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Author Topic: character development  (Read 8193 times)
Dice
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« Reply #60 on: April 18, 2011, 12:09:08 AM »

Tales of's (Symphonia up), Trails in the Sky, Radiant Historia, Personas, Star Ocean (plot is in the negatives though), Suikodens (surprisingly), Valk Profile, Nier, um what else, the FF's if you havent played one by now.  I think these are all considerably deep.  Hell, sometimes the one saving grace of a poor plot comes in the form of it's characters.

So far the only SO character I found even remotely interesting is Maria. Also when you say Symphonia up do you mean all the games between Symphonia and the latest one (including such gems as Legendia and two of the three DS games) or just the ones done by the Symphonia team?

Both teams do jolly good work.   Vesperia has probably the worst told story ever, but the characters are interesting enough (the ones that are developed).

Star Ocean is a mixed bag, but given the choice, SO's characters outshine their stories... actually this can be said for most of Tri-Ace.
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Eusis
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« Reply #61 on: April 18, 2011, 12:56:14 AM »

(with you, 3).

And this is why you're an insufferable, condescending asshole and I'm tired of being polite with you, especially when you make faulty interpretations or outright ignore what I am actually saying. Looking elsewhere for a great story IS a point I feel strongly on, but it's primarily under the basis that someone isn't playing games for any of their unique qualities, wants a specific type of story more than a specific type of experience, and is for some god forsaken reason going to put up with hours of tedium, frustration, and grinding that they do not enjoy and adds nothing to the game except maybe an artificial sense of reward. There's nothing special about that, you're just a sucker for putting up with crap you hate for the sake of a few (POTENTIAL) morsels of entertainment. What you've been arguing for is, from what I can tell, someone who really IS after a unique experience that can only be offered in a game, and that is not what I've argued against at all. Anyways, I have to admit looking beyond RPGs is probably most relevant to those absolutely frustrated and unsatisfied by them, and in any case if someone DID ask for recommendations of games to check out for story I'd still recommend some whether or not I suggest other books/shows/non-RPG games/whatever, assuming there actually is a game matching their request. Besides, I'm figuring in the end a lot of people who ask for a recommendations in media to check out are open to outside suggestions within reason anyway.

Anyways, moving on!

That being said, I think what Eusis was commenting on is that the JRPGs just aren't packing strong stories these days, and if you're really looking for a standout story, maybe video games aren't the best medium.  There are some great JRPGs in the PS2 era that I have no doubt would be worth your time.  I really enjoyed the Suikoden games, because the story took me on such a great journey - I love being surprised and blindsided.

That's part of it, but a lot of it has to do with unrealistic expectations after stuff like Xenogears, before I realized it was better to keep more reasonable expectations to better enjoy myself, though that's something that can be applied to anything. I'm definitely fine with OK or mildly enjoyable gameplay though if it's tied to an engaging story, Suikoden's traditionally been a great example of that. I petered out on 5, but part of that was switching TVs and crap at the time, I'll definitely give it another shot someday much like I am for Persona 4.

Tales of's (Symphonia up), Trails in the Sky, Radiant Historia, Personas, Star Ocean (plot is in the negatives though), Suikodens (surprisingly), Valk Profile, Nier, um what else, the FF's if you havent played one by now.  I think these are all considerably deep.  Hell, sometimes the one saving grace of a poor plot comes in the form of it's characters.

They're not really deep though, NieR's thought provoking and the rest can be entertaining or even moving to some degree, but there's few to no alternative interpretations and not much to ponder. I'd recommend them as great pieces of entertainment, but deep? Well, half the games I think of that can be argued are deep come off as kinda pretentious anyway, so I really don't want to touch that topic, it's enough to get something highly enjoyable here. Except Star Ocean, the stories are stupid and its one attempt at being deep was a terrible copy of the Matrix's twist.

Edit: Minor fix, addition to my rebuttal/clarification.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 03:23:36 AM by Eusis » Logged
Dice
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« Reply #62 on: April 18, 2011, 01:07:06 AM »

It's kind of a hard question to answer, and a real "to each his own" sort of dilemma and I'm not exactly sure how you can't objectively say what really qualifies.  I think most games prioritize other things than story and deep characterizations.  Anyway, you get this kind of stuff across most story medium's,good characters, bad ones, good story, bad ones, and some meeting up of both or none, or a bit of all.

