Double Fine: Massive Chalice's Permadeath Will Be "Tough But Fair"

Double Fine: Massive Chalice's Permadeath Will Be "Tough But Fair"

Massive Chalice

Co-creator Brad Muir thinks players would "enjoy" permadeath if they "gave it a chance."

One of the established tenets of most videogames is that death isn't permanent. If Mario falls down a hole or Sonic drowns in purple water, you can count on them having extra lives so you can try again. There are some games, however, that buck the trend and make death permanent. Rush into a room full of terrorists in Rainbow Six and you can kiss that soldier goodbye. Take that Pegasus Knight too close to an archer in Fire Emblem and you'll be forced to watch as they're turned into a bloody, winged pin cushion.

Often, in these games and others, your only recourse for saving a downed unit is to start the whole level over and try again. Brad Muir is intent on taking that option away. The man at the helm of Double Fine's Massive Chalice, which recently ended its successful Kickstarter campaign, he hopes to implement permanent death in deep new ways. "I think that people are really missing out on a cool "monkey wrench" when they avoid permadeath," said Muir. "Monkey wrenches force the player to think on their feet. The player crafts a plan within the system and then the plan is put to the test. If you know the system very well, without randomized events happening you would probably win every time."

According to Muir, the loss of a valued character can represent exactly that kind of unexpected event. In turn, Massive Chalice will integrate loss on a fundamental level. While death in battle is always a possibility, the in-game passage of time will also inevitably force heroes the player may count on to age, grow old and die. "Losing a key character that you relied on creates amazing gameplay where you really have to approach the game in a different way. The player has to experiment with new strategies and think about the entire system in new ways." While there is perhaps a chance that forced permadeath could turn off the sort of gamers that never like to lose a unit, Muir is confident Massive Chalice can win players over. "I think that a lot of the players that go to great lengths to avoid permadeath would actually enjoy it if they gave it a chance! I hope that with Massive Chalice we can make the permadeath feel tough but fair."

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Heh, reminds me of the true heroes of Rainbow Six:Raven Shield, Backup Assault Troopers 2, 5, 11 and 17.

ah crap i knew i forgot to fund something. ah well time to wait for release before i get it

wombat_of_war:
ah crap i knew i forgot to fund something. ah well time to wait for release before i get it

Still can. www.massivechalice.com/back

It worked for Fire Emblem, it worked for Valkyria Chronicles and it worked for Jagged Alliance so it should work for this too. I´m starting to look forward to this game, good TBS games are a rare find these days, i think Disgaea D2 is the only one i´m looking forward to this year in the genre, so hopefully this will be great.

so glad i backed this

really looking forward to playing it, even if these ideas dont work, i'm glad to have backed something that tried to break the mould, if only a little

I've always enjoyed games that feature perma-death. For one, they engage the player on a level that games without permadeath simply can't, that level being the ability to actually instill a true sense of loss. Beyond that they truly test the strategic mind because, obviously, if you want to AVOID losing characters to permadeath, you've got to be pretty confident in your plan moving forward so as not to lose anyone. I like that kind of challenge, one of my favorite things about the original Rainbow 6 on the PC was the "plan your assault" part at the beginning of every level where you literally plan the route your strike teams are going to take, telling them where to hold and wait for code-words before breaching a door and moving on. Trying to come up with an assault plan so that all your men can make it home to their families in one piece was a lot of fun.

This old-age and death concept seems interesting.

I do hope you can 'retire' old heroes instead of sending them out till they fall.

I dunno... If The Sims the first Fable taught me anything, irreversible passage of time is a topic that really makes me sad and desperate, which isn't good if your game is non-horror.

I'll wait and see.

Your heroes will eventually die of old age in Massive Chalice anyway, so I can't see permadeath being that big of an issue for people that normally dislike it.

