Now Ubi’s opened the door, can we have our “Skip Boss Fight” button?

Ubisoft made a fascinating announcement this week. They revealed that the latest Assassin’s Creed [official site] is to add a “Discovery Tour” mode, removing all the combat and challenges from the game, to let players just freely experience their in-depth recreation of Ancient Egypt. It’s fascinating, to me, because it’s a big deal. And goodness me, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Because games should be delighted to include modes that remove all their difficulty and challenge, and players should cheer when they hear about it.

Oddly enough, a lot of players don’t cheer. In fact, people can get awfully angry about it. Since the announcement I’ve seen on Twitter a combination of people declaring, “Hooray! I’m interested in playing Assassin’s Creed for the first time in years!”, alongside others pointing toward those utterly furious that it demeans their hobby, cheapens games, and most heinous of all, lets in the riff-raff.

I say: BRING ON THE RIFF-RAFF.

I’m not playing dumb here, I’m not being coy. I know an awful lot of what’s made gaming culture such a miserably toxic environment over the last few years is deeply wrapped up in subjects like this, and those who spread the toxicity are those most likely to be on the side of condemning gaming options that remove challenge, that make the hobby more accessible to the crowds. But at the same time, I’m not going to allow that sewage to pollute my opinions, and my delight in expressing those opinions, and I’ve long been arguing that gaming can be a far better place if the industry would only introduce the “Skip Boss Fight” button.

Yes, of course, Skip Boss Fight is a totem for my larger point here, and it’s a title under which I’d include Ubi’s recent announcement (despite their rather awkwardly trying to wrap it all up as wanting to be Edumacational). It’s the spirit such an option captures, and it’s one that I think the industry would do well to breathe deeply into their souls.

This is ground I’ve covered before. And each time there’s been a very similar reaction. In 2009 I suggested it was daft that I’m not able to just skip ahead while playing game, like I could in a film, book, or TV show. Of course that’s daft! I wrote back in 2012 about the idea of being able to skip fights, as a reaction to the despicable response to BioWare’s Jennifer Hepler’s suggesting that game combat should be skippable. Of course it should! Last year I talked about how deeply peculiar is the perceived notion that people have to be GOOD at games for them to be properly enjoyed. Of course they don’t! And in light of this seismic (that shouldn’t be, oh it shouldn’t be) announcement regarding AssCreed Unity, I want to reiterate it once more: let other people play games their way.

The reaction against these thoughts is one of Us and Them, and a desire to keep the Them from getting near the Us. “Them” are all ordinary, inexpert, mediocre, or worst of all, new. While “Us” are expert, experienced, hardcore, elite. But let us reject that silliness immediately, and embrace the idea that welcoming the Outsider in is always how society broadens and blooms. Never mind that there are plenty of people already here who are looking for different and more varied experiences.

Gaming has always been inclusive. The idea that there was this Golden Age when all games were cripplingly hard, and only the Chosen were able to play, is bullshit. In fact, back in these imagined halcyon years was when games invariably came with cheat codes, god modes, all sorts of ways to subvert and play differently. And despite the outright terror that articles like this are harming their precious gaming, that the Outsiders are changing games to what the self-identifying Us perceive as “worse”, we’re currently experiencing a heyday for super-high-difficulty, super-challenging, extremely tough games, like we never have before. Funny, that.

I bought a Nintendo Switch recently, and have been playing Zelda: Breath Of The Wild as much as I possibly can. (Gosh, it really is quite the thing to be able to just pick up your game off the TV screen and play it on the train – I sincerely hope a PC equivalent is happening.) It’s an extraordinary game, vast and intricate and ludicrously alive. But, because it’s a Zelda game – hell, because it’s a Nintendo game – it has boss fights. And I can do them! They’re much easier than the average. I still hate them.

I hate them for me because I find them incongruous to the rest of the game they’re in (there are exceptions, games where a ‘boss’ is in fact a sequence that asks you to employ all you’ve learned so far, the gaming equivalent of a comprehension test, and these work so well, but they’re rare like rubies and it’s almost always just a difficulty spike). But I also hate them for other people, those who aren’t as good at games as I am (I am average good at games), for whom I know these are not boss fights, but end points. They are massive impassable obstacles between them and the fun they could be having afterward.

I’ve long hated boss fights, as chronicled perennially on these pages, because they’re difficulty spikes as game design. They’re something that should be rooted out by beta testing somehow being given feature status. And yes, for some reason people love them so, but just as many – if not more – can’t stand them. (Dark Souls wouldn’t be a bloody genre if people didn’t love a boss fight, but while it falls just short of selling seven billion copies, it’s inarguable that there are people who do not enjoy boss fights. And when your game is made of boss fights tied together with string, then yes, it’s plainly idiotic for a hater to buy it.) Here’s the magic though: if games had a button that let you skip past these incongruous segments so you could carry on enjoying the great game on the other side, that button could just as easily not be pressed!

The argument against the skip button, the tourist mode, the skippable combat, the fast-forward a level, all these ideas that keep coming up, is always the same. It’s always, “BUT SOMEONE MIGHT PRESS THEM!” It’s not an enormously strong argument, all things considered. It’s one I’d like to try to counter.

Yes, they might.

Goodness me, it’s like Hegelian dialectic in here.

Ok, it’s slightly more nuanced than that, although it’s never actually expressed truthfully. The argument tends to go, “But someone other than me might press them, and then they’d get to see a bit of the game that was meant only for the Deserving Champions!” Because, the real nub of it is, it’s about exclusivity. It’s about keeping the Thems, the riff-raff, the outsider, out. THIS section of the game, this is special to me and only those as great as I am! I DESERVE this bit of the game! Those weaklings do not! Gosh, it’s an ugly way of thinking, isn’t it? And so utterly idiotic too. Because it requires the mental gymnastics of somehow believing that one’s own isolated experience of a game is cheapened, lessened, impacted in any conceivable way, by the isolated experience of someone else playing that game. It is the transference of one’s ego onto the game itself. It’s not a healthy way to go about experiencing life.

The better argument, although it’s a lot less frequently uttered, is, “But I might press the button!” And here things get a lot more tricky. How many’s the time you regretted pressing the ‘hint’ button on your favourite mobile puzzle game? How often have you felt that incredible sense of achievement of having succeeded at a part of a game that challenged you so, which you know – you just know – you’d have skipped three tries back if you’d had the option? Yes, here, there’s a concern. But it’s not a concern about games, it’s a concern about yourself.

So even to use this far more valid worry, that you might spoil your own experiences when offered a tempting shiny red button, is an exercise in unacceptable selfishness. Because that shiny button becomes the thing that allows a multitude more people than you to enjoy their experience of playing this game, and refusing it because of your own inability to self-regulate isn’t a good enough argument!

There are obvious solutions. The most simple being the option to switch off the option of such a button when starting a new game, and impossible to switch on without restarting. Perfect, right? Those without the self control to impulse use it can remove the option, those who just want to enjoy the game differently than you have it on. Done. Then, if that weren’t enough (and it is), there can be reward mechanisms. Skip the boss and you’ll not get the sparkly new sword (that, ironically, will make things a little easier, but don’t think about it!). Or maybe, to embrace the ugly icky attitude, you get a different ending, and those who need to feel better about themselves than others because of their ability to better press some buttons in time with a cartoon get to see the PROPER ENDING. Not the dirty scumbag ending for paupers and the weak! Aren’t you great, with your ending. Imagine how people will stare at you in the streets!

So hooray for Ubisoft! Hooray for taking all the challenge and difficulty from a game for people who prefer games without challenges and difficulty! Hooray for skipping the boring bits to enjoy more of the fun! Hooray for people being allowed to enjoy a game in a different way from you! Hooray for the riff-raff!

487 Comments

Top comments

  1. alexheretic says:

    Unfortunately the people that disagree with this the most will find it impossible to skip this article.
  1. Antongranis says:

    I had to play xenonauts on ironman to stop myself abusing saves :P

    • MrBumbles says:

      link to youtu.be I recommend watching this as it illustrates good points about why there should not be a skip button. This is no my channel. I am an active viewer and enjoy his content.

  2. postmanmanman says:

    I think that applauding games that focus so heavily on accessibility is great, and decrying a game just because anyone can finish it is (of course) absolutely idiotic. But I think it is frankly *just* as idiotic to demand that ALL games, or even that specific games that are giving people trouble, *must* be accessible as a matter of morality. Challenge, when it is well designed, is a completely legitimate tool of game design, and interestingly something that’s very specific to games as a medium.

    (There are of course challenging books and film and music, but it’s a bit different isn’t it. Although now that I think about it there are absolutely just as many people demanding that Lynch give strict, easy to follow summaries of his movies as there are people demanding that Cuphead let players see the whole game through on “simple” mode so… I suppose this debate isn’t exclusive to this medium.)

    • Koozer says:

      Why is it idiotic? I don’t understand.

      I love Dark Souls to bits, but I will happily admit I used the skip boss button/summoning signs at every boss I possibly could. They were just unfun roadblocks in the way of the beautifully ghastly scenery beyond.

      • postmanmanman says:

        Because not every game has to be for every person. If all you wanted out of Dark Souls was to see the sights, why not just watch someone else play through it? When we expect devs to develop for as many people as possible, it becomes much harder to design tight, specific experiences.

        • Sunjammer says:

          It is very, very easy to make a very easy game.

          • ShrimpShaq says:

            Have you made a game?
            Please, tell me how easy it is.

          • Enko says:

            I have a game on steam. Its also very easy to make a really hard game that .05% can beat.

            Challenge is in the middle.

        • Daemoroth says:

          I enjoy the combat of Dark Souls, I hate the boss fights. I’d love play more, create more classes, experiment with builds, etc. but I normally lose interest around the 4th or 5th boss.

          Granted, that’s fine, not going to begrudge the devs or anything. But IF they ever added a Skip Boss button you can bet I’d use it after a few tries, and get to continue enjoying the game.

          And the thing is, that doesn’t take away anything from players like you, who would refuse to use it. Me skipping that fight has literally zero impact on your playing experience, nothing, nada, zilch. So what exactly is there to complain about?

          The devs can even make a big splash about the people who beat each boss (Achievements) and those who beat every boss (BIG achievement), and add it to your profile, or whatever validation players against this kind of stuff needs to feel better about their own playing experience.

          • falcon2001 says:

            I 100% agree. I’m a huge fan of Dark Souls, love the series and have played every single one. I don’t like the bosses. I LOVE the enemy to enemy in-the-trenches struggle to make it through a level, but god I don’t like the bosses. At best, they are big, interesting setpieces with great models, but mostly in DS they do too much damage, take too little damage, and take too much time.

            Bloodborne takes this problem and boosts it to 11 for me, making it so I’m really unlikely to replay through it again after running into the final boss of the DLC and hitting a roadblock for a couple days.

          • SuicideKing says:

            I’ve only played Dark Souls at a friend’s place, but from what I’ve seen of it, I do agree with you – I’d love to play the game without the boss fights as well.

        • KenTWOu says:

          @postmanmanman

          If all you wanted out of Dark Souls was to see the sights, why not just watch someone else play through it?

          Dude, we’re talking about a game not a movie, watching someone else’s playthrough is not the same as playing it yourself looking at the sights from every possible angle and making beautiful screenshots.

        • Nelyeth says:

          “Because not every game has to be for every person”

          Why ? I disagree, and I would go as far as to say “every game has to be for every person, as long as the cost of said accessibility is negligible”. Say you can add a “skip” button in your game with minimal effort, why wouldn’t you do it ? A few lines of code, a few minutes’ worth of work, that would make your game more accessible for thousands ?

          And if you cannot add a skip button (because of lore-heavy gameplay, because your game teaches an important mechanic during that boss fight, or any other reason), how hard is it to crank a few numbers up and down and simply make that difficulty spike disappear ? Giving the player tenfold stats is, once again, a matter of minutes.

          First, design the whole game with the intended difficulty in mind. Make it as challenging as you’d like, create bosses that’ll make players cry blood, puzzles that require people to speak eight languages fluently, pixel-perfect platforming, or all of those at once if that’s your jam.

          Then, in a day’s work, give the option to ignore said difficulty.

          Now tell me, how did the addition of that simple feature detract from the game’s quality ? It did not, and it absolutely could not.

          So, unless adding that feature takes a significant amount of time and assets (I cannot think of a reason as to why it would, but I’m not ruling out the possibility), there is no believable reason not to do it. You go, John.

          • ToXXicG4mer says:

            Because accessibility is not a player right or a developer obligation. Why is there suddenly this expectation that all games be equally accessible when it’s painfully clear that films and literature aren’t? Games are for everyone. An individual game need not be. If the Assassin’s Creed developers feel that a non-combat version of their historical drama fits their artistic goals, then fantastic. If a different developer feels that a certain baseline difficulty in a bossfight is part of the emotional landscape that they want for their title, then that’s fine, too.

            With modern techniques, it would probably be trivially easy for an electronic music producer to remove all the percussion from an album and release that version for download alongside the usual one. That doesn’t mean that there’s somehow an obligation to do so if it doesn’t comport with their vision.

          • PikaBot says:

            There is no feature you can add to any video game that isn’t liable to take a significant amount of time and assets.

          • SuicideKing says:

            @PikaBot – that’s simply untrue.

          • draglikepull says:

            It’s not “a day’s work” to completely rewrite the difficulty for a video game and add new ways to play. This is a good example of players having unrealistic expectations of developers because they don’t understand how games are made.

            I think it’s great if developers do want to add these options, like Mass Effect adding the “Narrative Mode” or what Ubisoft is doing here for Assassin’s Creed. Lots of players will enjoy those, and that’s awesome.

            But please recognise that something like changing the game balance or adding new modes (and yes, a “skip boss button” is a kind of new mode) is a substantial ask that will take development time/effort/resources away from other things.

          • Ich Will says:

            Toxxic, would you be happy if every game did this?

            For example, Skyrim or the Witcher literally obligated you to read _every_ book, and gates off progress until you’ve proven that you have understood the lore.

            How about if GTA demamded that your offline progress was linked solely to your online progress, so you can’t proceed in the story until you’ve grinded your way to financial equity online.

            What if a sports game only let you participate in 100% long, real time events. Your football game only lets you play the full match and enforced the 10 minute half time break. Your racing sim only lets you play formula one if you run the full race distance.

            Am I being a bit silly? Well, that’s how I feel when people tell me I am enjoying the wrong things in Dark Souls too – because I enjoy reading and understanding all the lore in games, I enjoy exploring their epic worlds and I enjoy taking my time, working my way through at my own pace – literally RPing as if I, or the character I am playing was in that world for real. You don’t necessarily enjoy that, which is fine, no game forces you to invesitgate the lore and literally RP. Good for you, you’ve got the accessibility options you need. Why can’t I have the ones I need?

            I only indulge the boss fights in most games to get to the next bit, I find no pleasure in most games mechanics when they’ve pumped them up to riddiculous 4th wall breaking, gamified nonsense – if the boss has an ubercanon, why didn’t it just use it straight away? Why does it’s attack have three phases, that’s almost always inconsistant with the rest of the game (props to blood and wine, where the phases thing actually made sense)

            And just to show consistancy, I do install deadly dragons in Skyrim, because for me, the opposite is true, too easy combat when it should be absolutely devistatingly difficult is just the same. Doesn’t mean I enjoy fighting the dragons, not at all, but I do enjoy knowing that when I see a dragon, I can’t waltz past it confident that it’s an easy 5 minute fight, and I enjoy the gameplay that results from this – but dragons don’t gate off swaths of the game, mostly just an area, temporarily.

          • Ich Will says:

            Oh, and fast travel? Yeah, theres an accessibility option that has legitimately affected game design, tell you what, here’s a deal – we can have no skip boss button, but in return, all fast travel in games must cease to exist.

            I know you find all that walking dull, but I find boss fights dull, so if you won’t tolerate my accessibility requirements, I formally end my welcoming acceptance of yours!

          • Nogo says:

            “accessibility is not […] a developer obligation.”

            The people paying the bills and salaries of said developers would beg to differ.

            Heck, the devs themselves beg to differ.

          • ToXXicG4mer says:

            Sure, if the developers wanted to make Elderscrolls or the Witcher more about the worldbuilding and less about the combat, I would be “fine” with that, whatever that means. That’s a perfectly legitimate route to go. I just wouldn’t play those future iterations of the series. Point and click adventures are precisely what you described–tests of what dialogue you’ve read and items you’ve picked up/combined. I don’t play those. Not every game is for me.

            The mistake is framing this in terms of “accessibility” as if there’s somehow a right being deprived when a game doesn’t cater to your sensibilities. We’re talking about a piece of entertainment, not a public building. If there is a right here, it’s in the domain of the artist who can make a game for however broad or narrow an audience as he or she wishes.

          • Nogo says:

            “If there is a right here, it’s in the domain of the artist who can make a game for however broad or narrow an audience as he or she wishes.”

            Sure, but the economic reality of things is that you need to sell games to make games. And for that you need a wide audience that will enjoy your games.

            By all accounts the vast majority of audiences (roughly 90%+, don’t believe me? Check purchase numbers with forum post numbers) don’t go online to talk about these things, and don’t really beat the games they buy (check achievement percentages.)

            So while we can sit around going “let devs make what they want” devs are looking at the raw numbers and saying “I want to make games that make money, and the money isn’t with the vocal, traditional crowd anymore.”

            I don’t really have an opinion on it, just sharing the things devs already know that ‘gamers’ don’t really want to believe. Go see what the verified twitter accounts are saying about this.

          • ToXXicG4mer says:

            Of course there’s money in the vocal, traditional crowd. There are different niches with varying degrees of saturation. Just because a majority of filmgoers are interested in superhero summer blockbusters doesn’t mean that independent films don’t continue to get made for a smaller audience.

            Not all games are equally amenable to mass market or casual types of play. Dark Souls did insanely well for itself through two sequels and a spinoff without worrying about accommodating this supposedly overwhelming economic force. Homogenization of the industry doesn’t serve anyone.

        • MazokuRanma says:

          How does it become any more difficult to design Dark Souls exactly as is and then include the easy mode? In my opinion, the existence of trophies/achievements has made this even less of an issue than ever. You design Dark Souls exactly as it is, then include a button that makes you invincible but turns off the ability to earn any trophies/achievements. Anyone can see the whole game if they want, a game that everyone paid the same amount of money for, but the people who still want to measure their epeens can point to their Trophy Level/Gamer Score for the game to do so. In no way is the ability to design a very specific level of challenge affected by this.

        • Ragnar says:

          It’s really not. You design the tight, challenging experience, and then you tweak some numbers for the easier one – increase player health, decrease enemy damage, add an invulnerability option. It often doesn’t even take extra effort, since those things are already in for testing – you just leave them in and make them accessible. The tight, challenging experience is still there, it hasn’t gone anywhere.

          And watching someone else play isn’t the same as playing yourself.

        • bamboozled says:

          Hey I have a better idea! How’s about simply…find a DIFFERENT game to play?! Shocking and revolutionary concept, I know, but bear with me here.

