Narrative elements

What narrative elements will be used in PP? I mostly agree with the “no Commander cult” sentiment, but do we get some interludes like talking heads Starcraft 1 had between missions? Cutscenes? NPCs as second-in-command? I’m a sucker for good story, so I would like to see something more than utterly generic text events and randomized “nameless” NPCs. Besides, PP has nice lore base created with the Briefings and writing contest and I think it would be a shame not to capitalize on that.

We don’t know. Pretty much all of the details surrounding the story have been kept hidden to avoid spoilers. All we really know is that the event system will tie in. Hopefully with BB5 and the upcoming devblogs will fill in some of the gaps.

From what I understand there will be key NPCs in all factions which will push story if you will ally with them. Here will diplomacy enter into play probably with picture of that NPC and I think it will be mostly text in some pop up window like with event system.

You will also have special story missions involving them (at least I hope so concluding from mission types listed on the page), so probably during few missions we will hear their voice like with Fort Freiheit mission where Colonel Harlson was gibbering about duty.

Also Phoenix Project will have some non-player characters which will probably mark some important moments in the story (in case if you won’t ally with any faction), but I also expect it to be some frame with text and still picture.

Just like with case of Phoenix Archives which we will uncover with next found PP bases.

Last what I have heard there won’t be any cutscenes, except intro and outro (maybe DLCs will bring something in this matter?).

Sounds like dating sim, tbh.

Cut-scenes are great but it takes lots of time to create them (not an expert in the matter but lots of 3D modeling and animation to do).

What would be nice is:

  • Have the protagonists (haven leaders) be randomized from one play-through to the other
    • the exalted could be a man the first time you play, a woman the next one
    • that would mean having a male and female track for everything they would say (if they talk) in each language
  • A bit like in FiraXCom, have their photo on the top right corner when they speak (if they do) and the caption
  • If the events could be the haven leader talking to you rather than text to read, it would be great (but mean some other sound tracks to record both for male and female)

Still not like a cut-scene but seems a bit more like some interaction is happening and you are in this world. I know some people can feel inside a story just by reading some text. I like someone telling me to “please wait for the council meeting to end” or “we decided to participate in your efforts to save mankind” or “go away or we’ll shoot”.

Each time I play FiraXCom it’s the same Bradford, Shen, Vahlen and Tygan. Not very refreshing.

Well Exalted was specified to be woman, so it is not the best example, but I get your point. That would be fine to have recorded voice of both genders. Question is if it would not get boring hearing over and over the same narrator (if for example all havens around would have female leaders).

Yes, forgot that, at least her photo could change from one game to the other.

Like having Bradford saying “The avatar project is making progress, if we don’t…”. Yes I know, it would be great if there was some voice generator library (eSpeak ?) out there that could be used to give each speaker some random voice.

I don’t know how a cutscene of a behemoth demolishing a city/haven and stomping on people reminds you of a dating sim, but remind me not to get close to you on a date :smile:
In all seriousness now, I talked about NPCs, because they make storytelling easy. If they get more creative, that’s all I need.

Text is my favorite medium when absorbing info/story, but where it counts I’d rather have my game game-y and not book-y. “Civilization was destroyed. 80% of population died.”, “We found a crucial artifact. It was utterly unspeakable, unspoken, not of this world and it can’t be described.” I want to see that not read that.
You could describe horrors of war well, but that’s S. Erikson level, and nobody is going to read that much text when there are havens to save and science to get done.

This is exactly what I’m afraid of. I’d rather have a text menu instead of a random face in every haven, with the exact same diplomacy options, the exact same responses fitting every situation yet none and the exact same voice-over or none at all. (Or maybe you meant factions leaders?)

Well yeah, I would kinda expect them dropping multiplatform support and taking the Epic deal and taking way longer than planned to show a positive impact somewhere. I hope Snapshot can do better than utterly generic unimaginative 4X indie game diplomacy menu when it comes to story.
I still think an SC1 round table of talking heads + a small number of cutscenes would be a nice fit for PP. After some thought I would personally like to see:

  1. If something important happens, make the most of it, NPCs, 3d animation party, voice actors, instagram filters, all aboard!
  2. If anything other happens, just slap text onto it and get out of my way.

But something important should not be just start and end.

I meant dating sim since “be nice to faction to learn about their deeper feelings, repeat that for every girl, er, I mean faction, to unlock the full story”.
There are already talking heads in X-Com Game, albeit bootleg one, Ufo:Afterlight.

