298: Who Needs Friends?

Biodeamon

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Apr 11, 2011
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Video game chareceters do have friends it's just they're usually used as a plot device for their inevetible death.

Bam, i just spoiled 100 games in under 20 words. Fear my awesome might.
 

pilouuuu

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Aug 18, 2009
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Excellent read. This is one of the reasons why games still can't be considered art or be taken seriously as a medium to tell stories. This and the fact that we are forced to take a violent path in games. Skyrim is a good example.

It is even more shameful that RPGs fail in this. If there's some kind of games that should allow for non-violent, diplomatic solutions to conflicts and having friendships, not just followers with no personality, then that kind of games is RPGs.

Bioware includes some characters which you can befriend during the game, but I still think it's not totally satisfactory. I think adventure games had some good examples, like Glotis in Grim Fandango. Now that's a real friend!
 

Ninjat_126

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Nov 19, 2010
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Shellsh0cker said:
This. Another great example? Star Wars: Republic Commando. The members of Delta Squad--ironically, given that they're clones--feel more like real people than many video game characters because of their personal connection. There's no way to not love Sev and Scorch constantly jabbing at each other while Fixer tells them to shut up and focus on the mission. The end of the game hit me really hard because I'd grown really attached to the characters.
Plus, the moments where you go down fighting a miniboss, and your squad brings it down without your help. Or the moments when you're all incapped on the ground except one guy, who manages to go all one-man-army and bring down a droid platoon single-handedly.

Dark Souls had/has elements of this: you're a forsaken undead in a land of things wanting to kill you. And you will live for the NPC interactions. Sure, some of them are dicks, but there's something rewarding to fight your way through an army of horrible monsters, only to return to Firelink and have Griggs and Laurentius there waiting for you.
 

Quorothorn

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Apr 9, 2010
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I may be nigh-on a year late to reading this article, but that shall not stop me from saying that the paragraph(s) comparing Fallout 3's Lone Wanderer and New Vegas' Courier and their place within their respective environments is a point I have thought/nattered on several times myself. The author did a fine job articulating the point I have in the past tried to make.
 

Goldhawk777

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Jun 3, 2010
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One of the main problems that the video game industry has is that they are attempting to get the people emotionally connected into the story.

*SPOILERS* That's why in quick games like COD or Modern warfare that introduce a gruff PFC Donaldson who "makes a bet to drink you under the table" ends up dying in a brutal and terrible way of, (Clink clink) Grenade! Boom! Donaldson!!!

Introduction of characters and later taking them away after no emotional bonding within the next 10 minutes of gameplay allows for the player to think, "F*ck the NPCs". Because they will usually end up dead in the end of the game.

Now, I am only familiar with a few games but one game that I didn't think would destroy me emotionally would be Gears of War. Damn it, when I saw Dom die that brought a tear to my eye.

Another example on the most extreme side would be Halo: Reach. Hell, everyone knew they were going to die, and they did in eloquent cutscenes. (Except for Jun)

Mass effect attempted the fact with having sex with several of the other NPCs. The way you get emotional depth, is to make the two people go through some serious battles instead of, oh, there you are character I am supposed to be emotionally invested in.... Oh, you died, meh, moving on. Depth, is the one thing that is missing many times in videogames.
 

Mike Fang

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Mar 20, 2008
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Some of this certainly makes sense. If you or your character aren't a complete stranger in a given area, there's no reason why they should be completely without acquaintances. Now, if they've just moved to a new area, joined a new squad, signed on aboard a new starship, or what have you, in those cases it does make sense that you're -just- beginning to make a name for yourself and become a part of the community/crew/squad/etc. However, if that's not the case, it's tough being introduced to a new setting when the character you play shouldn't need introductions.

That, I think, is why in some cases you get this anomaly in games. The character may not need re-introducing to the world, but the player does. In order to do this, you have to either help the player get established within gameplay -or- you need to provide exposition of some kind; cut scenes, readable books/computers/something in the game for people to peruse to get the back story, hell even some flavor text in the game manual can help. The problem is some gamers have a real problem with this sort of exposition (in particular the cut scenes) and bash it as not immersing a player into the world. Personally, I like in medias rez, but you can't have your cake and eat it too. And some games just have a need for cutscenes; frankly I like them when they're well done and fun to watch. I just wouldn't rely on them too much or make them needless.

Making a player character a part of the world they exist in (or failing to do so) can make or break a game. But HOW a character's place in the world is established needs to be handled properly, or it will feel awkward and mar the overall experience.
 

TheOrb

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Jun 24, 2012
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Loved this piece, it fully revealed the reason I liked AC2 over AC, AC:B, AC:R and Far Cry 3.