School Days: Lessons in Bad Endings Through Anime Adaptation

Avatar image for hailinel
Hailinel

25785

Forum Posts

219681

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 28

Edited By Hailinel

This is a party to which I’m about seven years late, I know. But this weekend, I finally watched School Days, an anime series from 2007 that was based on an adult visual novel of the same name from two years earlier. Some of you may have already seen it. Others of you may only be familiar with the show through a meme that spawned from footage aired in the original time slot of its delayed final episode.

This meme, specifically.
This meme, specifically.

The content of the show’s ending is what in part led to the delay of its airing, and to the meme. But another event unrelated to the show itself, specifically a real life murder that was prominently in Japanese headlines at the time, was what resulted in the delayed broadcast. Ancient internet memes aren’t what I’m here to talk about, though.

Having watched the full twelve episodes myself, there’s actually a lot more to the show than just an internet joke or an ending shocker, and it’s actually had me thinking quite a bit. Not just about the show itself or the visual novel that spawned it, but about games in general, and what they could learn from it. School Days is a show that’s known mostly for how it ends, but the path it takes to get there is just as important as the final few minutes.

(Major spoilers for School Days follow.)

Introduction

The basic premise of the game, and the anime, follows Makoto Itou, a high school student that develops feelings for fellow student Kotonoha Katsura. His classmate Sekai Saionji helps introduce the two and encourages their relationship, despite the fact that she has hidden feelings for Makoto herself.

From this set-up, the game has over twenty endings; most of them are good, some of them are bad. But what makes the game somewhat notorious is that the bad endings take things to the extreme, with one or more of the characters meeting their end in death. And the producers of the anime took this fact to heart.

The Plot

The intro to the anime used in most episodes is deceptively placid.
The intro to the anime used in most episodes is deceptively placid.

On the surface, School Days feels similar to other anime series that are romantic comedy-dramas set in high school. The opening credit animation hints at the love triangle that serves as the core, but is otherwise seemingly innocuous. The series is also not above going to some of the most worn clichés of its genre, with an entire episode set at a water park and all of the girls in swimsuits, the school festival serving as the setting of major events later in the story, and numerous gratuitous shots of breasts and panties. And yet, in retrospect, it feels as though these tropes are only present to instill familiarity and to keep the viewer watching as the real story plays out.

The series begins with an indecisive, inexperienced Makoto pining for the demure and quiet Kotonoha, going so far as to be on a first-name basis with her as they finally start to date and forge a relationship. But Makoto is entirely dependent on his classmate Sekai, who constantly feeds him advice on how to advance the relationship and not screw things up. She even encourages him to practice his advances with her, though she has her own interests in mind as much as if not more than Kotonoha’s.

But just as Makoto makes real headway in his relationship with Kotonoha, having been invited to her home and entering a comfortable first-name basis with her, he grows tired of her. He prefers to spend more time with Sekai, abandoning the pretense of “practice” for a more truly physical relationship. And though he feels like Sekai is more and more the girl he prefers, he refuses to officially break things off with Kotonoha.

Makoto Itou: Generic anime protagonist on the outside, epic-level shithead on the inside.
Makoto Itou: Generic anime protagonist on the outside, epic-level shithead on the inside.

What follows in the plot plays out as if someone played a visual novel and constantly made poor decisions. Though Makoto starts off as sympathetic and somewhat likeable despite his indecision and mistakes, he becomes worse and worse as a person as time goes on. Makoto eventually starts falling for other girls. Just as he leaves Kotonoha hanging as he cheats on her with Sekai, he cheats on Sekai with another girl, and then others. It becomes clear that he has no interest in the needs of those he’s with, more concerned with momentary pleasure than forging relationships.

This sense of betrayal is best exemplified by Kotonoha’s plight. She’s bullied by her classmates, whom all assume that Makoto had broken up with her (despite his never telling her), and as Makoto spends more and more time away from her, she grows more despondent. The strain on her emotions, and her concern over whether she did something wrong, eventually causes her to crack. Sekai, too, is devastated by the betrayals, taking a long absence from school after she falls into a severe depression. And when she starts feeling ill, and possibly gaining weight, she fears that she’s pregnant.

Eventually, everything comes crashing down, as Sekai tells Makoto the news and chastises him to take responsibility. Word spreads through the whole school, and soon no one is willing to speak with him or return his calls. But true to form, Makoto refuses to take responsibility for his actions. Instead, he’s frustrated with Sekai for ruining his life. He by chance stumbles across Kotonoha, who despite his treating so poorly is blissfully ready to accept him as though nothing happened.

But Makoto makes one bad decision too many. He continues to treat Sekai poorly, and she snaps, stabbing him to death in his apartment, only for Kotonoha to arrive later and find his body. Kotonoha in turn arranges a meeting with Sekai using Makoto’s phone, and with one last twist of the literal knife, kills Sekai and cuts her open to see if she were truly pregnant. (She was not.)

Analysis

Overall, the plot of the show is like one long tear-down of the very genre it’s adapting. Makoto goes from immature, inexperienced, and indecisive to being a callous, promiscuous idiot. His attitude destroys his relationships one at a time until only the highly unstable love triangle is left. And then, well, I already explained how it ends. Badly.

The entire series builds toward the events that immediately follow Makoto receiving this text message.
The entire series builds toward the events that immediately follow Makoto receiving this text message.

And it’s not as though the ending comes from out of nowhere. There are hints, some subtle, some not so much. The first and last episodes begin with their title cards shattering like glass. Kotonoha’s descent into obsession and madness is highlighted with moments such as a prolonged shot of a knife beside her in the kitchen, or her “correcting a mistake” in her knitting by calmly unraveling the entire project. Sekai and others refer to Makoto early on as an idiot. At one point, in a rare moment of meta-commentary. Makoto himself derides the protagonist of a video game in what could have otherwise been a throwaway line of dialogue. From the very start, the show is geared toward taking its characters, and its audience, to the worst possible conclusion, but hides its intent behind standard elements of the genre and humorous moments that play counter to the nature of how the story ends.

Though the show may be remembered in the long run for its ending and for a “nice boat,” it’s also inspired. It goes in directions that most video game adaptations would never go. That the production staff made the conscious decision to adapt a bad ending path and to take it as far as they did, is in some ways worthy of applause on its own. The show isn’t perfect, by any means, but it stands out by taking one of the most formulaic of anime formulas and turning it on its head.

What Games Could Learn

School Days is hardly the only visual novel out there to feature bad endings that are as bad as they are. But the fact that such endings are possible, and even the fact that its anime adaptation went that route itself, is something that I feel more games and even their adaptations could learn from. Video games that offer the player choice, particularly moral choice, rarely deliver true punishment for making poor decisions.

Yes, some games do penalize the player for making certain choices. In Dragon Age: Origins, Alistair will straight-up leave the party if you take it easy on his arch-enemy Loghain and conscript him into the Grey Wardens. In Persona 4, the game ends in a premature bad ending if you fail to give the proper responses to calm your other party members down. But in the former, you’re essentially exchanging one character for another of the same basic class, and in the latter, it’s easy enough to try again from the last save point. The penalties they present are minor and easy to recover from.

So what if Persona 4 were structured somewhat differently? What if the relationships formed had a more meaningful impact in the party and in the world? Intentionally or not, Yu Narukami comes off as a playboy capable of romancing multiple girls at once, and what little penalty there is easy to recover from. What if the player could only be locked into one specifically romantic relationship, and being caught cheating resulted in more dramatic, drastic effects? I’m not saying that Yukiko should fly into a murderous rage at seeing Yu cheat on her with her best friend…

"Don't cry, Chie. There's enough of him left for both of us."

…but what if the penalties were more severe, both in terms of the gameplay and in terms of the story? What if cheating on Yukiko led her to become distrustful of Yu and abandon the Investigation Team? You lose her Social Link and the Personae associated with it, as well as her abilities as a party member. And what if losing her in turn made it more difficult to rank up in the Social Links with Chie and other characters?

Imagine if your every bad decision meant repercussions so severe you never have the chance to meet this guy.
Imagine if your every bad decision meant repercussions so severe you never have the chance to meet this guy.

