Tuesday, July 21, 2009

goal sequencing

I started replaying Saints Row 2 the other day. One feature that stands out is the relation of Missions and Activities to each other. The order in which you tackle these challenges makes a big difference.

Completing Activities (Fight Club, Heli Assault, Drug Trafficking, etc) unlocks performance bonuses and adjusts gameplay. Finishing some makes rival gangs and cops forget about you quicker. Completing others increases melee damage, makes vehicles you drive tougher, or gives you discounts at particular stores.

On top of this, the player chooses the order in which weapons are acquired through purchase. Also, one's collection of vehicles affects how some missions and activities play out. Completing Missions gains one territories that generate money to buy these weapons and vehicle customizations, so tackling Activities before Missions isn't a no-brainer.

Offering so many choices and making the sequence of those choices really matter helps greatly to personalize gameplay, offering one player experiences which are different from another player's experiences. It's the combination of unique experiences and common references, resulting in something new but understandable, that makes people inclined to share their stories with others. The sequence of events can be a powerful dynamic.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed Saints Row 2 and noticed this as well. I made it my goal to try and do a story mission then some side missions before going back to story missions. I liked the story missions a lot more, but forcing myself to do some side missions really gave me a much more balanced play-through.

    In the end I think I finished several of the side missions and at least got all of the ones I didn't finish to level 4 before I finished the story.


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