Impact of choices

Just finished GoT s1, 3rd game I play after walking dead 1 and 2. Think I had enough with this kind of games and made an account on these forums just to share some thoughts. Was hoping to be more constructive initially but the more I thought about it, the more it became evident that it's hopeless, the limitations are too severe. If they can find a way to turn it around, great. Can't think of any myself tho.

The fact of the matter is that the moment the option to kill off a character becomes available, that character is as good as dead. It's pointless trying to save them. Their involvement in the story is over. They'll either end up dead somehow a couple scenes later or stop being involved in the story and quietly die off in the background. And that's a limitation of budget obviously. They can't afford to account for every possible branch. Everything has to fall in line and get homogenized without major deviations.

Once you realize that, all illusion of choice is gone. Given a choice to save one of two characters, it doesn't matter which char you saved. They're both done. They won't be having long and prosperous lives, they won't be playing any major part in the episodes to come. Given a dangerous decision that could get a character killed also not hard at all. The moment the script allows for a certain char to die it's over. Better kill him off right there and then so you know not to count on him anymore rather than have him die from a bus or something on the opening scene of the next episode, or even worse just die anyway regardless of whatever painful choice you had to make to prevent said death.

Ramsey Snow comes and provokes you? Lovely, provoke back. Cersei acting scary? Naaah, tell her a blonde joke or something, who cares. And exactly because of how comical it would look the moment you started saying all the wrong things on puprose, the actual given choice is ridiculously limited. I can only imagine how their hands are as tied as the players' hands. Can't keep creating content involving characters who may or may not be dead. And can't allow you to do or say anything that would lead to a character dying before the script says he should. Can't have the rest of the characters get out of character and disregard comments or actions that should provoke certain reactions. So more often that not you are presented with 3 different ways to say yes or 3 ways to say no.

Anyway, that's a problem inherent in pretty much all games. Mass Effect series comes to mind as a game that painfully tried to defy these limitations and had a moderate degree of success at a pretty high development cost. The episodic nature of these series makes the problem more pronounced I suppose. Can't effectively handle the illusion of choice when you're not certain beforehand where you're going and what's your available budget, both in time and money. Combined with the fact that these so-called choices are all the gameplay they have to offer, makes it look pretty bad.

Still, some very cool stories, great artwork, direction, voice overs and such. Can't say they're not putting a solid amount of effort into these series. I do however believe that the concept is fundamentaly flawed and I'd urge them to find a more exciting way to present their stories that makes a bit more sense. And I hope they do. Was really digging them for a while.

Just my 2 cents, merry Xmas all!

Comments

  • Did you even play the game?

  • Very much so, yes. Opted to avoid specific examples both to keep it spoiler-free and because it held true for the walking dead series as well that I played previously. I begun to realize how this works about halfway the first walking dead series when a character died quite suddenly and inexplicably. Took me a while to figure out why. So I started noticing the patterns. By the end of the second series it was all very transparent already and quite disappointing.

    Still, gave GoT a chance mainly due to its name. By the end of the very first episode forced choice had already manifested multiple times gloriously. Hell, by the end of the first scene I could say. Actually even the very first choice you're presented with is such. Still, not gonna bother explaining specifics. Everyone who's played the game knows what I'm talking about already and those who haven't are better served by not spoiling anything.

    Funny part was a reverse deathchoice at some point in a cave during ep 3 iirc, where you could save one of two characters. Turned out neither one would die regardless of who you opted to save. Seemed more of an inside joke to me.

    You see, major choices should lead to major changes. You should be experiencing a considerably different narrative based on the choices you made. The budget can't allow for this, so instead of a world that adapts to your choices you get choices that adapt to the world. And while illusion of choice can be a neat trick, it suffers from the same problem as any other magic trick. Once you know how the rabbit got in the hat, it stops being magic.

    Did you even play the game?

  • edited December 2015

    But major choices DID lead to major changes. All the determinant characters are either alive or dead. You're only assuming they will die later but you don't know it will end like that. You're only assuming things based on their previous titles. Perhaps Telltale's approach to determinant characters really did change. Perhaps you should think about their response to feedback. Take Ethan's death for example. Many people were dissapointed he dies no matter what, but all the following protagonists' fates depend on your choices. Mira, Asher, Rodrik, Gared, Royland, Duncan, Tom, Ludd, Gryff and others' fates depend on your choices.

    PoarTT posted: »

    Very much so, yes. Opted to avoid specific examples both to keep it spoiler-free and because it held true for the walking dead ser

  • Ok, apparently we're in spoiler zone. Alright.

