電子遊戲中改變視角的過場動畫

作者:Alexander Freed

你的遊戲中那個臭名昭著的惡棍已經出現一段時間了。他的出現是有原因的,因爲你知道一旦他一出現玩家便會想去殺死他,你可以將其設置在許多地方。於此同時你也希望能夠提醒玩家他的存在並向玩家展示他的幕後故事。

或許你的遊戲參考了《奧德賽》需要一些有關Penelope的場景去強化這樣的角色—-Penelope真的非常出色值得你爲了與之團聚去對抗各種怪獸。你也想要呈現她是如何處理種種問題去激勵玩家。

或者你想要呈現當玩家在外出執行任務時老朋友被謀殺的情境。再或者你想要呈現巨龍在地底下慢慢甦醒。亦或者……

對的,你是想要從玩家視角中切換出來並使用過場動畫去呈現玩家角色可能不知道或不會遇到的信息或氛圍。如果是換在電影中你便沒有重新考慮的餘地。

而我的建議是:請再三斟酌。當然這並不是說你不應該在電子遊戲中使用過場動畫去轉變視角。這麼做的優點雖然很明顯(遊戲邦注:因爲這與傳統非互動媒體一樣,所以不值得我們在此做具體討論),但在你真正這麼做之前你需要考慮許多東西。

首先,你必須清楚改變視角的過場動畫會降低玩家角色的主導性。你可能會因爲破壞了玩家與角色之間的聯繫而打破了他們的沉浸感;玩家會覺得自己所看到的已經不再是角色所看到的東西了,我們也將不再分享同樣的想法與視角。一般說來,緊密的玩家和角色間的聯繫對你的遊戲是有利的,而破壞這種聯繫的結果很微妙,但同時也很真實,因爲你將有意或者無意地暗示玩家這並非純粹是屬於他/她的故事。

其次,你需要考慮過場動畫中所傳達的信息是否會改變玩家扮演玩家角色的方式。如果我知道故事中的惡棍在我的角色同伴間安插了一名奸細,但是我的角色卻還是什麼都不知道將對方當成值得信賴的同盟,我便會覺得很無助很受挫。在電影或小說中,隱祕的叛徒總是會帶給觀衆緊張感,觀衆將會開始擔心角色。而在遊戲中,這卻只會突顯我從角色中的抽離並阻擋我完全融入他/她的旅程中。

karateka(from gamasutra)

karateka(from gamasutra)

這種場景的哈哈鏡版本包含了玩家角色在過場動畫中對於某些場景的情感反應,就好像他/她之前看過它們似得。這能夠減少玩家的挫敗感,但也仍是一種抽離角色的表現—-如果你在過場動畫中呈現了一個充滿魅力的市長邪惡地笑着,那麼我那調查者角色在第一次見到他時便會懷疑他,我便會覺得爲什麼自己的角色那麼偏執。當然了那是因爲我知道這個市長是反派,但我的角色並不知道啊!

這都是一些較極端的例子,只是我很難想到一些比較普通的版本。如果兩個NPC在過場動畫中神祕地交談並傳遞着某種預兆,那麼當我在控制玩家角色時我便不能詢問他們在說些什麼吧?這時候的我並不是好奇,而是受挫!另一方面,如果過場動畫並未包含全新信息,如果只是關於玩家角色可能會想到的一些東西,玩家便不會如此受挫。未包含可行動信息(遊戲邦注:即與玩具正在體驗的情況無關的神祕暗示)的過場動畫會“較安全”。

再次,如果你認爲改變視角的過場動畫的優點大於缺點,你便應該考慮其它潛在的緩解元素:

你是否擁有多個玩家角色並已經在他們之間進行轉換?如此的話你的玩家與角色間的聯繫便已經很脆弱了,而視角轉變也已經融入了你的遊戲風格中。這或許能夠避免玩家角色失去主導性的問題。

你是否能將過場動畫整合到互動序列中?如果你已經背離了玩家視角,你或許可以考慮提供給玩家與角色形成情感共鳴的全新方法。

你的遊戲具有喜劇性嗎?過場動畫是否有趣?如果是就會簡單許多。

你的玩家角色是否很沉默?(或許他就是一個沉默的主角,或者他的動機非常不明確。)那麼通過過場動畫去傳遞信息也就不怎麼會讓人分心了。

現在你是否還是堅持使用過場動畫,並且你是否在較早前便開始使用過場動畫?在一款40個小時的遊戲中呈現一個30小時的改變視角的過場動畫非常有可能嚇到玩家。而如果你是從一開始便有規律且具有預見性地只改變其中的一個視角,玩家便能夠更輕鬆地接受。

不過關於最後一點有個例外,即引導性過場動畫,這也是在玩家視角真正明確前出現的!基於這種方式,引導性過場動畫便能夠做到任何遊戲中間階段的過場動畫所做不到的事。

你必須明確自己的敘述選擇可能引出的所有結果並進行衡量。在電子遊戲中改變視角不能是一個草率的決定,你必須經過深思熟慮。

本文爲遊戲邦/gamerboom.com編譯,拒絕任何不保留版權的轉發,如需轉載請聯繫:遊戲邦

On Cutscenes and Viewpoint Changes

by Alexander Freed

It’s been a while since your game’s scheming villain has actually shown up. There’s a good reason for that–you know the player will try to kill her as soon as she appears, and there’s only so many times you can place her beyond a uncrossable chasm or behind a force field. But you still want to remind the player she exists and show her behind-the-scenes plotting.

