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I am making a fairly simple game. I would like to know if players should be required to find story clues to advance in the current playthrough (if they have already played the game).

For example, let's say someone needs to find a password late in the game to unlock a door that has been visible since the beginning of the game, allowing them entry into one of the final areas of the game. If someone has already played the game and already knows the password, should they be able to skip the majority of the game by quickly entering the password in the beginning, or should they be required to work their way through the game and find the password before the door can be accessed?

For major games, which approach is more common?

Also, I would like this game to be able to be speedrun-able. Would a speedrun be boring if the fame used the first approach of being able to skip most of it by using the password?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Kromster, Philipp, Almo, Alexandre Vaillancourt Jul 6 '18 at 14:20

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can work both ways. You decide. Also, if game is not interesting - no speedruns. If game is truly interesting - lots of speedruns and custom rules from player what is allowed/disallowed. \$\endgroup\$ – Kromster Jul 6 '18 at 5:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ This talk from GDC 2013 talks about some visual novels where they did exactly this. They required the player to play the game multiple times and use the knowledge from previous playthroughs to unlock new routes and finally the "true" ending of the game. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Jul 6 '18 at 8:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, I'll have to close this because it's asking for opinions. You'll have to try both ways, and decide what's more fun and fits more within the context of your game. That's the kind of topic that is welcome in the chat :) \$\endgroup\$ – Alexandre Vaillancourt Jul 6 '18 at 14:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Another approach for an opinion-based design question is to edit it to include a concrete player experience goal. Then the question becomes "what design helps achieve this goal?" instead of the more subjective "what design is 'best'?" What goals are most important for your game (eg. replayability, speedrun variety, consistency, etc.) are aspects you'll need to decide, since different games prioritize different goals, and what's right for one game or even most games might not be what's right for your game. \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Jul 6 '18 at 19:59
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I’ve seen games do it both ways, but only in the context of gaining access to small areas with loot or what have you. I am sure there are games that do include intentional large game skips that I don’t know about, but the best implementation I’ve seen is one where the password/code/answer changes each play through. This has the benefits of giving an actual reason to find the answer, rather than just making it an unnecessary fetch quest, and making walkthroughs not be able to just give away all the answers.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Oh wow, that’s an awesome idea! I never thought of changing it every time you play \$\endgroup\$ – TheGreenFrog Jul 6 '18 at 12:51
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Talking strictly about speed-running, I'd say your example wouldn't matter that much, as the time optimization techniques generally involve clever playing/exploitation of the game. However, if such a door would lead to almost finishing the game with little room for any time optimization, then it really doesn't sound so interesting.

Leaving speed-running aside, in Chrono Trigger's new game+ you had the option of skipping the whole game basically and straight up face the final boss in the very beginning of the game. You'd get one of the many endings, and I particularly found that quite fun to do. I still played the game again (many many times) to explore other things.

I believe if you cleverly use any of the two approaches, it can lead to very satisfying playing experiences.

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