          See, when there’s a film with subject matter I don’t like, I don’t try telling the film director to change their vision and make the subject more palatable to me; I just find a different movie to watch. Same with music; if it’s a song not to my liking, I just peacefully leave and find another song to listen to. If artists were forced to cater to every single possible demographic, there would be no art. Nothing would be unique, nothing would be interesting.

          So how are games any different, ESPECIALLY given the “games-as-art” movement that took place only a few years ago? If you want to industry to be treated as an art form, or with any sense of respect outside of how much money it generates, you need to realize that not every game has to cater to your tastes, or even your skill level.

          I’m sorry if someone is disabled and lacks the hand/eye or mental coordination to beat a certain game or play it at a certain level, but that is why other developers exist, who may design games more to your tastes and skill level.

          You cannot compare being able to skip a film section w/ rewind/chapter select is the same as having a Boss Skip button in a video game; those are more physically passive mediums so the nature of engaging with them directly is not comparable.

          What you’re asking for is the equivalent of a player on a basketball team requesting all other players stay clear of their way once they have the ball to make a drive to the hoop for a dunk shot. It simply makes no sense; just like how the audience would not gain a sense of satisfaction or excitement if the basketball example held true, very few players generate any sense of satisfaction or accomplishment by being able to simply bypass a boss encounter specifically implemented in the game for reasons of pacing and structure. It diminishes the game design.

          I think part of the reason for flawed opinions such as the ideas presented in this article come down to gamers feeling like they’re obligated to play every single game under the sun these days; that’s a mental concept they’ve mostly invented of their own accord. I do not see this mentality exhibited with most people in other medium; not a lot of people express some need to watch every single film ever made or hear every single song that exists. It’s ultimately a flawed concept which creates flawed perspectives such as the one in this article.

          • Jabb Stardust says:

            “flawed opinions such as the ideas presented in this article”

            John’s is a perfectly valid opinion. Your statement isn’t quite as valid, however, seeing as it’s built on a simple misunderstanding.

            He said “yes, give us more skip buttons, please, it will allow many players to enjoy your game a lot more”. He didn’t say “skip buttons are our right and you must comply”.

            But, to be fair, you weren’t the only one making this misinterpretation. :o)

      • Archonsod says:

        For much the same reason saying “all movies must be comedies” would be.

        • Koozer says:

          See, I see it as decreeing all films should have a quiz after each act about the meaning of the major plot points, and if you get it wrong you have to watch it again.

          In reality anyone can watch a film from beginning to end and get some degree of enjoyment out of it, it’s up to the viewer if they want to look deeper and find more complex themes to ponder.

          • ggggggggggg says:

            but there are also many many movies that huge swaths of people will never be able to enjoy or get through because they are made for very specific audiences. a six year old does not stand a single fucking chance with an adam curtis documentary

        • Dawngreeter says:

          No, the argument isn’t that all movies should be comedies. The argument is that all movies should have a fast forward button. And the counter argument is “no, only comedies get a fast forward button!”.

      • Archonsod says:

        To be honest I think the best argument against AC doing it is that their historicity tends to fall somewhere between Braveheart and Blackadder.
        I think a valid argument against the ‘skip boss’ button largely comes down to design – at what point do we still have something interactive that can be termed a game versus something that’s essentially a movie with the odd choice?
        There’s also some design restrictions it imposes. I remember 7th Guest had what is effectively a skip button for the puzzles if they proved too hard, but using it skipped playing the cutscenes after solving it which meant you often got lost in terms of continuing the story. You’d have to be pretty careful in what you included in the skipped section to strike a balance between making the boss fight worthwhile for those who wanted it while not making it completely redundant.

      • Zapyyy says:

        What’s the matter? Bad at video games? If you wanna visually tour Egypt go buy a Vive or a Google cardboard not take the game out of games and buy dark souls like and idiot.

    • KnowNothingJackWohl says:

      Agree with OP. This is the entire sentiment of “gating content” behind “difficulty:

      I hate how we have co-opted a social justice term for this subject: skill shaming

      “Or maybe, to embrace the ugly icky attitude, you get a different ending, and those who need to feel better about themselves than others because of their ability to better press some buttons in time with a cartoon get to see the PROPER ENDING. Not the dirty scumbag ending for paupers and the weak! Aren’t you great, with your ending. Imagine how people will stare at you in the streets!”

      Y’all are sensitive about “skill shaming”. I get it. I always get a chuckle out of this when RPS writers have to point out how they are “rubbish” at a particular thing but still completely qualified to write an unbiased negative review about the thing.

      This is accessibility: Subtitles for non-English speakers. Colorblind mode for those who can’t see “fuchsia”. Not “skip the boss button”.

      Games are a more interactive medium than film and literature. Meaning u need to interact. Skipping boss battles is skipping interaction. Go watch a let’s play if u just want to look at all the plots and shiny things.

      Literature and film though, are still interactive mediums. They still ask you to engage, pay attention, and to infer. Adding expository dialoge and dumbing things down is not something we should ask our devs to do.

      We should not be asking the devs to so readily compromise their artistic vision to make their experiences all things to everyone all the time always.

      Mentlegen and mentlewomen and mentlepeople, do we want games to aspire for more and be art or do we see them solely as consumer products subject to our every desire?

      Skill shaming is a discussion that needs to happen between us as a community. It is not something we want the devs to be constantly factoring into their design.

      If you don’t want to go through the trouble of watchin Inceptions dream within a dream within a dream that’s in a taco bell thats in your dream than don’t bother trying to experience it.

      Inception isn’t too “inaccessible to you” for you. It’s just long and pretentious so watch youtube summary. You don’t want to put in the effort. That’s okay. No Skill Shaming in it. Nolan wanted long and pretentious. Let Nolan be. That is the experience as envisioned by auteur. Maybe you like Michael Bay. Go watch Michael Bay.

      ;0

      • Deano2099 says:

        But the Inception DVD still has fast-forward, rewind and chapter skip functionality. It’d be easy enough to lock that down and only allow the film to be watched in one go, from start to finish. How it’s meant to be seen. And yet, they allow you to skip around on the DVD. Why?

        • Molay says:

          Can we please acknowledge that a chapter select and fast forward option for a movie is a no brainer and requires no effort on the side of the producers; it’s part of their product either way. They don’t have to invent a clever way to fast forward their particular movie, every movie uses the same fast-forward option. It’s not even their business to enable or disable such a feature, they make the movie only, not the means of playing it back.

          Games are not as uniform as movies. Skipping something in a game may have implications to the coherence of the experience. It may break the game in some way. It will require worktime – paid worktime – to make sure it works properly. And it’s not acceptable to just put out a half-arsed “debugmode” as people suggested, not if you’re making a professional product. You’ll have to QA all of that new mode too, catch the bugs, fix them. And pay people to do it.

          Do you believe game developers are just petty, mean people that disable the fast-forward button just out of spite? Hell no, they just don’t spend hours inventing a new button for you, because they decide to spend that time on their actual creative vision, the game itself.

          The sheer entitlement of demanding other people spend time and money to go out of their way to accommodate you in person is staggering. That’s not what they are meant to do. In a capitalist society, they are meant to make the best product they can imagine, and then sell it to those people that see enough value in it to pay for it. They have no sacred duty of making a game that pleases every last person. Why can’t people that don’t like something just accept that this particular thing is not for them? I don’t like a lot of things either, and that’s fine. It’s okay to not like everything. It’s not okay to expect everything to be to your liking.

          (directed not at you specifically, but generally at people of that opinion – as a matter of fact I’ve lost the thread and am unsure of the parent comment at this point. It’s late too. And I must feed my cat now.)

          • milligna says:

            “It’s not even their business to enable or disable such a feature, they make the movie only, not the means of playing it back.”

            Then you get artists like David Lynch, who absolutely ARE in the business of enabling and disabling that feature. A lot of his DVDs didn’t have chapter stops.

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        The Almighty Moo says:

        This is why no film should come with subtitles or dubbing. You want to watch something you should speak it’s language fluently. I speak English fluently, why should my DVDs come with foreign subtitles for those of you who aren’t so good? If I want to watch a foreign film i can always read a synopsis in English language on wikipedia and get the plot without watering down the directors nuanced intent right…?

      • phlebas says:

        ‘Skill shaming’?

        Nobody is shaming you for developing your skills. Nobody is shaming you for wanting the most challenging game and not being satisfied until you’ve fought through it on the hardest setting. That’s great. Well done.

        The issue is that that isn’t enough for you. It’s not enough that you can say you completed it on the hardest setting with your eyes closed and maybe got a shiny little ‘achievement’ badge for it. You’re not content with being the best at the game, it bothers you that other people might enjoy it without having to be as good at it – and that attitude genuinely is something to be ashamed of.

        • Exkaiser says:

          I dunno, maybe it’s just the forums I frequent (I mostly hang around Athenian web logs rather than Spartan ones), but I see way, way more of this argument for “accessibility” propped up against a strawman of “backwards” “hardcore” gamers. I’m not convinced by either dressed-up argument. Some games are designed with very specific levels of tension and friction and rely on difficult early sections to prepare players for even more difficult later sections. Skipping forward is something devs will have to design around – for example, if I skip a boss halfway through a game, will I have to play all the way from the beginning if I want to go back and fight it? (wait, I feel like this sort of concern is neglected in this argument. Yes, I wanted to skip the giant spider fight, but maybe I just want to put it off for later, yeah?)

          I’ll be frank, I think pausing and skipping should be basic parts of most games. Any game with a cinematic, why not be able to pause it, and then choose to skip it? Square-Enix had this figured out around the time of Kingdom Hearts, so we can all learn this lesson: Don’t waste the Player’s time. I’m not opposed to level select cheats or level passwords in old games – I think these are decent ways to peek further in the game when you get stumped on a certain section. But how does this translate to other genres? Should Etrian Odyssey have a cheat that lets you start at a stratum of your choice with, say, tickets that allow you to boost your characters to a respectable level for that point in the game? … Well, it doesn’t sound -terrible-, and it definitely relieves the pain of lost data (something that has stopped me playing a game way more often than things like hard boss fights).

          I feel like, if boss fights specifically are such an obstacle to the enjoyment of a game, we should design ways to sidestep bosses… And leave them for later. Maybe not have the boss halt all forward motion, but allow the player to make lateral progress while developing their competence and confidence. … But of course, that’s a design for a game with freedom of progression and doesn’t answer the question for a linear game. Some Castlevania games have branching paths, such that if a player gets stuck on a level or boss, there exists another stage that they can attempt to break up the monotony of trying and failing a single possible level. I think La-Mulana has a great design here – it allows the player to choose exactly when they want to fight each boss and allows them to make lateral progress and explore other areas and collect equipment until they’re ready to do so. You have to fight all the bosses to get to the end of the game, but you don’t have to beat the boss of area one to be able to explore areas two through six… Or their respective “backside” stages.

      • wackazoa says:

        Put it this way…. Im not buying Cuphead because Ive seen people playing it and it looks like a frustrating hell to me. So the devs lose my $20, and any DLC money should they go there. There are lots of people like me. They included a “easy button” and I/people like me buy it, that’s money in their pocket to fund future development/”feed their families”. Tell me again why that’s a bad thing…..

        • Universal Quitter says:

          If the devs and publishers are okay with not getting your $20, who are you to argue with them?

          And I don’t think anyone has a problem with a person not wanting to buy a thing because it looks frustrating, or even vocalizing why. It’s the part where someone is ANGRY or FRUSTRATED at the situation, to the point that it results in MORAL JUDGEMENT, that makes it ridiculous.

          We can’t even get decent representation of women and LGBT gamers in these spaces, and we’re going to start damning people for not adding enough difficulty modes for you?

          We’re going to start co-opting inclusivity and diversity, so John Walker can save some of his time? We have a word for saving time, but the way. It’s called “convenience.” No one wants to call it that, because calling it a demand for “convenience” puts it in the proper perspective.

          • wackazoa says:

            I get you. And Im not angry or demanding anything either. Im just always for more options to play a game. I quit DS2 at the Pursuer fight because after 15 tries I couldn’t beat him even though I went back and cheesed the Giant Ogre things with a bow for more exp. I quit the prettiest game Ive ever played, Ori, at the part where you have to escape the rising waters in the tree because after around 30 tries I wasn’t skilled enough to get out. If there was a skip button on either of those I would’ve pushed it and continued playing.

            I personally don’t have but very little time to game now that I have to adult, so I just stick to things that are fun and not frustrating. I love watching Dark Souls and have really enjoyed watching Cuphead, and would love to play them but if people who play games all the time (for a living basically) are getting frustrated and rage quiting then Im afraid there is no hope for me in those games.

      • Nogo says:

        Sure, I’ll skill shame: there’s really not much skill in being able to beat something that a team of people spent years fine-tuning in such a way that you wouldn’t get too frustrated or confused when you fail, to the point where failure is better described as feedback. A truly difficult game would just be a confusing, alienating mess that you rightfully call bad then ignore.

        So ya, it’s like being proud you beat your dad at football when you were 4. Buddy, he was letting you win.

        You want true difficulty with a mouse and keyboard? Make something new. Now that’s a truly difficult process that doesn’t hold your hand and pick you up each time you slip.

    • Ragnar says:

      Why is it idiotic? We’re not asking to remove the challenge for everyone, just for those that want to remove it. You’re free to play the game as you normally would, and someone else is able to play it on an easier setting, and you both get to enjoy it.

      We’re not even asking for anything new to games. Doom let you use the console back in 1993 to give yourself weapons, ammo, key cards, skip to a specific level, and make yourself invulnerable. Lots of PC games from the ’90s had similar cheat codes. Get stuck on a particularly tough RTS level? Skip to the next one and keep playing.

      • Focksbot says:

        It’s a question of balance – balance between reader/player preference and authorial control. People keep using the metaphor of a fast-forward button – this is a pretty terrible comparison, because games aren’t linear. Games already let you move backward and forward in the game world freely in a way films do not. Films don’t let you change the camera angle or redo sections differently for different outcomes. So the idea that films, at present, give you greater control over the way you absorb the content than games is – that’s just not right.

        In each medium, a compromise has to be reached in terms of what the player/reader can and can’t do, and what is required of them. Neither a director nor a developer can or will give you all the options you may want. Want to know what would have happened if Ned Stark hadn’t tipped off Cersei? Tough luck – you can’t. The writers wanted to tell a particular story, and some game developers will want a game to be played a particular way.

        Now, the exact compromise may or may not shift over time, as fashions change, but the baseline will never be a rule that says readers and players should be able to do whatever they want.

  3. CmdrCrunchy says:

    John, I know a lot of people here seem to deride you for bringing your political beliefs into your writing, but I have to say I wish you’d gone a little bit further here, especially in regards your comments about keeping the outsiders out.

    This ‘us vs them’ mentality is precisely what is fueling the shit state of the world today. Videogame snobbery of ‘Don’t let the casuals in!’ is a very short step away from the anti-immigration stances that are frankly turning places like the UK and US into toxic hellholes.

    It saddens me that people in video games are always so quick to have an opinion on exactly how one should enjoy their games, and stick to that as if it is some sort of objective truth that EVERYONE must subscribe to (and dont get me started on just how wrong objectivity as opposed to subjectivity in games is).

    At least, just like outside of games, the people making these comments allow us to see their true colours. Rant over.

    EDIT : I do agree with the above poster when he says Challenge is a completely legitimate tool of game design, but I also think more choice to consume your entertainment in the way you choose deserves to be applauded.

    • WombatDeath says:

      Yeah, there’s a subset of gamers who are weirdly hysterical towards attempts at inclusivity. I mean, I understand the tribal mentality and all that, but the colossal tidal waves of rage are just bafflingly over the top. Large swathes of the internet appear to be populated by tantrumming children with emotional control issues constantly triggering. It’s very odd.

      Anyway, yes, unless it’s somehow prohibitively expensive to put a “skip the boss fights” mode into your game, I don’t see why you shouldn’t do it.

      • Unclepauly says:

        You say it’s odd, I say it’s pretty well expected. I’ll save you the rant about modern parenting because we’ve all heard it. Plus i dont want hear myself think about it. Heh

      • dkfgo says:

        I think you all are missing a pretty big point here.

        When people criticize these things is not really out of worrying about how you are playing your games. At least it isnt for me. The point is how this will change these games and the gaming industry, and yes, unfortunately this is an industry, not an art oriented medium (though there are people trying very hard to change that). People make games and they expect them to sell well, and what works is what brings the cash in.

        I dont personally like Assassins Creed. I’m immune to the Ubisoft disease it seems, so this doesnt really bother me. What worries me is that this will become a trend and games start neglecting the aspects I like to cater for what the “newcomers” like.

        This is exactly what happened with the fast travel feature. When fast travel wasnt a thing, moving around was supposed to be fun. If travelling was a big part of your game and travelling was boring, the game would be shit. So good things would come out of that “limitation”, out of the necessity of making travelling meaningful. Enter fast travel, though. Games are now made with fast travel in mind. Why create interesting encounters, why make the world feel alive, when you know the player can just fast travel to the next quest marker? And so our favorite games change, all because someone felt everyone should be “included”.

        By the way, dont confuse this with some kind of social issue, this is not about social equality or anything like that. This is about taste. Not as in “good taste vs bad taste”, its actually “my precious and perfect taste vs your poor and awfully justified taste”. I like the things I like and I dont want them to turn into things I dont like. I know, I must be truly mad or something.

        • Rince says:

          You got it wrong.
          The fast travel isn’t the cause of boring travel. Boring travel is the cause of fast travel.
          And to be honest. Walking for the same path again and again and again stop being exciting at some point.

          • SuicideKing says:

            And I mean, if people *really* want to force everyone to not have a fast travel option…probably best to gather some friends and go to the pub :P

          • Kitsunin says:

            It’s sort of both, actually. Because Fast Travel exists, games can feature really boring travel and still be considered great games, because the boring travel can be skipped. But Fast Travel exists because some games feature designs which necessitate boring travel.

            Fast Travel was created to combat boring travel, but it also facilitates boring travel.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nauallis says:

      Holy butts, this comment is underrated. You, sir, have nailed it. Well said.

    • Doomlord says:

      Quick note here, aimed at CmdCrunchy’s bizarrely unfactual remark that anti-immigration policies are what’s making the UK a hellhole. Son, you got that badly backwards, amusingly so in a sordid little way. The UK’s (and many places in Europe) tepid and cowardly stance in relation to immigration policies is why you have bona fide (and factually proven) Muslim “Islam-Only” slums.

      It’s frightening to see how bizarrely backwards you’ve understood things. My guess is public education has done it’s job well on you. SMH

      • Massenstein says:

        When someone starts their rant with “Son”, you can tell it’s going to be thick. Wasn’t disappointed.

        According to our own bunch of doomlords most of my country is now a “slum” and the capital is apparently full of raging muslims making it dangerous for anyone else to walk the streets. No one else seems to have noticed, though. Only the people who say “son” to strangers who aren’t their sons seem to be aware of the chaos and danger.

      • Focksbot says:

        Talks about ‘facts’. Doesn’t know any. Doubt you even live in the UK, mate.

    • Thankmar says:

      Exactly my thoughts. Thank you for saving me some time writing something like this.