Or maybe your game adaptation of the Odyssey needs some Penelope scenes to reinforce that, yes–Penelope is pretty awesome and worth fighting monsters and gods to return to. You want to show how she’s handling her own troubles back home to inspire the player.

Or maybe you want to show Sidekick Guy getting murdered back at the base while the player is out on a mission. Or maybe you want to show the Great Dragon slowly awakening beneath the earth. Or maybe…

…well, you get the point. You want to switch away from the player’s point of view and use a cutscene to provide information or atmosphere you couldn’t otherwise get across. In a film, you wouldn’t think twice about it.

Here’s my advice: Think twice. That’s not to say you shouldn’t switch viewpoints for a cutscene in a video game. The advantages are obvious (and pretty much the same as they are in traditional, non-interactive media–thus, not worth discussing in great detail here) but there’s a lot to consider before you jump in.

First, be aware that a viewpoint-changing cutscene reduces the primacy of the Player Character. You are quite literally “breaking immersion” (a term I normally avoid, but a relevant one here) by shattering the tie between the player and the Player Character; what I see is no longer what the character sees, and we no longer share a mind and a common viewpoint. Generally speaking, a tight player-Player Character bond is to your benefit and the consequences of violating that bond are subtle but real–you’re signaling the player, intentionally or not, that this is not purely his or her story.

Second, consider whether the information delivered in the cutscene–a cutscene presumably not witnessed by the Player Character–would change how I as the player want to act as the Player Character. If I know that the story’s villain has placed a traitor among my Player Character’s companions, then I’m going to feel helpless and frustrated if the Player Character still treats his or her buddies like trusted allies. In a film or novel, the notion of a secret traitor would generate tension; it arouses concern for the characters on the part of the audience. In a game, it emphasizes my detachment from the Player Character and blocks my full emotional integration into his or her journey.

The funhouse mirror version of this scenario involves the Player Character emotionally reacting to situations shown in cutscenes as if he or she had seen them. This is less frustrating for the player, but it’s still a bizarre and distracting violation of character–if you show, say, the charismatic city mayor cackling evilly in a cutscene, then have my police investigator Player Character treat him with suspicion when they meet for the first time, I’m going to wonder why my character is so surly and paranoid. Sure, I know the mayor’s corrupt, but my character sure shouldn’t!

These are extreme examples, but less over-the-top versions aren’t hard to think up. If two NPCs are chatting enigmatically in a cutscene and delivering foreshadowing, and I can’t ask them about it when I’m in control of the Player Character? I’m not intrigued–I’m frustrated! On the other hand, if a cutscene contains no new information–if it’s essentially something that the Player Character could have imagined (“the captured prince is sad about being captured!” or “my loved one is worried about me!”)–you avoid this particular trap. A cutscene that contains no actionable information–a cryptic hint at something utterly unrelated to what the player is presently experiencing–is similarly “safer.”

Third, if you do think the advantages of a viewpoint-changing cutscene may outweigh the disadvantages, consider other potential mitigating factors:

Do you have multiple Player Characters and switch between them already? Then your player-Player Character bond is already relatively weak and viewpoint changes are already integrated into your game’s style. This might reduce the issues with Player Character primacy.

Can you make the cutscene into an interactive sequence instead? If you’re already violating point of view, you might consider going one step farther and giving the player a new way to emotionally engage with the characters.

Is your game comedic? Is the cutscene funny? Then you can get away with pretty much anything.

Is your Player Character something of a cipher anyway? (Maybe he’s a silent protagonist, or her motivations are intentionally unclear.) Then my choice to act on information only available in a cutscene (if such a choice is available) may be less distracting.

Are you consistent about your use of cutscenes, and do you establish their use early on? Unveiling a single viewpoint-breaking cutscene thirty hours into a forty-hour game is very likely to jar the player. Conversely, if you cut to only one other viewpoint on a regular, predictable basis and start from the beginning (e.g., every time Odysseus leaves an island we get a Penelope cutscene), your player is more likely to become inured to the negative effects.

The big exception to that last point is introductory cutscenes, which of course come before the player’s point of view has been firmly established! In this way, an introductory cutscene can do all sorts of things a mid-game cutscene might have trouble with.

Try to be aware of all the consequences of your narrative choices and weigh them accordingly. Changing viewpoint isn’t a casual decision in a video game, and while it can certainly be employed adeptly, well… if you’re not sure it’s worth it, you’ve got plenty of other tools available.(source:gamasutra)