And there goes any hope I had for this game.
Why the hell isn't this permadeath feature optional?
It's the same shit as FTL, it took more work and fucked up the save feature that the game had just because its developer didn't want to give the players the option. Meanwhile we can still have permanent saves in the game as long as you remember to manually copy your save files, it just adds extra annoyance.
I foresee the same happening to this game.

Its a real bummer, I was looking forward to this game but now I know I'll never even bother with it.

Valderis:
And there goes any hope I had for this game.
Why the hell isn't this permadeath feature optional?
It's the same shit as FTL, it took more work and fucked up the save feature that the game had just because its developer didn't want to give the players the option. Meanwhile we can still have permanent saves in the game as long as you remember to manually copy your save files, it just adds extra annoyance.
I foresee the same happening to this game.

Its a real bummer, I was looking forward to this game but now I know I'll never even bother with it.

Wow.. way to let the developers of a game design a game that they want to design...

if it's not your cup of tea, don't play/buy it. Or play it and THEN make a call on it. Until then, let the artists you know.. create their artwork?

Mayhap you should have gone back in time and told Da Vinci you should have had an option to see the mona lisa with a boob out or something...

Sorry, i might be a little hostile here, but i'm tired of people bitching about how things are shit before they are even finished being made, or bitching because every game isn't tailored to their specific wants.

Not everything is for everyone. Plain and simple.

Ed130:
This old-age and death concept seems interesting.

I do hope you can 'retire' old heroes instead of sending them out till they fall.

You'll be able to retire heroes so they can have children who will then carry on their character traits.

WWmelb:

Wow.. way to let the developers of a game design a game that they want to design...

if it's not your cup of tea, don't play/buy it. Or play it and THEN make a call on it. Until then, let the artists you know.. create their artwork?

Mayhap you should have gone back in time and told Da Vinci you should have had an option to see the mona lisa with a boob out or something...

Sorry, i might be a little hostile here, but i'm tired of people bitching about how things are shit before they are even finished being made, or bitching because every game isn't tailored to their specific wants.

Not everything is for everyone. Plain and simple.

Your comparison to Da Vinci is idiotic, a cursory glance at a site like rule34 proves it is also flawed as there is indeed benefit to alternate artwork options. You can find many pictures who have slight differences but are otherwise identical, some pictures of the same girl give her a dick, others add sperm shots or gore or anything else fans of the artist would like to see or anything else the artist himself would like to see different. It adds value without losing anything, that's the benefit of the digital medium.

The problem with permadeath, or rather the exclusion of a normal save function is that it is forced upon everyone without this needing to be the case. And saying that this interferes with someone's artistic vision if fucking retarded because we are talking about a game, not a work of art. (yes, yes, games are art I know, but they are games first and they have to be functional devices of entertainment before being art) Don't you understand that in order to have a save feature in a game with permadeath requires the creation of a perfectly normal save feature which you then have to add extra's to in order to make it compatible with its permadeath feature? This would not be a problem as you could simply have both save features, but this just isn't good enough for some developers. Some go the extra mile and fuck over people that don't happen to like permadeath because they force it on you anyway, even though it's entirely unnecessary and it leaves you with a less-then-desirable save feature.

You're right, its not for everyone, so why would you force it on everyone?

All it takes is a few lines of code that add a check box that asks if you want to play with permadeath on or off, is that some much trouble? Is that impeding anyone's artistic vision?

Also you do realize that because they force permadeath you are going to end up with a unreliable save feature right? If your power goes out during play you lose everything because your savegame is deleted after you load it, if you accidentally close the game you lose everything for the same reason, if you pause the game to go to the bathroom and you kid exists your current game you lose everything for the same reason. There are people that don't want to deal with shit like this.

What I don't understand is why we can't live side by side in harmony, have permadeath be optional and everybody is happy. I'm actually surprised that permadeath is in so few games, it doesn't take much effort to make it work and it opens the game up to an entirely new way of experiencing it. Lots of people enjoy it so it can only add value to any game, as long as it is optional.

