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Manchu

Following Disney's Example

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Sorry -- what is difficult about this?

 

preserve the timeline as-is -OR- don't preserve the timeline as-is

 

Fast-forwarding doesn't render these mutually exclusive options suddenly consistent with one another. The issue comes down to whether the existing timeline becomes a "Legends"-like repository of information, which FFG can potentially weave into its own fresh continuity, or whether FFG adopts the existing timeline.

 

For a writer, the question "preserve the timeline or not" is largely an empty question.

Ultimately, the only "timeline" events that matter are the ones that directly lead to or affect the story you're telling. Anything else in the timeline is fluff you mention in throw-away references to give depth to your setting. 

 

And as a result, the only time you even care about changing or not changing the timeline is when it prevents you from telling the story you want to tell. Which is usually because you want to use characters in a way that would be precluded by the old timeline. Otherwise, the timeline is just reference material. 

 

So, in short, the question you're asking is irrelevant, because changing the timeline is not a primordial setting decision - it's a tool they can use if and when they need it. 

 

The relevant question is, what kind of story does FFG want to tell?

Edited by Himoto

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@BD Flory:

 

It would only be possible for FFG not to comment if they either picked up the timeline where AEG left off or fast-forwarded. Anything else is constructively a comment to the effect of "we are rebooting this."

 

It really depends a lot on the specific question. If they preview a bunch of characters no one recognizes, for example, then it could still be anything -- reboot, continuation, whatever. Obviously, once the game hits, and Hida Kisada's in the box, or there are cards that reference the events of Onyx happening 1000 years ago, then they've committed. It's a lot harder to be coy once the set comes out, obviously, as people are going to draw conclusions, as noted.

 

But until then, they can certainly manage previews and such to the point where it's impossible to conclude one way or the other. As I said, the main point of the exercise would be to avoid people writing the game without even trying it. "Before its release," was implied.

 

Although that said, I do think there's a difference between just doing something and commenting on it. Even once released, no amount of explanation is going to redeem the decision in the eyes of those vehemently opposed to it, whichever decision FFG makes.

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@MaxKillJoy

 

You are trying to build a distinction that just doesn't add up to a difference. Correcting clerical mistakes is clearly not at issue when we talk about changing or not changing continuity. Similarly, details like whether Character X was slain via spear or sword are irrelevant; as in, it would not matter to FFG.

 

@Hitomo

 

If the timeline is preserved as-is then FFG developers will be bound to it, regardless of whether FFG picks up where AEG left off or skips ahead. Whether to be strictly bound by what has come before or not is in no sense an empty question.

 

@BD Flory

 

You are right that FFG could bend over backwards to avoid this question. I don't think there is an advantage making it a surprise, whichever way it goes.

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@BD Flory:

 

It would only be possible for FFG not to comment if they either picked up the timeline where AEG left off or fast-forwarded. Anything else is constructively a comment to the effect of "we are rebooting this."

 

It really depends a lot on the specific question. If they preview a bunch of characters no one recognizes, for example, then it could still be anything -- reboot, continuation, whatever. Obviously, once the game hits, and Hida Kisada's in the box, or there are cards that reference the events of Onyx happening 1000 years ago, then they've committed. It's a lot harder to be coy once the set comes out, obviously, as people are going to draw conclusions, as noted.

 

But until then, they can certainly manage previews and such to the point where it's impossible to conclude one way or the other. As I said, the main point of the exercise would be to avoid people writing the game without even trying it. "Before its release," was implied.

 

Although that said, I do think there's a difference between just doing something and commenting on it. Even once released, no amount of explanation is going to redeem the decision in the eyes of those vehemently opposed to it, whichever decision FFG makes.

 

 

I agree with your reasoning here.  As the boards illustrate, a number of people will not be happy with whatever FFG does outside of emulating the CCG, story, and setting in its previous form, which, ultimately, is why FFG needs to hiring their own people, take a hard look at the brand, decide what they want to do with it, and run with that vision.  Any attempt to appease hardcore fans outside of a general adherence to the spirit of L5R, as well as a few nods here and there, runs the risk of revisiting some of the same problems the brand was facing towards the end of AEG's tenure.  

