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Do games like 'The Walking Dead' count under the 'Visual Novel' genre? What's everyone's take on this?


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Since Telltale's kind of the big 'adventure game' dev in recent times, I thought I'd start here.

 

Do Telltale's games - such as The Walking Dead, etc - count as Visual Novels from a design perspective?  They're certainly narrative-based, and do away with more of the puzzle-like aspects that people put into the 'adventure game' area.  Is this a prime example of a OELVN done in such a way that most of us don't recognize it?  Is it still a VN even though it does away with large amounts of aspects commonly associated with VNs?  How does this relate to traditional VNs that do away with the 'dating sim/eroge' elements commonly associated with the genre, such as Umineko, or even something like Fate/Stay Night, despite it still being an eroge?

 

How do the more traditional OELVNs, such as Dischan's works and the coming slew of other VNs that will no doubt be released over the next few years, compare and compete against these?

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Well if that's the only reason, seems like it could only help VNs become more popular in the west.  Stepping stone, you know?  "Well if you enjoyed the format of the walking dead, you might like... (insert VN here)".  Thereby making at least a few more VN fans.  Boom.  Victory of VNs over the west.  Someone make the flags.

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I think we're used to VNs as narrative driven games presented in either ADV or NVL style with character sprites and usually disregard other more gameplay focused narrative driven games as just, well, "conventional <insert genre> games".

 

In my opinion the walking dead games are not exactly visual novels, despite being story focused, simply because they do not fit the criteria of the ADV/NVL style despite everything else being what you'd kind of encounter in some VNs. 

 

And before you start jumping out on me there are VNs with 3D models of characters that you can move around already so having 3D playable characters does not factor in the defininition of VN anymore. At least from my point of view.

 

But if ADV/NVL is what defines a VN then there's many other games coming out recently that have ADV style story telling that would classify as VNs. Even stuff like Hyperdimension Neptunia would be a VN.

 

We used to just have classic styled VNs where it was just a text box and character sprites/CGs.

And while we still have many of those, more and more elements are beind added into the mixture in newer VNs and turning them into more playable things.

 

So where do we stand? I believe that the line between VN and conventional games is becoming thiner and thiner. As newer consoles become popular and devs try to use new technology to improve their vns the similatiries they will have with other games will start making them hard to distinguish and everything will likely just become a "narrative driven game".

 

Is this a bad thing? Beats me. But I really do believe it's becoming increasingly harder to define VN.

While I will still regard typical ADV/NVL styled games with no gameplay elements as "visual novels". When I am confronted with more heavier gameplay story driven games I will most likely not be sure as to how to define it.

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I don't think it would be considered a VN. The dialogue is similar to a VN but it's similar to the Stanley Parable or Heavy Rain. It feels different from a VN and it seems more like a movie that you have some control over rather than a novel. These types of games also focus on the interaction with the environment and looking for objects so that might be where they differ.

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Games like the Walking Dead, the Stanley Parable, and Heavy Rain contain visual novel-like elements, particularly with affecting the narrative through making choices, but I wouldn't call them visual novels. There's far more interaction in those games compared to reading text. You have to draw a line. It's sort of similar to why point-and-click adventure games are more "game" rather than "visual novel."

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No it's not a VN, it does have some VN elements to it but it's not a VN. Agarest has far more VN elements in it but it's still not considered a VN. If I had to define TWD I would call it story driven puzzle/adventure game and I wouldn't say it's so close to being a VN either there are far more VN borderline games (JRPGs) out there that are still not considered a VN.

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But if ADV/NVL is what defines a VN then there's many other games coming out recently that have ADV style story telling that would classify as VNs. Even stuff like Hyperdimension Neptunia would be a VN.

 

It isn't. A visual novel defines a type of gamplay, ADV and NVL are just different techniques of projecting text onto the screen. This changes as time goes by, has no effect on the gameplay and therefore doesn't affect whether something is or is not a visual novel. And don't quote VNDB at me, those people aren't the most clued in people.

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It isn't. A visual novel defines a type of gamplay, ADV and NVL are just different techniques of projecting text onto the screen. This changes as time goes by, has no effect on the gameplay and therefore doesn't affect whether something is or is not a visual novel. And don't quote VNDB at me, those people aren't the most clued in people.

I didn't quote vndb, swear.

But while i was writing i started thinking about it and there's plenty of vns that have battle systems, leveling and skill systems, item and environment interaction, 3D character models, etc.

When you start piling this stuff up it becomes harder to define vn and a conventional game.

You said it yourself what defines a visual novel is the type of gameplay. But now the types of gameplay in vns come in various forms that already exist in other types of games too. So do vns really have a solid defined gameplay?

The whole ADV/NVL thing was just to refer what we're most used to when we think about vns but it's not what defines it just like you said.

This is what i was trying to get at by vns are becoming slightly harder to define. At least in my opinion. Perhaps we can set a limit to how in depth the gameplay gets and that would divide games and vns, but as far as trying to define it by wether or not it has certain gameplay elements i think it becomes too hard.

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I didn't quote vndb, swear.

But while i was writing i started thinking about it and there's plenty of vns that have battle systems, leveling and skill systems, item and environment interaction, 3D character models, etc.

When you start piling this stuff up it becomes harder to define vn and a conventional game.

