Dark Souls: The Importance of Compelling Gameplay

The reason that From Software’s Dark Souls series is considered one of the best RPGs of our time is simply due to the fact that it just feels good to play. When you press a button, your chosen undead does the action it’s supposed to. One of the problems I had with the Witcher 3 was that when you attacked, Geralt could do any number of different things, ranging from pirouettes to direct slashes with his sword. This randomness is why the combat in the Witcher 3 is seen as its weak point by many. When randomness is removed from the equation, and the player knows exactly what both the enemy is going to do, and what their character is going to do, then it all comes down to skill in the end. This is why Dark Souls is considered so challenging by the uninitiated. There is no randomness to it. If you don’t know what to do, you will never make it past the first area of the game. This is the same reason I can beat the game without dying, I simply have the experience.

This is the fundamental reason why Dark Souls is so compelling. Learning how to beat a boss after hours of throwing yourself at it is one of the most gratifying feelings there is in gaming. And when you’ve done it once, subsequent times will be easier.

In our game, the player will have control of several characters with different choices to make. Since we are using Twine, we can’t exactly make combat fun in the traditional gameplay sense. Instead we can make it compelling, which is really everyone’s goal in the gaming industry (not that we would consider ourselves developers). When combat does show up, we plan for the player to be faced with choice regarding their actions in combat. If they select something like “Attempt to shoot them in the legs”, the player should realize that such action is risky, and could lead to their death if they are not careful.

Ultimately, our game is narratively focused, so no matter how many times you die, you will still reach the end of the game. We just hope that the journey is as compelling as the destination.

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