Speculation Op-Ed: New Vegas and Tycho

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Brother None, Feb 4, 2010.

  1. Dionysus

    Dionysus Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Oct 13, 2008
    It's hard to make a good RPG story without a near-universal antagonist. And while good and evil are obviously subjective, an antagonist that is very compelling for many different types of characters (like the Master or the Enclave) is the closest you'll get to a "bad guy."

    Torment did. Stalker didn't. To be honest, I don't even remember my character's motivation for going through the plot in Stalker. I was just trying to beat the game.

    And both of those games had much more railroading than I'd like to see in a FO game.
  2. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing here.

    Take Dragon Age as an example. The bad guy is the Archdemon, but he's not your antagonist. He's background noise. Your antagonist is Loghain, but Loghain isn't a "bad guy". Misguided, or a bit too extreme, or slightly paranoid, perhaps, but not a "bad guy".

    In some ways the same is true for the Master, and to a lesser extent the Enclave. They're antagonists, but not "bad guys".
  3. Aphyosis

    Aphyosis Where'd That 6th Toe Come From?

    Nov 4, 2009
    With the Master i could agree, not so sure about the Enclave though. The Master believes what he is doing is right and helps mankind survive the aftermath, whereas the Enclave just wants pure humans and is more than willing to kill thousands to get what it wants, despite their sentience or humanity. Fairly easy to associate them as the "Bad Guys" but to a degree i guess your right, it all depends on what your personal viewpoint is.
  4. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    That's always true. There'll also be people who don't sympathize with the Master at all, and think he's just nuts.

    The only clear delineation is intent and that can be hard to gage. The Master is clearly intended to be a more grey-not-evil-not-good antagonist. Same for Loghain. Whether or not you, the consumer, also experience them as such is open to interpretation.

    Meanwhile, guys like, I dunno, Darth Malak in KotOR, or the Archdemon in DA:O, are just "raaargh wanna kill you all!" baddies. The Enclave is closer to those than to more human antagonists.

    I'm not sure where I'd slot Fallout 3's John Henry Eden. He's so excruciatingly badly written that I honestly don't know what they're aiming for. But Fallout 3 as a whole certainly suffered under "bad vs good" paradigms, with BoS being way too good and the Enclave way too "evil" for the Fallout world.
  5. jero cvmi

    jero cvmi Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Oct 8, 2008
    I hope Bethesda who is in charge of this production does not allow such anti-american artsy fartsy communist heresy and keep it to good ol' white hats vs. black hats.


  6. Dionysus

    Dionysus Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Oct 13, 2008
    I'll admit that I haven't taken many formal classes in literature or theater, so I could have the wrong terminology. I'd say that the archdemon/blight is the antagonist. Most characters, regardless of how nasty or selfish they are, will want the blight to be stopped. That helps to push the plot in one manageable direction while allowing the character to vary. In the same way, I'd say that the shark was the main antagonist Jaws, whereas the greedy Mayor was maybe a minor villain.

    Speaking of which, the natural-disaster antagonist is probably the easiest way to pull this off, and it's hardly ever used in RPGs. My favorite is the sentient natural disaster (like Galactus in Marvel comics or Endurium in Starflight), but that requires magic or the sci-fi equivalent, which might not be terribly well suited for FO outside of the tired out-of-control AI gimmick.

    The Master is slightly nuanced because you can talk him out of his plan (but his evil armies remain dangerous and need to be neutered). A deathbed repentance doesn't undo the past in my opinion. He was still a bad guy when he planned to sterilize, mutate or kill all humans, just as Darth Vader was a bad guy before he turned back into a good guy. The Enclave might as well be wearing black hats. I think Dr. Robotnik and Bowser are more morally ambiguous than the Enclave.
  7. Drifter420

    Drifter420 First time out of the vault

    Feb 5, 2010
    Has anyone else noticed the big-ass Vault on the left side of the city?
  8. Neptune

    Neptune First time out of the vault

    Apr 7, 2006
    Wish it was Tycho, but nah, doubtful. As someone said earlier, it's just a yeasrer as to what faction will be involved.

    and yeah, I noticed the vault. I always wondered if any of the vaults were 'successful' in that, after they opened they restarted civilization in that area.

