I am making a game where the choices you make are very real and have consequences that change the way the game plays. The game is styled after Chrono Trigger or Final Fantasy, in the way it plays and the style of art.

I am writing the flow-chart for the choices and the inciting event happens when the player chooses a specific choice. I want the game to stay open and I don't want to force the player into any choice by only presenting one option.

The inciting event occurs when the player goes out to get food for his dog (or cat, depending on what pet the player chose when he was creating his character) How do I provide enough incentive to cause the player to go out and get food for his pet?


You say you don't want to force the player to make a choice by presenting only one option, but there is only one option which leads to your game's story to start.

Do you see the problem?

If you want to provide (the illusion of) choice from the get go, give the player multiple options of what to do, but have all of them somehow lead up to the inciting incident (or an alternative inciting incident which also kicks off the main plot, but from a different direction).

But you might want to reconsider if this is really the best approach.

Even if you want your game to be an open world sandbox, you might want to consider to railroad your player a bit during the first few minutes of the game. If you look at some of the best-selling open world games, you will notice that almost all of them do this. A linear start ensures that the player received a basic tutorial and the minimum of information they need to understand the basic premise of your game's narrative. When you don't ensure this before you set them free in your open world, you risk that they don't understand what's going on (both mechanically and narratively) and get lost.

But this railroading doesn't actually need to be that obvious. You can do it quite subtly if you are creative.

If you just want the player out of their home to explore, then there isn't much you need to do. Exploring their environment is the basic instinct of every player. When you put a player into a building with an exit, they will leave it, because there is nothing else they could be doing.

Now where are they after they left their house? I would assume in some kind of town. When you don't want the player to leave their home-town before inciting incident happened, find some plausible reason why they can't leave (yet). Or place the trigger area which causes the inciting incident event to happen on the only path which leads out of the town, so they stumble upon it automatically while exploring. To increase the illusion of choice, provide lots of small optional things the player can do before they trigger the inciting incident:

  • Small details of the town to interact with
  • Shops to browse in.
  • NPCs to talk to with branching dialog options which allow the player to express their character's personality.
  • Maybe even a short sidequest or two with multiple outcomes.

I'm looking forward to playing your game.


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