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View Full Version : A Reminder to AC Devs why story is the important part of the series



RVSage
12-13-2016, 10:09 AM
The developers have said in interviews that they have

there are three core pillars

1. Navigation/Parkour

2. Stealth

3. Combat

The fourth and central pillar to me always has been a story, it is the reason I got into the series. Combine Ancient mysticism, with sci fi, conspiracy theories, Doomsday prophecies, the question of free will , into one beautiful narrative you get AC1 to AC 3

The one character that tied all this together was Desmond, the world had so many hints, so much mystery, that you unravelled. It was like reading an interactive novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Even if I did not like the end of the novel (Ac3) it was a worthy read.

AC Black Flag, was a wonderful complementary story (Just as Fantastic beasts is to Harry Potter), it did tie many loose ends

Then Came Unity, people call it buggy mess, broken and troll it, what it did not have was a was new story to tell, it was a generic story with none of the fascination, wonder, intrigue that any of the previous games had, Unity and Syndicate were so disjoint from the rest of the series


I always wonder why modern day was so vital for many long term fans, but then it struck me, Modern day is the story of Assassins Creed , not the historical part, the historical part was to understand, why the present is messed, why is there is so much chaos, without the past you cannot understand the present. But for the past to mean something there needs to be a present.


Moving on to transmedia comics,
When the trans media (Comics), started I thought it would tie in more loose ends. But After coming till Templars #8, there are even more questions.


Any good story needs more conclusions than loose ends. Yes you need to setup the future, plot. But at the same time you have to complete the current chapter in it's entirety.(In the telivision world, Game of thrones does this exceptionally well, so did Westworld)

I do not know want to read too much into ,the recent news about less narrative oriented AC game.

But remember this people dont play AC for just the historical tourism, they play it for the story YOU WANT to tell.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpeKBfiVJQM

Read the comments section, people loved the story you told.

Look at the most successful games over the last few years

1. Witcher 3 had a great story to tell

2. Uncharted 4 told a story, I mean the game is not too diverse or difficult.

3. Dishonoured 2 is a technical mess, but still it gets awards, ratings.

Last but not the least

You can create an huge open world , with lots of NPCs, lots of activities, lot of accuracy in replicating locations, design flawless mechanics, Do everything people want you to , but in the end you will disappoint them and be disappointed by them. You cant recreate others dreams but your dreams. We want to hear your story Ubisoft, not what you think people like. If that were the case Dumbeldore would have never died. I may not like Desmond's death, but it did close the book. But since then looks like you have been on fan-fiction mode. We don't need a witcher 3 or dishonoured, we just need an AC, which has a story to tell, from where it left off. Give us more answers than questions.

Sigma 1313
12-13-2016, 02:03 PM
100% agree

Lysette88
12-13-2016, 02:22 PM
There are always 2 sides of a coin - you are saying that people do not play AC for the historical tourism - I don't think so, what makes AC special is exactly that, the historical content and that you can experience a part of this history, even some things might be pure fiction. The storyline should be a guideline IMO, but it should not take away from your own experience or get in the way of making own experiences. I do not want to replay something like an actor on stage, where the role does not offer me any freedom, but I want to make own experiences in the game and in a historical setting, which is interesting to explore and where I have a lot to do in.

Take AC3 for example, sequence 1-4 take me by the hand and does not give me a lot of freedom to explore the new world and make own experiences - there are pretty much no activities beside the story line missions - the rest is just seizing a few viewpoints, deliver a few letters, hunt some animals - the rest is all storyline missions - so many, that a lot will just give up on the game because it has too many cut-scenes in comparison to free-roam activities. This gets better in the later game, but the first 4 sequences in AC3 are a pain due to too much story-line elements and a lack of free-roam activities, where you write the story. And this is what an open-world setting should be mainly about - your own stories in the game world - and that is what Ubisoft seems to feel as well - an interactive environment in a video game should not be like a novel, with a given story line, which I have to follow like I would be an actor - but it should offer freedom to do what you please - but for that it requires a huge amount of interesting activities, which I can do, but not necessarily have to do. A storyline is nice to have - but it should not dominate the game - I do not want a novel, I want a world to freely play in.

Syndicate did that much better - sure, I had to play sequence 1-3 first, but then the whole game world is opening up and I can just do as I please, explore the city and immerse myself into the game world. There are plenty of activities outside the story line and I can just - after my leisure - play a storyline mission once in a while and even choose with which character I want to play - both have separate storyline missions with a different focus even. To me Unity and Syndicate opened up a new way to play AC and it is much more of what I expect than the older games, which were good afaik them, but I enjoyed especially Syndicate a lot more.