    • disinteger says:

      hmmmmm yes, providing relief and safety to people fleeing warzones is exactly the same thing as letting people skip bossfights, thank you

  4. fray_bentos says:

    I like bosses, they add an important epic aspect to the escapism that is gaming.

    • Rince says:

      Bosses are a big part of why the escapism of games is needed.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    With this text I feeling of agreeing completely and disagreeing furiously at every line.

    But in the end? I thought that I have a similar feeling with spicy food: being vegetarian the only options in many restaurants and takeaways are super spicy stuff and everytime I complain I get lectured on the masculinity of spicy food.

    So fuck difficulty.

    • pepperfez says:

      The gender-coding of video games really shares a lot with the gender-coding of food. Genres are arbitrarily deemed “masculine” (steak, FPSs, super-hard games, beer, spicy food) or “feminine” (salad, visual novels, story mode, wine, sweets) and reactionary men get up in arms making sure those dumb boundaries aren’t violated.

      • ChiefOfBeef says:

        Yes I’m sure it has absolutely nothing to do with actual consequences from changing game design fundamentals to cater to people that can’t reconcile their conflicting desire for a game’s aesthetic and their lack of ability to play it, at the expense of those with no such defect.

        • ShrimpShaq says:

          I forgot how left-leaning RPS comments often are. I’m a leftist myself but the idea of “everything for everyone” is weird to me.

        • Ragnar says:

          What is the consequence? That you get to play and enjoy the game just as you would, but now more people get to play and enjoy it too? That people with less skill/ability/time/patience are also able to enjoy the game?

          Or is it that you might take that easier option?

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            I’ve explained it elsewhere in the comments, but in short the issue is that if you make a crucial feature non-crucial, then any related crucial element of it has to be taken out and it’s not always possible to put it somewhere else. In the example of boss battles, important narrative can be conveyed during gameplay rather than in any cutscene whether as spoken dialogue or an event or something the player learns through play which has relevance in the context of world-building. Remove boss battles from a genre or series for which they are a staple though and you have to remove those other crucial elements or adapt them so they can be put somewhere outside of the gameplay like in a cutscene or worse- a quicktime event.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Neurotic says:

    Hear hear!

  7. Imperialist says:

    I guess it depends on the game.
    AC was never known for its difficulty, and 3/4th’s of the entire draw of the franchise is “open world cities brought to life in relative historical authenticity” (the other 1/4th being the draw of conspiracies, templars, hoods, etc). An exploration mode makes absolute sense for AC. Plus, there are no “riff-raff” in a game where you play mostly by yourself. I have done zero research for AC:O, but i can assume theres MP of some form that all these people will flat out ignore.
    Now, over-streamlining a game with an online presence or an attempt at immersive worlds and roleplaying? Concessions shouldn’t be made there, as accessibility can cause divides in a community, or floods of morons that push people away and take you OUT of the experience. Theres alot of factors involved, and some games can benefit from these ideas…but not nearly all of them.

    • Captain Yesterday says:

      Why should “the community” influence how one person plays a game? I gave up on communities after Bioware’s forums dissolved into a mass of toxic sludge.

      The moral of this article is “don’t get hung up on how people you’ve never met play video games”. If someone wants to skip boss fights or whatever it doesn’t detract from whatever it is that you’re doing in your game.

      • ShrimpShaq says:

        Why should one person effect how a game is designed? These things have consquences, especially because how long and how many people are involved in modern game development.

        • LogicalDash says:

          They don’t! Cheat codes have been in games since forever, but no one would say that the presence of god mode meant that Quake was designed around invulnerability.

          There’s a separate conversation to be had about whether games should have actual difficulty selection that’s balanced for a smooth progression, but we’re not having that now. We’re talking about cheats. If you want to go on calling them cheats, devaluing the experience of anyone who uses them, you do you, but they are in every game during its development, just to give the QA testers an easier time of it, and not long ago were traditionally left in. Wanting them left in is in fact a conservative position, a wish for games to be more like they were in the 90s.

    • RichUncleSkeleton says:

      Another thing to consider: ACO’s tourist thing is, as far as I can tell, completely separate from the actual game. (So much so in fact that it’s only going to be added later as DLC.) So there isn’t any concern that corners are being cut on account of that extra mode. It’s just a bonus feature layered over the game itself, like a black-and-white graphical filter or a mode that gives everyone giant clown heads. That’s a whole different ball game than letting players skip chunks of the core experience.

    • Rince says:

      World of Warcraft and Raid Finder says Hello!!!!

  8. Lexx87 says:

    Mario + Rabbids (Mario Xcom) on the Switch, which is brilliant John buy it, doesn’t have a skip button but it does have an Easy Mode button which appears before every battle. A “even your kids can play this” button, which I thought was super nice.

    • KDR_11k says:

      The New Super Mario Bros games even have actual skip buttons that play the level automatically if you die enough times. You don’t have to use them, of course.

  9. Captain Yesterday says:

    I seem to recall someone who worked for Bioware making such a suggestion, that some people play video games not for the challenge but to unwind in a fictional universe. Then the “fans” threatened to murder her and rape her corpse for selling out to “casuals”.

    You know, typical internet stuff.

    • pepperfez says:

      John does refer to “the despicable response to BioWare’s Jennifer Hepler’s suggesting that game combat should be skippable.”
      But, yeah, the sizable intersection of “hardcore gamer” and “actual real-life hatemonger” really comes out clearly in this discussion.

  10. melnificent says:

    Wandering around a game world is great, but this mode would be amazing with VR.

  11. GrumpyCatFace says:

    Think about what you’re saying. We already have visual novels, walking simulators, and virtual tourism.

    Why on earth would you want to take the ‘GAME’ portion of a game out? If you want to see Ancient Egypt in virtual space, then I’d say Ubisoft’s solution is ideal – a separate ‘not game’ mode, in which you can toodle around to your heart’s content.

    Like so many ideologies, this is going too far when it invades other areas. Gaming (and life) was built on challenge and reward. If you remove the challenge, the reward is meaningless.

    • Captain Yesterday says:

      If I buy a book and I want to skip the boring middle chapters and move to the cool stuff at the end, the only person it affects is me. Yeah, I might be missing out and I’m not getting the complete, authentic experience, but that’s not your problem.

      • RichUncleSkeleton says:

        It doesn’t take any special effort on the part of a book’s author for you to skip through parts of it. Doing this in games would be an extra feature. And features take time and developmental resources to implement. I’d like to see developers focus their efforts on making content better, not making it easier to just avoid it entirely.

        • Captain Yesterday says:

          Would skipping ahead from point A to point B really be that complicated? Many games already have fast travel functionality. I can’t imagine that fight-skipping would by any more complicated than that.

          • RichUncleSkeleton says:

            What if a boss fight is intended as a soft tutorial for an important in-game mechanic or item? What if the boss conveys important plot information during the fight? What if it uses a unique environment or arena that the artists would really like players to see during the fight because they put a lot of work into it? What if it’s not a boss fight at all, but a whole level? How about an XP-driven game where you complete levels, bosses or other events and in the course of doing so earn points to spend on new abilities or items? Even if you think this is a workable or good idea, it’s not as simple as slapping on a fast-forward button.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            As Rich says, the move towards making games cater to people who don’t actually like playing games means removing certain kinds of gameplay and features of it permanently. Take the first Half-Life: almost no cut-scenes and whilst strictly on-the-rails, narrative is delivered through set-pieces, experiences and gameplay events. To cater to an audience which I for one am suspicious are even that into games, means having nothing like that in the game or else they will miss it. It means removing things from the gameplay and adding it to cutscenes or the ‘stand and watch this’ bits where nothing else happens and you are prevented from doing anything until it’s over.

          • Captain Yesterday says:

            Who are you telling people who play games that they don’t like games, or that they’re playing games wrong? Who died and made you the pope of video games?

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            Who are you telling ME what my opinions supposedly are? I have my own, I don’t require you to invent new ones for me.

          • jonahcutter says:

            It actually well could. Boss fights introduce not just added difficulty (there there John), but also generally significant resources rewards upon completion. These resources being built into the game’s difficulty curve and balance.

            Will the skippers demand they be given the rewards as part of the content? It’s their personalized experience after all. Shouldn’t they be catered to in their demands for a weirdly safe space within the game.

            Now, just giving the rewards to the skipper is an option. But what if there are multiple different rewards? How you kill a boss can often grant different rewards. Do they get them all on one skip? Random? What decides it? Should the skipper then get all the items and resources available upon repeated legit boss wins from a single skip? Or go through the ridiculous hoop of hitting the skip button multiple times so he can get each and every last one?

            And this introduces even greater potential problems if the game also has a multiplayer aspect. Taking those unearned rewards and powerful items into a pvp environment.

            Should the developers then have to not only tune multiple difficulty levels for everyone who likes fighting bosses but also additional tunings for every one of those difficulty levels for boss skippers?

            What if a poor skipper like John decides some mini-boss is too hard? Skip-worthy? What about a particular zone or area? John Walker finds it too hard. Skip button demanded?

            So yes, this entire, rather entitled and childish demand,is potentially more complicated than the skippers like to pretend.

          • Arkki says:

            There are cases where easier modes, skipping fights and such require considerate design and suiting solutions are unique for each game. Some solutions are easy developmentwise – health and damange variables are straightforward to implement, but in case of Ori, that does nothing and proper easy mode would’ve either required adding extra platforms to levels – which is large task, or increasing jump reach, which might break the game elsewhere. So, it really depends on the game what methods suit for it, and what are elegant solutions for expanding the scope. There are genres where it seems straightforwards and would be reasonable to expect.
            Also, I’m not buying the argument that adding an easy difficulty means that hard mode is made worse featurewise. That seems too much of fearful slippery slope of argument instead of having factual cases where this has happened.

            I’m all for having plenty of cheat codes! Codes to replenish health, add more ammo, gold, resources, temporal invunerability, free movement etc. These kind of things are often implemented for game testers / dev-mode already. List them in manual. That would allow that segment of gamers to straightforwards way of rolling over the skippable parts of the game and then continue with the gameplay when they want. And have a achievement for those that played the game without using dev-codes.

        • Daemoroth says:

          No, no it wouldn’t. All it would take would be to set the boss’s health to 0. That will trigger the events as if you’d killed the boss and the game continues on.

          • RichUncleSkeleton says:

            That doesn’t address specific problems I brought up, such as: boss fights or other sequences being used to organically teach the player how to do something, or functioning a sort of interactive story segment unto itself (think of MGS3’s boss fights).

          • Daemoroth says:

            Typically the basic mobs teach players the mechanics that the boss will employ during the fight, not the other way around. And no basic mob immediately following a boss will be as tough as the boss itself (And skipping ahead in a book does come with some risk, that’s the reader’s choice to take, I’d let the same apply to skipping a boss fight).

            And like I said, kick the health down to 0, let the cutscenes trigger in order. If story is absolutely imperative during the fight, toggle godmode on the player, up their damage dealing. Problem solved without taking anything away from people who don’t use the feature, at no development cost (For testing devs will already have these tools available to them). Plus, see above about the risk of skipping.

            PS – You need more than the boss fight, or even the games, to make sense of MGS’s story. :D

        • Ragnar says:

          Such features are often already implemented as part of development for internal testing. All that’s required is to leave them in and make them accessible. Just leave the console and console commands accessible, as games used to do.

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      Honestly why do you care? You don’t have to turn it on, it’s a wholly optional experience. I mean Christ Almighty, the internet is full of millions of people who consume games for totally different reasons – not everyone wants to overcome some obstacle and receive some kind of personal reward, some people just want to walk around and admire lovely shit. Me? I’m a Dark Souls kind of gamer, but I applaud this. Harmless accessibility can only be a good thing for gaming and the industry.

    • Laurentius says:

      Why do you care? Do you also got worked up because someone use audio book instead “challange” of reading a book with their own eyes? Give me a break. People are playing Dark Souls with dance flors and whatnot, suit yourself, other people skiping entire game is not affecting you in slightest.

    • Someoldguy says:

      If you remove the challenge, then perhaps the intangible reward you give to yourself for completion becomes meaningless, for you. For someone else who just experiences pain and frustration because they weren’t blessed with above average hand-eye coordination or lost it gradually over the age of 40, the reduction of the challenge results in enhanced enjoyment and the reward of seeing the rest of the game.

      I’ve no worries in encouraging games that take this route from offering an ironman / steel butt plug mode or whatever they want to call it for those who want to prove their machismo in completing the game without ever saving / sleeping / taking a shower. It’s definitely a level of achievement you can feel good about if you can succeed at it, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of debarring the less capable from playing the game at all.

    • Premium User Badge

      John Walker says:

      I find it bewildering and demoralising that this is such a typical response. At what point in this article did I suggest anything should be taken out of a game?! I’m suggesting more options be put in.

      • ChiefOfBeef says:

        It’s not that we are saying you said that should happen: it’s that you don’t seem to realise that is what would happen if your suggestion and the underlying trend in games it stems from were to continue. Myself and Rich have explained how and why it would happen. If features such as boss fights are no longer considered crucial and can be skipped, then anything else crucial related to that feature must be removed and placed elsewhere if that is even possible. This rules out established innovations and tropes, whilst also restricting the scope of those yet to be developed.

        • Captain Yesterday says:

          The free market would take care of that. Software companies that phone in crucial parts of game development wouldn’t sell very many games.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            Insert cynical response with examples of companies phoning it in all the time and how the reaction from players is usually portrayed as unjustified entitlement.

          • ShrimpShaq says:

            Have you been around for the last 40 years of game development? Companies phone it in all the time with less of an excuse to do so.

        • Ragnar says:

          There are ways to skip boss fights that can easily address that without taking anything out. For example, just make the player invulnerable during boss fights, and you can have all the mid-combat interaction you want. That functionality is likely already in the game for internal testing.

          It seems like you’re just trying to come up with excuses for why this can’t be done.

        • Deano2099 says:

          I get what you’re saying but you’re viewing this from the position of how it can be added in and balanced and not break the rest of the game. Which I don’t think is the intent.

          If I read a novel I can skip a chapter ahead. I can’t then expect to be able to understand the novel. I don’t expect the novel to recap what I need to know every chapter. But I can skip ahead. Same with a film on DVD – I can skip chapters, but I don’t expect to then be able to follow the film. But if I all I want is to skip to the fight sequences I can.

          It’d be the same with this. Press skip, boss dies, game carries on. If there’s a reward you get it, if there are multiple you get a random one. If the boss battle told important story beats or taught important mechanics, then tough. You miss out. You can always skip the next bit if you want. Or you can skip back and try the boss another time.

          It doesn’t need to be balanced, it doesn’t need to work. And perhaps inconveniently for John, it’d be considered ridiculous for anyone to review a game having skipped bits. It’s not the intended experience. It’s not an alternative game mode that’s been “designed”. It’s just a feature to let people ‘break’ the game themselves if they want. Because why not?

          To the wider point, if it became standard, I also think it’d see more really tough, unforgiving games. Because developers could make those games in the knowledge that there was a simple way people could skip things they found too hard, without them having to put effort into balancing an “easy” mode.

      • Urthman says:

        I think the argument, which there is a lot of examples for in other media such as movies, is that if you make games with an easier option and the easier version is more popular than the hard version, then in the future the easy version gets more of the development resources and hard games become a niche that AAA economics might ignore.

        In Hollywood, this sort of thing is why most blockbuster movies don’t bother with good writing or plots that make sense. Because that’s not where the money is.

        • Ragnar says:

          I would argue that it is already the case. A studio making a hard game does so because they want to, not because it’s more profitable, so they will continue to do so because they want to.

          If anything, crowd-funding makes it easier to develop hard games for that niche audience.

          But even AAA games targeting the most people have difficulty options. Call of Duty, the most Hollywood blockbuster of games, still includes difficulty options in the campaign, so you can still have the super challenging experience you crave.

      • PikaBot says:

        It’s pretty naive to imagine that this option becoming widespread wouldn’t affect the types of games being made.

      • KDR_11k says:

        I’d be more worried that modern publishers would make that skip functionality a microtransaction.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        But John, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE SAYING!!!!!

    • SuicideKing says:

      OH NOES THE COMMIES ARE INVADING GAMES JOURNALISMS!

    • April March says:

      Gaming (and life) was built on challenge and reward.

      The core of my response to it is that I disagree, and the method of my response is a long, slighted disgusted sigh.

  12. Archonsod says:

    Back in the good old days games already had this via cheat codes, which had the added bonus that you actually got to see all the content you paid for.

    • Talahar says:

      Exactly! When I bought Arkham Origins after enjoying Asylum and City to bits (on easy, because I’m also just a mediocre gamer), I couldn’t finish it because I was stuck at a boss battle after only a couple hours, with still 90% of the massive open world game before me. Didn’t have cheat codes (as far as I know) and so I put it aside, feeling sour, not having gotten my money’s worth. I found it in my games collection again last year, tried again, stuck on the same boss fight. But this time I looked online for a cheat trainer and could finally finish the game, and still got enormous amounts of enjoyment out of it. And who, besides me, got affected by me chaeting through the game? Not a damn soul. :)

    • Ragnar says:

      Exactly!

      As a kid I played Doom with God mode on and had a blast. I skipped past a particularly tough level towards the end of Warcraft so I could keep playing the game and keep having fun. The Konami code was the only way my friend and I could actually beat Contra, rather than just be forever stuck on the first few levels.

      That accessibility let me enjoy the games, and helped turn me into a lifelong gamer.

    • Rince says:

      God bless the Megaman trick/glitch/thingie.

  13. Laurentius says:

    I’m totally with John on skipng boss fights and moving forward and backwards in game as you please whenever game type acomodate to that. If someone bought a game and want to skip just to final cutscene and credits. Sure let them it is their game it doesn’t bother me at all, it’s actually brilliant idea that should be implemented. (like I can open a book whnever I want but I can replay tht specific scene of Kentacky Route Zero).
    People who are against this are really messed up ( I bet these are the same derenged persons who got angry because some half world from them save scummed through game)

    • Viroso says:

      It’s not messed up to be against this and I’m for it btw. But turning a game into an open book may force the player to be a designer. Which isn’t an inherently positive feature.

      One of the screenshots up there is from a metroidvania (guacamelee). In a game of exploration and discovery, in a game where tutorials are subtly built in the experience, skipping content may leave the player feeling lost. It gives the player the option to screw themselves over without knowing so.

      Also, a skip system in a less linear game adds much more work for the developer who has to make sure the player who uses it doesn’t end up confused.

      Last thing is, even before the internet, doing the difficult thing was rewarded. Not because of others but because of the interaction between me and the game. It’s child’s play, one kid saying bet you can’t do this. “This” is often a pointless task to begin with, but we do it anyway and e enjoy doing it for the sake of it.

      To the detriment of the article I think John mixed up too much the part of toxic game community and making games more open.

