There’s currently some discussion going around about this article on RPS:
The gist is: Should games include an option to skip parts of the game (in this case, boss fights) so that people can progress in the game while not beating a particular boss?
For me, the answer is easy: I’m all for it!
Now, I don’t like the argument that a book or a movie or a music album doesn’t have comprehension tests in the middle of it that you have to pass in order to enjoy the rest of the content. In a game, you take a very active role, literally being the person the fictional universe rotates around. Without you, that whole universe would be meaningless. When you watch a movie or read a book or listen to an album, you’re taking on the role of a passive observer. Nothing you do will have an impact, and to be frank, eating your favorite crackers, drinking your favorite soda or going for a run with your favorite music would probably have a very boring effect anyway. With a video game, you have control over at least simple elements (Do I shoot this enemy with gun A or gun B or at all?) all the way up to very big impacts (do I kill everyone or noone? Do I take the direct approach or the stealthy way?). What you do directly impacts your experience, one way or another. You are ACTIVE in a videogame vs. PASSIVE on movies, books or music.
I also don’t like the notion of choice. The choice of offering difficulty settings resides on two things: The creator(s) of the game and the genre. Having an option to skip bosses would not make sense in Titan Souls, for example. The game is literally one boss fight after another. Or the creator of the game really really doesn’t want to include difficulty settings. Should they have to? I don’t think so.
Now, why I think such an option should definately be at least considered and with Early Access being a de-facto standard these days, be beta-tested as hard as possible, is this: Gaming has grown up. At least we really want to think so. And with gaming having grown up, so have gamers. Or at least a large portion of them. People play games on devices that weren’t capable of doing so when I was a child. Hell, my next fridge will more probable than not be able to run the orginal DOOM!
Why is gamers having grown up such a big deal? Well, when I was a kid I had no trouble at all dumping over 100 hours of playtime into Final Fantasy VII. Over a course of 3 weeks, mind. But I don’t have that kind of time for gaming anymore! I have a family and a job eating huge parts out of my gaming time. That’s not a complaint, mind. I love my family! But I really want to see the end of some of the games I play, too, like Alien: Isolation, Prey and finally beating Metro 2033, too, though I did read the books. A “skip this boss” button or a “be able to outrun Alien” option would greatly improve my progress in these games. Instead, I have to grind gear in FF7 for a dozen hours to beat the final boss or track back 20 minutes of gameplay in Alien: Isolation because that’s where the last savepoint was. SAVEPOINTS! In 2014! But that’s another rant for another time.
So, in conclusion. Games have grown up, so have gamers. Give them the option to enjoy your game, or they might quit it halfway through, salty about it and look elsewhere. They will thank you!