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View Full Version : Open World quality tiers idea



Sushiglutton
07-26-2015, 03:36 PM
So I was reading this thread on neogaf (http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1084739) and I thought it was interesting as a lot of posters expresses the same concerns with OW games as I feel (and we have discussed on this board). Mainly that they tend to be bloated with an overwhelming amount of uninteresting content. I want a 10-20h long experience with quality stuff, rather than 70h of doing the same tedious tasks over and over. Some people point out that much of this content is optional, which for the most point is true. However it's often flagged in a way that makes you want to do it (which is the idea). I think a lot can be won by giving the player more control of the flagging.


FarCry 4 does a lot of things right here imo. First off it has great map customization. Basiaclly you can toggle any icon on or off. This will affect the minimap as well, which is super important! FC4 then combines this with a very thorough HUD customization menu which gives you great control of your experience.


http://s24.postimg.org/jmyy2cn45/Far_Cry_42015_7_26_15_42_44.jpg



I feel like this alone would be a great addition to AC. So how do you make people aware of this? Here's the (awesome) difficulty selection screen for Deus Ex HR:

http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--guBaoTTi--/c_fit,fl_progressive,q_80,w_636/17y130eykg4o0jpg.jpg


What I think Ubi should add to AC is something similar but more in the context of Open World content quality. In FarCry 4 there are a fairly natural division of sidecontent in quality tiers:

1) Main missions
2) Named (Longinus etc) and Shangri-La missions.
3) Fortresses and ouposts.
4) Green circle ones.
5) Special collectibles (journal for example)
6) Generic collectibles

This is not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea. I think that before you start your playthrough you should get the option to select the kind of open world experience you want in a similar fashion to Deus Ex's difficulty setting (and then fine tune it with similar excellent options like FC4). Like for example: "I want just the best!", or "Give me all I can eat!", or "Narrative goodness". The point here is to prevent the overwhelming feeling a lot of people got from say the AC:Unity map. To make this work it's obviously crucial to not hide any quality content behind lower quality stuff.


In a yearly franchise it's crucial to fight franchise fatigue. One of the biggest offenders here is the generic content imo. Making it more optional is therefor very important!


(Then we ofc have the need for much better core mechanics, but that's for another thread :D! )

VestigialLlama4
07-26-2015, 04:47 PM
This is not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea. I think that before you start your playthrough you should get the option to select the kind of open world experience you want in a similar fashion to Deus Ex's difficulty setting (and then fine tune it with similar excellent options like FC4).

I don't know DEUS EX's approach seems very douchy, I mean making fun for people to want a story...sheesh! I prefer Easy-Normal-Hard or New Game Plus. That alone suffices. In the case of open world gaming, my feeling is both "less is more" and "too much is never enough". In the first case, the less there is in the map, the smaller your disappointment with it. Take Shadow of the Colossus, one of the greatest open world games yet it has nothing in it, just a vast empty landscape with varying terrain and ultimately whatever stuff or activity you may or may not do is entirely up to you to find out on some future playthrough. AC1 has side missions but all of them are connected to the story and none of them give you special or especially out of the way rewards. They were all optional and modular, you can collect the Flags if you want an excuse to see the sights and sounds of the maps. You can kill 60 Templars if you want to test your Assassin-skills. When you replay you have the options of doing it a third or fourth way or style. In the case of "Too much is never enough", you know once the game is over and you do 100% you basically get bored and tired at the game. I mean all the activities and stuff you do has no payoff or acknowledgement from the game aside from a stats meter and you feel hollow and cheated. That's something linear games have over open-world, they know that there's a point gamers would want to put the game down, or at the very least replay the game to test their skills, find some secrets and stuff. In the games with excess activities, like San Andreas or AC3, that's a problem because you feel you got this power but it will never affect or get a response from the gameworld. ARKHAM KNIGHT solved this problem by giving you a special ending for doing 100% and the final credits and that's cool, that's a great incentive and others should go the same way.

There's also a modular aspect to open world gameplay that is unexplored. Like in GTA you had these rankings as you climbed up the ladder, the top is Kingpin, the bottom is Mook but its based more on doing side activities, getting proficiency with weapons and stuff, and there's no advantages to it. It should be possible for you to get a CITIZEN or LEGITIMATE BUSINESSMAN rank in GTA...no killing civilians, no red-lights, no tickets and only story mission targets killed. And that should get feedback from the game, because the player has changed the character by his own actions. Likewise if you are Joe Pesci and some tough gangster who is brutal but successfully gets a fear rating that you are untouchable, that should get acknowledgement, like say lawyer's fees goes up, you need to extort money and follow-up on threats and kill as few as possible... that would actually make a cool Templar game. Ultimately if you destroy a building say, in an open world game, that should have an effect or change in the plot. If you destroy a car that should count and reflect in the game.

