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Minor Gaming Pet Peeves: Mandatory Story Breaks in Open World Games.

Gamingtodaynews1e - Minor Gaming Pet Peeves: Mandatory Story Breaks in Open World Games.
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Hello everyone, today I want to talk about a pet peeve of mine I've seen in 2 open world games in particular, Spider-Man PS4 and Cyberpunk 2077. The feature in question is that certain points during certain missions, the game will tell the player to wait for a while before the next stage of the mission can begin. In Spider-Man's case, it's mostly limited to the main quest where after a major climactic event, Peter will say something like "that was intense, time to cool off for a while and go on patrol". Then the next main mission will not pop for a while, encouraging the player to partake in side activities. In Cyberpunk it's a similar case, only it can happen for any class of quests, not just main and the time to wait isn't consistent, seemingly being anywhere from a day in-game to several days + a few minutes.

Let's consider the pros; firstly it allows for story sanctioned breaks that may allow for more optimal pacing than if the player took the break during say, an urgent series of quests. It communicates to the player they can take a break now and it encourages the player to do some side content. It's also a nod to realism that some stuff takes a while to happen

But I find it not worth it and more annoying than anything.

Firstly, I like to play open world games by doing EVERYTHING before touching the main story and then blasting through the main story. So in Spider-Man, the game expects me to go out and do some side activities like finding backpacks or research labs, but I have already done everything. So I'm left just sitting there playing on my phone until the game lets me play the next story mission. For Cyberpunk, it's often not clear how long I have to wait. So I have to use the in-game sleep thing to sleep for 2-4 days at a time and then go around walk around for a while and hope the mission updates with the call. I imagine most players probably have some quests left when these breaks pop up so it's less of an issue but still.

Secondly, I find it interrupts the story more than it helps. Like in Cyberpunk, I want to see more of Panem's story, but there's frequent breaks and even if I have other quests to do, it feels like an interruption so I either have to go do other quests for a while or sleep for 4 days and then go and do another quest before I can finally get back to the storyline I am interested in. I'm going to go do all the quests anyway. This just feels unnecessary and it takes my agency.

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Now, I understand this is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things. The time wasted in doing these waits isn't so long. But regardless, are there ways to compromise so you maintain the positives while minimizing the negatives.

Solution 1: The Cyberpunk approach (ironically).

Cyberpunk has a solution for this. Some quests that ask you wait have a marker at the mission start area where V will sit and wait at and the next quest will start automatically. As an added bonus, it also adjusts the setting depending on the quest (like spawning NPCs and cars that are required for the quest). This helps because it maintains the apperence that time has to pass while still letting the player play on.

Solution 2: The Batman Arkham Knight Approach.

In Batman Arkham Knight, instead of asking the player to wait at certain points, the game just goes "Master Bruce, things have gotten quiet for now, you can use the time to go do side quests or keep investigating the Arkham Knight/Scarecrow i.e the Main Quest". The beneifit here is that it tells you the story is taking a lull for a short while but still gives the player full agency in what they have to do without wasting any time whatsover.

But if we must have some waiting, there is one option:

Solution 3: The GTA V approach.

In GTA V, quests for heist prep activate after a while with a text message. But normally you have other quests also active or given to you at the same time so you always have something to while you wait. The smaller number of timed quests given at specific times also mean there is way less of a chance the player has nothing to do but wait even if they do all the side content first. Personally, I'm still not fond of this because it means I have to step away from the heist missions I'm so interested in.

So what are your thoughts?

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