• Saturday, 9 July 2011

      Gameplay Selling Motivation-selling your game to gamers in 30mins-60min

      Here is something special I want to talk about and it is something really essential to game designers.
      It basically to do with selling the first 30min or 60min time of your game to gamers, this is a way of motivation to keep them playing and wanting more.
      It is something HipHopGamer brought up that I perceived from him, particularly he was talking about God of War 3.

      I'll get to the point what this selling/pitching/motivation thing?:
      Take it this way, you just brought a game let's say a game we've all played before- Sonic the Hedgehog.
      When you start Green Hill Zone, you get to experience the basic gameplay mechanic of Sonic which is running at high speed, collecting rings, jumping over enemies, destroying televisions and platforming.

      Green Hill Zone 2 is part 2 but slightly different level designs and by the time you get to Act 3 you will face a boss without your consent. The whole of Act 1-3 in Green Hill Zone is meant to sell the experience and motivation to the player, it gives them a sense of feeling what to expect after Green Hill Zone.

      Another example is Halo Combat Evolved, the first 5mins you start working out Master Chief's kinks in conjunction with the player's control. And after 5mins the Space station is under attack and the game IMMEDIATELY throws the player in a deep action without the player learning the combat techniques, how to fire, how the Assault Rifle works etc. For the first 30mins or 60min of Halo Combat Evolve, you battle in the Pillar of Autumn until you escape for Planet Halo- that is the selling experience. That is what hook gamers wanting more.

      On pior to Sonic- lets talk about Sonic Adventure. The first level you are already battling a boss and on the second level which is Emerald Coast, you run along a beautiful sunny beach side and within minutes you get to experience something Sonic game never did before. The camera pans in front of Sonic forcing you to OUTRUN a whale trying to eat you, this experience is unforgettable and that will make the player wanting more (yea...they get to play Big the Cat and other Sonic friends that stales the experience:P

      I acknowlegded what Hip Hop Gamer was talking about and until I played many other games I finally understood that the first 30-60min gameplay SHOULD and MUST sell to the player. If you look at PSN Store you'd notice there's a 60min trial for full games. Now imagine a game that doesn't give a selling pitch experience in 60min? how would the gamer be convienced to buy the game?
      I recently tried the new Prince of Persia game; while playing the game and finishing the first stage by releasing evil across the land, the game told me I had 30mins left. I did not care because the game's opening pitch was not good enough for me. However I do acknowledged the amazing designed combat system hwoever the platforming, whiny protagonist and bad opening just doesn't cut it for me! Even the original PS2 Prince of Persia had a better Gameplay Selling Motivation opening than Prince of Persias opening:/

      Here are a few more examples of games that sells a unique experience to gamers in 30-60mins pitch gameplay motivation.

      God of War Trilogy- All GOW games sells the player an awe experience within 30min to 60min. GOW1 has you in the middle of the ocean on a sunken ship, you battle dead soldiers and within minutes you are battleing tentacles and the first boss encounter is the face of a lizard that drops the player's jaws wide open. Then you have GOW2 that pitches the player into battling a Titan statue, this opening is one of the best in any games ever created, the QTE and experience are unmatched! And then you have GOW3 that forces the player to battle enemies on top of Gaia's body, the insane battle (with unrivalled soundtrack) with Posiedeon is one hell of an experience.
      I remember my first experience with GOW3, the amazing graphics in 60FPS nearly tore out my eyes, on top of that the combat mechanics where smoother. The whole experience with Gaia, new moves, combats, graphics, dialogue, scripted event and battle with Posiedeon was epic. However when I finally performed a Kratos First Person Kill QTE, that sold the deal for me! If anyone saw the FPS kill QTE, they will run out of the house and buy GOW3 instantly!

      Beyond Good and Evil: I've always wondered why people praise this game so much, I've never had the chance to play it back in 6th generation and I was always skeptical about the game. Finally the game is in HD and I got to try the game. My god! The first 10min made me realise why 30-60 Gameplay Selling Motivation is so important. I battled the enemies, they were no match for me, the awesome music playing in the background. The best part was when everything went into slow motion, the music score started to change; it basically was an EPIC experience!

