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Death of the Easter egg

Fatal Frame Series Opinion

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6 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   midwinter

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 03:40 PM

It feels like since the PS2 era, there's been a remarkable drop in bonus content and extras, don't you think?

 

FF1 had so many secrets, you pretty much have to play the game multiple times to discover everything - and put your hand up (lol) if you still haven't gone through all the hassle to fight Hand from Floor.  :icon_tengai:  FF2 had Masumi, a ghost you only fight at the end of a sidequest, and you didn't even have the option of fighting Sae on your first playthrough. FF3 had a bunch of sidequests and a massive ghost list, with a lot of ghosts you had to hunt for. And that's not even getting into all the weird, random things that happen just to creep you out.

 

But since FF4 those things have been getting fewer and farther between, and finally we get to FF5, which did away with the spirit list and the creepy screensaver, has very few events that are just random scares that happen for the sake of it, (and even then like 90% of them are dolls that move), and basically seems geared towards making you complete the mission, then the game, unlock a few costumes and yay you're done it's all over.

 

What do you think? Is it down to Nintendo, or part of the genre shift to make Fatal Frame more action-oriented? Or are Easter eggs going out of fashion in the wider gaming world too? This is the generation of casual gaming and Let's Plays, after all. Is it unrealistic to expect people to play a game over and over again to get the full experience?



#2 OFFLINE   detertake

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 02:56 AM

That's a good topic.

 

No, it's not just Nintendo or Ohtani, who wants to completely destroy FF, the whole game industry is shifting (or already shifted) to something brainless and pointless fun, or I'm getting too old for modern games. Perhaps, casual player doesn't want to think, see 'Game Over' screen or to explore his ingame surrondings while he is playing (and he has to if he wants to find easter eggs), the only thing that really matters is actually 'press x to win' and be done with this game so you can move to the next one. Some respected game developers like Kojima said that endings are "the least necessary part" of a game for a western player. It doesn't matter if it's true or not, such generalisations are reflecting what games are today and for whom they are made.



#3 OFFLINE   ナガクラ

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Posted 15 May 2016 - 10:19 AM

Easter eggs are still here, they aren't going anywhere. Nintendo is usually the ones doing easter eggs almost all the time but that depends who is in charge. From what I've noticed in recent years Japanese developers dont do easter eggs as much anymore with the exception of Kojima and some from Nintendo. Western developers still do it all the time and have been for a very long time. The problem is not many people have the time to look for the easter eggs these days. Once they see credits they move on to the next game. One recent game I've played I can name with easter eggs would be Pokemon XY, that game runs on easter eggs. 

There is actually a few games that had well hidden easter eggs but the problem was they were too well hidden.
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#4 OFFLINE   GregZerO

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Posted 18 May 2016 - 11:22 PM

Well it is true that the horror genre has been affected a lot from the new era of livestreams and youtubers.Nowdays with horror games like Alien Isolation,Outlast & even (fck) Five Nights at freddies the purpose of the games is not to reward exploration,or even scare you for asking for more details & info but they just grab your hand and tell you where to go,what to do without a backstory that needs kind of ... you know research and brain work.Everything is given right infront your face because the player must be impressed within the first 15 seconds he will play the game/view a gameplay on youtube.And that's a reallity that most of us also do it unconsciously.Let's be honest,when a new game comes out and we watch a gameplay,most of the times at the first minute we are like "Well......I've seen this before,let me check if there is something more interesting" *checking minute 2,2:30,5,7* "Oh my god look at this so creepy".Fatal Frame was never visually impressive in terms of shocking the player,yes it has its wtf momments but they get built with time,notes,research.That's why most horror games turn into more action based and the new ones are pretty much all of them "they chase you run".Action(=keep you on the edge all the time) & run gives you no time and no reason to look around.

 

It is not that people don't like good stories anymore,in fact games turn into more movies lately than actualy...games(Beyond2Souls,Uncharted,MGS5,Quantum Break),it is just the fact that Fatal Frame is so unique in the way key story points unfold and people don't want that.Character development in Fatal Frame games is created 60%(probably more) from the notes that you find here and there & by glueing the relationships in your head.And lets be honest(again :P),not many gamers were fans of this back in the day either.For example you can see Brushing woman sobbing and doing "creepy" stuff in her room but it looks kind of dull & "oh we ve seen that again" if you havent read the notes to feel sympathy for the "scary/killer" long haired japanese ghost.

