Contributing writer for The Artifice.
Junior Contributor I
Fulfilling the Promise of Character Creation in RPG's
I’ve been playing Divinity: Original Sin 2 a lot recently and it made me realise what I really love about RPG’s; the way that they let you really create a character. But this doesn’t end at their appearance or race. Games like Original Sin 2 fulfill the promise of character creation by rewarding absolutely everything your character can attempt. Giving the player so many options based upon the character they built and how they play makes the world feel alive and causes the player to feel as though their character is charting a course based on who they are. So many RPG’s provide options but often you reach quests or situations where there is no alternative (due to narrative restrictions) or there is are blatant good, bad and worse options. There are so many other RPG’s that allow for this deep character creation and they always seem to become instant classics. I also think this approach is incredibly interesting as it’s rare that players notice just how much this level of reactivity influences their style of play.
What Makes a Sequel Worth Telling?
Sequels are almost always what follow a successful film but what actually makes a sequel as good or better than the original? Everyone’s seen a sequel that they thought was either an obvious step down from the original or didn’t have a real reason to exist but a sequel that surpasses or keeps up with its previous iteration are much rarer. So what are the factors that actually make the story in a sequel story worth telling? Obviously if the production is good then you could make a case for it but what narrative factors influence the worth of a sequel being told? And what are the unique characteristics of those sequels that did actually surpass their originals? What made them great?
Open World Games: Immersive Adventures or Lacking Structure?
Finally got around to playing Dishonored 2 recently and it reminded me how brilliant level design can impact enjoyment. People love Bethesda titles such as Skyrim and (arguably) Fallout 4 for the unrestricted world they give the player to explore but can they ever be as good as games in which levels, environments, enemies etc. are designed specifically for the player to encounter in a way that the designer had in mind? You could have examples of titles that display the positives of each design philosophy and a few titles that show off the negatives (lack of structure, lack of freedom etc.) and give your own opinion of a possible ideal middle ground?