    Can't wait for this game.
  9. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    Superficially, yes. But DA:O is kind of a confusing example because it's an onion of a story. The main story is about the blight, true. The interesting stories, however, are about unifying the allies, and then defeating Loghian. The "real" plot, of defeating the blight, kind of jumps in as an afterthought.

    The shark was the antagonist. The major was the bad guy.

  10. Tagaziel

    Tagaziel Panzerkatze Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Dec 10, 2003
    But you were playing. You can't say it didn't work, if you kept playing and wanted to beat the game.

    My motivation was curiosity as to who or what was behind the Zone or what happened in the reactor in 2006.
  11. cuse

    cuse First time out of the vault

    May 31, 2009
  12. Jesse Heinig

    Jesse Heinig First time out of the vault

    Dec 12, 2008
    In a sense, the Blight is a natural disaster antagonist in DA. It's loosely an antagonist, really, in that it does precipitate the main character setting out on a (possibly) heroic journey, and "the Blight" challenges the Warden from time to time with groups of darkspawn, but these only have a conflicting motivation with the Warden in that both sides have a goal of "kill the other guy, because." While the archdemon presumably has some thinking ability (since the darkspawn have a hive mind), it doesn't seem to be of a sort that can be characterized with motivations outside of rampant destruction. Loghain's motivations are much more "human," of course, presumably informed by a different set of priorities than the Warden's.

    In broad strokes I might assert that a protagonist and antagonist have opposing goals that bring them into conflict. This is certainly the case with the darkspawn and with Loghain vis-a-vis the Warden in Dragon Age. It's also the case with the Master and the Vault Dweller in Fallout; the Master, of course, wants to replace humanity with his super mutants, while the Vault Dweller (ostensibly) works to save the un- (or less-) mutated humans of his home.

    What might be giving people pause is the fact that there is not really a Hollywood-esque monolithic power structure behind these antagonists. Hollywood pumps out stories in which the protagonist is an underdog and the antagonist is at the top of the status quo -- say, a young farmboy bush-pilot against the evil tech-priest of an intergalactic Empire, or a lone outsider dropped into a strange world that functions according to rules that he thought he understood and pitted against the thinking, plotting mind of that world and its lieutenant. In Dragon Age, Loghain outlaws the Grey Wardens and then proceeds to not do very much about the Warden; there's a sense that his new regime is "background noise" for the setting until the Landsmeet. Similarly, in Fallout, nobody really has a monolithic power structure over the wasteland, so while the Vault Dweller encounters hints of the Master's new regime early on (Necropolis, for instance), it's perhaps not quite the same feeling as a lone rebel underdog trying to overturn the status quo by unseating a nigh-omnipotent ruler. (Probably American cinema owes some debt to the Revolutionary War for this constant recurring theme.) Neither the Master nor Loghain are portrayed as nearly as powerful politically or personally as (to continue from my earlier examples) Darth Vader or the Emperor, or Sark or the MCP. This precipitates a sense that the protagonist is . . . I guess I'd say "up to mischief" as opposed to taking on this monolithic organization with the antagonist at the top. Not to say that this is a bad structure . . . just a bit more nuanced than, say, "Exodus threatens to take over all of Sosaria unless someone destroys it!"
    I suppose the story is one of the parts of Dragon Age that I did enjoy to some degree . . .
  13. Sander

    Sander This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Jul 5, 2003
    In a way, the Blight is nothing but background noise - the setting of the stage for the real battle between protagonist and antagonist.

    I'd say that the stories I find most interesting don't feature the classic underdog vs overarching, all-powerful antagonist.

    That theme has been going on for millennia. It may not really be present in the Epic of Gilgamesh, but the Old Testament features several occurences of this theme.
    Apparently, people like it when underdogs go up against more powerful people and beat them. It may have something to do with most people being underdogs.
  14. Morbus

    Morbus Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Aug 16, 2006

    That's motivation enough for STALKER. Some games, even with more or less compelling stories, can't even motivate you to play them. STALKER did it right with that kind of plot.

