Ahhh, fast travel: the opinion generator. Speaking to IGN, Dragon’s Dogma 2 director Hideaki Itsuno threw his own hat into the ring, saying that he’s keen to avoid fast travel in DD2 and would prefer that “players travel normally and experience the world around them”. If you’re someone who argues all games should let you teleport to the objective, then Itsuno thinks you’re wrong. Hey, he doesn’t mess about, and I don’t disagree with him, as long as the game isn’t actually wasting my time.
In the interview, Itsuno goes on to say that travel is, “only an issue because your game is boring”, and all you’ve got to do is to “make travel fun”. For him, the world is there to be discovered because there are things to be discovered. He talks about forcing players into “blind situations” and “stumbling across someone and something will happen”.
Unlike a lot of games nowadays, Dragon’s Dogma 2 and its predecessor don’t feature the sort of fast travel where you blink between markers on a map. In both games, you need to buy pricey Ferrystones that only warp you to designated points on the map. DD2 is expanding on this slightly by adding oxcarts, which will only allow travel along specific routes. The catch? Oxen and carts aren’t as solid as, say, galvanised steel on wheels. This means you’re susceptible to bandit and Griffin attacks.
Dragon’s Dogma key developer Kento Kinoshita puts their perspective on travel really neatly, I think. “There are a lot of rules in real life that are needed to make a system possible, and ignoring those rules makes things seem less realistic, or less valuable.” And for the record, Itsuno does say that he thinks fast travel is “convenient” and “good” when done right.
I’d tend to agree with both Kinoshita and Itsuno here, as fast travel can make for a nice compromise and something of a treat in keeping with the world you’ve built. I like when you’re warped fairly close to your intended spot, and not directly on top of it. This makes for a bit of a lead-up to the quest you’re about to trigger or the new area you’re about to explore, without feeling like you’ve just pinged around the world. And just in general, sometimes fast travelling is nice because it respects your time. Sometimes I want to play a big open world game, but don’t want to spend 30 minutes travelling on foot to make any progress.
Even Sea Of Thieves, a game centered around the act of bobbing between islands on pirate ships, announced it would get fast travel in its Season 11 video update. I suppose here it’s a service game folks have been playing for years, where the act of travelling between islands has lost some of its charm. You could argue that if everyone’s fast travelling about the seven seas it would undermine the entire point of the game, but I think it’s a helpful option for those with limited time and, almost, a natural evolution for an ocean that’s sloshed about for so long. Your sea isn’t anything without its pirates, and if the majority of its pirates call for fast travel, then so be it.
It’s also worth revisiting Alice O’s discussion of what’s better in her quest to find the single best thing in video games: fast travel, or upgrading cards.
Our Edwin previewed a portion of the game last year and found it to be, for the most part, “absolutely indistinguishable from the 2012 original, with the same opening story beats and the same terrific combat system of colourful yet intuitive, beautifully staged class abilities”. I’m sold, honestly.
What do you make of Itsuno’s thoughts on fast travel? Yay or nay?
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