This criticism is the reason we got BotW

tekshow

Active Member
#1
Recently I spotted Indie Game: Life After in Netflix. The it's the sequel to the initial film, and that was good enough to fold laundry to so how wrong could I go with the sequel? I confess I didn't make it all the way through. However I had a jarring realization when they went back in time to show how Fez creator slammed a Japanese developers dreams and levied major criticisms at Japanese games.

Here's the movie: https://www.amazon.com/Indie-Game-After-Lisanne-Pajot/dp/B0168855UW

Phil Fish is little brashI find him pretty unlikeable, the success of Fez apparently afforded him some cocky comfidence. I hear he's not finishing the second game, but that's okay because I'm not going to finish his first.

With that said the media in fashion distilled his comments down to "Japanese games suck." Probably the smallest sound bite you could've pulled. A few outlets including Kotaku ran with the "they suck" article.

http://kotaku.com/5891178/when-you-say-japanese-games-just-suck


To illustrate how objective I can be when listening to a bag of dicks, he made some great points. I listened, I "leaned in," and I think Nintendo did too. Fish goes on to elaborate clearly in the film about how Japanese games are good, but they've drifted from design they themselves started. He mentions how the original Zelda just drops you in with no map, no weapon, no clues. YOU have to explore and discover. He goes on to say Japanese games nowadays follow a linear path and rather than have you discover a game mechanic through play, they force you to sit through tutorials sheltering the experience until everything is explained in detail. Fish finished by saying we discovered all these things, ways to game, by just playing the original LoZ, by playing Metroid. It has now become completely sterile and a rote exercise (a chore) for the player to go through, it "sucks all the joy out of it. "

Exactly how he mentioned the non linearity of LoZ and "it just drops you in," is exactly how Nintendo is describing BotW. This panel was back in 2012, and it seems like Nintendo took this criticism from Fish and other players whole heartedly when developing this game. Otherwise it's a very strange coincidence, I thought it was interesting.

I couldn't find exact quotes for the panel discussion, but it's full and complete in the movie, it's a good watch if you have the time.
 

FriedShoes

MLG
Moderator
#2
I dont think Fish has ever crossed their minds.
I think this criticism of Zelda has always been around in the more recent eras.
Looking past SS, however, they've been looking at their older titles for the past few years. As far back as 2010, the development behind A Link Between Worlds was based around the concept of "changing series conventions", while at the same time hearkening back to design of older games in the series, in this case specifically A Link to the Past. Sound familiar? The success and praise of that game likely solidified that design ethos, and bled into what Breath of the Wild is shaping up to be.

And although Aounuma somewhat denies it, the popularity of Skyrim likely had some influence as well.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#3
Ah, I remember that comment. Mainly because it is a bit of a funny call-back to "yo-ge kuso-ge."

http://www.1up.com/features/japanese-games-breaking-west

Check on page 2. "Western games are shit." Fairly common sentiment amongst gamers in Japan, apparently (not that they openly call themselves "gamers," necessarily).

But anyways, I'd guess that Nintendo simply listens to criticism. Why else do you think Twilight Princess got the art style it did, after Celda-gate? They've gotten plenty of feedback from critics and players about Zelda's tutorial fetish over the years.
 

tekshow

Active Member
#5
It's nice to see them respond, don't know if they listened to the Fish, but if you watch that panel discussion, it's like VERBATIM. The criticism identically matches the reflection of the game. Certainly this critique has been long standing in the series, and ALBW was a stellar game in the right direction. I loved it anyway...

I think they definitely had this come across the desk and took it to heart though. Who knows if that's combined with the overall sentiment from fans or not, but I'd like to see them entertain a more free flowing sense of gaming in many franchises.