In the AC games being storydriven, the modular element could work by merging the side missions with the story missions. Based on how many side missions you do, you unlock, certain, story missions and elements. Like say sending letters to people, makes certain NPC available on the map. They later are working in the building you have a mission at, they provide you an escape route, they help you blend in in hard-to-blend areas. They provide smoother rooftop access, they provide more haystacks. This goes back to AC1, where the Liberation Missions you do in a district unlocks the Vigilante faction and they can play a part in some of the street missions, especially Jubair.

RinoTheBouncer
07-27-2015, 08:41 AM
I totally agree. We need quality side missions. I'm not even talking about one specific game or franchise. But most Open World games, these days are bloated with repetitive and boring side missions and pointless collectibles. Yes, they make you play for 60 to 90-something hours but most people only do them because they have indicators on the screen. That's all.

I'd rather play a 20 hours long experience with story-driven main and side missions, than a longer experience with repetitive and plot-less missions. Look at Mass Effect, for example. I think it does a lot of things right. ME2 for example, has many side quests and the game itself is long. I swear that at so many points, I couldn't tell what missions are the main and what missions are the optional/side quests.

They all had cutscenes, dialogues, choices and an impact on the ending and following events and they were all high quality and set in places we've never seen before. So a 20-hour experience of contents like these that I'll enjoy playing is a lot better to me than a much longer experience that I'll finish with struggle and only because I'm a perfectionist.

steveeire
07-27-2015, 09:12 AM
Well if take the Witcher 3 for example while it has collectables, it takes its side missions srsly, each side missions has a unique story and can earn you some nice rewards and some side missions play into the actual plot missions, so you can have an open world with good side missions.

Alphacos007
07-27-2015, 12:56 PM
Well if take the Witcher 3 for example while it has collectables, it takes its side missions srsly, each side missions has a unique story and can earn you some nice rewards and some side missions play into the actual plot missions, so you can have an open world with good side missions.

True, I took almost 100hours to finish Witcher 3 because I did all side quests, and not a single one seemed generic like the AC ones. We REALLY need quality side quests.

SpiritOfNevaeh
07-27-2015, 11:36 PM
I totally agree. We need quality side missions. I'm not even talking about one specific game or franchise. But most Open World games, these days are bloated with repetitive and boring side missions and pointless collectibles. Yes, they make you play for 60 to 90-something hours but most people only do them because they have indicators on the screen. That's all.

I'd rather play a 20 hours long experience with story-driven main and side missions, than a longer experience with repetitive and plot-less missions. Look at Mass Effect, for example. I think it does a lot of things right. ME2 for example, has many side quests and the game itself is long. I swear that at so many points, I couldn't tell what missions are the main and what missions are the optional/side quests.

They all had cutscenes, dialogues, choices and an impact on the ending and following events and they were all high quality and set in places we've never seen before. So a 20-hour experience of contents like these that I'll enjoy playing is a lot better to me than a much longer experience that I'll finish with struggle and only because I'm a perfectionist.

Most of this I agree with.

Sushiglutton
07-28-2015, 04:40 PM
I totally agree. We need quality side missions. I'm not even talking about one specific game or franchise. But most Open World games, these days are bloated with repetitive and boring side missions and pointless collectibles. Yes, they make you play for 60 to 90-something hours but most people only do them because they have indicators on the screen. That's all.

I'd rather play a 20 hours long experience with story-driven main and side missions, than a longer experience with repetitive and plot-less missions. Look at Mass Effect, for example. I think it does a lot of things right. ME2 for example, has many side quests and the game itself is long. I swear that at so many points, I couldn't tell what missions are the main and what missions are the optional/side quests.

They all had cutscenes, dialogues, choices and an impact on the ending and following events and they were all high quality and set in places we've never seen before. So a 20-hour experience of contents like these that I'll enjoy playing is a lot better to me than a much longer experience that I'll finish with struggle and only because I'm a perfectionist.


Players are different though. I agree with you that I want that 10-20h of just prime content these days. Some of it has to do with playing so many games I suppose. But it's clear not everyone agree with this, whcih is why the OW genre has evolved as it has (this is far from an Ubisoft only issue). Obviously there has to be people who enjoy all the mediocre content, or a atleast think it's better to have it than not. So my thinking is that you should be able to customize your experience from the start so that the game would filter out the content you are not interested in. That way you wouldn't get an overwhelming feeling of just seeing the map. And you wouldn't constantly be bombarded with various flags to waste time on the subpar stuff.


Part of it is what type of content is in the game. And I want it to be of higher quality of course (cutscenes, handcrafted mission areas, scripted unique events etc). But the other part is presentation, which is something that would be cheaper and faster to do imo.

ze_topazio
07-28-2015, 05:10 PM
Not all side activities need to be story related, fooling around is one of the fun things of open world games, I for once have been asking for carriage and horse races and ridable Camels since forever, side activities however should be of quality, AC games as of late have been having a lot of shallow side content and ridiculous amount of pointless collectibles and chests to fill the map and make the games feel bigger than they actually are, it's getting kinda obvious and pathetic.