And then there is another aspect to it - a lot of AC players are meanwhile no longer students (if they were that at all), but have a career, family and other responsibilities and interests than just gaming. A game like Syndicate can be played as well, if one has just 30-45 minutes to play, it can be an enjoyable ecxperience, where a lot can be done, because there are gaming elements, which can be done in a couple of minutes. Not so in a more storyline driven environment, where you often cannot just have a break in the middle of a lengthy mission, but have to push through it - this is ok for students, but not for people, where real life can interfere and requires immediate attention. If AC gaming is maturing with it's audience and accommodate to this, that is a good thing IMO.

I do not say though, that you are wrong - like I said, there are 2 sides of a coin - I just wanted to give you my perspective.

IMO an ideal form of a historical game would be, when one would start out in the world simply exploring it, get a feel for it and where there are activities, which let one live in the game world. Whilst this would give you time to adapt to the game word, history unfolds - take the Unity setting for example - you would experience that people struggle to make a living, a lot starve and the anger is growing, more and more conflicts arise - if you would have to eat and drink, you would experience that yourself, bread prices sky-rocket and you cannot feed yourself well enough anymore, now you would have a reason to find a solution for this problem. You might eventually think of criminal activities, but soon find out, that there is not much to gain from people, because no one really has something, so you have to find another solution - and history keeps unfolding, you are more and more sucked into the events and have a reason to engage in the events - something like that would be great, and the story would be your own story interwoven with the historical events - but you would experience and feel why all this is happening - without a given story to follow.

RVSage
12-13-2016, 04:45 PM
There are always 2 sides of a coin - you are saying that people do not play AC for the historical tourism - I don't think so, what makes AC special is exactly that, the historical content and that you can experience a part of this history, even some things might be pure fiction. The storyline should be a guideline IMO, but it should not take away from your own experience or get in the way of making own experiences. I do not want to replay something like an actor on stage, where the role does not offer me any freedom, but I want to make own experiences in the game and in a historical setting, which is interesting to explore and where I have a lot to do in.

Take AC3 for example, sequence 1-4 take me by the hand and does not give me a lot of freedom to explore the new world and make own experiences - there are pretty much no activities beside the story line missions - the rest is just seizing a few viewpoints, deliver a few letters, hunt some animals - the rest is all storyline missions - so many, that a lot will just give up on the game because it has too many cut-scenes in comparison to free-roam activities. This gets better in the later game, but the first 4 sequences in AC3 are a pain due to too much story-line elements and a lack of free-roam activities, where you write the story. And this is what an open-world setting should be mainly about - your own stories in the game world - and that is what Ubisoft seems to feel as well - an interactive environment in a video game should not be like a novel, with a given story line, which I have to follow like I would be an actor - but it should offer freedom to do what you please - but for that it requires a huge amount of interesting activities, which I can do, but not necessarily have to do. A storyline is nice to have - but it should not dominate the game - I do not want a novel, I want a world to freely play in.

Syndicate did that much better - sure, I had to play sequence 1-3 first, but then the whole game world is opening up and I can just do as I please, explore the city and immerse myself into the game world. There are plenty of activities outside the story line and I can just - after my leisure - play a storyline mission once in a while and even choose with which character I want to play - both have separate storyline missions with a different focus even. To me Unity and Syndicate opened up a new way to play AC and it is much more of what I expect than the older games, which were good afaik them, but I enjoyed especially Syndicate a lot more.

And then there is another aspect to it - a lot of AC players are meanwhile no longer students (if they were that at all), but have a career, family and other responsibilities and interests than just gaming. A game like Syndicate can be played as well, if one has just 30-45 minutes to play, it can be an enjoyable ecxperience, where a lot can be done, because there are gaming elements, which can be done in a couple of minutes. Not so in a more storyline driven environment, where you often cannot just have a break in the middle of a lengthy mission, but have to push through it - this is ok for students, but not for people, where real life can interfere and requires immediate attention. If AC gaming is maturing with it's audience and accommodate to this, that is a good thing IMO.

I do not say though, that you are wrong - like I said, there are 2 sides of a coin - I just wanted to give you my perspective.

I agree historical tourism is an aspect , I did say "Not just" for historical tourism. AC works because it has all these elements put together. (history, open world, stealth), with a cohesive and intriguing story line.

There are lots of ways to tel a story, it can be more mixed is mssions or more cut scenes, but my point is it needs to be told, not skipped/cut down like in Unity and Syndicate

cawatrooper9
12-15-2016, 03:42 PM
Yeah, I definitely don't think RV Sage is saying that we need to sacrifice good open world gameplay or historical tourism in favor of an overarching MD narrative. In fact, I think that the idea that those things are somehow mutually exclusive is what's killing the series. Give us a coherent series with the plot and intrigue of the Ezio era. Heck, you can even give us back characters we love! If we have to go back to the 1700s one final time to get closure on that era, so be it- but just make it meaningful. Make everything meaningful.