Like I dig the casual options in Fire Emblem, someone brought this up elsewhere, and it makes the games way more accessible. For someone playing Fire Emblem for over 15 years though, I really appreciate the hard mode and perma death. I feel like they accomplish this in many games, even titles like NSMBU had a sort of scaling difficulty, but this quality of life isn't across the board. Been playing a lot of Dream Team lately and even on hard mode there's no way to skip through dialog you've already seen, no way to skip past tutorials that you MUST have played since you have to beat the game to unlock hard mode.

I love playing colorful games like Splatoon, but I want a space there for me as an adult. I don't want to be patronized simply because kids are also playing the same games. I want the freedom to turn tutorials off, to skip cutscenes and other measures that are common in western games. You guys are probably right, it's not one instance of criticism that built BotW but probably over time. I just found these comments so interesting because they're like 1-1 spot on.
 

Odo

Well-Known Member
#7
Fish finished by saying we discovered all these things, ways to game, by just playing the original LoZ, by playing Metroid. It has now become completely sterile and a rote exercise (a chore) for the player to go through, it "sucks all the joy out of it. "
I find this criticism of "games today explain too much and they should be like LoZ" annoying.

I understand that we could have more of those games, but most gamers today don't give a damn. That's the world we live in and games that tell where you should go are also great.


Exactly how he mentioned the non linearity of LoZ and "it just drops you in," is exactly how Nintendo is describing BotW. This panel was back in 2012, and it seems like Nintendo took this criticism from Fish and other players whole heartedly when developing this game. Otherwise it's a very strange coincidence, I thought it was interesting.
This criticism about Zelda is as old as Adam and Eve. I prefer to believe that Nintendo just copied other open world games. I don't see this new Zelda exactly like the first one. If it were like the first one, gamers of today wouldn't play it. It's too challenging. I bet this new Zelda will help you a lot on your journey.
 

Goodtwin

Well-Known Member
#8
I don't think Zelda SS gets enough credit for evolving the series. The addition of stamina meter and crafting better weapons was a stepping stone towards Botw. Even potion creation in SS was far more advanced than in prior games.

I cent help but feel like Botw takes some inspiration from the game Don't Starve. Basic needs, like eating and appropriate clothing are slick.

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tekshow

Active Member
#9
@Odo I don't mind maps that tell you where to go. I can't stand the unskippable tutorial of the most basic elements. Take Mario and Luigi: Dream Team. I'm on my second entire play through... And when you can't skip a cut scene that tells you how to jump on enemies it's grating. It's pateonizing and a killjoy. I just want games for "all ages" to let me be an adult. Even on hard mode that M&L game makes you sit through everything all over again. They should be able to avoid that kind of a feel.

You're probably right gamers don't want real exploration or a lack of help. Otherwise indie games would be way more popular. I like to have a sense of adventure and BotW will provide.

@Goodtwin the art style reminds me of a mash of Wind Waker colliding with SS. The evolution into Princess Monoke looks freaking great to me.
 
#10
I think it's a fair line to balance.

3D games are complicated and graphics these days don't help. Take a game like Thief: The Dark Project. Graphics wise it's simple and rooms are populated with few items, so it's simple to the player what they can and can't interact with. Fast forward to today, and it seems like half the development team is dedicated to making rooms as populated with non-intractable items as possible. What can and can't you do in games these days? A simple solution is have button prompts on the screen and I'm not sure I like it.

Point is though, I accept that 3D games need some sort of tutorial setting the rules straight. Going again with Thief, comparing the original to the reboot is night and day. The reboot has button prompts, menu pop ups and all that while the original has a short tutorial teaching you about movement speed, combat and basic controls. Bam, done.

The problem is though is what Tek brought up. When you spend 10 minutes teaching the player that jumping on enemies rules and letting them hit you drools is where it goes overboard. Then again, you have a game like Xenoblade Chronicles X where the game takes so much time dedicated to saying what an elite monster is, it doesn't explain what the attributes symbols mean, or this and that so you got to manually look it up on the manual and sometimes the internet since the manual itself doesn't cover it.

