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Simple or complicated story telling?

posted by BagginsKQ on - last edited - Viewed by 1.3K users
What do you prefer?

Do you prefer how the original KQ series kept the plots mainly stand-alone, with only a few 'plot points' tied together... There are very few 'interconnected' bits between the games (beyond just occasional narrative reference or backstories in the manuals)? With the understanding that later KQ games particularly KQ3-7 started adding more and more character development, and connecting some events and characters (but certainly not every single villain or character together of the series). In general only two to three games of the series were ever connected directly, in self contained story arcs, KQ1/KQ2, KQ3/KQ5/KQ6, KQ3/KQ4, KQ4/KQ7, etc. Sierra gave only simple details bridging the stories inbetween each game in the series(oftentimes mentioned only in the manual, or the following game's introduction cinema). By simple, thus does not mean an individual story or mini-arc will lack depth, just that it avoids 'complicated' plot twists tieing more than one game together by every detail. It is very possible for individual games (or mini-arcs) to contain their own individual depth. Remember simple does not equal 'depth'.

Or do you prefer how many of the fan games do it, connecting every little story together, under grand series arching prophecies... With all villains organized, connected, in unison in an attempt to manipulate the royal family, and rule the world. Most if not all subplots are part of the greater whole.
23 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Simple. With more GAME. Or more specifically, less material that can't be used for anything other than cutscenes.

    That said, I don't mind overarching storylines and complications. It's just the amount of it that is presented at one time. So really, this poll is flawed a bit in that regard.
  • You left out "poorly written and heavily cliched" from the second option.
  • Well I think its possible to have detailed, including depth in a 'stand-alone' storylines, or 'mini-arcs'. Nothing wrong with that, but it can be done wrong.

    This question is primarily focued on how the series as a whole should 'arc'. One super story, with everything connected, or a series of stand alone stories, or short mini-arcs (no more than a couple of stories or details connected). Something akin to Star Trek if it was a TV series, as opposed to Lost...

    Yes, you are welcome to see second choice as including 'poorly written' & 'cliches'! But I think the first choice can also include 'poorly written' & 'cliches' as well! So its hard to incorporate that into an 'either or' choice.

    Perhaps I can even use the King's Quest Novels as another example to point out what I'm trying to ask. It stays truer to the normal King's Quest format, in one example, such that the trilogy connects a very minor subplot of the Fairy Queen Culatha and her role over the 'Old Forest', but each game's story is truly stand alone beyond that. There are few other reoccuring characters (William, his father Oswald, and Rokail are the only others that come to mind). These reoccuring characters aren't very important to the series plots as a whole, and are not tied to some complicated series of events.

    King's Quest the games, for example have Rumplestiltskin that reoccurs in three games, but whose role is more enigmatic, than important. But never shows up again. His most important role was in KQ1, and he is reduced more to a cameo in later games. Totally reinterpreted in KQ5 (no sense that he even remembers Graham).
  • I know KQ has been traditionally simple... but I think I would rather a story with some depth..
  • Well this question isn't exactly about 'depth' either. It's very possible to have 'depth' on the micro level, as opposed to the macro level... That is to say, stand alone or mini-arcs can have depth and detail, and character development. Simple doesn't not necessarily remove the possiblity of 'depth'. They are two different factors. There are short stories that have more underlying depth, than a full-length novels as an example.

    Do stories necessarily have to have some complicated Lost-like story arc that ties every minute detail together to have depth?

  • Well... the very first KQ really didn't have any story just a set up.. and no real direction... I want to be drawn into the world and the characters...
  • Well... the very first KQ really didn't have any story just a set up.. and no real direction... I want to be drawn into the world and the characters...
    This is true, which is why pointed out that latter games, added detail and depth, while keeping things simple, and more or less stand alone (or limited to mini-arcs).

    Compare KQ1 to the KQ1 remake, and there is alot more depth in the remake compared to the original. But the formula is kept simple. But compare KQ1 remake to KQ6 or KQ7 for example, the latter have greater depth than the former (but the formula more or less remained the same). So improvements in depth on a micro-level is expected.

    But is it necessarily to have 'complicated' plots on a macro-level (of the entire series)l?
  • Yes, I believe you can have a story of depth in a smaller story - it doesn't always have to be some kind of world, time and character spawning epic. Sometimes throwing too many ingredients into the pot creates a very complex stew - but it tastes like shit.

    Not saying it can't be done; there's been some epic stories and games that are quite good. I think, though, a lot of writers and designers are going for that these days, and as a whole - we've lost sight of keeping it simple, stupid.

    I think King's Quest works better with each game being more self-contained, and restrained.

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    self-contained, but with a great story spawning through the 5 episodes. Obviously I wouldn't mind some throw back references either, but I'd like to see something strong in terms of good narrative. I think Telltale did a good job with Tales of Monkey Island, so I wouldn't mind that direction. That had some ties to the past, but focused mostly on the problem at hand.
  • I think plotline arching through all five+ episodes for Telltale's King's Quest is a given. The story should be self contained to the the new story (though episodic), with only minor references to the past games... the story should be all original, and not attempt to tie up 'loose ends'. Unless its done in the way that previous KQ did it, bringing back a character like Rumplstiltskin, Manannan, Cassima, or Edgar (only if they relate to the story at hand), or fit within a needed plot (as long as they aren't turned into mary or gary stus). Again I was always fine with how KQ5 mentions the Vizier, and then we see him in KQ6. Or how KQ7 mentions Lolotte as to her relation to Edgar's backstory and his capture by Malicia. But these references are kept simple.

    I don't want something along the lines of Sam & Max Volume 1, where each episode was more or less stand alone, and the linking arc of the series was secondary. It Telltale followed that format, there wouldn't be much of a story at all... Not within a 3-5 hour increments that Telltale episodes consist of...

    Also, I would be fine with 'Shadrack' appearing as a villain (as he was mentioned in a previous official game, KQ6), but his plotting should be contained to the story at hand. Since there is no evidence that he was tied to every single KQ villain in the series (nor any evidence that he was a 'leader'), he should be treated simply as just another evil wizard. In KQ6 the plan was Abdul Alhazred's alone, and Shadrack was a friend who simply gave a little a advice... If Shadrack is used he should his own original 'evil plan' that is limited to the story being told, and the land visited during the story. Basically like how, while Mordack had a connection to Manannan, his plot was more or less self-contained to Serenia (and not connected to any vast world conspiracies).

    But appearance other past characters are not mandatory...
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