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Jay Tholen

Emphasis on the boy?

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Let me preface this by saying that this isn't a complaint as much as it is a concern. I could be completely wrong.

This is one of my favorite pitches this year, but I'm slightly less enthusiastic about it after hearing about how prominent the boy is. I love the concept of bumbling heroes, and I really feel like the heart of the concept lies in your having to deal with their various quirks while receiving none of the glory. The idea of nudging a drunk/sleeping warrior around to help him attack enemies is brilliant.

Of course, it's hard to make a judgment at such an early stage, but the inclusion of a 'main' human character seems to diminish how subversive the game could've been both mechanically and plot-wise.

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I was thinking about this too, and think it could work if the "heroes" are more like side-quests and early tutorial-like experiences, then as the game progresses you can use them to help on the main quest, like if the boy is off doing something else or is imprisoned or something, you could trick a warrior into helping somehow...

I dunno... but I share your concern. There are two concepts and a challenge will be trying to mesh them together in a way that makes sense and is not like in Brutal where it suddenly feels like a different game.

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I am not doubt going to be way off here but for some reason I see the boy as the main quest giver. Between missions he is your point of contact. He gives you rewards (apples of course) and is the sole source of praise in the game. He will be the one to tell you about the next 'hero' you are helping, what their handicap will be and where you need to go.

Again, that is just how I imagine the stable boy will fit into the game. Maybe as the game progresses, the stable boy's own story become more prevalent and you eventually help him out, working together as a proper symbiotic team.

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I was thinking about this too, and think it could work if the "heroes" are more like side-quests and early tutorial-like experiences, then as the game progresses you can use them to help on the main quest, like if the boy is off doing something else or is imprisoned or something, you could trick a warrior into helping somehow...

This is *exactly* what I'm thinking. Also, the boy is basically the "every-hero" - with the ability to change "jobs" between missions - gameplay with the boy and with the heroes should be similar, but missions with the boy can emphasize story elements, puzzles, and relationship building, and the hero quests can hone your skills or just be off-the-wall bonkers.

Think of missions in most open world games - the side missions share the same mechanics as the story missions, but might push certain mechanics harder (ie racing, target practice, etc) to create more difficult challenges or to change up the core gameplay with a twist.

As to whether the prototype will feature the boy or a hero or both, we'll decide that as a team next week!

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That makes more sense. Gameplay wise the side-quests would be challenging and fun but from a narrative point of view, it could help to show how they are mostly just a means to and end for the horse. Helping to highlight both his annoyance towards the 'heroes' and the special bond with the stable boy.

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I'm going to have to concur with this. The promise of this comes from its novelty, and that novelty exists in deceit if the focus isn't upon what makes it so novel. If it's focused too much on the boy, it's going to ignore what I feel the pitch is all about. I can understand some focus, but that needs to be balanced very, very carefully.

Just my opinion. But yes, I agree.

If that balance is attained, though? Then I'm with it all the way. I've already voted on Steed as one of my favourites, and I'm going to stick by it. So this isn't going to influence how I vote either way, I suspect that's true for all of us. I'm just hoping that that balance will be taken into account.

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I think the presence of _both_ the boy and the others (hopefully, as you say, drunk) seems super fun. the contrast in gameplay that can be found there. but yeah it has to pretty balanced.

but its super interesting to me how different the two mechanics can be. with the drunk guys, yeah, you would have to help them around and make sure the mission goes alright. theyre strong, but you have to do almost all the work, almost an action puzzler (in my head)

then with the boy, maybe not at first but as the game progresses, it could be more about doing actually more and more heroic and well-timed cinematic stuff, with horse and rider working as one. I can even see some rhythm or QT elements working here to time cool combo actions with the boy...

(oh man...! I wish I could animate on this game!)

anyways. for the prototype Im unsure how wise it is to try to focus too widely. it seems like just getting the basic horse controls right for one prototype mission is plenty to do in two weeks! and its the one thing that would make or break the game imho. never mind rpg mechanics and story and stuff...(just present that with some concept art sketches, is probably the best way to convey the world and general plot)

by the way! what a perfect setting for navigation help in the world area! (if there is such a thing) just have the rider try to guide you and give you nudges to where youre supposed to go. no need for immersion-breaking stupid navigation lines to follow

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What seems key to me, with regard to this line of concern, is making sure the horse remains the protagonist, and is written as the protagonist from the outset—meaning the horse has their own motivations and goals, and the horse goes through character development (not necessarily in the prototype, but it's still good to have in mind when developing the horse's characterization), and the horse is doing what it's doing for its own reasons and not just because whoops! the stable boy is a 'chosen one' and the secret/real protagonist.