Valderis:
Also you do realize that because they force permadeath you are going to end up with a unreliable save feature right? If your power goes out during play you lose everything because your savegame is deleted after you load it, if you accidentally close the game you lose everything for the same reason, if you pause the game to go to the bathroom and you kid exists your current game you lose everything for the same reason. There are people that don't want to deal with shit like this.

What? Surely it'll just not let you quit without saving, and if the power goes or whatever then it'll just have your old save? I mean that's how Ironman mode works on XCOM, and that's a big influence on this game.

Genocidicles:

Valderis:
Also you do realize that because they force permadeath you are going to end up with a unreliable save feature right? If your power goes out during play you lose everything because your savegame is deleted after you load it, if you accidentally close the game you lose everything for the same reason, if you pause the game to go to the bathroom and you kid exists your current game you lose everything for the same reason. There are people that don't want to deal with shit like this.

What? Surely it'll just not let you quit without saving, and if the power goes or whatever then it'll just have your old save? I mean that's how Ironman mode works on XCOM, and that's a big influence on this game.

Yup, some developers are more shit then others, Double Fine is not exactly know for quality games, fun games yes but not quality games. Remember Psychonauts? Fun game but bugged up the ass. And that's not their only game that has problems.

Still, even if this won't be the case you are still stuck with a sup-par save feature which is entirely unnecessary.

We really need some kind of quality control on games and their developers. As it stands we aren't even allowed to choose the directory of where we store our saved games, no game does this, not for profile information either. It's something that literally any other piece of software has to do by default or there would be open revolt against it but not so for games. Games and and its industry is still so infantile and lacks so far behind in standards its sickening.

Actually, the saves don't delete themselves when you reload. Death is inevitable, but there's nothing stopping you from save scumming to prevent deaths from battles. If you want to reload over and over until you play a game where no one dies on the battlefield, that's a perfectly good option.

As it stands, I'm really excited for this game! I've enjoyed every Double Fine game I've played, and Brad Muir's optimism during the Kickstarter was really infectious. I'm looking forward to Massive Chalice, and seeing how it develops from here on out. Especially since they'll be doing livestreams every two weeks to show the progress they've made so far!

Not a big fan of permadeath in general.

Allready disliked it on the monster rancher games because everytime you finaly got your char/monster to a desirable point in the game it just dies or has to be retired.

But i think ill wait for more info on this.

One problem i see with this thought is that perma death has a huge impact on the story narative.

Meaning that the heros will just be bland personality devoid puppets for you to control and the story just plays along with your heros being simply replacable whatshisnames.

I like my characters with character please and that is something you cant do if perma death lurks around every corner.

I think you missed the "carrot" part of what Brad was saying.

When a character dies, they leave behind a legacy - not only by way of their children, but also in the form of powerful personal aritfacts, which will be passed down their line of descendants (assuming you recover them), and which, in addition to the preservation of their bloodline and the knowledge of the inevitability of time, may help soften the blow somewhat, and make the character live on, in a way, figuratively fighting alongside their grandchildren.

Valderis:

WWmelb:

Wow.. way to let the developers of a game design a game that they want to design...

if it's not your cup of tea, don't play/buy it. Or play it and THEN make a call on it. Until then, let the artists you know.. create their artwork?

Mayhap you should have gone back in time and told Da Vinci you should have had an option to see the mona lisa with a boob out or something...

Sorry, i might be a little hostile here, but i'm tired of people bitching about how things are shit before they are even finished being made, or bitching because every game isn't tailored to their specific wants.

Not everything is for everyone. Plain and simple.

Your comparison to Da Vinci is idiotic, a cursory glance at a site like rule34 proves it is also flawed as there is indeed benefit to alternate artwork options. You can find many pictures who have slight differences but are otherwise identical, some pictures of the same girl give her a dick, others add sperm shots or gore or anything else fans of the artist would like to see or anything else the artist himself would like to see different. It adds value without losing anything, that's the benefit of the digital medium.

