Tyranny Developers are Annoyed by “False Choices”

The folks at GameRevolution have an interview with the panelists from Obsidian and Paradox’s PAX West panel on choices and consequences, that focuses on the Tyranny team’s approach to the subject. In particular, the developers confess their annoyance at “false choices” and elaborate on what they mean with that:

“You want a choice to be something you can actually pay off on, where you’re able to see the consequences of that choice, and actually have interesting quests and dialogue play out from those choices. That is a good choice, one you want in an RPG,” Tyranny Game Director Brian Heins said. “A bad choice is one that is purely for flavor, that has no impact on gameplay or story. It’s a false choice, one that lets the player think they have a say in what’s going on when they really don’t.”

And we’ve all played RPGs or games with “false choice” exactly like that, haven’t we?

“We also tried to avoid another type of false choice where its only purpose is to screw you over,” MacLean added. “The game that comes to mind is a really old one, Sierra Games’ King’s Quest, where you have a choice to push a button, and when you do, oh hey you’re dead. Well, why did you give me that option? Oh, so I could see what happens. That’s not a choice, that’s just seeing something that can be done.”

“There’s also the problem of weeding out choices that break other choices,” he went on. “For example, we’re not going to give you an option to rob a bank, and then later down the line let you invest in and get a job at that bank.”

“To elaborate on that point,” Obsidian Design Director Josh Sawyer jumped in. “A lot of the times we think about choice and consequence we think what are a variety of players likely to want with that circumstance and what will they want to do to express the mechanics of their character or the personality of their character. As such, what would seem to be a ‘false choice’, if it provides entertainment or a reaction to the player, like making them laugh, then that’s also a good choice to implement.”

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