Or as another example, what about the Mass Effect series? Imagine for a moment the possibility that every bad decision and self-serving action that Commander Shepard makes over the course of the first two and two-thirds of the trilogy come back to bite him in the final third of Mass Effect 3. What if the ultimate ending weren’t based on the Crucible choice and certain relationship options, but on how Shepard’s actions had shaped the galaxy to that point, for good or for ill? What if being a colossal space asshole actually had ramifications that stripped you of the possibility of even having the chance at saving the galaxy? Three games of selfish actions and poor choices, all building to a finale that doesn’t reward you, but instead informs you of how unworthy you are as both a potential galactic savior and as a human being.

I understand the realities of game development. The more complex the design, the more difficult and time-consuming it is to implement. But if games wish to present moral choice and relationships with a sense of actual complexity, then the poor decisions the player makes should be properly accounted for, up to and including the negation of a possible "good" ending. What if Yu was a two-timing jerk and his actions were seen as a horrible betrayal? What if Shepard went too far and alienated everyone he depended on to fight the Reapers? What if Yu and Shepard’s worst enemies were the player’s inability to make choices that take the needs and feelings of others into account?

What if recovery isn't as easy as simply reloading from the last save point and trying again?

In Conclusion

It’s in this sense that visual novels, with their simpler designs, seem apparently able to take more risks with their choices and narratives than a standard big budget title. School Days is a simple premise that grow wildly out of the protagonist’s control to his own detriment, and it’s in that direction that both the game and anime are more recognized for. If other games from different genres that offered player choice had the means to send the player into an unrecoverable downward spiral of their own creation, then that would actually be an improvement, as paradoxical as that sounds.

Though it’s only an adaptation of a game, the School Days TV series is a clinic on how making poor player choices in games can be taken to their extreme. Throughout the series, every decision Makoto makes is terrible. He hurts those that love him without thinking about it, takes advantage of others for his own physical pleasure, and though it could be argued that he didn’t deserve to die, he pays for every last poor decision he makes with his life. And the only one that cares for him in the end is hugging his severed head while sailing on a nice boat.

Into the sunset!
Into the sunset!

Avatar image for justin258
Justin258

16691

Forum Posts

26

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 8

What if the ultimate ending weren’t based on the Crucible choice and certain relationship options, but on how Shepard’s actions had shaped the galaxy to that point, for good or for ill?

This seems like what people had been hoping for in the first place.

Avatar image for hailinel
Hailinel

25785

Forum Posts

219681

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 28

What if the ultimate ending weren’t based on the Crucible choice and certain relationship options, but on how Shepard’s actions had shaped the galaxy to that point, for good or for ill?

This seems like what people had been hoping for in the first place.

Very true. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, that's not what happened.

Avatar image for corevi
Corevi

6796

Forum Posts

391

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 4

#3  Edited By Corevi

Persona 3 actually had a cheating mechanic where if you were dating 2 girls at once both their social links would be reversed. Fortunately/Unfortunately you aren't considered as "dating" once you hit rank 10 so most people will never see this happen.

They removed it in Persona 4 so that it's easier and less rigid to get max S-Links in a single playthrough.

Avatar image for bocam
Bocam

4099

Forum Posts

3868

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 3

#4  Edited By Bocam

While the School Days anime is great, if you haven't played the game it's based on you've hardly experienced just how fucked up School Days is. Or you could just play Cross Days and find out that Makoto is actually a closeted homosexual who has PTSD from something his Dad did when he was younger. The School Days universe is really weird, just look at this family tree.

No Caption Provided

Avatar image for pezen
Pezen

2585

Forum Posts

14

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Great read!

On a technical side, I think it's probably easier to make a complex choose your own adventure as a visual novel than as a third person action RPG. The divergent paths doesn't necessarily have to take place in that many new places, the text just have to be different. It still takes a lot creatively to write so many endings worthy of the time spent in the game, and that's no small feat. But producing something so expensive as a modern graphically intense game is a lot on it's own. Which is probably why most of them do the story line as open as possible while still maintaining a main path that the player can't move away from. Players are given choice within reason and within the narrative structure only so far as to make it feel more open, but not enough to give the developers too big grids worth of possible scenarios that all could potentially break the game.

Also, if I played through Mass Effect being a big space asshole, I think I would be more disappointed by Bioware moralizing on my actions as "bad" and then giving me the middle finger for being an assumed human garbage wouldn't be all that rewarding than I would be having the mediocre the game had. Because unless the game somehow makes it clear at some point that you need to be less of an asshole to save the galaxy (maybe being an asshole turns possible allies away?), and being an ass is short term rewarding, what's the motivation to not be an asshole if it's fun?

That being said, I would totally be open to more games having "bad" endings either way.

Avatar image for shindig
Shindig

7076

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

My ultimate hope from Metal Gear Solid V is that Big Boss is evil from the get-go and you have to play the game as him - complete with playing towards his cause which you definitely don't stand for.

No sympathic nonsense. Just give us a straight-up bastard.

Avatar image for mooseymcman
MooseyMcMan

12794

Forum Posts

5577

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 13

@shindig said:

My ultimate hope from Metal Gear Solid V is that Big Boss is evil from the get-go and you have to play the game as him - complete with playing towards his cause which you definitely don't stand for.

No sympathic nonsense. Just give us a straight-up bastard.

No, that game's going to end up retconning Big Boss to just be misunderstood. That's my expectation, because of how hard all the marketing at stuff has been trying to play up BB being completely out of his mind (you know, like with the ashes). That'll be the Kojima "twist."

I mean, I'd hope it'd be something better than that, but I dunno. METAL GEAR!

Avatar image for corevi
Corevi

6796

Forum Posts

391

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 4

No, that game's going to end up retconning Big Boss to just be misunderstood. That's my expectation, because of how hard all the marketing at stuff has been trying to play up BB being completely out of his mind (you know, like with the ashes). That'll be the Kojima "twist."

I mean, I'd hope it'd be something better than that, but I dunno. METAL GEAR!

That speech at the very end of Peace Walker was pretty evil, but Big Boss is also afraid of vampires and still believes in Santa Claus so who the fuck knows.

Avatar image for soldierg654342
soldierg654342

1900

Forum Posts

5

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#9  Edited By soldierg654342

I admire the hell out of School Days. The whole thing screams "We can't make this good, but we'll at least make it memorable."

I also wish more games with choice would straight up punish players, but as long as game budgets stay as inflated as they are, I doubt we will see that any time soon. Developers are struggling to get one cohesive story out of the door on time and budget.

Honestly, I wish games would stop offering choices (for a while at least) and just tell the story they wanted to. You wouldn't have people complaining about the dissonance of Pierce's actions and the story in Watch_Dogs if the game didn't allow you to run down civilians. That, or offer smaller choices, like in Spec Ops: The Line that ultimately matter very little, but don't confuse the main plot. That moment when I shot into the air to disperse the crowd and the game recognized it was pretty amazing.

Avatar image for shindig
Shindig

7076

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I dunno, there's some things that Big Boss does that does lend him to be a mentalist.

  1. Wearing a dead man's ashes in the last trailer
  2. The snake scar he shows off in Peace Walker's intro. Has he done that himself or was there something in Portable Ops that explains that?

But, yeah. Kojima's sees too much of himself in his protagonist to push the boat out. I'm expecting a John Le Carre ending from someone who probably reads Ian Fleming.

Avatar image for mooseymcman
MooseyMcMan

12794

Forum Posts

5577

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 13

@mooseymcman said:

No, that game's going to end up retconning Big Boss to just be misunderstood. That's my expectation, because of how hard all the marketing at stuff has been trying to play up BB being completely out of his mind (you know, like with the ashes). That'll be the Kojima "twist."

I mean, I'd hope it'd be something better than that, but I dunno. METAL GEAR!

That speech at the very end of Peace Walker was pretty evil, but Big Boss is also afraid of vampires and still believes in Santa Claus so who the fuck knows.

Well, there is precedence for vampires in MGS...

Avatar image for deactivated-60dda8699e35a
deactivated-60dda8699e35a

1807

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

The ending of this anime was the best part of the show. Never before have I followed a "protagonist" I've disliked so much, and seeing him getting horribly murdered satisfied me more than I really care to admit. I can't stand that damn anime.

Also, it would be really cool if games had much larger consequences - I only ever romanced one person in all three of my runs through Persona 4 because I didn't want to be a dick, but it would be REALLY cool if there was a consequence for cheating on someone. I actually can't think of any games that really do that, except for maybe The Witcher series, where decisions you make early on come back to bite you in the ass much later on, so you can't just reload a save and make the "right" choice.

