Unwinnable Fight

Description

Often times, especially in introductory levels of RPGs, the party will be faced with an encounter that they quite literally cannot win. Success in these encounters is typically rewarded with alternate cut scenes or extra items (along with bragging rights). Failure is almost always guaranteed, especially if it's the players first time playing through the game. Upon failing, having every member of the party die, or after a certain amount of time in the encounter passes, there will be a cut scene in which the heroes are saved, captured, or spared.

They can also be used as part of a Contextualizing Quest in order to make a player use abilities they may not be given until later at the start of the game.

Variables and Affordances

  • Enemy Type: the type of enemies that are overwhelming the player characters
  • Length: how long the encounter is expected to last before triggering a cutscene.
  • Exit Conditions: conditions to end the encounter (time passing, a specific foe dying, or the main character dying)

Examples

  • Deus Ex. When attempting to flee Battery Park, there's an ambush waiting outside the subway station. The player is given the “choice” to either surrender or be beaten unconscious, and then captured and taken to the basement of UNATCO headquarters. The purpose of this unwinnable fight is to advance the story and to force the player to return to a specific location.

Quest-Level Relationships

  • Contextualizing Quests. An unwinnable fight acquaints the character with the idea that losing a battle may not mean the end of the game, especially for RPGs in which the outcome of a battle (win or loss) has an effect on the storyline. Also, as mentioned before, they may be used at the beginning of the game to grant the player god-like powers that are stripped away after a devastating loss, prompting determination in the player to reach that power again.
patterns/unwinnable_fight.txt · Last modified: 2011/06/17 01:11 by Gillian Smith
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