Aztez – A Game of Conquest and Brutality

The Ratio Of Sex To Story

We're getting ready to fuse the fun beat 'em up we've made with the fun turn-based strategy game we've made and concern is growing about whether this fusion will be fun or not. The reason I came up with this fusion in the first place is because I desperately wanted to try something new and shake things up in the hopes that this type of game can be way more fun. Since there's never really been a game like this before (there's been games very similar in concept but not in execution) we don't really have a way of knowing if it's going to work. In the wake of this concern I've been thinking about porn, and the ratio of sex to story.

Now personally, I do not want any story in my porn. I'm not there for that. If I want plot or story, I'll go to film or literature where my expectation of quality is much higher. When I want to look at people having sex, I'll go to porn because that's what it's good for, right? It's great at that. But there are people who appreciate the story in their porn, and for a variety of interesting reasons. Sometimes they require context, and sometimes they need padding from intensity, and sometimes people are just bored and will take an injection of any element foreign to the thing they are trying to experience. But then there are people like me who are simple brutes who have very direct and simple requirements and the impurity of something like porn with story is agitating.

When you think about it, beat 'em ups are really hilariously similar to porn. The crux of the beat 'em up experience is the combat. There's no arguing this. But the potential arugment lies in the delivery of the crux. Some people really want what God Of War gives them; a story, context, fighting, and intensity padding. And by the way, when most people say "pacing" they are simple referring to the padding of an intense experience with contrasting activities or forced reprieve. While this is legit for most people, I personally don't require it so this it's a tricky issue for me. In any case, I do get it. But some people want what River City Ransom gives them; a trivial context that consumes no time, and then provides lots and lots of fighting. The question is this; can these two classes of needs be reconciled? The answer is "I don't know!"

But here's what we're trying to do; create a new type of porn.

Think of classic beat 'em ups as porn without story. Raw. Fundamental. Intense. Emotionally meaningless. Think of the modern beat 'em up as porn with story. Metered. Moderated. Emotionally meaningful. Think of Aztez as a porn sandwich with two types of sex experienced at once. Both types of sex are very raw, but they're metered against each other. It provides the intensity but also provides the padding in that one of the two types of sex has no time requirements. Emotionally it's meaningful but it's because you'll be so involved that every time you have this sex you'll have a personal story to tell. It will be exhausting, but FULFILLING. The danger here is that the two types of sex simply aren't complimentary. But the way I see it, our worst case scenario is that we gave you two types of sex that simply don't go well together, as opposed to the genre offerings of late that give you one type of sex with bits of non-sex arbitrarily attached to it.

  • Hmm, interesting points (and, btw, nice analogies!) you bring up here. The easiest solution is probably to just cater to the story-lovin’ folk, as those who don’t like it can simply skip it and continue slashing and offering aztecs.
    But like you mentioned, it’d be interesting to be able to really bring it together in a more coherent way.

    A relatively quick thought I came up with is would be to make the story happen as you’re playing, in the background. For instance, say you’re walking right and a volcano erupts in the background. People there start running, houses are burned and you can see a very distinguishable person walk to a temple. The player can choose to stop and play disaster tourist for a bit, watching the story of a corrupt high priest unfold, or carry on playing the game unobstructed. Throw in some icons/ emoticons and you just completely eliminated the need cut-scenes; woohoo /.
    Ok, that’s enough rambling from my end, just thought I’d share. =)


    • Thanks for the thoughts! But the problem with the (cool!) ideas you just mentioned is that since it’s just two of us, producing the assets necessary to create this kind of experience is totally unrealistic. I guess I feel like any time I spend making scenes for story segments is time I could be spending making a more engaging game.

      I do think that it’s legit to still include story elements of some kind, but what will make the most sense for us is to tell stories in the most minimal way possible. The way games like Weird Worlds and Sworcery do it with small but compelling blurbs that don’t consume time and require extensive production.

  • Joey

    Does this mean it’s appropriate to masturbate to gameplay videos of Aztez?

  • I’d personally like to see a smattering of villagers, families, non-fighters in the background, maybe a few attractive female character types, as the slightest counterpoint to why all these guys are fighting/protecting. They don’t need character bios or dialog screens.

    Mario wasn’t about the politics and succession of royal power between the Koopa and Mushroom Kingdoms, but Princess Toadstool WAS there in the background and I guess some of Mario’s motivation revolved around wanting to get to her. Gut feeling is Aztez could benefit similarly, plus it’s fun to gauge how strong the fighting guys are by comparing them to non-fighting characters.

    I… I just want to see some hottie black ink silhouette women in sarongs and feather headdresses. Think of the Rule 34 fan art that would open the door to. And the perfect ratio is Violence + Sexiness. You’ve got half mastered already.

  • Stumbled on this site from Google and I’m glad I did. The new game looks boss.

    • Thanks a lot! Glad you like what you see. :)

  • Glowyrm

    In regards to your goal of turn based strategy meets action, I think of Legend of the Dragoon is a good case study (personally, I enjoyed it more in principle than actual execution).

    As to story in your game I would suggest a simple Dialogue option with key enemies. There’s two ways I would suggest implementing it.

    1) Players are in control of dialogue. Players have a button (something like left bumper) that causes you player to initiate dialogue, and then enemies, obviously not all of them talk about key plot points.

    2) Dialogue just happens at Key points in the story

    Both systems should incorporate a system for responding to a dialogue. It should work that if the enemy gives dialogue the player has two buttons to respond one would actually draw the conversation out, the other would just be some bad ass retort and end the conversation at that point maybe even having the perform a dash attack on the enemy. So the player could use the fist button to get as much info out as he wants and then when he loses interest he has the second button to resume the adrenaline with some kind of cool transition.

    • But I don’t want any dialogue in the game. Maybe I was unclear, but I’m not trying to find a way to make story/plot/dialogue better and more suited to beat ’em ups; in fact, I was trying to say they’re completely unnecessary. And the same goes for story. Now there will be SOME dialogue as it would be hard to have a strategy game full of political events that doesn’t have some text in it, but I believe this can be done without creating any character dialogue. And also, I just don’t think dialogue as a mechanic is very fun. Haha!

      • Glowyrm

        Gotcha, so this is more of a stream of consciousness post then a request for group consensus on how to implement a specific element?