Avatar image for arbitrarywater
ArbitraryWater

16109

Forum Posts

5585

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 8

User Lists: 66

So is School Days the game series meant to be a big send-up of visual novel dating sims, or is it just the anime that really emphasizes the promiscuous jerk angle? Either way, I can appreciate the willingness to go for "100% worst ending" with the adaption.

In regards to video games, I feel like actively punishing the player for bad decisions would be interesting in a lot of games, if not necessarily the most fun thing to spring on unaware players. Make the consequences a little too unseen and suddenly it's like those RPGs where you had to look up a guide to get the best ending. Maybe if the game implicitly or explicitly states that, say, murdering an important NPC will have long term consequences, that might be fun if it changes the game dynamically, though I am also sure such stuff would be hard to justify putting in a game where X% of players would never see it.

I feel like Wasteland 2 is pitching a lot of stuff that seems in line with what you are talking about (inasmuch as making certain choices has permanent and drastic consequences and it is impossible to see everything on one playthrough), though I won't be able to verify that for myself until it comes out in a couple of weeks. What I saw of the beta certainly seemed promising in that regard.

Avatar image for shindig
Shindig

7076

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I think people will still retrace steps to see all available content, mind. Rather than see the narrative as their version of events. Mass Effect's a weird one because you spend that whole series playing space politician and, by the end, the stakes are so great and Shepherd's been built to be a person who can't fail. There's only one way that universe can play out.

Avatar image for wickedcestus
WickedCestus

3779

Forum Posts

1123

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 7

I've watched this anime two or three times, but it was a while ago. I do remember being super impressed by the ending, though. It's just so out there, and you don't really get that sort of ending from any sort of media, but especially anime, which usually relies on weird Deus Ex Machinas to make things come together. I think the idea of "bad endings" of games being actually bad or punishing, instead of just "haha your guy's evil you're kind of a jerk but whatever you win" is really interesting. It's a real weird space though, because games are always trying to reward you for just getting through them, so being punished once you "beat" the game would be weirdly dissonant. It seems like it would only work in visual novels or adventure games, where the point is the moral choices and not the skill involved in completing the game.

Avatar image for jjor64
JJOR64

19700

Forum Posts

417

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 5

I remember when I first watched it, the ending stuck with me for a while. I went down a rabbit hole just looking up all sorts of stuff about it. Also during that time I found the Sekai Project. At the time they were doing a fan translation for visual novel and I think the first chapter just finished at the time.

School Days also got me to try similar anime shows and I ended up watching Clannad a week or so later which got me into a deeper hole and I started watching more Drama/Romance and eventuall getting to Comedy/Romance. So basically because of School Days I really got into trying new anime at the time.

I also re watched the ending of School Days today and I can't get it out of my head right now. DAMN YOU!

Avatar image for eroticfishcake
eroticfishcake

7856

Forum Posts

7820

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 6

#17  Edited By eroticfishcake

Good read. Not much to add myself since this is more or less the same thoughts I had when it comes to relationships and choices in games, my particular examples being The Walking Dead series and Fallout. Somebody already mentioned it earlier but Persona 3 had your (female) social links revert to a "Broken" status whenever you engaged in social links with other girls, though oddly enough you can get around the system by maxing the links one at a time. Even if it was broken you can be easily fixed.

Persona 4 kind of got around this system by letting you decide whether you wanted a romantic relationship with the girl but it was a bit useless (in terms of a game) by the fact that the "Broken" status was removed, although technically speaking it's still there albeit only in the Naoto route for different reasons. In a way I wish they kept the system or designed some other way (though Golden does acknowledge the multiple relationships at certain events.) It's highly unlikely it'll ever have it but I've always thought the concept of a polyamory relationship would be interesting to have (assuming that everyone involved is 100% honest with each other, if not it can always be a catalyst for drama as they are want to be.)

As you mentioned however, the realities of game development mean that having so many different permutations is a messy and difficult business to handle properly. Fallout handles it via the image montage with a voice over which does work even though it does feel rather sterile and a bit "gamey" while the Walking Dead does make your decisions feel different but ultimately superficial in retrospect. It's a tough design to implement properly for sure.

I can understand why designers avoid these mechanics as they're terrified of locking players out of content though personally I can admire them if they can pull it off (Dark Souls does this pretty well.) Thing is though, whenever do they give you a big choice it can be easily corrected down the road. Whether you kill Kaiden or Ashley in Mass Effect might as well be random choice as they both fill the same roles, granted they're both very different characters but one wished they provided vastly different content off the beaten path rather then have them fill the same gap in the overarching story. But hey, realities of game development and all that bollocks.

(On a side note, School Days has on official English version which might be worth looking into. Might give it a shot myself.)

Avatar image for zeik
Zeik

5434

Forum Posts

2

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#18  Edited By Zeik

I remember I somehow found myself watching that School Days anime at some point, and even knowing how it ended I still ended up watching the whole thing due to some kind of morbid curiosity. Boy did I regret that. That ending is kind of really fucked up. I still cringe thinking about it. (Also whenever that anime is brought up I always see people act like he deserved his fate, which I think is even more fucked up.)

More to your point, more consequences in games would be nice, to a degree. I know that's something that really bothered me about P3 (moreso than P4 actually) because you completely ignored doing more than one female S. Link you really had no choice but to be kind of a womanizing prick, and it was far too easy to avoid getting a broken S. Link. While there were technically even less consequences in P4, at least you had a choice in the matter.

But you always have to realize that implementing game changing consequences is a dramatic undertaking when it comes to video game development, especially when it's an RPG that's dozens of hours long. The idea that Yukiko could not be there for key moments in P4 would require some notable alterations to the script. If all party members could potentially leave that would increase the size of the (already quite massive) script exponentially. Frankly I don't think a game like that could ever feasibly pull something like that off.

ME3 gets a lot of grief for its rather limited ending, but I don't think that game gets nearly enough credit for how they handled the characters that might not be alive. They could have easily given all of them bit parts like they did with Ashley/Kaiden in ME2 and not worried about it, but many of them have pretty major appearances in ME3 that you might not see at all if they didn't survive, which I still think is kind of crazy. I know the plot ultimately doesn't change that much without them, but I honestly could not imagine playing that game without Garrus or Tali or even Thane (who is responsible for one of the best scenes in the game) or Wrex, who also got a rather insignificant appearance in ME2, but got several major appearances in ME3 and its DLC.

For the most part, I think large scale games and major game changing consequences kind of don't mix. At least not in the way that people really want. If developers could find a to make it work though then that would be great. Just uh... no School Days endings please. My stomach can't handle it.

Avatar image for takashichea
takashichea

569

Forum Posts

43124

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 15

Great read. Don't have a lot to add to the analysis. School Days was a bad show that I actually enjoyed seeing how it ties to SIM games. Plus, it was unique. So far, no other anime I watched had a grueling ending like that. Enjoy how you put your twist on video games and their endings. Is Chie your favorite girl in Persona 4?

I never played Persona 4 or Mass Effect yet, but bad video game endings, I first saw them in Silent Hill. Well, maybe they weren't bad, but they had a variety of endings which increases replay value. The last time I got a bad ending or you could call it normal ending was in in FFXIII-2. Don't want to spoil folks, but damn, they had to kill her. When I thought I unlock the true ending, it still happens. It toyed with me a bit.

Avatar image for sinusoidal
Sinusoidal

3608

Forum Posts

20

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@hailinel said:

The series is also not above going to some of the most worn clichés of its genre, with an entire episode set at a water park and all of the girls in swimsuits, the school festival serving as the setting of major events later in the story, and numerous gratuitous shots of breasts and panties. And yet, in retrospect, it feels as though these tropes are only present to instill familiarity and to keep the viewer watching as the real story plays out.

This is possibly the stupidest excuse I've ever heard for what appears to be another fanservice laden piece of modern anime. Gratuitous high school girl's boobs and panties shots "instill familiarity" and "keep the viewer watching". Ugh, just ugh...

Avatar image for zeik
Zeik

5434

Forum Posts

2

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#21  Edited By Zeik

@sinusoidal said:
@hailinel said:

The series is also not above going to some of the most worn clichés of its genre, with an entire episode set at a water park and all of the girls in swimsuits, the school festival serving as the setting of major events later in the story, and numerous gratuitous shots of breasts and panties. And yet, in retrospect, it feels as though these tropes are only present to instill familiarity and to keep the viewer watching as the real story plays out.

