Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A History of violence. Part 3

In this blog post I will concentrate an underused combat mechanic: Chase Sequences. This kind of "combat" is quite common in horror motion pictures, but really uncommon in horror games. I will briefly talk about how we utilized it in Penumbra, difficulties it causes and how some other games have implemented it.

In Penumbra we utilised chase sequences on 3 occasions in the entire series and and each and every time it was a very scripted occasion. There was always little room for the player to move in and mainly a really clear path. The initial two chase sequences have been in Overture and each involved getting chased by a giant worm. In each of these the player had to total a particular obstacle along the way and failure resulted in death and a restart of the chase. Whilst a lot of individuals said that they liked this, a huge quantity also disliked this portion of the game due to the fact of its trial and error nature.

In Black Plague the chase sequence was a bit diverse. Right here the player had much more space to move about in, the purpose was not as clear and we also deliberately tried messing with the player's head. The Overture chase sequences focused a lot more on producing fear, whilst this had a bigger focus on confusing and disturbing the player. Like the worm chases, some players truly liked the sequence even though other did not liked it all. Here the issue was that some folks did not identified the proper way swift enough and the terror experienced was transformed into aggravation.

The explanation for people not liking the chase sequence is quite considerably the identical in both of the above instances, and most likely also the principal explanation why this variety of combat is so underused: It demands a quite scripted environment, has a very robust trial-and-error really feel and loses significantly of its influence and fun-aspect following the initial try. In order for it to be entertaining, the player need to not repeat the sequences as well considerably.

Some example from other games with chase sequences consists of Clock Tower and Beyond Good and Evil (which is not a horror game although).

In Clock Tower chase sequences replace regular combat to a specific degree. When an enemy seems, the player should either hide or escape by utilizing scripted interactions with the environment (throwing plants, etc). This is probably the most fateful adaption horror-film chases I have played in a game, but it comes with lots problems. First of all, the chases loose their appeal quite quickly as there is no genuine reward for avoiding the enemies, so enemies become a lot more of a chore as the game progresses. Also, to stay away from players from repeating hiding/avoidance patterns hiding places and offensive atmosphere pieces quit functioning following some utilizes, at times producing it really hard to escape an enemy and leaving one operating around in circles attempting to keep away from the threat. Much more difficulties exist, but to sum it up the main problem is that it is very hard to preserve this type of generic chasing intriguing and it is consequently not a extremely excellent mechanic.

Beyond Good and Evil's chase sequences are quite scripted and at times comparable to rapid-time events. The sequences are also very much based on trial and error, but have quite frequent verify points removing some of the aggravation. The chases are really rare also, so they by no means get also annoying and constantly look fresh. They can still get quite frustrating even though, and like the chases in Penumbra, enjoyment depends on how several tries it requires to complete them.

Ultimately, a Silent Hill 1 remake is going to be primarily based about some sort of scripted fast time chases instead of combat. It will be fascinating to see how this turns out and how they will handle to keep the chases from becoming frustrating trial and error based Dragon's Lair like gameplay. Judging from prior chase sequences in games, it seems like a risky choice, but it is usually enjoyable that developers dare to try new things.

What is your take on chase gameplay? Did you uncover the penumbra chase sequences fun or just frustrating?

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