Author Topic: Game Theory  (Read 1351 times)


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Re: Game Theory
« Reply #30 on: July 23, 2010, 07:26:15 pm »
What? We haven't had a good Game Theory discussion since June!? Pish posh! Time to fix that up.

There's a great article on 1UP about the Tactics Ogre update for the PSP. Besides the significance of this game as far as SE getting an old "Dream Team" back together for another round, it had a fantastic branching story. With Alexander O. Smith at the translation helm, the game's story can only benefit from a once-over. I'll go ahead and quote from the 1UP article:

...See, not only did Tactics Ogre have a powerful story, it had a branching story. In fact, every time someone argues that a game can't tell an interesting story and still offer player control over the outcome, Tactics Ogre is my go-to counter-example. Sure, these days we have BioWare's works and the Fallout series to show the potential of player input, but ten years ago the idea of a heavily story-driven RPG that allowed the player to determine its ultimate outcome was fairly novel.
In some ways, Tactics Ogre was a more compelling game than its successor [Final Fantasy Tactics]. The player-driven story had a lot to do with that, because the plot branched several times at significant moments in the story. Players had to make tough choices -- choices that were taken out of their hands in FFT. At the end of Ogre's first chapter, for instance, Denim is forced to choose between obeying an order to kill innocents or going rogue. The plot is rigged so that Vice will always oppose your decision, but the action you choose there radically changes the story and battles you experience in subsequent chapters. Imagine if the end of FFT's first chapter forced you to choose between helping Delita's sister or teaming up with Algus/Argath to fight alongside the nobles, and you begin to understand how affecting Tactics Ogre's dynamic story can be.

I'd have to heartily agree with the power of this story branching concept. It's been a long time since I played Tactics Ogre, but that was always its defining quality for me. On the other hand, Matsuno & co. must have burned quite a bit of midnight oil composing the plot's multiple branches in such a way that each branch felt like high quality writing. I'm curious as to how this worked in the BioWare games the 1UP blog post author mentioned, since they might be more recent examples. Did the branches in these games make the player feel like they were experiencing something hugely different, and how long were the storyline branches in Fallout?

When branching a game story, is it better to have lots of small branches and make the game shorter each playthrough, or a few branches and make one hugely epic?
« Last Edit: July 23, 2010, 07:29:00 pm by FaustWolf »