Reply To: Ditch the Player Character (PC) already!


Not sure I agree with this. If anything, the only implication of the PC character’s presence is that there is a fourth founding member (incapacitated perhaps) who calls the shots. If I’m not mistaken, the flavor text for founding members never says that only the three founded the band, in fact the text explicitly mentions “you”, the PC. The PC presence solves the problem of continuity as well in the event that all founding members die and the band goes through a complete rotation, and gives a lens through which the entire event system stands. Would you prefer that they spend developing hours re-writing the rather newly developed event system to write out a character that is not even excluded by the logic of the game?

Personally, the PC presence made me feel more immersed in the game when band members and elements of the world reacted to “My” decision. I get to be the old general in the chair that the gambler comes and plays dice with, or the guy the wildman convinces to do shrooms in the forest. Its the closest thing to a connection between me and the world. It also reinforces the idea that all of the lives of all of the brothers are on the shoulder of the single shot-caller, and every lost brother is the failing of a single person’s command. At any rate, the devs open these forums for feedback, but if the PC is important to design, its not going anywhere. If it’s not, then I’m sure they’ll put something more favorable for immersion and a degree of realism as both seem to be important to them. It seems that they’ve got a pretty coherent design document that they’re working on and its produced a damn good game so far.

What would me a more effective alternative? Maybe a system that allows the player to designate a leader? I suppose it would avoid the need for a re-write on the event system, but it would also cause quite a few continuity issues. Do they make it so that only a founding member can be chosen as the first “pc”? How would that affect the chosen character’s flavor text? What if he dies and the player wants to choose a new commander that is not a founding member, but a founding member is still alive? Do you limit choices until all founding members are dead? If you choose the founding member, how does his flavor text change? If you can choose a non-founding member, how does the flavor text of the founding member change, since any new addition to the band couldn’t have possibly met the founding member before being recruited to the band?

Re-writing for a “chosen” leader system adds a further complication just purely in the way the game is played. In the very beginning, all characters are pretty green and just as likely to get killed on day one as anyone else. Do you give a buff to the chosen brother to improve his survivability? Doing that runs the risk of making a single character feel “special” and i very much like the current feeling of a bunch of average mortals against a viscous world. What if you just take the plunge and make a special character class. Let assume you leave him like everyone else. Do we as players just keep transferring the game identity of “self” when we have a nasty series of battles and our chosen characters die repeatedly?

I think my alternative might cause more problems than it would be worth dealing with. Then again, I’m biased and quite ok with the PC presence as it stands. What do you guys propose? Keep in mind that the devs are finite human beings working on a relatively small team and they also have to consider time, currently implemented systems, and things that have yet to be implemented when deciding where to spend development time. Some systems will be modular and rather easily changed, but others might require considerable time and resources.

Consider the cost of a given suggestion.