On Bioware and the story thing

I was checking other things and noticed something I wrote a while ago. Look at it from the current perspective of all the talk about Bioware and their desire to focus on the story:

Recently we touched so many fundamental points. About the limits and accessibility problems of a sandbox, about the linearity and staticity of a narrative, about the unexcused, negative transition from the levels being a way to progress in the story (classic pen&paper RPG) to the story being a way to progress through the levels (classic DikuMUD progression). We have lost the story. Some also said that we lost the possibility to affect and change the world, like branching quests that open up different possibilities.

I wrote my own opinion about all these points and suggested many solutions. But it’s always hard to make a synthesis of all that. It’s hard to have a “one size fits all” answer that is truly satisfactory without those “deficiencies”. I wrote that some of the problems, goals and solutions are antithetic. You cannot find a solution for everything because one will be opposed to the other. I gave up here. I’m not good enough to think something that works so smoothly. A story, to be a very good story, needs identity and authorship. Control. It has a start and an end. It’s more or less linear, even if you can segment it and let the player follow a personal order. But all the pieces would still be there.

At the basic level: a good story has an awful replayability.

After you have spoiled it, part of the fun of the exploration and discovery will go away. Yes, we could chase the myth of of the branching possibilities. So that you can repeat a story and find out different possibilities. But this makes the development time increase exponentially and these games have budgets, and these budgets depend on time. This would also not remove the artificiality of a falsely persistent world where you can go back and repeat something to see it going in a different way. It’s a paradox, a false solution.

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