Tutorials is not an easy thing to get done right. Skyward Sword did actively piss me off though how every time you turn the game off and on again, you have to read what 5 rupees is, or what this Claw is that you already have 30 of. Fuck that. Speaking of which, I hate how shops work in Skyward, how you have to walk up to the item, slowly read what a health potion is and buy it. What happened to how it use to be? Fuuuuuck.

So yeah, tutorials amirite?
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
#11
I think it's a fair line to balance.

3D games are complicated and graphics these days don't help. Take a game like Thief: The Dark Project. Graphics wise it's simple and rooms are populated with few items, so it's simple to the player what they can and can't interact with. Fast forward to today, and it seems like half the development team is dedicated to making rooms as populated with non-intractable items as possible. What can and can't you do in games these days? A simple solution is have button prompts on the screen and I'm not sure I like it.

Point is though, I accept that 3D games need some sort of tutorial setting the rules straight. Going again with Thief, comparing the original to the reboot is night and day. The reboot has button prompts, menu pop ups and all that while the original has a short tutorial teaching you about movement speed, combat and basic controls. Bam, done.

The problem is though is what Tek brought up. When you spend 10 minutes teaching the player that jumping on enemies rules and letting them hit you drools is where it goes overboard. Then again, you have a game like Xenoblade Chronicles X where the game takes so much time dedicated to saying what an elite monster is, it doesn't explain what the attributes symbols mean, or this and that so you got to manually look it up on the manual and sometimes the internet since the manual itself doesn't cover it.

Tutorials is not an easy thing to get done right. Skyward Sword did actively piss me off though how every time you turn the game off and on again, you have to read what 5 rupees is, or what this Claw is that you already have 30 of. Fuck that. Speaking of which, I hate how shops work in Skyward, how you have to walk up to the item, slowly read what a health potion is and buy it. What happened to how it use to be? Fuuuuuck.

So yeah, tutorials amirite?
I think if anyone wants to learn how to do Tutorials 101, look no further than the original Super Mario Bros on the NES. The first level is a tutorial without any prompts, texts, voices, or any cut-scenes. You learn the game by doing, not by reading or someone else telling you. Tutorials like that don't exist as much anymore.

One modern game that comes to mind that has done tutorials right was the original Portal. The game is essentially a puzzle of tutorials, discovery and figuring how to accomplish your task. And if you listen to the commentary by Valve themselves as you play it, you truly do get a sense they put forth a lot of thought and time to make sure the player could not only simply solve the puzzle itself, but have the capacity to learn the game as it progresses. And this was done without any cut-scenes, prompts, or text. You learned the game by doing, and it was brilliant in that regard.

I want another Portal...
 
#12
I think if anyone wants to learn how to do Tutorials 101, look no further than the original Super Mario Bros on the NES. The first level is a tutorial without any prompts, texts, voices, or any cut-scenes. You learn the game by doing, not by reading or someone else telling you. Tutorials like that don't exist as much anymore.

One modern game that comes to mind that has done tutorials right was the original Portal. The game is essentially a puzzle of tutorials, discovery and figuring how to accomplish your task. And if you listen to the commentary by Valve themselves as you play it, you truly do get a sense they put forth a lot of thought and time to make sure the player could not only simply solve the puzzle itself, but have the capacity to learn the game as it progresses. And this was done without any cut-scenes, prompts, or text. You learned the game by doing, and it was brilliant in that regard.

I want another Portal...
I agree with what you say, but a game like Assassin's Creed of GTA V, big open worlds that are thickly detailed and loaded with different mechanics need something to tell the player what they can and can't do.

Mario and Portal has the benefit of having a solid mechanic that everything builds around so it's much easier to teach without talking. Some games are just too crowded for their own good sometimes.

I also want another Portal

I also want to finish Portal 2's co-op mode winky winky
 

tekshow

Active Member
#13
@CitizenOfVerona Good point about Mario and games where the foundation of the game mechanics is the structure for everything else. A lot of indies come to mind like Super Meat, Guacamelee, or Axiom Verge.