Find me a game with EXCELLENT character development and, no matter, you'll probably get someone to argue against it.  I don't get all the fuss on the topic.  Very few games pull of anything excellently, and most "good games" are a dime a dozen anyways (as it should be).

All in all, I'm not big on characterization, a good story is what can keep my awake at night thinking it, but rarely the people unless they're tied to the big drama of the story.  One thing I hate about character development is how "tacked on" it usually is.  By some fantastic coincidence in FF7, theres a part where you just happen to visit places meaningful to your part, where you just gotta stick your nose into and side-track from the point a bit.  I give Vesperia credit on that, not many titles do a more "here and now" perspective (unlike Abyss' famous past-expose on each main character).

I just wonder; when developing, what comes first?  The story concept or the gameplay concept?
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« Reply #63 on: April 18, 2011, 01:24:05 AM »

Unless it's a graphic adventure, visual novel, or whatever, it really should be the gameplay concept (though even then arguably it's just built off an old, old gameplay concept). Especially since that probably results in a stronger story anyway since they have to make something that matches the gameplay rather than the gameplay coming off as some burden they have to deal with. Especially helps that some of the games with stories I liked most were gameplay first like Vagrant Story, and in some cases the line's a little blurred anyway (see: Radiant Historia).

As for character development and story: to a degree they ARE synonymous. You could have a really fascinating story with one note characters, but some twists have far more weight to them when dealing with characters we're attached to.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2011, 01:28:08 AM by Eusis » Logged
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« Reply #64 on: April 18, 2011, 08:02:45 AM »

Anyways, I have to admit looking beyond RPGs is probably most relevant to those absolutely frustrated and unsatisfied by them, and in any case if someone DID ask for recommendations of games to check out for story I'd still recommend some whether or not I suggest other books/shows/non-RPG games/whatever, assuming there actually is a game matching their request. Besides, I'm figuring in the end a lot of people who ask for a recommendations in media to check out are open to outside suggestions within reason anyway.

Anyways, moving on!

Only replying because you end with a position I agree with and your suggested actions rectify the complaints I was making (even if it seems you still don't understand what they were). Glad we could come to an agreement.
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« Reply #65 on: April 18, 2011, 08:02:56 AM »

Although I loved Lost Odyssey's take on it.

This. The Thousand Years of Dreams makes me melt with glee.
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« Reply #66 on: April 18, 2011, 08:43:45 AM »



I just wonder; when developing, what comes first?  The story concept or the gameplay concept?

I'm sure that largely depends on the creators vision and their creative process. There's probably been times when a team has come up with a great idea for a game, but then think "Huh, we need a story for this now" and vice versa.
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« Reply #67 on: April 18, 2011, 02:48:15 PM »

I find that games are really unbalanced between the two: story and gameplay.  One always seems to take a back seat.  I'm more in the camp of give me great characters above all; I spend a great deal of time with them, they have to be striking and intriguing.  I like to see a character grow throughout a journey, however, it's okay with me if they don't.  If you take into account real life, how many people actually end up changing all that much throughout?  Sure, it happens, but I don't play my games looking for a character to have a certain epiphany and turn themselves around.  I want more realistic, well-rounded characters.  BioWare has managed to be quite successful in doing this.  There's characters I absolutely can't stand, but as the game goes on, you start to realize their are layers and reasoning for some of their behavior.  I think we're seeing too many one-dimensional characters as of late, and I really hope we can get away from that. 
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« Reply #68 on: April 18, 2011, 05:06:06 PM »

I find that a balance of flashbacks and development works best. Have someone evolve during the game, but also give them a past thats a little more vivid than "never ventured outside of his/her secluded village".
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« Reply #69 on: April 18, 2011, 09:10:39 PM »

Only replying because you end with a position I agree with and your suggested actions rectify the complaints I was making (even if it seems you still don't understand what they were). Glad we could come to an agreement.

Well, at least we agree on the point that probably matters most here anyway.

I find that games are really unbalanced between the two: story and gameplay.

