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The Chosen One Syndrome

For all Wasteland 2 discussion that does not fit elsewhere, suggestions, feedback, etc. No spoilers allowed.

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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby stonetoes » April 22nd, 2012, 8:03 pm

Some people have mentioned not having the plot revolve around defeating some ultimate evil threat, but what are the alternatives? In a party based game you're not going to have personal motivations (family/revenge/destiny/faith/ideological/whatever). I guess your goal could simply be to expand the power of the rangers, or support a local faction like in New Vegas, but I'm not sure I'd find that satisfying as a motivation. With New Vegas it was pretty much a big, bad threat anyway, just marginally more nuanced and with the option to join them.

Edit: Also this article seems like a good counerpoint to the opinions expressed earlier about Skyrim not having enough busy-work.
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby nathanknaack » April 22nd, 2012, 8:17 pm

I much prefer the "John McClane" story over the "Neo" story.

You're not the chosen one; you're just "that guy." To quote Die Hard 4:

"Because there's no body else to do it right now, that's why. Believe me, if there were somebody else to do it, I'd let them do it, but there's not. So we're doing it."

To me, that's always been a more compelling narrative. Who cares about yet another chosen one following his inevitable destiny? If it's inevitable, why am I watching (or playing?) I want to play the guys who step up and become heroes, not the guys foretold by the gods to be born as heroes.
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby cah » April 22nd, 2012, 9:05 pm

nathanknaack wrote:Who cares about yet another chosen one following his inevitable destiny? If it's inevitable, why am I watching (or playing?) I want to play the guys who step up and become heroes, not the guys foretold by the gods to be born as heroes.
But as a player/viewer do you ever get to witness a character whom you are certain from the very start to become the hero who trivially fulfills the prophecy? A hero's path is never an easy one.
nathanknaack wrote:the "Neo" story.

However, the real question is: did Neo become who he is because it was his destiny or because he was told that it was his destiny?
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby stonetoes » April 22nd, 2012, 9:37 pm

nathanknaack wrote:I much prefer the "John McClane" story over the "Neo" story.

You're not the chosen one; you're just "that guy."


This could work, but the Die Hards all took place in either captive environments, restricted time-frames, or both. In an open-world RPG which could go on for months of in-game time, or even years, things would be different. Then you run into the problem of, if you aren't a chosen one of some description, why you haven't found someone more powerful dude with his own army to actually take care of things.

Of course one way games deal with this is by making the powers-that-be infuriatingly unable to grasp that there is actually a problem, so no matter how much the protagonist begs for help they never intervene, forcing him to take matters into his own hands. I think I actually find this trope even more unbelievable than the "chosen one" version.
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby Seytan » April 22nd, 2012, 9:46 pm

UniversalWolf wrote:The player character or characters should not have any kind of special destiny.

-No prophecies fortelling player characters' arrival
-No "you're our last hope."
-No "you're the only one who can save the world from certain destruction."
-No "the only one who can draw the sword from the stone is the rightful king."
-No magical coincidences



LOL you cant..you will create a party...there ISNT a chosen one in this game. :} where ya been junior?
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby Mandemon » April 22nd, 2012, 11:27 pm

cah wrote:
nathanknaack wrote:the "Neo" story.

However, the real question is: did Neo become who he is because it was his destiny or because he was told that it was his destiny?


Morrowind actually explored this concept. You were A Chosen One, one prophesied to return and kill the evil god.

The catch? It wouldn't be sure until you actually succeed. Until then, you were a candidate. Characters express disbelief throughout the game the game of who you claim to be and you are even told that you are not the first one to claim to be Nevarine. There had been others, who were just as viable candidates for the job. So instead of simply "being" The Chosen One, you made yourself The Chosen One.

Although it would be funny if Rangers could find and use old prophecy of saviors for their own use.

"Oh yes, we are here to return the life to the wastes. Now we need all your money, than you.
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby KeltecRFB » April 23rd, 2012, 10:13 am

/signed

You are a survivalist only known by your loved ones and that is all. You have to make a name for yourself.
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby Akira28 » April 23rd, 2012, 2:50 pm

Lets have a chance encounter or a town called "Belly of the Beast", where you are hailed as the chosen one, where you have to go into the Sacred Cavern to challenge the Beast of Ages who has been eating all of the beautiful maidens.

Only it turns out that the town has been using that scam as a death trap to any well armed travelers , to steal their supplies. It starts out with a fake bandit raid, where the beautiful daughter of the Chief town elder is screaming for help. You scare the bandits off during the middle of the fight *scripted, they flee early*. And you're hailed as a hero. The town gathers around you, and convinces you to go on this quest to battle the beast, giving you free healing buff items to help you defeat the monster (which are actually poisoned, or drugged). And you can either go down to the cave defeating mutated bearded lizards and giant Gila monsters, and if you take the drugged items, you're weakened, and some townspeople sneak up and take your weapons, so you have to face the monster with spears. Or maybe without that, you still have to face this gigantic mutated lizard, the size of a dragon, that they have trained to kill and eat whoever they've tricked.

Anyway, this is an optional boss fight. And when you come out of the cave, alive, pissed, and with all the new loot and weapons you found in the Belly of the Beast? Awkward.

Really nice inversion of the 'Chosen one' quest device.
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby Drool » April 23rd, 2012, 4:32 pm

KeltecRFB wrote:/signed

You are a survivalist only known by your loved ones and that is all. You have to make a name for yourself.

