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Beyond a Steel Sky (Beneath a Steel Sky sequel)

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Doom - 26 June 2019 06:22 PM
Ninth - 26 June 2019 11:36 AM

Sure, it opens more possibilities related to the spacial aspects, but how many 3D AG actually use these in a way that’s meaningful ?

Tex Murphy showed how adventure games may benefit from 3D way back in 1994, too bad so few ags followed that example. Open-world RPGs also made great use of 3D since mid-1990s. Adventure genre should follow their example, I don’t know why developers are unable to create interactive, immersive and believable 3D worlds where all problems are solved not by brute force, but by puzzle solving.

Have you played Eastshade yet?

     
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Ninth - 26 June 2019 11:36 AM
PlanetX - 26 March 2019 05:24 AM

There are many examples of adventure series that transitioned to 3D and were great.

King’s Quest 2015, Sam & Max (SWT,BS&T,TDP), Tales Of Monkey Island, Dreamfall Chapters, Sherlock Holmes, etc.

None of these were as good or as pretty as the 2D originals. :p

King’s Quest 2015 is way better than most KQ games. Saying otherwise is pure nostalgia goggles.


And whether or not you like these games as much as their predecessors is missing the point. The point being they’re not worse because of 3D controls. It’s other factors like the writing not being as sharp or the puzzles not being as inspired.

The context of this conversation is whether or not 3D gameplay is a problem for adventures in 2019 like it was in 1999. And to say that it is ignores the dozens and dozens of games that got it right for decades now.

     

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PlanetX - 27 June 2019 03:35 AM

The context of this conversation is whether or not 3D gameplay is a problem for adventures in 2019 like it was in 1999. And to say that it is ignores the dozens and dozens of games that got it right for decades now.

In most 3D games there’s no such thing as a 3D gameplay, because the gameplay is exactly the same as in the 2D originals. Only the controls are often clunky, the camera movement so and so, and the graphics quite poor.

I have yet to play a game that made the transition to 3D and presented a better gameplay. Note that I haven’t played Under a killing moon, which presumably is one of the only examples of a successful transition.

On the other hand I did play some games that made the transition du 3D and presented a worst gameplay.
Again : Broken Sword 3.

And, more importantly as far as I’m concerned, all the 3D sequels I’ve played had worst graphics than their predecessors.
Call me vain, but graphics are a huge part a what draws me to and into a game, so changing this from one game to its sequel means changing the nature of the game itself, and deteriorating it means deteriorating the game and lessening its appeal.
I mean, changing Chandler’s magnificient rendering of cities into 3D feels like a (very minor) crime.

Finally, we all know why this move was made back in the 2000s, and it wasn’t to explore a new depth of gameplay. It was purely because 3D and direct movement and action games were fashionable and producers figured that they had to roll with the times. That worked well for adventure games, obviously, as so many new and young player were suddenly attracted to the genre. Grin

So yeah, when I think about 2D game having 3D follow ups I think ugly graphics, I think poor games like Simon 3D and Monkey Island 4 and Broken Sword 3 and Dreamfall. And that makes me overly suspicious. But again, you never know.

Sorry for the rant guys !

     
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Ninth - 27 June 2019 05:14 AM

So yeah, when I think about 2D game having 3D follow ups I think ugly graphics, I think poor games like Simon 3D and Monkey Island 4 and Broken Sword 3 and Dreamfall. And that makes me overly suspicious. But again, you never know.

Sorry for the rant guys !

That’s a little bit unfair. When I think about 2D games having 2D follow ups, I think the same thing. Sequels are generally worse than their counterparts. What happened after Simon 3D, for example? The series went back to 2D and nothing improved, in fact most agreed that things got worse.

Don’t just look as sequels, look at 3D adventure games and you will find many fine examples.

     

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Luhr28 - 27 June 2019 05:34 AM
Ninth - 27 June 2019 05:14 AM

So yeah, when I think about 2D game having 3D follow ups I think ugly graphics, I think poor games like Simon 3D and Monkey Island 4 and Broken Sword 3 and Dreamfall. And that makes me overly suspicious. But again, you never know.

