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Persuasion Minigame

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Many video games include interactive dialogue that allows the player to pick what their character says and determines the outcome based on that. When it comes to persuading an NPC to help in a specific situation or generally increasing their Relationship Values, most games either make the players find just the right path through the Dialogue Tree or resolve it with a background Persuasion Skill Score check. Some games, however, frame such persuasion attempts as mini-games, with several common mechanics thrown in:

  • Persuasion meter. A graphic or numeric indicator of how close the player has come to convincing the NPC—often represented by abstract "persuasion points".
  • Argument menu. At the start of the minigame, the player may be given a limited number of "arguments"—i.e. actions usable once per minigame—and must figure out which ones to use in which order for the largest persuasion point gain. A variation with opposed arguments has the NPC AI doing the same thing simultaneously, and the party with the most points wins the debate.
  • Skill Scores and Perks. In RPGs, a higher Persuasion skill score may increase the yields of persuasion points from successful arguments and decrease the losses from missteps. Certain perks may open up additional persuasion options.

Subtrope of Mini-Game. Compare/contrast Dialogue Tree, Pop Quiz. Compare also Multiple Persuasion Modes, where persuasion attempts are instead framed as background skill checks, and Betting Minigame.


Real-Time Strategy

  • In Republic: The Revolution, recruiting new party functionaries, as well as many special events revolve around a negotiation minigame between your functionary and an NPC. First, you get a number of persuasiveness points (dependent on your functionary's Resolve score), which you have to assign to four differently-weighted arguments you will use later. In the first round of negotiation, you must play each of these arguments in any order, not knowing which arguments the other party has. In the second round, the process is repeated, except both parties now know each other's arguments. The party with more successful persuasions (i.e. matching the opponent's argument with a stronger argument) wins the entire negotiation.

Role-Playing Game

  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, each NPC has a Disposition score and will only help the PC if it is high enough. The Disposition can be raised with a minigame accessible from the dialogue screen, in which the PC must use four actions (Admire, Boast, Joke, and Coerce) in any order to gain a Disposition boost. Each NPC reacts differently to different actions (increasing or decreasing Disposition by different amounts), and the "weight" of each action shifts randomly every time one is used (higher weight increases the results, whether positive or negative). A high Speechcraft skill increases Disposition gains from liked actions and reduces losses from disliked ones.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution has a rather unique implementation with the CASIE augmentation, which turns each dialogue wherein Jensen tries to get help from an NPC into a non-violent Boss Battle minigame. First, it provides an indicator of whether the character Jensen talks to is inclined to agree or to disagree with him, as well as a brief textual summary of the character's mental state, containing clues to the most beneficial paths in the Dialogue Tree. It also provides a color-coded indicator that flares up during dialogue, offering clues to the NPC's personality type (alpha, beta, or omega). If the dialogue goes badly, Jensen can activate the pheromone release function and use a personality type-specific mode of dialogue to get what he wants from the NPC, anyway. Without CASIE, you basically have to do the same thing—sans pheromones—blind (or via Save Scumming), and some NPCs are immune to pheromone manipulation.
  • In Divinity: Original Sin, whenever the player characters get into an argument among themselves or with an NPC, they must pick a mode of persuasion (intimidation, charm, or reasoning) and play a game of Rock–Paper–Scissors, where every win awards a number of points determined by the character's Charisma score and, in dialogue with NPCs, by the expediency of the chosen persuasion mode in the given situation. Whichever side gains the target total points first wins the argument.
  • Anachronox: More heuristic than systematic (that is, he talks and talks, and talks, and...), the "Yammer" verbal persuasion sessions handed out by Grumpos (appropriately an old geezer) require him to gather enough air beforehand, which translates into a minigame with visualization of his lungs. Gathering air requires the player to keep quickly tapping certain buttons at the right periods of time. Some targets require sort of special variations in technique (some periods require to tap two buttons together or to click a third button), those targets can not be properly yammered unless Grumpos' finds someone to train his skill to Master level first.
  • In order to recruit Felicia in Rakenzarn Tales, Kyuu has to win three rounds of a dancing minigame, as Felicia wants to see if a brigade leader can also have fun and not be serious all the time. It's one where you input the correct button sequence within a time limit.
  • Sparring monsters in Undertale usually involves navigating (or just enduring) a Dialogue Tree of sorts between attacks. However, while fighting Mettaton EX, the "ratings" meter is secretly a Persuasion Meter, and doing various things to raise it to the top defeats the boss non-lethally.

Visual Novel

  • The sequel to Ace Attorney Investigations introduces "logic chess", special confrontations where you have to persuade your opponent into spilling the beans. Gameplay wise it is navigating tricky dialog trees under a time limit and trying to avoid agitating the opponent further (which will cause a time penalty) and to spot when the opponent accidentally leaks information.