Can a full length game be written in the Citadel DLC style?

#1 Edited by cbk486 (219 posts) -

Hey all, I just finished the dlc last night and thought it was excellent. This is one of the few times in a game that I've seen a senario that has the characters completely supporting an experience without a strong overall plot arc behind it, and Bioware executed it perfectly.

I then listened to a recent bombcast, and they mentioned hoping that the success of the Citadel DLC would encourage Bioware as a whole (and maybe other companies) to have games or franchises that are "lower-stakes" too, as they break away from the traditional save the world/chosen one videogame narrative and can still make for really fun experiences. However, I felt like a large portion of the dlc's jokes and character moments only worked because you've spent three games in this high-stakes universe with these people, and I'm not entirely sure that other full length games could pull something similar to the Citadel DLC off with a smaller time investment and without a strong overall plot to support it.


#2 Edited by TangoUp (327 posts) -

And then the other side of the spectrum has games which are 'dark, gritty, realistic' snooze fests in which your goal is to 'survive' and gather 'supplies'. Not fun.

#3 Posted by Ravenlight (8057 posts) -

Friends: Mass Effect Edition

Where Shep and all of his buddies all live in the same building and get up to all sorts of wacky adventures. Choosing Renegade options makes Shep crack wise. Paragon responses are still funny by the joke is that Shep doesn't get the joke. You can still sleep with everybody.

#4 Posted by Jimbo (10265 posts) -

I haven't played Citadel, but I think it's a necessity that they embrace 'lower stakes' plots a bit more. It's not like that means they have to have less impact. After all, saving one character you have been made to care about is far more effective than saving a whole galaxy of people you don't care about.

The only problem with this for a lot of games is they insist on having ~50% of the game revolve around you killing hundreds of soldiers/robots/aliens, which is difficult to justify if you're just a space cop solving a space crime or whatever.

#5 Posted by Chibithor (584 posts) -

Lower stake plots don't necessarily have to come with Citadel-style writing or length. All it means that the objective isn't oh god save everything chosen one, the jokes and character moments you mention are completely optional to that.

The GB crew's C-Sec cop idea is a perfect example of it, everything you could do in the C-Sec is automatically going to involve lower stakes, but that doesn't mean they can't make it completely serious with a strong overall plot. The Citadel is just an extreme example

#6 Posted by HH (865 posts) -

i bet a dating sim mass effect game would sell a shit ton,

and cause the gaming world to lose one third of it's bodily fluids.

#7 Edited by StarvingGamer (9172 posts) -

A full game of nothing but fan service would be intolerable.

#8 Edited by Joystick_Hero (34 posts) -

I could see a game with a 'citadel' feel working if it were split up into television-like episodes. Chapters with different arcs and visiting characters could get you invested in the main cast without having some kind of single 20 hour narrative. The shorter time spent in each section also would allow conflict without it being some kind of world-ending catastrophe. Then, after you complete the "season", main story arc thing, if one more "bonus" chapter with proper citadel silliness unlocked, it'd probably have a similar effect as that piece of dlc.

#9 Posted by Red (6146 posts) -

I've said it once and I'll say it again: the next Mass Effect game needs to just basically be Firefly. You have a crew, you do some missions in space. Things are well-written, well paced, relatively low stakes, and your crew is interesting and diverse.

#10 Posted by Veektarius (5418 posts) -

It's a little surprising that more games haven't moved outside the 'save the world' trope, considering that movies demonstrate that it's hardly necessary to maintain interest. I guess it's just a shortcut to making a story personally relevant for bad writers. But if you give a player a feeling of personal ownership of a ship and give it value in their mind, you could make for extremely tense story beats built just around protecting it and its crew, even if their deaths will mean next to nothing to the galaxy as a whole.

#11 Edited by Josepito (2 posts) -

@veektarius said:

I guess it's just a shortcut to making a story personally relevant for bad writers.

Exactly what I was thinking!

It seems to me like it's just so much easier to write a story that deals with broad strokes of the usual save the world/galaxy/universe template where you can just plug in whatever sci-fi/fantasy details in between the tried and true formula. At least, more so than having to come up with an original narrative that really focuses on character development while exploring nuances in relationships.

I'm pretty sure the majority of us play games to have fun so we don't necessarily always have to be convinced that what we're doing plot-wise has to be of the utmost importance for us to have any emotional investment.

#12 Posted by ll_Exile_ll (2131 posts) -

I'd love a lower stakes game set in that universe that focused on characters rather than some grand save the world/galaxy type story, but it would still have to have the same mostly serious tone of the rest of the series. The scope of Citadel could absolutely work in a full game, but I don't think the goofy tone would fit.

#13 Posted by hermes (1782 posts) -

I don't think it can. Not because of the high stakes, but because most of the moments work because we grew attached to the characters and their stories. Also, the fact the DLC really respected you choices throughout the series, and have entire segments that depended on who survived or who was your love interest gives some clues about how that wouldn't work without those experiences...

#14 Posted by phantomzxro (1607 posts) -

While i agree i don't think a full length Citadel DLC would work but only because the comedy and jokes haired on the side of hammy which worked after so many years playing as these characters and learning about them . But i would not mind a story that does not boil down to saving the world or universe, it can be a tight story about characters and dealing with their problems say like firefly or farcape.

#15 Edited by onan (1333 posts) -

It still could be plenty great, and the shorthand is already there -- you know the races, you know C-Sec, Asari Justicars, and all of that, so when another Samara shows up and you're not Shepard, you've got to worry. It would be like Halo 3 ODST, which in my opinion was probably the best Halo game.

It could still have some major ramifications. You've got the seat of government, so you could have plenty of political intrigue, kidnappings, murder, etc. You could end up framed by a particularly shady Elcor diplomat, whatever.

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