Might be right about the giant open world games. When a game is complex and huge I like my tutorials dripped in, because it feels better with the pacing. Even then I always like the ability to skip them altogether. Mostly because if you've played those games before there's a lot you can understand. You'll get a tiny little not at first "to ride the bike pull the trigger, to brake..." A lot of times you can grasp the idea and skip the tutorial. If you really need that information it's usually available in menus later on.

Skyward Sword has some of the exact design flaws I'm bemoaning. The constant reminder that you the gamer might be an idiot or a toddler is grating. It looks like BotW is going to change all of that.
 
#15
@CitizenOfVerona Good point about Mario and games where the foundation of the game mechanics is the structure for everything else. A lot of indies come to mind like Super Meat, Guacamelee, or Axiom Verge.

Might be right about the giant open world games. When a game is complex and huge I like my tutorials dripped in, because it feels better with the pacing. Even then I always like the ability to skip them altogether. Mostly because if you've played those games before there's a lot you can understand. You'll get a tiny little not at first "to ride the bike pull the trigger, to brake..." A lot of times you can grasp the idea and skip the tutorial. If you really need that information it's usually available in menus later on.

Skyward Sword has some of the exact design flaws I'm bemoaning. The constant reminder that you the gamer might be an idiot or a toddler is grating. It looks like BotW is going to change all of that.
It's because of that I think Fi is the absolute worst side kick character I've encountered in any game, not just Zelda.
 

Goodtwin

Well-Known Member
#16
It's because of that I think Fi is the absolute worst side kick character I've encountered in any game, not just Zelda.
I disagree, I cried a little at the end of SS. LOL. Seriously though, it gave me the same feeling of loss that Terminator 2 does at the end. People hated Navi in OoT, and Fi in SS, I think some people just hate the constant input these characters bring. The best one is certainly Midna, but really did like Fi.

Sent from my SM-G360V using Tapatalk
 
#17
I disagree, I cried a little at the end of SS. LOL. Seriously though, it gave me the same feeling of loss that Terminator 2 does at the end. People hated Navi in OoT, and Fi in SS, I think some people just hate the constant input these characters bring. The best one is certainly Midna, but really did like Fi.

Sent from my SM-G360V using genital warts
I think Tatl is the best Zelda companion. Midna was good though.

Navi doesn't bother me much, but Fi....jesus. "I calculate an 87% chance the weak spot is the glowing red orb thing".

I calculate a 87% chance you can go fuck yourself.

This is one topic we much agree to disagree GT :p
 

Odo

Well-Known Member
#18
Then again, you have a game like Xenoblade Chronicles X where the game takes so much time dedicated to saying what an elite monster is, it doesn't explain what the attributes symbols mean, or this and that so you got to manually look it up on the manual and sometimes the internet since the manual itself doesn't cover it.
So true.
 

EvilTw1n

Even my henchmen think I'm crazy.
Moderator
#19
I disagree, I cried a little at the end of SS. LOL. Seriously though, it gave me the same feeling of loss that Terminator 2 does at the end. People hated Navi in OoT, and Fi in SS, I think some people just hate the constant input these characters bring. The best one is certainly Midna, but really did like Fi.
Same. I know for most people it was just spam the prompt button and get through it like:



But I liked Fi.
 

tekshow

Active Member
#20
I've never beat SS, made it to the forest temple a couple times and then lost interest. I'd like to play though it, I still have my copy.... Is it worth it?
 

Shoulder

Your Resident Beardy Bear
#21
Same. I know for most people it was just spam the prompt button and get through it like:



But I liked Fi.
I liked Fi as well. Oh, let's be real here, the music relating to her was very special, and some of the best music in any Zelda game.


In fact, I think SS has one of the best soundtracks of any Zelda game. So yes, people shit on it due to the controls, and some of the choices made in locations/dungeons, but if there's one thing it does brilliantly, it's the music.
 
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