Gameplay tutorials should be easily skipped. Why is it so difficult?

Crawling wired baby, with

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Between work, sleep, errands, and other demands, the average gamer doesn’t have as many hours as they would like for their hobby. When you finally have the time, there’s an almost endless bounty available: ambitious storytelling, professional voice acting, character customization, adaptive simulations, deep lore, and more.

That’s fine, but please, please let me take the lead. Starting a game I’ve played once before, or would otherwise be familiar with, only to reach cutscenes, tutorials, and low-risk levels meant to train you – just quit. I’ve quit a number of games, games I would otherwise enjoy, because of their over-the-top preambles. This isn’t an entirely new issue, but I can’t believe it hasn’t been resolved yet.

Most cutscenes offer a way to skip them. I’m looking for similar niceness for anything a game requires that isn’t directly related to its actual gameplay or main loop. When I have time to play a game that won’t be new to me, I don’t want to play the “Hold B to crouch” tutorial level or slowly unlock powers or areas. I have one, maybe an hour and a half between cleaning up dinner and a good bedtime and a few free hours on the weekends. Let’s go.

With <em>Start Me Up</em> installed, <em>Fallout 4</em> lets you go straight there, create a character, and choose a starting point.” src=”×400.jpeg” width=”640″ height=”400″ srcset=”×800.jpeg 2x”/><figcaption class=
Enlarge / With start Me Up installed, Fallout 4 allows you to access it directly, create a character and choose a starting point.

Start Me Redux/NexusMods

What Fallout 4 mod taught me

I deeply respect the work of game designers, coders and artists. I get that with some games the slow reveal is the whole point. I’m not asking for a way to burn life is strange or skip straight to the midlife/capitalism crises in Kentucky Route Zero. I’m asking more big-name game creators to consider that after enjoying their work of writing, characterization, and mechanical guidance the first time around, I appreciate it less every time I have to go through it to start enjoying the real game.

The first time I played Fallout 4Me, a longtime fan of the series, enjoyed the economic world-building, the integration of new mechanics in this iteration, and the early explainer quests. But Fallout games beg to be played multiple times. Every time I’ve had to create a character, wander their suburban idyll, experience the nuclear attack promised in the game’s name, and slowly reach the point of true self-reliance, my enthusiasm for a replay quickly wanes.

I recently immersed myself in Fallout 4 to test an ambitious role-playing mod. While downloading, I discovered “Start Me Up Redux”, which lets you jump to a spot along the initial path, choose your character’s stats, and then walk away. Within a minute of loading up the game, I was petting Dogmeat, collecting cans to modify guns, and wandering through desperately oversized encounters. It was revealing. It made me want all the other games that usefully offer interactive integration to let me give it up as well.

A depiction of the author, earnestly working at a console to get through a tutorial stage on proofreading, while trying to keep the demands of life at bay.  With flamethrowers.
Enlarge / A depiction of the author, earnestly working at a console to get through a tutorial stage on proofreading, while trying to keep the demands of life at bay. With flamethrowers.

Focus on entertainment

Please let me enjoy what you have created, just faster

i played recently Aliens: Dark Descent, a team-based real-time strategy game that warns you from the title screen that the challenge is meant to be difficult. To me, that was an understatement. An hour into a first mission on the default difficulty, I had condemned myself through misuse of resources and disregard for my Marines’ stress levels. You can’t change the difficulty level inside a campaign, so taking it down a notch meant starting over.

With this game, starting over meant not only skipping a bunch of cutscenes, but also painfully clicking on the floor to take the main character through the first level, where all the basic strategies are taught, between lots of ominous dialogue over reads strange and missing. people. After that, I had to be reintroduced into the XCOM– like a base of operations, with each section requiring a recon click and another hold cinematic to jump.

By the time I came back to this mission – the time when decisions were interesting, actions had consequences – I had spent an hour in the game waiting room. I had to stop to take care of something thing in real life, and I never came back. If someone made a “Start Me Up” mode for dark descent, or the devs fixed one, I might reconsider. I’m far from immune to the charms of a well-placed auto turret mowing down xenomorphs.

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