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Cyper

Rockstars Most Toxic Idea

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Cyper

One of the most toxic principles Rockstar Games has started to apply in their games is this one:

 

Do not add feature X if feature X is contrary to character P or story Y.

 

What does it mean? It could mean that recruiting people (to a gang) in RDR could be fun but because it would be contrary to John's story (X) in the prologue you shouldn't be able to do it. This madness started in GTA IV but reached its heights in GTA V where you where you couldn’t even pick clothes for your character in the way you wanted because your choosing had to fit the characters

‘personal style’ (P). It's even starting to show up in the mission design. In RDR II, its quite clear that the mission design is quite strict; and its more about what ''Arthur would do in situation X'' than what you (the player) could do in situation X. Of course, in the storyline its more understandable, but in the freeroaming aspect of the game its just damaging.

 

Isn't the main idea of RDR and GTA freedom of choice? Why is it being more and more restricted?

 

 

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O.Z

And that's the reason why the story and the freedom in the missions has gone downhill since the release of GTA V, its all too restricted nowadays unfortunately. Rockstar has to think back what made the GTA3 so popular in the first place - do whatever you want, however the f*ck you want it. Less restrictions = more fun, well imo anyways. If I wanted to play a good story in a restricted environment, I would play The Last of US or any of the Uncharted games. The reason I became such a fun of Rockstar Games was the fact that the player could do pretty much anything he wanted. But the story and the missions in RDR2 are so damn restricted and it is the only Rockstar game I have only finished once and I can't see myself playing these on-rails missions again. 

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El Penguin Bobo

I'm guessing that Rockstar always saw themselves as a flim studio instead of a game studio.

 

IMO, it's good to have restrictions for missions because you don't wanna go f*cking something up that'll ruin the story but you still won't fail. In order to have varied, entertaining missions, there's gotta be some restrictions for storytelling.

 

But seeing from NakeyJakey's video, it seems like they really turned the restrictions up a notch...

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Mas u Sees

Nah, it's actually a very good idea.

 

Keeping the Narrative more linear and adjusting everything in the Open World to suit the narrative creates and unmatched sense of immersion.

Rockstar Games have evolved from being just fun little time sinks, into world that you can fully immerse yourselves in, and the Story, and the Open World encompassing that story is very very important to it.

 

Here is a quote from Dan Houser about that:

 



Everything has to feel like it's the same level. It has to feel like you are the same guy when you shooting a gun or running as you are when you are involved in a story or when you are just wandering around the world. It has to feel like this is one experience. So if the mechanics are fine and the story is ridiculous, the experience is much diminished.


Source:
https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/134918/dan_houser_on_how_rockstar_does_it.php?page=2

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DarksunDaFirst
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, O.Z said:

And that's the reason why the story and the freedom in the missions has gone downhill since the release of GTA V, its all too restricted nowadays unfortunately. Rockstar has to think back what made the GTA3 so popular in the first place - do whatever you want, however the f*ck you want it. Less restrictions = more fun, well imo anyways. If I wanted to play a good story in a restricted environment, I would play The Last of US or any of the Uncharted games. The reason I became such a fun of Rockstar Games was the fact that the player could do pretty much anything he wanted. But the story and the missions in RDR2 are so damn restricted and it is the only Rockstar game I have only finished once and I can't see myself playing these on-rails missions again. 


GTA III was still restrictive because it limited what you could do by game mechanics.

GTA:SA was the pinnacle of that freedom (recruiting gang members to follow you for example).


And you can still do whatever you want to in GTA V and even RDR2 - but just like GTA III certain missions require certain things.  From tailing someone to blowing up a building in a manner "the boss" told you to do it.  The big difference is between GTA III and RDR2 is that there are more instances that are more setup with video sequences that throw you right into the action at times.  Like all their games, once you get past the introductory sequence/tutorial you can pretty much approach any mission the way you want.  

I don't really see the big difference in the game across the decades except that as time has moved on the complexity has increased (though GTA:SA to GTA IV we saw a bit of decrease in some aspects of that complexity).

Edited by DarksunDaFirst

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SneakyDeaky
Posted (edited)

I haven't made up my mind yet, but anyway this is one good example for me of Rockstar going too far with this approach.

The Bounty missions in both GTA 5 and RDR 2; in GTA 5, you get only four bounties as Trevor. Why only 4? I think it's because all four have unique characters and unique dialogue, and low and behold if you kill any of them you don't get any reward, because Rockstar doesn't want you to kill the bounty and skip all that precious dialogue. 

