(Re: King’s Quest Online)
While I usually hate naysayers, today I am going to be one of them.
Online games are not driven by stories. They are driven by the freedom
players are given to self-determine. Sierra games had heart because they
told a compelling story, which can only be done if the designer has complete
control over the player’s actions, ie where they have to go, what they have
to do, and the outcome. This to me implies scripted sequences aplenty, plus
almost forcing the player to do what the designer wants with little to no
freedom of choice in the matter.
Frankly, I liked that about Sierra quest games. I think the Quest for Glory
series came closest to giving players enough freedom to believe they were
actually directing the story with little to no prompting from the designers
because they could fight for as long as they liked, steal if they were so
inclined, and indulge in story elements at their leisure. However this was a
very fine balance. Online games require not only the ability of the player
to self-determine at their leisure, but incentive to KEEP ON PLAYING as
And my point? Making an online King’s Quest game is not a good idea. King’s
Quest was about wholesome values, morals, fairy tales with a twist… well
it was untlil MOE came out where the player was suddenly forced to KILL
things en masse… I mean really, in a King’s Quest game?? Who among us
didn’t find that a major departure from the previous installments in the
series? I sure as hell did.
Do you really want to make one of the most beloved game series of all time
(at least in my book) into a 24/7 kill-a-thon? How do you propose to use
story in an online game to keep things interesting when all most players
want is the freedom to do whatever they please… force the story onto them
and you will lose customers, guaranteed.
If you want to resurrect the King’s Quest series, do it with a single player
game. Include some of the elements you’ve been talking about with regards to
King’s Quest Online, refine it into an awesome story that doesn’t involve
mass slaughter of anything, say by the use of a storyline that focuses on
political intrigue or even romance as KQ6 did, and maybe we’ll have a game
on our hands that is worthy of the King’s Quest title.
I strongly believe that the reason a game like KQ6 was so popular and
successful is because the player got to fall in love, which is something
everyone wants to do, (yes, even hardcore gamers). It was a game with heart,
there was very little WOW factor on a technical level since it was a pretty
standard point-and-click affair (if you ignored the introduction which was
fantastic for its time). The game itself was all about the yearning of a
prince’s heart to find his true love, and who among us doesn’t have the same
yearning? I just don’t believe a story with heart can be easily translated
into an online game.
So I now ask the question, are we as gamers so jaded that the only things
that appeal are mass slaughter, bigger weapons, stronger armour, deadlier
combat skills, higher levels? I don’t like to believe that, but that is what
game makers are catering for, so there has to be an element of truth to it.
That is why games that grab you on an emotional level are few and far
between. In actual fact, I would love to hear from the rest of you
sierragamers readers as to what games you’ve played recently which you’ve
actually felt GOOD about as opposed to be scared witless or held in suspense
or drained. I recently picked up the Painkiller demo and felt more than a
little ill a few minutes into it, play it yourself and you’ll see what I
mean. Or you won’t, there are a lot of gamers who eat stuff like that up.
Point is, a lot of games I’ve played, seen or heard about lately are all
about violence and blood and guts, held together by the most idiotic of
stories, and frankly that’s not what I am interested in.
Anyway, now that I’ve taken up valuable work time composing this mail, I
will leave you with a final thought: Do you want to see another Everquest
clone, or do you want to see a decent, story-driven, character-rich single
player game like we know King’s Quest is capable of being? I know what I
Deon du Plessis
Gamer since ’89
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