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What I meant is that, since there are lots of havens, you can’t do a cut-scene for each one of them. However, having a face to put on the haven leader’s name is nice and shouldn’t be long to do and having some interactions other than the current pop-up that displays an event would be better.

I could imagine that if the haven is under attack the leader would call for help if we have good relations (animated video of him talk… well moving his head and lips ?).
If bad relations and we arrive, the leader warns us that his troops will treat us like the aliens (and you get an opportunity to persuade that your intentions are good and depending on the alien force he can accept under certain conditions - no explosives, not taking from crates, …).
And anything more neutral when close to a neutral stance towards PP.
This of course would mean that multiple versions would have to be recorded to avoid earing the same stuff all the time… And different voices… And different languages…

For diplomacy, I don’t know how it will be done. Sharing tech, giving resources, saying hello, …

Can’t argue with that.
It’s of course better if there are cut-scenes for the various plot events (pre-rendered would mean you can’t randomize the appearance of the protagonists).
I know that I skip lots of cut-scenes in FiraXCom (interrogations/disections, making contact with a region, new room built, …).

I would like some art screens with characteristic, tired, post-apocaliptic narrative voice like in Fallout 2 intro (“War, war never changes” is timeless and iconic :slightly_smiling_face:) with addition of subtitles.

I hate art scenes. But I guess it’s not their fault and it can be done well.
It’s just when I played Gothic 1 and 2, those games were great. Cutscenes were ancient but worked. And then came Gothic 3 with many disappointments and said farewell with huge middle-finger of a slideshow with ingame screenshots, instead of proper outro. I always get this sour taste in my mouth whenever I see one.

+1 I know exactly what you mean, I used to play Football Manager for years back in the day until they introduced that type of mechanic where you had to repeatedly pick one of the five same responses to repetitive set of interview questions and gamble that the response you choose would get your star forward to play better during the next match, it can be interesting the first dozen times or so, but when it’s the hundredth time that that same question is cropping up again… my word it grates!

Diplomacy should stem from actions taken within the game imho, not that artificial, dumbed down Q&A. You want a faction to like you, give them some aid, or wipe out their enemies.

I suppose for this are haven defence missions. I think that diplomacy will be more like “do you want to be with us and crush those buggers (other faction) in this area?”. I guess we won’t receive such question too many times. The same will be about trading tech for something else. There is finite number of research options you can get so I suppose there won’t be too many repetitive dialogs here. And probably main story will evolve around 3 to 5 breaking points, where you will need to decide what course of action you want to take with each faction. Not many possibilities for repetitive answers here. :slight_smile: Gollop said that single campaign will take like 30 hours… Which is not too much, so I think there won’t be too many options on the geoscape in the field of diplomacy. But hopefuly there will be quite many random factors so the game will be replayable many times.

It doesn’t have to be just haven defence missions.

In Xcom Apocalypse relationships with different factions were influenced directly by how you worked to defend or attack those factions, not only whether you choose to or not, but also how much damage you did to them in the process, you might win a mission, but if by doing so you absolutely levelled the facility you were ‘protecting’ and wiped out that faction’s personnel they wouldn’t be thanking you for stepping in.

Relationships were indirectly influenced by those actions, as an example (If this system were in PP) if you attacked a Synedrion and Anu already disliked Synedrion, then your relationship with Anu would improve because you attacked that Synedrion facility, whereas if New Jericho were allied with Synedrion then they might turn against you because you were attacking their ally.

Relationships with factions could also be temporarily influenced in the form of bribes, or requests for compensation.

And relationships would also be affected by how much the alien opponent had damaged a faction and/or managed to infiltrate a faction. So you’ve levelled a facility of a given faction and for a while they’ve hated you for it, but the aliens have since levelled a half dozen of that same factions facilities, it might be that that faction now comes running back to you seeking protection as the lesser of two evils.

The other aspect of this in Apocalypse was that your relationship with different factions served to influence what you would be able to do in the game. Attack the faction that was suppling a particular resource type to you, then the cost of those resourced would go up (or ultimately not be available to you).

All of this is not to say that each aspect of diplomacy above has to be present in PP, but I know that in Xcom Apocalypse that the diplomacy system felt very organic, you had to balance and make some hard choices over who to defend and who to attack. Actions that you took had consequences, it was certainly better as a form of diplomacy than being asked a pop up question and then having to pick decision a), b) or c).