Pacing in a Non-Linear Games

Now that video games are becoming one of the most highly-funded industries, we’re starting to get games with tons of side quests. Like, WAY too many.

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Games can go on and on and you’re often not expected to finish everything, or rather, the developers don’t care how long you spend in an area.

This is strange because it’s not evident in other mediums. Pacing is one of the key factors that makes or breaks a work. When something goes too fast or too slow, you lose people. So why are games different?

Remnants from the NES era, where games were bought specifically for how long it would keep you entertained. And because developers can’t be exact about how long a player is going to take to complete a challenge.

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But are those real excuses? The first one certainly isn’t…But the second reason is a bit harder to tackle. However, the solution is not to give them far too many tasks and let them stop at any point. There is data to look at. Perhaps we should design pacing to accommodate players within a standard deviation or two.

Anything is better than “keep making more until we run out of development time”. Refining content is usually more important than making more content.

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    Of course, the best way to keep a game engaging is to simply make it fun without any quests going. Look at Saints Row...
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