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Todd Howard wants to see more reactivity in open world games rather than greater scale

Balducci30

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Eh, Morrowind was one of the most interactive and immersive games of its era, but they've spent the last few games actually removing functionality and streamlining systems until Skyrim (fun as it still is) came out dry as toast compared to past offerings.

The only thing Bethesda still does better than their competitors is the ability to drop a cheese wheel in the middle of a field and come back to find it months later. That was a neat trick a few generations ago, but since it has no actual impact on the game world, I wouldn't call it interactive. Silly and immersion breaking more like.

Just a small increase in the complexity/interactivity of their systems could make the games so much better. What if cheese lured skeevers or even just rotted away realistically? What if bodies didn't just lie in the streets for weeks with passers-by calmly scrambling over them to get to work? What if you could cut down a tree or burn down a barn and then the people would come build it back up? Anything.

I'm glad Todd is at least saying the right things. We'll see if it adds up to any meaningful changes in a few years.

i kinda disagree though, as others have mentioned in this thread out of all the games I’ve played even something like Skyrim has more actual interactivity with the world than all the others. In regards to items found in the world that can be used and picked up, AI responding to you stealing, being able to enter indoor spaces. Like they have janky games for sure but I don’t really understand this point of view since no other engine seems to be capable of doing what theirs does for some reason. Unless there’s something I’m missing?
 

PotatoBoy

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Eh, Morrowind was one of the most interactive and immersive games of its era, but they've spent the last few games actually removing functionality and streamlining systems until Skyrim (fun as it still is) came out dry as toast compared to past offerings.

The only thing Bethesda still does better than their competitors is the ability to drop a cheese wheel in the middle of a field and come back to find it months later. That was a neat trick a few generations ago, but since it has no actual impact on the game world, I wouldn't call it interactive. Silly and immersion breaking more like.

Just a small increase in the complexity/interactivity of their systems could make the games so much better. What if cheese lured skeevers or even just rotted away realistically? What if bodies didn't just lie in the streets for weeks with passers-by calmly scrambling over them to get to work? What if you could cut down a tree or burn down a barn and then the people would come build it back up? Anything.

I'm glad Todd is at least saying the right things. We'll see if it adds up to any meaningful changes in a few years.


In Skyrim I can meet a runaway prisoner in the middle of the mountains, get directions from them to the bandits that locked them away, then murder them in cold blood and take all their clothes like a serial killer. I can't do that in BotW, Witcher 3, or Deus Ex.

There are basically no RPGs where you can dick around as much as Skyrim. You have to go to the GTA/RDR2 type of game.

But I agree that there are so many incremental systems they could layer on top of what they have: you've provided some good examples. And as I said earlier in the thread, there's a ton of low-hanging fruit just by stealing all the good ideas from BotW, like making it easy to burn stuff down, climb, move heavy objects, blow things away with wind, etc. It's already been done, there's no magic needed to get this to work.

But the people who are asking for NPCs to react to minor changes in the world's state are asking for too much. You're asking for an exponential increase in dialogue needed. It can't happen without an obscene budget, which simply isn't worth it.
 
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brian0057

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In Skyrim I can meet a runaway prisoner in the middle of the mountains, get directions from them to the bandits that locked them away, then murder them in cold blood and take all their clothes like a serial killer. I can't do that in BotW, Witcher 3, or Deus Ex.

There are basically no RPGs where you can dick around as much as Skyrim. You have to go to the GTA/RDR2 type of game.

But I agree that there are so many incremental systems they could layer on top of what they have: you've provided some good examples. And as I said earlier in the thread, there's a ton of low-hanging fruit just by stealing all the good ideas from BotW, like making it easy to burn stuff down, climb, move heavy objects, blow things away with wind, etc. It's already been done, there's no magic needed to get this to work.

But the people who are asking for NPCs to react to minor changes in the world's state are asking for too much. You're asking for an exponential increase in dialogue needed. It can't happen without an obscene budget, which simply isn't worth it.
Play Daggerfall.
It's like Skyrim but good.
 
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PotatoBoy

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Play Daggerfall.
It's like Skyrim but good.

Oh believe me I am not a Skyrim or Bethesda fanboy, don't get me wrong. But I haven't played Daggerfall, only ES 3, 4, 5 and FO3.