Sorry for the rant guys !

That’s a little bit unfair. When I think about 2D games having 2D follow ups, I think the same thing. Sequels are generally worse than their counterparts. What happened after Simon 3D, for example? The series went back to 2D and nothing improved, in fact most agreed that things got worse.

Don’t just look as sequels, look at 3D adventure games and you will find many fine examples.

I can think of many 2D sequels that are better than the originals ; in fact that was the case with most of the major series (MI, Indy, the quests, etc), but it’s true that there’s often been a case of “one game too many” (Space Quest, King’s Quest, etc).
The newest Simon games weren’t made by the same team, so the fact quality took a plunge isn’t correlated with the presentation of the games.

I totally agree about the fact that there are many great new IPs that work perfectly in 3D though, in fact all my favorite newest AGs are 3D.

But I also love 2D hand drawn graphics, I find them infinitely more immersive and touching that anything pre-rendered, and it really saddens me that there are two sequels of two gorgeous games in the work which will abandon this presentation, as if it’s a thing of the past. Especially in the case of Wadjet Eye games which have such a strong graphical imprint. Meh

The fact that this move has never really worked in the past just makes it even more frustrating.

     
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Luhr28 - 26 June 2019 07:32 PM

Have you played Eastshade yet?

I watched some of the playthrough on Youtube and thought it was rather boring, even though I really like the concept and visuals. The review here also mentions there are few traditional puzzles. May try it when I’m in the mood for a slow exploration game. My idea of an open-world adventure is closer to a fantasy RPG mixed with Riven-like machines, Zork-like magic system, helpful and entertaining companions, all sort of unique worlds and pretty much everything the genre offers to fill the universe with obstacles and activities. Probably too ambitious, but someone has to try it at some point (maybe BASS 2?).

     

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As far Simon 3D goes, I recall an interview, which stated, they had a full 2D version of the game, but then the publisher told them that 3D would sell better and they were forced to turn the game into 3D quick and cheap, which backfired. The reason why it is a bad 3D game is that it was never designed to be a 3D game.

And that really is the problem with old 3D adventures, the developers never really knew what they should be doing with 3D. Of the old devs, only Chris Jones understood how 3D should be used, hence why Tex Murphy games work. Then the genre fell to the backburner, with smalle devs doing developing and they rarely tried anything new.

We have only recently started to see fresher approaches on how 3D can work in adventures. Obra Dinn is perhaps the best example of a 3D environment works as a puzzle element in itself and how designing an adventure game 3D in mind can really push the genre.

The way I see it is, that 3D works just as well on adventures, it just is that good many devs haven’t managed to figure out what to do with is, as in general, the adventure developers are still too focused on the past. They are at times too focused on whittling the same old stick, even down to graphical, puzzle and interface styles of the developers they were fans of before they became developers.

     

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tomimt - 28 June 2019 02:06 AM

As far Simon 3D goes, I recall an interview, which stated, they had a full 2D version of the game, but then the publisher told them that 3D would sell better and they were forced to turn the game into 3D quick and cheap, which backfired.

And to think that in Simon 2 they make plenty of jokes about 3D… Business is harsh.

tomimt - 28 June 2019 02:06 AM

Obra Dinn is perhaps the best example of a 3D environment works as a puzzle element in itself and how designing an adventure game 3D in mind can really push the genre.

As much as I loved Obra Dinn, The Witness is even more impressive in how it uses 3D.

tomimt - 28 June 2019 02:06 AM

They are at times too focused on whittling the same old stick, even down to graphical, puzzle and interface styles of the developers they were fans of before they became developers.

Innovation is great, but that’s not what every game needs to be about. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, my personal favorite, wasn’t at the time an innovative game, but it pushed the order of every other game that came before in order to deliver the perfect AG.
Back then, it feels like developpers were trying to focus on improvement instead of focusing on innovation, and that is not always a bad thing, and if I could one day play a game that improves on Fate of Atlantis, I would be a happy man. On that note, the Fountain of Youth demo was pretty good.

