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How to make the player feel attached to an NPC?

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Just wondering if anyone''s got ideas for this. In films, the viewer can feel attached to someone who isn''t the main character, say, the main character''s girlfriend. To do this, you still need to see a lot of them in the film. Something like the main character keeps going to see them, or they keep seeing the main character. Then, if they die, the viewer can feel kind of upset. The thing is, in games, I don''t think it''s very practical to keep having to go see someone or keep meeting them, so the player will never feel much for them. Any ideas on how you could make the player more attached to NPCs in a game? --------------------------------------- Let''s struggle for our dream of Game! http://andrewporritt.4t.com

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Maybe I''m not right, but if you continue to show the main character''s girlfriend, wouldn''t she become a main character as well? This is open for discussion though.

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The PS2 game ICO has an NPC that you become quite attached to, since the game ends if she gets caught.

I didn''t like that game.

Anyways, its quite possible to become attached to NPCs, its just a matter of there being a subplot circulating around those NPCs and a degree of effort required to help out those NPCs. Dragon Warrior 7 on the PS1 is the perfect example of this, where in the bulk of the game was helping out towns filled with NPCs. Sometimes the stories didn''t work out and you finished more pissed off at those NPCs then happy for them, but it was all good.

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Remeber Aries from Final Fantasy VII? Its certainly possible to get the player attached to a girlfriend, problem is how. Let the girlfriend do something important for the player (hack a securty system, ect) and then let her get busted doing it. Players want to "get into the game", so the player would feel somewhat guilty letting his girlfriend get busted helping him.

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quote:
Original post by Evangelion
Remeber Aries from Final Fantasy VII? Its certainly possible to get the player attached to a girlfriend, problem is how. Let the girlfriend do something important for the player (hack a securty system, ect) and then let her get busted doing it. Players want to "get into the game", so the player would feel somewhat guilty letting his girlfriend get busted helping him.
It was also the element of suprise that they added when Aeris had died, you really opened your heart to the character and felt for them. This is what I thought was great about the game, you got the chance to play many of the characters, and really got to understand the characters and their interactions with eachother.

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I suggest you check out Fire Emblem for the GBA. It''s a linear strategy/rpg hybrid with great characters that you do find yourself becoming attached to.

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Interesting topic. Most NPC''s are little more than locations to buy items. For an NPC to become admired/hated they must have a personality. It is the personality that people connect with, not what they do. Of course they will have to be an integral part of the story/plot or the player won''t have a need to feel attached. Look at any character, good or evil, that left an impression on you (evoked an emotional response in some way) and try to figure out what it is about the personality that caused that reaction. In most cases it is becuase of something that you can relate to or is repulsive to you. Just remember, no one is perfect, no one is completely good or evil, no one wins or loses all the time, and a character without flaws is enough to ruin the feeling of connecting. A great place for working out character personalities would be a fantasy writers group. It takes more than a general idea to make a believable character and even more work to get an emotional attachment from the audience. Good luck.

"If you are not willing to try, you will never succeed!"

Grellin

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Now, wait a second, can an NPC be somebody in your army that raises levels and follows orders? In Myth, when I had heroic soldiers with impressive stats and capabilities, I''d look for them on the field, and give them dangerous jobs or keep them out of trouble. Sometimes I''d groom a specific soldier for greatness, giving him easy tasks until he became supertough, while countless other grunts died in my employ.

I don''t think that''s really an NPC. If it''s to be a non-playable character, you really shouldn''t get to interact with it on that level. I guess the closest I''d want to get is the sidekicks in Fallout and Diablo. The dog in Fallout was my favorite. When you get it, it''s far tougher than you are, and can single-handedly (no hands, but...) take out monsters and people you yourself couldn''t match. As you get tougher, he contributes less and less, and there''s the inevitable moment when you first go up against a supermutant with a gattling laser, and he vaporizes the dog. I flip out every time that happens. The dog is obsolete as a fighter at that point, and can''t possibly survive the later infiltration levels, but I still get so emotional when someone kills him. I wish that there was a chance to give the dog to a little kid or something before you take that mission. I don''t just want to turn it out into the cold...

So, there''s one way. If you don''t want to give the NPC such an active role, you''ll have to build the character in cutscenes or mission briefings or something.

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In Castlevania 3, there''s a secret room you can find with an old man (ghost) and his dog (also a ghost). Neither are evil, and the dog is just jumping around all happily, but if he touches you, it hurts. You can kill the dog, and if you do, the old man runs over to its body, kneels beside it, and starts crying. Eventually they both fade away.

I always felt sorry for that old man, and tried to avoid killing the dog when I could.

(so...you can feel emotional attachment for NPCs even if you''ve only just seen them ... so long as it''s presented well)

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