What does Steed want? Who is Steed, and who will they become through their adventures? Certainly they develop a bond with the boy over time, but their relationship would hopefully be more like buddy cops (equals) than hero and mount (or even its opposite; hero-horse and inept rider) or stable boy as hero, horse as sidekick.

Re: actual-hero parts of the game, I especially like the idea of having excellent, direct control of the horse (of course) and the sort of nudge-and-hope control of the human riders which made Shadow of the Colossus's horse-riding feel so good, made the horse feel so real. If Steed can give the player the real inverse of that when-can-I-get-off-this-mount-and-back-to-the-real-game feeling with regard to the heroic riders, wishing they could toss this guy and get back to playing the game properly.

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I think the game would be better without a "main" questline. I also don't like the idea of the horse-whisperers being so prominent. You say it's rare, but there are two in the game! Wouldn't it be cooler to develop a bond where you can't communicate verbally?

Anyway, don't overnarrativize this. It's doesn't need to be GTA with horses.

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I like the idea of a narrative forming from small quests, but I also think that having the boy being able to understand the horse's words doesn't seem as compelling as the boy being willing to listen to body language and thus being able to get along with the steed. Like in the beginning he'd try to steer (I have no idea how much stable hands would actually be able to ride the horses they cared for, so maybe he's tentative?) but when the horse decides to go the other way he runs with it, and pays attention, and work with them.

Also, I know that this is a prototype, but if the game ended up at some point getting picked up for full production, could you consider making the stableboy a person of color (if he already is, I defaulted to white and I'm sorry about that) or in some way not the white cishet guy default? A POC protagonist might be interesting because disrupts the standard (white) Stableboy with a Destiny trope, and I don't have a centuries worth of media telling me I know how that story already goes. Which could also be a negative if that's what you want to invoke, but it could also make turn the story more to what kind of qualities make heroes that are overlooked by people who consider themselves heroes. It's an option, I'm putting it out there, though I would be interested in hearing your reasons for having the stableboy designed as he is.

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I think the whole idea of an exceptional stableboy is cliche and detracts from the unique focus of the game on the horse. It turns it into a game about a stableboy with a horse.

John is an ambitious young designer, but it's too bad he seems to have a penchant for shitty narrative cliches.

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Ah, there is no better start of the afternoon than watching Suejack completely embarass himself by making a completely absurd assumption based on zero gameplay and a Day 0 meeting.

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Ah, there is no better start of the afternoon than watching Suejack completely embarass himself by making a completely absurd assumption based on zero gameplay and a Day 0 meeting.

I think suejack is the resident troll. I've seen almost nothing but antagonistic posts from them. It is best to just ignore what they say.

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I'm sorry, was there something controversial about what I said?

John's current proposal is for a narrative focus on a horse-hearer boy hero. I think this is cliche and detracts from the one thing this game has going for it: a twist on a cliche.

Is this trolly somehow?

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I'm sorry, was there something controversial about what I said?

John's current proposal is for a narrative focus on a horse-hearer boy hero. I think this is cliche and detracts from the one thing this game has going for it: a twist on a cliche.

Is this trolly somehow?

You are needlessly antagonistic with your criticisms (or whenever anyone disagrees with you). Also, the focus is on the horse. Think of the Stable Boy as a MacGuffin. A tool to move the plot alone. The Stable Boy is Cousin Roman to the Horse's Niko Bellic. It is the Horse's story, but the Stable Boy plays a part of it. He's not the focus of it. You are assuming he will be the focus and that the story will revolve around him simply because they made a design decision to include the boy in the prototype because he is a more important asset/character for the prototype. It's been said, multiple times, that the boy isn't the main character or the focus. He is important, but not more so than Steed.

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And that's all great, if you can swing it.

I know he's imagining a retelling of a cliche tale from a new set of eyes... I can see that argument, but it just seems like such a waste to introduce a heroic human character into a game about the horse. I think the game would be much better served in true GTA style: there is no costar, certainly not Roman, and everything is ultimately merely a vehicle for the protagonist.

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And that's all great, if you can swing it.

I know he's imagining a retelling of a cliche tale from a new set of eyes... I can see that argument, but it just seems like such a waste to introduce a heroic human character into a game about the horse. I think the game would be much better served in true GTA style: there is no costar, certainly not Roman, and everything is ultimately merely a vehicle for the protagonist.

That is a better worded criticism than "penchant for %#$@&! narrative cliches." If you had said that originally, I'd have no problem with it. It is a valid concern to have.

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Well, he does strike me as a bit of a cornball cliche fetishist, a bit like Brad Muir strikes me as [EDIT: sorry, I'm a jerk. Brad Muir seems very enthusastic].

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