From VNDev Wiki

In visual novels, choices are a way for readers to engage with the story and influence its outcome. Choices come in vari ous forms and can range from direct options to hidden consequences. This article will explore the different types of cho ices in visual novels and their common outcomes.

Types of Choices

  • Direct Choices: These are the most straightforward type of choice where readers are presented with a set of options to choose from. They usually appear as text or graphic buttons, allowing readers to make a decision by clicking on a specific option.
    • Example: In "Ace Attorney", direct choices often come in the form of witness testimony. The player must decide which questions to ask and then choose an answer based on the witness's response. This can lead to different outcomes, such as uncovering new evidence or proving a suspect's innocence.
  • Indirect Choices: This type of choice is less obvious and selection is less apparent.
    • Example: a Quick Time Event can be a choice if you consider that passing and failing the event lead to different outcomes.
  • Timed Choices: The reader is given a set amount of time to make a decision or else they will be forced to take a non-choice action. This can create a sense of urgency and heighten the tension in the game.
    • In "Zero TIme Dilemma,", timed choices often in life-or-death situations. The player must make a decision quickly or else the outcome will be determined by the game. These choices can have significant repercussions on the story and may lead to different endings.
  • Non-Choices: Abstaining from making a choice can also be considered a type of choice in visual novels. In some cases, not choosing an option may lead to a particular outcome or reveal hidden information.
  • Locked Choices: This type of choice is only available once certain conditions have been met. They are visible but cannot be selected until the player has achieved a specific goal or performed a particular action.
  • Hidden Choices: These choices are not visible by default and can only be accessed by taking a specific action or triggering a certain event. Hidden choices can add an element of surprise to the game and allow for more creative storytelling.
  • Task List Choices: The player is presented with a list of options that must all be selected before the game can continue. Often, this will lead to a loop where the player is returned to the beginning of the list once they have made their selections.
    • Example: In "Ace Attorney", the player often has to go through the entire list of questions when questioning witnesses and people of interest in the investigation portion of the game.
  • Open Input Choices: This type of choice allows readers to input text into the game and receive a response based on their input. This gives players more freedom to shape the story and can create a more immersive experience. This is not to be confused with Name Input.
  • 4th Wall Choices: This is a special type of choice that requires players to take an action outside of the game, such as adjusting the volume or editing system files. These choices can be used to add a unique twist to the gameplay but are generally less common than other types of choices.

Common Outcomes

  • Route Change: The choice sends the reader down a specific path, branch, or route of a visual novel.
  • Flags: Flags are a way to track the reader's choices and remember important information for later use. They can be used to trigger events, reveal hidden content, or customize the gameplay experience.
  • False Choice: This type of choice appears to have an impact on the story but ultimately has no real consequence. False choices are often used to create the illusion of agency and keep players engaged in the game.
  • Trunk Choice: A trunk choice is a type of route change that leads players back to the main path of the story (the "trunk") after exploring a side branch. This can be used to add variety to the gameplay without straying too far from the main narrative.
  • Wrong/Bad End: This outcome occurs when the player makes a wrong decision or fails to achieve a specific goal. Bad ends usually lead to a "Game Over" screen and require players to rewind or restart the game from an earlier point.
  • Rewards: Rewards are a positive outcome of choices that give players access to special features outside of the main storyline. This can include unlocking bonus content such as image galleries or music rooms.