Can We Make Talking as Much Fun as Shooting? -

Can We Make Talking as Much Fun as Shooting?

Game Maker’s Toolkit
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Like: 36395
Certain RPGs make the tantalising promise that you can skip combat altogether, by talking your way past the bad guys. But how can we turn this into genuinely interesting gameplay?

Warning – This video contains story spoilers for Mass Effect (1) and Life is Strange (Episode 2), and also features content related to suicide.

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Games shown in this episode (in order of appearance)

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (Eidos Montreal, 2016)
Planescape: Torment (Black Isle Studios, 1999)
Fallout: New Vegas (Obsidian Entertainment, 2010)
Baldur’s Gate (Bioware, 1998)
Mass Effect (Bioware, 2007)
Alpha Protocol (Obsidian Entertainment, 2010)
Undertale (Toby Fox, 2015)
Ladykiller in a Bind (Christine Love, 2016)
Portal (Valve Corporation, 2007)
Rayman Legends (Ubisoft Montpellier, 2013)
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos Montreal, 2011)
Life is Strange (Dontnod Entertainment, 2015)
LA Noire (Team Bondi, 2011)
Heaven’s Vault (Inkle, 2019)
Resident Evil 2 (Capcom, 2019)
The Walking Dead: Season One (Telltale Games, 2012)
DOOM (id Software, 2016)
Florence (Mountains, 2018)
Griftlands (Klei Entertainment, 2021)
Detroit: Become Human (Quantic Dream, 2018)
Civilization V (Firaxis Games, 2010)
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All (Capcom, 2002)
Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Daughter (Frogwares, 2016)
Persona 5 (Atlus, 2017)
Call of Duty: WWII (Sledgehammer Games, 2017)
Watch Dogs 2 (Ubisoft Montreal, 2016)
Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Monolith Productions, 2017)
Far Cry New Dawn (Ubisoft Montreal, 2019)
The Outer Worlds (Obsidian, 2019)

Music used in this episode

Here’s Where Things Get Interesting – Lee Rosevere ()
Wonder Cycle – Chris Zabriskie ()
Deus Ex: Human Revolution soundtrack – Michael McCann
Life is Strange soundtrack – Jonathan Morali
LA Noire soundtrack – Andrew Hale
Candlepower – Chris Zabriskie ()
Oxygen Garden – Chris Zabriskie ()

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  1. I've always loved dialogue options in-game even if they don't impact the game and are as trivial as getting 2 options to reply to a dialogue (Ghost of Tsushima) to games where dialogues literally change the outcome of the game! They're also great tools to help people develop emotional intelligence and wit, which can be enjoyed in real life!

  2. I think it is also worthwhile mentioning mortality in games can influence how much the player would want to use dialogue in the game. If dying doesn't mean anything, why not just fight the guy 5 times in the time it takes to gather the evidence?

  3. Signs of the Sojourner has a fun spin on social mechanics! You play as a traveling merchant going from town to town to pick up exotic goods to sell back in your hometown. You converse with vendors by playing a card matching game, where you try to match the shape of the vendor's card with one of your own to represent the flow of conversation. A full stack of matching cards means another step towards a purchase, while failing to match means the vendor is less inclined to sell.
    As you travel further from your hometown the shapes become unfamiliar and you have to stack your deck with new shapes so you can chat better with distant vendors, but it also makes it more difficult to talk with folk back at home.

    Also you have a pet dog. And the dog is the best dog because dog shapes match with every shape.

  4. I kinda laughed when he mentioned the outer worlds, it's basically just New Vegas' speech system

  5. The best "talking" game I've played must be Arcanum. One of the only RPGs I know that let you complete it thoroughly without firing a gun once.

  6. It works in D&D because you have an actual person on the other side, able to adjust on the fly.
    Until AI can do that, I don't think it's possible to go too in depth.

    Even humans get it wrong.
    When people play D&D, sometimes they just let whomever has the highest charisma stat make all of the social interactions.
    But a better way in my opinion should be letting characters that share something in common, race, background, whatever, have higher chances of success, while charisma just tilts the outcome when two PCs share or lack the same connections to the NPC.

