Possession Mechanics

lightlight Posts: 290Member
Super Mario Odyssey has you chucking your hat at enemies to take control of them. In recent memory we've seen Everything, where you can be everything; Persona 5, where you mask your dialogue choices to match the personalities of demons so they agree to join you; and Wild is an upcoming game where you control animals as a shaman.

This simple idea opens up a lot of possibilities in the coming era for gameplay. Previously, if the designers wanted to give you a separate way of interacting with the world it was usually through vehicles or transformation (or both, like in Yoshi's Island). Also, it increases storytelling potential. Tales from the Borderlands had two protagonists who you'd follow through different chapters; it also had moments where one of those characters is possessed by a digitally encrypted ghost of an NPC. What are some specific possibilities you guys can imagine with this mechanic?

So it makes sense from a design perspective why this is becoming a trend, but why now? What is the historical and spiritual condition that leads to this development? Talking about this gets into a discussion of meaning, and I think it's important to distinguish here between two different types of possession in games: First, there's what I'll provisionally call Meisnerian possession, or possession from without, after the acting theorist Stanford Meisner. Like in Super Mario Odyssey, this is about extending the scope of your will to what is around you, transforming it into your own equipment. The other is Stanislavskian possession, or possession from within, where clearest in the Persona games the goal is to abdicate your own will in order to experience another person's reality.
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Comments

  • TaciturnTaciturn Posts: 40Member
    Not sure if these examples count but real time strategy games and animal taming play with similar concepts to great effect.
  • galdon Posts: 258Member
    edited June 15
    Functionally, I feel like transformation and possession are pretty much identical. Possession does have unique aspects from transformation in a storytelling aspect though. Mario games (outside Paper Mario and the RPGs) aren't really super well known for their stories though, so I'm curious what they are going for by having him have possession specifically as an ability or if they just are using it as a way to transform at-will to a specific thing.

    Edit: Thinking more about it, the throwing a hat to possess things mechanic actually kind of reminds me of Brave Fencer Musashi. You can throw your side-arm Fusion to hit enemies and absorb them to gain access to new powers. This method of gaining special attacks allows you to keep a variety of moves to a single button, allows you to take powers at your own digression as a player, and allows the developer to "gate off" areas from unexpected abilities by requiring you to steal the power of a specific enemy to solve a puzzle; thus removing any power you might have been carrying around from an earlier stage. 

    Wondering if perhaps that might be what they are going for with the hat-throw possession.
    Post edited by galdon on
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