a game where choices truly matter (and I'm not talking slight variations near the end, or several endings, or change of dialog), beware its toll. It's going to be a mountain of work for you. Not even considering the amount of work you want to put to every other element in the game.
 

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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I like some choices that affect things but all choices affecting things is a bit of hardcore IMHO... I like to see the story that the developer wants to share, so I prefer playing games where the true path is more obvious or easier to reach than a game that has so many branches and "false" endings.
 

KarmaGodQ

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Well there wouldn't be a true ending as its more of attached to a fictional real life situation more than a simple made up story. Also its more like paths you take not every single situation. Each path will have a different ending, if you want to know the real life situation, its a story about a runaway and the choices he makes that affects him in his life. But with the paths there is only transfers forward not back
 

Xyphien

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I personally love them, it makes a more immersive game imo.Choices that has a lasting effect on the outcome of the game, that's something I really enjoy.
 

andrechan

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I've played Walking dead. It feels like one, but it really doesnt play like one after a 2nd play though. 

The best "every decision counts" game to me, is Fire Emblem. You really have to weigh in your decisions properly, strategically, or else you will have to reset or live without your friends. 
 

Kalin

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Choices are something I love in theory but hate in practice. I'm a completist: I want to see all of your content, but I don't want to repeat any of the dialog or cutscenes. And as others have said, a true branching story is a lot of work, and few players will ever see the whole thing.
 

Shaz

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I've moved this thread to Game Mechanics Design. Please be sure to post your threads in the correct forum next time. Thank you.


I like the idea, and if I get to something I don't like I'll go back to an earlier point. It's going to be hard for you to make though, and hard to test every possibility.
 

hiromu656

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I very much enjoy games like this (I actually am planning one myself). But like the others have said, it will be a lot of work for you, and with these sort of games, the player will instantly recognize where you start slacking. If one decision doesn't feel as thought out as another, it will be very apparent to the player. Put your all into it and people will enjoy it. Along with the TellTale Games, this makes me think of the Zero Escape series. 999, being one of my all time favorite games has multiple branching paths, each path feels very well made. Along with perfect length to each path (not too long, not too short), there are things you would never get to see down each path. ALSO there is the ability to skip through dialogue you may have already read in a previous playthrough! The devs put a lot of thought into how they could best incentivize (is that a word?) playing multiple times. I highly recommend checking out the Zero Escape series if you have not already :p  
 

Chaos Avian

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Has someone been playing Until Dawn? :p Personally I love the whole every decision counts. It's one of the reasons I love visual novels with multiple endings. Having to come up with different variations as the result of one choice is hard enough, but making a large amount still blend into the story without feeling forced or out of place is a massive undertaking. Persist and persevere!~
 

Athryl

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I love games with choices that matter, even if not every choice. I am not usually patient enough to go back and replay unless it's something major (like killing off my favorite side character, early game over, or something similar). If it's a very long game with important choices I might use a guide - play up to the choice then review the consequences and pick. I know this might take the fun out of it for some people, but because I just can't go and replay huge segments of game I feel this is usually the best choice for me. Note that I still very much enjoy these games even when following a guide in this way. I will usually sort of pick what I want to go with in my head, then read the consequences to confirm I want to go with it. 

That said I think there's a happy medium where the choices matter but I don't feel compelled to look things up because the story is satisfying no matter the choice I make (Dragon Age Origins might be the best example I can think of). But it's hard to toe the line between all choices being satisfying and them not feeling different and individually meaningful enough (Fable 2 choices for me didn't feel compelling/interesting; I am sure there are better examples though). The Walking Dead and other telltale games for me fit in their own category because you definitely end up with the feeling choices don't matter much on repeat plays, but if you just play through once they help draw you into the story...which I guess is what I think of them as more than games ultimately - for better or worse.
 

Fredashay

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I love those kind of games!  There are both excellent and less stellar examples, even in AAA games. 

The Stanley Parable is a prime example of a game that made excellent use of choices toward reaching multiple endings.  The possibility of many actual different endings rather that just variations made this game an outstanding success at this.  Though the comical narrator is what really made it so engaging!

On the other hand, Mass Effect made the promise of being a game where your choices would effect your ending, unfortunately it fell short as many of us know.  The ending you earned depended primarily on your choices in the last 10 minutes of the game.  Your actions of the previous two games, your moral choices, the allies you recruited, your "Paragon" vs. your "Renegade" points, had negligible effect on what ending you could ultimately obtain at the end.  The entire series led you to believe that your moral choices would affect the ultimate ending you received and/or your choice of endings.  But your ending depended only on what path you chose at the very end: red, green, or blue.  This was a huge disappointment for many players.  Still it was an excellent space-based RPG that led you to accept that you were really flying through the galaxy trying to solve a great galactic mystery.

