Single Status Update
So a query about TSOTS's game design/development that's been bothering me for a while, and I'd like some input on it (spoilered for size):Spoiler
So even though I planned for my game to have three playable characters, I'm wondering if I should ultimately cut two of them entirely and focus exclusively on Jessica's path. I'll boil down the various pros and cons I see with this, and I'd like some feedback:
+ Greater focus on Jess means she and her supporting cast can get more character development.
+ I won't have to worry about the other two characters seeming like afterthoughts in comparison to Jessica's gameplay.
+ Levels are easier to design with one character's abilities in mind as opposed to three, and right now only one (Jess exclusive) area is fully mapped out.
+ If I decide to readd alt. characters in a hypothetical sequel, they could be an Elemental (e.g. Lumina and/or Shade) and their abilities wouldn't be as drastically different (they'd still use magic that Jess can use and not bombs/missiles/lasers etc).
+ With only one character to design, program, do sprites for etc., the game can come out quicker.
+ There's one set of minibosses who get destroyed by one character, but then get rebuilt as proper bosses for Jessica. I feel like this connection would be better if only one character (Jess) encountered them.
- The story is going to require some rewriting; thankfully, not a lot, but Jess's means of getting to Enchantus will need to be changed so it doesn't rely on one of them. However, since Jess isn't a scientist capable of making FTL spaceships...
- These two have been around since TSOTS's inception years ago, even slightly predating Jess herself. Cutting them seems kind of off to me as a result (kinda silly, I know).
- Replay value and the game's uniqueness next to other Metroidvania games will probably be affected (though then again, should what gameplay I do have turn out successfully, this may be a moot point).
There's probably more that I'm forgetting, but I'd like you guys' opinion on this.
Yeah, if this is a passion project, keeping it small would be best - Focus on getting the core gameplay great, tight and focused. If it's not a lot of rewriting, it's a small price to pay for essentially tripling your workload with the balancing issues and level redesign.
If you're attached to the characters, you can still find a way to keep them in the plot without sacrificing gameplay. Good luck!
If your going to be less resource-strapped, dump them, redoing sections that needed the alternate characters. If you can fit them in without fuss, keep them as minor various on the core gameplay loop; what game design needs more than anything is focus(this is why the Adventure games have the reputation they have).
There's also the 2nd biggest thing they need, overlapping events and change, things that often come at odds with focus. Game design contradicts itself often; so be prepared to make a lot of choices about priorities.