      Dante's Inferno: Even though the game was not designed perfectly, anyone WHO ISN'T SINGLE MINDED and doesn't bash the game by calling it a God of War clone would be impressed by the opening. Background music playing, lightening effects, settings design, enemies rising from the ground, scripted events as the whole environments crumbles and turns to hell and plus the weird cutscenes that gets you confused how you betrayed your wife. Anyone who tried this opening (also in the demo) will be curious to know how Dante descends to hell.

      Modern Warfare: This is essentially why Modern Warfare is successful, not because of it's multiplayer but because of it's Single Player campaign. All the opening for MW games are all fantastic. Who wasn't blown away after completing the feel realistic combat training and getting to experience the game in 60fps, cool graphics and immersive ship wreck battle from MW1?
      Weren't you impressed after the combat training and you were dropped right in the middle of the warfare with so much explosions and soldiers firing at each other?
      Black Ops also offered an amazing 30min experience in Cuba:)

      DarkSiderS: This is why I favoured Darksiders over Bayonetta even though Bayonetta's combat is the best Hack n Slash/Beat em Up we've experienced in ages. Darksiders did a lot of things Bayonetta did not fully achieved. One of them was the opening, it was more serious, as you awake in the midst of Armageddon right on Earth, you don't even know wtf is going on, as you battle your way through the stage. You met a badass boss that clearly defeated you in the rude awakening and confusing process. Then you get sentenced by the judges who stripped away all your powers. After experiencing that opening, I want more!

      DeadSpace Franchise: Anyone who played DeadSpace 2 and hoping to be immersed ever before than DeadSpace 1 were surely not disappointed! This opening is what I rate one of the best game selling motivation openings along with GOW franchises. You start the game and by the time you notice, a human is right in front of your face yelling dying and transforming in real time, on top of that you had to escape enemies blasting out of cages and rooms aiming to kill you. This offers a surviving experience as well as a scary experience. Because you are trying to get out of the place due to you being the only survivor in the section and not only that the screams, bangs and loud commotions makes things very scary.
      Dead Space Extraction also offers a captivating experience that would make you want to keep playing even though it is on Rails.

      I do believe that 30-60min Gameplay Selling Motivation is another game designer's secret in the Gaming Industry.

      So what exactly is this Gameplay Selling Motivation and how do I know if a game as an opening pitch selling tool?

      Well the whole purpose of playing games is to expereince the gameplay mechanicism, basically to play the game.
      If you are going to create your game and hopefully TRY to sell the pitch motivation to gamers in terms of cutscene, it will never work. Gamers WANT to play games not watch a movie- this was another criticism of Metal Gear Solid 4 due to its lengthy cutscenes.

      When you create a game, you have to give the player:
      *A compelling story- make them know what they are in for in terms of narrative, story and cutscenes.
      -Metal Gear Solid 4
      -Splinter Cell Conviction
      -Metro 2033
      -Heavy Rain

      *Gameplay, make sure you sell the game's unique feature in the first chapter's opening (training/introduction excluding). Why do you think Metroid franchise allows you to be overpowered in the opening to make you get a taste of Samus strenght and later take it away? Its a pitch to tell the gamer "this is what you are in for if you fully play the game and learn how to acquire all lost items". Even Ninja Gaiden 2 doesn't have a good selling gameplay motivation opening however as soon as you start the game; you'd experience its unique selling point which is Blood+Dismemberment, those 2 alone will hook the player into wanting more.
      -Star Wars Republic Commando
      -Resident Evil 4

      *Not necessary but it is always GOOD to make the player confused into knowning wtf is going. If a player doesn't know why Dante bretrayed Beatrice, the player would be curious to know why and how he did so forcing the player to be further indulged in the game.
      -Half Life 2
      -Dante's Inferno
      -Heavenly Sword


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