 

At the end of the day, I honestly do not care what they do to the setting and the games as long as they make them compelling and inviting for old and new players alike.  The only way that this brand will endure is if FFG can inject some new blood into the game, and any tactic that can make that process work better is appreciated.  It might not sit well with everyone, but if we want to have L5R for another ten years, we need to trust that FFG will make the necessary changes to extend its life that long.

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@MaxKillJoy

 

You are trying to build a distinction that just doesn't add up to a difference. Correcting clerical mistakes is clearly not at issue when we talk about changing or not changing continuity. Similarly, details like whether Character X was slain via spear or sword are irrelevant; as in, it would not matter to FFG.

 

 

 

If you want to focus on the particular examples, which were deliberately at the far edges to make the contrast, and thus the point, as stark as possible... then go ahead, I guess. 

 

The Unicorn are never going to end up on dinosaur mounts with firearms, either. 

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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@Osmo

 

I think your analysis is spot-on. Whatever happens, some portion of existing players will not be pleased. All PR aside, FFG is certainly okay with that. Fans will have to be okay with it, too.

 

@MaxKillJoy

 

It's up to you to support your position. The examples you chose do not support that changing the timeline and keeping it aren't mutually exclusive. Maybe you meant to illustrate some other point with those examples?

Edited by Manchu

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@MaxKillJoy

 

It's up to you to support your position. The examples you chose do not support that changing the timeline and keeping it aren't mutually exclusive. Maybe you meant to illustrate some other point with those examples?

 

Maybe I want to say "never mind". 

 

The examples served their purpose -- to illustrate the vast gulf of options and possibilities you were trying to sweep under the rug of "changes" to make this a falsely-constructed yes-or-no question. 

 

It tells us a lot about someone's position when they need to "argue the analogy". 

 

At any rate, discussion over, it's pointless.

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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I agree that the Unicorns won't end up riding dinosaurs. I get the point of that example: it stands for extreme change. The other examples were meant to stand for insignificant changes. My point is, if a change is truly insignificant then in what sense beyond the purely technical is it even a change for purposes of discussing continuity? Why, for example, would FFG change the kind of weapon with which a certain character was slain if that detail is truly insignificant? In other words, the principle those examples were (apparently) meant to illustrate is inherently irrelevant.

 

On the other hand, a change can certainly be both small as well as significant. Such changes would be examples of NOT preserving the timeline as-is. Can you think of any example of FFG significantly changing the continuity while also not changing it? The question makes no sense because the options are mutually exclusive. Whether change will be minor or extreme, we are still talking about change.

 

The first question is, should there be change or not? If there is change then the second question is, what kind of change?

 

As I laid out in the first post, my point assumes change and starts with the second question. In terms of the range from minimum to extreme, we can further discuss the advantages and disadvantages ... if we get into specifics, there's just too much ground to cover. A much neater solution is what Disney does:

 

(1) figure out what is essential

 

(2) build your story on those elements

 

(3) classify everything else "legends" giving you a pool to draw on or not, whatever best suits your purposes

 

I think this is a rather extreme change if you look at it from a fan's point of view. But looking at it more broadly, whether existing fans can stay on board probably depends on how FFG handles step (1). What is theoretically an extreme change, a flat out continuity reboot, may turn out to feel less extreme to people who agree with FFG's analysis of what's essential.

Edited by Manchu

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It also matters for the RPG,

 

Which will or will not continue based up FFG's appraisal of the brand.

 

And if it does, I hope they recall one of 4E's great strengths- you dd not need to know diddly about the Four Winds or the Clan Wars,or the Destroyer War,or whatever to have fun playing it.

 

Knowing the lore could be a way to enrich a given campaign, absolutely-but it wasn't some massive inaccessible hurdle unless you decided it had to be (see: Spoony's godawful experience with the L5R RPG)

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It also matters for the RPG,

 

Which will or will not continue based up FFG's appraisal of the brand.