Syndicate was a fun enough game, and in some ways superior to any other in the series. But it really didn't at all feel like an Assassins Creed game outside of the gameplay itself. From the very opening of the game we're thrust into Jacob and Evie's world- that's fine, and can sometime make for a really intimate story- but what about the world of the Assassins? The plot is simply to "Kill Starrick" and really doesn't have much more complexity than that. In my opinion, the best mission of the game by far is when Evie went searching through the city's monuments trying to find the key to the vault. It had a sense of mystery that we haven't really honestly seen since the Ezio era, and I loved that. Unfortunately, that sense was short-lived, but that particular mission was very well done.

Farlander1991
12-15-2016, 04:43 PM
The developers have said in interviews that they have

there are three core pillars

1. Navigation/Parkour

2. Stealth

3. Combat

The fourth and central pillar to me always has been a story,

I want to touch upon just this particular part, as it's a misunderstanding of what a 'core pillar' is in game development. It's not about 'this is important or this is not' or that 'story is not a pillar'. Core pillars are the foundation of the overall decision-making process and design of the whole game. It doesn't mean that the story is separate, it means that the story is created with that in mind.

To put it in another way: let's take any well-received story, like AC2. The plot itself you can tell in any medium, and in any game genre - be it side scroller, adventure game, RPG, even a strategy game. The difference comes in details and how you make sure that the story and gameplay and everything else play off each other. The core assassination loop of 'approach, assassinate, escape' introduced back in AC1 perfectly represents these core pillars, and you can notice that AC plots rotate a lot around that loop and build stories that work well together with those assassinations being important beats.

Let's take a moment like Ezio trying to reach an impenetrable location to save the doge to foil Templar's plan. That's what the plot is. The way it plays out in the game is by using the flying machine, to circumvent the fact that you can't use the traditional navigational approach to get into the building, so it adds a vehicular navigation, plus some additional character development with Leonardo as you try to make that vehicle work, etc.

If it would've been a game with a different approach, then the same plot could work in the story in a different way. Let's say we'd have a game with pillars focused on Exploration and Character Upgrades. A metroidvania sidescroller. The plot could be the same, but the obstacle now would be based on some skill that you don't have, and Leonardo can create an invention that would help you do it (let's say climb on walls with no ledges), but you have to explore some locations to find all the necessary things, and what this will do is not only to allow to further the plot by completing the goal, but to also visit some other previously unreachable areas in visited locations that require this skill.

You see what I mean? It's not about deciding if story is important or not, it's about the foundation upon what is built and how and to try and make everything work together in a consistent, cohesive manner. The quality of the story and how well it works is separate from core pillars.

AnimusLover
12-15-2016, 06:18 PM
I want to touch upon just this particular part, as it's a misunderstanding of what a 'core pillar' is in game development. It's not about 'this is important or this is not' or that 'story is not a pillar'. Core pillars are the foundation of the overall decision-making process and design of the whole game. It doesn't mean that the story is separate, it means that the story is created with that in mind.

To put it in another way: let's take any well-received story, like AC2. The plot itself you can tell in any medium, and in any game genre - be it side scroller, adventure game, RPG, even a strategy game. The difference comes in details and how you make sure that the story and gameplay and everything else play off each other. The core assassination loop of 'approach, assassinate, escape' introduced back in AC1 perfectly represents these core pillars, and you can notice that AC plots rotate a lot around that loop and build stories that work well together with those assassinations being important beats.

Let's take a moment like Ezio trying to reach an impenetrable location to save the doge to foil Templar's plan. That's what the plot is. The way it plays out in the game is by using the flying machine, to circumvent the fact that you can't use the traditional navigational approach to get into the building, so it adds a vehicular navigation, plus some additional character development with Leonardo as you try to make that vehicle work, etc.

If it would've been a game with a different approach, then the same plot could work in the story in a different way. Let's say we'd have a game with pillars focused on Exploration and Character Upgrades. A metroidvania sidescroller. The plot could be the same, but the obstacle now would be based on some skill that you don't have, and Leonardo can create an invention that would help you do it (let's say climb on walls with no ledges), but you have to explore some locations to find all the necessary things, and what this will do is not only to allow to further the plot by completing the goal, but to also visit some other previously unreachable areas in visited locations that require this skill.

You see what I mean? It's not about deciding if story is important or not, it's about the foundation upon what is built and how and to try and make everything work together in a consistent, cohesive manner. The quality of the story and how well it works is separate from core pillars.

