QUOTE (3rr3 @ Oct 2 2012, 01:38 PM)
In my opinion the best opening is the video of FF8: Seifer and Squall struggles in a deadly battle, pursued by thir pride.
And then it results in nothing what so ever, because that fight is explained to be them just training. And moreover the intro was confusing as fuck anyway, and that was just one tiny fragment of it surrounded by a metric ton of pointless love-story drama (You know how else you can turn off the player to an RPG? Giving them a protagonist they don't like who wields an incredibly impractical weapon, and then rewarding them with a love story that didn't so much develop as it did punch you in the face at mach 10).
If you wanted something jarring and confusing like THAT, then put it before the title screen. Yes, you can do that (In XP/VX/VXa, anyway).
And the intro doesn't end until you say it ends, take your time with it. Establish how the story is being told, from a first-person or third-person perspective, and keep it being told that way. Establish an immediate grounding plot in the opening scenes, against a panning background of some sort to emulate dramatic movement -- Make the game seem epic from the starting line, and follow every RPG from the Snes for clear examples. If we're meant to focus on a specific individual, or group of people, you can stop the camera from moving and focus on them. But if our focus is meant to be drawn to a much larger area, such as the overworld, a war, the insides of a shrine, or whatever; pan the screen so I can see it all, and so it feels like it means something. If you're afraid to do this because these scenes are small, then the player will KNOW they're small, and quickly run out of reason to care. (If your RPG doesn't involve saving the world, or a war, or something 'larger than life', then you could possibly redact this. But you still need something to keep our attention to the screen itself.)
But the worst things I've seen an RPG do is try to emulate regular speech in dialog form by adding tons of pauses in the dialog window itself, such as during ellipses, or between dialog windows themselves without any character movement in the background. You should think of the dialog windows more akin to a comic than an emulation of real life -- I should be able to read at my own pace, and skip through at my luxury. Of course, this applies to the entire game and not just the introduction, but if it's present in the intro I sure as heck aren't wasting my time beyond that.
Something else you can add in XP/VX/VXa is the ability to skip
cutscenes outright. Adding designated labels to events when the cutscene ends, and adding a new button control in the script so the player can jump ahead if they've read the dialog before. Press once and an on-screen cue asks to confirm (just the word "Skip?" somewhere), and pressing again within the span of a few seconds will fade-to-black and drop you off at the end of the scene.
A favorite opening scene of mine as of recently is the game Radiant Historia. It's established two warring countries have been fighting for a good while, and you in particular are a special agent for one of them. The dude in charge of you gives you a white book off-handedly 'for good luck', and assigned a couple of mercenaries under your command. You go from there to a field just south of town meant to meet with an enemy spy and return him to the city safely.
So you find the spy fleeing from the enemy, and you fend them off, and run off with the spy. Shortly afterward however, you run into a north/south crossroad, and archers from the south snipe and take out the spy. Mission fail, but the protagonist explains to the mercenaries that they need to at least get home to tell them of the news of the spy's downfall.
Southern road is blocked off, so they head north -- into an ambush. Your team is brutalized by 9999 damage attacks, and unlike other fake-gameovers, you're pretty fucked. Your protagonist jumps off a bridge and washes up downstream, badly beaten and on the verge of death.
Two children show to him, and tell him he's the holder of the "White Chronicle", a book whose pages are historybound and can govern the flow of time. Through their instruction, he uses it to travel back in time to a point immediately before the spy's assassination and prevents it, then opts to find a way past the southern blockade instead, getting himself and his allies and the spy out of the area and back to the city safely.
Also? They all act HUMAN
, the protagonist is INTELLIGENT
(After the mission he's visited by the two children again, and the first thing he asks is if he's able to travel through time at will. This is not the case, as he can only travel to important decisions in time), and HE SAVED THE LIVES OF EVERYONE INVOLVED IN HIS MISSION
. Because HE
care. Simple as that (also time-travel, but mostly the protagonist not being a douche)
This post has been edited by ZarroTsu: Oct 18 2012, 03:51 AM