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Ori & the Will of the Wisps: How Moon Studios aims to 'perfect the Metroidvania genre'


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https://www.dailystar.co.uk/tech/gaming/713840/Ori-the-Will-of-the-Wisps-How-Moon-Studios-aims-to-perfect-the-Metroidvania-genre

 

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“A lot of what we’re doing with Will of the Wisps is trying to perfect the genre, perfect Metroidvania. We looked at a lot of games that have come out since the first Ori - Hollow Knight, Axiom Verge - and studied them and researched them," explains Thomas Mahler, CEO of the Vienna-based Austrian Moon Studios.

 

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The Spirit Shards “give Ori new dimension and depth”: passive abilities can be added like compasses, or active abilities can be granted, too - like extra damage to your bow’s projectiles.

 

The difference to Hollow Knight is, in Ori you can upgrade these Shards and make them more powerful over time, giving you greater control over your ‘build’ and allowing you the freedom to really double down on getting the kind of platformer experience you want out of the game.

 

“An influence behind this is actually Diablo,” Mahler reveals. “A lot of us grew up playing Diablo, and it’s really cool to play as the Paladin or the Rogue and be able to go back and have different playstyles each time. Ori has replayability, we wanted to use that and let you think about your build every time you play."

 

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“Also, physicality is everywhere - everything is alive. Everything you stand on, everything you interact with, it moves in time with Ori, in place in the world. It took a very long time to do, but we’re really happy with the results and how it looks. It looks so much better than just being static you know?”

 

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"You know my favourite part of a Metroidvania game?" asks Mahler. "It's when the lightbulb goes off... when you get an ability or figure something out and you can say 'ah! Yes! I know exactly where to go!"

 

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Eh, shards that "do extra damage" are the most boring kinds of upgrades. The perfect Metroidvania for me wouldn't have you wasting any time with boring shit like +5 missiles or +2 damage. Every single item you found would change the gameplay in a meaningful way, give you new options in both combat and exploration. The rest sounds interesting, but boring upgrades have become more and more tedious as I've played more and more games.

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7 minutes ago, Xbob42 said:

Eh, shards that "do extra damage" are the most boring kinds of upgrades. The perfect Metroidvania for me wouldn't have you wasting any time with boring shit like +5 missiles or +2 damage. Every single item you found would change the gameplay in a meaningful way, give you new options in both combat and exploration. The rest sounds interesting, but boring upgrades have become more and more tedious as I've played more and more games.

 

So, you're not a fan of Diablo 2?

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6 minutes ago, SFLUFAN said:

It was a novel idea 18 years ago :p

 

I think the core gameplay still holds up and I think other than the graphics and other polish-like details is better than D3. Plenty of modern RPGs also still have ability upgrades and are still enjoyable. When done right, this kind of mechanic affords a lot of character strategy.

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17 minutes ago, legend said:

 

So, you're not a fan of Diablo 2?

No. I'm not a fan of Diablo at all. Stat upgrades are the least interesting form of progression I can imagine. (I know Diablo has plenty of actually-interesting upgrades, I just don't like the gameplay.) It still carries some satisfaction if the piece looks really cool, but the most exciting pieces of gear or upgrades in any game for me will always be traversal changes. Like the upgrade in Axiom Verge that allows you to phase through walls.

 

It completely changes how you look at the every area in the game. In that sense, the "light bulb" explanation above I agree with very much. I hope Ori isn't full of super obvious "here's some weird bulb floating in the air leading to an area you can't reach" level design. It's a small thing, but suspecting that you can get somewhere else is way more exciting than 100% knowing for sure. Or having a simple, hard-to-notice thing like the spacing of walls be a certain distance like with the Axiom Verge example.

 

The more it really is a light bulb moment, the more exciting and memorable it becomes. Whereas +2 to diddling feels like they were obligated to put something there.

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11 minutes ago, Xbob42 said:

No. I'm not a fan of Diablo at all. Stat upgrades are the least interesting form of progression I can imagine. (I know Diablo has plenty of actually-interesting upgrades, I just don't like the gameplay.) It still carries some satisfaction if the piece looks really cool, but the most exciting pieces of gear or upgrades in any game for me will always be traversal changes. Like the upgrade in Axiom Verge that allows you to phase through walls.

 

It completely changes how you look at the every area in the game. In that sense, the "light bulb" explanation above I agree with very much. I hope Ori isn't full of super obvious "here's some weird bulb floating in the air leading to an area you can't reach" level design. It's a small thing, but suspecting that you can get somewhere else is way more exciting than 100% knowing for sure. Or having a simple, hard-to-notice thing like the spacing of walls be a certain distance like with the Axiom Verge example.