  7. 4:32 “All of these games test your emotional and social skills, just like how puzzle games test your logic skills and platformers test your dexterity skills”

  8. Europa universalis 4 makes this job super well, though it's really difficult to avoid fighting, it's actually possible to have a very decent strength without fighting anyone at all, but diplomacy is the core gameplay so I guess it's normal

  9. I found the witcher 3 extremely captivating in that regard. Throughout the game I wanted to resort to speech at all times

  10. 11:02 as far as i've seen you are the only person whos covered making this type of gameplay (on youtube at least) that has mentioned that. having autism myself, im frequently frustrated that it's left out of conversations about these kinds of things so thanks for bringing it up.

  11. How about a game where timing also matters for what you say

  12. attempting to make talking an interesting in and fun mechanic for gamers is like trying to have a conversation with a deaf person. Video game technology may NEVER be able to mimic the micro movements of the face, body, tone of voice, and other variables that factor into real conversations. We can't ever ask an NPC how their day was, or how they are feeling right now, or what they do for work. We can't ever have an NPC just go up to us and start a conversation with us, or acknowledge our presence in the typical ways. For the players, We don't ever feel embarrassed for asking too many questions about an NPC's life, nor will an NPC ever be able to imitate the subtle body language cues that communicate discomfort in a conversation. An NPC's voice will never change mid conversation to show gauging interest nor will they ever express anger for you asking the same question choice ten times in a row.

  13. I was absolutely not expecting "swerds" and now I am ded

  14. Disco Elysian is a great example of dialogue being used as a fundamental mechanic instead of shooting and skill checks causing damage to health or morale even without physical damage

  15. that "hold up a minute" had me flashbacking to GF Reviews. only me?? okay ill see myself out.

  16. In Fallout 4 Far Harbor DLC you will have the option to eradicate The Children of Atom by blowing up a nuclear submarine that they live in/around but by clicking the button all of them will become hostile to you but there's a way to avoid combat by talking to their leader and convincing them to blew their selves out avoiding combat.

  17. I think that it is wise to say that talking your way out of problems presents an issue that combat doesn't have and it is really hard to dodge. It is the fact that battle can act as loops, a final boss can be faced several times by the player every time they die and wouldn't feel bored, or at least not as much as if they were talking to a person with the same dialogue each time.
    An intelligent solution to this problem might be making the dialogue paths a one-chance option, this mean that once the player has talked to his enemy, there's no way to go back. What happens if they don't defeat it? Well, this can be also prevented by making conversation levels with more than just, win-or-no-win endings.

  18. hUr DuR sOcIaL sKiiLs yeah, and when you are required to shoot what about see the player real skills aiming with a gun instead of a boring weightless mouse. To me this video only means you don't understand what a RPG is.
    When playing an RPG the player can often have a character with skills the player itself don't have, if the character has high social skills is perfectly acceptable that the character is capable of solving everything out in a manner that the player is incapable of understanding, personally, out of LARPs i never seen someone be required to do an actual stunt to the master accept the dexterity check result, same can be done with the charisma check. And as it works on D&D it can work in video games too.

  19. I have autism, but always thought LA Noire wasn't just clear enough. I really couldn't make heads or tails of it, and I really don't know if it is the autism or the game.

  20. You mean you can actually read those things they call faces?

  21. Spoiler, we did not get that return to The Outer Worlds

  22. Me during the early minutes of the video: "He should really mention Griftlands as a game that has an interesting for social encounters"

    The video, minutes later: literally uses Griftlands as an example

    I know this is kinda the point of your whole channel but your wide knowledge and references of games continues to impress me

  23. I talked my way out of every optional conflict in The Walking Dead. All I had to do was not be a complete idiot. On the one hand, if the correct choice is always "just act like a normal person", why do the other options even exist? What are they for? I do enjoy feeling like I talked my way out of a problem, but if all that requires is not being dysfunctional for no reason, I feel like I'm being rewarded just for being myself, for following what I view as the path of least resistance, rather than for using my head or being observant. On the other hand, I also feel like simply avoiding conflict isn't much of a reward. Conflict may not be what I want, but it's certainly more exciting. I think the "normal person" options shouldn't be the ones that lead to the best outcomes. They shouldn't be a bad option, but they shouldn't be the best option either; and they shouldn't be unrewarding, but they should be less rewarding than being clever.