This is possibly the stupidest excuse I've ever heard for what appears to be another fanservice laden piece of modern anime. Gratuitous high school girl's boobs and panties shots "instill familiarity" and "keep the viewer watching". Ugh, just ugh...

Well School Days is basically a hentai game, with explicit sex scenes, so it's kind of obligatory. With that consideration the anime actually seems very toned down.

Avatar image for sinusoidal
Sinusoidal

3608

Forum Posts

20

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@zeik said:

@sinusoidal said:
@hailinel said:

The series is also not above going to some of the most worn clichés of its genre, with an entire episode set at a water park and all of the girls in swimsuits, the school festival serving as the setting of major events later in the story, and numerous gratuitous shots of breasts and panties. And yet, in retrospect, it feels as though these tropes are only present to instill familiarity and to keep the viewer watching as the real story plays out.

This is possibly the stupidest excuse I've ever heard for what appears to be another fanservice laden piece of modern anime. Gratuitous high school girl's boobs and panties shots "instill familiarity" and "keep the viewer watching". Ugh, just ugh...

Well School Days is basically a hentai game, with explicit sex scenes, so it's kind of obligatory. With that consideration the anime actually seems very toned down.

Ahh, so this anime is basically soft-core porn derived from hardcore porn then. Carry on, carry on.

Avatar image for zeik
Zeik

5434

Forum Posts

2

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#23  Edited By Zeik

@sinusoidal: Nah, there's no nudity at all in the anime. Which I'm willing to bet disappointed some people. It's mostly just implied sex.

It's basically just your standard anime tropes until the stabby stabby decapitation ending.

Avatar image for sinusoidal
Sinusoidal

3608

Forum Posts

20

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#24  Edited By Sinusoidal

@zeik said:

@sinusoidal: Nah, there's no nudity at all in the anime. Which I'm willing to bet disappointed some people. It's mostly just implied sex.

As far as I can tell, only in Japan would they initially make a hardcore porn game about high school girls, then adapt it into a cartoon and only imply the sex and nudity. Is the plot really that strong that it deserved re-representation minus the bukkake and what-not?

Avatar image for deactivated-5e49e9175da37
deactivated-5e49e9175da37

10812

Forum Posts

782

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 14

School Days ending is the best.

[spoilers for Silent Hill 2 and Catherine follow]

I don't think it would really work in games, because I don't think any game can effectively judge you that negatively with any real success. I got a bad ending in Catherine because I guess I'm such a horrible sleaze or something, and Vincent just starts saying things and doing things I would never do. At that moment I don't feel like I'm having some epiphany about the nature of my choices, I feel like the game is having a completely arbitrary reaction to completely irrelevant data.

The first time I played through Silent Hill 2, I received the "In Water" ending, which is one of the more unfortunate endings, and as far as I'm concerned, the tonally correct ending. I got this ending because I took a lot of damage (because it's my first time through the game, so why would they expect I would be excellent at it), and because I constantly inspected and tried to use Angela's Kitchen Knife. You get the Kitchen Knife about an hour or two into the game, and then you never use it for anything ever. Needless to say, in a game where progression is entirely based on acquiring, using and combining items to open up the next area, why wouldn't I expect I would use this Kitchen Knife at some point? Imagine if that game attempted to be a little more judgemental about my behavior. Imagine if it said "oh, you're looking at the Kitchen Knife a lot, that means you're suicidal!" It would be irritating in the extreme. That was the Catherine ending for me.

edit: HOLY SHIT I JUST REMEMBERED. SILENT HILL 4: THE ROOM. So, I was playing through Silent Hill 4 because I want to be a guy who has played a lot of Silent Hills. 4-5 hours into the game, you get to this apartment area, and it's spooky as all get out. As you're exploring, you see a creepy child, who I think tells you he's Walter Sullivan (the creepy metaphysical serial killer and antagonist of Silent Hill 4). He offers you a toy or a doll or whatever he's got. You are playing a video game where the primary thing you do is collect special objects to use to solve puzzles and progress. If you take the item from the kid, you are locked into the Bad Ending. FUCK THAT. They literally force you to ignore every instinct you've learned playing their video game and reject an item, with absolutely no indication that accepting it carries a terrible consequence. I can imagine someone playing through the game twice trying to avoid getting the Bad Ending, and accepting it both times because how could you possibly know?!

In Dragon Age: Origins, Alistair will straight-up leave the party if you take it easy on his arch-enemy Loghain and conscript him into the Grey Wardens.

Ain't no penalty. I need a strong, Warden-friendly King in Ferelden, and I need someone to kill the Archdemon and have their soul obliterated. Anora gets to effectively rule, Alistair keeps the Wardens safe, and I redeem the greatest modern hero the Fereldan people ever had. I was playing Varys and doing an okay job of it.

What if the ultimate ending weren’t based on the Crucible choice and certain relationship options, but on how Shepard’s actions had shaped the galaxy to that point, for good or for ill?

I mean, technically it did, because most of the 'asshole' decisions in games 1 and 2 net you significantly less War Strength or whatever they called it, and you had to have a certain amount of War Strength to open the third ending. The problem I had with the ME3 ending was not that it didn't scrub through 100+ hours of combined play experience and create one of ten million unique results from it, my problem was that it was rushed, didn't effectively explain what happened in the past or what would happen next, and the nature of that third option is hysterically bugfuck and ridiculous.

Avatar image for zeik
Zeik

5434

Forum Posts

2

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@zeik said:

@sinusoidal: Nah, there's no nudity at all in the anime. Which I'm willing to bet disappointed some people. It's mostly just implied sex.

As far as I can tell, only in Japan would they initially make a hardcore porn game about high school girls, then adapt it into a cartoon and only imply the sex and nudity. Is the plot really that strong that it deserved re-representation minus the bukkake and what-not?

Not really, but hentai games aren't usually that different than your average generic harem anime, just with some extra sexy fun time. The fucked up ending alone is enough to set it apart from the norm, which was probably the only reason they needed, I guess.

Avatar image for slag
Slag

8308

Forum Posts

15965

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 8

User Lists: 45

@hailinel

Well here's the problem I see with that kind of potentially negative consequence/outcome in a game like Mass Effect or P4. The time investment for the player is so immense in games like that and at least the American audience is generally very hostile to that sort of thing.

Enough so that Hollywood still generally refuses to greenlight Blockbuster movies with bad endings. So I imagine most AA/AAA publishers are too afraid to publish something like that. Especially something where they might field complaints like ("I spent 80 hours and 60 dollars only to lose????!! %^$^$ YOU EA!").

It's too bad Bioware was unable to deliver or chickened out, I think that possibility is one of the reason people were so excited for ME3, given how novel that kind of ending in a AAA game would be.

That being said I completely agree with you, it would be cool to see a game take those kinds of risks. I can see indie games trying it.

I haven't played it but a recent iOS game from an all female dev team in the US released a game called revolution 60 supposedly has multiple "bad endings" due to player choice (I would but I don't have a compatible device). I've been listening to the lead dev's podcast, She's a very opinionated and passionate about her game if nothing else.

might be worth a look for you if you have a compatible iPhone/Ipad.

p.s. School Days looks extremely effed up in terms shock value. Saw this in the wiki on one of the character pages

After finding Makoto having sex with her elementery school age sister, Kokoro, she beats up Makoto with a golf club.

http://www.giantbomb.com/kotonoha-katsura/3005-9602/

Holeeeeee toledo.

Avatar image for crembaw
Crembaw

894

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Watching School Days after Clannad kind of fucked me up for a few weeks.

Avatar image for aetheldod
Aetheldod

3914

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

That episode were Kotonoha just tries to talk with that fuked up boy in the school fair is so gut wrenching :( poor girl

Yeah there needs to be better bad endings ... they tend to be just small clips of terrible quality that just makes you feel angered that the end was such crap , bad should mean maybe you dont win but you still get an awesome or actually a well though out ending.

I also think that some rpgs should really take into account party dynamics and really go the extra mile to really take you one way or the other without you having to go forcibly the "main" route .... I think what the Witche 2 did is a good starting point.

