Protag is a liar to audience

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E-night
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Re: Protag is a liar to audience

#16 Post by E-night » Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:29 am

Hmm... You might be right, Mad Harlequinn.
Now that I think about it, in the first zero escape 999, we actually do have a lying first person narrator. As far as I remember it, when the final plot twist comes around, the narrator reveal herself to be first person and certainly a liar in many, many ways, such as hiding she is the narrator in the first place.
That game certainly didn't make me mad, but then again. It's a genre where I expect twist and metatwist. If we have an otome game most player won't really expect twist like that and such would properly react more easily with anger.

Expectations certainly plays a part in this.

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Re: Protag is a liar to audience

#17 Post by papillon » Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:42 pm

That's one of the reasons I mentioned both commerciality and length. Someone who pays for what's marketed as a fluffy otome game has an expectation of happy love-love with at least one gorgeous guy. Even in a free game, the longer they've played and the more they've become invested in what they expect, the more cries of 'unfair!' if you pull the rug out from under them.

But to run with Taleweaver's idea, I think it could work out fine if:
The number of bad guys is limited (since the shock will only happen once, having a lot of them would be wasted time, people wouldn't want to play a bunch of paths knowing what would come at the end). Probably no more than three.

There are hints about the bad guys being bad or having been bad in the past. A brief glimpse of them being rude to a less pretty girl or joking about nasty things they did as kids, possibly in a way that will be intentionally hard to understand on first glance.

Ongoing hints that the narrator is intrigued by the guys, but not in love with. Done right, this motivates the player to keep pushing because they expect the protagonist will turn romantic eventually if they just spend enough time with the boy.

With those bits in place, the reaction to the murder is more likely to be "Oh! THAT'S what was going on!" for at least some people.

Optional: finishing one or all of the murder routes unlocks a new route/epilogue where you can date a fellow bullying victim, who might even have been helping you behind the scenes all along. And this romance is a real romance. A romance between crazy vengeful murderers, perhaps, but the player would finally get the romance element they came for.
With a setup like that, some players would still be very angry, but I think a number of them would appreciate the twist. Especially if the bonus route were included.

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Re: Protag is a liar to audience

#18 Post by Ishvke » Wed Jul 30, 2014 2:42 am

Thanks to everyone once again. I completely get where you guys are coming from & agree.

@taleweaver -- lol thanks. I don't think I understood how awkward my idea would have been until seeing an essentially similar idea written out.
@e-night: lol no that wasn't what I was going for at all. also I remember playing 999 a looong time ago haha. haven't had time to play the sequel yet. That, and the fact that I already spoiler'd myself accidentally on purpose, which will probably ruin a lot of the game's flavor

At this point I'm wondering exactly how much the protagonist can conceal from the readers without ultimately arousing anger/confusion/frustration/etc. To summarize the comments so far (kinda) in a quick question: would concealment be fine, then, as long as the concealed information (1) does not directly contribute/relate to the choices, (2) does not pull a 180* on the plot itself, and (3) is properly foreshadowed? Are there any other limitations/variables involved? Or would it be best not to conceal information, period?
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Re: Protag is a liar to audience

#19 Post by Mad Harlequin » Wed Jul 30, 2014 1:04 pm

I think concealment is fine as long as it is properly handled and foreshadowed---even if it contributes to choices or leads to a plot reversal. But it's most important to remember that writing unreliable narrators well requires considerable skill. Don't be surprised if you find yourself revisiting the narrator's earlier statements in order to maintain consistency.
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Re: Protag is a liar to audience

#20 Post by trooper6 » Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:24 am

Unreliable Narrator's are a legitimate literary device going back to Aristophanes. I see no problem in using them. I think it is also important to note that there are many different types of unreliable narrators. Some might be lying to the reader...and for various motivations. Some might be lying to themselves. Some might be misinformed. Some might be seeing things incorrectly based on their cultural or personal biases. Some might be crazy.

Different sorts of unreliable narrators will evoke different feelings in an audience. People seem to love Ned Stark and he was not a reliable narrator at all. Probably because they took too much of his biased third person narrative as objective.

Anyway, check out the wikipedia page on unreliable narrators if you haven't already.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unreliable_narrator
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Re: Protag is a liar to audience

#21 Post by Mad Harlequin » Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:13 am

trooper6 wrote:Unreliable narrators are a legitimate literary device going back to Aristophanes. I see no problem in using them. I think it is also important to note that there are many different types of unreliable narrators. Some might be lying to the reader...and for various motivations. Some might be lying to themselves. Some might be misinformed. Some might be seeing things incorrectly based on their cultural or personal biases. Some might be crazy.

Different sorts of unreliable narrators will evoke different feelings in an audience.
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Re: Protag is a liar to audience

#22 Post by RosyInk27 » Sun Aug 10, 2014 3:05 pm

I like the idea in theory because there's a lot you can do with it. Ex. In a horror setting it can help put the reader/player on edge, make little touches that would normally go unnoticed stand out in the player's mind, and cause things that would be glossed over in any other story to become downright unsettling (see Mortis Ghost's Off and Umineko: When They Cry).

I think the problem may stem from the fact that visual novels are just as much a visual medium as they are text based. You'd have to pull out some very clever tricks in order to make it plausible that she's telling the truth just as much as it could be possible that she's lying, either by obscuring key giveaways in cgs or by twisting characters' words around to validate her actions (even when they're morally repugnant actions). Whatever the case, sounds interesting!

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