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Please help make this game possible!  Road Rash-style gameplay, with next-gen graphics, physics, and online play.
Lead your motorcycle gang on an epic journey across the country in this brutal driving combat adventure. Huge campaign, dozens of weapons, and full 4-player co-op splitscreen.
Lead your motorcycle gang on an epic journey across the country in this brutal driving combat adventure. Huge campaign, dozens of weapons, and full 4-player co-op splitscreen.
4,409 backers pledged $173,803 to help bring this project to life.

Road Redemption Campaign Story

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Latest Steam Update

If you haven't played Road Redemption recently, we've made a lot of improvements to the current Steam version.  The game's better in a lot of ways, and I encourage you to check it out.

Road Redemption's Story

The majority of scripted story sequences in videogames suck.  I don't think that's a controversial statement.  

It's always strange to me to see gamers turn up their noses at lowest-common denominator sitcoms like Two and a Half Men when the majority of humor found in videogames doesn't come close to that low bar.

Similarly, plenty of gamers wouldn't be caught dead watching a CW drama like Beastly, even though the writing, acting, directing, cinematography, and scene composition are far better in those shows than what you typically see in videogames, even those that are story-focused like The Witcher 3 (a game I really enjoyed when it wasn't being dragged down by its boring cutscenes).   

Basic filmmaking guides will tell a director to "show, not tell" because movies are a visual medium.  At a very basic level, this means you should be very judicious with the amount of information you convey through dialogue, and instead try to convey as much information through body language, facial expressions, lighting and shot composition itself.  For an example of this last point, directors will often use an extreme long shot, where your protagonist is barely more than a speck on the screen, to convey the idea that he's insignificant and powerless compared to much larger forces at work.  You see a lot of this in There Will Be Blood, specifically in the beginning.  Another example is conveying the idea that a character is hiding something by lighting him so that his face is obscured in shadow.  Basic stuff.

Further, screen writers attempt to keep the viewer engaged by utilizing conflict between characters to create drama.  This is especially important for otherwise-boring exposition scenes that are necessary to tell the viewer basic information about the world.  For instance, in Mad Max: Fury Road, when the main antagonist discovers that his concubines have escaped their prison, he doesn't simply receive this information in a report from one of his lackeys.  Rather he enters the concubine's prison himself, where he has a dramatic confrontation with their caretaker, who opposes their enslavement.  The information that the concubines escaped is conveyed via this dramatic and interesting scene.

Another technique film-makers will use to make these information dump scenes more interesting is to present the viewer with compelling visuals and action. There will often be multiple things happening in the image simultaneously (foreground, midground, and background).  Actors will be moving around, interacting with objects as they talk, rather than just standing still.  You can see this in the scene in Back To The Future where Doc explains the basics of time travel to the audience, and sets up the 88mph requirement that the viewer needs to know for the movie's climax.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0kswK2aI08

Doc could have simply told these rules to Marty over coffee, but instead, we get a dramatic scene with Doc's dog in the time machine, and both characters almost getting run over.

So how does this compare to videogames?  

The vast majority of videogame cutscenes get all of this stuff wrong.

Your average videogame cutscene involves two actors standing completely still.  The camera frames them in the most efficient manner possible, and goes back and forth between characters in a standard shot, reverse shot sequence.  The player is given nothing interesting to look at.  The dialogue generally involves the non-player character conveying information to the player.  There's virtually no conflict or drama in the scene.  There is often very little information conveyed compared to the number of words used (I'm looking at you Metal Gear Solid series).

The best thing that people can say about these types of cutscenes is that they aren't laughably bad or that the acting was competent.  In other words, the cutscenes helped reinforce the idea that the player was in a real place, rather than take him out of the world, as really bad acting or writing will do (I'm looking at you, Resident Evil).  

But if that's all these cutscenes are accomplishing, creating a better sense of place, then they're truly a waste of the player's time.  You don't need long-winded, boring, drama-free cutscenes to make a world feel real.  Going back to Mad Max: Fury Road, the movie itself has very little dialogue, but the world feels like a real place.  Same with our introduction to the Hobbit's shire in The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Rings.  Same with the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars. 

It's up to us as gamers to hold these videogame cutscenes to the same standard we hold our movies and TV shows.  We can't let game creators hide great gameplay under mountains of tedious and boring story telling.  

Thankfully, to a large extent, I think we're doing just that with our purchasing habits.  If you look at the big successful hits in the last 5 years of gaming, you see games that eschew these scripted story segments entirely.  Games like Minecraft, Rust, Ark, WarZ, The Forest, and Space Engineers let the players construct their own stories rather than simply follow along someone else's poorly-written script.  More than any other genre, games like this seem to represent the future of gaming.   Instead of trying to mimic movies, they're trying to simulate experiences (struggling to survive on a deserted island, creating a space station, etc).   

