Dishonored Protip: Don’t Do What You’re Told Until You’re Told To Do Something

Dishonored Protip: Don’t Do What You’re Told Until You’re Told To Do Something

Evidently playtesters of Dishonored took the game a little too literally the first go around, requiring developer Arkane Studios to do a little bit of handholding to get them to complete the missions.

For example, “People would just walk around” Arkane’s Julien Roby told Games.On.Net. “They didn’t even go upstairs because a guard told them they couldn’t. They’d say ‘Okay, I can’t go upstairs.'”

Let’s recap, team, you portray an assassin. This line of work isn’t known for asking permission to do things. On top of that, you’re an outlaw. That means you have a problem with authority.

Roby said the development team had to make sure the levels were given multiple means of reaching your objective without handholding. But it sounds like, in some cases, the game has to beat you over the head to get everyone to understand. Hence strolling into a room and everyone saying you should go upstairs, despite what that guard told you.

“We found that if we don’t give a little information, people just get lost and don’t know what to do,” Roby added. “So we tried to add this element that gave just a hint, to help a little.”

Dishonored Interview: Arkane on stealth, AI, player choice and much more [ via LazyGamer.]


    • I dunno, there’s been a lot of games in simular situations (James Bond games come to mind) that you simply can not get past guards saying you can’t enter.

      • Yeah I have encountered this but I still bloody try an go where I am told not to. And hell aren’t play testers meant to try and do things the game does not expect you to do? Sounds like they need new play testers.

        • Depends on what they mean by play testers.

          Your mention of things the game doesn’t expect you to do. That is the realm of Quality Assurance, They go in try to force bugs to appear look for glitches etc.

          Play testers, is Right our target market is 18-28 year old males. Lets go and get 1,000 of them and let them play the game for 2 hours and see how they turn out. Some of them will be non gamers, some of them will likely be gamers who favor other genres. etc etc.

          • Hey first off extend the age group to 16-28 because i reckon dishonored looks indespuitably wicked, and im buying the second it comes out. Secondly I’m praying the hints don’t screw the game up. Thirdly come on play testers if you are an experinced gamer you know you have to bend the rules sometimes.
            P.s alinos I’m not taking a crack at you about the age range just want to be cool on that ok.

      • My example would be Mido in Zelda Ocarina. Little tyke, he was like a goalie on table hockey guarding the Deku Tree entrance.

    • The problem is that gaming historically has reinforced this attitude.

      90% of doors in games are textures/unopenable

      Generally when you are told you can’t go somewhere, a instant death follows. etc etc.

      Much in the same way Bulletstorm tried to not have red explody barrels. But players didn’t shoot the barrels as much as if they weren’t red. Because games had reinforced that red barrels explode and everything else is just a barrel.

      They aren’t saying that everyone failed here. But they probably just grabbed a bunch of general public and even 50% not going up the stairs would be pretty major, especially if in that situation going up the stairs was the only course of action

      • Exactly. But it’s also the wording they used.

        “You can’t go upstairs” makes me think insta-death.

        “You are not allowed to enter the room upstairs!” Oooh there’s a room up here huh? Hmm, I might check that out.

        Pretty simple.

        • Yeah I have to agree with that. Games these days have a lot of fake doors, invisible walls and gameplay limitation areas/zones; so being told we can’t go somewhere and being told we aren’t allowed to go somewhere is a bit of a difference…..

          I guess all they need to do is add a similar situation into the tutorial and it won’t be as much of an issue though?

  • Makes sense to me. As modern gamers, we’re used to that sort of thing being a handwave for the content not existing – “don’t go upstairs” means “there’s no upstairs, so don’t bother”. It’s like the way that any door that you’re not told to open is often just a texture on the wall – the door is about creating the illusion of reality, not a signifier (as in the real world) that you can get to a different place.

    I imagine you’d get the hang of it after the first time, though – once it’s been made clear that in-game pronouncements aren’t necessarily to be obeyed, you start to poke around at the rules.

    • I’d argue that as gametesters in particular, it’s their job to test the boundaries of the game. Should be trying to find out first-hand what’s possible and what’s not – and of what’s not possible, what’s broken or feels disconnected. You need to poke around at the rules to actually succeed in putting the game to the test.