 

And if it does, I hope they recall one of 4E's great strengths- you dd not need to know diddly about the Four Winds or the Clan Wars,or the Destroyer War,or whatever to have fun playing it.

 

Knowing the lore could be a way to enrich a given campaign, absolutely-but it wasn't some massive inaccessible hurdle unless you decided it had to be (see: Spoony's godawful experience with the L5R RPG)

 

 

 

Part of that is, what do we mean by "the lore"? 

 

I'm using that as a blanket term to include setting, history, personalities, the clans, the other factions and species and gaijin and everything. 

 

While knowing that the chief advisor and the concubine of Emperor Hantei "the 597 years ago" had a torrid and ultimately shameful afair isn't that important to the RPG in most instances, any major change to the general identity or role of a clan (for example) would be a big deal for the RPG. 

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It also matters for the RPG,

 

Which will or will not continue based up FFG's appraisal of the brand.

 

And if it does, I hope they recall one of 4E's great strengths- you dd not need to know diddly about the Four Winds or the Clan Wars,or the Destroyer War,or whatever to have fun playing it.

 

Knowing the lore could be a way to enrich a given campaign, absolutely-but it wasn't some massive inaccessible hurdle unless you decided it had to be (see: Spoony's godawful experience with the L5R RPG)

 

 

 

Part of that is, what do we mean by "the lore"? 

 

I'm using that as a blanket term to include setting, history, personalities, the clans, the other factions and species and gaijin and everything. 

 

While knowing that the chief advisor and the concubine of Emperor Hantei "the 597 years ago" had a torrid and ultimately shameful afair isn't that important to the RPG in most instances, any major change to the general identity or role of a clan (for example) would be a big deal for the RPG. 

 

Maybe it's just better to think of all of those ideas under lore as separate entities now when considering the new LCG? I'd expect the setting to remain largely the same, with some minor changes to the history. Clans would obviously remain the central element, with other factions receiving very little attention. Personalities would be mixed with the important historical ones like the kami being there but most of the others would probably be either minimized or forgotten in lieu of new ones. 

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It also matters for the RPG,

 

Which will or will not continue based up FFG's appraisal of the brand.

 

And if it does, I hope they recall one of 4E's great strengths- you dd not need to know diddly about the Four Winds or the Clan Wars,or the Destroyer War,or whatever to have fun playing it.

 

Knowing the lore could be a way to enrich a given campaign, absolutely-but it wasn't some massive inaccessible hurdle unless you decided it had to be (see: Spoony's godawful experience with the L5R RPG)

 

 

I assume that FFG will create a new RPG line for L5R.  I see no reason in continuing the system in its current state, as FFG likes to be a bit creative in its RPG lines.

 

Regarding the amount of buy-in and lore necessary to enjoy the game, I do agree that 4E did a much better job making the game a little more accessible to newcomers.  As someone who runs settings as sandboxes and allows players much more agency in affecting the metaplot, I feel that the game really needs to dial down both any relentless need for understanding setting conventions and any "trap rules," rules meant to punish players for lacking setting knowledge, from the core system.

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The existing L5R setting is so crowded because it's not very big.

 

With 40k or Star Wars, FFG can just invent huge swaths of space. How do they make stuff they invent still feel on-brand? They figure out was is essential and write from that perspective.

 

FFG could dramatically increase the space in which L5R happens. But when we talk about physical space, we're ultimately talking about scale. No matter how big the Empire is geographically, it will feel rather small from a high-level perspective; i.e., in a card game where players take on the role of the most prominent social institutions (the Clans). By contrast, even a relatively small physical space can feel huge when you are playing a low-level character in a RPG.

 

FFG needs a solution that works on both scales. The answer therefore may not be a matter of space but rather of time. A continuity reboot helps here.

 

@MaxKillJoy: LOL I didn't argue the analogy. How about supporting your position rather than defaulting to insults and mischaracterization?

