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:iconkschnee:KSchnee posted a status
A thought on game design and storytelling: it seems like how seriously players can take a story depends on the level of thought that got put into the setting. Also, I've written before about games where what you actually do clashes with the fiction. Exampls of that include a pirate board game where you generally don't fight anyone, and a cyberpunk mystery ("Android") where the rules make you feel like you're pinning blame on someone instead of discovering the real killer.

Today's example starts with "Overwatch". There's an elaborate backstory: a robot war, a superhero squad, a vengeful black-ops guy turned (more) evil by a flawed experiment, and a genius moon gorilla illegally recalling the heroes to fight for justice again while Female!Hispanic!Adam Jensen investigates a vague global conspiracy. And what do you do in this game? Stand in an arbitrary rectangle until the announcer says you win, or push a car. Which is exactly what you do in "Team Fortress 2", except that its deliberately silly story doesn't encourage you to think too hard about the characters' motives.

Similarly, people make fun of the newer "Sonic the Hedgehog" games for being random nonsense that should've died at least a decade ago. I used to read the comic book series, and it actually had a setting with consistent characters and places where things could happen other than the local mad scientist trying to blow them up. It was possible to accept (say) a singing mongoose using a concert for a personal crusade against nanotech in the hands of an AI who might be subverted, because there was an in-universe justification for that and the characters had a background with other things going on. Compare that to games like "Sonic Adventure", which was a clumsy thing where a handful of animal characters existed in a human world for no apparent reason and other events happened for no logic at all. (Finish a certain level, and a landslide opens a new path to a locked door, and the key appears in an alley in a distant city. Why? There's only the out-of-universe or "Doylist" explanation that it happens to advance the plot.)

From what I understand, the pony-themed MMORPG "Legends of Equestria" is meant to be a copy of Hasbro's cartoon world, down to obvious copies of specific buildings. But what is the gameplay like? It's a generic MMORPG. That clashes badly with the intended theme, without even getting into the copyright problems.

Getting back to "Overwatch", I note that there're some distinctly evil characters among the playable ones, and that they and the good ones can be on the same or opposing teams. The effect is an attempt at story that fails and calls attention to how different the gameplay is. The gameplay itself is fine, but jarring in comparison to what it's supposed to represent. It's as though I were playing a farming game where every plant has to be brutally beaten into submission.

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:icona-non-mouse:
A-non-mouse Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well to be fair the payload maps in overwatch at least have a story.. The King's row payload is an EMP that the attackers are trying to detonate in the midst of a bunch of omnics, for example. 
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:iconkschnee:
KSchnee Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2017  Student Writer
Really? I was playing as a good guy basically leading a terrorist attack? O_o
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:icona-non-mouse:
A-non-mouse Featured By Owner Edited Jan 14, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yep. Also the Numbani defenders are trying to take Doomfist's Gauntlet, the Dorado ones are trying to make sure Lumerico can't open their new power plant (This may not be a bad thing depending if Sombra was telling the truth during the ARG) , the hollywood ones are trying to make sure an influential omnic director never makes it to his trailer (although judging by the movie-esque victory shot the winners get it's just cuz they wanted in on the whole film business), and the Gibraltar ones are trying to stop Winston from getting Overwatch's communication network back online. On the other hand the Route 66 ones are trying to stop the deadlock gang from getting their hands on a nuclear weapon and the Eichenwalde ones are protecting Balderich von Alder's corpse and armor. Who knows which side counts as the good guys in that last one.
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:iconnuclearpoweredpony:
True, but that doesn't explain why the attacking team might have Zenyatta or bastion on it then. Or why you might have tracer and widowmaker cheerfully working side by side.

With team fortress two the implied backstory was that the gravel wars were mostly a sham intended to keep a large number of troublemakers occupied by employing them(either on red or blu team) and having them fight to the death in some location where their violent antics can be kept from causing widespread mayhem to the public at large.

Something else about the sonic comics is they often had to incorporate random elements from the games into the comics setting because the company that made the comic(archie comics, who also makes a stellar mega man series) did not own the intellectual property.

I imagine the writers for the comic just looooooved having to incorporate sonic turning into a werewolf into their intricate setting. 8)
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:icona-non-mouse:
A-non-mouse Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah who knows how the heckity heck team comp works in universe. And also who knows why the heck KOTH maps matter, in or out of universe. 

Oof, those poor comic writers...
"Excellent! we've finished the plot synopsis for the next three years!"
-An out of breath intern runs in with a piece of paper- "SONIC'S A WEREWOLF NOW!"


sidenote: the tf2 backstory is actually fairly developed at this point, at least for a FPS. the wars are led by Redmond mann and blutarch mann who are trying to kill each other to get the entirety of the inheritance their father left them and forced them to share. There's more but I won't bore you with it all here.
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