by Pyrodactyl Games
@Lim: Exactly. Actually a lot of modern pen&paper RPGs show a much more balanced use of combat (partly because they can, since a DM allows for much better reactivity than a computer).
I just looked, my favorite RPG system (Hell on Earth) has 46 skills, and only 9 of them are combat-related and 10 to character interaction. Now that is what I would call a healthy ratio ;-)
I personally disagree that "without battles, a RPG is an adventure game".
The correct statement should be "without conflicts that are resolved via attributes that can be improved, an RPG is just an adventure game."
Awesome thoughts on combat in video games (and combat in general). I pretty much totally agree with your assessment of the risks, meaning and realism of real life combat. I'm keen to play Unrest to see how you guys bring this perspective into a video game!
Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Ken and Hasvers. We will hope to achieve what you described in the game :)
I totally agree with your basic point, and I would love for it to become more obvious to everyone - it is a peculiar type of story where the protagonist routinely exterminates thousands of sentient beings in order to loot a nicer outfit on one of their mangled bodies.
To be honest, I have always wondered why combat is the only part of the RPG adventure that has been made into a system. It's nice to have skills that offer choices in the form of branching stuff (alternate solutions for quests and so on), but that's just case-by-case design, nothing systematic. The single exception is maybe stealth, but it never works very well because it's always made to rely as strongly on player skills, like combat in RPG/FPS hybrids, so you can just ignore character development and save/reload to sneak your way around.
Extending systematic design and tactics to other activities than violence would simply annihilate the usual comment "without battles, a RPG is an adventure game".
Great update Rutskarn! This is exactly what I was envisioning!
I agree that there's nothing "wrong" with combat heavy games, but far to often it's way out of balance. I've grown tired of 100+ hour games, where a good 60% is just fighting what equates to essentially the same battles over and over again--yeah, there are some differences, but often your own tactics are still exactly the same for every battle: Just pound the monsters into the ground (they pose no real threat). Don't get me wrong, it's fun... But, after the first dozen or two hours... the battles start to get kind of tedious.
Also, after a while, you start wondering if your heroes are actually bloodthirsty psychopaths, slaughtering a constant stream of foes like it's "just another day at the office."
For me, story, choice, and exploration should be THE most important parts of any RPG, with combat playing a supporting role (this is true even in combat heavy games--if it's combat heavy, then it should be so for a reason within the story!).
Thanks. That answers my question. I am excited about how you implement non-combat skills. While an intricate part of many pen & paper rpgs, they usually seem to be peripheral at best or at worst completely ignored in most CRPGS.
When I grouse into my beer in my "if I would design a game" mode, this is among my shortlist of things. Looking forward to how it'll play in practice.
And that's what I love about your game, it's not combat orientated. Kinda like the kickstarter "Consortium".
Making violence mean something has a lot of promise. I'll look forwards to seeing how you guys handle it.
@Jesse and Dave: Thanks a lot, it is nice to hear that our backers are on board with our vision :)
@Edward: We do have character development, skills (and using them), multiple solutions and outcomes to a scenario - which is why we are calling ourselves an RPG.
I can't wait to see how this goes. I too certainly hope it catches on and has an influence.
Sounds awesome. I'm glad to hear you guys didn't "sell out" and end up making Unrest combat heavy. Any backer was paying attention knew from the beginning that combat was going to be avoidable, rare, and risky.
Combat-heavy or not, I just wish more RPG developers were put as much time and effort into crafting interesting dialogue, non-combat skills (e.g., stealth, thief stuff), puzzles, plot and character development, and choices with meaningful consequences as they did the combat system. If Unrest influences other RPG developers I hope it's to show them that there's a market for RPGs where fighting is something characters will only engage in with a strong motivating factor. I'm sick of grinding through 50+ hours of seemingly endless combat so the dev. could advertise what a long game it is. Anyway, really looking forward to this game.
While definately a well reasoned explanantion, I am worried that Unrest will not be a RPG at all, but an adventure game, which is not really my thing. However, I wouldn't say combat must be at the heart of an RPG. What is at its heart is character development, not just in terms of story (there is plenty of that in good Adventure games, often more so than in RPGS), but in terms of mechanics. Do the characters have skills? Must the player use them correctly? Can the player decide which one to improve and which not to? Can the player solve the same problem by different methods using different skills? If so I would be very happy. Most game companies do not do this, because quite honestly it seems much harder to implement than a combat system.
I think mega nothing has a point, but if you can pull it off then it will demonstrate excellent game writing.
@Robert - Fun fact: All of our updates have been a love letter to you* ;)
*and our other backers
Your comments on combat are like a saucy love letter to me
@meganothing: That is a great observation. We are certainly not saying that gamey combat needs to go away altogether, we're just wishing that there are more games with non-gamey combat.
You forgot to take into account the two big meta-reasons for combat: time-filler and instant cratification. Your type of combat will not catch on because it is easier making games with gamey combat.
With your type of combat you really need an excellent story, need lots of interesting non-combat content or you will fail.
Gamey combat allows a game designer to get away with a moderately fun story and 60-80% of the player time is accounted for. And the instant gratification of a combat win is a good substitute for a fullfilling plot twist or a masterly designed conversation.
So most game designers will continue to use gamey combat because it is safer for them.
I like the sound of this 8)