A recent comment got me thinking about completionism in video games, i.e. ‘one-hundred percenting’ a game. Some gamers get great satisfaction from knowing that they found everything there is to find, beat everything there is to beat, saw everything there is to see, et cetera. Jeff and I have talked about how to address this group of players in our game, since its RPG elements and branching narrative will hopefully entice those gamers who want to explore everything.
On the Shoulders of Giants
A couple of months ago Jeff and I spent two days replaying Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (SotN), one of the greatest designed games ever. I was farming the one dodo bird enemy in the game since he drops a unique weapon, when Jeff asked a great question: How would I know to even do that in the absence of strategy guides or the Internet? How would I know that this one enemy has a rare chance of dropping something that I cannot obtain in any other way?
In Symphony of the Night you can visit ‘The Librarian’, a character who will not only sell you tips but also provides an encyclopedia about all of the enemies you’ve fought. It lists their common and rare drops. If I wanted to one-hundred–percent the game without relying on any external resources then I could use this in-game list to see that I had not yet collected the rare drop from the dodo bird. I wouldn’t know it was that weapon, but still I would have a way to see both:
Did I find every enemy in the game?
Did I collect everything those enemies drop?
Coincidentally, these things do not directly contribute to your completion percentage in SotN, i.e. people aiming for a 200.7% clear (or higher if you include glitches). But the important part is that you could glean the gaps in your completion progress from within the game itself.
Using the Same Idea
Hell—why not, right? No shame in borrowing an idea from one of the best.
While we haven’t worked out the exact mechanics, the plan is for players who want to one-hundred–percent the game to be able to tell how far along they are in that endeavor, and hint and nudge them in the directions necessary to round everything out. The measure for success in that regard is that a player should be able to obtain and accomplish everything in the game, without too much tedium, and without recourse to anything like GameFAQS.
What other games are successful at providing an in-game barometer for completionism players?