      • Laurentius says:

        You are messed up because instead taking deep breath and accept that this option won’t affect your experience, you prefer to come up with arguments and worrying for imaginary people getting lost in game if they skip chunk of content. Suggested option is just that “an option” it is not automatically intended way of playing. I can turn off music in games, well that is definietly not intended way but I can do that, even if you can argue that I will miss ton of experience.
        Ability to jump right to the end of the book has not stopod writers from creating suspense stories. Same as abilty to fast forward hasn’t killed horror movies etc. It’s not about challange, or game design or game costs or combination. It’s about gatekeeping and messed up people who can’t accept the idea that other people’s way of playing single player games has no real impact on their own.

        • Viroso says:

          I said I was for skipping options and I also said it wasn’t about what other people would think of me as a player. Calm down. This type of emotional response is exactly what I said was the problem with the article.

          There are considerations that the article doesn’t even mention when it comes to this. Depending on the kind of game, it means designing the game differently.

          Some practical examples:
          In Castlevania Symphony of the Night, a boss fight is a huge branching point in the game and it all depends on how the player performs the fight.

          In many metroidvania games you can’t do a chapter select kind of thing because the game’s naturally non-linear.

          This isn’t an imaginary concern, try to think of how a broader chapter select mechanic would work in a game like Fallout. In some games, encounters aren’t even predictable events with a clear start or end. How would skip fight even work in a game where you run into enemies and they chase you down?

          So the bottom line is, I believe this kind of response, the one where you put a moral flaw on the idea of a game not being like an open book, just leads to a muddled view of things. Will we start condemning games of vileness just because the designer couldn’t consider or implement a system that opens the game up?

          Not every game works like Mass Effect which has clearly defined battle areas.

          Just to remind you again, I’m in favor of games letting players have more control. It’s just that, from my experience, that brings other types of things to my experience of the game. Sometimes they’re not positive.

          I dunno, if you’ve ever done heavy modding of a game. You’d probably be able to relate.

  14. ChiefOfBeef says:

    Get over yourself John, gaming culture has a problem with ‘outsiders’ because there actually is a problem with outsiders: people who are not really that into games but belong to a hyper-social clique that rotates between modernist sub-cultures they see as en vogue and tries to adapt them once they reach a point they themselves can not adapt. Their problem with games is that the medium inherently weeds out the disinterested by its nature, they have to demand that games basically stop being games. Funnily enough, gamers are not unaffected by that and form strong opinions about it and the people that promote it. This is what has led to sudden interest in ‘old school’ games which borrow from some of the less user-friendly and more challenging designs of games of our childhoods. As mainstream games have leaned more towards hand-holding, infuriatingly patronising and long tutorials and gameplay being cut to serve a story-focused agenda, people who don’t like it have found islands of refuge. But these islands are growing smaller and we see the cause: triumphalist humanities grads talking loudly about their influence on the games we play and reveling in the reactions they provoke, whilst complaining how distressing and abusive it all is.

    • Sin Vega says:

      gaming culture has a problem with ‘outsiders’ because there actually is a problem with outsiders: people who are not really that into games but belong to a hyper-social clique that rotates between modernist sub-cultures they see as en vogue and tries to adapt them once they reach a point they themselves can not adapt.

      Citation motherfucking needed. Good christ, this is utter lunacy.

      • Captain Yesterday says:

        I know, right? I thought I was a gamer, but I guess I’m not.

        Shit, guess I have to go delete my Steam account now.

      • ChiefOfBeef says:

        Citations are for specific factual claims, the bit you quote is simply my take on people like John and his friends.

        • Sin Vega says:

          You claim the existence of a group marauding around modern society trying to dominate hobby groups like some kind of cultural Borg. If all you have to support it is “that’s just my opinion”, it’s exactly as worthwhile an observation as my report on the magical robot genie I’ve just decided is controlling the Prime Minister.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            You’ve again confused a specific factual statement for an opinion. Your response to being told it was an opinion is to double-down and keep treating it like a factual statement. That’s taking dishonesty and not only running with it but pretending it hasn’t already been noticed and pointed out by the very person you are bull-shitting.

          • Sin Vega says:

            Again, “It’s just an opinion” doesn’t mean a damn thing when the opinion is “I think these people exist”.

            I mean, you either think they exist or they don’t, so you’re either making a factual claim or you’re just saying things you don’t really believe for no apparent reason.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            That isn’t the proposition you are addressing though, which is why you’ve lied about it thrice now. The proposition is not that ‘these people exist’, it is ‘this is what I think of these people’.

          • Sin Vega says:

            In order for your opinion of them to have any meaning, they have to first exist. Which they don’t.

            “I hate the way space mongeese are tricking Hollywood into remaking too many films” is predicated on the notion that space mongeese exist and are tricking Hollywood into remaking too many film. Now obviously this isn’t the best example because the threat of the Speece is widely documented, but

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            Funny thing, because whenever anyone actually names names, there’s usually some rule about ‘harassment’ that apparently gets broken which justifies a heavy-handed response from mods. Other than John, if I were to actually start talking about these people, I’d end up breaking one of these rules and probably be perma-banned. A cynic might even suggest this is your intention in repeatedly trying to lead us down that path.

          • Sin Vega says:

            Paranoid. Gosh, what an unpredictable trait.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            It is you who has resorted to being personal, not me. You could have just said “I think you’re wrong”, but instead you’ve fallen back on labels.

          • Sin Vega says:

            When you buy a spade, would you be more likely to buy it from a shop called “we sell spades”, or one called “??????”

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            I’ll reiterate my point that if I spoke to you the exact same way you are to me, I’d be treated very differently because of my views on gaming culture. I have reasons to be careful and reasons to suspect that people who are dishonest in what they say are probably dishonest in their intent also.

          • Sin Vega says:

            Right, I’m “dishonest” because I don’t believe there’s a sinister conspiracy trying to control all video games based on nothing but “well that’s my opinion” and “if I gave you evidence, they’d get me“. Okay then.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            Funny thing, because I don’t believe that either. Still hasn’t stopped you pretending that is what I said in effect, or that’s what I supposedly think. A conspiracy has to be secret; I’m saying the people I’m talking about are pretty open about what they want. We are posting below the line for an article expressly on the subject matter of what they want.

          • Sin Vega says:

            John (the author of the article and one of the “they” you’re talking about) has explicitly said that he isn’t part of some sort of cabal trying to control all games. You even replied to one of his comments asserting as much yourself. So either it doesn’t exist, or it is indeed trying to remain secret.

            And besides which, arguing for games to add an option that would be popular with many people who play tonnes of games does not automatically make one an “outsider” who belongs to “a hyper-social clique that rotates between modernist sub-cultures they see as en vogue and tries to adapt them once they reach a point they themselves can not adapt.”

            So even if we humour your desperate pedantry over the word “conspiracy”, you are still standing on hot air. And if we don’t, that air takes on a distinctly sulphurous odour.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            But it’s not pedantry; it’s literally what conspiracy means. To paraphrase John Goodman in The Big Lebowski: “Without a secret goal there is no conspiracy, that’s what conspiracy is, those are the f****ing rules”. You either don’t know this or you do know, in which case you’re misusing the label of ‘conspiracy’ for it’s association effect, just as John now has.

          • Sin Vega says:

            As you know, the pedantry is in pretending that this entire conversation is about a single word. And I’ve already demonstrated that you’re talking utter bilge whether it is or isn’t.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            Er no, you made it absolutely clear that the ‘pedantry’ was in regards to whether ‘conspiracy’ was accurate. You don’t then get to decide it’s actually about the whole conversation more broadly and not this specific thing which you made clear was specific to me calling you out for falsely using the ‘conspiracy’ label.

        • Premium User Badge

          John Walker says:

          I’ve been playing games since I was 4, when the first home computer was released. I play them for my job, and have done for 20 years. If your desperate imagined inner circle really existed, I’d be at the centre of it. It doesn’t, it never has, and games have been for everyone since they began.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            This square peg: “I’ve been playing games since I was 4, when the first home computer was released. I play them for my job, and have done for 20 years.”

            Doesn’t fit this round hole: “If your desperate imagined inner circle really existed, I’d be at the centre of it. It doesn’t, it never has, and games have been for everyone since they began.”

            So you are definitely an invested gaming hobbyist: a gamer. But somehow this means if there really was as I describe it a clique of outsiders who aren’t really into the hobby, you would be not only one of them but at the centre of it? You construct things from English for a living John, so help me work that one out.

            I’ll believe there aren’t a bunch of networked, hypocritical, vindictive, amoral people working in games writing, publishing and development, who are trying to make games worse because they don’t like them or the people who do like them….when they stop doing it.

          • RichUncleSkeleton says:

            It doesn’t, it never has, and games have been for everyone since they began.

            This is true, but it sure undermines your argument that there’s some causal link between video game difficulty and toxic machismo behavior and exclusionism. Video games were a hell of a lot harder and less accessible in the 80’s than they are now. Why did brutally (and artificially) difficult arcade games find such mainstream success? Those old quarter munchers were way tougher than some focus group-tested Ubisoft open world game, or even most FPS’s. But to hear you tell it, moderately challenging boss fights are scaring people away and engendering an atmosphere of alpha male chest-thumping.

          • Sin Vega says:

            Video games were a hell of a lot harder and less accessible in the 80’s than they are now.

            Some were. Some weren’t. The majority of arcade games were highly accessible – that was the whole point – and many started out very easy indeed and upped the difficulty mathematically as you went along. And as for games at home, well, if you look up any random 10 games from the 80s on youtube, you’ll probably find someone effortlessly breezing through about half of them in under 30 minutes.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            The kind of people uploading videos of them playing games from the 80s are the only kind of people who can breeze through such games.

            In their tongue they are ‘tor-tito-kin’: Doritoborn.

          • Urthman says:

            ChiefofBeef, you misunderstand. John is saying he has more of a right to call himself a “real gamer” and other people “outsiders” than just about anyone. And he’s saying that distinction is worthless. He’d be justified in calling YOU an outsider whose opinion doesn’t matter as much as John’s. But real gamers like John know that kind of talk is nonsense.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            I think I know what he said and I think he realises his gaffe.

            Edit: Also, if the distinction is worthless, then there is no need to change games to cater to people who don’t want to actually play them.

          • Premium User Badge

            John Walker says:

            “This is true, but it sure undermines your argument that there’s some causal link between video game difficulty and toxic machismo behavior and exclusionism.”

            I didn’t make that argument at any point. I argued that those who object to other difficulty options being offered alongside are problematic. There’s nothing wrong with high difficulty, obviously.

            “Video games were a hell of a lot harder and less accessible in the 80’s than they are now.

            Apart from when they weren’t, which was most of the time. Loads were idiotically difficult, others were ridiculously easy, and most in between. Like, er, now. I was there.

          • Premium User Badge

            John Walker says:

            @Chief – Sorry, but no. You have fallen for a ridiculous conspiracy theory, which is obviously difficult to convince you of, because, well, you’ve fallen for it.

            But the point remains that what you’re doing is labelling anyone who doesn’t conform to your gaming attitudes an “outsider”, and then frantically moving your definitions to ensure you can keep doing so. I implore you to consider that the way other people like playing games is no more valid than your own, and that they’ve always coincided with the pursuit since its start, and yet despite this high difficulty gaming has never been more popular than it is right now.

          • ColonelFlanders says:

            No offence at all to you John, but why are you fucking bothering? Is it because you are the botherer? Seriously though you might as well be arguing gun control with an alt-right republican range owner. This guy has decided he’s right and everything you say to him is only going to reinforce his position in his own eyes. Crazies like him/her have not had enough people in their life tell them to fuck off and shut up.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            Again, the only suggestion of a conspiracy has come from you and Sin Vega, while I have suggested no such thing and refuted the insinuation. Apparently only you get to deny having a position on something and be taken purely at your word, whilst any effort I make on my behalf to clear things up is dismissed, ridiculed and subject to language which if I were to use it you probably would not hesitate to hit me with a ban.

            There is a broader cultural trend towards inclusion in games, the existence of which does not preclude there being a group or groups of people trying to push it further. I have been clear on this and not changed my position or definition one bit as you are now claiming. I’ve told you what I think of this, only failing to mention that your above article doesn’t merely try to make the case for what you want, you had to go and turn it into an attack on people you disagree with. Now here you are in the comments, accusing others of what you are doing because your provocative writing had the effect of provoking people and now you have to play-act that the reaction is unreasonable.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Lol irk. Instant eye-roll worthy content :D

    • Zorganist says:

      I too despise all of these pointlessly easy modern games, like Cuphead and Dark Souls. Bring back Monkey Island, I say! That was a game with real consequences.

  15. RichUncleSkeleton says:

    What the hell is the point of playing a game and then skipping entire sections of its content? I don’t care about protecting the sacred purity of video games from the unwashed masses but what a waste of time and money to buy something and then arbitrarily decide to avoid some or all of its core experience. You might as well just watch a Let’s Play on Youtube at that point, for free.

    Also, making this a thing would be problematic in another way: it would encourage developers to pay less attention to certain segments of the game if (A) they don’t think most players will even see them or (B) they can just shrug and say “hey, if you don’t like it, skip it” as an excuse for subpar design.

    • Laurentius says:

      Why do you care? You are not forced to use skip button, the same no one forcing anyone to skip large chunk of books, movies or music albums, people pay and do it anyway, world is not ending. I hope many more games will go in that direction and you will see that world is not actually ending because of that. Anyway many games has good bits messed with wonky ones, I would be a happier man if I could have skiped every boring sewer level/escort mission and concentrate on good parts.

      • RichUncleSkeleton says:

        Again, this comes to my second point: if you can just skip the unpleasant stuff (which isn’t always obvious what that is anyway, so in practice it would basically be the whole game) why should developers even put any effort in it? If I’m a designer and you tell me most players are probably going to just skip something I’m working on, why wouldn’t I rush it so that I can redirect my attention to something else that I think more people will actually play?

        • Captain Yesterday says:

          Plenty of games have content that all but the most dedicated players will skip over. Morrowind, for example, had a ton of content that was nearly impossible to find unless the player knew exactly what to look for and where to look for it. How many people finished every single quest in games like Skyrim or the Dragon Age series? Sure there are completionists, but most gamers aren’t.

          How is content that most gamers never find different than content that gamers may chose to skip?

          • RichUncleSkeleton says:

            Bethesda RPG’s have hundreds of hours of content (and, depending on who you ask, much of it is often mediocre or rushed) that’s designed from bottom to be optional. You can’t exactly compare that to a (comparatively) short, linear platformer or action game.

        • Premium User Badge

          Nauallis says:

          Hmm, I guess you’ve never bothered to watch the end credits then, because simply knowing that you can arbitrarily and automatically means that the developer has to have done a half-assed job with it.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            Disclaimer: not a lawyer. I happen to know that at least in other media such as films, music and books, proper accreditation is a serious legal obligation. The names of people who helped with producing something are included as both matters of contractual and statutory necessity, not because someone high-up in a company thought it would be a nice touch. I don’t see why games would be an exception to these obligations considering almost every other media-related law does apply to them.

          • Premium User Badge

            Nauallis says:

            Yes, we get it, you’re a troll, and you have to have the last word.

        • Laurentius says:

          Content quality is not inherent to video game, I don’t understand how can you not see it? Ability to read however you want and skip bits you don’t is not stoping authors who are into it from polishing every sentence for months. Look around, you will not loose anything by leting the idea that your own experiences and enjoyment are only there because it’s based on content experinced or not by other people.

      • ToXXicG4mer says:

        The proper analogy for “fast forward” or “skip track” in a game would be downloading a save or installing a mod. Those are all clearly outside the scope of the work, and have more to do with your rights as a consumer than anything the creator intended.

        If the developer puts in a skip feature within the game, then that’s an endorsement with totally different implications. That means that the game has to “work” whether the player uses the skip or not, and there’s a ton of design baggage that comes along with having it both ways.

    • Captain Yesterday says:

      Just like if someone wants to buy a copy of “Infinite Jest” and start reading the middle. It’s their time, their money. How does it affect you?

      • mruuh says:

        Hey, I couldn’t get anything worthwhile out of that book even when reading it from the beginning, so perhaps a wrong example. :)

        • Captain Yesterday says:

          I used that particular title because it’s one of those books that, for many people, actually feels like an accomplishment to get through from cover to cover. I know it took me an entire summer to plow though the whole thing.

          It’s that sense of accomplishment that seems to be an issue for many people

    • pepperfez says:

      What’s the point of flipping past the boring middle of a novel? That it’s boring. If you’re doing this thing for fun, and part of it is unfun for you, of course it’s worth avoiding if you can.

      But I’m with you on (B). For instance, something I’ve been enjoying in RPGs recently is a grind-free difficulty curve. When it’s done well it makes for a particularly satisfying experience as the game just seamlessly flows long. An auto-grind button removes the incentive to make that work and encourages erring on the side of more grinding, which I think is a real loss.

    • Ragnar says:

      The point is that more people can play the game and enjoy it because they don’t get stuck on a particular part. If I get stuck on level 9 of 15, but I can play through the other levels, let me skip that level and get back to enjoying the game. I can’t beat the flying fish level in World 2 of Mario, so let me use the warp pipe to go to World 3 or 4 and keep playing the game and having fun.

      The counter argument is, what’s the point of having a whole game when someone won’t be able to experience anything past the first boss. What’s the point of having 9 worlds with multiple levels in each if I’m not going to be able to see anything past 2-2 due to those flying fish?

      And that’s assuming challenge is all there is, but there’s so much more to games. I love Mass Effect 1 for the story and characters and interactions and exploration, but I hate the combat. Playing that game on easy let’s me enjoy the parts I love and minimize the tedious and boring parts I don’t.

      And no one is arguing to take out content. If anything, making the game more accessible will cause more people to see more of the content. The “skip boss” button doesn’t erase the boss, it could just make the player invulnerable until the boss does to let them get past the boss they’re stuck on and back to enjoying the game.

      Developers making hard games already do so as a passion project. They’re not going to stop doing so just because they include an easy or skipping option.

    • Exkaiser says:

      Here’s an example from my own life: when I was a kid, I had Rayman on Playstation. It’s a decent platformer with cute graphics but like a lot of Playstation games it could get a little too difficult and frustrating for a kid. At some point, I got stuck somewhere (I think it was in the second world) and couldn’t progress any further. If I saved the game, I’d be stuck on a level I hated. If I started over, I’d be counting down to that level I can’t get past. Eventually, I started hating the game. Really, really hated it. I never touched the sequels, even though they’re different types of games, just because I hated the first one so much.

      And, you know, if I had skipped past that bit instead of sticking to my guns and not cheating, I probably would have come back to those stages later and cleared them with a fresh eye and a better handle on the game. I might not have walked away from that game hating it vehemently, but been able to appreciate it on its merits.

      Now, Rayman has a password system plus several built-in cheats to grant the player extra lives and continues and whatnot. I just chose not to use them because I, a serious and hard core little kid, knew better. “Why would you ever want to skip content?” was my thought then, too.

      But yeah, still never beaten Rayman after all these years. If only I hadn’t been so stubborn, huh?

