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Alpha_ProgDes

A different way to play games with different protagonists and antagonists

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While I was watching Gundam Seed Destiny a thought occured to me. Well a few thoughts. In most games, you normally play as the main protagonist and work your way through the game building up your character (levelling up, learning new moves, new weapons, etc). In other games, you'll play a couple of levels as one character and then switch to another character and then back to the main protagonist (normally the main protagonist has gone crazy, been kidnapped, or is in disposed somehow). Well (of course I'm taking Gundam as an example, but can be applied to most games), why not have the player progress through skill, story, and skill [smile]. I'll explain each in short paragraphs. Skill 1: Basically you start off as a normal pilot in the Mobile Suit army, basically you're no one special. Now you'll go through various missions and be rated on how well you do on each mission. After say, 3 missions with high marks, you'll stop being a nobody soldier and become one of the protagonists (or antagonists; for now consider them the same). After a certain number of missions and a high enough rank/score, you'll move up the protagonist chain. Your skills increase and therefore you'll take the role of a protagonist of greater skill and of course harder missions. (in the case of Gundam Seed you'll be Kira or Athrun and under them would be Rey and Shinn, under them you'll be Andrew Waltfeld, and under him a nobody soldier/pilot). Story: Basically you'll pick any of the protagonists and play their story. Obviously, many protagonists mean common battles but distinct variations on story, Mobile Suits, and missions. Good replay value. Skill 2: Basically you play as a nobody soldier (as you do in all other games) and work your way up the food chain getting higher ranks, better machines and fighting alongside the protagonists. Because of this the story is going to change slightly because of the viewpoint of an regular soldier going to top gun (or not). So any ideas, changes, or improvements on this gaming scheme? Critiques, of course, are welcome.

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I like the idea of making a name for yourself, but I don't think many players would be keen on investing so much time into their primary characters and then suddenly being stripped of all that power and glory to act as another grunt.

All the character switching cases you've seen involve a prefabricated line of characters with distinct qualities, personalities, backgrounds, etc. The purpose of segmenting the game is to explore each character in detail, which serves to (a) tell a story, and (b) get players to identify with all the characters. You usually end up liking one or two more than the rest, but that's fine. At least part of the purpose has been served.

In games where you create or design your own character or personality, players will not want to lose control. The game itself is about investing time into that character and fleshing him/her out the way you want. Losing control of your character even for a short time is like losing control of yourself. It's just not fun. Now, if players are given the option of taking on an alter ego for a short time, that's a different story.

In your Gundam example, I think it would be more interesting to have a main character, either prefab or player-designed, to which you keep coming back, while periodically exploring several other characters of approximately the same power level (grunt, pilot, commander, etc.). I don't think players should ever have to give up their main characters for longer than they want. In fact, unless you are out to tell a very explicit story, alternates should be optional, and players should be able to leave them at any time.

There were portions of FFVII I would rather have skipped the second time through. Like, the entire introduction until you reach the surface. I think the most interesting stories are told in fragments, and players are responsible for putting them together. The game should revolve around gameplay, hence the term "game." If I just want to hear a story, I'll read a book. Anyway, I digress.

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It seems silly to precreate stories for several main characters and make the player choose one when with possibly less effort you could create an interactive story through which the player could choose their own path.

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Quote:
Original post by sunandshadow
It seems silly to precreate stories for several main characters and make the player choose one when with possibly less effort you could create an interactive story through which the player could choose their own path.


See Skill 2.

Also let me add that I was applying this to a game that based off of a movie, TV show or book. But like I said it can be applied to other games. Just with more planning for the story, SnS pointed out.

SnS: Detailed and flexible != silly [smile]

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I'm not sure if I'm understanding your idea correctly but have you played Suikoden 3? Basically there are three protagonists and there are multiple chapters in the story. At the beginning of every chapter you have to choose one of the three characters and play through that chapter (you must play with all three characters before moving to the next chapter). It's a really cool idea because you see how the story progresses from different perspectives.

Also, Metal Gear Solid 2 had you play as Raiden instead of Snake while Snake was still the main character (kind of). So it was neat to play next to the legend (who you had played with in previous games and in the earlier chapter of the game) and see him accomplish all these big things while you're off doing other tasks.

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I had a brief and slightly crazy idea for an RPG once, about a time traveling potagonist that jumped into specific people in specific time periods to attempt to cause some future event to occur.

The player would have objectives. Some in each time period, and some large overall objectives. The larger objectives would require the teamwork of multiple individuals along the timeline. The player can jump between time periods any time they choose, but is restricted to one specific individual persona in each period. In all, there would be about 7 people to control, none of which know each other, all living in seperate periods of time. These persona's can be warriors, maids, children, cooks, or even animals (the specific people would definitely need to be hard coded into the story). While controlling them, the player would retain all mental skills, but physical skills would change for each person.

The main problem I had with the idea was the difficulty in making large future events change because of small past occurances. A nightmare, really. But I would love to play this game if anyone cares to design it.

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Just for clarity, I'm expecting the player to pick one of the routes: skill 1, story, OR skill 2 and from there progress through the game as usual. I don't expect the player to do all 3 at the same time.

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