Whilst everything you have said here is correct and you are clearly very knowledgeable in game design, I feel that in an effort to show off how knowledgeable you are you're being pedantic and have deliberately skipped over the OP's main point. Because whilst technically you are right - there seems to be a misunderstanding of what Ďcore pillarí is in relation to game play on the OPís part - it's obvious what the OP actually meant i.e. the story is central to the overall experience of playing Assassin's Creed. And in fact, the quality of the story can affect how you feel about how well utilised the core pillars are. Assassin's Creed 1 is prime example of this and hence why it became so successful in spite of how badly its core pillars were implemented. I would be interested to see you chime in on the way the story of AC has gone.



1. Witcher 3 had a great story to tell

2. Uncharted 4 told a story, I mean the game is not too diverse or difficult.

3. Dishonoured 2 is a technical mess, but still it gets awards, ratings.

I am reminded of a very disturbing interview with the writer of Syndicate. He said that initially Jacobís destruction of the bank of England meant that inflation would be very high and so buying of equipment in-game would be harder due to exceptionally high prices. He also said Jacob destroying the transport business would mean fast travel would be disabled. You would then have to go around as Evie fixing it all up again. Can you imagine how much more weight Evie and Jacobís explosive argument towards the end of the game would have carried if we actually got to feel the impacts of that in the game play?

These were brilliant ideas but the writer followed it up by saying that Naughty Dog is an example of a dev that will destroy their own game play for the sake of the narrative. What he failed to mention is that Naughty Dogís games have been very well received almost primarily because of the story telling. Syndicate is completely lacking in depth because of this narrow minded approach. Itís not just how weak the stories are that is the problem but how disconnected they are from the game play that make them particularly bad. Ubisoft have forgotten how to use the story to enhance game play Ė something AC2 did masterfully and hence why itís so adored



You cant recreate others dreams but your dreams. We want to hear your story Ubisoft, not what you think people like. If that were the case Dumbeldore would have never died. I may not like Desmond's death, but it did close the book.

I would argue that Desmond's death wasn't Ubisoftís wish at all and that they killed him off in an effort to slowly kill off the modern day at the request of a very vocal minority. I think most people believed that the final game would feature us playing as Desmond in modern day.

Lysette88
12-15-2016, 08:17 PM
Well, about fast travel - I never was a friend of that anyway. There is so much work put into the game world, just to make it obsolete after passing through it more or less without paying attention to the detail, and later on one is fast traveling, what takes away the strategical element of having to think what to take with you and how to approach things in regards to the actual location in the game. With the introduction of fast travel this is all bypassed and instead to have a world to navigate in and have it as a strategical natural element in your gameplay, the whole thing is reduced to a couple of locations, where given story elements are happening - no feeling for distances, all is just passed through once and most of the detail put into the game world is in vain, because a lot will just rush from mission to mission and follow the storyline. That is a total different experience than without fast travel - fast travel is one of the evils of game design, not a benefit.

Just an example - how big is Far Cry Primal?- if people use fast travel, their impression of the size of the game world might be vastly underestimating. Now when we look at the guy, who achieved to get through the game in survivor mode and expert level and permadeath where fast travel is disabled - guess how much he had to travel actually through the world, instead to hop from location to location - that were 2,372 km - imagine that, how much of a difference that makes.

RVSage
12-15-2016, 09:02 PM
I want to touch upon just this particular part, as it's a misunderstanding of what a 'core pillar' is in game development. It's not about 'this is important or this is not' or that 'story is not a pillar'. Core pillars are the foundation of the overall decision-making process and design of the whole game. It doesn't mean that the story is separate, it means that the story is created with that in mind.

To put it in another way: let's take any well-received story, like AC2. The plot itself you can tell in any medium, and in any game genre - be it side scroller, adventure game, RPG, even a strategy game. The difference comes in details and how you make sure that the story and gameplay and everything else play off each other. The core assassination loop of 'approach, assassinate, escape' introduced back in AC1 perfectly represents these core pillars, and you can notice that AC plots rotate a lot around that loop and build stories that work well together with those assassinations being important beats.

Let's take a moment like Ezio trying to reach an impenetrable location to save the doge to foil Templar's plan. That's what the plot is. The way it plays out in the game is by using the flying machine, to circumvent the fact that you can't use the traditional navigational approach to get into the building, so it adds a vehicular navigation, plus some additional character development with Leonardo as you try to make that vehicle work, etc.

