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Mutually Exclusive Choices

Something I've noticed about major choices in games is that their inclusion will also require players to work a little more to get the "whole" game, even as they add excitement and engagement.
  • Branched evolutions give the player different directions they can aim for with their Pokemon, but will require them to raise/evolve many more to complete their PokeDex.
  • Choices between Pokemon (version exclusives, starters, fossils, etc) make the Pokemon more special, but require the player to trade to complete the PokeDex. (which can be tricky for legendaries)
  • Choices that affect the story are a commonly loved feature in games, but to see the entire story of the game, players have to play through the whole game again. (and, in games with branching off paths, again and again and again...)

What do you think is the ideal balance between the two? What can be done to make the extra effort feel more like gameplay and less like work? (I personally think the Eeveelutions vast array of evolution methods, plus their lack of level requirement to evolve, makes them a fun task even with eight Pokemon to obtain!)
I think in general this is a pretty good thing, it adds uniqueness to one's play through and also allows more discussion about the game. To see how people's play throughs were different because they made different choices would be interesting. In the context of story choices, I think many players would be happy to leave it at 1 play through and be happy with it, because it was 'their' ending.

This is going a bit wider than Pokemon, but in Fallout New Vegas there is a part were you have a choice to do side quests and align with a number of factions, or just go straight to the end. Lots of people I have talked about this with were quite sad/disappointed, because they would start to do the side quests, but doing them all takes a while, and so they would say "screw it" and go to the final boss before befriending all the factions. This leads to a different/worse ending, and I think this is a great example of what you mean when you say adding more choices adds more work. Because this sort of choice makes the player feel the need to do the extra work, even if it is optional.

So there does need to be some sort of balance if you are doing a choice like that. I think you just need to stop it before it feels like a chore. If the eevees evolved at level 40 or 50, that wouldn't be any fun at all, so that is something you need to watch out for.


Have they found the One Piece yet
This isn't really what you asked but I think it's sometimes interesting to see what (or if) types of gamers go down what types of routes. Like, do the super-aggressive people go straight for the Espeon, while the more analytical people go for the Vaporeon?

. . . or, you know, they've played all of the options except for Glaceon and just want to see how that goes. Maybe the Eevee example wasn't the best. I'll edit if I think of a better example later.


I was going to say the eevee line sounds like what you want. Though if that's true it'd have to be common knowledge or explained to the player at some point that their pokemon has the ability to do that.
Another thing I like about some of the pokemon games when I was learning what moves I like and what mons I liked was the rental system for battling in some sort of arena like area. So even if you add fakemon with differnt evolution routes there's a place you can test them while making it exciting if you some how tie a story into it. Lets say you start off with your protag at preschool and Ex Champion Lance shows up and has all the kiddies barrow a new evolutionary line poke and after you have fought every kid with various types of this evolution you get to fight Lance with it. He'd only have at most a dragonair and both pokes are level 100 just to get another taste, unless you want them to fight a tanky dragonite. That's just an example so the player knows early on about his/her/their options.

As for choices that effect story.
Don't tease me

I remember way back when in blue, red, yellow when you're given the option to join Team Rocket. Why not yes? I understand that'd be major and you'd have to change so many switches and variables from being someone who tries to stop them vs someone working to help them, to someone who says they're helping them only to destroy them from the inside. There's a lot of possibilities and sadly it's had to please everyone while having so many options in play.

There is something I want in my game that might go better in line with what you mean by choices but it's a fairly simple one.

At some point I wanted my protag to find a legendary (preferably trio) locked up and being experimented on. So they can either let one out killing the other two and that one joins their party. OR they let them all go so they become roaming pokes (This sets up another chain where it's a 5/10 chance it ends up killing all three because you don't know how to operate this machine you silly 11 year old, also save next time, I'm mean some days XD) OR insert other possibility here

Still I love branching stories however the time it takes to code them to make sure switches and veriables don't conflict each other is a nuisance, It's best used when you're making a game and having it come out as eposadic so the two or three choices you have are resolved in that 'update' and later on you can have events says if they did this C happens instead of A and B. But again that takes a lot of time, but it is less taxing, but tends to lead to smaller games.So even though everyone loves this idea it's hard to actually do, but boy, if you can do it, more power to you and it's likely we'll be talking about your fan game for years to come, and it'll be taken down by nintendo/gamefreak for being amazing, but don't worry we'll root for you anyway XD. All joking aside, making a game with consequence and different routes would take a lot time, but in the end I think it would be well worth it.


As for choices that effect story.
Don't tease me

This is my number one goal in the game I'm working on right now. Comprehensive story-altering dynamic choices, but holy wow saying it's time consuming is an understatement. Stay tuned. For the next 10 years probably.