In this article we will consider different methods of implementation of death and defeat in games. Some developers do it well, some – not really, and is also such which manage to spoil a honey barrel a tar spoon.
It is the best of all when the death of the character is completely integrated into a plot and a gameplay. Therefore first of all we will be guided by examples of such mechanics.
(It should be noted that it will be a question mainly of not competitive games further. For multiplayer games, such as Team Fortress 2, other laws work. Also you should not forget that in some games defeat or death are not provided at all. Good to that an example – classical point-and-click quests like Monkey Island.)
Death on a plot
It is recommended: to differentiate subject death and death within a gameplay
In Final Fantasy VII the main character perishes in the middle of game. It confuses a little, if he or one of his workmates dies in the course of game, they can always be revived by means of a spell.
Final Fantasy VII HD
The difference is that in the first case the hero perishes at will of the screenwriter, and in the second – "efforts" of the player. In game these death are accurately differentiated and are never crossed. Nobody speaks: "You that, could not use [a revival spell] to rescue [character] and not to inflate the tragedy?", because it would destroy a barrier between a plot and a gameplay.
It is not recommended: to mix subject death and death within a gameplay
In Borderlands 2 this mechanics is implemented exactly the opposite.
On all game world stations of cloning "Novy-Vy" which are used for autosave of game and revival of the character are scattered. In case of death your clone revives at the last activated station. At the same time the system releases the malicious note concerning your death, and you have to pay a certain amount for its use.
The character of Borderlands 2 revives at station of cloning "Novy-Vy".
This system could be as in Final Fantasy VII – separately from a game plot. But is not present: stations of cloning belong to "Hyperion" – one of game corporations. Therefore sooner or later there is a question why with their help it is impossible to revive other key characters and why opponents cannot do the same.
Looking at the same welcome screen at game start, revival and fast moving to Borderlands 2, there is an impression that you are cloned even for such trifle as teleportation.
Most strongly it is evident when the Handsome man Jack (the main antagonist in game) gives you a task to commit suicide. You can make it and will at once revive. But then why he tries to kill you?
Anthony Bertsch, the leading screenwriter of Borderlands 2, recognizes that it is one of the biggest defects in a game plot. Therefore to avoid similar misunderstanding, it is necessary to differentiate accurately subject death and death within a gameplay.
To give to the player one more chance
It is not recommended: in a magic way to rescue the player at the latest moment
In the game "Prince of Persia" of 2008 it is impossible to die in principle.
If Prinze breaks in an abyss, he will be moved to the last steady platform. If it is prostrate in fight, its health will be recovered, and together with it and health of opponents that in itself is illogical. Anyway you should start anew.
In the game "Prince of Persia" (2008) your workmate of Ellick rescues you from death. Team work – it, of course, is good, but in this case cleans all passion from game.
It is recommended: to allow the player to rewind a time ago
One of the best features of game "Prince of Persia: Time sand" is an opportunity to use magic properties of sand for deceleration or a rewinding of time. Magic sand not only appears in subject welcome screens, but also represents an important aspect of a gameplay! In case of death instead of being loaded, it is possible just to rewind a time ago, without interrupting game process.
In all games of a series "Prince of Persia:" the player can rewind time sand a time ago.
In games about travel in time it is simple not to do without this mechanics. For example, after death in the game Braid it is possible to rewind till any moment up to the beginning of level a time ago.
Return back in time is also implemented in the game GRID – perhaps, the only racing simulator with such feature, apart from its sequels. Lose long arrival because of a small oversight it can to be very offensive especially as it is impossible to save progress in the middle of race. GRID solves this problem – to avoid accident, several times for level you can rewind a time ago. Nevertheless, the number of available rewinds is limited that players did not use them, how much in vain.
If you break the machine in the game GRID, such window will appear. Having clicked on the right, it is possible to return to race and to avoid accident.
It is recommended: to enter into game of the unreliable story-teller
"Prince of Persia: Time sand" are beaten by death of the character by one more, very interesting method. When at you health and sand completely comes to an end, the main character objects: "Postoyte, everything was absolutely not so!"
The matter is that the narration in game is led on behalf of the main character who retells the adventures. Game begins with the end, and action is developed in the form of flashbacks.
All events in game "the Prince of Persia: Time sand" occur in the form of flashbacks.
There is an impression that Prinze really was mistaken. So game becomes more interesting, and besides you do not need to be loaded once again.
Main hero of the game Call of Juarez: Gunslinger (Juárez's Call: The shooter) similarly tells about the adventures in a saloon in the Wild West. At the same time it continually distorts the facts and is confused in parts. Adapting to the story-teller, also the game world changes. But, unfortunately, the main character does not die though it would be very opportunely.
It is recommended: to allow the player to avoid death
In game "Batman: The clinic Arkhem" (and its sequels) the most important piece of equipment is the climbing hook allowing to move quickly on the world and to clamber on high ledges.
Having broken in an abyss in game "the Batman: The chronicle of Arkhem", be not upset: The batman will be selected back.
If you break in an abyss, you will not die – the Batman right there will get out into place from which you fell. This mechanics allows to save the player from ridiculous death, but also not too facilitates game as other dangers from it do not become less.