If it would've been a game with a different approach, then the same plot could work in the story in a different way. Let's say we'd have a game with pillars focused on Exploration and Character Upgrades. A metroidvania sidescroller. The plot could be the same, but the obstacle now would be based on some skill that you don't have, and Leonardo can create an invention that would help you do it (let's say climb on walls with no ledges), but you have to explore some locations to find all the necessary things, and what this will do is not only to allow to further the plot by completing the goal, but to also visit some other previously unreachable areas in visited locations that require this skill.

You see what I mean? It's not about deciding if story is important or not, it's about the foundation upon what is built and how and to try and make everything work together in a consistent, cohesive manner. The quality of the story and how well it works is separate from core pillars.

Good points Farlander , but as AnimusLover suggested, I was just trying to stress the importance of storyline

Let me give you my perspective with Black Flag as a case study

Before Black Flag release

1. Some were really upset with Desmond being killed off, thought franchise was dead

2. Some really thought the series is loosing it, and Black Flag may be the nail in the coffin, Ac3 frenzy died down very fast.

3, The first few weeks of BF in sales is proof of that

But what really happened after Black flag released

1. There were technical issues (not severe as Unity), but people looked past it. Why because they enjoyed the content the story, the world

2. It did not glorify or fantasise pirates, instead had a grounded approach.

3. Closed a lot of loose ends in Desmond's story line, completed the Kenway family story Thus answering a lot of questions, some people now moved past Desmond's death

4. The Sage , story line was a great new introduction, with intrigue. Made the modern day and past come together for a reason.

5. Darby Mcdevitt Shared some of the source material he used including "Republic of Pirates" by Collin Woodard, and I enjoyed reading the book. It showed me how much went into the writing of the game. AC IV became my favourite and many players best AC game ever.

What happened after Black Flag

1. The sage storyline is not expaned upon, only mention in form of Jaques de Molay and the silver smith being Sages. Abstergo want DNA of sage, for phoenix project No further exploration. Then we are thrown into Arno's world. He was never fully developed, just when we think we are getting to actually understand him, the game ends.

2. Syndicate expands and we understand the DNA was creating a first civ clone, and Juno plans to upload herself, to this, some mention of Consus. Juno keeps talking about her hatred for humanity, which we know since Brotherhood

Both these games only opened more questions than answers and even in the historical part we are never allowed to connect to the characters like we did with Ezio or Kenway family.

You see despite the lack of hype Black Flag succeeded, because it was a brilliant epilogue to Desmond's chapter. Answered questions, setup the next major plot, paved the way for a new chapter to open. Except the plot did not develop as it could have nor did we start a new chapter.

The quality of the story is what makes the core pillars work, and vice versa, to me they are not mutually exclusive

Farlander1991
12-15-2016, 11:08 PM
Good points Farlander , but as AnimusLover suggested, I was just trying to stress the importance of storyline


Whilst everything you have said here is correct and you are clearly very knowledgeable in game design, I feel that in an effort to show off how knowledgeable you are you're being pedantic and have deliberately skipped over the OP's main point. Because whilst technically you are right - there seems to be a misunderstanding of what ‘core pillar’ is in relation to game play on the OP’s part - it's obvious what the OP actually meant i.e. the story is central to the overall experience of playing Assassin's Creed. And in fact, the quality of the story can affect how you feel about how well utilised the core pillars are. Assassin's Creed 1 is prime example of this and hence why it became so successful in spite of how badly its core pillars were implemented. I would be interested to see you chime in on the way the story of AC has gone.

Not to sound pedantic, but I wasn't being pedantic :p I would've been if I tried to argue with OP's point, but I didn't. I don't want to participate in the discussion of this topic, I've written tons of forum posts about this already and it has all been the same points over and over again, I don't want to do that anymore, feel tired. But the start of the post made me feel like RVSage, and maybe some other people on this forum, take the word 'core pillars' the wrong way (I might've been incorrect, but that's how it looked to me as I've read the start of the message), so being a game designer who happens to be active on these forums I thought it would be nice if I'd clear that up so later there would be no misunderstandings when it comes to this particular part of game development. It is not my intention to participate in the discussion of AC's story.

Speaking of misunderstandings, core pillars is not just about gameplay. It's what drives design decisions, like I've mentioned, but it doesn't necessarily mean just gameplay decisions. All decisions. Because a game is not a separation of gameplay and narratve and visuals and audio and whatnot. It's one whole and everything has to work together. If you're interested in hearing more of my thoughts on how this all relates to AC, I've got some blog posts explaining my thoughts on cohesive experience in games on AC examples, using Brotherhood (https://stanislavcostiuc.com/2016/07/15/cohesive-open-world-experience-of-assassins-creed-brotherhood/) and Black Flag (https://stanislavcostiuc.com/2016/08/03/black-flags-narrative-theming-in-gameplay/) as positive examples, and Revelations (https://stanislavcostiuc.com/2016/07/22/assassins-creed-revelations-and-the-importance-of-cutting-features/) and Unity (https://stanislavcostiuc.com/2016/08/10/the-disunity-of-assassins-creed-unity/) as not so positive (even though Unity consists of tons of elements that are high quality if you look at them separately). Also, I had a talk that I presented on a conference recently about cohesion in games, and core pillars are mentioned there as well, I'm working on transforming that talk into an article, but can't link to it yet.

