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Concept for a rpg game where the character grows based on what you do?

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Im not sure if this should be in writing or game design so i'm sorry if this is in the wrong section. I just thought of this idea so its a bit rough.

 

The game would be a 2d rpg game where the main character is a child(boy or girl) who is in a concentration camp. The ruler of this kingdom has started a genocide against the races that live in his kingdom. The mc was born in this camp and has no idea what to do or how he/she feels about certain things like killing. Mc makes a wish that someone could guide and make decisions for them. Thats where you come in. You control the mc but the mc is aware that they are being controlled. The mc has likes, dislikes, and is unsure about many things. What you do will ultimately shape how the character is by the end of the game. The mc might be against killing but through events that you put him through he believes in only killing in self defense. She could lose most of her fights(or often take damage) and learn to hate violence. You could fail to save other people and she becomes cold and heartless. Doing to many things she doesnt like or exposing them to alot of bad things can literally make the character depressed. What ever you do effects the character and how he or she reacts to the world and other events.

 

There is no 1 story line. There would be several story-lines such as rebelling against the king and overthrowing the king, joining the king, rescuing your people, learning to live in the city, escaping the city and etc. Though the mc will voice how they feel about certain situations I was thinking that they would have a diary where they write down all the important things that happened and how they felt so that the player can be aware of what they are doing.

 

Just an idea of how this might play out. You start the game in the camp. You ofcourse wouldnt be told what your options are. A guard comes in to feed you do you 

 

A) try and kill the guard? This may make the mc enjoy violence. If you get injured during the fight he may take a stance against violence(or become a masochist) 

 

B) Try and talk the guard into letting you escape? Failing to do so could make the mc develop a hatred for them

 

C) Try and break out without hurting anyone? 

 

D) Wait and hope someone breaks you out? The wait can put further stress on the mc's mental health

 

Examples of how the character reacts to other situations. Lets say during your play-through you turn the child into a blood thirsty monster. You try to talk to shop owners to buy gear and because of the mc's foul language you are turned away. You try to develop relationships with other characters and they are turned off by how brutal the mc is.

 

Just an idea I have. what do you think?

Edited by LostTrigger

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The core problem with what you're describing is that it would require a LOT of content, with content branches increasing the ammount of work exponentially as they interract.

 

Is it worth working on a ton of content that a player might never see, as they didn't want that kind of character, or would you rather put all the focus on having only a few very fleshed out paths?

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Yeah, this sounds like a huge effort for an indie dev.

 

There are definitely AAA games that do something similar. In Fable 2, for instance, you get more skilled at the things you do often, and how you treat NPCs affect how they (and people they know) treat you back. From what I recall, you even start to sprout horns if you turn your character into a bloody thirsty monster :P.

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It will indeed require a lot of content. You need to determine the bounds of the story and give the player freedom to do what they want inside those boundaries. The problem with writing for games is that the player can also be the story teller.

 

Like Conquestor said, having a few fleshed out paths is a good way of doing this. You can write the hero path, pacifist path, and murderous path, for example, and give options related to these paths. Of course, it's not without its problems. You can't force the player to follow through a single path in the whole game. They might start being a pacifist at first, but there's nothing stopping them for killing people for reasons like boredom or curiosity. What if they act like both a hero and a murderer, etc.

 

Another idea is to make consequences of the actions the player take appear immediately. If you choose to spare a soldier, a few scenes later you might see him killing other people, and that thing is done. You might not see the soldier again for the rest of the game (thus less content to make) and the player can rethink their future choices because now they understand that their choices matter. This way they might realize that their lack of courage to kill caused more people to die, and they might choose to be more ruthless next time, or the other way around.

 

I think that would be enough for now. Writing down all the possibilities would take forever. Just determine the boundaries of the experience. What kind of experience you want your players to feel? What is the message of the story? Is it about life in war? Agency? Once you've determined what your game is about, you can build around it.

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Indeed, as people have said, you would spend years just writing and creating content on this thing before it ever became anything playable.  While it is definitely interesting to have many roads on which the character may tread, so something like that viable for your time and resources? I like your idea, and I like where it could possibly go, but I would recommend, as someone said, maybe five primary story branches and then maybe tendrils of things that might shoot off from there. Fable and it's sequel are good examples of this. There are also early 2D RPGs like Suikoden that attempted to do similar things back before there was the technology to do more. Even then, it only had two primary story arcs at best. I think what you want is a dynamic story with a morality component. Which would be awesome with this story scenario!! It sounds very much like a story I heard about a man who escaped from a labor camp in North Korea who did things that we might consider to be wicked, simply because that was what people did and he did not know that it was wrong. He only feels guilty about some of these thing now that he has escaped into the civilized world. Anyway, thank you for sharing!! I have enjoyed reading your concept!!

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Less graphics means more chance of success in finishing this.

You could make it a text based adventure game style thing, purely on the Web.

Having created such a thing before I can tell you it's possible but you'll still spend several years just writing. It took me two.

Good luck!

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The core problem with what you're describing is that it would require a LOT of content, with content branches increasing the ammount of work exponentially as they interract.

 

Is it worth working on a ton of content that a player might never see, as they didn't want that kind of character, or would you rather put all the focus on having only a few very fleshed out paths?

 

QFT!

 

 

There might be a way to give the player the "feeling" that there are multiple options they can choouse from, yet only having a single story branch with mini-branches that will merge with the main branch again after a short detour...

 

 

Don't get me wrong, some people HATE such story lines BECAUSE they try to fool them into thinking that there is more to the story and their own actions having an effect than there really is...

And of course this will NOT increase replayability much.

 

But given that you need to cut corners, and you do want to give the player meaningful options, you could do so and then re-merge the story branches at a later time (You killed an important NPC, and the story deviates a little from the main story because of that... but that NPC dies anyway later in the story, and people forget about your involvment, or will never find out (maybe the only witness is now killed in the event that would also kill the other NPC in the main story line?)

 

 

Just keep in mind: Focus is everything. It is important when you have money to waste. It might sound like a good idea to design an "everything but the kitchen sink" open world game like GTA... but you are still spending 350 millions on something that for many people has not more inherent value than any other, more focused AAA game that came out the same year. which most probably cost a fifth or less.

 

If you are a small time Indie, Focus is everything. If you add an additional story line, this will have ripple effects down the asset pipeline... additional story, game design, maybe additional code, maybe voice acting, additional art assets, animations, more testing, more possibilities for bugs.

That might already double the time you need to develop worst case... don't get me wrong, it might do wonders for the replayability value. But when you have to pay the bills, you should maybe Focus on one main story line and make that one shine, and think about additional story lines only IF YOU KNOW you have time and money to waste.

 

 

Of course, you could FOCUS on additional story lines in the game. You will have to make cuts elsewhere (reduce the graphic fidelity, drop voice acting, make the game logic simpler and thus easier to test, shorten the whole game), so you really need to think what is more important. Multiple story lines giving players more replayability, or a more refined game expierience with just a single playable story line?

Edited by Gian-Reto

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