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AGreen

One Game Two Genres - Design Discussion

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Hello everyone, my name is Aidan, and I am pretty new here. I am a student of game design, and some friends and I discussed the merits and flaws of designing a game that plays two or three different ways, different control schemes, different game mechanics, genres, the whole nine yards. Some games have nudged this a little, such as the japanese RPG Persona 3, while a dungeon crawling RPG at heart, it has large segments that feel a lot like a japanese dating sim. These conversation based segments still had an effect on the monster fighting portions. But in the end this is more of a case of two genres blended together into one, rather than two disticnt experiences. This led us to wonder how different you could make the two genres and still create a cohesive game experience. Ideas were thrown around of RTS/RPGs, and Action/Strategy RPGs, or Strategy FPS, with random thoughts on how to create one game experience, but keep the two gameplay styles distinct. Then I came to think, what is the one genre that is so different from any others, it requires its own custom controller? Thats right, Music games, such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Thusly I proposed a game that was part adventure, part Guitar Hero, about a would be rock guitarist and his reach for the top. It was of course mentioned that many people may not want to switch controllers throughout the game, some people loved the idea, others... not so much. We discussed how the adventure portion of the game wold work and how it would affect the musical portions. From that came a single page high concept and a more in depth design doc I am creating now. This is the one page concept, let me know what you think, not only of my idea, but of the whole idea of creating a game with two gameplay styles, or genres, combined, not blended into one, but kept as separate experiences. So You Wanna be a Rock Star? Genre: Music/Adventure Players: 1-2 Platforms: X360, PS3, PS2, Wii, PC Rating: T for Teen Concept: With the groundbreaking success of Rock Band and the Guitar Hero series music and games have started a new relationship, “So You Wanna be a Rock Star?” takes the experience to a whole new level. Experience the life of a rising rock star, put the band together, practice, do odd jobs to make enough money for new gear, plays big gigs, meet the right people and get famous! Overview: “So You Wanna…” is a game that plays like no other. It will be playable with the controller only but will be best played when utilizing the popular guitar controllers in over 500,000 homes. You play as an aspiring rock guitarist, hoping to hit it big! During the adventure portions of the game it will be played with the standard controller. It will be built like a small open world-like scenario, with places to go to make money, spend money, and of course find and play gigs. You will also have adversaries throughout the town that may want to challenge you, either to a fist-fight or other competitions. These activities, as well as the odd jobs, affect your stats which in turn affect your ability to do the jobs, as well as play on stage. When it is time to play a gig or practice, it is time to switch to the guitar controller (which can be connected as player 2 for convenience), and the game plays just like a Guitar Hero/Rock Band clone, with different ranking and song unlocking systems. The game will not ship with a guitar controller; just take advantage of the current ownership of the products. As long as no exclusivity is given the publishers of the guitar controllers should have no problems. Also these segments of the game can be joined by another player on bass, with either a standard or guitar controller signed in as player 3. However the second player can do nothing outside of a practice/gig. It would be a great opportunity to have some original music made, or select a local/indy band and use their songs to represent the in-game bands “original” songs to play alongside licensed “cover” songs. Key Features: • Get more use out of that expensive guitar controller. • Play “original” songs as well as awesome well known covers! • Takes the experience of becoming a rock star to whole new levels. • Customize the look of your character with plenty of different clothes and accessories. • Depending on the co-operation of Harmonix/EA, the gig segments could be played with the drums or microphone as well. Sorry if this post is super massive, I just wanted to explain the scenario that led to the birth of this idea. [Edited by - AGreen on April 21, 2008 5:28:34 PM]

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This is an interesting concept. I do have concern that the switching of controllers will be a real bitch though. I remember when I had my joystick and was flying planes in the old BF1942 using it. It just wasn't practical on the ground though. It was really annoying having to shift in and out, especially when you had to do it fast.

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I think it would probably work best if the controller switching wasn't a requirement, but optional. Make it so that you can play the entire game on the controller (Which would mean simplifying the music segments), or play the entire game with the guitar controller (Which would mean simplifying character movement somehow).

If you can work out a good middle-ground here then you've got a killer idea. Although I think it'd be cooler if you had a mixture of FF7 and Brutal Legends, where you're some sort of hero character wandering around a heavy-metal-inspired fantasy world and having Guitar Hero-esque random encounters. That'd kick ass. :D

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hehe exactly what I was thinking. I have this funny vision of this full leather wearing, all sorts of body parts studded with chromed steel, long black hair rocker walking around this Spyro-esque world and having random rock battles with the innocent creatures who just look scared poopless.

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I think this concept would really shine if the different genres were given their own game. Put simply, you purchase one disc, but on this disc, there are five different games. Each game is similar to one another in tone (hell, could be similar in story and character as well, but let's not open that can of worms). We kinda saw something like this in The Orange Box. But I think it can be really elaborated on in the future.

Who knows, it could be like a Grindhouse situation. One purchase, different developers, very similar styles.

But, as for incorporating two vastly different play styles into one game, my immediate thought was mini-game or bonus games. We've already seen a fair amount of this (hell, about a third of the games made), but I don't think this is what you were talking about.

If Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was a lesson, it's that requiring a lot of hardware which isn't bundled with the game is a bad decision. Sure, there were GBAs everywhere, but to play multiplayer (at least have of the game, depending on who you talk to), there as just so much more that was necessary.

While I think it can be done, recent attempts at this combining haven't done too well. Several James Bond games combined driving and shooter elements. These jumps were pretty abrupt and I personally found the transition pretty jarring and awkward.

So I'm not saying it can't be done, but this kind of thing doesn't have the greatest track record, and any attempt is gonna take a lot of work and tons of playtesting to iron out.

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Cool, thanks for the feedback guys!
I agree about the controller switching thing, and it does say in the document that the game is playable entirely on the standard controller, but is compatable with the guitar ones as well.
I for one would have no problems switching up controllers, so long as the switch was never sprung on me and I always had some advance notice to get ready.
But I sure can understand not wanting to have to go through the trouble.

Would you guys be interested in seeing the final Concept doc when it's done?

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I think it's a bit of a shame that this is lost on people these days, but back in the 80s and early 90s it was actually very common to have games that had very distinct gameplay modes. I guess the problem is that you potentially restrict your player base to people who are comfortable with both game modes, and that's not a commercially optimal decision. But if done well, with both halves of the game really feeling like part of a whole, I think it could be interesting.

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This has been done a number of times with sports games, I'm reminded particularly of NBA Ballers where the character customization, RPG elements and "career" mode are all mashed togethe rinto one experience.

I'm not sure about the target audience. The guys I know who are really into Guitar Hero and Rock Band tend not to be as into RPGs and long-term career games, and vice versa. Sounds like it would be fun to me, though.

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Well, thanks a lot for all the feedback guys.
I appreciate that so many of you took the time to comment.

I think the corrolation of Guitar Hero players to RPG players is an odd one, as most of my friends who love GH also love a good long RPG. But if the people you know feel different, thats valuable information for me; i wonder if there are enough people who are fans of both genres to make something like this a success?

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Quote:
Original post by AGreen
I think the corrolation of Guitar Hero players to RPG players is an odd one, as most of my friends who love GH also love a good long RPG. But if the people you know feel different, thats valuable information for me; i wonder if there are enough people who are fans of both genres to make something like this a success?


If you layer on the Brutal Ledgends/Metapocolypse Heavy-Metal fantasy vibe I think you'll definitely draw them in. Just try not to get too serious about the story, or bog the player down with stats and numbers, and you should be able to pull it off.

I think a semi-realistic 'band manager' style RPG would suck, though. :(

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I know this has been quiet for a while now, but I just wanted to ask if anyone could recommend a game like this, that has two genres that aren't blended together, but kept as separate experiences. I'd like to see what's out there, read up on them, see what they did well, and what sucked. Actraiser was like this, but I can't think of any others.
And that Ragnarawk game looked very interesting, I'd like to try it out sometime.
Anyway here's another concept on the same basic idea, but different everything, check 'er out, let me know what you think.

War of the Ancients(Working title)

Genre: RPG/RTS
Console: Xbox360, PS3
Rating: T for Teen

Concept
War of the Ancients is a game with two different, but similar game play experiences and a storyline told from two different perspectives. The game includes RPG segments and RTS segments, which play differently but use all the same stats, skills, items, equipment; even the interface is nearly the same. WotA is broken up into chapters, when the requirements for the current chapter are met, it comes to a close and the next chapter is started. Each time the player advances a chapter, the character they are controlling and the game type changes, alternating through the chapters. Each chapter is 25-35 minutes of core game play each.

Overview
The Emissary is a young girl on a journey of self and spiritual discovery, learning to have faith in the most important thing; herself. The Monarch is a young orphan king, and commander of a powerful army. Spurred on by his thirst for vengeance, he is driven to crush the opposing nation, whatever it takes. Each action encouraged by his shady Chancellor. Both characters’ lives are greatly affected by one known as The Apostle, a powerful musician on his own journey of self discovery.
When the player is in control of The Emissary and a small band of adventurers the game plays very much as a classic RPG; dungeons to explore, villagers and townsfolk to talk to, and battles to be fought. In this game mode the player can equip the small party with weapons and armor of their choice and lead them through the dungeons, forests, swamps and on a grand adventure across the known world.
When the player is in control of the young Monarch, King of one of the most powerful nations in the world, the game plays as an RTS designed specifically for the console controller. Sergeants and Generals lead squads of troops into battle and utilize powerful techniques and machines to crush their foes. In this game mode the player can select squad leaders and troop types as well as equip squad leaders with powerful equipment before charging into battle.
The Apostle is a pivotal character, but he is never at the forefront, the story is told from the perspectives of the other two, and explains how the Apostle affects their lives, and how they effect his.
As the game progresses, these two characters and game types will begin to affect each other more and more and become intertwined into one cataclysmic climax.

Key Elements:
• Two different game play experiences
• A deep and involving story told from two perspectives.
• Fun and exciting RPG battles that utilize a combo/build-up system.
• RTS Game-play specially designed for the console controller.

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