Results of Poll 9: Volume of Content
Bye Week

New Poll: Non-violent Role-Playing Game

I've put up a new poll which asks whether or not you would consider buying a computer role-playing game which offered you the option to play either violently or non-violently. I'm sure many players can deduce the secret meaning behind this poll, but for now I shall say nothing. If you want to comment on the poll, this is the place!

Have a great weekend everyone

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Do you seriously expect the readers of THIS blog to be uninterested? Ask the same question in the Gears of War forums and you'll get a completely different answer. All it will tell you is something about your own readership... but it's something you already know.

Now, the question, "Would you play an RPG in which there was NO opportunity for violence?"... that might divide your community a little.

Hmm, you've really not made the poll that clear, in fact, it kinda tips the answers towards a certain type.

What I mean is, there is no option for "It would not influence me to buy the game one way or another" :) or "It would depend on the type of non-violent play and game itself", ie; if it was Thief-stealth-non-violence, it might not be what was expected if you instead wanted to be able to talk your way out of situations.

I put the top answer - non-violent means to solve things are great to have - but it depends on the game. I don't really suppose there currently has been many games like that, since killing stuff is what most of them pander too. (didn't Deus Ex still require you to kill at least one person annoyingly? I need to finish playing it, and start playing Planescape Torment which I recall you didn't have to kill much in). It could be a "featureless feature" too - like "Has graphics!" or "Multiple endings!", a tacked on feature which means little and is unimportant to the game design - as much as being able to run past all the enemies in a FPS is possible, but changes nothing in the outcome of the game.

On the other hand, it'd be more interesting to have the choice, however poorly it is implemented! Since so few even try, it would probably be a point to add on a list of features, which is a shame ;)

I'd be less likely to buy this than an RPG which is designed to be non-violent altogether. The latter takes guts, the former just seems wishy-washy.

Incidentally, I have no idea what the point of the poll is.

I, like Ernest, feel the results are somewhat skewed due to the limited readership. I expect you don't expect this poll to persuade a publisher?

Incidentally, one of the things that annoyed me about Black and White was the necessity of killing other people - after the previews I hadn't expected it to devolve into a RTS game after the first area.

I suppose violence and killing is such a simple way of portraying conflict/victory in games that it lends itself to being overused as it is. It's easy to tell that you've killed a unit or enemy - giving an instant satisfaction or sense of progress. With real-life negotiation (if this were an alternative proposed), it becomes far more difficult to know when progress is being made - and that may appeal to a far smaller audience. And dialogue trees are never truly convincing!

Of course, a game that focused on a separate matter entirely, such as giving you the option to terrorise or assist (the latter presumably involving a puzzle element to replace the challenge of killing), it may be more enjoyable to me.

In the end, it all comes down to the specifics of the execution.

For some reason, I'm picturing someone playing A Tale in the Desert, but they're sweating a lot, and clicking really, really intensely.

I think Black and White is a very instructive example here. Assuming you had the patience for the PvP, 'Evil' was a whole lot easier to play than 'Good' was. Assuming this hypothesis finds its way through marketing's approval process, how will violent and nonviolent conflict be quantified in the same system?

Dear all,

Firstly, clearly polling here is not expected to be a scientific study - but it's still interesting to see how the group splits and what their thoughts are. :)

I agree with Mory that a wholly non-violent RPG would take guts to produce - but alas, such a game would truly struggle to get funding in the current environment. The best we can hope for at the moment is to support the option to play non-violently - and even for that, we want some reassurance that the time spent supporting this is invested wisely.

I wouldn't try and convince a publisher of this sort of feature - it would be an uphill struggle. This is the sort of feature you slip in the back door when they're not looking. ;)

As for the point of the poll: well, the PC Reluctant Hero is "dead", but the third attempt to push this game forward into production is already well underway, and I expect to be able to announce the new project shortly. Since we have to redesign, we are looking at what we can throw out of the old design at this point to streamline the project - one of the main questions is whether supporting non-violence is time well spent...

A show of support in the poll will assuage our concerns that we might be committing to something of zero interest to any portion of the cRPG community. That the audience here will be biased isn't much of an issue since this is an internal discussion for our own benefit.

Thanks for the thoughts, everyone! Further input is always welcome.

A bit late but I'd like to throw in a comment or two. Non-violent quest resolution is considered a major plus in all the CRPG communities I have encountered. Most often this is through dialogue scripting but stealth and other methods aren't that *unusual*.

I'm a little surprised it needs to be sneaked past a publisher (unless you mean a major system available for every quest or beyond some dialogue scripting or similar) -- even major big-budget console action/RPGs like BioWare's Mass Effect offer Charm and Intimidate options to avoid combat resolutions. Not consistently for every quest, of course, but sprinkled through the game.

I would love to have an rpg in which you could choose the non-violent path - at times that is. In Fallout, you could actually go through the whole world without shooting anyone at all, if your charisma etc. were high enough.

I would love for the next Kult game to have this option and by this I mean an option similar to Falluot's.

I'd like to play a game like that. But I wonder how you'd keep the drama level up.

Dhruin: You've hit the nail on the head here - I'm talking about a major system of some kind, and not just a little dialogue scripting on the side. Thanks for the references to similar things in current CRPGs - very useful!

Karsten: thanks for letting us know! We are hoping to support this in the new game by various mechanisms so watch this space for further developments...

Aaron: there are ways to get drama without violence. I think we can handle this problem - but judge for yourself when the game comes out! ;)

Thanks for the input everyone!

I assume it's for modern Windows-running machines?

Bezman: Of course, I can't possibly discuss the project in question, which will be for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, because of non-disclosure issues. :)

Clearly only pussies would choose to solve their problems without violence >:O

Ok no, the game sounds good and all but regarding the poll... I agree that there are some problems with it. Mainly, since it merely gives the OPTION of playing non-violently, there are only going to be people who like that, or who don't care. The people who like violence will simply play it that way. The fact that they theoretically could play it another way won't matter to them. Everyone likes options. Adding an extra way to play will make more people interested, but won't reduce your audience.

This is why I think the "I'd be less likely to buy such a game" choice is useless. I suspect that no one will choose it (except maybe for people who want to be disruptive).

Thinking a little bit more on it though, I suppose you could make a somewhat shaky argument against the choice of non-violence. Everything takes resources, which are always limited. If you divide resources between two different play styles, you run the risk of making a worse game than if you had concentrated on a single play style. I'm sure everyone would rather play a game with less but well designed options than one with more but half-assed options (not that I'm saying your game will be half assed).

Sirc: I think the issue really is that a player who was dead set on combat might view a game supporting non-violence as "wasting" resources on this, and thus expect it to deliver less on the front they are interested in.

But so far only one vote in the "less likely" column. :)

Thanks for sharing your viewpoint!

Oh how convenient : (
Poll goes on for who knows how long with no votes going to less likely, and right after I post someone decides to vote that?

Obviously this is a conspiracy against me >: (

Sirc: I guess after reading your comment, someone just *had* to prove you wrong. ;)

Such a game exists!!! It's called "A Force More Powerful" and I highly recommend it! For more info go to http://www.aforcemorepowerful.org/game/index.php

Yeah.... We've heard of it. Although more an exercise in teaching people non-violent methods than a game, it still gets props for trying something so Good in a money-filled hole like the entertainment industry :-)

I noticed they now make an online game free to the public, called "Combat Arms". I tested it out and it gave me a rather strange hangover effect complete with after visions.

I suspect this freebie's origins are of a dubious nature in that it is a brainwashing tool to make global war acceptable. Try it yourself, it will leave you feeling rather bizarre and hungover.

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