In RDR 2 it's pretty much the same; unique characters who have unique dialogue with the protagonist, and because of all that extra production work, there's not that many to do, and no generic bounties you can farm because they wouldn't have the same polish.

 

And though I admire Rockstar's dedication to presentation and polish, I also feel this is one of those situations where they forget we're gamers, we role-play and we can make up our own stories as we go along, so we don't really need all that presentation for quick 5 minute "missions." All we really need is a short description of the bounty, what he did, how much he's worth, and his last location, and we're fill in all the rest.

Basically I feel all that extra presentation, which means extra production, means less actual gameplay for us to role-play with. 

Edited by SneakyDeaky

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Ironside
7 minutes ago, SneakyDeaky said:

I haven't made up my mind yet, but anyway this is one good example for me of Rockstar going too far with this approach.

The Bounty missions in both GTA 5 and RDR 2; in GTA 5, you get only four bounties as Trevor. Why only 4? I think it's because all four have unique characters and unique dialogue, and low and behold if you kill any of them you don't get any reward, because Rockstar doesn't want you to kill the bounty and skip all that precious dialogue. 

In RDR 2 it's pretty much the same; unique characters who have unique dialogue with the protagonist, and because of all that extra production work, there's not that many to do, and no generic bounties you can farm because they wouldn't have the same polish.

 

And though I admire Rockstar's dedication to presentation and polish, I also feel this is one of those situations where they forget we're gamers, we role-play and we can make up our own stories as we go along, so we don't really need all that presentation for quick 5 minute "missions." All we really need is a short description of the bounty, what he did, how much he's worth, and his last location, and we're fill in all the rest.

Basically I feel all that extra presentation, which means extra production, means less actual gameplay for us to role-play with. 

I agree so much with this, but I ser a solution. In RDR2 R* could have kept all the scripted bounties for the story but once we become John and finishes “American Venom”, the game is not canonical anymore. So after “American Venom” when the truly free roam starts there should be incentive to use the last obtainable trinkets, talismans, weapons etc and that could be something as simple as unscripted infinite bounties, bank robberies and the like. I personally feel that R* missed this by purpose just to make people play the online part of the game(and the online is as enjoyable as having hemorrhoids) and that kind of strategy is not a good way to keep old fans. 

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Cutter De Blanc
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Mas u Sees said:

Here is a quote from Dan Houser about that:

 

 

 


Source:
https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/134918/dan_houser_on_how_rockstar_does_it.php?page=2

Yeah because San Andreas is regarded as one of their least fun games right? f*ckin' Dan Houser, does this guy even play the games? He probably doesn't play them the same way I do.

Edited by Cutter De Blanc

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Mas u Sees
5 minutes ago, Cutter De Blanc said:

Yeah because San Andreas is regarded as one of their least fun games right? f*ckin' Dan Houser, does this guy even play the games? He probably doesn't play them the same way I do.

What are you on about?
He didn't mention San Andreas once in the Interview.


In San Andreas it makes sense to recruit Gang Members, as you are literally part of a big Gang in LS and one of the senior members of it.

 

In Red Dead Redemption II, for Dutchs Gang, that doesn't make that much sense.

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Jason

The whole missions being restrictive thing, can someone remind me cause it has been that long.. What was it like in RDR1? I see the argument a lot and it's always in comparison to GTA, a series built on freedom. I 100% agree with the criticism with that series but I don't recall RDR1 ever being that open.

 

One example that got flung around especially by a certain video was something akin to "To complete this GTA mission you could sod off from the start and go grab a tank/heli and use that"... But what exactly would the equivalent of that be in RDR2?

 

I do think RDR2 has elements of being too restrictive in the SP, especially enforcing weapons on you, but that sort of really open freedom has never been a RDR thing.

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Cutter De Blanc
Posted (edited)

 

2 minutes ago, Mas u Sees said:

What are you on about?
He didn't mention San Andreas once in the Interview.


In San Andreas it makes sense to recruit Gang Members, as you are literally part of a big Gang in LS and one of the senior members of it.

 

In Red Dead Redemption II, for Dutchs Gang, that doesn't make that much sense.

Makes a lot of narrative sense to fly around in a jetpack as a gangbanger thug, you're right

Edited by Cutter De Blanc

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Mas u Sees
2 minutes ago, Cutter De Blanc said:

Makes a lot of narrative sense to fly around in a jetpack as a gangbanger thug, youre right

 

In San Andreas it has some narrative backup.