  16. dcobs123 says:

    Thank you. I’ve been banging on about the skip button for ages! I can overcome pretty much any challenge in a videogame but I personally have no patience whatsoever for turn-based combat what with the slow transitions and the textboxes describing the exact actions I had just committed to… I can’t do it which is unfortunate because there’s a lot of great walking and talkings that go on in those JRPG games. As much as I would honestly love to play every Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Mother, and Persona game, I just can’t just justify the dozens of hours spent doing something I hate.

    Also how about a “I didn’t know the cutscene would skip if I pressed a button” button. That would save me a lot of game resetting time.

    • Exkaiser says:

      I’ve played so many games and never found out if you could skip cutscenes just because I was so afraid of skipping by accident.

      Pause the cutscenes, let the player choose to skip or unpause. If Kingdom Hearts can get this right, why can’t we all get on the same page?

      I like turn-based games a lot but I feel they should avoid wasting the Player’s time as much as possible. Sometimes I play older Rpgs and they just run so much faster than their 3D counterparts, it’s no wonder to me that lots of people bounce off these games when every little thing takes five times as long to animate as they should.

      Metal Max Returns is one of my gold standards for turn-based rpgs. You can have players and enemies all perform their animations at once, turn off the in-battle narration, and speed it up if you prefer. Plus it contains detailed and characterful animations which still don’t take up too much time.

  17. shinkshank says:

    Hello, I’m here to play the role of Devil’s Advocate. Or, well, that’s not quite true, because I actually believe what I’m going to say. I guess I’m here to play the Devil?

    Anyway, this is one of of those things that might be colored by my view of how people do things these days, and I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t place at least some pride in my various accomplishments in video games, nor am I being particularly original in my statements because this discussion has been going on for as long as there have been opinion pieces about video games, but I disagree with what this article is saying.

    At least on some level, anyway. I’m perfectly okay with Assassin’s Creed giving you an option to just skip the combat and whatnot, the concept of a skip feature I have no issue with. I instead have problem with the more overall idea being presented here : I don’t think that all video games should be made to suit everyone’s preferences. And it frankly seems preposterous to me to suggest otherwise.

    I’m not looking to “Keep the filthy casuals out of my hardcore video games” or whatever. What I am saying is that it’s extremely presumptuous of those questionably hygienic casuals to look at a developer of a video game and say “You’ve made this quality-looking video game, and that’s good and all, but you haven’t made it in a way that lets me, a person outside of your target audience, able to play and enjoy it. And I think that’s shitty”.

    In a way, this just seems selfish to me, which is amusing considering that’s what the article accuses others of being. Maybe I’m just wearing the wrong shoes, but I don’t understand why a subgroup of gamers should be be given special treatment on an industry-wide scale. It’s one thing if a developer decides that they want to do that, and if that isn’t getting in the way of their vision, and this I have zero problems with. But that not doing this is somehow being inconsiderate or promoting bad attitudes or whatever just seems incredibly unfair to me. In the same vein that, say, I wouldn’t consider it reasonable to ask the makers of visual novels to throw in a toggle at the beginning to have Tekken-esque fighting sequences between the characters, or hack and slash segments inbetween chapters to give people who dislike prolonged periods without combat-type gameplay a way to enjoy the VNs. Not everything is for everyone, and I don’t see why it should be.

    And on somewhat of a side note, I’d like to add that someone skipping pages in a book or scenes in a movie is not something that’s inbuilt into said book or movie, but something that the consumer can do due to the nature of a physical book/video player. You can’t just have an assumed skip button in an interactive piece of medium when that interaction is what actually progresses the content, there isn’t a standardized equivalent to a fast forward button or tracking bar in video games. Nor, as reading this mini-article might have clued you in, do I think there should be.

    So yes, in short, I’ve nothing against games giving options to reduce difficulty, or really just having more options for people to enjoy them in their preferred way, but I am against the idea of acting like this is the only way to go forward. It’s certainly a topic that brings out strong emotions, though, one way or the other. I just hope we can keep conversation civil. All the best.

    • ShrimpShaq says:

      Looking above, it seems everyone thinks they’re right here. On one side the “if a game can’t be played by every human on earth then it’s reactionary and REEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” and the “modern videogames are actually a liberal design to make us communist REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”. This topic is an interesting pivot for gamer politics it seems.

    • BooleanBob says:

      I appreciate your contribution. I don’t like that the debate has been framed in such tribal and antagonistic terms, because there’s an interesting discussion to be had at the heart of all this. Like you say, it seems that everyone is so sure that their camp is unequivocally correct that all that’s left is to shout the other side down. Maybe this too will be seen as concern trolling on my part – I genuinely hope not.

      The joy of overcoming a difficult challenge is something a game is almost uniquely well-positioned to offer, certainly compared to other (mostly passive) forms of media. So I think it’s a shame to let people skip hard bits of a game entirely – I’d prefer that games offered a strong degree of difficulty flexibility that could be changed on the fly. People could use this either as a way to modify the challenge for a one time play-through, or to teach them in such a way as to make subsequent playthroughs a natural progression up the difficulty scale.

      But as John says, if people want to skip around bits of the game entirely I don’t see what’s wrong with respecting that prerogative. I only ask that games aren’t obnoxious about it – if a game steps in after I’ve died a few times to patronisingly ask me if I want to skip the area, I really do think that’s an example of such a feature detracting from the overall experience. These Clippy-style interjections (“you appear to be failing to play a computer game, would you like some help?”) are exasperating in their condescension, and they also add clicks to the user experience, neither of which I appreciate.

      If you’re going to put hard sections into your game that you suspect will take several tries, you should be doing everything in your power to make them as frictionless as possible (this is why everyone adores the instant-restart key). So put a ‘skip dis?’ pop-up in if you must, but also give me a check box that allows me to say ‘no, and don’t show me this message again unless I hunt for it in the menu, thanks’.

    • postmanmanman says:

      Finally, a well-reasoned summary of why both ‘sides’ here are partially correct.

      As I’ve said before and I’ll say again, it’s one thing to celebrate accessibility and inclusivity (And we absolutely should! Those are admirable goals!), but it’s another thing entirely to claim that they are our rights as consumers and video game players. When I say “not every game is for every person” I don’t mean “keep the filthy casuals out” I mean “it’s fine to make games that specifically exclude less serious players” just as it’s fine and great, even, to make games that are all inclusive.

    • April March says:

      I think I agree with you more than anyone else.

      I think my opinion is thusly:

      1) It is OK for games to be accessible for as many people as possible.

      2) It is also OK for games to depend on their difficulty for fun, even if it makes them inaccessible.

      3) 1 and 2 are contradictory because they’re not about games in general, they are about specific games.

      4) Because of the idea that games should be challenging, there are way, way more games that fit 2 than that fit 1. There are numerous games that would be much better if they were 1 than if they were 2, but they assign themselves as 2 because that’s why it’s expected of them.

      5) I disagree with John, but if he was listened to, there would be more 1 games, which we need way more than 2. Therefore I support him.

  18. Freud says:

    To me, a game world is defined by the experiences I had in them. That means the combat, story, monsters, quests and so on matter. They are what makes the world lived in to me.

    Then again, I’m not a fan of walking simulators so I’m not the target audience of this option.

  19. mruuh says:

    Back in the day, devs would include cheat codes in their games. Type IDDQD, IDKFA and IDSPISPOPD (somehow, this got stuck in my memory probably until I die, yet I keep forgetting important stuff all the time), in Doom, and you’ve got a “Discovery Tour”.

    And nobody’s ego got threatened by the cheat codes existing. Seriously, gamers todays are insecure pussies.

    • DeadlyAccurate says:

      There was a game a few years ago with a frustratingly difficult end boss that made me so mad I found a godmode cheat and finished the game that way. Just so I could be done with it.

    • ChiefOfBeef says:

      Those days faded with the rise of game-saving; at some point in the early 2000s it that there wasn’t much need for codes when progress was recorded and cheats made into unlockable menu options. One could say if you really want to skip something, go download a save file instead of demanding that games be changed. That would be as dishonest and cynical as some of the arguments being made here to dismiss concerns about games being watered down though.

      • PsychoWedge says:

        No, cheats faded with the rise of achievements because god beware anybody could do anything that would allow them to get those things easier. And then cheats rose again in the form of DLCs…

        Which is the really interesting thing about this: for the last 4-5 years companies, and especially ubisoft, have sold convenience dlcs that allowed people to basically skip huge parts of games. I wonder why they’re not interested in those anymore and “revert” to some free, build in model.

        • April March says:

          No, cheats faded with the rise of achievements because god beware anybody could do anything that would allow them to get those things easier. And then cheats rose again in the form of DLCs…

          Oh man oh man. This is as cynical as it is true.
          First they add achievements so you can’t cheat any more.
          Than they sell you back the cheats!
          Probably a simplistic view, but not too far from the truth, I think.

      • Urthman says:

        Nope. Doom had save state as well as cheats. And somehow none of those stopped it from being a Real Game.

        • ChiefOfBeef says:

          You seem to think you’ve addressed something which someone actually said.

          Edit: Apologies if this seems mean, I just don’t understand your post.

    • jonahcutter says:

      You can still godmode your way through many games today. Cheats, trainers, mods, etc all still exist and are easily obtainable.

      You have various skip buttons available.

      If the developers don’t have the resources, or the desire, to cater to your demands to skip the very content they set out to create in their game, then go find what already exists. Or create one yourself.

      But demanding they build something in to skip significant portions of what they set out to create is childish entitlement. If they want to that’s their choice. If they don’t then go download a trainer, learn the console commands or install a mod. And if all of that is as beyond your capabilities as the actual gameplay of the game you bought that you don’t actually want to play is, then go watch someone else’s playthrough for the visuals and/or story.

  20. Babymech says:

    Also, books shouldn’t have difficult words. There’s nothing worth saying that can’t be said with simple, repetitive words. Difficult words are obstacles that make books accessible. Simple sentences that declare things are good. Hemingway is good books, and Nabokov is bad books. All books should come with an option to have President Trump narrate them because that makes them accessible. If somebody wants reading to be difficult they can get really drunk first or they can pretend each word is a code phrase from osiris to them. Everyone should be allowed to skip the boring bits of books and get to the fun, accessible parts. Like who did the murder in the end and if anyone gets married or not.

    In the end of lolita the dirty old man does not marry the little girl but he does also not go to prison. Also there are rhymes in the beginning and the story is really about america but you can’t tell because why bother.

    • Sin Vega says:

      An utterly moronic comparison. “Difficult words” can be looked up, or skipped by the reader. The book isn’t invisible until you’ve read and understood every preceding word.

      • mundanesoul says:

        People are so hilariously mad about so many fucking things that don’t affect them in any way whatsoever. I’m with you, John.

      • mundanesoul says:

        Whoops, didn’t mean to post that in response to you, Sin. (Though I do also appreciate you as one of the voices of reason in the midst of this shitstorm.)

      • ChiefOfBeef says:

        Glad you used ‘moronic’ to describe the comparison rather than the person, though you can be certain that if someone like me had used it to describe something you said, it would be intentionally misconstrued as personal and we’d be hit with the banhammer. That said, the comparison isn’t moronic at all.

        People who find parts of a game difficult can seek out help just the same as someone struggling with a book. If someone was still struggling with a book even after checking a dictionary, a reader’s guide like those for say Shakespeare or a synopsis, then most people would rightly say the fault lays with the reader. When confronted with the exact same hypothetical scenario for games however, you find an argument that directs blame towards the player ‘moronic’ despite all the help the player can access.

        Also, books which have anything going on in them tend to be impossible to follow until you have read the text preceding any you just jumped to in the middle. I can’t imagine how long it would take me to work out that Ged and Sparrowhawk are the same person if I started A Wizard of Earthsea from page 80.

        • leafdot says:

          “reader’s guide like those for say Shakespeare or a synopsis, then most people would rightly say the fault lays with the reader”

          This isn’t really how reading/art works. If you’re talking about a strict narrative A happens then B happens kind of way, fine, but in any kind of deeper sense that’s simply not how this stuff functions.

          An example: I have a guide to Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. It annotates, it gives possible interpretations to various words/puns, gives historical context. It’s quite thorough. But the *meaning* is still not going to be 100% clear, and that is neither my fault nor the guide’s nor even Joyce’s – it would defeat the entire aim of the project if the experience could be spelled out that way.

          Most art is like that. Many games aspire to be art. If you consider games to be *only* a contest of skill/luck – so more of a sport – then you’re narrowing the potential of the medium drastically.

          Additionally: *I* play games in isolation nowadays. Yes, I could watch a guide for, say, Rain World, but honestly I’m simply not going to enjoy that game at its current difficulty level, which is a shame because I badly want to explore that world. (I have heard they are working on something like that and I eagerly await its release. Until then I’m staying away.)

          And this actually comes back to Finnegans Wake – Joyce was frequently playing “games” in his books, and attentive “hardcore” fans delight in playing them too. But I can still read (and importantly *enjoy*) them without caring about or even paying much attention to those games, despite knowing they’re there. In short, I read Joyce on easy mode. It’s still fun, though, and even a little enlightening. My life would be diminished greatly if I hadn’t been allowed to experience it.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            Why would you use an exceptional, an exception, like Finnegans Wake to make a point about how ‘reading/art really works’? I don’t at all get your point here. As for the status of games as art: if they are ‘trying’ to be art, if they have to try, then that means in the artist’s mind those which do not try are not art, because if games could be art without trying then to try making them into art is pointless. Try or don’t try, the game that results would still be art.

            It’s the artists which are ‘trying’ to make games art who are the enemy of the medium.

          • Ich Will says:

            Chief of Beef, when I was a child, I used to skip huge amounts of Lord of the Rings, because it was too difficult for me. Guess what, I managed to really enjoy it enough to consider it my favourite book to this very day…

            Oh, and my mother nursed Tolkein in his later years, and he knew exactly what I was doing, and was 100% cool with it, so let’s not hear “bbuuuttt thhhe arrtiiissttss viisssiooonn” – most artists want people to enjoy their work. Most artists don’t care how, and in fact love to hear new ways how.

            And I’m sorry someone banned you from somewhere. It’s probably not going to happen here, but bookmark this page and return in a decade or so – it should be obvious then why the ban hammer got used against you.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            Now write that again without making gigantic personal assumptions please.

          • Ich Will says:

            I don’t need to, because you’ve used the “artistic vision” argument multiple times and expressed a fear that your words will lead you to being banned from here – trust me, there once was a chap called wizardry who was very much like you. He did eventually get banned, but it took about 5-10 years of constant, endless, monotomous winding up and up and up of the crazy. You’ve got nothing on him! Even when he was banned, he was allowed back, at least three times.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            I haven’t used the ‘artistic vision’ argument once. You seem to have skim-read what I’ve posted and jumped to conclusions. I asked you to stop with the assumptions, your response was to double-down.

          • Ich Will says:

            Well, then you have my most sarcastic apology for failing to understand what this nonsense means:

            “if they are ‘trying’ to be art, if they have to try, then that means in the artist’s mind those which do not try are not art, because if games could be art without trying then to try making them into art is pointless. Try or don’t try, the game that results would still be art. ”

            And I mean literal definition of nonsense.

            I’m interested to understand then, if it’s not an artists vision argument you are making, it’s an argument that game makers trying to make their game to their own vision, not what the audience wants that are the problem – well that would appear to go against your own point, because a tonne of people are asking for easier and accessable options

          • Ich Will says:

            Yada, yada tripling down, I know, I don’t care because you are a serial question dodger, and you play the “snowflake card” every time someone shows your nonsense to be exactly that.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            It is not at all nonsense. I am criticising the ideas that games need to be art, that they are better if they are art and they are something less if they are not art. I am stating that the value judgement is insincere.

            If someone believes something like ‘games need to evolve, they need to progress, they need to be respected as an artform’, they are doing so on the premise that games without that purpose are not art. If such games were art, then there would be no need to attempt to ‘make them art’ because they already would be. Just like art has been for thousands of years: artists did not try advancing their respective crafts because they understood this contradiction, they just did their art. Few presumed to be so great and glorious they could improve their medium, they were the ones no one remembers. The ones we do remember were the ones that put improving themselves first.

          • Ich Will says:

            I think you are doing generations of peoples a disservice. Why do you believe that they didn’t understand the contradictions of art – the celts certainly understood that art must hold commercial appeal, and some would suggest utterly mastered that concept in a way us modern humans struggle with.

            If you genuinely believe that michalangelo, leonardo, donatello, raphael, phidias, Praxiteles, Lysippos et al had less of an understanding of art than you do, and did not try to push the boundaries of their respective mediums then I call you arrogant, in the extreme!

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            I’m sorry but you seem to have taken what I said and interpreted as if I have said something completely different. I was very clear about what I meant, for the final time, please stop jumping to conclusions after only skim-reading my posts.

        • Skull Bearer says:

          … do you realise there are accessible versions of all Shakespeare’s plays for the precise reason of making them enjoyable for people at varying levels of literacy and/or English level?

      • Babymech says:

        Of course they can be skipped by the reader, why not? So can tough games. What is the point? What are you rushing toward that the game / writing is getting in the way of? Why do you need to find a way to get past the thing that they made the game about?

        I could run a marathon if they shortened it to 100 meters, but why? Why is it so necessary that I check a box that reads “I ran a marathon” or “I beat Dark Souls”? Are you really that obsessed with ‘getting to the end’ instead of enjoying the journey? I am fine with never beating Dark Souls, never ‘getting good’ and never seeing the ending. Why is the game experience ‘incomplete’ for you if you can’t, at any cost, see the credit sequence?

        • Sin Vega says:

          What the hell are you talking about? Your reply follows my comment but the words have nothing to do with anything I’ve said. Are you ill?

          • Babymech says:

            Classy. How do you want me to proceed; should I be all zany like you and ask if you had a stroke? I don’t get the point of being disingenuous and rude.

            You say that people can skip the difficult parts of novels. I say sure they can. I don’t see what the point is. Or, more accurately, I don’t see why somebody would write articles to say that this should be the goal for game makers to strive for. I can play Monopoly with infinite money, but I’m not sure why I should. I could run a marathon on a segway, but I’m not sure why I should. I could read the Cliff’s Notes of novels instead of the novels, but I’m not sure why I should. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with people who would do that, it’s just baffling.

            I don’t know why I should talk to you either, since you’ve committed to pretending that other people are just talking nonsense, but I’ll offer a last point – most games, nowadays, are both simulations and games. Monopoly is not a simulator of anything, but Prey is a loose simulator of running around on a space station. Taking the challenge out of Prey takes away the game element, but allows people to get into the simulator element. There’s no sensible argument why game makers should always strive to make games have a simulation mode, but there is an argument to be made for creating more simulators, if that market is underserved.

          • Sin Vega says:

            You say that people can skip the difficult parts of novels. I say sure they can. I don’t see what the point is.

            Because they want to. And that’s a valid thing to want whether you understand it or not. And meanwhile, you can still read every single tedious description of a fish in 20,000 Leagues or Dorian Gray’s entire wardrobe, or watch every terrible early episode of Star Trek if you want to. It’s an option.

            The reason I was dismissive of your first reply is obvious: 90% of it was responding to things I never said.