Avatar image for i_stay_puft
I_Stay_Puft

5581

Forum Posts

1879

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

#30  Edited By I_Stay_Puft

That anime ending was messssseeeeed up. Good write up, totally tried blocking that animes ending from my mind until now.

Avatar image for hailinel
Hailinel

25785

Forum Posts

219681

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 28

Oh, man, a lot of great responses!

Persona 3 actually had a cheating mechanic where if you were dating 2 girls at once both their social links would be reversed. Fortunately/Unfortunately you aren't considered as "dating" once you hit rank 10 so most people will never see this happen.

They removed it in Persona 4 so that it's easier and less rigid to get max S-Links in a single playthrough.

Yeah, I remember hitting this in Persona 3, though I was able to un-reverse the reversed link without too much trouble. I noticed it was one of several elements from Persona 3 that they didn't include in Persona 4. I can understand why they did it, but I kind of wish they didn't.

@bocam said:

While the School Days anime is great, if you haven't played the game it's based on you've hardly experienced just how fucked up School Days is. Or you could just play Cross Days and find out that Makoto is actually a closeted homosexual who has PTSD from something his Dad did when he was younger. The School Days universe is really weird, just look at this family tree.

No Caption Provided

Dude. I really don't have any experience with the games themselves, but from that spoiler and especially that chart...wow. That is some crazy complicated stuff going on.

@pezen said:

Great read!

On a technical side, I think it's probably easier to make a complex choose your own adventure as a visual novel than as a third person action RPG. The divergent paths doesn't necessarily have to take place in that many new places, the text just have to be different. It still takes a lot creatively to write so many endings worthy of the time spent in the game, and that's no small feat. But producing something so expensive as a modern graphically intense game is a lot on it's own. Which is probably why most of them do the story line as open as possible while still maintaining a main path that the player can't move away from. Players are given choice within reason and within the narrative structure only so far as to make it feel more open, but not enough to give the developers too big grids worth of possible scenarios that all could potentially break the game.

Also, if I played through Mass Effect being a big space asshole, I think I would be more disappointed by Bioware moralizing on my actions as "bad" and then giving me the middle finger for being an assumed human garbage wouldn't be all that rewarding than I would be having the mediocre the game had. Because unless the game somehow makes it clear at some point that you need to be less of an asshole to save the galaxy (maybe being an asshole turns possible allies away?), and being an ass is short term rewarding, what's the motivation to not be an asshole if it's fun?

That being said, I would totally be open to more games having "bad" endings either way.

Thanks!

I definitely agree with you on the technical side of things. The nature of designing a visual novel versus a full RPG are two very different things that have their own needs, but VNs are generally better equipped to handle a greater degree of diversity in how their stories play out. Something with a lot more moving parts takes a lot more effort to get in shape, even if there are fewer paths in the story that need development.

And the Mass Effect example is definitely a complicated one. Obviously, players want to be in a position to save the galaxy and do everything they can toward that end, but if there were a system in place that essentially added more negative consequences into the mix, and which gave the player ample warning that their actions could doom their efforts, it's something that could theoretically work. But it needs to allow the player to engage in the full spectrum of options and give some positives for being a jerk in order to encourage the player to act like one.

@shindig said:

My ultimate hope from Metal Gear Solid V is that Big Boss is evil from the get-go and you have to play the game as him - complete with playing towards his cause which you definitely don't stand for.

No sympathic nonsense. Just give us a straight-up bastard.

No, that game's going to end up retconning Big Boss to just be misunderstood. That's my expectation, because of how hard all the marketing at stuff has been trying to play up BB being completely out of his mind (you know, like with the ashes). That'll be the Kojima "twist."

I mean, I'd hope it'd be something better than that, but I dunno. METAL GEAR!

If there is anything I have learned about Metal Gear and Kojima, it's to expect the unexpected, up to and including the completely insane. I'm refraining from making any solid predictions about The Phantom Pain because I just don't know, man!

@random45 said:

The ending of this anime was the best part of the show. Never before have I followed a "protagonist" I've disliked so much, and seeing him getting horribly murdered satisfied me more than I really care to admit. I can't stand that damn anime.

Also, it would be really cool if games had much larger consequences - I only ever romanced one person in all three of my runs through Persona 4 because I didn't want to be a dick, but it would be REALLY cool if there was a consequence for cheating on someone. I actually can't think of any games that really do that, except for maybe The Witcher series, where decisions you make early on come back to bite you in the ass much later on, so you can't just reload a save and make the "right" choice.

I actually haven't played any of the Witcher games yet, but when you put it in that context, it sounds like something I'd be really interested in at least trying out. Maybe I should finally try getting into the series when The Wild Hunt is released?

So is School Days the game series meant to be a big send-up of visual novel dating sims, or is it just the anime that really emphasizes the promiscuous jerk angle? Either way, I can appreciate the willingness to go for "100% worst ending" with the adaption.

In regards to video games, I feel like actively punishing the player for bad decisions would be interesting in a lot of games, if not necessarily the most fun thing to spring on unaware players. Make the consequences a little too unseen and suddenly it's like those RPGs where you had to look up a guide to get the best ending. Maybe if the game implicitly or explicitly states that, say, murdering an important NPC will have long term consequences, that might be fun if it changes the game dynamically, though I am also sure such stuff would be hard to justify putting in a game where X% of players would never see it.

I feel like Wasteland 2 is pitching a lot of stuff that seems in line with what you are talking about (inasmuch as making certain choices has permanent and drastic consequences and it is impossible to see everything on one playthrough), though I won't be able to verify that for myself until it comes out in a couple of weeks. What I saw of the beta certainly seemed promising in that regard.

Though the anime focuses on the bad ending aspect, the games do have good endings as well. I don't have first-hand knowledge in how the protagonist is depicted specifically in the games in those paths, but that might be a better question for @bocam.

And yeah, like Pezen noted, systems that punish the player, while worth consideration, do need to be handled with care. Make it too vague, and it might never be seen, or worse appear unavoidable. I am also really curious to see how Wasteland 2 turns out. Might we expect a blog from you on it in the near future?

@shindig said:

I think people will still retrace steps to see all available content, mind. Rather than see the narrative as their version of events. Mass Effect's a weird one because you spend that whole series playing space politician and, by the end, the stakes are so great and Shepherd's been built to be a person who can't fail. There's only one way that universe can play out.

As the games were actually built, that's very true. All roads ultimately lead to success by a sense of necessity (with the exception of a total failure suicide mission in ME2 that can't be imported, and the bad ending thrown into the Extended Cut of Mass Effect 3). But had the series been designed in a way to allow for actual failure on the part of Shepard, that could have certainly changed things.

I admire the hell out of School Days. The whole thing screams "We can't make this good, but we'll at least make it memorable."

I also wish more games with choice would straight up punish players, but as long as game budgets stay as inflated as they are, I doubt we will see that any time soon. Developers are struggling to get one cohesive story out of the door on time and budget.

Honestly, I wish games would stop offering choices (for a while at least) and just tell the story they wanted to. You wouldn't have people complaining about the dissonance of Pierce's actions and the story in Watch_Dogs if the game didn't allow you to run down civilians. That, or offer smaller choices, like in Spec Ops: The Line that ultimately matter very little, but don't confuse the main plot. That moment when I shot into the air to disperse the crowd and the game recognized it was pretty amazing.

That's actually a good way to describe School Days. It may be cliche and formulaic, but they do everything they can to play with expectations.

Game budgets and development time are really the two main conspirators in why these sorts of scenarios don't appear more often in games, I'm guessing. I'm sure that if developers had the chance, they'd love to fit in elements that were designed specifically to punish the player. But Spec Ops actually does a good job of playing with the expectations of its own genre. You think it's a standard military shooter, and then, it's really not.

I've watched this anime two or three times, but it was a while ago. I do remember being super impressed by the ending, though. It's just so out there, and you don't really get that sort of ending from any sort of media, but especially anime, which usually relies on weird Deus Ex Machinas to make things come together. I think the idea of "bad endings" of games being actually bad or punishing, instead of just "haha your guy's evil you're kind of a jerk but whatever you win" is really interesting. It's a real weird space though, because games are always trying to reward you for just getting through them, so being punished once you "beat" the game would be weirdly dissonant. It seems like it would only work in visual novels or adventure games, where the point is the moral choices and not the skill involved in completing the game.

That's probably the most admirable thing about what School Days does. It doesn't try to fix what is a horrible situation for all involved with a miraculously happy ending. It plays its hand and stays with it to the end.