There is a mission in which you obtain it after all.

 

The 3D games, were a bit more "wacky" in nature however.

Something that moved over to the Online portions nowadays.


All the stuff you guys are asking for, more open Mission Design, Less scripted/Less MoCapped Missions or Bounties, that's stuff that'll be added in Online(or in the case of GTA Online, it already is there).

 

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GinsengElixir
11 hours ago, Jason said:

The whole missions being restrictive thing, can someone remind me cause it has been that long.. What was it like in RDR1? I see the argument a lot and it's always in comparison to GTA, a series built on freedom. I 100% agree with the criticism with that series but I don't recall RDR1 ever being that open.

 

 

 

Red dead redemption mission design was very linear. Pretty much nothing changed with Rdr2 in this regard. 

 

The freedom in R* games had always been in it's open world. The missions have a cinematic value. When they want you to do a stealthy mission that's what you have to do, when they want you to do a loud mission then you'll do it loud!

 

GTAV atleast had 2 options within the heists - and I honestly thought RDR2 would be way more heist driven than it was. I stupidly thought we'd get to plan our own heists and choose which gang members to use, but alas, Arthur never initiated anything. 

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crazedZ10

There are some missions that I think only work if they're linear, like the St. Dennis bank robbery. But yeah there were so many other missions they could've given us choices. Look at the Micah jail breakout mission, they could've given us a choice to pay off his bounty, a choice to sneak out, hell maybe if we ignore the mission for too long we walk into strawberry and he's just about to be hanged. 

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GinsengElixir
3 hours ago, crazedZ10 said:

There are some missions that I think only work if they're linear, like the St. Dennis bank robbery. But yeah there were so many other missions they could've given us choices. Look at the Micah jail breakout mission, they could've given us a choice to pay off his bounty, a choice to sneak out, hell maybe if we ignore the mission for too long we walk into strawberry and he's just about to be hanged. 

Pay his bounty? HA!

 

That mission also has to be linear, because otherwise how would we be shown how loose a cannon Micah is? 

 

Even if we walked into town as he was about to swing, R* would fail us if the player refused to help out. Instead of 'hook a pulley to the jail bars' it'd be 'shoot down the rope around Micahs neck'.

 

It's not that there can't be multiple options, it's that R* mission design does not allow any meaningful choices to be made so that we don't compromise what they want us to assume about any given character or situation. 

 

I'd be more interested in multiple options and choices in terms of story than the actual mission themselves.

 

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Ironside
43 minutes ago, GinsengElixir said:

Pay his bounty? HA!

 

That mission also has to be linear, because otherwise how would we be shown how loose a cannon Micah is? 

 

Even if we walked into town as he was about to swing, R* would fail us if the player refused to help out. Instead of 'hook a pulley to the jail bars' it'd be 'shoot down the rope around Micahs neck'.

 

It's not that there can't be multiple options, it's that R* mission design does not allow any meaningful choices to be made so that we don't compromise what they want us to assume about any given character or situation. 

 

I'd be more interested in multiple options and choices in terms of story than the actual mission themselves.

 

If made well enough, even an illusion of choice that matters is better than no choice at all. That is why I particularly like the “free Micah from prison” mission since it has multiple way of solving it. And there could be different consequences regarding what choices one makes as long as they do not interfere with the main narrative. For instance a softer approach on the Micah mission would reward you with one item and the violent one would reward you with another. 

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DexMacLeod
Posted (edited)
On 6/25/2019 at 3:02 PM, Jason said:

The whole missions being restrictive thing, can someone remind me cause it has been that long.. What was it like in RDR1? I see the argument a lot and it's always in comparison to GTA, a series built on freedom. I 100% agree with the criticism with that series but I don't recall RDR1 ever being that open.

 

One example that got flung around especially by a certain video was something akin to "To complete this GTA mission you could sod off from the start and go grab a tank/heli and use that"... But what exactly would the equivalent of that be in RDR2?

 

I do think RDR2 has elements of being too restrictive in the SP, especially enforcing weapons on you, but that sort of really open freedom has never been a RDR thing.

My memory's a bit fuzzy on it too, but from what I remember the "shootout missions" were a little more open in Redemption 1. You were on your own a bit more and there was often more options to take cover and advance or just change your location at will. 

 

In RDR2 you almost always have some sort of companion with you and the shootouts are just you following them along a very pre-planned path. Basically in the first one there's at least the illusion that you need to employ some actual gunfight strategy as opposed to 2's structure where you're always being led, step-by-step through the mission.