     
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Well, Sierra was built on innovation and they were the speartip of it back in the ‘80s. The dropped the ball when they didn’t see 3D coming and became a follower instead of a leader. Lucasfilm did a lot of innovation as well, especially on the narrative and gameplay side of things.

Really, those two companies innovated a lot of things that are taken granted these days, starting from the interactivity to gameplay and even use of soundcards.

     
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Innovation isn’t very much welcomed in the adventure genre. Sure some of the big ‘hit’ games like The Witness or Obra Dinn get some notice, but the smaller indies who put a lot of thought into innovating are usually ignored in favor of traditional titles that those who were around ‘back in the day’ still crave. It’s why everyone outside the genre sees it as something that died well over 20 years ago.

     

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Luhr28 - 28 June 2019 07:41 AM

but the smaller indies who put a lot of thought into innovating are usually ignored in favor of traditional titles

What games are you referring to ?

To clarify : I’m all for innovation, but I’m very much against trend.
And at one point in the past going from 2D to 3D was a trend, one that ended with games that were at best good but ugly, and at worst ugly and awful. And the gameplay stayed the same, by the way.

I guess that’s why I’m getting very suspicious when I hear of the same transition nowadays.

And there’s also the fact that changing the number of dimensions isn’t really an innovation, it’s a cosmetic change that pretends to be innovation. True innovation would be to either build something completely new from the ground up, or to add great new stuff to an already very good framework. “Let’s add mouse support”, now that’s innovation.
“Let’s suppress mouse support and go back to direct control”, now that’s pretending to innovate while in truth blindly following a trend and going back to the dark age of gameplay. Hell, Eternam had direct control.
And don’t get me started on pushing crates.  Wink

     
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In many ways that attitude is the biggest pitfall of the adventure genre, in which many devs fall into. Some of the most vocal fans are bent on making everyone believe that pixel graphics with style copied from Sierra or Lucas is what everyone wants. It has, in many ways, lead to a somewhat stagnant genre.

Luckily we are slowly getting out from it. I do hope more devs would look what companies like Sierra really did back in the day. Had Roberta and Ken left the graphics out from the Mystery House, I doubt they would have managed to build the company Sierra became.

     

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tomimt - 28 June 2019 08:26 AM

In many ways that attitude is the biggest pitfall of the adventure genre, in which many devs fall into. Some of the most vocal fans are bent on making everyone believe that pixel graphics with style copied from Sierra or Lucas is what everyone wants. It has, in many ways, lead to a somewhat stagnant genre.

This is something I read time and again 15 years ago when Broken Sword 3 was announced, and already it was the modernists vs the reactionnaries. We all know how that turned out.

The genre is not stagnant at all, there’s never been more types of AGs and so many of them.

And pixel art is great, and sells games. Many independant games, no matter the genre, use pixel art. They sell. People like them. And many of them are very innovative.
Celeste, voted by some mainstream newspaper the best game of 2018, is pixel art. Into the breach is pixel arts. Hollow Knight, which is the most impressive game I’ve played in years, is 2D. And there are many more.
This ceaseless claim (come on people, it’s been 15 years !) that people who prefer 2D art are stuck in their ways is groundless and really annoying.
If the only innovation that AG devs can offer is switching their graphics to 3D then that’s sad but in no way the player’s responsability.

Not that anyone listens to what adventure gamers thinks anyway, as we’re a very very small part of the market.

     

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Also, looking at the last reviewed games on the site, it’s very obvious that the number of “Lucas-lookalike” is extremely small, which disproves the whole “AG developpers cater to the wishes of a few old-timers who hold up the genre” theory.

     
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Those pixel art games sell because they are good games, not because they use pixel art. For every top-selling pixel art game, there is a dozen that fails. It isn’t about pixel art, it is about game design and in that, there is very little that has happened when it comes to the adventure genre.

I have nothing against pixel art, but I see it just a lazy attempt at trying to fish in people with nostalgia glasses on. What makes a game good is a way it has been designed, not what graphics it uses. And what comes to game design many adventure designers are still stuck in the ‘90s.

     

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