And yeah, these sorts of bad endings are really only possible in stories with strong player choices, or that give the player distinct agency on how the story proceeds. In some ways, it makes sense that this sort of aspect might better fit certain genres than others, though perhaps someone creative could find a way to make such storytelling work in a genre that we might not necessarily expect.

@jjor64 said:

I remember when I first watched it, the ending stuck with me for a while. I went down a rabbit hole just looking up all sorts of stuff about it. Also during that time I found the Sekai Project. At the time they were doing a fan translation for visual novel and I think the first chapter just finished at the time.

School Days also got me to try similar anime shows and I ended up watching Clannad a week or so later which got me into a deeper hole and I started watching more Drama/Romance and eventuall getting to Comedy/Romance. So basically because of School Days I really got into trying new anime at the time.

I also re watched the ending of School Days today and I can't get it out of my head right now. DAMN YOU!

Heh. Sorry! It is really interesting to hear how the show could actually get people more interested in other productions of the genre.

Good read. Not much to add myself since this is more or less the same thoughts I had when it comes to relationships and choices in games, my particular examples being The Walking Dead series and Fallout. Somebody already mentioned it earlier but Persona 3 had your (female) social links revert to a "Broken" status whenever you engaged in social links with other girls, though oddly enough you can get around the system by maxing the links one at a time. Even if it was broken you can be easily fixed.

Persona 4 kind of got around this system by letting you decide whether you wanted a romantic relationship with the girl but it was a bit useless (in terms of a game) by the fact that the "Broken" status was removed, although technically speaking it's still there albeit only in the Naoto route for different reasons. In a way I wish they kept the system or designed some other way (though Golden does acknowledge the multiple relationships at certain events.) It's highly unlikely it'll ever have it but I've always thought the concept of a polyamory relationship would be interesting to have (assuming that everyone involved is 100% honest with each other, if not it can always be a catalyst for drama as they are want to be.)

As you mentioned however, the realities of game development mean that having so many different permutations is a messy and difficult business to handle properly. Fallout handles it via the image montage with a voice over which does work even though it does feel rather sterile and a bit "gamey" while the Walking Dead does make your decisions feel different but ultimately superficial in retrospect. It's a tough design to implement properly for sure.

I can understand why designers avoid these mechanics as they're terrified of locking players out of content though personally I can admire them if they can pull it off (Dark Souls does this pretty well.) Thing is though, whenever do they give you a big choice it can be easily corrected down the road. Whether you kill Kaiden or Ashley in Mass Effect might as well be random choice as they both fill the same roles, granted they're both very different characters but one wished they provided vastly different content off the beaten path rather then have them fill the same gap in the overarching story. But hey, realities of game development and all that bollocks.

(On a side note, School Days has on official English version which might be worth looking into. Might give it a shot myself.)

Thanks!

Designing a romance/relationship system in the Persona series with a better sense of punishment would be a challenge, for sure. I'm not sure a true polyamorous relationship scenario would be workable without the game's characters being written in such a way as to be in favor of it, but it's definitely something I'd be interested to see. Though I haven't been involved in one, I do know of some people that were, at a time. For various personal reasons, it didn't work out, mostly because people are human. So the idea of a game exploring that sort of drama and the personal politics involved is intriguing, to say the least.

How games implement such ideas is definitely a sticking point, as others here have discussed. There's a balance that needs to be struck, and in cases where the choice presented may be only an illusion, there still needs to be some sort of differentiating factor that makes the choice made worthwhile, rather than simply throwaway.

(If you do try it, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts, certainly.)

@zeik said:

I remember I somehow found myself watching that School Days anime at some point, and even knowing how it ended I still ended up watching the whole thing due to some kind of morbid curiosity. Boy did I regret that. That ending is kind of really fucked up. I still cringe thinking about it. (Also whenever that anime is brought up I always see people act like he deserved his fate, which I think is even more fucked up.)

More to your point, more consequences in games would be nice, to a degree. I know that's something that really bothered me about P3 (moreso than P4 actually) because you completely ignored doing more than one female S. Link you really had no choice but to be kind of a womanizing prick, and it was far too easy to avoid getting a broken S. Link. While there were technically even less consequences in P4, at least you had a choice in the matter.

But you always have to realize that implementing game changing consequences is a dramatic undertaking when it comes to video game development, especially when it's an RPG that's dozens of hours long. The idea that Yukiko could not be there for key moments in P4 would require some notable alterations to the script. If all party members could potentially leave that would increase the size of the (already quite massive) script exponentially. Frankly I don't think a game like that could ever feasibly pull something like that off.

ME3 gets a lot of grief for its rather limited ending, but I don't think that game gets nearly enough credit for how they handled the characters that might not be alive. They could have easily given all of them bit parts like they did with Ashley/Kaiden in ME2 and not worried about it, but many of them have pretty major appearances in ME3 that you might not see at all if they didn't survive, which I still think is kind of crazy. I know the plot ultimately doesn't change that much without them, but I honestly could not imagine playing that game without Garrus or Tali or even Thane (who is responsible for one of the best scenes in the game) or Wrex, who also got a rather insignificant appearance in ME2, but got several major appearances in ME3 and its DLC.

For the most part, I think large scale games and major game changing consequences kind of don't mix. At least not in the way that people really want. If developers could find a to make it work though then that would be great. Just uh... no School Days endings please. My stomach can't handle it.

Yeah, School Days is not a happy anime. Makoto is an irredeemable asshole for sure. He might not have deserved to die, but certainly, with everything he does over the course of the show, some form of reckoning had to come down on him.

And P3 is very strange that way. The way that the game is designed makes the player character's relationships with female S. Links awkward unless you do the focused one-at-a-time approach. Persona 4 tries to get around that, but it's still an odd situation that isn't met with much more than a shrug. You are correct, though, that devising a scenario like Yukiko departing the party would require significantly more work given how central she is to the story, and the way that the Amagi Inn plays into events, as well. It's something that would require significantly more planning and more design than the far simpler approach that was taken.

You're also right that, the ending and the debates around it aside, Mass Effect 3 does do a lot well in terms of its characters. Maybe not in the way that some players had hoped, but for a story with multiple permutations that covers three games, the basic structure didn't turn out that bad, and certain character moments were done well. Had more forethought been put into the overall three-game arc from the start, perhaps a more complex web of a story progression structure could have resulted, again, it becomes that question of time and resources. Still, the idea that more consequences or bad endings could have been worked into the story is an intriguing one. (Not necessarily School Days bad, of course!)

Great read. Don't have a lot to add to the analysis. School Days was a bad show that I actually enjoyed seeing how it ties to SIM games. Plus, it was unique. So far, no other anime I watched had a grueling ending like that. Enjoy how you put your twist on video games and their endings. Is Chie your favorite girl in Persona 4?

I never played Persona 4 or Mass Effect yet, but bad video game endings, I first saw them in Silent Hill. Well, maybe they weren't bad, but they had a variety of endings which increases replay value. The last time I got a bad ending or you could call it normal ending was in in FFXIII-2. Don't want to spoil folks, but damn, they had to kill her. When I thought I unlock the true ending, it still happens. It toyed with me a bit.

Actually, my favorite Persona 4 girl is Yukiko. Chie is pretty cool, though.

XIII-2 is kind of a different beast, but I know what you're getting at there. At that point, it was set up to be the second chapter of a trilogy, so they did what they did to provide an impetus that keeps the story going into and through Lightning Returns.

@zeik said:

@sinusoidal: Nah, there's no nudity at all in the anime. Which I'm willing to bet disappointed some people. It's mostly just implied sex.

It's basically just your standard anime tropes until the stabby stabby decapitation ending.

Pretty much this. The most graphic aspect of the series isn't the brief instances of nudity (there's one scene where Kotonoha is topless in a bath) or the implied but never graphically depicted sex. It's Makoto's violent, bloody murder.

School Days ending is the best.

[spoilers for Silent Hill 2 and Catherine follow]

I don't think it would really work in games, because I don't think any game can effectively judge you that negatively with any real success. I got a bad ending in Catherine because I guess I'm such a horrible sleaze or something, and Vincent just starts saying things and doing things I would never do. At that moment I don't feel like I'm having some epiphany about the nature of my choices, I feel like the game is having a completely arbitrary reaction to completely irrelevant data.

