What are some ideas for games that sound good on paper but didnt work when implemented. Or bad then turned out good.

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Topcyclist

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#1  Edited By Topcyclist

Anyone has an idea that they heard of for a game or thought up that you think to yourself is perfect but when implemented would never work. Please explain some. Got this idea from that old Xbox game where you fight in a fighter with characters who get damaged limbs throughout the fight, causing them to lose some of their move set. They also show damage scars and it all on paper adds some strategy. When implemented it sucks cause why would you purposely make your game less responsive and fun to play. Like how some hate super-realism in Red dead 2 or when characters need to make an animation to individually pick up items etc.

One idea that seemed bad, wouldn't work or be important on paper; that worked out, was the nemesis system in the shadows of Mordor. For some reason, just the banter and added strengths to your rival when you lose made the game more intimate and less about random mooks between bosses. Works best if you're ok-bad at games since i learned super good gamers never really lost or got nemesis. Before release about every gameoutlet was overlooking it or saying it was dumb, later eating crow.

My idea on paper...A game where you answer a long 2 hour questionaire of likes and interest and by checks and coding the game makes a game in the background via attachment to something like the PS4 dreams game. So everyone got the "Perfect" game for them...

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SethMode

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#2  Edited By SethMode

I don't have any ideas myself, because I'm not creative enough, but an example for me that is lesser known is Skyshine's Bedlam. Grid-based strategy? Great. Banner Saga-style graphics? Yes please. Great aesthetics? Yes sir. INCREDIBLE trailer that just makes you want to dive in head first? Absolutely.

And then, there was the game, which was just kind of like this overly difficult and unwieldy version of FTL but without any of the charm. It truly bummed me out and it should have worked. They did an update and it didn't really fix my overall issue, which was that it just kind of felt both bland, too random, and honestly too difficult. I've never completed a run, but I've gotten close and it isn't an exhilarating feeling of "Oh man, we are hanging on by the skin of our ass" as much as it is just, we're finally meeting the consequences of a bad strategy system and you can't get lucky the whole game.

As for the reverse...I thought that Dragonball Z: Kakarot looked (gameplay wise -- the graphics are great) and sounded (story wise, because I've seen those sagas so many times) terrible...and then I sunk like 80 hours into it and absolutely loved it.

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RalphMoustaccio

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Relatively recent examples:

Sounded amazing, but didn't really work: Destiny - The idea of a quasi-MMO shooter from Bungie sounded like the perfect game to occupy an indefinite length of time, and while I guess it eventually got there for a lot of people, I lost steam on it pretty quickly due to the extremely repetitive mission design, almost non-existent story, and difficulty in playing the most interesting content without a dedicated crew of friends.

Sounded bad (well, maybe unimpressive), but was actually great: Tetris Effect - This is a game that doesn't work in any capacity if you're not actually experiencing it. Even watching someone else play doesn't do anything for me, but the feeling that I get when actually playing it is as close as I think I'll ever come to synesthesia (while sober, at least), and I haven't even had a chance to try it in VR.

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Onemanarmyy

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#4  Edited By Onemanarmyy

when you think RTS, you think about isometric games. Being able to quickly see what's up on the battlefield is a huge plus.

Sacrifice looked at that and was like HELL NAWW, it's 2000 and we want to see 3d assets in all it's glory. Here's a third person RTS. Turned out to be a really neat game! Multiple factions, a bunch of spells, units that mostly follow you and attack when necessary. They probably didn't start with a HORRIBLE idea, but i still think the game ended up being quite a special game.

C&C Renegade occupies a similar spot in my mind, but i never played it so i can't say if it was good or bad. Reviews were dissapointing but the novelty of seeing those buildings in all their glory still made it a special thing i imagine.

THPS2 on the GBA? Sounds awful, but they nailed it!

My ultimate game is still one where you have like 10 different styles of gameplay all feed into the same game somehow. You have a nation's leader that civilizations his way through the world, engages in diplomacy and assigns players to lead various divisions. You have military leaders Heart of Iron the troops around, you have shooter players as soldiers. You have factorio-players figure out how to manufacture various resources in an efficient manner etc.. and i guess every month one nation wins and that's a big event. It's scope is probably rediculous and makes Spore look like a masterpiece.

