Author Topic: Admirable work, but Hurt by false expectations. Dialogue/Narration need Editor  (Read 8706 times)

Offline sahara

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Congratulations on pulling this off, TSL team!

The dramatic cutscenes (particularly the parts with spooky appearances by the hooded guy) are very nice touches.  As others have said, the visuals and music/sound are excellent.  

I enjoy the new tone, but think you could have avoided a lot of player unhappiness had the game been sold more as, "a new, darker take on the KQ adventure, with all the familiar characters from Roberta Williams' games."  Declaring yourself the next game in the KQ line is both presumptuous and bound to leave people disappointed.  Rather than try to be the hypothetical, long-awaited KQ9 (and what manner of game that is depends on who you ask), why not make it clear from the outset that this will be your individual take on KQ.  The creation of false expectations was a self-inflicted wound on your part.

Though there are some bright spots in the character dialogue, much of it is predictable and boring.  I would get rid of any of the unnecessary, throwaway lines.  I hate having to listen to all the polite niceties exchanged between characters before it gets to the point of worthwhile, meaningful dialogue that either helps develop a character or advances the plot.  It would also help if the actors spoke faster and less deliberately.  

Also, the narration is beyond irritating.  There is a weird disconnect between the narrations and the events happening from Graham's perspective.  What perspective is the narrator speaking from?  It seems she's speaking from an all-knowing AND a self-aware perspective.  The self-aware stuff (addressing the game player as "player," acknowledging that it is a game, etc.) would work if this were a satire or comedy.  It does not work here.  All that the self-aware stuff does is wreck the mood and create confusion in this situation.  It would be like suddenly dropping all the scenery backdrops in the middle of a serious scene at the theater... or allowing one of the actors to take a personal cell phone call while on stage.  Also, the fact that she is all-knowing also can prove problematic if she doesn't know when to refrain from over-sharing.  It might have worked better if the narrator only relayed information that Graham himself would have been thinking at that moment, with occasional nudges to the player, hinting at the intended direction of gameplay.  Better yet, why not make the narration be Graham's own thoughts, rather than some out-of-body voice who likes to mock the player?  The narrator's delivery is also a problem.  She speaks too slowly and she sounds too modern.  This was a casting mistake.  More than anything, though, the long, unwieldy narration descriptions are screaming out for an editor.    
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 09:25:42 AM by sahara »

Offline wilco64256

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Note that this game is made by fans of the other games, not by the same creators, so it should automatically be assumed that you're going to get their perspective on how they think the game should be.

The long narration issue is already being looked into with a good potential resolution in the works.

And the first episode is dark, but it'll pick up in the next one.  All the games have their moments of darkness, don't be too quick to judge.
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Offline sahara

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Note that this game is made by fans of the other games, not by the same creators, so it should automatically be assumed that you're going to get their perspective on how they think the game should be.

From what I have seen, the game has been advertised more as a continuation of the series (KQ9, if you will) rather than as a new take on the KQ world.  The fact that TSL was going to take KQ in a slightly new direction should have been stressed more, rather than presenting a product that they are implicitly telling fans to accept as the legitimate KQ9.  What an unnecessary burden the TSL team placed on their own shoulders during the long lead-up to this release!  In doing so, they created all kinds of expectations that could never be met.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 09:47:10 AM by sahara »

Offline wilco64256

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they are implicitly telling fans to accept as the legitimate KQ9

Except the team has been very clearly stating that this is not the case.  If you were under that impression then you kind of did that to yourself by not following the team's work and interviews very well.  The Phoenix team has repeatedly stated that this is only their fan view of where Graham's familiy could be going in the future.

TSL is both a potential view on where the series could go, and fan-based perspective on what that would be like.  A "new take" would be changing the game world entirely.  If you want to see a game that does a real "new take" head over to AGDI's site and download their KQ2VGA game.  It completely rebuilds KQ2 from the ground up and drastically changes it.
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Offline sahara

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Weren't they calling this project KQIX on their website for a while until they were forced to stop?  Don't you think that much of the interest in this game was generated by the fact that it was, at least for a good amount of time, presented as the KQ9 that fans never got?  