The first time I played through Silent Hill 2, I received the "In Water" ending, which is one of the more unfortunate endings, and as far as I'm concerned, the tonally correct ending. I got this ending because I took a lot of damage (because it's my first time through the game, so why would they expect I would be excellent at it), and because I constantly inspected and tried to use Angela's Kitchen Knife. You get the Kitchen Knife about an hour or two into the game, and then you never use it for anything ever. Needless to say, in a game where progression is entirely based on acquiring, using and combining items to open up the next area, why wouldn't I expect I would use this Kitchen Knife at some point? Imagine if that game attempted to be a little more judgemental about my behavior. Imagine if it said "oh, you're looking at the Kitchen Knife a lot, that means you're suicidal!" It would be irritating in the extreme. That was the Catherine ending for me.

edit: HOLY SHIT I JUST REMEMBERED. SILENT HILL 4: THE ROOM. So, I was playing through Silent Hill 4 because I want to be a guy who has played a lot of Silent Hills. 4-5 hours into the game, you get to this apartment area, and it's spooky as all get out. As you're exploring, you see a creepy child, who I think tells you he's Walter Sullivan (the creepy metaphysical serial killer and antagonist of Silent Hill 4). He offers you a toy or a doll or whatever he's got. You are playing a video game where the primary thing you do is collect special objects to use to solve puzzles and progress. If you take the item from the kid, you are locked into the Bad Ending. FUCK THAT. They literally force you to ignore every instinct you've learned playing their video game and reject an item, with absolutely no indication that accepting it carries a terrible consequence. I can imagine someone playing through the game twice trying to avoid getting the Bad Ending, and accepting it both times because how could you possibly know?!

In Dragon Age: Origins, Alistair will straight-up leave the party if you take it easy on his arch-enemy Loghain and conscript him into the Grey Wardens.

Ain't no penalty. I need a strong, Warden-friendly King in Ferelden, and I need someone to kill the Archdemon and have their soul obliterated. Anora gets to effectively rule, Alistair keeps the Wardens safe, and I redeem the greatest modern hero the Fereldan people ever had. I was playing Varys and doing an okay job of it.

What if the ultimate ending weren’t based on the Crucible choice and certain relationship options, but on how Shepard’s actions had shaped the galaxy to that point, for good or for ill?

I mean, technically it did, because most of the 'asshole' decisions in games 1 and 2 net you significantly less War Strength or whatever they called it, and you had to have a certain amount of War Strength to open the third ending. The problem I had with the ME3 ending was not that it didn't scrub through 100+ hours of combined play experience and create one of ten million unique results from it, my problem was that it was rushed, didn't effectively explain what happened in the past or what would happen next, and the nature of that third option is hysterically bugfuck and ridiculous.

I'd disagree with your assertion, though it has a lot to do with my belief that not enough games have effectively tried to deliver punishment for poor choices made that were designed well or had large-scale, long-lasting consequences. Someone else earlier mentioned The Witcher games, and they sound like they've been able to pull off the morally ambiguous with postive/negative leanings fairly well. A game like Silent Hill 2 or 4, however, which use some very arbitrary criteria to determine the ending you get without any forewarning, are definitely not examples of the sort of negative consequences I'm looking for. I'd wager most people earned the In Water ending on their first time through Silent Hill 2 primarily for the reason you cited; people kept looking at the knife and attempting to use it under the mistaken belief that it served any purpose other than to sit in your inventory and trick you into examining it.

And man, that is a totally different Dragon Age ending than the one I got. Loghain is dead, Alistair, and I am queen because screw you, Anora.

And yeah, I'll agree with you that the ending of Mass Effect 3 is heavily flawed for a number of reasons. But what influence ME1 and 2 hold over that ending is exceedingly minor and worth little more than points in the bank, rather than anything more significant in terms of how the story plays out. Perhaps if the asshole options had true asshole consequences, the end result could have been more interesting, or at least better structured.

Thanks again for your comments, everyone! This has been some fun discussion.

Avatar image for bocam
Bocam

4099

Forum Posts

3868

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 3

#32  Edited By Bocam

@hailinel: @arbitrarywater: The original games in Japan are kinda known for being very buggy (Summer Days, School Days prequel/sequel, had a bug that would completely format any hard drive in your computer) so even if you try to stay faithful to one girl there was still a chance the game would force you to have sex with another girl. Though bad things still happen if decide to stay faithful, for example Kotonoha always gets raped by Makoto's best friend if you choose to stop going out with her after the first date.

The official english release fixed most of the bugs and the in game flowchart that came with it is ridiculously complicated.

No Caption Provided

Avatar image for hailinel
Hailinel

25785

Forum Posts

219681

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 28

@slag: I don't know if it's the case that Americans in general are hostile toward such an idea, or if publishers are just gun-shy to try it. And in the case of Persona 4, at least, it's not a game that targets Americans first and foremost, so the notion that they don't do it because Americans wouldn't be receptive doesn't really hold water. (Though I do doubt that EA would have been gun-shy even to the point of not allowing Nanako to be in active danger, or at least, not anywhere near the extent she is toward the end of the game.)

I don't have an iOS device, so I can't try revolution 60 for myself, but it certainly sounds interesting. I might have to look up more information on it and the development team behind it.

As for School Days/Summer Days, yeah, they get pretty fucked up, though I have no idea how accurate that description of that Summer Days sequence is given the sparse nature of the page and the any potential inaccuracies. That might be another question for @bocam, though.

@crembaw said:

Watching School Days after Clannad kind of fucked me up for a few weeks.

I can see how that could happen. Wow.

That episode were Kotonoha just tries to talk with that fuked up boy in the school fair is so gut wrenching :( poor girl

Yeah there needs to be better bad endings ... they tend to be just small clips of terrible quality that just makes you feel angered that the end was such crap , bad should mean maybe you dont win but you still get an awesome or actually a well though out ending.

I also think that some rpgs should really take into account party dynamics and really go the extra mile to really take you one way or the other without you having to go forcibly the "main" route .... I think what the Witche 2 did is a good starting point.

It really is a shame that a lot of games that do include bad endings don't put much effort into them. Mostly, they're just little asides for the game mto tell you, "Well, that happened. Go for the actual ending now." Developers putting in more effort into their bad endings would go a long way toward just making them more meaningful in general.

That anime ending was messssseeeeed up. Good write up, totally tried blocking that animes ending from my mind until now.

Thanks! And yeah, it was. It's definitely going to be hanging over my head for a while.

@bocam said:

@hailinel: @arbitrarywater: The original games in Japan are kinda known for being very buggy (Summer Days, School Days prequel/sequel, had a bug that would completely format any hard drive in your computer) so even if you try to stay faithful to one girl there was still a chance the game would force you to have sex with another girl. Though bad things still happen if decide to stay faithful, for example Kotonoha always gets raped by Makoto's best friend if you choose to stop going out with her after the first date.

The official english release fixed most of the bugs and the in game flowchart that came with it is ridiculously complicated.

No Caption Provided

It's a shame that the original releases were so buggy and could impact the player's progress like that. But man, that flowchart. Good lord.

Avatar image for yummylee
Yummylee

24646

Forum Posts

193025

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 88

User Lists: 24

#34  Edited By Yummylee

Great blog! And I agree with all of what you've said. Games like Dragon Age: Origins and Alpha Protocol are two such games where it genuinely feels like your choices matter in the grand scheme of the game and have repercussions... sort of. The game doesn't typically fuck you over narratively, but inadvertently pissing off characters in both can of course remove them from your company, if not force you to kill them outright.

@brodehouse: I've actually never seen the Water ending in SH2 outside of youtube. The only endings I've ever managed to attain myself are the Mary, Maria and Dog endings. I'm pretty sure my very first completion was the Maria ending.

Avatar image for extomar
EXTomar

5047

Forum Posts

4

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

#35  Edited By EXTomar

Aah, "Nice Boat". How long has it been since I've seen you set sail? Great blog but I was never impressed with School Days and was doubly left unimpressed with the stunt they pulled with that ending. The thing I took away from School Days is that the producers were way more interested in getting the "franchise money" but failing to see how problematic producing such a game would be and that is something producers of games today should always take into account.

And I always love seeing Alpha Protocol mentioned because that is one of those case studies for a "totally broken games with a neat kernel of an idea". Abandon that combat engine but take the "story/decision engine" and make something else with it.