You said it yourself what defines a visual novel is the type of gameplay. But now the types of gameplay in vns come in various forms that already exist in other types of games too. So do vns really have a solid defined gameplay?

 

If the gameplay is integral to the game, then it's NOT a VN. Kamidori is not a VN, it's an RPG. Yes RPG's have stories too, with 'choice and consequences', it's not exactly a new idea or anything. Ace Attorney is not a VN, it's adventure. Blazblue is not a VN, it's a fighting game. True Love isn't a VN, it's a sim. Sengoku Rance is not a VN, it's a turn based strategy game. It has a story, but so what. So does Halo.

 

Stories are an important part of MOST genres these days, having a story doesn't make it a VN. Having ONLY a story with choice and consequences makes your game a VN. The only reason we needed to invent a new category for these games in the West is because we didn't have a category they would fit in, every category already existing had extra gameplay requirements. So a game is only a VN if it's DEVOID of those additional pieces of gameplay, otherwise it goes into it's correct category.

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So basically you're separating any kind of vn that has integrated gameplay as a non vn?

Well that could work. It'd make things simpler too. I was just going by stuff i see on vndb defined as vn like the ones you pointed out. Maybe i shouldn't trust vndb anymore :P

Little Busters has integrated gameplay though so is it not a vn? Well i'm going on a tangent here, obviously the gameplay in LB is not required in any way nor does it play any role in the story. But still for me fully disregarding gameplay is a little hard to do. But i see where you'recoming from.

Well it's 7am and i'm still rambling guess i'm closing this off here for today.

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So basically you're separating any kind of vn that has integrated gameplay as a non vn?

Well that could work. It'd make things simpler too. I was just going by stuff i see on vndb defined as vn like the ones you pointed out. Maybe i shouldn't trust vndb anymore :P

Little Busters has integrated gameplay though so is it not a vn? Well i'm going on a tangent here, obviously the gameplay in LB is not required in any way nor does it play any role in the story. But still for me fully disregarding gameplay is a little hard to do. But i see where you'recoming from.

Well it's 7am and i'm still rambling guess i'm closing this off here for today.

 

Please don't take VNDB's word as gospel. They try and separate all these eroge and Japanese games into its own little category, and then wonder why they have so many problems. Basically we have categories for games which have significant gameplay, and maybe the stigma of VNs will disappear if we stop trying to separate them into its own private little category. 

 

Have a pleasant day Nosebleed *waves*.

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Please don't take VNDB's word as gospel. They try and separate all these eroge and Japanese games into its own little category, and then wonder why they have so many problems. Basically we have categories for games which have significant gameplay, and maybe the stigma of VNs will disappear if we stop trying to separate them into its own private little category. 

 

Have a pleasant day Nosebleed *waves*.

Your stance is way too extreme. You reject every single possible VN with any amount of gameplay as a VN. An example is the Zero Escape series, which is probably 80-85% story, which has all of the trappings of a VN including heavy usage of novel-style narration, but you've claimed in other threads they're not VNs because you solve puzzles every now and again. That's absolutely ridiculous and you are seriously the only person I have ever seen say this. Don't try to act as an authority when you actually represent some fringe minority opinion.

 

For me, it's basically "Does it read like a novel?" and if so, it's a VN. I mean, novel is in the genre name for a reason. There can be hybrids, like there are of many other genres. It's weird to be so strict about the gameplay thing. Eventually the ratio of gameplay to VN might make the VN parts irrelavent to the point where I wouldn't use it to describe it as a VN anymore, Sengoku Rance approaches this territory, but otherwise I just describe gameplay VNs as hybrids to others. Kamidori is a SRPG/VN, 999 is a room escape/VN, etc.

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Zero Escape has all the trappings of a visual novel because what comprises a visual novel are traits included in most other genres. Narrative, choice, lots of text, are things found in adventure, sims and RPG games. It has very few if any UNIQUE traits so your argument that I am wrong to disregard these games as visual novels because it has plenty of visual novel elements is quite a ludicrous argument to make. Of course it has plenty of visual novel staples, half the games in the world do.

 

The Walking Dead is a game which is more than 90% story, yet it is undeniably an adventure game. So why would you think the amount of story in Zero Escape automatically disqualifies it as such? An adventure game is one which has three things, a narrative, puzzles and exploration and the Zero Escape games not only fit the bill, but its gameplay is a core part of the experience. These sorts of games were classed as adventure before visual novels came to the West and they do not get special treatment because of where they were made. The West has its own way of categorising things. I may be in the minority within the visual novel community but that would be because visual novel fans are quite enamoured with the Japanese culture. Tough. This isn’t Japan and we don’t follow their methods of categorisation. 

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The Telltale games are more like the good old point and click adventures than anything else. You explore the environment, interact with it, solve puzzles - they're all a staple of that genre. The dialogue choices might be the only thing that stand out, but that doesn't really change the genre in my opinion.

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I guess it would depend on how you define VNS. If TWD counts as a Visual Novel then on the same point Mass Effect could also be considered a VN or a very close relative to it, since you have the option to change it to be story focused rather than action/rpg. 

 

In my opinion no. It doesn't share the art style of any VN, and it doesn't share the main focus being 'reading' It has the visuals but I wouldn't ever say it's a novel. It's probably closer to a movie with choices.

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