  24. luckily facerigs and captures exist, so should be easy now, but nope still get nightmare fuels sometimes 🙂

  25. Id actually like to add an additional part to this by discussing how dnd 5e runs its social encounters. On one hand, yeah you can just make generic rolls to see the effect, but there is an alternative system you can also use that brings social encounters into a multilevel system. Essentially through a combination of previous knowledge and assumptions, you can use role play to try to have your target change standings with you (there are 3 standings, friendly neutral and hostile), and depending on the standing the actual effect your roll (along with what you’re exactly rolling as well, as dnd has 3 skills to determine social encounters (4 actually, but performance is more so how well you can captivate people with your, well, performance, be it musical, theatrical, and so on)) has on the game. For example, if you role play in a way where a neutral npc becomes friendly, a roll of, say, 15 will be far more impactful than if you role play in a way to make a neutral npc hostile.

    Social encounters in gaming could use multiple levels like this to combine ideas seen here into a more dynamic mechanic than what we see a lot of the time in the current gaming sphere, having your options in one segment alter the results in another in a way that makes speaking to people less of a task of “hitting one button”

  26. Did you check out Out Worlds for their Talk mechanism as you said in this video?

  27. I LOVE Life is Strange for the simple fact you have to search for the answers and care enough to remember key info about Kate in order to talk her down. I love that.

  28. It makes my teeth grind every time he says inVENtry instead of invenTORy

  29. Can We Make Talking as Much Fun as Shooting?
    …yes its called undetale and wandersong

  30. 3:53 and 10:49 aka a autistic persons hell i can say that because i have Autism

  31. The problem with Life is Strange is that even if you save Kate shes gone for the entirety as if shes dead anyway. 0 gameplay impact. Illusion of choice. Same shit as Walking Dead where you choose to save the nerd or the news reporter they both die later on anyway whoever u save.

  32. Song of Ice and Fire RPG (table top) has a "social combat" system that is very similar to the normal combat, witch is better than most RPGs.

  33. Renowned Explorers has an interesting mechanic similar to the Griftlands example – all conflict takes place in the same "stage", where you can make people demoralized or placated enough to give up as much as beating them bloody. While it is rough around the edges in places, it's a very cool system. Speech options affect allies as well – but all your choices have a chance of changing the moods of your targets and even the entire battlefield (should you, for example, spend time being nice and then suddenly attack someone without warning). These kinds of shifts have both upsides and downsides, so choosing and leveling your team and picking your approach is very important to a fight. Many enemies (and eventually your characters) can had weaknesses and strengths as well – there's a ghost enemy who is immune to physical damage, for example, and another boss who's strong against particular types of positive actions.

  34. this is the 2nd GMTK video that ends with "i'll have a video about X game later" in a row I've watched where immediately I search GMTK "game name" (in this case GMTK outer worlds) and there are zero results

  35. I think he fails to understand, that fighting (and shooting) is fun, BECAUSE it was made abstract.
    In a real fight one wound can and will kill. Unless you have health and by that you have some range of tollerance to player mistakes. You can jump higher and run faster because no one wants the real thing. Simulated talking is at the same time very unnatural due to the dialogue tree and stat checks and tries to be natural with uncorrectable consequences. And in like Ace Attorney you may have some sort of lives, only to follow a very specific game plan. Seen from this angle Griftlands may be a good way to disregard the real thing and lean into experimentation.
    Ps: Maybe other topics of gaming may be too close to the real world as well, say fishing, and should try an abstract approach.

  36. I remember saving Kate by quoting the bible and it was glorious

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