Edited by Manchu

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@MaxKillJoy: LOL I didn't argue the analogy. How about supporting your position rather than defaulting to insults and mischaracterization?

 

 

I did, and you chose to quibble over and nitpick the examples instead of dealing with the point -- thus, roughly, "arguing the analogy". 

 

Lumping all change together so that there's only a supposed binary "change" or "not change" choice is simply reducing everything to a meaningless, forced question that doesn't really accomplish anything. 

 

And that's my final response to you. 

 

Ever.  

 

/ignore list.

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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I addressed an entire category of examples:

 

I agree that the Unicorns won't end up riding dinosaurs. I get the point of that example: it stands for extreme change. The other examples were meant to stand for insignificant changes. My point is, if a change is truly insignificant then in what sense beyond the purely technical is it even a change for purposes of discussing continuity? Why, for example, would FFG change the kind of weapon with which a certain character was slain if that detail is truly insignificant? In other words, the principle those examples were (apparently) meant to illustrate is inherently irrelevant.

 

Insignificant changes are ... well, insignificant. If a change does not meaningfully impact continuity then it cannot be relevant to a discussion about how FFG might change continuity. So we can put aside any talk of insignificant changes. That leaves us with significant changes: changes that could meaningfully impact continuity. That's where the question of degree comes into play. Are there any advantages to changing the existing setting just a little bit? Not really. It would be insufficient to make the IP more accessible while also failing to appease folks who don't want change. The most reasonable assumption is therefore that FFG will take this opportunity to really mix things up.

 

Okay now keep in mind, this topic of discussion already assumes that point. But after nine pages, I have no problem reiterating it.

 

Now that we have covered change, it's time to go back to continuity: some things will change but other things will not. The brand has to remain recognizable, after all, or there is no point in developing it. In fact, FFG is probably already working out what are the essential elements of L5R as a brand. In the broadest strokes, we know what they are: a setting inspired by feudal Japan that incorporates fantastical elements and revolves around divinely-established high-level socio-political institutions called Great Clans. Again, I think this is obvious but it's no trouble to reiterate at this point in the discussion.

 

So we have a rough idea about the level of detail that we actually care about: preexisting story arcs. In FFG's continuity, will X still have defeated Y? Did that lead to A, which in turn caused B? If the LCG is going to be story-driven, which is a hallmark of L5R, then this is where FFG will need the most freedom to develop its own product line.

 

IMO this would also be good for the property. The clear advantage is it allows the story to be so much more accessible. It's also a really good chance to streamline some of the messy, duplicative plots into something more dramatic.

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Whether some detail matters to a given person is purely subjective. Whether a detail impacts continuity is not.

 

Many posters will be familiar with the scene from A New Hope where Han kills Greedo. Originally, Han shot before Greedo. George Lucas reversed this in his Special Edition re-release. This is a significant change whether or not I personally care about it.

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Eh. I think people waaaay overestimate the significance of that. Greedo had a gun on Han, and Han clearly had no intention of going with Greedo. It's self defense either way, and he clearly had no expectation of walking free unless he did something drastic.

 

Han's character is informed as more by his behavior before and after the shot, as well as his blase attitude about the whole thing. Whether he technically fired first (or if he was the only shooter) is almost irrelevant.

 

It *does* make Greedo a terrible shot, but since he's a minor character who appears in a single scene, who cares?

 

My issue with the revision is that it makes the shot look like ****. Which is the same metric I plan to apply to L5R: I don't care if changes are made, just don't be ham-fisted about it.

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With such an example and with your current definition, every single change affect continuity.

 

Using the ''Han shot first'' as a basis:

 

-Is Han still alive? Yes

-Is Greedo still dead? Yes

-Has any other events been changed by having Greedo shot first? No

 

Therefore it is an insignificant change for the overall continuity. The only thing it migth change is our initial perception of the character, but that has absolutly no repercussion on any of his future actions or any of his motivations.

