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Old 11-22-2016, 12:09 PM   #12   Add To Ignore List  
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Joined: May 2011
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Default Re: How would you design the game?

It's a bit difficult for me to go into design side of the game when it comes to actual gameplay or level-design without turning the whole point to "what was bad in SS3 and how they could've fixed it". But I would certainly make some changes and additions to the story.

First of all it comes to the characters — I'd try to make them more memorable and interesting through their relationships with Sam, give them a bit more background and certainly not killing half of them in the first half of the game as it feels very, very cheap. Adding some snippets of information into Netricsa about Sam and his friends would be one of the ways to give more background to the characters without breaking the pace, and having more cut-scenes and brief talks between Sam and other guys would be nice as well. Once again, NPC's could be used in a similar way to SS2: for example, a helicopter pilot (Garrett, Wilson or Hellfire) could help you on the battlefield by throwing off supplies and ammo before some battles e.t.c..

Developing the world is another important narrative task, which can be improved by so called "environmental stories", when storywriter must cooperate with artists and designers to create interesting little scenes that could contain some unspoken backstory of the places and scenes that player visit in the game. Just minor details, like a bulletin board containing notes and photos of Cairo refugees, dead bodies of EDF soldiers on the barricades, small objects and stuff left by people in their houses or streets, like kids toys or newspapers or audiomessages and tapes containing some songs. Anything like that. Some distinctive graffities - not those boring arabian notes but actual paintings - would be nice as well.

Another important change would be Sam himself, his attitude and backstory. What I didn't like about SS3 is how they almost retconned his role of a person who was chosen to travel to the past, being one of the most famous and strongest veterans of this war. I understand how they tried to make him look strong and serious than other people by his actions - he proved himself by surviving through the battles, but still, I'd left some cues and tips about him being somewhat special person, hence there are multiple interesting ways to do that imho. One of the ways I had in my mind for some years (and planned to incude into my fiction story, but... eh) could be referring to Sam and his past in one of the dialogs between him and Rodriguez/Quinn, uncovering that he was actually among the first candidates for Charlie Team but got rejected in the end because of some unexplained or vague reasons. May be even due to his past (Surveyor *wink*). Another way to make Sam or, in our case, the player feel special about the protag. is to have some heavy inspirational scene. This is where I come to the last major change I'd make in SS3: change the ending.

As I mentioned before, I wouldn't kill some characters early in the game. I'd most likely keep Rodriguez alive for some time, may be up until the Lost Temples of Nubia. I'd swap Hellfire death scene with Quinn, making Hellfire escape the battle by Quinn's order to help Sam. First of all, I think it would be better to leave some cues to Sam and Hellfire having a small and brief "romantic pause" when preparing to leave their time. Secondary, I'd give Hellfire another task - for example, she should protect or prepare the Time Lock for the travel while Sam is battling with Ugh-Zan IV. Finally, I'd still kill her (almost) to increase the already sad emotional tension of the ending, while at the same time once again bring some inspirational moment and let the player feel this special nature of Sam and importance of his task. Hellfire is badly wounded, all covered in blood. She won't last long, and they both understand it, yet Sam still desperatly tries to do something. Yet there's no time at all, new Mental troops are on their way to Time Lock, and Mental starts his final "mooning" plan. Sam can't choose what he should do - jump into the portal or try to save the girl. In this very difficult moment Hellfire calms him down by saying how special he is and always were. She tells him there's only one thing left to do and value, and it's time. "It's your time, Sam. It has come. Find Mental and kick his ass. And remember, that all of us will always believe in you, being either in heaven or hell." (this is also a ref to "cursed become the martyrs" in the final song). And that's when Sam finds a courage and runs into the portal with his "See ya in 3000BC, Mental..." speech. I know it's probably cringy or unnecessary dramatic, but I think it'd be an even more emotional and powerful ending, kinda akin to SW2013, and I would certainly do it if I had a chance to design SS3.

That's it for now.
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