      • +1
        In fact you pretty much just wrote out their job description… I wonder if they’re using Bethesda’s playtesters, with them publishing and all…. heh

        This was the same sort of thing that happened with GW2, though the MMO crowd in notoriously worse (and that’s saying something) about wanting to be led by the hand. Originally Arena net had no scouts/ reknown hearts in the game, you were supposed to simply explore and complete events as you happened on them in the world, but initial testers apparently just sat there asking what they were supposed to do, wondering why the game didn’t tell them exactly where to go and what to do. So they added/changed a decent amount of stuff to be more… ‘helpful.’ Twas a sad change in my opinion.

        • Also from memory the issue GW2 had was that their was no indication that you were even in an event. The game world was supposed to work organically. So if you had an escort quest, when you came into range of the dude he’d likely say hey can i have a hand getting to place A. Instead of the system currently where an event pops up in the corner of your screen and you run off to find it.

          The game didn’t have notifications of stuff not even the DE’s. Since the events were just meant to push back and forth as players interacted with them.

          But since MMO’s historically have pushed the idea that if it’s not quest related it’s not worth killing due to diminished XP, Diminished Gold and Loot when compared to questing. The early play testing public ran past these events trying to find the high value “Quests”

      • No it’s not. Your confusing playtester with QA. QA pushes the game. Play tester is grabbing a chunk of the public and having them play the game to see what things arrive when the average player with no prior knowledge of the game goes and plays it

  • Josh, how often have you played a game, been told that you could enter somewhere.
    Then if you manage to sneak in, you get killed by guards that are impossible to kill, or the game just tells you that you ‘failed’.

    Problem is that we have been trained by all these other games that if a guard is standing infront of a door, and says you can’t enter, that that probably means you need to trigger a different part of the quest.

  • Unfortunately this is why games are declining in quality. Gamers are becoming lazy and need guidance, so devs have to design their games to spoonfeed them. I tested this by getting some of my friends who didnt really hit the gaming market till around CoD MW started, so when I got them to play older games like Half Life and HL2 (not even that old), and serious sam, all they did was complain how hard it was, and ‘unfair’. They got especially stuck in HL2 as they would struggle to work out how to get past an obstacle. In short there are gamers, and then theres this new breed of kids that just play games like its the new movie medium for them, and like movies they dont want to think too much. We need to make games for gamers not those who just play.

    • I’d say you’re mixing up the effect and cause. By having a lower game design quality (Sometimes by budget, sometimes by physical limitations of hardware), gamers get used to ideas like “There’s only one door to open, and it’s probably a different color so I don’t keep literally walking into walls painted like doors” If there is no guidance offered, and the player doesn’t have access to all of the options that they want, then the game is not fun.
      Designers tend to have to pick one or the other, guidance or freedom(Sometimes both, but that leads to a lot of the freedom being ignored). I hope, though, that with Dishonored, we’ll be able to see a slow progression towards incredibly open, unguided games. Maybe we’ll get that in a direct, or spiritual sequel.
      We just have to unlearn these habits now that more game design companies have greater budgets, and far more impressive hardware to work with than what we used to have before we were taught these behaviors.

  • It’s like these people have never played a stealth game before in their lives!
    “Don’t go in there!” in stealth games is always a secret code for “Go in here via another route…or just kill me and go in here.”

  • On one hand I see the point that they are not really good playtesters but at the same time you have to wonder about how the game is portrayed into making people think they can’t go to those locations.. maybe there was simply not enough subliminal clues or cues for the player to know that is where they need to go. Sure, exploration is one thing that is needed in many games but there needs to be a reason to explore.. there needs to be an established gameplay mechanic that makes it clear that exploring is rewarding etc etc..

  • Whilst the initial tenor of this article suggests gormless playtesters, a closer look at this interview reveals this is more an embarrassing admission of poor selection of testers by Arkane, than anything else.
    If I make a car, and then only get soccer mums to test drive it at 40km/h, who’s at fault when a 20yr old has the car fall apart when he goes round a corner at 120km/h ?

    Play testing is part of Quality Assurance.
    QA is the overall process of conducting several tasks to ensure the product is refined and polished enough for public release. Play Testing is one of those tasks, and you’ll have several levels of PT – internal, external, and final release. Each of these phases have a specific focus, and would/should be conveyed as such.
    If the QA Manager hasn’t given clear instructions on what they want the team to find, then again, who’s fault is it ?
    At the very least, it is bad form for Arkane to go bad mouthing people who are actually helping them make a better game.

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