 

It seems like a pretty easy fix, as well. Using the Micah mission as an example; they could have had us break him out of jail quietly and have Micah tell us to meet him at the house on the other side of town before he opens fire and causes the massive shootout.

 

We now have the option to get through that gun fight and across the chaotic town anyway we choose and we still know Micah's a loose cannon and get that cutscene showing he caused all that mayhem for a pair of guns. The player gets a little freedom and that feeling that they just had a unique experience but the story remains intact.

 

Redemption 1 certainly still had those restrictive missions but I felt like there was a better balance, whereas RDR2's mission companions are so hand-holdy that it felt like I never really left the opening tutorial phase of the game.

Edited by DexMacLeod
typo

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TheSantader25

I just wish the post GTA IV R* could mingle the advantages of both eras together. They always go too far. Find the right balance please. 

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cp1dell

I can see why there are restrictions in the main story missions. They’re very particular about the story they want to tell.

 

But side missions should at least have that freedom.

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MadHammerThorsteen
On 6/25/2019 at 6:57 AM, O.Z said:

And that's the reason why the story and the freedom in the missions has gone downhill since the release of GTA V, its all too restricted nowadays unfortunately. Rockstar has to think back what made the GTA3 so popular... 

 

You mean having whole islands/sections of the map restricted for half the game? In GTAV and RDR2, you can go where you want from the beginning, lolol. Apart from the sheer ridiculousness of choice in outfits you had for CJ, no two games in the whole Rockstar treasury has given you as much freedom within the Rockstar formula as GTAV and RDR2.

 

I'm quite content with only being able to dress characters in ways that make sense for them. They're actual characters, not blank WRPG mannequins to mould to your whims. Rockstar doesn't make Fallout Scrolls games.

 

There is plenty of freedom of choice, but just because it isn't the kind of choice some people want to make, that doesn't mean there isn't any.

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MadHammerThorsteen
On 6/25/2019 at 4:03 PM, Cutter De Blanc said:

 

Makes a lot of narrative sense to fly around in a jetpack as a gangbanger thug, you're right

There's a fundamental difference between the gameplay following the logic of the game plot, and the game plot itself taking turns toward the absurd. You may find the idea of flying around in jetpacks ridiculous from the perspective of common narrative sense, but if you suspend your disbelief for the sake of the narration, you'll also see that the gameplay itself is still faithful to the arc of the CJ's story. And that's the jist of that era. The story-telling was more absurd, but the gameplay was always faithful to the premise.

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Auditore

Ludonarrative disonance is something game devs like to avoid,a character must stay true to his personality,John doesnt have super strenght because thats not part of johns character(but it sure as hell would be fun in gameplay).

One of the main criticisms rockstar games had over the years were missions that made no sense for the character journey,Niko having PTSD from the war and wanting to run away from violence but running over pedestrians and killing people with no remorse in the hunt for money.This was fixed in RDR2.

And no,that has nothing to do with Rockstars mission design,the honor system is perfect to accomodate freedom in mission(do bad sh*t honor down,do good things honor up),the reason they are so restrictive is the same reason we still have to tap x to run,its rockstar being rockstar(at least there are different controller layouts).

My guess is that Dan has a movie mentality when making the script,he designs a mission like one would write a movie script so it ends up like this.

 

ACTION LINE:

"Arthur convinces Lenny to forget about Micah and relax a little at the bar.Both men arrive in Valentines Saloon,they find a drunk man but Arthur quickly tells him to go away..."

And the missions end up following the script leaving not alot of space for choices,except if the script gives two options for the way the mission goes(like the two option in the end of lenny's bar mission).

 

 

On 6/25/2019 at 5:06 PM, Mas u Sees said:

 

All the stuff you guys are asking for, more open Mission Design, Less scripted/Less MoCapped Missions or Bounties, that's stuff that'll be added in Online(or in the case of GTA Online, it already is there).

 

I remember doing alot of gtaonline contact missions solo and its pretty much free form.I remember one i had to take some documents from a warehouse in the pier and i could invade it from ground level or climb and invade it from the roof or using the back door 

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Emmi

I thought RDR2 was broken in one of the first Epilogue 1 missions ... I reached the yellow marker but it did not trigger anything ... I drove back to where I came from with the waggon only to find out an "enemy" was still walking around there ... so I thought, hm, maybe I have to kill this one first and guess what, next time I reached the yellow marker a cutscene triggered ... yeah, that I'd call too restrictive of a mission design.

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