    • ThePuzzler says:

      Some people read Russian novels on easy mode by reading versions that have been translated into English…

      • Babymech says:

        You have a very strange impression of what a first-rate translator does. Also… I really hope you didn’t bring up Russian novels because you have some misconceptions about the novel Lolita and the writings of Nabokov :(

        • Ich Will says:

          I think you read far to much into a throwaway joke, you could insert any language into there, it was just random chance that it came up with Russian.

        • Exkaiser says:

          I wish some of those French books I read back in school had these “first-rate translators” working on them, rather than those guys who couldn’t translate feel or flow in any way. : (

          They tried. They tried!

  21. Aldehyde says:

    Overall, I wouldn’t have a problem with a skip feature if it was done well. However, there is one thing I feel this article and others like it along with the accompanying comments:

    It completely ignores what the actual creator(s) of the game(s) want for the game. Maybe they want the game to be hard, maybe they want people to struggle for a bit. Maybe they don’t care if not every single person can/will enjoy their game.

    Maybe they don’t care if they don’t maximize the amount of sales they could have had, if only they spent more time on this other thing that doesn’t make sense for what they want their game to be.

    There’s something to be said about artistic vision here which I feel gets ignored fairly often in favour of “I don’t like this, let me skip this thing I don’t like.”

    Basically, there are a lot of games for which a feature like skipping ahead would work really well but I wouldn’t hold it against the developer if they felt it didn’t fit their game.

    • HothMonster says:

      I think the idea that all games should start including this option immediately under penalty of rage is certainly a minority opinion. I think it would just be swell if people could stop getting mad when a developer does choose to include it.

    • Imaginary Llamas says:

      Yep. It’s fair enough in games with detailed open worlds like AssCreed that there could be an exploration mode, and most games wouldn’t suffer from having invincibility cheats. Hell, some gamers would say that quicksaves are cheating, and it can be right tedious when certain games decide to omit them.

      When I think of games like SpaceChem, I would say that I wouldn’t see the point of a skip function. IIRC correctly you don’t have to finish every mission anyway to reach the end of the story, but it really is one of those games where once you start getting stuck on puzzles you probably aren’t going to solve the later ones either.

      I guess I wouldn’t see the point of ‘tourist’ modes in cases where they removed all sense of achievement from a game.

  22. MushyWaffle says:

    I always commend a game that gives more options without making a player feel bad for playing a certain way.

    The most recent game that comes to mind is Divinity 2. They have an “Explorer” difficulty that allows users to experience ALL of the game content without penalizing them for wanting a more story than combat driven experience. When you want the more challenging combat, merely adjust slider and play without penalties.

    I think it’s great and wish more games would allow sliding difficulty without penalizing a player, like hiding the “Good” ending behind difficulty sliders. All players should be able to experience the “good” ending based on actions they took in the game, not based on what difficulty level they played.

    • laser-gods says:

      Nah. Some things, such as ‘good’ or ‘better’ endings should need to be earned. A players sacrifice of time/frustration/skill improvement can mirror the sacrifice of the in-game character. Like saving Paul in Deus Ex. It’s hard as balls (especially playing on Realistic difficulty) but if you manage it you’re rewarded with him remaining a character throughout the game. If this was made easy or just a binary choice; save/kill Paul, it would totally mitigate the emotional impact of either outcome.

  23. Artea says:

    I agree. Boss fights are something that originated in arcade games, where they were used as surprise difficulty spikes to get players to spend coins trying desperately to beat the boss. They don’t however make sense in non-arcade games. More often than not bosses are giant health sponges that feel completely at odds with the rest of the game and grind the game to a complete halt as you transition in a different game of ‘guess the boss gimmick’ or ‘spend 5 minutes waiting for the boss to reveal his glowing weak spot that you have to hit’ or ‘spend 30 minutes slowly chipping away at the absurd health pool of this otherwise ineffectual boss’. Yet despite that, boss fights have become so ingrained in gaming culture that a game is considered disappointing when it doesn’t meet a certain quota of bosses.

    The Deus Ex franchise is a good example of how much damage this sort of attitude can do. The first Deus Ex handled bosses wonderfully. You could tackle them in numerous ways: set a trap beforehand with a proximity grenade, find a killswitch to deactivate them, take them on head-on or even simply run away from them. The bosses were augmented like JC and therefore played by the same rules as the player: they could even be taken out with a single, well-aimed headshot. Bosses were a natural extension of the core gameplay and like the rest of game, rewarded player creativity and skill. Heck, they were even meaningful on a narrative level and felt like emotionally and dramatically compelling adversaries.

    Fast forward to Human Revolution, which embodies every awful boss trope imaginable. It starts with a cutscene where Jensen behaves like an idiot and places himself in jeopardy, right in the boss’s lair. Then the cutscene ends and you find yourself locked into an arena where you can’t escape from, forced to fight a boss who despite being a mere human is such an absurd health sponge that they can take dozens of point-blank shots to the face. To make matters even worse, Jensen is relatively squishy (to balance out his regenerating health) and he can’t use melee attacks. He’s wholly unsuited to fighting these bosses, yet the games forces bosses on the player in the most jarring way possible. What’s even worse is that the bosses don’t even have anything to do with the story, they’re just generic mercenaries, shoehorned in because every game just has to have bosses apparently.

    • Nelyeth says:

      No ? You are not talking about bosses, you are talking about some bosses. Tons of games have bosses that are engaging and do not waste your time with huge health bars. And even if I try to believe in your claim for a minute… What if, bear with me for a minute, some people actually enjoy fighting bosses ?

      Seeing your post, I’m sure you would describe Dark Souls bosses as being a terrible slog (and they’re pretty mild as far as tedium goes). Yet, I loved those boss fights. The fact that even one person did enjoy them makes your “bosses have no place in gaming” statement false. In the exact same fashion, since John wants to skip bosses, I cannot say “don’t add a skip button”, and nobody should.

      Don’t deny a mechanic the right to exist, ask for it to be implemented smartly.

      • Artea says:

        I’m not saying bosses should never be in a game. How on earth did you interpret my post as saying that when I praised the ‘bosses’ in the original Deus Ex?

        I’m saying bosses shouldn’t be shoehorned in where they don’t belong and when the game doesn’t lend itself to them. Can you imagine if almost every novel was forced to include an epic showdown of some kind at the end of every chapter? Yet that’s pretty much what happens with most games: they’re homogenized and forced to conform to arbitrary standards (boss battles are merely one example). It’s the death of creativity and ultimately makes for predictable and rote gaming experiences.

  24. RichUncleSkeleton says:

    Something noticeably absent from this discussion is specific instances where such a feature has been added successfully to a game. Recent Nintendo platformers, for example, have a “ghost” feature that gives you the option of watching the computer run through a level and bypass it for you, usually offered after you die a certain number of times. This means you won’t ever become permanently stuck on a level, and that you can see how it’s properly done, so that you can return to it later and finish it yourself. That’s far more sensible than just slapping a “skip” button on everything. Or, in LA Noire and GTA5, if you die several times in a row you can bypass the chunk of the mission you’re stuck on. Again: much more intuitive and conservatively implemented than practically asking players outright to not see part of a game you spent so much time and effort making.

    • fuggles says:

      Freespace – if you mess up a mission 5 times it asks if you want to skip.

      I miss cheat codes.

  25. brokedownsystem says:

    the biggest issue that a lot of people had with making Souls titles more accessible, is that they jumped to the conclusion that the overall design of the game would be impacted and take away from the overall challenge and quality of the title.

    If boss battles were made optional, that kind of invalidates their argument since battles are not changed at all.

    i’m all for this, though the “filthy casuals” playing this title might feel bored and even lost. Skipping bosses in a souls game, for instance, would kind of defeat the purpose of the game, though the exploration is still a valuable part.

  26. ToXXicG4mer says:

    If “gamer toxicity” had anything to do with the fact that games have some element of challenge, then you’d expect internet message boards and comment sections to be totally devoid of bad behavior. This is nothing but intellectually dishonest finger-pointing. And even if you could somehow prove this causal link, so what? How does a side effect in the culture of game-players let you conclude that game-makers should be goaded into changing their vision?

    Interactivity is the feature that makes games as a medium distinct. Sometimes this means that there are success/failure criteria for progress. Apprehension and frustration and triumph and reward are a part of the expressive toolkit that game designers use in their art. Suggesting that games as a medium would somehow be better off by dissolving the game elements is as ignorant as demanding edited versions of horror films where you can “experience the story” without violence or death. There has already been a great deal of fruitful experimentation with zero-confrontation storytelling in titles like Dear Esther, but it’s difficult to see how this creates an obligation for every creator to take such an approach. Nor is it even clear what skippable challenges would mean for abstract titles like puzzle games that don’t have typical story beats as rewards for progress.

    Pretending that the emergent features of games that result from overcoming obstacles are inessential comes dangerously close to reducing games to cinema. Instead of intimating that the entire industry and its consumers are doing everything wrong, just seek out those games that line up with your preferences.

    • GeoX says:

      If “gamer toxicity” had anything to do with the fact that games have some element of challenge, then you’d expect internet message boards and comment sections to be totally devoid of bad behavior.

      ???

      • ToXXicG4mer says:

        A youtube video is passive. There were no obstacles to overcome, no justifiable elitism from having watched it. Yet trolling still persists in the comments because that’s just a result of internet anonymity. The OP is trying to pin the blame on video game culture toxicity on the fact that games create barriers to progress by their nature, and it’s a ridiculous argument.

        • GeoX says:

          The OP is trying to pin the blame on video game culture toxicity on the fact that games create barriers to progress by their nature, and it’s a ridiculous argument.

          It WOULD be a ridiculous argument, if anyone outside your head had ever made it. Sheesh.

          • ToXXicG4mer says:

            > I know an awful lot of what’s made gaming culture such a miserably toxic environment over the last few years is deeply wrapped up in subjects like this, and those who spread the toxicity are those most likely to be on the side of condemning gaming options that remove challenge

            It’s right there. That’s pretty damn unambiguous. I’m saying that games having a minimum degree of challenge doesn’t somehow contribute to the toxicity problem. It’s just one potential topic that already-toxic interlocutors can be toxic about. This isn’t limited to hard games, or games at all, it’s just an effect of consequence-free internet discourse. You see the same thing, for example, in niche music communities.

          • April March says:

            John’s argument is not that difficulty creates a toxic environment, but rather that a toxic environment lionizes the ability to withstand difficulty.

  27. daxayrton says:

    The problem with the parallel this article proposes between movies, books, and videogames, is that authors and directors don’t actually want you to skip parts of their work. They make their project so it’s an experience for consumers, and skipping any of it is harming the experience you get. Now, authors and directors can’t actually stop you from skipping anything, but game developers can.

    If developers enable this sort of behavior, then we have to look at the long-term consequences. If a game where the major selling point is the gameplay has skippable sequences, then maybe a lot of consumers that wouldn’t otherwise buy the game are left with a bad experience, and leave negative reviews. These reviews can make a game fail, or they may influence the developers to create different games in the future, one that caters to consumers that don’t actually have any interest in the experiences the developers tried to give them.

    • ArgyleHammer says:

      I agree and I hope it’s okay that I piggy back on your comment a bit. I think the root of the problem is a misunderstanding around what games are, but more importantly what they should be.

      A lot of AAA games focus on visuals and need broad appeal in order to get a reasonable ROI for those visuals. Interestingly, visuals and broad appeal are the domain of film. It’s doubtful that games can ever compete. If competing was desirable. I have doubts that it is.

      Experience shows that consuming a story passively, one that is crafted by a skilled director, editor, actors, cinematographers, etc, etc, is more effective than anything games have been able to produce.

      And no, I don’t think VR or AR really changes this. Creating a VR simulation of Star Wars for instance would sure be interesting and perhaps lots of fun, but there is something innate in humans that makes them respond more deeply to story told to us, rather than directed by us. Maybe it has something to do with how we first shared information, sitting around a fire deep within a cave, learning to listen meant a better chance you’d survive.

      Conversely, games (that is competition with one’s self or against others, governed by rules and specific win conditions) translate very well to a digital form. I imagine a future where games eclipse traditional sports in popularity and appeal.

      What’s interesting is that if you try to make a traditional game too mass-market you end up ruining it. I’m Canadian, so lets take ice hockey. You could remove the skating on ice bit, the checking, need for goalies, referees, limitation around number of players, open it up to people of all ages, shapes and sizes and simply make it a walk in the woods where everyone wins, but then it wouldn’t be hockey.

      Applauding “skip’ability” as a step forward for games fundamentally misunderstands what a game is. It’s not a step forward for games, but a step away from them. A step towards a new form of entertainment that is separate from games. Not better or worse, but distinctly different. Seeing as RPS is a game publication and John is a game critic, I’d like to see him behave like critics in other respected areas like film, food, literature, music. These critics both understand what their art is, and push for it to be more nuanced, less mainstream, more opined.

  28. Vinraith says:

    This seems like it would have a self-evidently negative impact on game design in short order. No need to put care into balancing the game when people can just skip whatever they might find unreasonable.

    Also, isn’t it little strange that the developer’s vision of the game seems to be given no weight whatsoever in this discussion?

    • Sin Vega says:

      Over the long term it could mean that boss fights disappear altogether. I REDOUBLE MY SUPPORT.

      • postmanmanman says:

        What is with this categorical opposition to the idea of boss fights? I’m beginning to think most of you have just never played a game with good bosses, in which case — good god, man, please try a Platinum game or something.

      • ChiefOfBeef says:

        Basically just confirm what some people fear: there are people that want to literally take their games away.

      • unseenwalker says:

        So you’re basically the other side of the toxic mad dogs that get mad when a developer includes this type of option. You’re clamoring for a better format to enjoy the game your way but then go ahead and want all boss fights to disappear. Have you considered that there’s people that like games with boss fights? I guess not since you’re just another lunatic like the ones you’re trying to condemn.

        • ChiefOfBeef says:

          What is comical is that us ‘toxic mad dogs’ in this thread are going out of our way to be reasonable and it’s the ‘inclusive’-loving posters that are name-calling, ridiculing and losing their shit.

          • Politik says:

            Maybe I’ve misread but

            “I’ll believe there aren’t a bunch of networked, hypocritical, vindictive, amoral people working in games writing, publishing and development, who are trying to make games worse because they don’t like them or the people who do like them….when they stop doing it.”

            doesn’t sound reasonable at all to me.

          • ChiefOfBeef says:

            Given the context it is spoken in, I think it is both restrained and fair comment.

        • Sin Vega says:

          Sixteen minutes. There were sixteen minutes between your comment and my response to the last once just like it, directly above yours. Sigh.

      • ShrimpShaq says:

        I like boss fights, all games should have the option to include boss fights now.

      • jonahcutter says:

        Or you could not buy games with boss fights.

    • kentonio says:

      As a game designer, its suprising how rarely people actually ask my opinion before talking about how my creative vision will be hampered and so on.

      For the record, this kind of change would involve relatively (important caveat there) little work in the majority of cases, and would be something I’d absolutely support. As the op effectively points out, the idea of gating gates with difficulty was constantly subverted right back in the early days of gaming and has continued to be ever since. Sooner or later as developers we have to embrace the idea that not everyone has equal skill, or just as importantly time, and that imposing barriers just means they’ll put the game down and probably not buy the next one. If you’re a parent who has to fit their gaming into the occasional free hour, then spending 8 hours trying to beat a ridiculously hard boss battle just to progress through the game is not a reasonable expectation.

      Above all though, there is basically zero reason for people to get annoyed by this. It would be a change that could be implemented in a way that effected nothing for the ‘serious’ gamers, yet once again even the mention of it causes people to rage. Perhaps they should be asking themselves why that is.

  29. PsychoWedge says:

    Well, this’ll hopefully force AAA-studios to deliver some actually interesting stories and characters, because those will be what people focus on when you remove everything else that hinders them running through a game in an hour or so…

    • postmanmanman says:

      If you want interesting story and characters while not having to actually deal with dexterity- or logic-based challenges, I have wonderful news: literature, film, and theater offer exactly this. :^)

  30. TychoCelchuuu says:

    This article makes a lot of excellent points but it leaves out the best argument for including a skip button, which is how mad it will make all the people who don’t like the idea. Get trolled, bozos! People are going to get to skip bosses and you can’t do anything about it! Enjoy stewing in your own impotent rage as other people have fun in ways you don’t approve of!

    • drewski says:

      John probably decided he was going to get enough death threats for having an opinion on the internet as it was without deliberately chasing them.

  31. joe_nothin says:

    This is ridiculous. What do you want to skip a boss for? The only thing on the other side of a boss is another boss. There’s nothing else in the game – your princess is in another castle. There’s already a “Skip Boss” button for all games – it’s called “Netflix”.

    Games are supposed to be played, these are the experiences they create. If you don’t want the experience, why even waste time and money on it? Read a book, watch a movie, do something you actually enjoy. Why force yourself to play a game if you don’t like it? There’s no shame in reading.

    • Sin Vega says:

      Because boss fights are shite.

      But less facetiously, have you really never played a single game that you enjoyed, except for one or two design decisions, or specific levels, or minigames? Really?

      • RichUncleSkeleton says:

        Why would you want to give the designers of that content an easy out from accepting responsibility for their dumb decisions by letting them say “hey, if you don’t like it, skip it”? If you make a boss fight or a level that sucks, own up to it, and do better next time (if there is a next time).

        • Vinraith says:

          This point isn’t being made enough here. People keep saying “this doesn’t affect you” but it actually does impact everyone, because this kind of option becoming widespread drives design in future games.

          Personally I hate most boss fights, but the problem there isn’t that I don’t have a “skip” option, it’s that the boss fights are bad.

      • ChiefOfBeef says:

        I personally think some games are unsuited to having boss fights. The solution is that they should not have boss fights. But there are games which are partially defined by their boss-fights; as major set-pieces, as important narrative, as design necessity and tutorials.

        Each of these kinds of games are not for everyone and that is ok.

  32. Scrap Princess says:

    So it seems like this absolutely bizarre thing where people don’t seem to realise it’s a mistake to think of video games solely as medium for delivering a story.

    (unlike books or movies)

    Like it’s right there in the second word, “game”.

    A word that was invented so we could describe The Thing We Did When We Played With Agreed Upon Rules.
    And we had this word “Story” that meant to describe something that wasn’t actually happening right then.
    And they were different words because they were different things, not necessarily dichotomically different , but still different.

    And video games are now an extremely broad and complicated medium , potentially using all previous forms of human medium and interaction in them.

    So “game” and “story” are even less dichotomic than before.

    And an interesting thing about video games is that game and story can synergistically interact with each other. Much has been written etc.

    That aside, difffffffeeeerreeeent tthhhhhinnnnnnngsssssssss.

    So , if someone is saying Making The Story More Accessible is Negatively Affecting My Gameplay, that’s a potentially a valid argument , and not one that can be reasonable answered by framing it solely as if video games were just a medium for delivering stories.

    Games that are enjoyable because they are hard often push the players past their tolerance thresholds, and “force” the player to keep going by giving them no other way of getting further in the game.

    An easily accessible “out” for the frustration negatively affects this “gamefeel” aspect.