The problem with permadeath, or rather the exclusion of a normal save function is that it is forced upon everyone without this needing to be the case. And saying that this interferes with someone's artistic vision if fucking retarded because we are talking about a game, not a work of art. (yes, yes, games are art I know, but they are games first and they have to be functional devices of entertainment before being art) Don't you understand that in order to have a save feature in a game with permadeath requires the creation of a perfectly normal save feature which you then have to add extra's to in order to make it compatible with its permadeath feature? This would not be a problem as you could simply have both save features, but this just isn't good enough for some developers. Some go the extra mile and fuck over people that don't happen to like permadeath because they force it on you anyway, even though it's entirely unnecessary and it leaves you with a less-then-desirable save feature.

You're right, its not for everyone, so why would you force it on everyone?

All it takes is a few lines of code that add a check box that asks if you want to play with permadeath on or off, is that some much trouble? Is that impeding anyone's artistic vision?

Also you do realize that because they force permadeath you are going to end up with a unreliable save feature right? If your power goes out during play you lose everything because your savegame is deleted after you load it, if you accidentally close the game you lose everything for the same reason, if you pause the game to go to the bathroom and you kid exists your current game you lose everything for the same reason. There are people that don't want to deal with shit like this.

What I don't understand is why we can't live side by side in harmony, have permadeath be optional and everybody is happy. I'm actually surprised that permadeath is in so few games, it doesn't take much effort to make it work and it opens the game up to an entirely new way of experiencing it. Lots of people enjoy it so it can only add value to any game, as long as it is optional.

Some people want to give options or alternate artwork or whatever. some don't.

If the save feature is unreliable, then that is bad coding, and should be called out upon. Because a previous game had a faulty save system, does not mean this one will.

Permadeath is their vision for the game. If it bites them in the ass with bad sales, then they may need to rethink their visions in future, You have no right beyond not buying the game to tell them they HAVE to cater to everyone.

If they want to appeal to a niche market, then that is fine and dandy. I applaud them for taking a risk or two and trying to give something fresh.

@Valderis - Just want to clarify something real quick. We're planning to support both save/reload and "Ironman" styles of play in MASSIVE CHALICE, very similar to XCOM.

If you're not happy losing your heroes in battle you can reload and try again! I recognize that this is preference and that some players are uncomfortable with losing their favorite heroes this way.

But! MASSIVE CHALICE differs from other games in that there's no way around the aging process. Your heroes will eventually grow too old and pass away. So in this way, permadeath is enforced for all players. But through the bloodline system you'll be able to retire your favorite hero and then use their children (and children's children!) to fight battles throughout your playthrough.

I hope that clears things up a bit! :D!

MrMooEar:
@Valderis - Just want to clarify something real quick. We're planning to support both save/reload and "Ironman" styles of play in MASSIVE CHALICE, very similar to XCOM.

If you're not happy losing your heroes in battle you can reload and try again! I recognize that this is preference and that some players are uncomfortable with losing their favorite heroes this way.

But! MASSIVE CHALICE differs from other games in that there's no way around the aging process. Your heroes will eventually grow too old and pass away. So in this way, permadeath is enforced for all players. But through the bloodline system you'll be able to retire your favorite hero and then use their children (and children's children!) to fight battles throughout your playthrough.

I hope that clears things up a bit! :D!

It certainly does.

(I just want you to know I'm shouting obscenities right now *sigh*)

So basically this article is complete and utter fucking bullshit. Thanks for letting us know, that's definitely appreciated.
Having both a "save/reload" and a "ironman" feature is excellent news. Puts the game right back on my to-buy list.

Also, death of heroes does not equal having perma-death, just because my tanks die in an Command & Conquer game without anyway for me to revive them doesn't mean that game has a perma-death feature, that's just a game mechanic, as is your game's heroes dieing of old age. A refreshing game mechanic and one I will welcome with open arms, as long as it actually adds something of value to the game and that remains to be seen but I'll be cautiously optimistic.

Good luck with your game.

 

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