Pirates Are Way More Interesting Than Elves

Freechoice

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First, someone needs to fix the update feature that brings stuff to the front page. I found this in one of those off-topic things and forgot what day it was.

Second, I would really like to see more anti-heroism that isn't just angst against some moronic authority or some great conspiracy. Granted, it can make for good motivation if it's something like the first or second Max Payne, but I couldn't help but think that the third was trying too hard to be an HBO special. Same thing goes for RAGE.

Third, what about pirate elves?
 
Jan 27, 2011
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*takes notes*

I'm the main writer for a small RPG project. I agree with this.

Time to go triple check character motivations to make sure all of them are believable.
 

Zhukov

The Laughing Arsehole
Dec 29, 2009
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Here's a quick experiment. How would you design a game based upon the life of Muhammad Ali? Your first thought was probably that it would have to be a boxing game, wasn't it. Either that or a smack talk simulator. See what I mean? Story first, then gameplay from that. And there'll be no cover-based shooting no matter how much the publisher thinks it'd sell.
Well... they did manage to make a third person shooter out of 50 Cent, so yeah... I wouldn't put it past them.

Anyway, I'm also decidedly tired of Tolkien/D&D fantasy RPGs. Surely there are other fantastical settings out there.
 

Yahtzee Croshaw

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Muhammad Ali: Chest high walls cover punching.

I'm so buying =D

Back on track, I agree that most MMOs are so stuck up to the same core gameplay, that they no longer explores any possibility. TERA had the usual setting, but could go for Exploration, and bigger battles, but it's still the same formula from WoW, with better combat mechanics.

I had hopes for the Secret World as well, but it seems is going in the same direction, with a different make up.

That's all they change, the make up.
 

RJ Dalton

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Aug 13, 2009
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I don't think that's necessarily true. Pirates just haven't been as overused as elves have. Given enough time and too many generic movies and games featuring them and pirates will become just as boring.
 

disappointed

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Sep 14, 2011
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I once played a paper-scissors-stone tournament without using my index finger but people kept getting mad with me every time I played scissors.
 

Jack and Calumon

Digimon are cool.
Dec 29, 2008
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Character motivations can make someone so interesting. Shinji Ikari of Neon Genesis Evangelion didn't usually care too much that the world was going to end. The mere fact that if he didn't fight the world would end was not enough to motivate him to save the world, nor even orders from a superior or even his Dad who was also his superior in NERV. Shinji needed something more, like fighting for someone, something or fighting because he knows he is one of the only people who actually has a chance at winning, and even then usually something would happen to him that would need him to get more motivation for the next fight.

This is why I find Shinji one of the most interesting characters in all media. He is not your everyday hero, he's someone who got thrown into a mess he wishes he wasn't a part of, someone who's had a bad life thus far and the oncoming apocalypse is something he's just been thrown in the midst of to sort out. He doesn't feel compelled to do anything by valour nor feel like it is his destiny to kill the Angels. He's just a boy that got caught up with a horrible life.

Calumon does not care for Evangelion, good day to you
 

Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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Pirates only seem fresh because they haven't been used as much as elves recently. As a stereotype the whole pirate thing falls apart a lot faster than your average fantasy game. Not to mention that there have been a lot of pirate/seafaring games out there over the years, but most hadn't caught on due to problems with implenetation. One of the big problems that most of them can't solve is of course the issue of handling the entire bit on ships. Not to mention the sheer amount of time ship travel takes at that tech level, glossing over it isn't a bad thing unless your going for something like "Pirates!" where your character's lifespan is the big limit on gameplay since your character ages to uselessness and dies. If you have a plotline (which Pirates really doesn't) spending 30 years sailing around randomly kinds of ruins it, hence why it tends to be glossed over.

I'll also go so far as to say that elves and dwarves and stuff get boring in fantasy games because they are rarely the focus of the stories. As much as that might seem to not be true, 99% of fantasy games involve you wandering around a human-centric pseudo-medieval setting for the majority of the game, and when you deal with these other races and go to their areas it's generally as an "exotic" change of pace. Other than long rants about their history you rarely see much about them, and it all becomes lost in a tide of pointy eared emos and greedy accented midgets with bad attitudes. What's more such societies are almost always portrayed as being in their decline.

If they decided to say build a game based entirely around elves and dwarves, with their empires being at their height (so nobody has to be emo), it could be interesting, but the odds of us ever seeing that are actually fairly minimal.
 

irmasterlol

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I think it's interesting to note that these things tend to be more about the world than the characters, which is also from Tolkien's Master Guide to Fantasy. Building an interesting Universe for the game that the player will want to get lost in seems to be the alternative route for making the player give a damn.
 

deathbydeath

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Actually, I'd say that Bioshock's schtick was a very clever, interesting, and well-integrated lampshade.
 

rtisan

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Mar 23, 2010
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A rock-paper-scissors game without an index finger isn't so bad. You just have to do the Vulcan scissors instead of regular one. With some quick last minute adjustments you can win two thirds of your games that way (and tie on the rest). <.<
 

Dastardly

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Apr 19, 2010
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Pirates are more interesting than Elves, but not necessarily more interesting than Generic Fantasy. Why? Because Pirates are still pretty much only one flavor. Pirate flavor. You'd get as sick of it as you do Elves pretty quickly.