Avatar image for hailinel
Hailinel

25785

Forum Posts

219681

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 28

@yummylee said:

Great blog! And I agree with all of what you've said. Games like Dragon Age: Origins and Alpha Protocol are two such games where it genuinely feels like your choices matter in the grand scheme of the game and have repercussions... sort of. The game doesn't typically fuck you over narratively, but inadvertently pissing off characters in both can of course remove them from your company, if not force you to kill them outright.

Thanks! You actually reminded me of a moment from my first Dragon Age playthrough, where I met Wynn. The discussion broke down horribly when I sided with Morrigan over her and we ended up fighting. That ended up really making things harder on me, as I basically eliminated my shot at getting a dedicated healer in the party. Facing the Archdemon with nothing but healing postions? Oh dear.

@extomar said:

Aah, "Nice Boat". How long has it been since I've seen you set sail? Great blog but I was never impressed with School Days and was doubly left unimpressed with the stunt they pulled with that ending. The thing I took away from School Days is that the producers were way more interested in getting the "franchise money" but failing to see how problematic producing such a game would be and that is something producers of games today should always take into account.

And I always love seeing Alpha Protocol mentioned because that is one of those case studies for a "totally broken games with a neat kernel of an idea". Abandon that combat engine but take the "story/decision engine" and make something else with it.

I can see why you'd think that. It's definitely the sort of twist that's easy to feel cynical about. It could be argued that I might be giving the show more credit than it deserves, but I prefer seeing the positives (such as they are, for a series that ends like that).

I never played Alpha Protocol, but it seems that the common thread I keep hearing is that the game would have been a million times better if it had focused more on its decision-making and everything else it did that wasn't combat-related.

Avatar image for mikey87144
mikey87144

2114

Forum Posts

3

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 2

What if the ultimate ending weren’t based on the Crucible choice and certain relationship options, but on how Shepard’s actions had shaped the galaxy to that point, for good or for ill?

This seems like what people had been hoping for in the first place.

Yea, that's what we wanted. I didn't want some stupid ancient weapon and a star child.

Avatar image for extomar
EXTomar

5047

Forum Posts

4

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I definitely don't mean that School Days is "bad" and you are certainly right in that the themes of self destruction are profound and are worth exploring. I am only complaining that the producers seemed to be more interested in "franchise hotness" and thought they could skate or ignore how problematic actually creating this thing would be. This is why I am generally lukewarm with all franchise Anime especially if I know the source material is dark. Can you imagine how Katawa Shoujo would go?? This does happen all too often in games where important parts of the story are missing or the ending is clunky.

Part of the issue with Alpha Protocol is you can have a character that is some international secret agent but miss at point blank range which is absurd. :) But the actual mechanics of how the story unfolds is perfect for a action-spy game where a prime example of this that early on you are faced with dealing with an arms dealer. You can kill them which solves the problem and fulfills the mission but that leaves you with less weapons in the game. Alternatively you can leave the dealer alive which gives you access to a lot of cheap weapons. The player weighs the risk of having enemies with "good weapons" with your need to get access to those same "good weapons". You can see how this is kind of neat but ultimate conflicts with the combat mechanics because one can think "I can get by with crappier weapons...I'll just have to be more stealthy and accurate" only to end up missing on "dice rolls" like mentioned above. So it is awesome the game asks players to make non-black/white decisions like this but cripples itself with an unworkable combat engine.

Avatar image for yummylee
Yummylee

24646

Forum Posts

193025

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 88

User Lists: 24

#39  Edited By Yummylee

@hailinel: The gameplay in Alpha Protocol is certainly rather clunky to say the least, and its boss battles are especially horrendous. However I think it's worth checking out and bearing through all the same to witness the dynamic story and conversation mechanics in action. I completed that game three times it had me so hooked, and each playthrough went in different directions. Not drastically so, but there's a surprising amount of content you can miss that's purely dependant on the allies and enemies you gain.

Alpha Protocol is also one of the earliest examples that I can recall where you're given a short timer to make your choices at that, which has now become more well known due to Telltale's lot.

Avatar image for hailinel
Hailinel

25785

Forum Posts

219681

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 28

@extomar said:

I definitely don't mean that School Days is "bad" and you are certainly right in that the themes of self destruction are profound and are worth exploring. I am only complaining that the producers seemed to be more interested in "franchise hotness" and thought they could skate or ignore how problematic actually creating this thing would be. This is why I am generally lukewarm with all franchise Anime especially if I know the source material is dark. Can you imagine how Katawa Shoujo would go?? This does happen all too often in games where important parts of the story are missing or the ending is clunky.

Part of the issue with Alpha Protocol is you can have a character that is some international secret agent but miss at point blank range which is absurd. :) But the actual mechanics of how the story unfolds is perfect for a action-spy game where a prime example of this that early on you are faced with dealing with an arms dealer. You can kill them which solves the problem and fulfills the mission but that leaves you with less weapons in the game. Alternatively you can leave the dealer alive which gives you access to a lot of cheap weapons. The player weighs the risk of having enemies with "good weapons" with your need to get access to those same "good weapons". You can see how this is kind of neat but ultimate conflicts with the combat mechanics because one can think "I can get by with crappier weapons...I'll just have to be more stealthy and accurate" only to end up missing on "dice rolls" like mentioned above. So it is awesome the game asks players to make non-black/white decisions like this but cripples itself with an unworkable combat engine.

Well, I can't claim to know what the producers were thinking or their reasons for deciding to go with what they did. All I can say is that for how it turned out, I admire their work. I imagine that adapting Katawa Shoujo would definitely present its own difficulties, though that's a line of speculation that likely won't ever result in anything material. Not unless @video_game_king suddenly gets a budget to make an anime of his own, at any rate. Not that I'd be against a KS adaptation, as it definitely has certain potential of its own, but I can imagine that there would be a a lot of discussion on how to approach it.

@yummylee said:

@hailinel: The gameplay in Alpha Protocol is certainly rather clunky to say the least, and its boss battles are especially horrendous. However I think it's worth checking out and bearing through all the same to witness the dynamic story and conversation mechanics in action. I completed that game three times it had me so hooked, and each playthrough went in different directions. Not drastically so, but there's a surprising amount of content you can miss that's purely dependant on the allies and enemies you gain.

Alpha Protocol is also one of the earliest examples that I can recall where you're given a short timer to make your choices at that, which has now become more well known due to Telltale's lot.

The gameplay issues in Alpha Protocool do sound like a paradox. The game lets you play the stealthy assassin type, but it doesn't quite work if you're terrible at the actual assassin part. The fact that the game does present the options it does sounds like a great idea, bu the design just missed the mark in a key area. It definitely sounds like the game would have been much better had they just elected to let the combat mechanics be governed by player skill rather than dice rolls. But the fact that the rest of the game is so flexible and offers as much replay value as it does makes it sound well worth trying out.

Avatar image for karkarov
Karkarov

3385

Forum Posts

3096

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@hailinel said:

This is a party to which I’m about seven years late, I know. But this weekend, I finally watched School Days, an anime series from 2007 that was based on an adult visual novel of the same name from two years earlier.

You watched School Days this weekend?

My condolences.

Avatar image for hailinel
Hailinel

25785

Forum Posts

219681

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 28

#42  Edited By Hailinel

@karkarov said:

@hailinel said:

This is a party to which I’m about seven years late, I know. But this weekend, I finally watched School Days, an anime series from 2007 that was based on an adult visual novel of the same name from two years earlier.

You watched School Days this weekend?

My condolences.

No need. I enjoyed it. Well, as much as one can enjoy a show with that sort of ending, if that's even the right word for it.

Avatar image for video_game_king
Video_Game_King

36563

Forum Posts

59080

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 54

User Lists: 14

@hailinel said:

Not unless @video_game_king suddenly gets a budget to make an anime of his own, at any rate

I already have a voice cast ready in my mind. (And on the forums.) Don't underestimate the power of Kickstarter.

Avatar image for hailinel
Hailinel

25785

Forum Posts

219681

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 28

Avatar image for video_game_king
Video_Game_King

36563

Forum Posts

59080

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 54

User Lists: 14

@hailinel:

How could you be? I bump the thing (almost) daily.

Avatar image for hailinel
Hailinel

25785

Forum Posts

219681

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 10

User Lists: 28