And, by the way, I think AGDI's KQ2 is, in general, more in keeping with the original KQ spirit than TSL Episode 1. 
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 10:11:30 AM by sahara »

Offline Baggins

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Yes, the game was originally going to be known as King's Quest IX: Every Cloak has a Silver Lining, or some such.
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline sahara

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I guess what I'm trying to say is that the nerve they showed in ever daring to call themselves KQ9 (and, in doing so, immodestly suggesting to be the saviour of KQ fans unhappy about the demise of the KQ series) may have won them lots of attention early on, but it created expectations that were bound to disappoint many people.  Was it worth it?

« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 10:33:50 AM by sahara »

Offline wilco64256

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You know the KQ9 thing went away a long time ago and a lot has changed in the game since then, and how do you reconcile your statement that this game departed from the series by being a new and darker take with And, by the way, I think AGDI's KQ2 is, in general, more in keeping with the original KQ spirit than TSL Episode 1.

That rebuild of KQ2 is FAR darker than anything episode 1 of TSL even came close to.

I'm just wondering how you felt KQ2VGA, which added a ton of new characters and locations and majorly changed the story of that game, kept the spirit of King's Quest games better than TSL, which uses characters that Sierra already gave us and follows the story where it naturally would go?
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Offline Lambonius

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Changing the spirit of the game has nothing to do with adding new characters or story elements.  It's more about tone and writing.  

And while I agree, the tone of KQ2+ is certainly darker than the original KQ2, it's by no means darker than any precedent that had been previously set in the KQ series.  KQ2+ has plenty of silly light-hearted moments as well, and as a whole, the game is definitely more light-hearted and charming than not.  More importantly though, the dialogue and writing is pretty much spot on to the type of dialogue and writing we were used to seeing/hearing in the earlier KQ games.  

Though the whole story of all 5 episodes of TSL may prove to be more evenly balanced like KQ2+, there's no denying that the tone of episode 1 is all dark, all despair, the whole time.  Which might work in the context of the larger story--we can't really say yet.  The more significant difference between TSL episode 1 and the other games of the series, or even KQ2+, is that the writing and dialogue (especially the narrations) are noticeably different from a stylistic standpoint, presenting the story and character emotions in much more of an over-the-top melodramatic, soap opera style.  Again, it might work in the context of the larger story, particularly if the later episodes prove to be a better balance of the light-hearted elements that made the original games so charming (which is how they are being described by members of the team here, so that seems to be somewhat the case.)

Offline kindofdoon

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I dislike the narrator too, but the game is no way trying to be KQIX. TSL is "inspired by King's Quest", and is not considered canon.

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Offline sahara

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I think if you're going to take the step of using someone else's work as the basis for a new project, then you had better go about it in a modest way, showing considerable deference to the original work and taking pains to avoid appearing as though you are trying to claim a part of the series as your own.  If you don't, then it just appears as though you are trying to take the reigns of the series into your own hands.

It's hard to compare AGDI's KQ2 to TSL, since I haven't seen enough of TSL.  There was plenty of lighthearted material in KQ2, though, which also placed a high priority on traditional KQ-style puzzles.  I'm keeping an open mind about TSL, and look forward to seeing the rest of the game.

Offline Lambonius

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I dislike the narrator too, but the game is no way trying to be KQIX. TSL is "inspired by King's Quest", and is not considered canon.

That's just not true.  Yes, now that many fans have vocalized discontent with the new direction, they've been very vocal about saying that.  But it was always implied that this was the conclusion to the series that KQ fans have been waiting for.  The trailer on the main site even says "The King has returned," implying that the series is getting its official conclusion.  The key word in sahara's post above was "implicit" which means that while it was not always directly stated, fans were encouraged to view this project as the "official" unofficial KQ9.

