Meaningless decisions can frustrate players Edit

If you interrupt gameplay to offer players a choice that cannot be taken back, the choice had better matter. Offering decisions with little feedback for the ramifications can leave players confused. "What did I just do? Did that even matter?" aren't always questions you want your player to express. If there is little feedback or little change in the outcome because of the choice, perhaps the choice doesn't deserve as much attention. Pay attention to the choices you offer players, and how the decision-making process makes your player feel.

Examples Edit

Bastion Edit


Does this choice even matter???

In Bastion, the player is presented with a seemingly MOMENTOUS choice on two occasions. For your first major decision (which happens quite close to the end) you must decide between rescuing Zulf, who has mysteriously and inexplicably denounced the Bastion, and picking up a MaSsiVE new weapon called the Battering Ram as you walk through an onslaught of Ura warriors. I was feeling a silly sense of responsibility, so I first chose to save Zulf and leave the battering ram. I half-expected to get some reward for performing a somewhat sacrificial and selfless act. Strangely… nothing impactful seemed to come of that. Fine, I thought, you don’t always get rewarded for doing what’s right, this game is doing it right… maybe. On my second play-through, I chose to get the battering ram and leave Zulf to see what else might happen, thinking, maybe I’ll get to use the Ram in the arsenal! But no. I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between the outcomes, and perhaps something in fact did change between play-throughs, but I didn’t notice. This left me feeling like my choices didn’t matter, which is exactly the opposite of what I expect in games. First I felt disillusioned, and at this point I felt confused and scared. Neither of these things are ever something you want your game player to experience.

I would suggest somehow making the impact of your choices clearer. Perhaps allow us to upgrade the ram in the arsenal! Maybe have Zulf come back to the Bastion and learn more about the story in Bastion! Whatever they could have done to make you feel the impact of your decisions, it should have been something more than what they gave, which was ambiguous if not absent. Either play up the consequences, or play down the decision and don’t pause the game and introduce a new window. When you design games, make sure the choices you offer players have clear consequences, and make sure that insignificant choices you offer players don't stand out.

Doom 3 Edit

In Doom 3, the player is offered the critical choice of sending a transmission to call for back-up or to cancel the transmission completely. This event seems out of place in the game because it does not alter the player's play-through in any way and is the only "important" choice presented to the player in the whole game.


Catherine Edit

Another example that frustrated me was the choices presented to me in Catherine. Throughout the game, many choices between choosing being faithful to Catherine and Katherine and I would always lean one direction. However, after each mission, it would revert back to whatever narrative the game wanted to pursue and ignored all of my choices.

Screenshot catherine5
Until Dawn

I feel Until dawn is a good example with how often it gives player a false sense of choice when any of the outcome is the same. for example in the start you have 3 choices, choice 1 drop sister to save your self, choice 2 let go, choice 3 do nothing. all three of this choices leads to you dying the same way.