...no you aren't. You're a fire team of trained Desert Rangers equipped and specifically sent on a mission.
Alwa nasci korliri das.

I neither work, nor speak, for inXile.
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby UniversalWolf » April 24th, 2012, 2:45 pm

stonetoes wrote:Some people have mentioned not having the plot revolve around defeating some ultimate evil threat, but what are the alternatives?

There are lots of alternatives. It's just that The Chosen One Syndrome has become so damn pervasive in video games these days that it's hard to imagine anything else. In reality the object or goal of the game's story or quest can be almost anything.

Revenge is a good one that fits the setting. If you create a character or location and manage to make the player like it, destroy it and let the player seek out the perpetrators. No world-saving required.

As I mentioned earlier, Douglas Adams wrote a game called Bureaucracy where the goal was to get your change-of-address corrected so you could get your mail and access your bank account. I like this approach because it stands The Chosen One Syndrome on its head; if that is the goal of the game, your characters really don't matter. :)

If the overarching goal of Wasteland 2 ends up being to travel to California and set-up a new Ranger base, that would be fine with me.
"The only way to fight hate is with more hate." -Eric Cartman
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby paultakeda » April 24th, 2012, 4:19 pm

The "character creation" in Bureaucracy alone is an example of sheer brilliance.

Wasteland is a man on a mission plot. The team may end up doing something significant, but it has nothing to do with who makes up the team, it's just that they were there to do the job.

It's Band of Brothers. No more, no less.
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby Fuzi0n » April 27th, 2012, 9:27 am

<chosen-one-syndrome>
Chosen one, please go to California and establish a ranger base there. You are our only hope.
</chosen-one-syndrome>

<that-guy-syndrome>
Bob, please go to California and establish a ranger base there. You and your team are the best rangers we have and the best choice for this mission.
</that-guy-syndrome>

Solved.
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby Game_Exile » April 27th, 2012, 12:26 pm

I disagree with pretty much everyone who has posted in this thread. Destiny is what makes a story great. If you think the devs can't do a good job implementing story elements that have to do with destiny/coincidence/etc., then I understand. But every great story has destiny written into it, explicitly or not.
If you like my posts, and you like more complex gameplay systems, please consider IMPROVED OVERWORLD MECHANICS for Wasteland 2. Let me know if you agree, disagree, or have anything else to add.
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby Color Blotch » April 27th, 2012, 12:44 pm

Well, what about Shepard? He's a spacer, lived aboard starships most of his life...
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby paultakeda » April 27th, 2012, 12:58 pm

Game_Exile wrote:I disagree with pretty much everyone who has posted in this thread. Destiny is what makes a story great. If you think the devs can't do a good job implementing story elements that have to do with destiny/coincidence/etc., then I understand. But every great story has destiny written into it, explicitly or not.

It does?

If I played Wasteland with the default PCs, were those specific characters destined to win? What if by the end of that playthrough they have all died and I'm using a different squad to finish the game? Whose destiny is it now?
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Re: The Chosen One Syndrome

Postby Fuzi0n » April 27th, 2012, 1:10 pm

UniversalWolf wrote:The player character or characters should not have any kind of special destiny.

-No prophecies fortelling player characters' arrival
-No "the only one who can draw the sword from the stone is the rightful king."
-No magical coincidences

These were all not an issue in the fallout/wasteland universes. An educated guess would tell me that this will be the same for Wasteland 2.

UniversalWolf wrote:-No "you're our last hope."
-No "you're the only one who can save the world from certain destruction."

All great stories revolve around the fact that a protagonist or group of protagonists are the only ones who can solve a certain problem (either with or without help). They don't have to be chosen by destiny, it can just happen by chance (some would still call this destiny, but we don't need to discuss this here).

Why can't the protaganist of a story be put in the position to save the world, wasteland, whatever? Maybe he is the only person who realizes and recognizes a great threat. If you want to downplay the story, well how about this: "The Rangers are sent on a mission to save farmer Bob's bunny farm from mutant mongooses"... Doesn't sound very exciting to me. This is better: "The protagonist has to save the wasteland from a great mutant threat, which are planning to turn all surviving humans into supermutants. The protagonist is the only one who recognizes and has the ability to stop the threat". Well that is a much better story in my opinion.

Also: in Fallout 2 that crazy old shaman called you the chosen one, just because you were a descendant of the vault dweller. You weren't really some guy chosen by the universe to save the world or something, you were just some normal guy (normal for a tribal at least) sent on a mission. Who cares what the old shaman thought...

Oesophagus wrote:Agree completely.

Sick of games where the protagonist is a combination of Gandhi, Jesus, and Chuck Norris

Would you rather play a game where the protganist gets his ass kicked and dies a terrible death, in other words he fails miserably, because he was was untalented and therefore had no chance of saving the wasteland?

paultakeda wrote:
Game_Exile wrote:I disagree with pretty much everyone who has posted in this thread. Destiny is what makes a story great. If you think the devs can't do a good job implementing story elements that have to do with destiny/coincidence/etc., then I understand. But every great story has destiny written into it, explicitly or not.

It does?

If I played Wasteland with the default PCs, were those specific characters destined to win? What if by the end of that playthrough they have all died and I'm using a different squad to finish the game? Whose destiny is it now?

Well, you could tell a story of rangers who failed miserably (=bad for a game)... or you tell the story of the heroes who saved the wasteland after so many others tried, died and failed miserably.
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