Video games development is incredibly complex, and a lot of thought goes into it to make it as engaging as possible for us the players. It’s weird things that we never even think about when playing games, such as invisible platforms and teleporting when playing platformers to give you an illusion of barely making it, or invisible health point to have you survive a bit longer than you’re supposed to.
These types of things are passive mechanics, and things we never think about, but ultimately determines how much we end up enjoying the game we’re playing. But there are also more active mechanics that a game developer might add to the game in order to either make the game less boring or more immersive, such as removing the HUD for instance.
So the question is, do you sometimes make use of these more active mechanics or in some cases, completely avoid others in order to fundamentally change the game?
Who needs fast-travel, amirite?
There’s definitely no shortage of open-world games these days, and the developers have become incredibly good at making huge, immersive worlds littered with collectables and side quests for us to do. But travelling from one spot to the next can be quite a time consuming, and boring, especially if you’ve been in the area already, and there are no more things to collect or do. So in steps the ability to fast travel.
It’s a mechanism that developers include in their games in order to speed things along, and have you get your rewards for the quest, or get to the quest quicker. Unless… You just opt to not use it.
I started avoiding fast travelling while playing The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt a second time on the Death march setting going for the Platinum Trophy. At some point, about 20 hours in, I decided to stop fast travelling everywhere, and instead travel there by horseback.
Even when I had to “fast travel” to another location, like going to the Skellige Isles, I would go to the harbour in Novigrad and travel from there. It became a bit of an obsession, and what resulted in me playing a totally different game lasting me well over 180 hours including the two expansions.
I continued this with other games, and with some of these games, I just never fast travel, it is a choice and I don’t do it in every game, but if I like the game, and the world that was designed, I’ll keep on not using fast travel. Playing Spider-Man last year, I literally only fast travelled five times in order to get a trophy for it. I also didn’t fast travel at all playing Assassin’s Creed Origins, instead opting to travel by camel everywhere I went.
Currently, I’m playing Horizon Zero Dawn on Ultra-Hard difficulty mode, and once again, I’m not fast travelling. It puts such a different dynamic to the way the game is played since I now have to be acutely aware of any dangers on my route. I also have to consider whether I want to engage an enemy or not, since resources actually get used while I travel from objective to objective. I even went so far as to sell the fast travel packs, so I have no choice but to hoof it.
I love doing it and it puts a completely different spin on the game. So the real question really is, am I alone in my madness, or are there some mechanics or choices you make in games that changes the way the game plays completely?