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Kollega
06-11-2011, 02:54 PM
While reading a Kotaku article linked in the Sunday Papers, and noticed another one, very straightforwardly titled "What Video Games Could Learn From Comic Book Continuity" (http://kotaku.com/5856407/what-video-games-could-learn-from-comic-book-continuity). The gist of the idea is that instead of endless sequels, we should have games set in the same universe, but with different main characters. The richer the universe, the more applicable i imagine this method: for example, Mass Effect could easily branch off into a game about the more routine SpecTRe operations after wrapping up the plot of the main trilogy. This approach would also encourage the creation of deep and interesting fictional universes if it becomes mainstream.

I, for example, can easily envision a rich and many-sided science fiction or science fantasy universe that encompasses every genre, from adventure games to RPGs to miltary shooters to turn-based strategies to cooking games. What do y'all think of this idea? Is it good or bad?

agentorange
06-11-2011, 03:09 PM
Comic book continuity is completely bonkers, and is done so that you can have dramatic story arches without ever having to permanently kill off characters, and so that you can be selling multiple renditions of the same character at the same time. Its really no different than the sequel plague of video games.

There's also the fact that quite a number of games actually do do this: STALKER, Silent Hill, Fallout, Deus Ex, just to name a few off the top of my head.

Kollega
06-11-2011, 03:27 PM
Comic book continuity is completely bonkers, and is done so that you can have dramatic story arches without ever having to permanently kill off characters, and so that you can be selling multiple renditions of the same character at the same time. Its really no different than the sequel plague of video games.

That's the bad part of it. The good part, as i've said, are the shared universes and indirect sequels.


There's also the fact that quite a number of games actually do do this: STALKER, Silent Hill, Fallout, Deus Ex, just to name a few off the top of my head.

Well... looks like i've managed to do the stupid thing again. I should congratulate myself on that.

However, there's an observation i can make here: all those games, except Silent Hill, are RPGs or have heavy RPG part to them. And i think there are more RPGs with that style of sequels to be found. Perhaps they are just more conductive for that storytelling element.

DigitalSignalX
06-11-2011, 03:38 PM
I'd like to see games that diversify the actual game type within the context of the cannon - sort of like Star Wars. It has FPS, RPG, Flight Sim, puzzle games, and RTS's all within the scope of the same universe.

agentorange
06-11-2011, 03:44 PM
However, there's an observation i can make here: all those games, except Silent Hill, are RPGs or have heavy RPG part to them. And i think there are more RPGs with that style of sequels to be found. Perhaps they are just more conductive for that storytelling element.

Well, it could just be that I play more RPGs than most other genres, but it's also true that RPGs have more time, and general capacity, for constructing a world, and a history for that world. It's even more apparent with open world games like the Elder Scrolls, where each sequel (after Morrowind I guess) takes place in a different part of an established continent.

Also more games that do this: GTA, Red Dead, Legend of Zelda (more an example of the the multiple universes concept of comic books), Resident Evil, Dead Rising, Contra, Castlevania (probably one of the best examples).

Althea
06-11-2011, 03:46 PM
I believe Ubisoft do it with their own Might & Magic related games. If my memory serves me correctly, HoMM V, MMH VI and Clash of Heroes (and Kingdoms) all take place in the same universe. I can't remember if Dark Messiah does, though. I think they did it so that they don't infringe on the existing games, which I believe also shared a universe.

I'd personally like to see more diverse "shared universes", because as DSX showed above, one universe can breed a lot of variety. If we look at the Half-Life universe, which is arguably now a shared one, we have a serious FPS with the Half-Life games and a more light-hearted puzzle game with Portal.

I think the problem is that it's quite risky for a new IP. The Command & Conquer FPS didn't do too well, I believe, and I reckon things like that may tarnish the view of the IP, cause negative reactions from fans ("OMG WTF This is FPS series y u go mkae RPG???? U suk i no buy dis!!!11!11?11!") or may not be a move that the deciding people in a company will wish to carry out.

Lukasz
06-11-2011, 03:53 PM
Might and Magic 1-5 feature one world
Might and Magic 6-9 and HOMM 1-3 are also one universe and to see whole story you have to play all of those games.