But yeah, we can't really compare it to KQ2+ til we've seen the full story.  We can only judge what we have seen so far.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 10:48:25 AM by Lambonius »

Offline Big C from Cauney island

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As far as expectations are concerned,  people can say what they like or want to be improved no problem.  But since this is free, no one is really "entitled" to anything. Done for free, given for free, and will continue to be given for free.  If money was involved, ok.  But honestly - just my opinion - I don't understand many of the posts where people are seeming to get ticked off. Maybe I'm misinterpreting, I understand passion for the series, but to get worked up?  Key word: Free.  It's a gift.  I agree certain things should be worked on, though I loved the game and the fact that someone would make it.  The KQ2 remake was awesome for sure.  But I like that TSL has updated graphics and cinematics, and a more adult take on it.  Even the KQ3 remake was cool, and I waiting for magic mirror games to get KQ4. Even Kingdom of sorrow looks cool.  But with all this stuff, it's free. Though criticisms are good for developers, there is no reason to complain.  Like I said, if it was for money, ok. But fan made, free?

Offline wilco64256

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fans were encouraged to view this project as the "official" unofficial KQ9

That hasn't been at all the case since the first C&D.  The fans themselves have continued to keep that idea alive, but the team hasn't been pushing the game as an official conclusion either explicity or implicity for a long time.

I think if you're going to take the step of using someone else's work as the basis for a new project, then you had better go about it in a modest way, showing considerable deference to the original work and taking pains to avoid appearing as though you are trying to claim a part of the series as your own.  If you don't, then it just appears as though you are trying to take the reigns of the series into your own hands.

I think the fact that the original creators of the series, Ken and Roberta Williams, were approached for an opinion on this game says everything about the team wanting to not appear like they were trying to "take the reigns."  They even refused to accept fan comments saying that since Ken and Roberta liked the game then we should be treating it as more official.
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Offline Lambonius

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fans were encouraged to view this project as the "official" unofficial KQ9

That hasn't been at all the case since the first C&D.  The fans themselves have continued to keep that idea alive, but the team hasn't been pushing the game as an official conclusion either explicity or implicity for a long time.

I think if you're going to take the step of using someone else's work as the basis for a new project, then you had better go about it in a modest way, showing considerable deference to the original work and taking pains to avoid appearing as though you are trying to claim a part of the series as your own.  If you don't, then it just appears as though you are trying to take the reigns of the series into your own hands.

I think the fact that the original creators of the series, Ken and Roberta Williams, were approached for an opinion on this game says everything about the team wanting to not appear like they were trying to "take the reigns."  They even refused to accept fan comments saying that since Ken and Roberta liked the game then we should be treating it as more official.

Perhaps, but they've also expressly stated their desire to get license from Activision to revive several of the old Sierra franchises in a more official commercial capacity.  I guess it's all in how you look at it. 

Offline Storm

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I guess what I'm trying to say is that the nerve they showed in ever daring to call themselves KQ9 (and, in doing so, immodestly suggesting to be the saviour of KQ fans unhappy about the demise of the KQ series) may have won them lots of attention early on, but it created expectations that were bound to disappoint many people.  Was it worth it?

'How dare they' is something you can say about any work of fan fiction (which TSL is). Having the 'nerve' to use someone else's creation as if it were your own is at the base of every fan work out there. Whether you think that fan fiction is good or true to the original work is a different matter altogether.
Like others said here before me, since it's not a part of the official KQ canon so you could easily refer to it as "a new, darker take on the KQ adventure, with all the familiar characters from Roberta Williams' games" even if that's not spelled out on the box.
"Never argue with idiots. They'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience."

Offline Lambonius

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Yeah, ultimately it comes down to opinions, which will always differ.  I've expressed my complaints and criticisms elsewhere, but as a nerdy fan actively involved in the Sierra fangame community, I enjoy analyzing the different projects and comparing, which is all I'm trying to do here.  :)

Offline oberonqa

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When you talk about KQ2+... keep in mind that an entire segment of the game (getting the Gem of Death) is pretty much equal parts Quest for Glory: Shadows of Darkness and Gabriel Knight: The Beast Within.

