Not Fun? Really?

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You might remember the statements of Pete Hines to CVG regarding Fallout 3 having something around twelve endings, and the critical stance of Jim Sterling of Destructoid.

Well it seems Jim isn’t alone on that, Luke Plankett from Kotaku wrote this:

One ending? Boring. Two? Thanks, but it’s just not gonna cut it. Not with Fallout 3 boasting of not just two endings, but two, two, two and then some. Bethesda’s Pete Hines has told CVG that depending on what you do during the game and how you do it, you can expect between 9-12 different endings to the game. That’s a lot. Hopefully this move has been made with more than just replayability in mind. Because playing an RPG 9-12 times? Not. Fun.

What’s not fun in replayability? I made twenty chars in Fallout 2 and at least twelve in Fallout 1 and I honestly think that’s one of the great things on the Fallout series.

Well Matt Shmidt from SarcasticGamer, one of my favorite places in the web, also wrote this:

Multiple endings to video games do NOT mean instant replay value. Having to play through the entire storyline again just to see a different cutscene shouldn’t be a standard. But, this is TWELVE times! By the time I unlock the ‘correct’ ending, I’ll have moved on to Fallout 5. It didn’t work with STALKER, and it was pretty meaningless in Bioshock. Stop using this stupid gimmick, and use the time to develop the gameplay on a deeper level.

Well as s001 commented on this blog earlier on:

I cannot understand why people complain about “too many endings”, as if you are going to be forced to watch all 12.

It’s not that Bethesda expects ever player to play the game 12 times, it’s the hope that one of those 12 endings will *really* represent how you played the game. If you’ve reached the end of the game, and one of those endings nicely sums up the choices and consequences you’ve made during your game, then what do you care about 11 other endings that you don’t have to watch and obviously didn’t apply to how you played?

You’d think people would be happy with multiple endings, but it sounds like people just want their one canned ending, their reward for reaching the end, not for how they got there.

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7 thoughts on “Not Fun? Really?

  1. Well I guess that depends on how you execute the endings and what leads to them. Having a lot of boring endings is worse than having one or two good ones in my opinion. Obviously though, the best case would be to have a lot of good ones, but the more you have, the more difficult it becomes to make them good. If I were the one deciding, I would never have publicly stated the number of endings, instead just stated that there is more than one. I guess when you say that there are 9-12 endings, people will think of adventure games – namely Blade Runner, which as I recall had about a dozen endings (or so I was told).
    I would say that the best way for these endings to be done would be to achieve that everything leading up to an ending depends on what you have done. Meaning, the kind of character you had created (a diplomat, a thief etc.) and shaped via choices and consequences will have created a different experience from another “build” and its choices and consequences. Simply put, if you can get the player to feel as if his new choices have created an experience that is different enough from the old one, then you have succeeded. The more times you can achieve that, the better.
    On the other hand, if the only thing you need to do to get a different ending is to change only one thing, it may not be as satisfying to play through a part of the game to get that other ending. Naturally, how much you have to play through depends on where the choice for the different ending is placed.
    Hmm, I’m not sure this was explained well, so I’ll give a simple example. Say that in the first game you’ve played a good character and the world was shaped in a certain way.
    If after that you play an evil character, you want that game to be different enough and be satisfying too. By satisfying I mean that there must be a meaningful path to a different ending, whether it be told through story, or gameplay or perhaps some other means that I can’t think of.

    Personally, I’d be satisfied with 3-4 meaningful endings. Everything more than that would just be icing on the cake.

  2. they’re also promising different quest paths though, otherwise you can just watch the endings on ‘the internets’ without slogging through the same gameplay again.

  3. I think both s001 and the criticasters are a tad off…

    The fear of the criticasters is that, like in BioShock, these endings are meaningless as representatives of the actual way you played, hence their wish that you should actually deepen out the experience rather than just add a label to it.

    The problem with s001’s remark is that 9-12 different endings are an inferior way to “*really* represent how you played the game”. If you want to really represent the choices made in the game by players, there already were games that developed a mechanic to do that: Fallout 1 and 2.

    Duh, gypsy.

    The by-location 2-4 endings is by far superior to 9-12 static endings. I know the Fallout 3 world is more “integrated” than the originals’, but still…why simplify a formula that works perfectly well?

  4. The by-location 2-4 endings is by far superior to 9-12 static endings.

    I agree with that, my beef is with the ideas of lots of endings on RPGs being boring or not leading to better replayability. In this sense I prefer a system with lots of endings that somehow represent how I played and interacted with the game world to a system of too limited outcomes.

  5. But are we sure we know what Bethesda refers to with “different endings”? I would assume they are referring to end animations, rather than actual endings. It would be silly not to have the achievement slideshow. So perhaps they are speaking of animations like the one in Fallout where the Overseer kicks you out. As I recall there were 3 of those you could get: the above, the one where Vault 13 gets overrun by Super Mutants and you being vatted. Those were the “endings”, or rather the end animations, followed by the achievement slideshow.

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