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Why Treyarch's campaign freedom should be standard

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One of the most interesting recently Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 news is how Treyarch is handling campaign progression. Players will be able to skip right to the end of the campaign, if they wish; chapters are not locked behind a, well, Story Wall.

When Treyarch revealed that the campaign would be the longest in Call of Duty history - about 14-15 hours! - it showed there seemed to be genuine care. As VideoGamer outline, Treyarch are, essentially, using progression and choice from online play and putting it into the single-player campaign.

 

This ties into a genuine respect of player choice.

Recently, I started Witcher 3: Hearts of Stone expansion. I was worried, since it had been some time since I played; it meant replaying the entire game since I was afraid I wouldn’t understand the story and the world. Of course, we found out that the expansion was entirely separate from the main story and there was no big run off decisions in either direction (a romance in Hearts of Stone, for example, doesn’t effect the relationship in the main Witcher 3 story).

In addition, my other concern was I’d have to level up and grind to a certain point in order to play the expansion. I was wrong about that, too. CD Projekt Red let’s you play the expansion directly, with an appropriately buffed up character; this means you can jump straight into the expansion (and they disable the main story quests, too, so it helps you focus solely on the expansion’s campaign and side quests).

Both Treyarch and CD Projekt Red are showing respect for players’ time. If we can skip scenes and pages in other media, why not let us do the same for games? With YouTube, if players want a story or game spoiled, they can do that anytime they like (I watched Arkham Knight’s “true ending” on YouTube because I wasn’t prepared to find all the ridiculous trophies). Players aren’t merely kids with endless time on their hands, but adults with limited time, sudden emergencies and so on (that pause is not possible whenever we like in all offline games is unforgivable!).

Games that respect my time and give me options will see me view them favourably. Unnecessary walls don’t help anyone: let us skip chapters, pause the game, and so on. We can make the decisions ourselves of how we want to play and we can’t ignore the impact the real world will have on our time and requiring our attention.

Another good example of this is how modern consoles can suspend games - letting us mostly shut down the console, but then boot up almost exactly where we left off. This saves time and doesn’t nag us with those annoying starting logos (I really don’t need to see Dolby screens again!) and reloading the entire game.

The more games are made with players’ times in mind, the better they’ll be.

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