The responses everyone posted to yesterday’s request for more games that handle the concept of player death in interesting ways are pretty great. So thanks for those. Granted, a lot of them are games I already knew about but which slipped my mind — senility, and all that. Others, though, I’d never known about. I am eager to try some of them out.
But first! First I have to finish playing through Final Fantasy XIII for review. FFXIII takes a pretty fascinating approach to death in that it’s a mere interruption. Lose in a battle, you’re kicked right back to where you were immediately before the battle began, no worse for the wear. It works pretty well, because rather than neutering the game’s sense of challenge it emboldened the developers to make individual battles more difficult; I’ve lost more battles in 18 hours of FFXIII than I did in the course of who knows how many hundreds of hours of Final Fantasy VII through XII. It’s never frustrating. Sometimes annoying, sure, but in just about every instance it’s my own stupid fault for getting careless or taking too many risks. It’s a fine example of developers thinking about how death works in their game and deciding to go with a fairly mundane expression of it — but building an interesting experience around something which could have completely undermined the game.
Saving’s another story, though. Given the loss of real setbacks and the density of save points, I kind of wonder why they didn’t just go with a save-anywhere system. As it is, you rarely go more than about five battles between save stations. They feel like a formality, something the team included simply because that’s how these things are done rather than because they were necessary.
Anyway! I expect to submit GameSpite Quarterly 4 for a press proof tomorrow. I just need to write the foreword and the interior will be complete. I’ve yet to decide on a cover, though, but that can wait until I’m finished with copy edits. As it stands, I fully expect the next issue to be available for purchase by about March 5, which almost exactly three months after the last issue went on sale. I guess it won’t be late after all, provided the InDesign/PDF workflow works out the way it’s supposed to. Here’s hoping.