What makes 2 so much better than 5? And why do you think Bethesda abandoned those features or aspects that you think makes it better?
 
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Belmonte

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Didn't Skyrim basically have all of this? People whisper about you differently and interact with you differently depending on what you've done in the game.

They definitely did less "you have to pick a side" in Skyrim as you can do all the factions even if they are contradictory, but the main storyline has that binary choice between the 2 sides that dramatically effects the world. And stuff like people whispering about you being a murderer if you join Assassin's guild.

I didn't finish Skyrim so I'm taking Oddspeak Oddspeak word about it. If people acknowledge your feat in the ending of the game, that is cool.

Morrowind interaction is deeper and it makes more sense in my opinion. If people don't like you, they won't talk, refuse services or even give important information.

You can intimidate, admire, bribe, taunt, you can use magic and artifacts to increase disposition and even using a particular perfume. If you want to kill someone and don't have problems with the law after it, the player can taunt the NPC enough to make him/her give the first blow. If you are sick or have the plague people will be pissed if you talk to them.

In some quests disposition is a key part. One time I used a perfume to collect a debt for the Fighter's Guild from a prostitute who didn't like me. Like real life.
 
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Dave_at_Home

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The massive improvements in CPU and storage capabilities compared to last generation should net serious gains in open-world titles.

Also, with that said, I'm always shifty eyed when this man speaks...
 
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kiphalfton

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He is right about "scale just for the sake of scale" being bad. Ubisoft games are awful about this.

So yes please Bethesda Softworks. Make the world small or medium sized but packed with detail and interesting things to do. It doesn't have to be any bigger than Skyrim, but it has to have more detail. That's all they have to do to be successful.

Why more detail? Most people probably don't even see all the detail the does put into a game.
 
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JOEVIAL

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Why more detail? Most people probably don't even see all the detail the does put into a game.

Yes you're absolutely correct most won't notice. I for one would absolutely notice, and I know many who would notice also.

However... for the majority of people that would say "they don't care about more detail" ... there is a subconscious affect in games that have more detail - where the player is subconsciously aware that the game has more detail - no matter if they are actively thinking about it or not.

That subconscious affect greatly effects the way people perceive a game, and the amount of dedication and passion the developers put into it.
 

kiphalfton

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Yes you're absolutely correct most won't notice. I for one would absolutely notice, and I know many who would notice also.

However... for the majority of people that would say "they don't care about more detail" ... there is a subconscious affect in games that have more detail - where the player is subconsciously aware that the game has more detail - no matter if they are actively thinking about it or not.

That subconscious affect greatly effects the way people perceive a game, and the amount of dedication and passion the developers put into it.

Detail to an extent is fine, but if you can't interact with the world it doesn't really matter all that much. Detail in games is fine as it is, now devs need to start focusing on lighting, animation, effects, AI, destructibility, etc.
 

brian0057

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Oh believe me I am not a Skyrim or Bethesda fanboy, don't get me wrong. But I haven't played Daggerfall, only ES 3, 4, 5 and FO3.

What makes 2 so much better than 5? And why do you think Bethesda abandoned those features or aspects that you think makes it better?
Short of actually playing a D&D session, Daggerfall is the pinnacle of video game role-playing (despite what CDPR or its fans might say to the contrary).

There's dozens and dozens of factions, every NPC cangive you directions and even tell you about specific individuals. There's an entire legal system where you can actually spend years in jail, defend yourself or bluff your way out of court. Maybe even pay a bail or a bribe or, if you dare, hack your way out.

Daggerfall is the closest any video-game has come to replicating the tabletop RPG experience.

It's also free, which is nice.
 
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PotatoBoy

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Short of actually playing a D&D session, Daggerfall is the pinnacle of video game role-playing (despite what CDPR or its fans might say to the contrary).

There's dozens and dozens of factions, every NPC cangive you directions and even tell you about specific individuals. There's an entire legal system where you can actually spend years in jail, defend yourself or bluff your way out of court. Maybe even pay a bail or a bribe or, if you dare, hack your way out.

Daggerfall is the closest any video-game has come to replicating the tabletop RPG experience.

It's also free, which is nice.

I'm intrigued. I'll give it a shot. Hopefully I can get past QoL issues and the pretty bland graphics.
 
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EDMIX

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I'm intrigued. I'll give it a shot. Hopefully I can get past QoL issues and the pretty bland graphics.