 

So yeah my ideas are a bit unorganized on my brain but what I want to say for the lack of easter eggs and complex but rewarding story system is that Fatal Frame,now that (the HUGE) Nintendo is working on it,is trying to draw the attention,and they can't do that by adding ghosts in rooms that you have no reason to visit to continue the campaign other than getting an added glimpse about their story.

 

The compination of them betting on gimmicks and action (that's Nintendo's strategy in general lately anyway),together with their lazyness (since they don't believe in the series) and the new horror-era with livestreams/youtubers (which is all about shocking fast the viewer) slowly kills the series.And the result is FF5(dull,repetetive,action,poor story,gimmick to impress) and god only knows how FF6 will turn out with NX around the corner.


Edited by GreekShadow, 19 May 2016 - 01:28 AM.

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#5 OFFLINE   Homuranagi

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 02:22 AM

I do wonder how much it has to do with the new style of player they're targeting. I don't think anyone (including themselves) will try to deny that they're obviously aiming the newer games at a different audience from the first four. I also don't think it's a coincidence that the more they move towards including modes like HHM and specifically talking more about non-hardcore accessibility (ie casual-bait), the more shallow the content seems to get. SC was directly aimed at non-fans who are definitely casuals, choosing this specific type of game rather than a port or a full handheld experience of one of the full games, and look how compact and simplified that is, and how party game-oriented everything outside of story mode is. Story mode looks like it was made probably more for fans of the series, even if it is short (what with actually having unlockables and a blessed mission mode of all things), whereas the rest of the content is very much for non-committal dabbling. God knows you need to be committed to get story mode working.

 

5 is basically the epitome of this. It's easily the widest open game, but you're not really exploring of your own volition because of how heavily they lay the tracks and because you're basically led around by the hand in the form of the shadow-following, and when you do go off the beaten path there's virtually no reward for it. Even if you don't think they're actively discouraging exploration this way, it's hard to argue that they're encouraging it. Mission Mode, which used to be a bunch of extra content but definitely limited in terms of playerbase because of its difficulty, is gone and doesn't look likely to come back. In its place is a small number of incredibly short missions starring a character who is pretty blatantly there to stir up interest from people who are not fans of the series. The ghost list, obviously, is effectively gone, too, except for a much shorter and easier version to complete to the extent that it practically completes itself. Puzzles are virtually non-existent and only one type exists, and the same goes for sidequests. The notes are very repetitive and they go incessantly over and over the same concepts, so you don't really have a chance to miss out on any of the general framework of the story, and aside from Kururugi (which I still find weird as hell) I don't remember the story being nearly as complicated if you take it at face value (which may explain why it pretty much all falls apart once you do take a closer look).

 

I think a lot of this has to do with what ^ Greek said. The current style of horror game seems, at least, to be a lot more action-oriented and speedy, using things like constantly throwing enemies at you and more grotesque/visual-horror styles like all of the chopping up and blood that 5 has, even with the comments they made back in 2001 about not wanting it to be too gruesome at the risk of driving people away. Most games are more concerned with making jump scares pop up constantly in your face than actually slowing things down and taking time to build the world and atmosphere to scare you in a more subtle way. There's a big discussion in here about whether you think the atmospheric way is too slow or whether you think that constantly being pummelled by enemies causes them to quickly stop being scary due to overexposure, but that's probably for another time. From the style of 5, though, I'm pretty sure at least someone high up on the team isn't exactly a fan of the atmospheric method.

 

Having the game broken down into missions makes it more bitesize and easier to jump in and out of, too, which seems geared towards people who don't tend to play it for extended periods of time or just as a quick and spooky time-killer, rather than the old style which flows continuously even between chapters. It's less of a commitment and more digestible, especially now that everything has its own little plot summary right there as you go. It seems designed more to cater to people who do play in short-ish bursts, which I'm pretty sure most of us don't if we have the option, and that may explain why it's so frenetic - to keep these people interested. If you play a lot in one sitting it feels like a chore after a while with how much fighting you have to do, but they were probably afraid of the short burst players stumbling upon a more slowly-paced chapter and getting bored. In the very first chapter you meet Ouse, in the second you essentially have a mini-boss... it's pretty unrelenting, and the slow build seems to have been sacrificed for it. Ghost hands may have slowed the game down quite significantly, but they also act as an artificial tension booster, so even something as mundane as picking up an item means that you're constantly under fire and something is always being thrown at you.