Anthile
06-11-2011, 04:35 PM
Might and Magic 1-5 feature one world
Might and Magic 6-9 and HOMM 1-3 are also one universe and to see whole story you have to play all of those games.

Nope. They are all set in the same continuity.

Skyvik
06-11-2011, 05:13 PM
There are a few examples of universes containing games with multiple genres such as the Tom Clancy range covering flight combat, RTS, stealthy shennanigans, squad shootering, etc (Tom Clancy universe, like Star Wars, comes from another medium, but pretty much all the game stuff comes originates in games, save the very first Rainbow Six which was a cross-media thing). Half Life/Portal could be argued to do this too.

Taking a game setting and putting other genres in it can be risky - either your game simply won't sell as much or will be of poorer quality (e.g. Halo Wars or a multitude of Sonic the Hedgehog curiosities, although Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is marvellous) or you run the risk of your fanbase getting very upset (the forthcoming syndicate and x-com games, and of course there were a whole bunch of less good x-com games in other genres back in the day).

On the other hand, if it works you can expand your success massively - Mario can sell by the bucketload whether he is racing, playing tennis, rpging or platforming and Blizzard did moderatley well using their RTS setting for an MMO. Then you get the downside of this success - the game creator has no need to create fresh settings. Sometimes I like the idea of trying new games in existing universes, sometimes I want new games to do something new. And sometimes I want things like Cannon Soccer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ORBaEJT_PY) to exist again.

Skyvik
06-11-2011, 05:16 PM
And of course UnravThreads and others had already said most of what I did. Note to self: read things properly.

Wizardry
06-11-2011, 05:27 PM
Nope. They are all set in the same continuity.
Yeah.

MM1 is set on Varn.
MM2 is set on Cron.
MM3 is set on Terra.
MM4 and MM5 are set on Xeen.
HoMM1, HoMM2, HoMM3 and MM6, MM7 and MM8 are set on Enroth.
HoMM4 and MM9 are set on Axeoth.

HoMM5, HoMM6, Dark Messiah and Clash of Heroes are set on Ashan.

Lukasz
06-11-2011, 06:29 PM
Nope. They are all set in the same continuity.

i didn't say continuity. i say world and universe...
according to wizardy i am indeed mistaken about 1-5 tough.

archonsod
06-11-2011, 07:12 PM
Bethesda also did it with The Elder Scrolls - Redguard and Battlespire both set in Tamriel. AIM has AIM Racing.


Well, it could just be that I play more RPGs than most other genres, but it's also true that RPGs have more time, and general capacity, for constructing a world, and a history for that world.

Yup. If you look at say the FPS for example a lot of them are set in the "real" world in most cases. Try to do a racing game in the same setting as Call of Duty and you'd just be making a Formula 1 game. Although on the other hand you could argue the entire family of WWII FPS's are set in the same continuity ...

Skyvik
06-11-2011, 07:58 PM
Modern Warfare's story line has become somewhat divorced from reality so you could easily do a beat 'em up where american teenagers have been forced to fight for their freedom in a series of gladiatorial battles.
Anyway, the real world thing only applies so long as the games don't have any fictional elements. Even if you have no fictional places or charcaters, as soon as the player starts doing stuff then we start having spaces that are not the same as the real world.
Now, what if the continuity I establish could then be applied to other games I play - so my superstar striker for York City in Football Manager appears on the cover of my cipy of FIFA 2012 or my FPS set in post-apocalyptic Moscow features me exploring the ruins of the palace established by Eugene of Savoy in my Empire Total War game?

Taidan
06-11-2011, 08:20 PM
Yeah, I actually enjoyed Halo Wars...

Anyway, I'd give a testicle in trade for a Mass Effect 4x game, a Mass Effect Elite-style space trading/combat game and some Mass Effect bedsheets.

Also, more Battletech. It's nice we have a F2P-online mech-combat title to look forwards to next year, but it's a crime that we haven't seen a proper Battletech RPG for over 20 years.

Hensler
06-11-2011, 08:25 PM
It's been mentioned, but the Tom Clancy games have had the best implementation of this. You see missions/characters carry over a lot. For example, Scott Mitchell, main character of most of the Ghost Recon games is the General of the US Military in the future-set Endwar. In the the HAWX games, you have missions providing air support for Mitchell and other Ghost teams. Third Echelon, the group you work for in the Splinter Cell games, provides intel to both Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon, with a Splinter Cell appearing in one of the R6:Vegas games.

