I wrote up a post at the Choice of Games forum describing what I learned from playing every Choice of Games title and writing one of the worst-selling ones:
The bit about the first chapter is a bit like my movie test;
If it’s slow or not great in the first 30 mins, then don’t bother watching the rest.
It’s true some movies do get a lot better after a slow start, but not many, and statistically it’s not worth it.
Yeah, really nice article. I have questions.
Could you elaborate on “Here is an example of the stats screen of a good-selling game and a bad-selling game after 1 chapter” I still don’t get the difference between both screenshots, and how they correlate with being good or bad sellers.
Also… thinking about games that have some difficult with players manipulating the stats to work toward an ending or goal. This is something CRPG games know how to deal with. For example, it is common in certain bottlenecks in Dark Souls, to have an optional branch leading to an optional area (like The painted world of Ariamis), where they can grind the character to get more powerful or resourceful and be capable of overcome that main obstacle in the main path of the game.
TLDR: players underprepared for certain obstacle should have the option to increase their stats in a near area,
I just noticed a pattern where whenever I played a game that had really low sales (determined by # of ratings on the omnibus app), all the stats started at 50% and stayed there the whole game, almost never moving.
Your CRPG example is great. One problem in Choicescript games is they’re in Hardcore mode (no saves, no going back), so you can’t really cycle around and do that. Maybe someone will make a game where you could do that?
The article says:
From Creme de la Creme:
And unlike Choice of Romance, your lowest stat doesn’t get stuck being super-low level the whole time, because in the course of the story you get tutoring in your worst subject!
Exactly what I was saying!!!
Yeah, that’s more easy said than done. Algo, that design philosophy is more suitable for QBN (resorced based narratives like Fallen London and Sunless Skies). Also to include that in a branching narrative like CoS would require just… MORE WORK!!! Imagina, build new branches and oportunities for all those pesky low stats.