AnimusLover
12-16-2016, 05:37 AM
Well, about fast travel - I never was a friend of that anyway. There is so much work put into the game world, just to make it obsolete after passing through it more or less without paying attention to the detail, and later on one is fast traveling, what takes away the strategical element of having to think what to take with you and how to approach things in regards to the actual location in the game. With the introduction of fast travel this is all bypassed and instead to have a world to navigate in and have it as a strategical natural element in your gameplay, the whole thing is reduced to a couple of locations, where given story elements are happening - no feeling for distances, all is just passed through once and most of the detail put into the game world is in vain, because a lot will just rush from mission to mission and follow the storyline. That is a total different experience than without fast travel - fast travel is one of the evils of game design, not a benefit.

Just an example - how big is Far Cry Primal?- if people use fast travel, their impression of the size of the game world might be vastly underestimating. Now when we look at the guy, who achieved to get through the game in survivor mode and expert level and permadeath where fast travel is disabled - guess how much he had to travel actually through the world, instead to hop from location to location - that were 2,372 km - imagine that, how much of a difference that makes.

A lot of open world games have fast travel now, the difference between a game like Assassin's Creed and something like Fallout is that the latter encourages you to explore the world by putting lots of meaningful stuff inbetween the main icons and fast travel points therefore it's in the best interests for the player not to fast travel. Most importantly, a lot of the fast travel points don't show up on the map until the player is near it which almost forces the player into exploring. Ubisoft likes to tell you where everything is right off the bat to the point where they spoil what should be surprises (world war 1) and create what is essentially a laundry list of chores for the player to do right away so exploration is not encouraged. Although Watchdogs 2 is a step in the right direction for this as a lot of the side missions at least could only be discovered by traversing the world or building up your follower count, the latter which takes ages once the main campaign is done.


Speaking of misunderstandings, core pillars is not just about gameplay.


I never said it was. I was merely using gameplay as an example of something that can be enhanced by the story. Again, I can see you're knowledgeable about game design, you don't have to come up with strawman arguments in order to prove it.

VestigialLlama4
12-18-2016, 12:39 AM
Read the comments section, people loved the story you told.



For every one of those comments, there are a hundred others complaining that the Lore makes no sense (it doesn't), it's inconsistent and contradictory (it most certainly is), the historical stuff is not properly tackled (it isn't) and so on and so forth. That what they liked is climbing old times and the action and stuff.

AC was always a mess...a glorious mess at best but a mess because it was way too ambitious for its own good. The games which everyone likes is admittedly the ones where both story and gameplay work, but ultimately Ubisoft is not really capable of doing a proper story with an open-world game (which honestly is really hard to do, and even GTA struggles).


Look at the most successful games over the last few years

1. Witcher 3 had a great story to tell

2. Uncharted 4 told a story, I mean the game is not too diverse or difficult.

3. Dishonoured 2 is a technical mess, but still it gets awards, ratings.

Witcher 3 is a fantasy and those kinds of games always have an easier time navigating story and gameplay, because everything is made up, Uncharted 4 in addition is a linear single-player game as opposed to open-world, and Dishonored 2 (which got Game of the Year from PC Gamer by the way because not all PC gamers are fascists) is a game where the plot is always simple and straightforward so that the multiple choices and pathways (which is at the heart of the game's story experience) can work, and AC is not a game that allows multiple choices.

Fact is AC is an ambitious game that precisely struggles to make the stories work because they can't always stick to the stuff that other games do. They can't make and fake everything up because of the historical tourism thing...they are an open world game and there is no room for alternate choices because of the general structure of the game and story method.

So it has its own unique challenges. It's a lot harder and more demanding to do an AC story right than to do Witcher 3 or Red Dead Redemption.


You can create an huge open world , with lots of NPCs, lots of activities, lot of accuracy in replicating locations, design flawless mechanics, Do everything people want you to , but in the end you will disappoint them and be disappointed by them. You cant recreate others dreams but your dreams. We want to hear your story Ubisoft, not what you think people like. If that were the case Dumbeldore would have never died. I may not like Desmond's death, but it did close the book. But since then looks like you have been on fan-fiction mode. We don't need a witcher 3 or dishonoured, we just need an AC, which has a story to tell, from where it left off. Give us more answers than questions.