    None of these characters are killable until the very last episode however (or very shortly prior to that). That's the thing. No matter how hard you try, nobody's fate actually changes. So what did they do? They moved all these deaths down to the last episode where it doesn't matter anymore. And the only early deaths, Gregor and Ethan, were made unavoidable. How is this a better approach? Can I get Rodrik killed before that dual choice that leads to him or Asher dying? No. Can I kill Gryff when I'm beating on him? No. Can I kill Tom when I send him in Tyrion's room or hell, when I let a fully armored guard drown him? Still nope. Well that's just great. Now nobody dies. Until the last episode, where we gotta fulfill the quota.

    But major choices DID lead to major changes. All the determinant characters are either alive or dead. You're only assuming they wi

  • And to elaborate a bit further. Choice matters when I feel like I'm missing out. Geez, if I do or say this then my character is gonna be in peril and he/she might never get to do X. It becomes a joke when X will either always happen regardless of my choice or never happen, again, regardless of my choice. Whether the character dies anyway or can't die no matter what or is not given the choice to do something stupid enough to get him killed, the bottom line is the same. There's nothing on the other side of the door. Gotta keep you from opening it no matter what. At first the reasons to not want to open it are plausible enough to keep you immersed. For how long that's gonna last, depends on how gullible you are I guess. Suspension of disbelief is a bitch to maintain.

  • You know there's that thing called character development, right? You want to get characters killed early in the story for no reason? They have a role to play in that story, so if they got killed off early in the story people would be complaining about...characters getting killed early in the story for no reason. Then people like you would give up on them because they would be branded as determinant . At least by your logic. You're not really complaining about choices not mattering, you just want characters to be determinant sooner. (That's what I got from your post). And did you forget there will be a second season? Until then, you have no way of knowing what will happen, so you criticizing the game for something that hasen't even happened yet makes no sense.

  • I focused on character deaths because they're the most immediate examples. What else do we get out of choices? Does the status quo ever change? Can I get Gared to go on Jon's expedition somehow? Can I have Ethan be Lord and never send Malcolm to Essos to look for Asher as I explicitedly requested? Can I save Ironrath somehow? Do I get to experience any different content whatsoever depending on the choices I make other than a couple of lines acknowledging them here and there in the form of "Hello Player, you made choice X, that was good/bad. Let's move on with the script".

    It's not about living or dying. Plenty of meaningful choices that don't involve character deaths. They gotta change the setting significantly however. As the game so eloquently keeps reminding you, words are wind. A line acknowledging I made some choice means nothing. Jon's expedition was the most infuriating of the lot I think. Because I was still gullible enough to fall for it. Actually rewinded and replayed the section, trying to spare what's his face to see if I can get to Kraster's. Hah. Still attacks you no matter what you say. Still dies no matter what you do. Still get accused and imprisoned no matter whatever. Bah, why am I even explaining, you probably know all this better than I do, lol.

    You know there's that thing called character development, right? You want to get characters killed early in the story for no reaso

  • Can I get Gared to go on Jon's expedition somehow?

    Gared was supposed to go on the expedition but the buisness with Britt and the story demended otherwise. Every episode has a set base story that has to happen to everyone in order for the game to progress. There is nothing we can do about it, that's just how their games work. But that's not such a bad thing. It's just the way things are.

    Can I have Ethan be Lord and never send Malcolm to Essos to look for Asher as I explicitedly requested?

    Yes. Malcolm would have stayed, had Ramsay not murdered Ethan. After his death, Elissa sent Malcolm to Essos which was the only logical thing to do. Otherwise we would never get to control Asher and the whole game would be fucked.

    Can I save Ironrath somehow?

    Well no. The base for season 2 is that Ironrath is burned no matter what. No choices affect Ironrath's status. But that doesn't mean they don't matter, it just means that this part of the story has to happen in order to progress.

    Do you get what I am trying to explain?

    PoarTT posted: »

    I focused on character deaths because they're the most immediate examples. What else do we get out of choices? Does the status quo

  • No man, I don't get what you're saying. You're making even less sense than the game itself. That's impressive. I'm gonna stop trying to reason with "aManWhoLovesTelltale" now and move on to more productive stuff. Like watching paint dry, gotta be more productive than this dialog. Did my part for the community. For anyone out there wondering if they should buy, nope. Still shite. For the actual developers looking for honest feedback, nope, ain't working. Outta here now, had enough.

    Can I get Gared to go on Jon's expedition somehow? Gared was supposed to go on the expedition but the buisness with Britt

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