Allow Player to skip Content: Yes - No?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Milennin, Oct 14, 2015.


What is your stance on content skipping in RPGs?

  1. The Player should not be able to skip content.

    1 vote(s)
  2. The Player should be able to skip some content, such as long cutscenes.

    40 vote(s)
  3. The Player should be able to skip most content, such as cutscenes and battles.

    9 vote(s)
  1. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I pretty much entirely agree with Schlangan on this.

    I hate the concept of literally being able to "turn off" enemy encounters or even control the rate of them from an Options menu.  I feel like this breaks the player's immersion in the world, eliminates any sense of risk or excitement, and (somewhat ironically) reinforces the notion that the player is only doing these minor battles in order to grind levels for an arbitrarily difficult boss and pad their game time.

    With that being said, having game mechanics to avoid encounters is a nice, player-friendly touch.  Visible Encounters on the map that you can literally avoid are really good.  Little "exclamation point" prompts before battle that let you spend gold or some type of points to entirely skip the battle are good for a random encounter system.  "Quick battle" where the battle is simulated in a second instead of entirely played out are okay.  There are a lot of different ways to do this well.

    I also agree with letting the player skip the cutscene once s/he has seen them once (or even allowing them to skip them before the player has ever seen them, though I don't know why a player would want to do this in an RPG).  Whether the player watches the cutscene or doesn't, the end outcome, game-wise, will be exactly the same - therefore I don't believe it breaks immersion to offer this option to the player.  There is nothing more annoying than having to watch a rewatch a cutscene that you have already watched four times in the last hour because you are having trouble with a boss.  I just mash the X button in frustration and try to think about something else until it ends.  Even on a second playthrough... most RPGs have parts I want to rewatch, and parts that I don't.

    The tricky part, doing this in RPG Maker at least, is implementation.  If you want to give the option to skip only what's already been seen, you need to either script the game to automatically save certain file information without the normal Save command, or you need to track information above the file level in a "global" file of some sort.  Otherwise, you end up in that scenario where you set a switch that says "I've watched this", the player gets a Game Over, and the switch is reset back to Off!
  2. hian

    hian Biggest Boss Veteran

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    On one hand, in theory, I see no reason to not include an option to skip pretty much anything and everything to allow players

    to customize their own experience and prioritize their own engagement with the medium.

    However, practically speaking, there is such a thing as human nature - and just like how in creating an open world game where one

    way of playing is obviously superior to all others, and the vast majority of people will end up playing the game

    in only that way - if you include skip options, people will, even if it ruins their overall experience of the game,

    still end up frequently picking the skip option.

    People are, in general, prone to lacking the deeper self-awareness necessary to accurately map out

    long-term benefits over short-term benefits, and while spending a lot of time and energy on a complex and

    technically advanced battle-system might lead to great satisfaction down the road (like mastering Dark Souls, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

    or training to complete a 24 hour marathon) it won't be readily apparent right away, so most people will just give up

    immediately if they can.

    Next thing to consider is the effort and time needed to tailor specific aspects of a game to make it accessible to

    various possible target demographics.

    Sure, you could make the story of Street Fighter games more accessible by allowing players to skip the entire

    "fighting aspect" of the game, but granted what I said above, this is going to be a waste of time and effort.

    Firstly, people who play games largely for story probably won't be making up a large portion of the Street Fighter target

    audience. If you want to attract those people to Street Fighter, you're going to have to do better than just add

    a skip fight button, and instead shift focus entirely over to story (which will lose you a lot of fighting

    game fans who don't want to be bombarded with narrative in their fighting games).

    Secondly, once you add the skip button, a lot of players who'd otherwise diligently learn the system and get a lot

    of gratification out of that once they master it, will fall to the temptation of using your neat little skip button, and soon

    enough, they also might very well have lampooned their own ability to truly enjoy the game as a result.

    A good example of this, is how many casual gamers I knew during the PS2 era dropped out of GTA3 half way through due to having

    used cheat-codes. The moment they started using cheat-codes to wreak havoc, unlocking all the weapons etc. they

    suddenly couldn't be bothered to complete the story-line anymore. Going back to the ordinary game after cheat enabled

    massacres just seemed dull and pointless I guess.

    It's easy to say that this is their own fault, and that the people who don't want to skip or cheat can just

    refrain from using such functions, but I think that's pretty shallow way of looking at it, and it completely ignores human nature.

    It also ignores why games exist to begin with.

    You don't sit down with your friends and a board-game with no intentions of following the guidelines and rules

    of the game. If the opposite were the case, why are you even playing it to begin with?

    The enjoyment of games are found in their systems in and of themselves, and if you don't enjoy a particular game system,

    then you don't play that game. A game is essentially its systems. To ask to be able to skip the system of a game,

    is essentially the same as asking to be allowed to skip the game itself.

    If you're not interested in playing a game, and would rather read a book or watch a movie, you should be doing that

    instead, not expecting game developers to take extra time and resources out of their development cycle to

    allow you ways of not playing their game.

    To summarize and make my point a bit more clear though -

    Skip functions can be useful to make your game more accessible, and how much skipping you allow for should

    be determined by how accessible you want to make your game.

    However, you shouldn't aspire to make your game so accessible that it ceases entirely to be a game,

    or when the accessibility actually starts to have adverse effects on the core target audience you intended

    the game for to begin with.

    The reason you shouldn't do this is because A.) If you're making a game that's not a game, you're not making a game.

    You're wasting time doing one thing, when you could probably have an easier time just writing books or making

    visual novels, and B.) if you're making a game which is alienating its primary intended target-audience

    you're again wasting time. If you're making a fighting game, make a fighting game - don't start out intending

    to make a fighting game and then turn it into a botched visual novel. Nobody is going to play that, period.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2015

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