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I’ve learned that it can be quite difficult to anticipate how players will take to a particular gameplay or story feature.
When Episode 1 was launched, a lot of people seemed to be interested in the non-pwning aspects of the gameplay. We got a lot of praise for CutiePie’s mission, and many people enjoyed the short text adventure we launched shortly afterwards.
So when designing E2, we tried to be as versatile as we could within our limited budget and time frame. The opening sequence with Internet Court was one I was really proud of. I loved the Phoenix Wright games, and I thought Jalapeno’s script was hilarious. It took forever to implement (because our tools were not made for cinematics that long) but I thought people would love it.
As it turns out, while some people did enjoy it tremendously, many people found it too long. They quickly got sick of reading the dialog and just wanted to get on with the game. I was quite surprised because it’s much shorter than any trial in Phoenix Wright, and many JRPG games feature FAR longer cut-scenes. It’s kind of dissapointing to me because it’s one of the things I was the most proud of for E2 Log in to see images!
The ending is another thing that surprised me. The original outline for the storyline of Forumwarz was written as one long game with no episodes. Once we decided to go episodic, we had to find logical places to break it up.
Coral Springs was the logical place to end Episode 1, even though Jalapeno had finished the conversation with Kim Shady already. It just seemed epic, and we could throw in a “What the **** have I done?” moment. It seemed to go over really well.
For Episode 2, there was no logical break. We knew that Geronimo! would be the last mission based on how many forums we’d already planned for development, but we didn’t have that same kind of “bang!”
We thought about it for a while, and eventually Jalapeno came up with the idea of the sound effect, which wasn’t in our original story outline. I thought it was an interesting plot device that would leave people curious, so we decided to go with it.
As you can tell by this thread, a lot of people were just like WTF. I guess in retrospect that we could have done something more interesting with some story re-writes.
Episode 1 is mostly about your character learning about the world and how the controls work. Episode 2 is about exposing the storyline. Episode 3 concludes the story. To be honest I was spending more time thinking about the exposition of the underlying story in E2 than the ending. Hopefully it wasn’t so abrupt that it would stop people from wanting to finish the story when the final piece is available.
Evil Trout edited this message on 01/22/2009 10:02AM
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