So where does this leave Road Redemption?

Well, we're not trying to do something like Minecraft, but we aren't planning to bog you down in cutscenes either. 

Road Redemption's story will provide the player with a larger context as to why he's moving from one section of the map to another, who he's fighting, and how the game's various biker gangs relate to one another.  There will be strong, well-defined characters, and interpersonal relationships between them.

We're taking our story presentation very seriously, and we plan to do it in a way that's always compelling to the player.  Since we don't think it's wise to spend development funds on cutscenes that would rival Spielberg or Abrams, or Zemeckis, we're going to present most of the story to the player during gameplay.  We think that's what most Road Redemption players would want anyway.  

We think doing it this way is how you guys would prefer to spend your time.  We know that you have a lot of entertainment options.  We don't want to present you with a 5 minute cutscene with the quality of a high school-play, when you could be spending that 5 minutes watching Nightcrawler on Netflix, or ideally spending that 5 minutes enjoying intense balls-to-the-wall action combat motorcycle racing gameplay that you can't get anywhere else.

So in conclusion, Road Redemption will have a strong story with interesting characters.  It will motivate you to want to finish the game's campaign.  But we plan to deliver it in a minimalist style with a focus on sharp conscise writing that elevates the experience rather than dragging it down.

-Ian Fisch

Comments

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    1. Brian Emerick on February 7, 2016

      any recent update? It's been since October.

    2. Missing avatar

      Josh Hobbs on February 6, 2016

      Where's the console versions? It's been a few years now...long time to wait with very little news.

    3. Sébastien on December 12, 2015

      @DarkSeas Games

      Thanks so much for the linux version! I especially like that it plays well on a pretty low end computer (not mine) and that the lowest graphics settings doesn't make things ugly at all :) Having tons of fun playing since a few days, even on a keyboard/mouse. Now I don't feel a single bit of regret anymore, even the rooftops which sounded bad before I could play and so fun now I can play!

      Looking forward to the future developments.

    4. Steven Poloso on November 5, 2015

      2 years and nothing on the WiiU and Xbox front? hmm...

    5. Missing avatar

      Thierry on October 18, 2015

      What about development progress, release date, physical rewards, etc. ? It's been 2 years and a half since the game has been funded...

    6. DarkSeas Games Creator on October 15, 2015

      @Mark

      I think we're judging games in a different way. I agree that not all videogame cutscenes are as bad as I described, but if 50% of a game's cutscenes are well done, and 50% are as un-engaging as I described, that's still potentially hours of your time being wasted.

      Using the Metal Gear series as an example, there are no doubt some well done, cinematic, dramatic, well written cutscenes in a game like Metal Gear Solid 3. But the first hour or so of that game is mostly codec conversations, where dialogue plays on a black screen under character portraits. I bought the game to experience some awesome stealth survival gameplay, and here I am being bored to tears by story segments that wouldn't even pass muster as amateur youtube videos. And I'm forced to experience these just to get to the stuff the game does well: its gameplay.

      So it really comes down to how you judge videogames. For me, every hour I spend bored and unengaged is a mark against a game's overall quality.

    7. Tim Hagel on October 15, 2015

      Honestly I'm glad it won't have cut scenes. I don't even really want voice acting. Like you said, if you don't have the time and money to do it really well, then it will just end up making the game worse.

      I loved all the little quips you'd hear from the different bikers in the early Road Rash games. They all had different personalities and dispositions towards you. Depending on whether or not you gave them a beating you might hear something different. I played Road Rash II the most so I mostly remember characters like Natasha, P.E.No.1, Lawson, Viper, Kakana, etc. Viper didn't ever talk as far as I know but that ended up adding to the mystery surrounding him. He was also particularly keen to chase you down and fight you when you tried passing him. There was always a rumor among my friends as kids that there was a time later in the game when he would speak to you. I don't think that was true, but I may never know.