True. I've always been ok with their rather ..."meh" graphics. If the concept is solid and they are making a unique work with lots of interactive features for immersion, I'm down. I even hope that is the focus on Elder Scrolls VI. Games over time will always look better, but thats the thing...its a given, we need someone pushing theses features and concepts forward. So if the game is fugly, I'm completely ok with that so long as it really pushes those world building concepts.

Elder Scrolls and Fallout were never really the best looking games, but what they were able to achieve with that world building is just unheard of. I always thought generations later many of those features would be in other RPGs, yet for most teams that is a massively difficult task, to the point of many of them just omitting even having their NPCs do Morrowind or Daggerfall level NPC stuff.
 

EverydayBeast

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Scale is good for business but it isn’t good for world building, take Days Gone for example above, the motorcycle, the forest, caves, Oregon etc. is small in comparison to something like ELDER SCROLLS but all of hordes, motorcycle, forests is the best thing about Days Gone.
 
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namekuseijin

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ok. i mean his games have demonstrated that he is working to the opposite end. Fallout 76 was more dumbed down than Fallout 4 was more dumbed down than Fallout 3. we are not seeing more systems, we are seeing less. we are seeing more corporate streamlining, GAAS, crowdsourcing systems to users rather than creating unique content. however it doesn't matter because the Fallout/Skyrim brand is too big to fail. they get away with buggy products that get more and more dumbed down because Todd Howard is a good PR guy and will say some inspiring bullshit from time to time that he will never implement, but which sounds good in an article.

pity there is no concrete news on any of the new games he is working on, instead we have to hear this tripe. imo he is a bs artist, nothing more. Skyrim 2 will be more dumbed down than Skyrim was. Nintendo is light years ahead of him in this specific dept.

in other words: we're seeing more and more casual walking sims with social multiplayer
 

Fbh

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I hope he actually goes for it and we don't see him proudly going on stage in 2 years to boast about how the next elder scrolls is "the biggest one yet!!!".

I think a good example from this gen was Prague in making divided. It's really small and yet felt more rewarding to explore and interact with than the majority of big open worlds because it was nicely designed and there was a lot to explore and find. They also did a good job at incorporating your skills and making more places accessible as you get to lift heavier objects, break walls, etc.
When you compare it one of the cities in an Assassins Creed game where it's mostly just a nice looking backdrop with literally nothing to do in it there's just no comparison.

Also, while the new tech should make interactivity easier, the biggest thing that has to change is dev mentality.
Breath of the Wild is running on the crappiest "current" hardware , and yet its world felt in many ways more interactive than most. You have all these physics based tools like the magnet and stasis, but then you also have stuff like burning grass creating an updraft, how you can chop down trees then throw some wood on the ground and hit it with a fire sword to create a campfire, how you can use your magnet to put metal objects next to enemies during a thunderstorm and have it be hit by lightning, etc
 

tassletine

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What did RDR2 do in terms of reactivity?
Almost everything reacts to you in some way.
The characters react negatively or positively due to your actions.
RDR 2 is totally not the benchmark for reactivity in open-world games

Rockstar bruteforce this by scripting LOTS of "random" encounters. They are all scripted.

"Oh that guy that I saved from that snake bite now gave me a weapon! How cool is that?"

Until you talk to your friends and realise that encounters that felt natural like these are all scripted. Than the illusion is gone.

Yeah you can have some animals attacking other animals and things like that, but you wont see some natives fighting against pinkertons in the open world, and then a bear comes in during the fight and kill the rest of the survivors

Far Cry 5 is probably the open world game with the most reactivity in that sense

That's simply not true. You can lead bears into towns and they attack people.

There are lots of scripted events but the game reacts to your playstyle, negatively or positively, shaping how people talk to you, and your impression of the world.
The euphoria physics alone are extremely reactive. Little things like rocks have individual weight, so if you kick rocks down a mountain the small ones will tumble over the bigger ones but still nudge the big one a little. A sodden creak bed will steam when the sun hits it in the morning, not to mention all the other weather systems. Shoot a guy on a horse and he could fall off, could get caught in the stirrups or get trapped underneath it as it dies. There is an extreme level of reactivity here.
Far Cry 5 has a bunch of systems that interact, but the level that they do and how the world reacts to those events isn't up to Rockstar's Level.
 
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