 

So, what does all of that rambling have to do with easter eggs?

 

Perhaps, casual player doesn't want to think, see 'Game Over' screen or to explore his ingame surrondings while he is playing (and he has to if he wants to find easter eggs), the only thing that really matters is actually 'press x to win' and be done with this game so you can move to the next one.

 

Pretty much this is what I'm getting at, yeah. They've very clearly adopted a more linear style at this point. They're aiming for a less hardcore audience these days, and they don't expect them to do very much exploring or hard thinking about things like puzzles, hence why that's been almost totally stripped out. If you're expecting your players to pretty much let the game play itself without taking much or any time to look around, there's very little point spending time putting in breadcrumbs for them to (not) find. Easter eggs only work if you find them, after all. Everything is basically presented straight to you to guarantee that you see it, which might explain the encounter rate being out of this world. Could you imagine them hiding something as carefully as Stroller Grandma's ghost now when it took so many years for even a more hardcore-oriented playerbase to find it (and not without tricks even then)? There would be no point.

 

Whether you think there's been an influx of casuals or not, they make no secret of the fact that this is who they want and expect to be playing. They're going to do things they think this kind of player wants to see. Aside from not sticking around to finish the game if they deem it too hard or slow-paced or whatever, they're probably not very likely to play the post-game content, which is why we got Ayane and why the number of unlockables seems to be practically halving with each new game. I think mission ranks and things like the lens that lets you hear their thoughts might have been put in for the people who actually do stick around, but they only make up a tiny portion of the game and still aren't particularly deep. Sidequests require you to wander around and find things for yourself, which is something that 5 especially seems to bend over backwards to stop people from doing, not to mention that they make the story deeper (which the ghost list shows they're clearly not interested in doing), and god forbid might even require you to do things over multiple chapters and thus make them less segregated and episodic, which also makes jumping in and out harder.

 

To (finally) end, then, I'm pretty sure it's a combination of them viewing easter eggs (and bonus content outside of the main story in general) as pointless given that the audience they want to play the games will probably never find them or give a damn about them if they do, but also them being afraid that the old style of hiding things and building the atmosphere in a more subtle way would make the pacing turn people away, hence the increasingly action-oriented style and apparent attempts to make it even more action-y. Fast-moving gameplay and a constant conveyor belt of instant gratification in the form of in-your-face scares doesn't leave much room. Not many people they're trying to sell the game to want to sit around watching an LP of someone meticulously combing the game map for notes; they want to see screaming and big reactions, like those night cam videos of people shrieking at a screen that are such a popular marketing tactic in this genre. Easter eggs and little wink-nudges don't fit into that, since they're for people who do enjoy getting deeper into a game and therefore are in direct opposition with the people they're targeting, so unless the marketing strategy changes considerably we can probably kiss goodbye to them.

 

Replay value is gone because you're not expected to replay it. Instant gratification and gimmicks up to the eyeballs is the new way. As much as I miss the days of things like dust pictures in mirrors and bloody hands showing in innocent photos, those unfortunately don't market themselves in the way that mutilated ghosts, gimmicky control schemes and seethrough shirts do. In their hurry to constantly shove things in people's faces, they seem to have forgotten how effective a shadow in a window can be.


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#6 OFFLINE   Chrysalis

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Posted 04 June 2016 - 05:26 PM

Greekshadow, I'm not really sure I agree with Alien: Isolation on that point. I admittedly haven't finished it due to only playing it when visiting my cousin, but part of why we haven't gotten very far is that we've been enjoying digging through every nook and cranny in the game, and finding nods and references to the Alien universe. That and I feel like I have to analyze every little thing in the room in order to survive... I've honestly had the exact opposite experience with it that you seem to have had up to this point. :< But that's getting off-topic, so I should get back on the rail.

 

That is so true about reading the notes. While I kinda felt like I was drowning in them in FF3 at times, I wouldn't trade that for lacking them. I just wished they had been spaced out a bit better at times. One of the best thing in all off my older horror games is digging around for notes left behind.