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I think you are overlooking that continuity, as an analog to history, bleeds both way: into the story going forward as well as into the background upon which the story takes place. In both cuts, Greedo dies and Han goes on to save Luke. But the character is very different, in terms of who he is in that scene and what kind of life brought him to that point, as between the original and revised cuts. Personally, I don't care about the change. It simply doesn't trouble me. I know there are others who feel very passionately about it. Whether a given person approves, disapproves, or simply cannot muster the interest to care, this is a change that matters to the identity of the character. Han's arc in the revised cut is more shallow than in the original. That's not a value judgement; it's a statement of fact: the man who shoots first, turns his back on the Rebellion, but returns because he's been inspired to believe in something more -- that character changes more than the other character, in the revised edition, who only resorts to lethal force when, if his would-be murderer was a slightly better shot, it is already too late.

 

Let's apply this "does any other event change" standard to a hypothetical revision: what if Lucas cut the movie so that Leia and Han hit it off right from the start? Since they get together either way, I guess by the "does any other event change" standard, this would not be a significant change. I hope this clarifies that the standard is bogus. As to why: how things happen in a story can be just as important as or even more important than what happens. This is especially easy to see when we talk about characters.

 

So again, we're getting into a tangent that risks totally de-railing the conversation, but the key takeaway is: the mechanics of a story can be assessed objectively, with our individual personal preferences (or ambivalence) set aside. It's no more impossible to distinguish a significant from an insignificant change than it is impossible to trace out the "essential elements" of a particular IP. Now, I'm not saying either task is easy or obvious. But these things can be and are accomplished.

Edited by Manchu

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With such an example and with your current definition, every single change affect continuity.

 

Using the ''Han shot first'' as a basis:

 

-Is Han still alive? Yes

-Is Greedo still dead? Yes

-Has any other events been changed by having Greedo shot first? No

 

Therefore it is an insignificant change for the overall continuity. The only thing it migth change is our initial perception of the character, but that has absolutly no repercussion on any of his future actions or any of his motivations.

 

It takes Han from being a contrasting character to the idealistic farmboy and the knight errant we've already met, someone who is practical, savvy, clear-eyed, and touch ruthless...  to being a lucky sucker who would be dead if Greedo wasn't a terrible shot.

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So again, we're getting into a tangent that risks totally de-railing the conversation, but the key takeaway is: the mechanics of a story can be assessed objectively, with our individual personal preferences (or ambivalence) set aside. It's no more impossible to distinguish a significant from an insignificant change than it is impossible to trace out the "essential elements" of a particular IP. Now, I'm not saying either task is easy or obvious. But these things can be and are accomplished.

 

Whereas I think the takeaway is that the way people read the new material is hugely influenced by whether or not they're familiar with the old. If you watch the film in a vacuum, the difference between the two scenes is trivial. It's only when it's considered alongside the general resistance to change, the removal of the original cut from circulation, the affective reaction of the fan community, and actually comparing the two scenes to each other that the change has any real impact. In an alternate film universe where Han always shot first, I very much doubt anyone would read his arc any differently than we do his arc as it existed in the original cut. Likewise, for viewers who come to the new cut fresh (though as noted, they may well be influenced by the general fan outcry).

 

As noted, Han is still cool as ice about the fact that he just killed a person. It's also clear throughout the scene that he knows where things are going, and has no intention of ending the confrontation in any other way.

 

This is not a good test case for being an objectively impactful change, because its objective impact is actually so small as to be insignificant, even though its *subjective* impact is huge -- people read Han in the new cut in a vastly different way because of their awareness of the change, and the way the fan community thinks people should feel about it. Which I wouldn't be surprised to be the case for many changes that might come to L5R.

 

Story is inherently subjective, because it depends as much on audience as it does on storyteller, and the interface between the two. I think we're generally on the same side on this discussion, but I wouldn't hang your hat on the objectivity argument.