 

The more it really is a light bulb moment, the more exciting and memorable it becomes. Whereas +2 to diddling feels like they were obligated to put something there.

 

The new abilities should absolutely be included too, no disagreement there. But stat upgrades are not as meaningless as you make it sound if it's done right. In a good system where there are non-linear interactions between your set of abilities and their strength, it affords a huge strategy space with very different outcomes. Diablo 2 excelled at this, both in its skill and equipment. My friend and I played for a really long time because we had a lot of fun coming up with very novel character builds and seeing the consequences (especially in PvP for D2). The way our final version of a Sorceress played was radically different than other players at the time, and it was incredibly satisfying to crush people with a very different play style than they were used to.

 

The difference is these effects usually take a while to manifest. A single upgrade point won't do a lot to change your play, no. But by the time you've invested a bunch, it can make a huge satisfying difference.

 

Again, if it's a we'll done system.

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Which is all fine, except this is a Metroidvania. :p

 

I cannot fathom spending enough time in a game of this genre to have meaningful builds --which are especially less interesting in a single-player environment--  but I'd love to be proven wrong.

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3 hours ago, Xbob42 said:

Eh, shards that "do extra damage" are the most boring kinds of upgrades. The perfect Metroidvania for me wouldn't have you wasting any time with boring shit like +5 missiles or +2 damage. Every single item you found would change the gameplay in a meaningful way, give you new options in both combat and exploration. The rest sounds interesting, but boring upgrades have become more and more tedious as I've played more and more games.

 

I mean doesn't that already kind of come with Metroidvanias? I mean not every single item, but typically every upgrade found from a boss or after a boss affects the game in a large way, exploration wise and gameplay wise.

I feel like this shard thing is just a little something on top to let you add a little extra damage if you like that or a little faster dash to attune to your play style a little better.

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3 hours ago, Xbob42 said:

Which is all fine, except this is a Metroidvania. :p

 

I cannot fathom spending enough time in a game of this genre to have meaningful builds --which are especially less interesting in a single-player environment--  but I'd love to be proven wrong.

 

Just because its Metroidvania doesn't mean they can't try to add other elements into it.

 

Multiplayer is certainly where this kind of stuff is more important, but it could make the game more replayable if done well, especially for the speed run folk. It could also be done poorly and not matter :p 

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1 hour ago, legend said:

 

Just because its Metroidvania doesn't mean they can't try to add other elements into it.

 

Multiplayer is certainly where this kind of stuff is more important, but it could make the game more replayable if done well, especially for the speed run folk. It could also be done poorly and not matter :p 

As a matter of concern, I wonder how they could effectively pull this off without muddying up and slowing down the game with a bunch of minute choices. Am I going to be spending a long time in stat windows, trying to deduce the best build? If it's too simple, then "builds" likely won't have enough nuance to matter for high-end players, if it's too complex, it'll be a slog that most players will want to ignore. Again, with this particular genre you're not gonna be in the world for 200+ hours like in Diablo 2 (and that's on the light side) -- you're gonna be in for your standard 15-40 hour affair, and 40 is usually pushing it. And Metroidvania style combat is usually pretty simplistic, so stat choices for simple combat seems like they'd have to likewise be simplistic.

 

I'm mostly just viewing this mentally as the first game but with enhanced systems, and I'm not able to find the sweet spot in my head. Obviously I'm not a team of talented designers, so maybe I'm just not creative enough to see it, but I've become more and more skeptical of changes of this nature without a clear outline of how they're beneficial to the game as a whole. It almost comes across as checkbox marking.

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1 hour ago, Xbob42 said:

As a matter of concern, I wonder how they could effectively pull this off without muddying up and slowing down the game with a bunch of minute choices. Am I going to be spending a long time in stat windows, trying to deduce the best build? If it's too simple, then "builds" likely won't have enough nuance to matter for high-end players, if it's too complex, it'll be a slog that most players will want to ignore. Again, with this particular genre you're not gonna be in the world for 200+ hours like in Diablo 2 (and that's on the light side) -- you're gonna be in for your standard 15-40 hour affair, and 40 is usually pushing it. And Metroidvania style combat is usually pretty simplistic, so stat choices for simple combat seems like they'd have to likewise be simplistic.

 

I'm mostly just viewing this mentally as the first game but with enhanced systems, and I'm not able to find the sweet spot in my head. Obviously I'm not a team of talented designers, so maybe I'm just not creative enough to see it, but I've become more and more skeptical of changes of this nature without a clear outline of how they're beneficial to the game as a whole. It almost comes across as checkbox marking.

 

I doubt it would slow it down. I think worst case it's not meaningful. Best case is it does change the way you tackle the combat and has impacts for people going for speed runs or similar achievements.

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