    On the other hand, a FO game doesn't really have a plot, just a couple of main missions.
  15. draeke

    draeke It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Dec 2, 2005
    Well you never know, the protagonist could be walking into a situation where an NCR attack had just been fended off (hence the bodies and looped robots), it could be New Vegas could want to take over New Reno and vice versa but could potentially have to cooperate to maintain independence. just a new dynamic if New Reno is actually involved. the plot could go a few different ways for the pc. to make it even more complicated the BoS could get involved (that's now 4 factions) and the entire area could be a war zone for all we know and again potentially up for grabs. It could even be that they won't actually attack the city to preserve its tech, ala vault city. Throw in some Raiders/slavers seeing a potential power grab and that makes 5, not to mention all the sub-factions within factions making it even more fun. now, if you asked me if they'd write such a thing considering the complexity, and the answer is probably not. This is a speculation thread though. All that being said, I think the overall plot will involve assimilating New Vegas into the NCR, the exact opposite, or we help them both. Those will be our 'Fallouty' grey-decision area choices. I'm probably reading way into this but that's what I'm expecting. I'm thinking the 'Tycho'ish' character in the trailer is a wanderer who just happened into the whole thing since advance scouts don't usually plant battle-worn flags in the ground and might try to remain more discreet. I'm not saying it's completely beyond the realm of possibility that the protagonist is allied with the NCR, I'm just hoping that they wouldn't make it that obvious.
  16. Dionysus

    Dionysus Look, Ma! Two Heads!

    Oct 13, 2008
    It's still evil. An ambiguous disaster would be something like an earthquake or an epidemic. I think people find that sort of thing to be less compelling unless there is some underlying conspiracy to uncover.

    But that doesn’t have anything to do with the plot. I’ve spent more time playing fighting games and Tetris.

    Yes, and that’s really not a good plot for an RPG. Basically, the story fits characters that are curious or greedy to the point of suicidal tendencies. If the player is going to have the freedom to play many different types of characters, then any inflexible goal of the game should be one that would be sought by many different types of characters.
  17. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    Hey! Not completely true, joining the Master was possible after all. Not the "lucky" ending, but dunno ... it was possible :mrgreen:

    I like games that give you here a option, even when its just more or less superficial.
  18. Jesse Heinig

    Jesse Heinig First time out of the vault

    Dec 12, 2008
    Resolving a conflict via compromise or dialog is certainly a valid way for two opposing factions to come to an end of their conflict. After all, in 1984 Winston Smith winds up coming around to the point of view of Big Brother (via torture and mind control, of course, but nonetheless). This does not mean that one (or both) parties are necessarily any less antagonists!
  19. UncannyGarlic

    UncannyGarlic Sonny, I Watched the Vault Bein' Built!

    Feb 6, 2008
    Yeah, but it gave you the game over screen if you did so. It would have been awesome had it given you the location endings and such so that it was portrayed as more of an equal choice, but it didn't. Not saying that it wasn't there, just saying that it was as much of a loss as dying as far as the game was concerned.
  20. Crni Vuk

    Crni Vuk M4A3 Oldfag oTO Orderite

    Nov 25, 2008
    wasnt there even some idea floating around during F1 development to give the player a option to continue the game after he got changed by the master in to a super mutant? But it got canceled or something. I swear I have read that somewhere.

    yeah I know hence why I said superficial. I mean killing the overseer was a bit tricky as well, but possible afterall. Its those details I love a in some of those old RPGs. Today many times enough everything is presented to you like on a buffet or big silver table "oh, so nice choices! look at this reward and bling bling for quest A or bad karma for quest B!". Dunno how to describe it, dialogues and quests just feel in my eyes ... many times unatural in how you always know the end before you even try the quest or how NPCs interact with you more treating you like a child then some adult grown up adventurer. Realistic characters? Dialogues feelt very real to me in Fallout 1 and 2 more like real intellectural exchange. Maybe its cause the RPGs today loose somewhat the mature feeling or its the hand holding I dont know it really. Or I just start to get old ...