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I'll lead with the L5R takeaway for those (understandably) bored with the runaway tangent: It's possible to talk about whether a given change in continuity is significant or not without reference to a personal preference. The kind of purely technical change that does not impact characterization or plot is not really at issue in a discussion about how FFG will approach changing the L5R IP. This is actually self-evident: why would anyone bother to make a change that has no meaningful effect? And as a rule of thumb: if people can spend hours making solid, good faith arguments about whether the effect is meaningful to characterization, plot, or story (rather than as a matter of their own tastes) then it almost certainly is.

 

Alright, back to the tangent: My analysis of the character's arc in light of each cut doesn't draw on "the general resistance to change, the removal of the original cut from circulation, the affective reaction of the fan community," or any similar factor. My analysis is based solely on the cuts themselves. I start with the question: what am I supposed to learn about the character, the plot, and the story from this cut? I know that any cut is a conscious decision intended to convey something in particular. So I can conclude that if someone bothered with the expense of recutting the scene, what it is meant to convey has changed. Now, let's say Lucas edited the scene so that Han's blaster in the revised cut has a black rubber grip rather than a brown wooden one. This would be of objective significance to someone who makes prop replicas. That one is easy to see because it involves a physical characteristic. But there isn't necessarily any difference between this and something immaterial, like whether a character is ruthless. Indeed, while it can be used to great effect in certain circumstances ambiguous characterization is generally a red flag.

Edited by Manchu

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Alright, back to the tangent: My analysis of the character's arc in light of each cut doesn't draw on "the general resistance to change, the removal of the original cut from circulation, the affective reaction of the fan community," or any similar factor. My analysis is based solely on the cuts themselves. I start with the question: what am I supposed to learn about the character, the plot, and the story from this cut? I know that any cut is a conscious decision intended to convey something in particular. So I can conclude that if someone bothered with the expense of recutting the scene, what it is meant to convey has changed. Now, let's say Lucas edited the scene so that Han's blaster in the revised cut has a black rubber grip rather than a brown wooden one. This would be of objective significance to someone who makes prop replicas. That one is easy to see because it involves a physical characteristic. But there isn't necessarily any difference between this and something immaterial, like whether a character is ruthless. Indeed, while it can be used to great effect in certain circumstances ambiguous characterization is a telltale red flag of bad writing.

 

All of this pretty much ignores that in both scenes, Han was obviously going to shoot Greedo regardless of whether Greedo fired. Again, you can read it in the way the scene played, both in the lead up and in the aftermath. As noted in my first post on the subject, the only reason you're aware of the difference is because the original cut exists. If that cut never made it out of the editing bay, no one would be saying, "Boy, that Han is a swell guy for waiting for Greedo to get a shot off," he would be read exactly the way we read him in the original unedited trilogy. A cold-blooded mercenary who's cool under pressure and cares only about himself. There is still a vivid difference between Han and Luke, and Han's characterization is still absolutely clear enough to mark his narrative arc (which, btw, has nothing to do with whether he fired first, and is entirely about whether he's "quite the mercenary" or someone who cares about "anything other than [him]self"). The difference between the two scenes, despite the general hue and cry, is trivial.

 

The fact that you go on to point out that changing Han's prop would be of objective significance to a prop master pretty much ignores the meaning of the word "objective." Regarding both Han shooting first and the make of his prop weapon, each is objectively a difference. Neither is objectively significant.

 

To take this back around to your the L5R discussion, people make changes to things all the time that they believe are meaningful, but others may not find to be so (though doubtless, some will). Likewise, FFG may make changes they believe will be insignificant in terms of audience reception, but make any of they myriad tasks involved in the game's production simpler or less expensive. Again, there's no guarantee the audience will feel the same way.

 

The objective significance argument is wobbly to begin with because what's significant to each receiver (in terms of communication) can vary widely, and that's taking aside a failure on the part of the communicator to communicate well. That's no less true in L5R than it is in Star Wars.

 

(And no analysis by any critic ever is based, "solely on the cuts themselves." :P )

Edited by BD Flory

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