    8. Gwenael Talhouet (Belmont1)
      Superbacker
      on October 15, 2015

      You've picked my curiosity :p The game is already good, so I'm not eagerly waiting for a good story bo make it better, but well if it's good I'm all for it. This said, I was already satisfied with the lost race cutscenes of Road Rash on Genesis, they were hilarious :D

    9. Missing avatar

      dario silva on October 15, 2015

      Don't doubt yourself Ian, almost everything you said was on point and you used good examples. I'd just gave left it at 'because they are too far in the uncanny valley' but you really got to the meat of it which is that they lack the clever complexity of good films (which they can't blame of their lack of technology because they should be designing around their limitations). Want to know why I'm commenting? It's not to suck up to you, but rather because I played Folklore recently and it made me realize how you could achieve the same of as good narrative results while drastically cutting your budget required. It's a combo of comic panels, clever cuts, and clever atmospheric design in npcs and environments during exploration gameplay with a clever use of camera. Each game level is a narrative hook that feels completely organic and intriguing even though each npc is almost completely static in the game world. In your game it's a different genre, so the detective narrative is likely to not work as well, maybe instead it could be Classic tournament progression system but then it needs super strong characters. I remember road rash sega cd, hell of an experience because that character select screen combined with good music and rpg upgrades. Twisted metal used characterization through a.i patterns, I adore that game. If you want to hook casual action game players do a live action intro, but if you want to really be outside of the box do something unexpected, like a playable title screen, or 360 degree video, maybe a playable dream sequence (like silent hill 3). Or even a simple comic book style panel to panel in the intro but done with the subtlety of folklore could go a long way to connecting the player to the worlds characters (giving them a reason to care) without having to come up with a whole player creator / costume system.

    10. Ben Archer on October 14, 2015

      Great insight to delivery story during game-play. I love listening to audio books while playing games. If a game had a story up to that bar, wouldn't that be something?

      Also, the example of show don't tell is a bit reductive. It's not just dialog vs visual queues. Show don't tell is also a literary term. Don't state "he was angry" show the anger through other more implicit means. Still, I totally agree with the point, thanks for the great game.

    11. Mark Dorney on October 14, 2015

      @Darkseas

      Well, for a start, cut scenes depicting two perfectly still characters (I'll go with characters over actors, seeing as games that use mocap actors basically never do this) are in a minority. It feels like a lot of what you are referring to is when The Witcher, specifically, uses them to transition into a conversation. And yes, that is perhaps a valid criticism, but you are completely writing off all of the cut scenes in that game where important events occur, like when meeting the Wild Hunt for the first time. And that's saying nothing of other games.

      Even Metal Gear Solid, which you write off for being too wordy, has some incredibly powerful cut scenes. That they can still provoke an emotional reaction in me after having watched them dozens of times stands testament to their quality.

      "The best thing that people can say about these types of cutscenes is that they aren't laughably bad or that the acting was competent," is a very definitive and very negative statement that is just simply not true. Cut scenes vary by purpose, and you appear to be judging all of them based solely on those who are delivering exposition.

      Often they can be used to show the beauty of the game world or characters in a quality that can't be rendered by the game engine, for exciting action sequences that showcase things not possible in the game engine, or to use carefully scripted music and dialogue to evoke an emotional reaction not possible in a player controlled environment. Sometimes cut scenes would work where gameplay may not. To give an example, you may recall the popularity of entering Mexico in Red Dead Redemption, owing to the music that plays. Only, I never got to hear it, because I got off my horse and it cut the music immediately.

      Regardless of how you feel about cut scenes, a lot of the time games try to deliver exposition ingame by slowing your pace to a crawl and having you walk alongside people as they talk to you. That's even worse.

    12. DarkSeas Games Creator on October 14, 2015

      @Mark,

      But I'm most interested in how you think my description of an average videogame cutscene is "inaccurate".

      I try to play a lot of videogames, but there are so many these days that it's impossible to play even 10% of what's out there. Maybe my description is inaccurate, and I'm interested in hearing specifically what you think I'm getting wrong.

      -Ian Fisch

    13. DarkSeas Games Creator on October 14, 2015

      @Mark

      I completely agree that videogames aren't films. I think the best storytelling in videogames is when the story is told organically, via interaction. That, in my opinion, is how to best take advantage of the medium.

      However, if a videogame is going to present its story in a pre-scripted non-interactive way, I think it's absolutely fair to compare those cutscenes with films and television.

      -Ian Fisch

    14. Missing avatar

      Tim on October 14, 2015

      Still waiting for a response about Physical Tier rewards, specifically TShirt tier rewards...

    15. Missing avatar

      Michael on October 14, 2015

      I have played the latest version and it is a lot of fun but I agree that this update spends more time ragging on other games and movies and very little about the progress of Road Redemption. Pleas give more information on how Road Redemption is progressing, I.E., what is currently being worked on, what stumbling blocks you have faced, updated timeline, etc. Thanks

    16. Mark Dorney on October 14, 2015

      Cut scenes aren't films, of course they're going to be different. It's foolish to compare them. By all means, be proud of the way you tell your story , but please stop trying to make some kind of point by ragging on other video games. Especially when your idea of 'your average videogame cutscene is a pretty sweeping and inaccurate one.