Berzee
07-11-2011, 12:16 AM
Totalbiscuit poined out in his Gatling Gears video that Gatling Gears and Greed Corp do this kind of thing -- they both take place in "Mistbound". Can read about them here: http://mistbound.com/index.php?id=1

I thought it was a nice idea -- and they mixed some *very* different genres into the same world with these two games!

Smashbox
07-11-2011, 12:25 AM
GTA adheres to the single-universe paradigm, as well.

Nalano
07-11-2011, 01:28 AM
I remember all the Dragon Warrior games back on the NES basically sharing the same universe but not the same protagonists.

And don't forget the endless LucasArts games set in the Star Wars universe.

...actually, go right ahead and forget them.

soldant
07-11-2011, 01:37 AM
And don't forget the endless LucasArts games set in the Star Wars universe.

...actually, go right ahead and forget them.
No way, TIE Fighter was awesome.

sinister agent
07-11-2011, 04:51 AM
I've wondered about this now and then, too. We get lots of games using an engine built for another game, but I've yet to see a game set up a world and allow others to use or licence that world.

Take, say, Liberty City out of GTA 4. Instead of just using the engine, imagine if that setting could be licensed to other developers, whether they wanted to use it to make a shooter, a strategy game, or a detective adventure story. It could be really interesting, and make up for games that might be disappointing, but set in a fascinating or original world.

I don't mean these other games would necessarily be part of the same story or continuity, or have to reference each other in-game - you could have the detective story in a 'base' Liberty City without any reference to Niko Bellic, for example. Or you could integrate the story of other games if you wanted to.

I wonder if we'll see developers start to do this eventually. The time sink of building an interesting world might seem more appealing if there's the potential to recoup the money by licensing it to other devs.

DigitalSignalX
07-11-2011, 05:18 AM
And don't forget the endless LucasArts games set in the Star Wars universe.

...actually, go right ahead and forget them.

I can't think of any universe that has had more different developers and different genres of games set it in. Not that they were all gems of course.

Wizardry
07-11-2011, 05:23 AM
Even though the Forgotten Realms is totally bland and catch-all, one think I like about playing games set in it is that familiarity that stretches across a large number of titles.

Taidan
07-11-2011, 09:09 AM
I suppose while we're at it, it can't hurt to remember that Earthsiege 1&2, Starsiege, Tribes 1,2 and Vengeance, Missionforce: Cyberstorm and its sequel and Battledrome all took place in the "Metaltech" universe not too long ago.

Anyone know if the upcoming Tribes game is set in the same fictional universe?

Berzee
07-11-2011, 01:55 PM
Also, most historical war simulators take place in the same universe.

Hensler
07-11-2011, 02:10 PM
GTA adheres to the single-universe paradigm, as well.

I knew the GTA 3 games did, but is GTA IV supposed to be a new universe/continuity?

Althea
07-11-2011, 02:16 PM
I knew the GTA 3 games did, but is GTA IV supposed to be a new universe/continuity?
Each era is a new continuity.

Smashbox
07-11-2011, 07:11 PM
Though there are carry-overs, especially on the radio.

Mohorovicic
07-11-2011, 07:23 PM
The gist of the idea is that instead of endless sequels, we should have games set in the same universe, but with different main characters.

You mean there are sequels which take place in a different universe? I do not believe that to be even possible. Or it wouldn't be a sequel, but a spiritual successor.

Nalano
07-11-2011, 08:27 PM
Though there are carry-overs, especially on the radio.

Lazlo.


You mean there are sequels which take place in a different universe? I do not believe that to be even possible. Or it wouldn't be a sequel, but a spiritual successor.

Final Fantasy comes to mind.

gundrea
08-11-2011, 03:38 PM
Even though the Forgotten Realms is totally bland and catch-all, one think I like about playing games set in it is that familiarity that stretches across a large number of titles.
For that admission you are never allowed have another opinion again.

I think Kollega missed the wood for the trees on this one. Lots of games which aren't direct sequels share universes. Here's some more.

DDO and Dragonshard.
Demonstone and Icewind Dale.
The Iron Grip series.