1. Games are Expensive. IP is valuable.

2. Ubisoft is currently in danger of being bought out by Vivendi.

3. AAA games are generally not doing well (like Dishonored 2 didn't sell well, Arkham Knight also got bad voodoo). There are new markets like Mobile games, I-Games and others that might be where the money lies in the years to come.

Lysette88
12-18-2016, 02:19 PM
I found your comment about what core pillar in the context of game design means helpful, Farlander1991, because it gave me a different perspective on the matter, which I didn't have before.

Lysette88
12-18-2016, 02:38 PM
2. Ubisoft is currently in danger of being bought out by Vivendi.

3. AAA games are generally not doing well (like Dishonored 2 didn't sell well, Arkham Knight also got bad voodoo). There are new markets like Mobile games, I-Games and others that might be where the money lies in the years to come.

There are several reasons, why AAA games are not doing well currently - firstly most are just more of the same (sequels with no new ideas) and secondly there are far too many games coming out in parallel, whilst people have just limited time to play games and this leads to that all are not doing well. And of course an uncertain future, like in the case of Ubisoft with the hostile takeover by Vivendi on the horizon is not making this better.

Those new markets, especially in the mobile sector, might even be able to kill good gaming experiences in favor of the more profitable but shallow games which can be sold in mass amounts in the mobile market. That can be shallow stuff like that what Zynga has marketed for years, there are far more people, who would go for a shallow game than there are people who go for games with some depth to them unfortunately. And the more game design and marketing costs, the more it will shift to the shallow mobile market.

Well, and there is another component to why AAA games do no longer sell well right from the very start - buggy releases - if there is a lot of choice, what to play, why would someone want to buy a new game right away and struggle with a buggy game, when he can just play another game, which is out for a while and got mainly fixed meanwhile - and is cheaper, because it can be on sale already. Low quality releases are as well a part of why this is happening.

crusader_prophet
12-18-2016, 08:36 PM
Who has time for story and critically appraised narrative when they have their priorities straight such as: spend a year to build 1:1 replica of Notre Dame and pay millions to hire stuntmen to do real 125ft LoF. They need to exhaust their resources for "nice to have" things first before nailing down the basics.

VestigialLlama4
12-18-2016, 08:48 PM
Who has time for story and critically appraised narrative when they have their priorities straight such as: spend a year to build 1:1 replica of Notre Dame and pay millions to hire stuntmen to do real 125ft LoF. They need to exhaust their resources for "nice to have" things first before nailing down the basics.

Well in the case of AC those "nice-to-have" things probably do get them a lot more money.

Like Black Flag sold because it had pirates and boats...the story was great and that was an added bonus but that's not what got it love.

The AC movie needs something to sell itself since it's mostly a MD story.

As for UNITY, well there's no excuse for incompetence...It's the George W. Bush of the franchise, it had a white protagonist who was more disliked than Connor...that's some achievement.

RVSage
12-18-2016, 09:15 PM
Welcome back, Vestigia, agreed with the differences in base concepts, between the games, But my point was simply, that good stories do help games succeed

I really hope Vivendi does not succeed, the company is kinda creepy

VestigialLlama4
12-18-2016, 10:22 PM
Welcome back, Vestigia, agreed with the differences in base concepts, between the games, But my point was simply, that good stories do help games succeed

I really hope Vivendi does not succeed, the company is kinda creepy

Most definitely it helps and AC had good stories...AC1, AC2, AC3, Black Flag.

But you know the problem is money. These games are expensive, and in an IP, what gets more expensive over time are the writers and creators who made the IP: PD and Corey May and others. And companies don't want an IP associated with one group for too long...simple corporate logic.

AC has so far collapsed with the exception of Darby McDevitt to find decent writers among its transmedia stable. They failed big time in creating decent titles.

RinoTheBouncer
12-20-2016, 05:53 PM
I agree 10000000% with every word you said, and I'd put the story as the first pillar, to be honest. I can forgive any game with average/below average gameplay if it had a proper story, and I'd take a linear AC with a story over an open world AC that lacks one.

RA503
12-20-2016, 06:44 PM
AC 1 is a game that is saved by his plot,his progression is boring,slow and repetitive but is one of the best plots of the franchise ...

cawatrooper9
12-20-2016, 07:00 PM
I really hate the direction gaming is going. I love variety, and it's great that gaming can accommodate all sorts of variety- sports games, Telltale-style story games, online shooters, MMORPGs, historical open world games... there's a lot of potential.