And this is why I still like Zombies (for what they can be). They have no personality or character. In a properly-handled setting, they're background noise. They're an obstacle. This allows you to showcase the actual characters in a wide variety of ways... so it's a shame that rarely happens. I'd offer that people aren't nearly as sick of zombies as they are of the same few generic characters used in zombie settings.
 

Yahtzee Croshaw

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I wouldnt necessarily agree that pirates inherently have more personality than elves - I think its more accurate to say that for the last 10 years game developers have gone straight to "Tolkien-esque super polite elitist snob" when they hear elf. Elves are fey, practically alien, and theres no reason I can see to make them essentially act human. They love nature apparently, so why not have them be so fiercely protective of it that any human they catch chopping down trees becomes their next meal? They are supposedly constantly happy and gay, so why not have them be so cheerful and perpetually amped that none of their behaviour even remotely resembles human behaviour?

Not saying elves have more personality than pirates, just saying that maybe writers have been mis-managing what they have for a while.
 

GangstaPony

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Apr 29, 2012
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I like how the Japanese have made badass RPG's like Persona which has a High school combined with demons setting and yet western developers are content eating Tolkien's leftovers!

You thing COD is generic and same-y? Well so are most RPG's now a days! Do something new!!
Make it based on Dresden Files, American Gods, Hellboy, Hellblazer/Constantine!
 

The Crazy Legs

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Nov 11, 2011
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I love the fact that he mentioned Wind Waker near the beginning. It's the little things, you know?

Also, the part about why the main character does what they do was brilliant.

OT: Yeah, I'm going to have to agree with everyone else who's commented thus far, while it is nice to see an RPG that doesn't include Elf species #XXXXXXX, I have to imagine that pirates would get pretty old, pretty fast.
 

hermes

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Not really... I would say elves in fantasy settings have been around more time than pirates. Given that most people associate the Tolkien's version of elves (a version that is not that interesting, to begin with), they tend to get generic and formulaic as a race.

If pirates were featured more prominently (or if they were only featured as Johnny Depp's sassy, witty, playful and slightly-dirty-but-not-so-much version), we would get tired of them fairly quickly. The same could be applied to any setting being overused... How far did we go from praising Normandy and Stalingrad set pieces in MOH and COD to loathing everything remotely connected to WW2?

The problems you point out with the motivation are true, but that is often something a bad writer will commit, while a good writer can take an overused setting and give it a fresh spin. How boring and generic can Meyer make a modern fantasy horror setting? How fresh can George Martin make a medieval fantasy setting? I guess we are lucky that Risen's writers are decent, but this could have been a typical "go in search of the legendary treasure of Purplebeard... The X marks the spot."
 

The Crazy Legs

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Dastardly said:
I'd offer that people aren't nearly as sick of zombies as they are of the same few generic characters used in zombie settings.
... This. (Please don't report me)

I like my zombie games, I really do, but the characters have a tendency to be... well, shit. Dead Rising (the first one, I haven't played the second) offered somewhat of a change to it by having its special backstories involving psychopaths, escaped convicts, and a photographer with the most annoying in-game voice in the world (I'm talking about "Kent", which is weird because he sounds normal in the cutscenes). Still, though, Dead Rising's main characters are just stereotypical cut-and-paste characters. "Strange Hispanic Man". "Strange Hispanic Woman". "Photojournalist". "Agent".

... But really, that can be forgiven when you compare Dead Rising to, say, Dead Island (what's with all the "Dead"?), you'll find which is truly better. ... And no, graphics don't make anything better. ... Okay, they do, but nowadays they really don't, considering we're still comparing everything to Half-Life.
 

MB202

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Sep 14, 2008
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Like I said, pirates rule. 8)

I prefer them to ninjas, ESPECIALLY in video games, considering there are WAAAAAAAY too many ninjas in video games.
 

mronoc

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Nov 12, 2008
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I remember hearing Ken Levine of Irrational Games say that they would always figure out the core gameplay before the story, which is undoubtedly why Rapture is such an interesting setting, because it was conceived as the perfect framing device for a set of unique game mechanics that just didn't fit in conventional shooter settings. I don't know why more devs don't do that, I mean, you'd think the "game" part of a game would be your main focus, and really, the "story first" approach seems like one of the biggest potential road blocks in gamings approach towards genuine artistry, because it leads to games that don't really use their central form of engagement (interactivity) to make any statement.