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Fear_the_Booboo

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#5  Edited By Fear_the_Booboo

@onemanarmyy: Gosh I loved Sacrifice and I thought it was completely forgotten.

I guess my hot take is that the idea of having a game that checks your previous choices for the future, especially in multiple games, a la Mass Effect, is just impractical on a big scale. It works well for marketing, but it's bound to be limited by the content pipeline and be less than ideal. Some hide it better than others, but the seams are always visible for me.

I wish we'd kind of abandon that in heavily scripted game until we have better solutions. For now it works in game that tells systemic stories (ie. Crusader Knights or Dwarf Fortress) or a game where the content is not detailed on a AAA level, making it more possible to create content that you can miss (Baldur's Gate, Divinity, Visual Novels, etc.).

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sparky_buzzsaw

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I definitely agree with Destiny. On paper, that game should have hooked me for hundreds of hours, but the repetition, unapproachable end game mission design, and lack of in-game storytelling killed it for me. And then them adding more and more currencies to what was already an unlikable loot system drove me completely away.

Lost Odyssey fell into that category for me too. All the pieces were there - fascinating world-building potential, gorgeous looks, an interesting combat system inspired by Legend of Dragoon... and then they told the most interesting parts of the story with goddamn in-game texts. That's a trend that can die a quick and painful death, by the way.

One idea that seemed bad and turned out great is Space Rangers. You'd think touching upon a half-dozen or so genres for mini-games for what is essentially a 4x real-time space game is a bad idea, but it winds up being one of the more uniquely fun games in its genre. It's like WarioWare met Freelancer and had a baby.

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Pezen

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I’ll be on the opposite side of the OP. I thought the nemesis system of Shadow of Mordor along with it’s AC-style gameplay would be right up my alley. Unfortunately nothing about that game worked for me, including the nemesis system. Unless you die to them a bunch, there’s no nemesis you really have some kind of relationship to. On top of that, the game felt bland as hell.

The flipside, I think the gameplay of Catherine on paper seemed not at all my idea of fun. A puzzle game with boxes you climb and push around. But ended up finding it super engaging.

As for my own idea, I am still waiting on someone to take the core navigation and world building of an open world game (like GTA) but make it into a photography game. In which you climb your career getting access to better equipment while also maybe doing missions for newspapers or end up having some kind of art exhibition. All wrapped in some story. And once over, you free roam the map taking pictures of whatever.

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liquiddragon

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#9  Edited By liquiddragon

I tend to think it's mostly about execution. Having a hard time thinking something was just plain bad idea. But if we take execution out of the equation...

I love the idea of a dancing protagonist but games like P.N. 03 and Bound both turned out to be a mess. On the other hand, you know it's possible cuz Bayonetta exists.

I was also really disappointed by Metal Gear Acid. MGS X tactical strat X card battle sounds very neat but for the most part, it was a clunky, sluggish, frustrating dud, tho based on the little I played, the sequel fixed a ton of the issues of the 1st game.

I guess a "bad" idea that turned out to be pretty darn good one would be CoD Infinite Warfare? Sci-fi CoD might sound like they've totally lost the thread on the IP on paper but the campaign turned to be easily one of my favorite CoD anything.

Another one might be Dragon's Dogma. Japanese companies chasing Western style games i.g. Quantum Theory or Inversion was kinda embarrassing so when a game called "Dragon's Dogma" was supposed to be a Japanese Skyrim, it was easy to dismiss. It turned out to be a very unique and fun game that I really enjoyed.

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Christoffer

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I always thought "car combat MMO" sounded like the best idea ever that would be impossible to screw up. Mad Max meets Carmageddon meets Mario Kart meets WoW. Then Auto Assault came out and it sucked.

I love the Dark Souls games, perhaps even my favourite series of all time. But if I have to descibe the games I have to admit it sounds pretty awful. Slow paced, meticulous combat with high animation priority, extremely punishing bordering to unfair, obfuscated and undefined story, dark and gloomy. You will probably lose hours of progress because you fell through a hole you couldn't see or was crushed by a boulder that came from nowhere. And I love it.