    However “easily accessible” is a variable (a Boss Skip Button vs a No Bosses Mode At The Start) that could potentially be adjusted to best serve the greatest amount of people.

    And not all games are enjoyable by “forcing” players to push past a frustration threshold to keep going.

    Anyway that’s just some framing that I thought could maybe make the conversation more constructive and prob put too much in quotemarks

    • gabetheguy says:

      no! videogames shouldn’t have “gameplay”! they shuould be about smashing GRONALD BRUMPH with NARRATIVE

  33. Emperor Norton I says:

    Seriously. I am not sure how much I’d want to use it myself, but that’s okay. I sort of look at this as similar to Ironman modes in turn-based games. Give people the option to play on “Skippy Mode,” which can be selected at the beginning of the game or turned on at any point through the menus. Then go ahead and have a “Badass Mode” where Skippy Mode can never be used on a particular save, to make other people happy. Why not?

    Okay, in multiplayer-oriented games or online stuff, arguments can be made against this. Fine. But for single player stuff, why not? How different is this than a built-in cheat code? For that matter, why not build in a bunch of cheat codes from the start, to achieve something similar from a different angle?

  34. GomezTheChimp says:

    I recall that when Invisible, Inc. was in early access it was extremely difficult. I was one of quite a few people who suggested making it a bit easier by, say, including a rewind function. This made a lot of folks on the forums VERY VERY ANGRY indeed, and I couldn`t for the life of me understand why. How did it affect them if I enjoyed the game but wasn`t that good at it? I still don`t get it now. If game developers want to give everyone a chance to enjoy their games, whatever their ability, then more power to them.

  35. Chillicothe says:

    This oddly makes the bosses harder. Fighting that temptation would be tough!

  36. Urthman says:

    Seems like this would put a lot of pressure on devs not not spend as much time fine-tuning difficulty.

    “The player can just skip this part if it’s too hard, we need to move on to something else.”

    • jonahcutter says:

      Indeed.

    • Premium User Badge

      John Walker says:

      You’re probably going to need to explain the last forty years of games with varying difficulty levels and yet lots of effort put in before this argument will really stick.

      • Urthman says:

        You’re moving the goalposts there, John. There’s a huge difference between difficulty levels and a button that lets you skip any part of the game the developers failed to make entertaining.

        Sure there are existing games that I wish had that feature to fix parts that sucked. But I’d rather have the skippable part replaced with something better. And I don’t think it’s true that we’ve already tried the experiment of developing games with a “the player can skip this part” button in mind.

        I feel like you’re denying that the existence of microtransactions or achievements or quicksaves or other meta-game elements could have an impact on game design.

        • Doogie2K says:

          Hardly. While explicitly been labelled a “skip boss” button, God Mode and other open-secret cheat codes have been an opportunity from time immemorial to dodge the hardest parts of a game and still see it to completion. It’s not like these are just accidents in the code; they’re explicitly built in there by the developers, and wouldn’t have been left in after testing if they weren’t meant to be there. And that’s before we get into games with dynamic difficulty or games that already prompt you to skip the level or change the difficulty if you get kicked in the dick too many times, which have been around for a non-trivial amount of time.

          Of course there will always be situations where developers under time or money pressure will take the path of least resistance; that already happens now. An explicit “skip boss” feature might cause such shortcuts to look different to what they do now, but I don’t buy that they’d happen any more (or less!).

      • orochi_kyo says:

        LOL. You had just bury your whole argument here.
        Yes, games has difficulties and devs actually tune up their gameplay according to difficulties, people who want to feel challenged can set the harder difficulty. What you did propose on your entitlement that SKIP Bosses should be a standard, because bosses makes games “not fun”. Why just dont make the whole game much easier, setting a tourist difficulty instead of suggesting devs to allow people to skip part of their hard work? It seems you hate when people like to git gud and actually devs putting some work on bosses.

  37. JeffHerk says:

    I registered only to say that i find this article to be one of the most entitled and egoistic pieces of “gaming journalism” i’ve ever read…… I find it disgusting that you “journalists” want EVERY game to cater to EVERY kind of audience and please EVERYBODY….
    If you don’t like, let’s say, boss fights in Dark Souls…..just don’t play the game i guess? Because boss fights in that game are one of the most (If not THE) high points of the game….
    Ubisoft made this move because Assassin’s Creed has enough content to fit into it……the entire premise of the game is based on exploring ancient environments of our story so it fits perfectly into it….Playing Dark Souls without bosses? Why not just watch a youtube Let’s Play?
    Games like Uncharted or any other “Story driven, cinematic experience” games would be okay to skip “combat” because most of the time the combat doesn’t fit into the tone of the game….like a explorer killing dozens and hundreds of “bad guys”….doesn’t make sense.
    If you want to “experience games” without playing them, there are plenty of “Walking Simulators” available for you…..Maybe that’s why there are plenty of genres of games available.

    • Sin Vega says:

      Oh no! Not the word journalism in quotation marks! The one unstoppable and entirely unprecedented attack! Aiiiiieeee

      • ShrimpShaq says:

        Are you going to actually answer his questions or just continue trolling, you’re no better then the forum trolls you hate.

        • Sin Vega says:

          What questions? The only question they asked was “Playing Dark Souls without bosses? Why not just watch a youtube Let’s Play?”, and it’s such a stultifyingly dull-witted one that I fear bothering to answer it would only waste precious seconds of all our lives.

          Unless you’re talking about the implied questions like “what is an ellipsis?” and “who else doesn’t understand quotation marks”?, obviously.

    • Premium User Badge

      John Walker says:

      “I registered only to say that i find this article to be one of the most entitled and egoistic pieces of “gaming journalism” i’ve ever read…… I find it disgusting that you “journalists” want EVERY game to cater to EVERY kind of audience and please EVERYBODY….”

      Do you, on some level deep down, understand that wanting things to be accessible to the largest number of people is the precise opposite of egotistic and entitlement? The desire that more people, people other than me, can enjoy the same things I enjoy. This offends you?

      If you don’t like, let’s say, boss fights in Dark Souls…..just don’t play the game i guess? Because boss fights in that game are one of the most (If not THE) high points of the game….

      You’d probably be on a better footing if you’d read the article that so deeply infuriated you, and perhaps most especially the bit where I wrote:

      “Dark Souls wouldn’t be a bloody genre if people didn’t love a boss fight, but while it falls just short of selling seven billion copies, it’s inarguable that there are people who do not enjoy boss fights. And when your game is made of boss fights tied together with string, then yes, it’s plainly idiotic for a hater to buy it.”

      Um, so yeah.

      Games like Uncharted or any other “Story driven, cinematic experience” games would be okay to skip “combat” because most of the time the combat doesn’t fit into the tone of the game….like a explorer killing dozens and hundreds of “bad guys”….doesn’t make sense.

      Oh, so you agree! Cool!

      • baozi says:

        Unless I misread: why does Dark Souls get a free pass? I finished Dark Souls 1 and 2. I found defeating the bosses tedious; they were my least favorite parts of the games. After so many tries, I’d have used a skip boss button if there were one.

      • ChiefOfBeef says:

        Thinking you know best and addressing criticism the way you do is the very epitome of egotistical entitlement. You chose to frame your case in the above-the-line article as a pre-emptive attack on those who disagree with you. You get the standards of reaction, comment, debate and criticism you choose to cultivate.

        • Premium User Badge

          Nauallis says:

          At this point, I cannot tell anymore if you’re trolling or just stupid.

      • orochi_kyo says:

        Im agree. Some games should be made for everyone.
        Dark Souls, a game that is just for a “bunch of people”, for a niche of “masochists” who like hard games. Lets make it for everyone, add guns for those who like COD, add a soccer ball and Cristiano Ronaldo skin for those who like football, lets add some nice animals for those who like wildlife, lets add building tools for those who like Minecraft. Lets put go karts for those who like racing games.
        What you just did suggest is that game developers should be more concentrated on pleasing everybody when doing a game than actually taking their concept to the game, and sometimes difficulty is part of that concept, some devs just want to make the games harder because its part of the ambient of the game, the tension around the fact youll die easily for a supposed overpowered boss, bosses are part of that concept too, gore is also part of the concept sometimes. Making the game easier, removing gore and taking out bosses could make the game more accessible for most people but youll end with a product that wasnt the concept the devs didnt want for the game. Then what is the ultimate proof of you being wrong is that actually casual games sometimes doesnt sold well, when actually hard games does, how many copies of DS1 has sold, like 6 millions across all consoles, not bad for a game that actually isnt for everyone. In your entitlement you should understand that actually sometimes devs just want to attack a market niche instead of making games that fit everyone tastes. You want to make hard games casual, despising people who like hard games.

  38. ResonanceCascade says:

    I guess if some people really want to just experience the pulp that gets sculpted around the gameplay and called a “story” in most games, then they can knock themselves out.

    Strikes me as a solution in search of a problem, though. I suspect most folks who are turned off by the difficulty of games would also be bored by the sad reality of those games’ stories when stripped of their challenge.

    I can’t imagine anyone enjoying Assassin’s Creed (this is now a complete sentence but I’ll continue) without the interactive bits.

    • mruuh says:

      Same kind of people who enjoy playing flight simulator games without any goals or missions in them. Sometimes you just want to experience the environment developers created and revel in its beauty.

      And no, it’s not the same as watching a LP video. Watching a video does not let you look at that interesting rock from all angles, or watch that in-game sunset from the exact spot that makes it look magical to *you*. Sometimes you just have to “be there” your (ingame avatar) self.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        I didn’t say anyone should just watch a let’s play video. I said I don’t think there’s really much of an audience for this, and that I suspect the people who are asking for it will usually be disappointed with it.

        It doesn’t really bother me either way.

  39. Michael Fogg says:

    At first I felt the usual need to reflexively oppose this proposition (“so you want to play it wrong!? Not on my watch!”), but then I recalled the difficulty settings of System Shock. The first one. You know, one of the most hardcore games ever, which started the immersive sim genre. And it has four separate diff settings: combat (self explanatory), STORY (on the lowest all doors are open and you can just straight waltz into the final boss room. On the highest the game has a real-time deadline of 8 hours), hacking minigame and cyberspace minigame. So the possible settings range from super duper difficult to, well, tourist mode. And I don’t recall anyone ever complaining about it or claiming the game was ruined by inclusion of those settings. Warren Spector decided it was a good idea. So get in line.

    • golochuk says:

      Maybe nobody complained about it, but few games have mimicked it either. And System Shock is an FPS that didn’t ship with mouselook, so Warren Spector is no superhuman game developer.

      • Doogie2K says:

        It was an FPS without mouselook in 1994.

        I’ll give the man a pass for not being literally the first game developer to create a mouselook FPS.

  40. alexheretic says:

    Unfortunately the people that disagree with this the most will find it impossible to skip this article.

    • sfg says:

      Aw, what’s the matter, did someone shake up your echo-chamber? Did they invade your little personal safe-space?
      Waaah, waaah, my precious opinions are challenged, stop this horrendous toxicity right now!

    • jonahcutter says:

      Yes, what an unfortunate circumstance that the critic should receive criticism.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Lol, so true, he’s baiting again.

    • lyralamperouge says:

      …so? Are you saying it’s preferable that people avoid exposure to opinions they dislike?

    • Dethati says:

      I see this as a nice feature to be included in games, but at the same time I can see why other people would be against this. It starts the slippery slope of first skip bosses, then skip combat, then skip the entire game. I can understand for those who would like immerse themselves in a story/game this could be nice at times, but it also adds very little to the average players experience. It’s a feature that some will use but many won’t.

  41. zmads09 says:

    Just buy a Game Shark already, all games in god mode for everyone.

  42. Jakkar says:

    Yes, bring on the riff-raff.

    But don’t ignore the educational or artistic value of Assassin’s Creed. This isn’t really about accessing game content, it has very little relation to ‘skipping the hard boss’, it’s about exploring a game-world as a tourist or… You might even say as a scholar.

    On PC we used to have our ghost, our noclip, our god-mode. We could switch off AI and wander the worlds finding out all the little details, appreciating it all in a whole new light.

    It might have been one of my favourite things about the old Unreal.

    Reopening those doors with less of that rough ‘debug’ feeling is a damned good thing, and especially in worlds as astounding as those made for Assassin’s Creed. Those cities deserve to be *seen*, in a way most players never do as they float mindlessly through it with their eyes on the minimap and floating icons, playing a bland surface-echo of the actual game underneath.

    I look forward to it – though I’ll still explore it the old-fashioned way, in normal gameplay, with the HUD entirely disabled, just wandering, and appreciating (and occasionally killing people, as the creed demands)…

    • Jakkar says:

      As an aside; my god there are a lot of arseholes in this comment section. The games already have easy mode, or even special sub-easy difficulty levels to permit leisurely wanders. It means young children can play with parental support, it means the disabled get to experience *something* of the game despite problems with control/vision/cogitation, it means youtubers can produce video with commentary to explore a level and discuss details, secrets or tricks without needing to focus on gameplay while they’re illustrating a point.

      The article accurately predicted the response.

      You twats =p

      Go to bed, no supper.

      • ToXXicG4mer says:

        >the article accurately predicted the response

        No, it didn’t. The article calls out a subset of players who want to prevent developers from adding easier options to their games as they see fit. Then it strongly suggests that, because these players are in the wrong, that any developer that doesn’t maximize accessibility is somehow doing a disservice to players. That doesn’t follow, and most of the comments are merely pointing this out.

      • BudHurt says:

        No it didn’t. A strawman isn’t a prediction. How about this:

        1) You accept the fact that not everything should cater to you or your interests and you should have no expectations of such.

        2) Stop being vindictive against people that can actually pick up a gamepad or mouse and keyboard and still function. You’re whining because some things are too difficult for you and you demand to be treated like a four year old.

    • sfg says:

      Educational and artistic value. lol. If this wasn’t a site chock-full of hipster pansies with delicate feelings that would rather watch games than play them I’d think that was sarcastic.
      But I know it’s the actual sad truth.

  43. jonahcutter says:

    There are “solutions” that already exist to the big bad gameplay of… games. Godmodes. Cheats. Trainers. Watching someone else’s playthrough. All within reach of the John Walkers of the world. But with those tools he’s not getting quite as catered to, not getting a special little safe space button of his own, so apparently it’s not quite as attractive to him.

    As someone else said above, this is a solution in search of a problem. Those who wish to can already largely skip or negate difficult gameplay. It just takes a bit of effort on their part to do so.

    Most games can already be converted into walking simulators through various godmode and cheat tools. Goodness gracious me, surely an experienced and skilled gaming critic would realize this?

    • pandiculator says:

      So, what exactly is the difference between a developer who programs cheat codes into the game to be used to ‘skip’ content and the game developer who cuts out the middleman and gives you the button to skip content? The amount of effort is largely negligible for most games, and the practical result is identical.

      Why does the formatting of the skip bother you so much that you need to come in ad hominem?

      • jonahcutter says:

        Because cheat codes, trainers and mods do not provide a remotely balanced or coherent experience. Nor are they under any obligation to. An official feature is.

        Given the displayed entitlement of many of those requesting a boss skip button, it’s not hard to imagine they will also demand a coherent and balanced experience for their new mode.

        As I pointed out above, this is not necessarily as simple as those demanding this feature would acknowledge. Boss fights generally introduce significant power increases, resources and even multiple variations of unique items into the progression and narrative of the game. Sometimes allowing those items to also be used in any attached PvP and/or coop modes. Also sometimes providing different rewards for how the boss is killed. All that has to be balanced and built for various difficulty modes. Now as an official skip feature all various difficulty modes would now need new mechanics and balancing built for the alternative boss skip modes.

        If a developer wants to do that that’s their choice. Klei did a great job in building all manner of personalizing your experience into Don’t Starve. Because they decided it was worth the resources. But if another developer doesn’t have those resources, or just doesn’t wish to spend them in such a manner, they don’t need to. If they feel players should experience their boss battles that’s their artistic determination. And no amount of petulant whining about difficulty from a muddled-thinking and often clueless game critic should sway them.

        And if you don’t like it, put some actual effort into altering your situation and use one of the many proactive “solutions” already at hand for this non-problem.

        • vinion2000 says:

          To add further to that point. Think of the game design of Zelda. Zelda is design where the weapons and items are crucial to the boss battles. Zelda games ideally are about the boss battles. Each dungeon is created not only to challenge the gamer but task them with use of the items collected so far and prepare them for the their use against the dungeon boss. Thus adding a skip leads me to ask “Why are you playing Zelda?”. Games arent movies that you can passively interact with. You need to press forward to advance with the game. Lack of motivation leads to stagnation and inevitably non progression. If the creator wants you to experience the thrill of great boss battles and you want to skip them then your both at odds with each other. By saying hey “Hey Nintendo add a boss skip in Zelda” your basically saying “Hey Nintendo you need to change your game design”. The same goes for Dark Souls which is basically Zelda on steroids. It makes no sense. Someone please educate me on how this feature makes sense.

  44. Asami says:

    I certainly agree with the sentiment that it’s perfectly fine for games to let you skip the hard bits, but I do also think it should be
    A: An option you choose at the beginning of the game, and
    B: People should be rewarded for playing them (at least in some genres of game).

    Why? Because a big part of games, even if only historically, is about overcoming challenges, solving puzzles, honing your skills, etc. A lot of games are more hollow, emptier experiences without these things. This doesn’t mean all games are, or even have to be, but for example what good is a puzzle game if you can just skip all the puzzles, or a boss-rush game if you can skip all the bosses? Sure you can argue that obviously those sort of games wouldn’t have such an option, but what it does is demonstrate that those parts of games have some inherent value to them, and combined with other elements create a more meaningful experience, even if only in a small way.

    • Ragnar says:

      Challenge is absolutely a part of most games, but I don’t think challenge is required for every game or even to have an enjoyable experience.

      As a kid I had a blast playing Doom with God mode on. No challenge, but lots of fun.

      Combat was my least favorite part of Mass Effect 1. It was tedious and boring and took away from the fun I was having exploring the world and talking to people. Playing on easy removed all challenge but gave me a more enjoyable experience.

      But I think another argument for it is that people can get stuck, and end up missing out on content that they could play because of it.

      I could never beat World 2-2 in Mario, but I could experience the rest of the game due to those warp pipes. I got stuck on mission 10 of Warcraft, but I was able to skip it and finish the game.

      My daughter was playing a Metroidvania where she would occasionally get stuck on a tricky section. So she would give the controller to me, I’d get past it, and then she’d go back to playing. Certainly that’s better than her just giving up. But not everyone has a better gamer at home to help them out, so why not build it into the game itself?

      Even a boss rush game could benefit from an invulnerability option. You could use it to study the bosses and learn their attack patterns for yourself, rather than having to consult a guide. And I bet my kids would have a blast playing through it and feeling like awesome warriors even without the challenge.

  45. Emeraude says:

    I’m not opposed to it in principle, I think it can work for *some* games, but then I must say I am wary of the hypertrophy of game-as-content – game as spectacle – over game-as-process – game as play – in modern design sensibilities, which accompaniment by the atomization and balkanization of individual design elements that characterized the rise of the game-as-service model makes for sometimes better products, but also wholly inferior games in my opinion (see: Agents of Mayhem for a recent interesting example of that weird hybridization at play I guess).