Still, it's difficult to make that kind of game because every choice you make that alters the outcome doubles the number of possible endings.  To see how this is a problem, do a little math: start with a penny and double it, then double it again, then again, and again.  You'll soon see why doubling paths leads to, ahem, difficulty after a few iterations.  That's why so many multiple-ending games fall short, or have one ending with just minor variations, or have paths that merge back again after splitting from a prior choice to reduce this problem and have a manageable number of endings.  It also seems like a lot of work for a developer to create multiple paths and endings when you know a given player will likely just follow a single path and will never experience most of your game unless they play again and again to experience most of the endings.     
 
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Vox Novus

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I made a topic about this issue during my first year on the forums: here it is if you want to read through it:

http://forums.rpgmakerweb.com/index.php?/topic/13327-player-choice-in-games/

I think if you want to get people to stick with choices even decidedly less than favorable ones you want to make them all have a unique and interesting result that way there is interesting content for the player to see regardless of the outcome. Going along with this choices shouldn't be so black and white or resulting paths as simple as choosing option one or option two to get ending one or ending two. Making choice influenced by the actual actions taken in game can make the player want to see the end result much more than usually since it is the culmination of their efforts. Popular Western rpgs do this very well.
 

read

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I like the illusion of choice more then actual choices that really matter. I like being tricked into thinking that i am in a branching storyline when really the author carefully crafted a singular tale that he put all of his effort into.

I don't like when a game spreads it'self out too thin, especially rpg maker games. I like knowing I am getting the full punch of the authors effort and game time. I don't want to have to choose which chunk of interesting plot

I want to experience and I almost never replay games.

If you can make me feel like my choices matter to my characters then that will be fine. I don't need story branches unless they seamlessly realign into the main story again. I just want a big ass tome of wisdom not a choose your own adventure goosebumps novel you feel me?

I don't like multiple endings. Or big changes to the main story because of choices I made.
 
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Matseb2611

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Main thing to remember is don't add a choice if both options lead to the same outcome. Choices like these do nothing for the game and could even anger the players when they find out that the choice presented was a false one.

I personally am a big fan of choice and consequence games, but it's not always executed well in games. The consequence has to follow logically from a choice. E.g. having an npc wear an armour before they go out could save their life would be a logical choice and consequence. But having them say take some unrelated item that by chance happened to save their life isn't.

I try not to reload my previous save from my decisions, unless the above listed problem is the case. If the game misleads me with its choice, and the outcome ends up being something I wasn't planning on having at all, then I do tend to reload, because in games like these, my choices make or break the immersion, and if the choice I made wasn't what I thought it was, then I've lost the immersion.
 

EternalShadow

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Not much point. Adds too much dev time - it'd only work if the game was very short, like a gamebook. The reasons gamebooks work at all though is because when making a branching narrative, they only have to consider additional writing - not voice acting, music, sound, graphics, gameplay, coding, bugfixing and so on.
 

Matseb2611

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I think people get the wrong idea of choice and consequence. You don't exactly double your workload if you know how to go about it. It doesn't go 2 paths, then 4, then 8, then 16, and so on. You can intertwine the paths very easily. For example the outcome of the first choice doesn't need to be related to the outcome of the second choice. But each one changes something in the game, even if it's a small change. Later on, you could have 2 or more previous choices in turn affect another outcome.
 

Susan

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Personally, I like games that give players real choices and consequences in a game, rather than the illusion of choice. Of course, the story has to be very well written to accommodate the branching storylines, and it's rare to find games like that. Der Langrisser comes to mind.

As for whether I play through with my decisions, I usually stick to my decisions during the first playthrough. From the second and onwards playthrough, I tend to reload if I don't like the consequences of the decision (especially if I'm aiming for a certain ending).  :rwink:
 

Milennin

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I like choices if they result in equally interesting stuff.

Choice making I like:

Do you want to help out this character? Yes/No

Yes: resulting in a side quest. Learn more about the character you're helping, encounter some cool things.

No: resulting in extra content on the main path equal to that of the side quest that you do not get if you chose to help the NPC.

Choice making I dislike:

Do you want to help out this character? Yes/No

Yes: resulting in a side quest. Learn more about the character you're helping, encounter some cool things.

No: resulting in nothing.
 

Athryl

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To be fair I think the death threats thing was in reference to people sending them to the creators of Mass Effect because they didn't like the endings (which I agree is a terrible thing to do even if you hated the endings)...But still no need to start a war here. 

On topic I know I am in the minority but I don't mind "false choices." Partly because to me it makes sense that not every choice matters. Does every choice in life matter? (ok yes I know games =/= life but still it works for me). Sometimes you're screwed no matter what choice you make, will win no matter, etc. Then of course this lightens the load on the developer side of things too because you aren't having a new ending or change from every branch.

But for this to work you really need to not know what choices matter and which don't. It encourages you to treat them as if they all matter, even if they don't. It depends a lot on what the creator is going for, but if they can keep me guessing like that (without it ending up just feeling random) I'm cool with it. The telltale games kind of feel like this to me and while they aren't my favorite I think they fulfill their own niche quite well.

Millionth Edit: Apologies for mini-modding
 
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