Contemplating a ‘Pure’ Story Mode in Games

Last week a friend and I spent some hours bouncing between playing Uncharted 3 and The Last of Us. Coincidentally, both games by Naughty Dog; you can feel the similarities in gun fights in my opinion. But more importantly, we talked about how much we were interested in the story for both and wanted it to continuously proceed. This led to Jeff proposing an interesting idea for our own game….

Story Only

If you enjoy the story of a game, why not be able to go through just the story? For example, there was one shoot-out in The Last of Us where we died and had to restart three or four times. Since the plot was gripping it would have been nice to be able to blow off that entire segment of gameplay in lieu of moving along the story, some option like, “Skip this and just show me the cut-scenes.”

“You Want Every Game to be a Visual Novel?”

No, of course not. I am simply saying it would be a nice option to skip potentially tedious gameplay in favor of moving along the story. Personally, there are a number of games where I am much more interested in the story than I am the gameplay itself; the two games mentioned above are examples.

My desire to know what happens next in a great game story outweighs my desire to slough through some puzzle or fire-fight. I find myself becoming impatient with having to perform such tasks as finding a piece of wood to ferry Ellie across a deep part of water since she can’t swim. It’s not exciting and it brings the plot progression to a halt, and that’s annoying.

What to Do?

I have no perfect solution to this—I know some of you don’t have a problem with what I’ve described. Games, afterall, are an interactive experience and to remove that is to take away part of what makes games so endearing. But sometimes I really want to get on with the story.

So here was Jeff’s idea: have a mode for the game to play on autopilot. It would show side-missions or secrets (go find those yourself, heh), but it would allow you to kick back and watch the main story unfold at your leisure. The fact that I see ‘cut-scene only’ movie marathons of popular games on YouTube and Let’s Plays makes me think that modern gamers find enjoyment in simply watching a game. Truth be told, I would like a story-only mode if only for testing and editing purposes, something which doesn’t force me to play through levels for the 10,00th time just to make sure some dialog sounds right.

Fellow gamers, would you appreciate a mode like this in a game? One where you could sit back and enjoy the main story with minimal to no input if you wanted?

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