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MonkeyKing1969

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Destiny
Destiny 2
Anthem
Days Gone
The Order: 1886

Lets be real...Destiny was a frat boy Chad from day one. It though too much of itself and lack any substance. When asked to have more substance and improve, it sneered by becoming even worse Destiny 2. In fact you do not even have to tell me who the 'director' at Bungie was for teh second game - it was obvious it was Luke.

Anthem was Bio-ware desperate to try to make it own Destiny-like looking game. Say what you will about game play, story, ets ; the game drips sweaty desperation to be Destiny. It is a kid called "Tucker" trying to get into Chad's frat. Tucker will do anything to be in that frat.

Days Gone is WAY too long. Its padded out to much. They should have cut 1/3 of teh game and the tiem gained by cutting out the fat woudl have given the team more time to improve what was left over.
Good intentions cannot make up for the derivative game world idea. Sony Bend does not often screw up this bad, but to say this game was not paced poorly woudl be a lie. The few great and good moments are simple not compelling enough to justify playing a long slog game.

The Order: 1886 is almost the opposite of Days Gone. Ready at Dawn made a short, linear, and not very ambitious game. It is not bad game, it just doesn't do much beside looking good. There's nothing truly special about The Order: 1886, and that sucks because steampunk is cool. They wasted an interesting "steam punk"setting by making a game that just isn't special.

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TheRealTurk

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For me, it would probably be Heroes of Might and Magic IV. III was such a well-designed game and then with IV they tried to shake up just about every part of the central gameplay loop in a small way. Most of the changes were intriguing in concept, but they were all so badly implemented that it ended up being a pretty terrible experience.

It's kinda too bad. I'd love to play a game with the best possible version of IVs systems, particularly given that the series has so badly lost its way under Ubisoft.

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BaneFireLord

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#13  Edited By BaneFireLord

When I was in 9th grade, I thought the central idea of Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard sounded pretty funny and novel. It, of course, turned out to be complete trash.

@pezen said:

I’ll be on the opposite side of the OP. I thought the nemesis system of Shadow of Mordor along with it’s AC-style gameplay would be right up my alley. Unfortunately nothing about that game worked for me, including the nemesis system. Unless you die to them a bunch, there’s no nemesis you really have some kind of relationship to. On top of that, the game felt bland as hell.

This too. I love Lord of the Rings, I love Batman combat, I love Assassin's Creed, but Shadow of Mordor did absolutely nothing for me. Having the Nemesis system only come into play if you keep dying seemed like a punishment for being any good at the combat. I'd played a loooot of Batman and the Assassin's Creed games that took cues from its combat design before starting SoM, and I think I died maybe a half dozen times in the whole game, all to different dudes. As a result, it felt like the nemesis system never did anything interesting and I didn't even recognize the orc who showed up for the big endgame confrontation.

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MobiusFun

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Seeing a trailer for it last night made me remember the World Tendency system in Demon's Souls. It sounded cool but I don't think they guessed that the worldwide success/death ratio would stay pretty consistent throughout the lifetime of that game. Demon's Souls was the only souls game that needed special holiday events to make sure everyone would have a chance to see everything the game had to offer. I remember near Halloween they would force the World tendency to be dark and I think on valentines day they would force a light tendency. All of the following souls games didn't have a similar feature for good reason.

I would hope they completely redo that stuff in the remake.

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Shindig

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The PVP fight as well. Great on paper until they found out Stockpile Thomas has infinite everything.

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kmj2318

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I’m finding it hard to think of a good on paper but bad games, because often games are bad for reasons other than the initial idea.

Bad on paper but good - Elite Beat Agents

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Pezen

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@topcyclist: I wish I had been given your (and GB’s) experience with the nemesis system, I remember thinking Brad’s stories of the system to sound incredible. I already knew I wasn’t going to vibe with the visuals of the world, I could see that, but the nemesis system I was just too curious about. Unfortunately it just didn’t work for me the way it did for you, for reasons you explain.

I also find it sad to hear that they tried to cater the second game to players like myself because, as you say, I wasn’t going to buy it anyway. Partially because it looked to me like ’more of the same’ with an emphasis on ’more’. But also, like you say, it seemed to be even less interesting to those that had liked the first one making the buzz on that game even less enthusiastic.

I still like the nemesis system idea conceptually and I hope someone else tries to fine tune it eventually in a different game.