Don't put KQ2+ on a pedestal by trying to say it's more in-line with the KQ series than TSL... because I don't believe any entry in the KQ series had a pack of werewolves murdering innocent family members the way the Brotherhood monks/werewolves murderered Possum's parents (which were members of Count Caulder's family).  There's your Beast Within inspiration.  Now as for the Shadows of Darkness inspirations.... take a long hard look at the way Count Caulder's castle is presented.  Consider what happens in that castle over the course of KQ2+'s storyline in that part of the game, from the moment you enter the castle seeking the Gem of Death to the moment you return to the castle with Valanice in tow.  The whole thing is a giant homage to Shadows of Darkness.  Heck.... there's even a subtle nod to Eco Quest: The Search for Cetus in the whole Sharkee versus Merman storyline.

But that being said, I loved KQ2+.  I'm a big fan of both Gabriel Knight and Quest for Glory, so I was able to appreciate the inspirations and homages.  But don't tell me that KQ2+ was respectful of the source material because it wasn't.  Just because it had some light-hearted dialogue between Graham and the stack of hay or the mother Pumpkin does not make it respectful of the source material.  It added entire plot beats that just were not present in the original game, the hint books, or the KQ Companion (most specifically, the Sharkee vs Merman storyline, the shopkeeper versus Hagatha storyline, the Air Spirit's tests, and Count Caulder and his family versus the Brotherhood Werewolf Monks).  And that stuff right there comprises a good 75% of what KQ2+ is.  Kind of hard to say KQ2+ is respectful of the source material when only 25% of the source material is even represented in KQ2+ (even if that 25% happens to be the entirity of the source material).

You want to talk respectful of the source material... let's talk KQ1VGA.  Now THAT was respectful.

EDIT:  Had to clarify the last sentence.  It was incomplete and did not accuretly reflect that KQ2+ folded the entire KQ2 game into a broader storyline that drew inspiration from a variety of sources.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 11:21:20 AM by oberonqa »
 
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Offline Baggins

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That rebuild of KQ2 is FAR darker than anything episode 1 of TSL even came close to.
I agree with you. One only need look at the visions of the future from the "Cloud Spirit" to see how dark KQ2's vision was getting. I mean attempts to make Graham sign his soul over to the Father, and its future where not one of his childrne becomes the ruler of Daventry? Although in Roberta's view more than likely Edgar and Rosella would have probably taken over Daventry (I mean you know that Oberon and Titania are near immortal, if not imortal right and it would be probably centuries before they would die)? There was no, as far as we know idea, for Connor to become the heir/successor of Daventry. According to quotes in the talkspot interview, Rosella was apparently even living int he castle at the time of the eighth game, and got hit by the cataclysm, although you can't see her in the castle.

We honestly don't know what direction TSL is taking just yet to know how dark its going to be. Seriously how much darker is Rosella and Alexander sleeping in bed together holding hands (although that's actually kind of a bad mental image :p), than say Graham sleeping in bed after his heart attack in KQ4?
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because I don't believe any entry in the KQ series had a pack of werewolves murdering innocent family members the way the Brotherhood monks/werewolves murderered Possum's parents (which were members of Count Caulder's family).

True all though there are shades of Abdul Alhazred murdering Cassima's parents. Maybe shades of Count Tsepish of Ooga Booga and Elspeth and their death by Boogeyman storyline.

But yes, quite a bit darker than anything in KQ that I can think of. Plus as you said it completely turned KQ2 upside down... I mean in the original the monk was the good guy, and Dracula was purely evil. You got points for killing him even (and it was rare to actually kill anything in early KQ games).

BTW, werewolves (and were creatures) have been mentioned in KQ, and I think even as having killed before, check out grave stones in KQ7, IIRC. But most of those references were in somewhat tongue and cheek.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2010, 11:36:19 AM by Baggins »
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline sahara

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fans were encouraged to view this project as the "official" unofficial KQ9

That hasn't been at all the case since the first C&D.  The fans themselves have continued to keep that idea alive, but the team hasn't been pushing the game as an official conclusion either explicity or implicity for a long time.

Then I guess the residual effects of their original "KQIX" announcements have been long-lasting.  I was always under the impression they dropped the self-described "KQIX" angle of promotion because they were forced to.  Anyway, I'm only saying that I believe a more deferential, modest approach (rather than the "your hopes have been answered; we're resurrecting KQ and contiuning the series!" message that I always got from them, rightly or wrongly) would have lead players to approach TSL differently.
 

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