I don't find this the case too frequently, especially outside of RPGs (though it CAN sting more when it happens outside of them), and when it does feel unbalanced it's usually an inherent design problem; if it feels like there's too much gameplay and not enough story, it may be less because there's REALLY GOOD gameplay and more that it's getting long in the tooth and you just want to see what happens next at that point, and vice versa a game may either have cutscenes/dialogue that goes on too long, or worse goes on too long and is absolutely banal bullshit rather than anything that adds to the plot or moves it. That, or there seriously just isn't enough game despite the amount of story material, like Metal Gear Solid 1/2/4. I myself tend to be most satisfied with games with really good gameplay sprinkled with a VERY compelling story which remains concise, the best examples there are Vagrant Story and Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne.

All I really want from a game is to be entertained in some manner. As much as I railed against the notion of playing games you don't enjoy just for a story, I DO think it's a shame if people don't even try a really neat/interesting game just because of rough gameplay, especially when the gameplay's mostly good anyway (like No More Heroes 1).
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« Reply #70 on: April 18, 2011, 11:18:55 PM »

Your last paragraph is a really good point. I couldn't agree more. One of my best friends is an avid gamer but I have wasted countless time trying to convince him to try some of the more "complex" RPG's. He has tried a few but even when he's enjoyed the story he seldom finishes them and he always is complaining to me about the boss battles being too complex and/or too hard. Of course he also isn't a fan of numerous side quests and leveling up/grinding, so that certainly contributes to his difficulties. I did finally get him to play Persona 3 and 4 and he loved them but he probably only made it through a couple of hours on Nocturne and anything else even faintly resembling a typical JRPG he will seldom even try to play.
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« Reply #71 on: April 19, 2011, 02:32:02 AM »

Your last paragraph is a really good point. I couldn't agree more. One of my best friends is an avid gamer but I have wasted countless time trying to convince him to try some of the more "complex" RPG's. He has tried a few but even when he's enjoyed the story he seldom finishes them and he always is complaining to me about the boss battles being too complex and/or too hard. Of course he also isn't a fan of numerous side quests and leveling up/grinding, so that certainly contributes to his difficulties. I did finally get him to play Persona 3 and 4 and he loved them but he probably only made it through a couple of hours on Nocturne and anything else even faintly resembling a typical JRPG he will seldom even try to play.

Something that I still enjoy about FFVI is the fact that many of the sidequests in that game do contribute to a character's development rather than just maybe resolving an NPC's issue like "What's for dinner?" or "Where's the beef?" or "Go slay this monster! Do not pass the point of no return and collect 200 local currencies from this particular chest."


Also something I would love to see abolished sooner rather than latter are talking heads cutscenes. Case and point, SRWOG The Inspectors (i.e. the SRWOG2 anime). One of the best scenes of the show was Kyosuke showing up to a funeral despite the fact that he just got back from getting his shit wrecked. Neither OG2 or OGG came anywhere close to that because everything relating to that point is shown in talking head cutscenes (as well as nearly everything else).
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« Reply #72 on: April 19, 2011, 02:41:00 AM »

Something that I still enjoy about FFVI is the fact that many of the sidequests in that game do contribute to a character's development rather than just maybe resolving an NPC's issue like "What's for dinner?" or "Where's the beef?" or "Go slay this monster! Do not pass the point of no return and collect 200 local currencies from this particular chest."

I agree with this completely.  I always want sidequests to be more than just a fetch quest.  There should be some point to doing them whether that be more insight into the characters or story or better item bonuses.  Above all, though, I prefer if it does flesh out the characters more. 
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« Reply #73 on: April 19, 2011, 02:47:04 AM »

Exactly what I loved about FFVI's world of ruin - character development. They weren't just lame fetch quests. They all added to the story and fleshed it out. It was great.
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« Reply #74 on: April 20, 2011, 01:31:40 PM »

Just want to say that backstory exposition (which is usually done via flashback, but for me, is preferably done through the character or other characters revealing it themselves) is extremely important to character depth. It explains why the character is the way they are and both makes them more realistic and more relatable, since it enables you to understand why they feel things and also know more deeply how they feel.
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