It's frustrating, then, that so many openworld games have the same formula now- make a big world, put in some collectibles and side quests, minimal cinematics, loose main storyline. We saw it with Unity and Syndicate, we saw it with Watch_dogs and its sequel, we even technically saw it with The Witcher 3. Maybe even worst of all, we even saw it in Dragon Age Inquisition. That's right, Bioware, who are known for their story-driven games, released a game recently in one of their big franchises that had almost no story.

AC feels different because it is different. For instance, I hated how areas of the city were restricted in early AC games, but if that's what we need to do to get a good story, so be it. If we have to have a more restrictive game like AC3, with less mission freedom- so be it, I guess.

But really, honestly, these things aren't mutually exclusive. We need better writing, and we need to not be afraid to take chances. And like I've said, this is certainly not just Ubisoft's problem- this is an industry wide problem at this point.

RVSage
12-21-2016, 07:38 AM
very true cawatrooper9, not just games movies too rely mroe on special effects and extravagant fight scenes rather than characters and their development, shows and movies which focus on these two succeed, why marvel wins over DC in movies

Fatal-Feit
12-21-2016, 04:10 PM
Narrative and gameplay aren't separate components, it's really annoying reading people complaining about the lack of story (or the apparent loss) as if story is simply dialogue and cutscenes. That's a narrow way of viewing things.

A good video game is developed by people who understand (Farlander explained this better) that a good video game is the combination of all of its elements gelled together properly, and that is how video games with both excellent gameplay and story are created. I am not an experienced video game designer at all, but I do have some understanding of what creates an unforgettable experience that goes beyond the average games and flavor of the month. When you try to break up a video game into parts and say this element needs more focus, you're missing the point. You can't just strengthen the narrative by adding more cutscenes and dialogue, that's not how it works. Whether the player realizes it or not, the gameplay is, and have always been, apart of its narrative--it adds just as much, if not more, tension, personality, context, and something you can't get from viewing, which is a personal experience--and removing freedom for linearity is simply exchanging one problem for another; it's not the solution.

Let me tell you about one of my favorite moments of all time in a video game that made me realize how much I love the medium and why I prefer experiencing its narratives over books and films. The gist of DMC3's story is that you're playing a demon hunter named Dante who is climbing a tower invested with demons to defeat your brother, Vergil, who is your rival. You fight him multiple times throughout the game and compared to the other enemies, you are both equals in design and abilities. As you proceed through the tower, just like Vergil, you unlock new abilities and weapons. Each time you defeat a boss, you obtain a new weapon from their soul. The weapons are the heart of DMC, because the combat is very strong and each weapon offers a new style and way to play. During one point of the game, you defeat a boss, but he escapes before you can finish him and he later stumbles upon Vergil who kills him and takes his soul, unlocking the weapon that you worked hard to obtain. When you meet Vergil again, he flaunts that weapon in front of you and you fight him. THAT, is a big moment in the game for players, because not only are we invested in kicking his *** since we're equals, he stole our weapon and is using it against us in our rematch. It's the kind of thing you can't get from simply adding more ''narrative''. What makes it such a powerful moment for fans is how it glued the story and gameplay together. It's what makes video game narratives unique and distinct from other mediums. It's these kind of moments that I play a video game for.

crusader_prophet
12-21-2016, 08:18 PM
I don't get the argument going on here. It's clear that Farlander was not arguing RVSage or trying to undermine his point of the original post i.e. story should be one of the most important part of the AC games. He merely pointed out that story is actually always an important element of game design regardless of what the core pillars of gameplay are for a particular game installment. His point was that core pillars are the tools used to uphold and deliver the "story", an experience to the player. They are not counteractive.

However, I do acknowledge and agree with RVSage's underlying intention of the original post that delivery of story-telling has become lackluster and forgettable experiences in recent titles. So even though the core pillars have been getting iterative improvement, their effectiveness in delivering the experience or "story" has become mediocre and forgettable.

Fatal-Feit
12-21-2016, 08:34 PM
Sorry, the argument is in general towards players' fears that the story will take a hit because the Ubi rep guy spoke about wanting to approach a more open design that isn't hindered by things like cutscenes. My point is that the narrative can still be great and not have to rely solely on linearity and cutscenes.

My favorite video game stories are the Soulsborne games, and the only time we're really presented with cutscenes with dialogue are in the beginning and end.

My apologies for making it confusing.

crusader_prophet
12-21-2016, 09:34 PM
My apologies for making it confusing.

Hey, no need for that man. My comment wasn't at you. I meant in general to this thread. I think people misinterpreted Farlander without wanting to. And I agree with you there are multiple ways to deliver an enriched narrative experience and the best ones are usually the ones that rely on the gameplay because it integrates the player's conscience with story which takes the immersion to an additional level versus just watching a cutscene.