 

I do feel like games that lean more towards the Rune & Hide mechanic end up annoying me more than actually scaring me (which is sad, because my worst nightmares always involve running and hiding). I want to explore, read people's diaries to learn about them, find out more about the world, maybe find funny nods to other games, and have a chance for suspense to build. The latter doesn't happen when you have a canned killer popping out every 30 seconds forcing you to abandon your search and hide (I'm looking at you, Clock Tower 3). It's like a spring-loaded-cat scare in which the spring has broken and the cat keeps popping out. The result is that I don't get any depth in the overall story, and I don't actually have time to become scared. This doesn't really bother me with games like Five Nights at Freddy's, because it's a simpler game and it does what it has set out to accomplish, and I think it has it's place. I want a variety of horror games out there to pick from. But don't act like your horror game has some thrilling story and then refuse to let me delve in to it. If there actually are Easter eggs in those kinds of games, I'll never see them for myself.

 

I openly admit my tolerance level for frustration is a lot lower than it was years ago, but I feel like the easier solution is not to chop things down to small missions but allow easier saving. Let the person playing decide how long they can or can't play. It doesn't actually make encounters easier when you can save before them, but it does reduce frustration if you find yourself dying multiple times (bless the person who said "Hey guys, Reika needs a save-point outside her room. Just sayin'."). I'm not really sure why more freedom with saving hasn't caught on, as it seems like a relatively simple fix (or band-aid at least) to the problem.


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#7 OFFLINE   ナガクラ

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Posted 05 June 2016 - 02:12 PM

Greekshadow, I'm not really sure I agree with Alien: Isolation on that point. I admittedly haven't finished it due to only playing it when visiting my cousin, but part of why we haven't gotten very far is that we've been enjoying digging through every nook and cranny in the game, and finding nods and references to the Alien universe. That and I feel like I have to analyze every little thing in the room in order to survive... I've honestly had the exact opposite experience with it that you seem to have had up to this point. :< But that's getting off-topic, so I should get back on the rail.

 

That is so true about reading the notes. While I kinda felt like I was drowning in them in FF3 at times, I wouldn't trade that for lacking them. I just wished they had been spaced out a bit better at times. One of the best thing in all off my older horror games is digging around for notes left behind.

 

I do feel like games that lean more towards the Rune & Hide mechanic end up annoying me more than actually scaring me (which is sad, because my worst nightmares always involve running and hiding). I want to explore, read people's diaries to learn about them, find out more about the world, maybe find funny nods to other games, and have a chance for suspense to build. The latter doesn't happen when you have a canned killer popping out every 30 seconds forcing you to abandon your search and hide (I'm looking at you, Clock Tower 3). It's like a spring-loaded-cat scare in which the spring has broken and the cat keeps popping out. The result is that I don't get any depth in the overall story, and I don't actually have time to become scared. This doesn't really bother me with games like Five Nights at Freddy's, because it's a simpler game and it does what it has set out to accomplish, and I think it has it's place. I want a variety of horror games out there to pick from. But don't act like your horror game has some thrilling story and then refuse to let me delve in to it. If there actually are Easter eggs in those kinds of games, I'll never see them for myself.

 

I openly admit my tolerance level for frustration is a lot lower than it was years ago, but I feel like the easier solution is not to chop things down to small missions but allow easier saving. Let the person playing decide how long they can or can't play. It doesn't actually make encounters easier when you can save before them, but it does reduce frustration if you find yourself dying multiple times (bless the person who said "Hey guys, Reika needs a save-point outside her room. Just sayin'."). I'm not really sure why more freedom with saving hasn't caught on, as it seems like a relatively simple fix (or band-aid at least) to the problem.

Yeah I thought comparing Alien Isolation to something like FNAF was unfair. Only fans of the films (or at least the first one) would appreciate it than the casual players. It was heavenly detailed and close to the film's atmosphere which it captured it very well (that sound track was amazing). About the "holding your hand" part I would have to disagree with Greek. Even to this day I find myself lost trying to play the game (still haven't finished it 1 year later). I have the game set on easy and its still pretty hard. Fatal Frame 1 being the first to scare me Alien Isolation happened to be the game to scare me since Fatal Frame 1 while I dont scare very easily. The game on it's own is scary and it DOES reward you for exploring even while you have an Alien looking for you. You wouldn't be able to upgrade anything if you didn't and would have a harder time later on.

I think my tolerance has went down too in recent years too 


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