19 August 2015 -
[OBVIOUS SPOILERS FOR TELLTALE'S THE WALKING DEAD] After playing the Walking Dead Season 2 many people had the question about the multiple endings and how this would be resolved in season 3. Unlike season 1, season 2's choices didn't converge onto one ending point, taking Clementine in completely different directions. This I admire.
This, I feel, is something that the industry doesn't do enough. We're always worried about the future and we always have a sequel in mind. Not restricting yourself to such boundaries makes a much better experience and gives the user a sense of ownership over their decisions.
I personally hated my decisions, I killed Kenny and then for some odd reason went along with Jane shouting GIRL POWER! Afterwards I spent 5 minutes reflecting and completely regretted my decision. To this day I have no idea why I chose the choice of which I did. Ideally I would have still killed Kenny as that was my decision in the moment, despite knowing it is a bad idea in hindsight, then I would have wanted to have gone alone with AJ.
My angry rant aside I do feel that developers should take more risks with story branching and not have them converge on an ending point to make it easier for a sequel. It seems strange to hear me complain about the industry being too sensible in it's decisions, but sensible isn't always the best option.
When I think about it, not many games have a fully functioning diverging story path. Most games that boast choice have a path that splits from the original starting point but it all usually converges to an ending that is universal to all players. I find this quite aggravating as the choices serve no purpose, it's the large middle finger from the developer saying "you thought this was your story, but it was really ours after all"! At least be upfront about what your game is.
I understand that to be able to pull this off you need to be very talented (of which everyone in the industry is) and ambitious. I personally have hated what has happened to those in the industry with great character and ambition in recent years, as you can tell by the title, this is where I get to talk about Peter Molyneux.
After the backlash of what happened to Godus and the lack of reward given to the victor of Curiosity, many have criticised his open and ambitious approach to game development. This displeases me as these people are being discouraged from being a voice in the industry. At a time where many studios opt for the PR trained CEO in a suit and tie that keeps tight lipped about everything not included in the 90 second trailer presented on the E3 stage to be the voice the consumers hear from before deciding to make a purchase. We need more people with great character and passion to not be scared by the backlash they receive and see others receive when things go wrong. The industry would be and is more interesting with the Peter Molyneux's and the Phil Fish's being open to speak their mind.
I understand that this is a lofty wish as the new CEO at 22 cans has promised to reel Molyneux in and he also seemed very broken in his post backlash interviews. Phil Fish also gave up on the industry after a Twitter spat and went onto a DJ career (Yes that actually happened, it looked like he was enjoying himself in Tim Schafer's vine!).
I may not get my wish involving these two but that doesn't mean the end of the ambitious characters I admire, I can still ask something of the industry. Don't hold back, be ambitious and nobody can fault you for your passion.