Rockstar has revealed that 1940s crime epic L.A. Noire will let players skip action sequences in the game if things get too difficult. According to the company, this won’t mean players miss out on the narrative.
Should a player fail a portion of the title two or three times, a message will appear asking if s/he wishes to bypass it. Rockstar is hoping this will encourage not-so-hardcore gamers to keep playing. L.A. Noire is by no means the first game to employ such a device: New Super Mario Bros. Wii had the ‘Super Guide‘ mode, which would let players skip whole levels.
Okay, so time for a quick rant on this. Being accomodating for people who are unfamiliar with games is, on the one hand, admirable. However, I think these game-skipping gizmos take things too far. I don’t believe every game should be an Ikaruga or Trials HD in terms of difficulty, but I think these ‘skip’ features tend to patronize audiences.
To me, Rockstar (or developer Team Bondi, whoever decided to include this) is dumbing down its game in the hope it doesn’t lose people’s attention. A case in point: my housemate has only started playing games in the last six months, yet she will happily sit and attempt a puzzle or complete an action sequence for however long it takes; I’ve seen her think through the same Professor Layton puzzle for upto ninety minutes on occasions. She was a hardcore gamer without even knowing it!
The point being: many people – even newcomers – don’t mind being challenged. Although some impatient souls will throw the controller down after two attempts at a level, I’d wager there are plenty more who would keep going, not letting the game defeat them. Then there’s the design issue of not making your game so obscurely difficult that people need to play it a dozen times to get through, but that’s a whole other topic and I’ve already bored you long enough with this.
Anyway, L.A. Noire: it’s out next month and generally looks awesome.
[Via MTV Multiplayer]