Before dying in the game EVE Online, you have a chance to save the ass. In case of destruction of your vessel, you can catapult in a special capsule, reach in it the nearest station and purchase the new ship.
However, other players can destroy your capsule, and then you will die and will lose the implants acquired by a hard work. After that you can revive in the form of a clone in the nearest port, but already without implants.
For a genre of MMORPG it is unique mechanics. Most of players with disapproval belong to destruction of capsules, but in political intrigues and clan wars such practice – a commonplace.
It is recommended: to enter the player into a terminal state and to give chance to return to life
In the Borderlands series when at the player the health stock comes to an end, it passes into the mode of "fight for life".
In this mode the player falls to the ground and can move only on all fours, and the screen gradually darkens. However if you manage to kill the opponent, you receive "second wind" – will be able to rise to the feet and again to engage. In the cooperative mode you the team mate can also revive.
Before dying in the game Borderlands 2, you can fight for the life.
It is just excellent mechanics. The player remains involved in game process, and he does not need to be loaded at once.
What is interesting, the system of "second wind" was already implemented long before Borderlands in the game Prey. Here you can leave the physical body and move to the world of spirits which does you invisible and allows to overcome force fields. Some puzzles in game cannot be solved, without having left the body.
The world of spirits in the game Prey. The game plot closely intertwines with Indian culture.
It is possible to get to the world of spirits also in case of death. Having appeared in this otherworldly analog of level in which died, you do not hurry to be loaded. Having killed by means of onions and arrows a certain amount of spirits, you can continue from the same place.
The similar system is provided in the game Left 4 Dead. Having lost all stock of health, you pass into a terminal state: you fall to the ground and you can shoot back only from the normal gun. Meanwhile the screen gradually darkens until you die finally. Only one of your workmates can return you to life that increases importance of collaboration in game even more.
Before death in Left 4 Dead it is possible to shoot back from the gun if you have it. In game it is possible to get also other wounds which do not allow to shoot.
But this mechanics is the is best of all it is implemented in Star Wars: Republic Commando – the first shooter in which an opportunity to revive the companion appeared long before Battlefield 2, Left 4 Dead and Mass Effect 3. It is possible to recover the fallen fighter by means of an injection of medical bakta substance and discharge of a defibrillator.
Uniqueness of this mechanics is that you have a choice: to order to group to continue fight or to hurry to you to the aid.
The screen of a terminal state in Republic Commando, alas, did not appear since then in one other game.
In case of death on the screen covered with a bloody veil such menu appears. At the choice of Maintain Current Orders (To execute the current order) your group continues to attack the enemy, and the Recall and Revive command (To call to the aid) orders to one of your workmates to lift up you as soon as possible. If you were lined in the heat of firefight, can be more reasonable to allow group to finish off enemies, and then to revive you. The last menu item allows to load the last saving, but at least one fighter survives so far, in it there is no need.
Thus, when the situation in fight is heated, the player has to weigh carefully the chances of success, selecting this or that order. Bad AI of bots allies could nullify this mechanics, but, fortunately, game does not sin with it.
And, at last, most important …
It is extremely recommended: to integrate death of the character into a plot
The main character travels around a plot of the game BioShock Infinite between the parallel worlds. Once you die, you will regain consciousness at the office in the same way as during subject flashbacks. However, having opened a door and having come to light, you will be moved to the place of your death.
Black-and-white flashbacks in BioShock Infinite often transfer the hero back to office.
It follows from this that you really died. But then your customers arrive already to other world where you are living again to employ you. After that you are had to the place of death your previous "I" forward to correct its error. The hint on it is at the very beginning of game when you throw a coin and see how many yours "I" visited here earlier.
Bioshock Infinite. Hyphens on a board show how many times you already threw a coin.
It is an excellent example of how the mechanics of death can diversify a gameplay and make the game world even more deeply.
Similar approach is used in the mode of repeated playing the game Bastion. At the end of the game you have a choice: to leave the destroyed world or to start the mysterious mechanism to return back in time to the beginning of game. If you select the second option and will begin game again, characters will refer to your solution in dialogs, thereby forming a link between two playing the game.
It is recommended: to reduce load time to a minimum
What mechanics of death you would not select for the game, surely make reset process as it is possible more simply. For this purpose it should be taken into account two things.
First, on loading of saving or restart of level has to leave time minimum. For example, if you break in the game Trials, it is enough to click restart as you at once will appear on the last control point. Any animation and any loadings. As a result the player is not upset because of defeat at all, but remains involved in game.
After accident in the game Trials 2: Second Edition is started the timer, and in several seconds the player is transferred to the last control point. The same can be made at any time, having clicked the BACKSPACE key.
Secondly, points of automatic saving have to be placed not too far apart that the player had not to change big segments of game.
For example, after death in the game Gunpoint you can continue game several seconds prior to death. At the same time it is possible to select as far as exactly to return back that reminds this travel in time.
The death screen in the game Gunpoint. The player has several options, on how many seconds to rewind a time ago.
Competent implementation of defeat in game gives depth to its plot and a gameplay. The death of the character can be integrated into a plot, for example, by means of acceptance of "the unreliable story-teller". Besides, that the player believed in the offered circumstances, you should not mention system of revival in subject dialogs or welcome screens.
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