Between work, sleep, shopping, and other demands, the average gamer doesn’t have as many hours as he’d like for his hobby. When you finally have the time, an almost endless bounty is available: ambitious storytelling, professional voice acting, character customization, adaptive simulations, deep lore and more.
This is great, but please, I beg you: let me move on. Launching a game I’ve played once before, or would otherwise be familiar with, just to watch cutscenes, tutorials, and low-risk levels designed to train you – just quit. I’ve discontinued some games, games I would otherwise enjoy, because of their outsized preambles. It’s not an entirely new problem, but I can’t believe it hasn’t been fixed yet.
Most cutscenes offer a way to skip them. I’m looking for similar courtesy for anything else a game requires that isn’t directly related to the actual gameplay or core loop. If I have the time to play a game that won’t be new to me, I don’t want to play the “Hold B to Crouch” tutorial level or slowly unlock powers or areas. I have an, maybe an hour and a half between cleaning up dinner and a proper bedtime and a few free hours on the weekend. Let’s get started.
What a Fallout 4 mod taught me
I have deep respect for the work of game designers, programmers and artists. I understand that with some games the slow reveal is the whole point. I’m not asking for a way to burn out Life is strange or move on to the midlife/capitalist crises Kentucky Route Zero. I’m asking more bigger-name game makers to consider that after appreciating their work on writing, characterization, and mechanical accompaniment the first time around, I appreciate it less each time I have to trudge through it to get back on track. enjoy real game.
The first time I played Fallout 4, I, a longtime fan of series, enjoyed the economic world building, the introduction of new mechanics in this iteration and the first few explanatory quests. But Fallout games beg to be played multiple times. Every time I had to create a character, wander through their suburban idyll, experience the nuclear strike promised in the name of the game, and slowly reach the point of true autonomy, my enthusiasm for a replay quickly subsided .
I recently jumped back into it Fallout 4 to test an ambitious roleplaying mod. While it was downloading, I discovered “Start Me Up Redux”, which lets you jump to a spot along the early path, choose your character stats, and then just go. Within a minute of loading the game, I was petting Dogmeat, collecting cans to customize weapons, and drifting into hopelessly over-scalable showdowns. It was revealing. It made me want any other game that conveniently offers interactive onboarding, to handily let me quit it as well.
Please let me enjoy what you’ve made, only faster
I recently played Aliens: dark descent, a team-based real-time strategy game that warns you from the title screen that it’s meant to be a tough challenge. To me that was an understatement. An hour deep into an early mission on the default difficulty, I’d doomed myself through resource misuse and disregard for my Marines’ stress levels. You can’t change the difficulty within a campaign, so turning it down a notch meant starting over.
With this game, starting over meant not only skipping some cutscenes, but also laboriously clicking the ground to make the main character walk through the first level, where all the core strategies are taught, in between lots of ominous dialogues about strange readings and missing people. Then I had to be introduced to the again XCOM-like base of operations, with each section requiring an affirmative click and a different cutscene to skip.
By the time I got back to that mission – the point where the decisions were interesting, actions had consequences – I’d spent an hour in the game’s waiting room. I had to stop doing something in real life, and I never got back into it. If someone has a “Start Me Up” mode for Dark descent, or the devs patched one, I might reconsider. I’m far from immune to the charms of a well-placed automatic turret mowing down xenomorphs.