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Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:51 am
by Asonder
A little late to the party, but just a bit of feedback for you :mrgreen: Long post ahead, sorry!

While playing the game and exploring all the possible endings, I kept getting this feeling that the romance routes were weirdly disconnected from the main plot, and I think I figured out why. In your other Aravorn games like Loren and SotW, you get a nice little set of epilogues revealing what became of each of the members of your party after the events of the game, even the ones you didn't/couldn't romance (or in SotW's case, at least what happened with your character and their love interest). But in Amber's Magic Shop, there's not much of this.

Characters who you don't end up romancing all but disappear from the game once you reject them, and apart from an occasional appearance in other characters' cutscenes, there's not really any mention of where they ended up after. Likewise, with characters you do end up romancing, some of their endings automatically end the game once you reach them, but for others the game just kind of...keeps going like nothing happened, and then Amber doesn't say anything about where her relationship with them went once them main story ends, or if they died, the effect that their death had on her.

Thinking about it, I realize this is kind of an inherent problem with the way the game is structured, in that certain combinations of romance endings and main endings can directly contradict each other. The main plot ending where
Amber gets run out of town
comes to mind. It would definitely be difficult, but I think you could probably find a way around each of these contradictions. Just a few examples of how I think you could incorporate the romance endings into the main game epilogues:
-After you end a romance with a character, you could mention in the epilogues what became of them, based off of what Amber's final alignment with them was.

-If the LI dies, Amber could make some mention of them and the effect that their death had on her. Or, if Amber dies, how the LI reacted to her death, similar to the epilogues in Loren if Saren/Elenor sacrificed themselves.

-With open-ended Light/Light Plus romance endings, where Amber ends up with the LI but it doesn't have much effect on the main plot, just go into more detail about their relationship afterwards. If Amber gets run out of town in this case, maybe the LI could run away with her?

-If the LI breaks up with Amber, but she does not leave the city, go into more detail of the fallout between them as a result of them still having to see each other. Or, if she stops the Blight with dark alignment, perhaps she could use her newfound money and influence to take some sort of revenge on them? :twisted:

-If you end up marrying your LI, or Amber sees them married to someone else, maybe save the wedding CG and Amber's description of it until after the main story ends. If you marry them but Amber fails to stop the Blight with dark alignment, perhaps the LI could use their influence to stop the townspeople from running her out of the city. Since Lair and Cosmina/Reed are the only characters you can marry, I think this could be a good solution.

-As an extension of this, in Lynn's Dark Plus ending where she and Amber move in together, perhaps they gain enough of a monopoly over the city's economics that everyone's afraid to mess with them, even if Amber fails to stop the Blight.

I'm sure others could think of more examples, but those are just some off the top of my head.

...eesh. Now that I've actually written it out I'm realizing how difficult what I'm asking could be. Obviously there's nothing to be done about it at this point, and I don't know if you'll ever make another game where this kind of thing would be necessary. But this is something that I really think could (and has, in the past) do wonders in making the player feel like their choices had an effect on the story and the characters within it.

Re: Epilogues?

Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:58 am
by jack1974
Yes, I think the main problem of this game is that the story was written first, separately from gameplay. Also, the art was planned YEARS ago, so even the new writer had big constraints on what could happen. Etc etc. I think considering all the troubled development it had, the result was much better than I expected (I know some people didn't like it, but from my perspective, it was a success :lol:).
A pity because it's my first game (at least fantasy) with so many dark endings and some of the choices have long-term impact, but because of that it's hard to write down epilogues, when you need to take into account all the possible "combos".
In future games I'll first write down all the story, and in case of story+gameplay, I'll be much more involved (maybe even writing the storyboard or even the story itself with the help of a good proofreader). I think it's the only solution.

Re: Epilogues?

Posted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:19 am
by Asonder
Oh yeah, I would never expect you to have artwork to go with all these possible endings :lol: I know it doesn't help the coding aspect of it much, but I think even just text epilogues with your existing artwork would have been perfectly fine.