Letting players decide

Not many MMO game developers or single player game developers have made it possible for a player to decide on the next move for the storyline of a game. I am not talking about the game itself for single player but the type between game and sequel. AS for MMO games I am talking about between patches.

Not many gamedevelopers bother, but some do. Let’s explore some.

In the Single player games I do know at least one that makes use of the player’s decissions. Not directly as in patches and game quests as with MMO’s but with their decissions through the entire game which is saved in a savefile and then is used for upcoming game titles. One of them would be Mass Effect. With the save file of the first, you will get different outcomes in Mass Effect nr 2 and similar with nr 3.

On the MMO market it has been used a lot, just in different ways. Recently Guild Wars 2 has also used a certain player driven story pushing by adding an election to the game where players had to choose between leader one and leader two. Two political leaders fighting for one position. The outcome would make the decission on whether one content dungeon type would be launched or not along with a few others.

The result was an enraged community with different views on who should have won the battle and what content is to be missed. Perhaps that wasn’t the best approach by ArenaNet to include player decissions into their live patches, but it was a step to take and try out.

More successful implementations I have seen in the Asheron’s Call series.

In Asheron’s Call 1 especially. This more than 10 year old game has used it in all their live team updates. A big boss or another type of enemy is playing a role in the story. Several small quests are out for a certain amount of time. To conclude the whole story, a GM plays a mighty creature against thousands of players. If the players manage to defeat the creature, or manage to defend their own city, the storyline changes. People’s names are called forwards, fallen people are being honoured, people are taking part in the storyline and in the next move.

I hope that coming games and developers will take these notes into account and will build great new exciting gameplay that engages players and include them in the dynamics of their game and follow-ups.

Which games can you name that have similar mechanics?

Game on!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *