Follow along as Activision's James Portnow delves deeper into one of the most dizzying game design elements: choice.
"...after felling the bear with my grim iron skillet, I turned back to the discussion at hand.
Quoth I "But what do you mean? Clearly our players will recognize the choices we present them in the same way that they recognize choices in life: because they're there." At this the tiny cabal of designers whom I had cornered began to cackle. I saw I had made a misstep. Somewhere I was not thinking things through.
Of course! They were right and I was a fool…
I hadn't thought long enough about the first rule of meaningful choice: for a choice to be meaningful it has to be informed. This sounded simple until I realized that, in most games, most players will complete whatever solution first becomes apparent to them. In many games it is not until a player finds out that something that looks like a solution is not a solution that they will start to investigate.
So how do we change this?"