    I can see how people would fear that this would act as yet another Pandora’s Box. When the people who were vindicated in their claim that game-as-service, that F2P monetization schemes, that micro-transaction, that loot boxes would not remain segregated, are telling they fear this too will come to infect games that weren’t made for it, answering them that the market will solve everything yet again isn’t really reassuring.

    And I guess we’re back to my old authorial intent pet-peeve. Are games only ever meant to be entertainment? Or can we agree that there can be more than that to their creative process? Are you entitled to understand and appreciate Ulysses because you paid for the book?
    The manipulation of tension in the player through the very process of play – in one way or another – is integral part of the core tool-box of games as a medium. People are comparing skipping bosses to skipping part of a book. I would more compare it to being able to read the annotated prose rendition of a poem. It’s a *qualitative* change more than it is a quantitative one. And sure, there’s nothing wrong with one reading that, but then one isn’t engaging with the poem itself, but something completely different, and for completely different reasons.

    All that being said, I can’t stress out enough how much I agree with the idea of different means to tailor difficulty as long as they can be made to fit the game, without compromising the design intent.
    There’s something truly lovely for one in, say, those modified golf courses made to accommodate old people that are no more physically able to attend full courses. The more people get to enjoy the things they love the better. I don’t think we can easily do that for all games though. Not without some of them turning into something different altogether.

    • ToXXicG4mer says:

      The analogy to prose vs. poetry was spot-on. If you grant that qualitative difference between games as pseudo-cinema and games as a true interactive medium where you are an agent probing a world, then it shouldn’t be hard to see why some developers would resist providing a bowdlerized version. Trying to frame this as an issue of inclusivity or “gatekeeping” is nothing more than a rhetorical stunt.

    • pandiculator says:

      You raise some intelligent and interesting ideas about the intention of the creator versus the action of the…well, reader? player?

      I think your comparison to skipping as to scaffolding a difficult work of literature to a different medium (poetry to prose) is pretty apt. I do think it is a stronger comparison than skipping around in a book, but it is also telling that the greats of literature often included their own footnotes with their poetry. Even if they were sometimes exercises in intellectual one-upmanship.(Hello, Eliot…)

      The crux of this discussion, in these terms, is whether or not the poet should be comfortable with people reading their works and ‘not getting it.’ Or if the poet should expect a certain degree of literacy from his or her audience. Here’s where the analogy breaks down, but, as you indicated, there are several unique factors to video gaming as a medium which make any analogy difficult at best.

      In principle, I agree with the idea of tension – even in the least ‘gamey’ of games, walking simulators, tension is present. All video games are exercises in second person, something that no other media really allows for (Choose Your Own Adventure novels notwithstanding.) This player-driven style generates self-selected tension, perhaps gaming’s greatest and most unique quality. How do I spec my character? Which gun should I use? When should I press block? How long should this combo be? How many times should I grind out this sidequest? etc. etc. Even by walking different ways or exploring different things, games like Gone Home generate tension through their setting, characters, etc. Skipping content in games seems to me, then, to be a natural extension of that tension-building: it gives players more options with which they can control that tension. These options for controlling tension have existed as an essential part of video gaming for generations. Cheat codes and the like are a coveted part of video games – a video game had to have cheats waiting to be discovered, once upon a time, much like we expect autosaving or similar things in our games today. I’m in agreement with those that suggest a ‘skip’ feature is not shockingly different from IDDQD in everything but accessibility. To use the cheats, you had to know them.

      Sorry, this has gone on longer than I intended, but one final point – the idea of Universal Design has demonstrated that by designing to create accessibility for the greatest number of people, has created and fostered a number of technologies and benefits for everybody. (Like your golf courses!) And I hope that, if we start thinking about video games in the same lens, gaming will change. But, I don’t think that it will stop being what we know as gaming – the selected tension between a creator and a consumer. (If you read all of this, thank you. I really appreciated your thoughtful insight.)

      • Emeraude says:

        Or if the poet should expect a certain degree of literacy from his or her audience. Here’s where the analogy breaks down…

        I wouldn’t be so sure. I do believe there is a literacy and a fluency so to speak of playing – of the verbs, base sense units, interactions and input methods that compose a game. Part of the reason why some games that feel random or too hard to a new player will feel perfectly fair to people experienced in the genre.

        That became very apparent to me when looking at other less experienced people play. Recently my niece was stuck on Skyward Sword, and to me that had never played that particular game, all it took is one look at the screen to find how to solve her problem. Not that I am smarter than her – she’s a very smart kid – but analytically the solution was self evident to me, the patterns that composed the problem were easily identifiable known quantities. Goes for pure skill-based execution too. Just finished Ruiner and while I can see why some people found it hard, coming from Smash TV being an old childhood favorite, I could just fall back on muscle-memory to deal with the bullet dodging. Add modern so called QoL features like auto-save and to me it was a one night stand.

        If you look at a game like Breath of Fire Dragon Quarter though that lens, I think it explains why it suffered such a cold reception – you needed to be fluent in the several game types that were hybridized into its counterintuitive whole to truly appreciate it.

        Your mention of Universal Design brings back another pet peeve of mine. The way industrial design had, to me at least, a very negative influence on game making. The purpose of industrial design is to make things immediately self-evident: understandable, knowable and usable. But then to my mind an interesting game is a question – it’s a problem.
        And a problem whose answer is immediately known and understood is not much of an interesting one.
        There certainly is a lot to take from Industrial design from a UI perspective. From a game design perspective, I don’t think this is a really good influence. Your mileage may vary.

        Good point about cheats. I have a gut feeling I can’t properly articulate into an answer right now about why I don’t necessarily agree. Huizingan magic circle and fluid nature of game-systems…

        Thank you for bearing with my ramblings.

        (I’d argue Eliot makes for great reading for the quality of language alone, poetry isn’t often so much about what is said as much as how it is said. Meeting point of music and literature.)

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      I’m sure that some people would enjoy reading this comment, but it was too hard for me, so I skipped it.

  46. soy says:

    It’s not about me forcing you to play the game “the way i play it”. It’s about your failure to appreciate this hobby as a whole, It’s about you feeling entitled.

    If u love to skip movies, probably u’re not that into movies. If u want a skip button for every hobby, u can’t live in this world.

    Lemme give u an example: U’re playing football with ur friends, u want to score a goal, so u just tell everyone to stop defending and let u score??

    That’s not how the world works. That’s not how any of this works.

    U need to git gud. U need to put some effort to be good at football. And see that ur efforts pays out when u actually score a goal with ur own skills.

    That’s just the same with everything. It applies to EVERYTHING IN THIS WORLD. U wanna hang out with a book club? well u need to spend time to actually read books. U can’t just read some reviews and expect everyone to respect u.

    Conclusion: if u really love a hobby, u’ll love everything about it. Even the worst parts. When going on a road touring, motorcycle lovers never argues even if it’s raining or hot like hell -they already know that it comes with the hobby.
    Probably u want to rethink and rethink hard, is gaming really the hobby for you??

    There’s a lot of people who like sports, but can’t play em. So they become sports commentators. They watch sports on tv as a hobby.

    Should you be gaming…?

    • GeoX says:

      Not to take anything away from your dumb points or anything, but before you posted, you might’ve asked yourself whether the valuable time you were saving by refusing to write out the word “you” was REALLY worth the cost in credibility.

      • soy says:

        I’m from south east asia. It’s totally acceptable here to shorten words -yes even if u’re writing formal emails to ur superior or older people.

        It didn’t even come to my mind that what i was doing was impolite before u pointed that out.

        Also, calling out people stupid without even bother to explain why, really give me what might be the wrong impression of ur intelligence level.

        Person A: *described the issue and explain it as best as he could*
        Person B: idiot faggot!

        Who looks smarter?

        • GeoX says:

          I didn’t call you stupid. I called your points dumb. Which they are.

          • soy says:

            Again with that attitude. I showed u respect and u just sh*t on me.

            Well yo mama is stupid. Which she is.

      • orochi_kyo says:

        Calling his opinion dumb, then going grammar Nazi.
        Countering arguments in 2017…

    • Premium User Badge

      teije says:

      “Conclusion: if u really love a hobby, u’ll love everything about it. Even the worst parts.”

      That’s just plain goofy talk – do you actually have any hobbies other than gaming? I have multiple hobbies, and enjoy them despite the “worst parts”. I enjoy the best parts instead, and minimize my time spent on the not so best parts to get the good parts. Small example, I do pottery, wedging the clay is boring and hard work. I do it to get the fun part of throwing on the wheel, trimming and decorating. In no way does that mean I like that one boring (but necessary) step.

      • soy says:

        “I do it to get the fun part of throwing on the wheel”

        Ur words, not mine.

        And happen to be my point exactly. We overcome hurdles to get more satisfaction when we finally reach the fun part, in every hobby.

        Editing suck, most photographer know that. Most of us just want to snap away. But that doesn’t give photographers who have no editing skills a pass. Serious photographers still need to learn editing.

        Every hobby have a least interesting parts. Sports hobbies ask u to learn the techniques, other hobbies might need boring preparation, etc.

        He’s a gaming journalist for god’s sake. He publish articles and people around the world read them. The way i see it, he’s supposed to have a godlike skills and massive library-like knowledge about the industry.

        • Sin Vega says:

          The difference is that games are designed, and designs can be improved. You can’t remove steps from working clay because the boring steps aren’t part of a design, they’re a result of the physical constraints of the universe. Photography is a creative skill that results in an end product whose nature is influenced by the process. Football is a competitive sport that necessarily involves other people.

          Video games are not like any of these things. Your analogies are clumsy and absurd.

          He’s a gaming journalist for god’s sake. He publish articles and people around the world read them. The way i see it, he’s supposed to have a godlike skills and massive library-like knowledge about the industry.

          You see it wrong.

          • soy says:

            No i don’t see it wrong. I see it differently than u.

            I merely explain why. I don’t need u to switch religion to mine. If u get it, good. If u don’t, well u got a peek at somebody else’s head: mine. To enrich ur way of thinking.

            If u think u’re right and i’m wrong, then have fun. U must be a really likeable person in real world and have a bunch of lively friends.

          • Sin Vega says:

            Yes, of course, anyone who doesn’t consider everything anyone ever says to be exactly as true as everything else ever said is a terrible person with no friends. I can’t believe I forgot this founding principle of the universe. How gauche.

          • orochi_kyo says:

            What is clumsy and absurd is when you dont try to see things from other people viewpoints. Hobbies and sports are like videogames, even we have people who play videogames professionally on E-sports and people who play games as hobbies.
            Wanting to be a photograph and not wanting to learn editing is like playing Darksouls and not wanting to fight bosses.
            LOL. Why you should play DS if you doesnt even want to play bosses? Isnt it supposed that DS is a hard game and everyone is already aware of that. You dont like bosses, dont play DS, you dont like editing, dont try to be a photographer.

    • mruuh says:

      Who is this “u” person you keep referring to?

      • Ghostwise says:

        Look between “t” and “v” and you’ll find him.

        See, it’s a bit like those Wimmelbilderbuchen John so loves. ;-p

      • soy says:

        Are u a racist? U disrespect the values in my society?

        If u just learn to read, two posts above urs, u’ll get the answer.

  47. Emeraude says:

    Because, the real nub of it is, it’s about exclusivity.

    I do think there is an us vs them at the core of this, but I’m not convinced it’s about exclusivity proper. More about the loss of bandwidth in cultural influence. Also, I’m finding the point around the button press not being mandatory somewhat short-sighted.

    First it will have an influence over design for the sole reason that it exists – ironically, I would think it would tend to make the games *harder* overall. The ability to save anywhere on PC influenced the design on the platform for the longest time. Designers perfectly knew and understood the practice of “save-scumming” and designed their games around it accordingly. Baldur’s Gate 2 has some dead-ends by conversation choices that are considered bad design, and were born out of designers thinking in save-scumming terms.
    For a very recent example, see how Ori And the Blind Forest’s soft-save system influence its level design, giving free reign to the level designers to go further than they otherwise would have dared – because it ceased to be about mastery of the level, and about the ability to micro manage tasks one at a time. Making for a very different type of platform game altogether. No wonder the biggest complaints I heard about the game were about the segments where you suddenly couldn’t use that save system.

    Then you’re forgetting that the button would be integral part of the game the very same way a save system is integral part of the rules of a game. Which is where people gets wary I think. It’s not just an innocuous change, it’s paradigmatic change that would be similar to the one we underwent going from arcade sensibilities to home-consoles ones. You may argue it is better for the greater good, but you’ll understand people that are getting the kind of games they want right now are not exactly reassured of being pushed further into a niche.

    • golochuk says:

      If I understand you correctly, you are arguing that adding a button to skip boss fights will ultimately make games harder. Your arguments appear to be primarily based on an analogy to save systems, and I would appreciate it if you argued it more directly because I do not see the relation.

      When I try to forsee games with a button to skip boss fights, I imagine easier games, because I believe that is the underlying motive behind making bosses skippable. I have difficulty envisioning subsequent effects resulting in harder games, because that would defeat the seeming purpose.

      • PikaBot says:

        Their point is pretty simple. If skip-boss-fight buttons become widespread, games will be designed around them. Many developers will use the fact that the player can skip large sections of gameplay as a crutch, meaning that the base game – without skipping – will become more difficult, because developers assume that anyone who doesn’t use the skip button is there for a challenge. Or, they may simply feel less need to balance encounters for difficulty, firm in the knowledge that if they overtune it, players can skip.

        • golochuk says:

          I disagree. I think that the skip button would be viewed as an unhappy last resort, not a perfect solution. Probably most of the casual players that want one would be happiest if they know it is available but never actually have to use it. Conversely, they would probably leave the game unhappy if they had to use the button every time. So the sort of developer that would include a “skip boss” button would also want the game to be so easy that hardly anyone would need it. To that end, they would probably simplify the mechanics enough that any accidental difficulty would be arbitrary and frustrating, rather than present an interesting challenge to overcome.

      • Ich Will says:

        golochuck, perhaps a better analogy would be the rewind time button in racing games, where you can press a button to rewind 15 odd seconds of racing, and you get to “try again” almost immediately.

        This is almost directly responsible for the massive increase in difficulty of modern racing games – note, I am talking about games not simulations here – because to make such a difficult game viable for the mass market, you can’t be so punishing. Yet if you want to switch off the button, you can, and have as hardcore an experience as you desire.

        I personally think that the rewind button has brought about the death of the terrible “rubber band”, or the “you always start from last in a slightly faster car” mechanics of racing games of old, which punish you for doing well.

    • ffordesoon says:

      It would make games harder, yes. Already has done, in many Nintendo games. They’ve been putting out some of the most fiendishly difficult games they’ve ever designed ever since they implemented things like (for example) the White Tanooki Suit in Super Mario 3D World, because they don’t have to worry about designing their challenges for players at the bottom end of the skill curve.

      And you know what? That’s made their games more enjoyable for folks who do like a challenge, like myself. It’s also made their games happier experiences for people who hate banging their heads against a brick wall forever and just want to relax. Any challenge can be exactly as hard as the devs want it to be, because everyone can finish the game.

      “Hardcore gamers” should welcome this change more than anyone, because it makes for demonstrably more challenging games. The difference is that the challenge isn’t being forced on those who don’t enjoy it. It’s something you opt into.

      I think the real concern of the “git gud” set is the second and more valid argument against skip buttons John mentioned. I don’t think the worry is necessarily that they’ll press the button and have a bad time, though. I think it’s that they’ll press the button and have a better time than they’re having with games now. Because they have wrapped themselves so completely in their ‘Ard Man identity that they’d feel ashamed to find a handicap in their favor enjoyable, because honor and pride and whatever garbage nonsense.

      Which is bananas, frankly – there is no shame in enjoying one’s entertainment product however one wishes. It’s there to be enjoyed. And if you really do feel ashamed, play the level again without the Tanooki Suit or whatever.

      • Emeraude says:

        I’m thinking you’re misunderstanding… I don’t think there’s anything inherently good with difficulty for it’s own sake – difficulty has to be tailored to what the game is intending to do (which is why I think alternative ways to get an easy modes can and will work for some game, will be a welcome change, yet for others would be disastrous). But I do think there will be a transformative influence in the change proposed, and pretending the contrary is dishonest.

        • ffordesoon says:

          I wasn’t contradicting you, though it probably looked like I was due to the fact that I replied to you. I was instead building off of what you said for other folks who happened to be reading, which I should have explained. Sorry for the confusion – sleeplessness muddies my thinking.

          To build off of your point once again, the change absolutely would be transformative. My only point is that self-styled “hardcore gamers” tend to go on and on about difficulty as a virtue, and seeing as a real-world example of this system in challenge-based videogames has already made the games which use it substantially more challenging, they should if anything be calling for more games to adopt similar systems. Apologies if that was (or still is!) unclear.

          • Emeraude says:

            Sorry, my bad, I’m often not as clear as I would like, and just wanted to make sure there wasn’t a misunderstanding.

            And yes, agree, the people that define (or pretend to define) their relationship to game-play by adversity/difficulty alone should probably rejoice to such a change . And unsurprisingly won’t, for a significant part.
            I’m not convinced those represent most of the people made wary by the demand for access as formulated here though.

  48. E_FD says:

    Speaking for myself, I feel like if the actual gameplay of a game is such a peripheral element that it could be considered busywork/filler rather than the fundamental framework of the entire experience, then the product has failed as a game.

    • ffordesoon says:

      I agree, but that’s true whether the skip button is there or not. All a skip button gives you is a way to opt out of the parts of the experience you don’t want to engage with instead of forcing you to experience them. I suppose a few people might pay full price for a videogame and skip all the game bits out of some sort of weird ideological commitment to not getting their money’s worth, but I suspect that segment of the audience is vanishingly small.

      If I buy a videogame, odds are I want to play the videogame I bought. Common sense, right?

      • pepperfez says:

        If I buy a videogame, odds are I want to play the videogame I bought. Common sense, right?

        It’s like you’ve never even seen a Steam sale.

        • ffordesoon says:

          Ha! Fair point.

          I’d argue Steam sales and the impulse purchases which result are a separate issue, though. In the previous post, I was specifically referring to buying games new, at full price. Why I forgot to write that in the post, I don’t know. Sleeplessness, probably.

      • E_FD says:

        I think what isn’t sitting right with me is the notion that the actual gameplay can be so easily compartmentalized into a single “part of the experience” that can be ignored without significantly altering the rest of the game. If the story/atmosphere/aesthetics stand on their own to such an extent that the player’s interaction with them through gameplay is superfluous, then it makes me wonder what the point is of using this medium at all instead of just telling the same story through a visual novel, or a film, etc.

        But you’re right, this problem exists whether there’s a skip button or not. And that’s a bigger issue here, IMO. This strikes me as a topic that’s coming up primarily in response to shoddy game design, but in a way that sidesteps rather than addresses poor design choices.

  49. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    Good points John, and the reaction it’s stirred up is pure gold. Enjoyable read all around.