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ISGD: Giving Choice without Telling what it Is (Take a "Third" Option)

Interactive Story Game Design: In order to slowly chip away at the excuses of why story can't mesh with games, I will give an easy method on how to let the player be clever and allow them to take a third option.

Normally choices in video games are presented as two options (or more options) that a player must choose one. This method has a weakness in that if the player thought of a clever (or obvious) answer that wasn't given, they can't do that. Also, if you give the option then the player didn't think of that themsleves. There has to be a way to pull this off properly.

I'll give one example of how to implement this and then give a general theory in how to do it.

I'm Choosing C!

Say that there there is a villian who gives the player the classic choose-one-friend-over-another choice. It is a choice where one dies and the other lives. If only you could take out the villian's power at that moment then you can save both.

You choose one and the other dies. Later on you realize that the villian is powered by a crystal that you passed by earlier. You also happed to have a piece of C4 that can be remotely triggered.

Next playthrough you try to see if you can do something clever. You plant the C4 in advance on the crystal. When given the choice you don't pick friend A or friend B. Instead, you bring up the menu and go into your key items list. You choose C4.

Both your friends are now safe.

Generalized Method for Creating the Hidden C Option

You must return full standard control to the player when giving the choice.

This can be just walking around (even in a limited area) and having access to their menus and such. For the player to choose an option they must take an action that can be as simple as talking to a character, pressing a button at a location, or diving into the menus to use a key item.

The "Action" button is pretty popular in modern games. It would be a good use.

You must give some hints in the game/story that the hidden option is possible.

There already exist many ways to put the hints in the game so I won't dive into it.

Give the Power to Choice to the Players

I gave an example of how to implement a hidden choice in a video. Then I went into how to generalize it to any games that offers choice. Keep watching for the next time where I reveal more ways to make stories more interactive.

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