- Dragon’s Dogma 2 director is against fast travel and is doing something creative to spice things up.
- Open-world games have started relying too much on fast travel, will Dragon’s Dogma 2 change things?
- However, a general statement of every game with a fast travel focus is boring can’t be more wrong.
Open world games. Why do we love the concept so much? Rich worlds to explore every corner of? Admire the creativity that went into crafting a virtual recreation of the material world with some twists? The feeling of breaking free of narrative constraints and going around as you please? I’m sure it’s all of these reasons. But the important thing is, they’re a testament to how much technology has progressed to create such massive yet lively worlds.
The feeling of a world this big lying in front of you and the possibilities it holds is indescribable. Not to mention, since you’re free to go anywhere, the curiosity runs wild. And how do we accomplish going from one corner to the other? Do we walk or drive all the way? Games add fast travel to prevent that. So, here’s a question, would these games be the same without it? Dragon’s Dogma 2 is certainly going to test what you have to say.
Dragon’s Dogma 2 director on why the game won’t use much fast travel: “Travel is boring? That’s not true. It’s only an issue because your game is boring. All you have to do is make travel fun”
Dragon’s Dogma 2 Is Putting A Spin On Fast Travel, As It’s Not A “Boring” Game
The sequel to Capcom’s most underrated game is almost here, and it has a unique take when it comes to fast travel. The game’s director believes that fast travel is a sign of a boring game, as it needs to rely on it. Thus, he wanted to do something creative for traversal, not overly dependent on fast travel. This is to be accomplished by giving players enough incentive to explore and make the trip worth the trouble with something new every time.
So how exactly is the game going to accomplish this? Well, it does have a “fast travel” of sorts, but it’s very limited. You board a carriage of sorts to carry you across the world, but here comes the twist. The carriage can be attacked anytime by the game’s vicious monsters. And while you deal with them, something unfortunate may happen, like your ride getting utterly crushed. Seeing that, you’ll have no choice but to do things the old-fashioned way.
You can find oxcarts traveling between important locations such as towns, border checkpoints and villages. By dozing off while onboard, you may quickly arrive at your destination.
— Dragon's Dogma (@DragonsDogma) November 22, 2023
While you’re taking a different route to your destination now, you may come across something you wouldn’t have on the standard path. Basically, the game is trying to embody the thought that life is unpredictable, anything can happen at any moment, and not everything has a reason. Honestly, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t highly intrigued by this. However, it remains to be seen if it’s truly unpredictable, or becomes repetitive at some point.
Traversal Was Not Exactly The Prequel’s Strong Suit, I Hope Dragon’s Dogma 2 Is Different
Since Dragon’s Dogma 2 has made such a bold claim, the stakes are even higher now. It needs to deliver a very engaging and immersive open world that justifies this elimination of “standard” fast travel ways. You’ll be going around the world much more often, and I curiously wonder how the game will make each of these round trips unique. This is all considering open-world traversal was probably the weakest part of Dragon’s Dogma.
I consider the first game to be one of the most creative ARPGs out there. Some of its mechanics regarding the enemies’ behavior and the pawn system were the stuff of brilliance. For a long time, people slept on this adventure, which was regrettable. However, its traversal through the world was pretty tedious, even I admit that. You had paid fast travel with limited locations, and traveling otherwise felt like a slog at times.
Plus, do keep in mind that Dragon’s Dogma 2 is roughly four times the size of its prequel. The world is going to be larger than ever, and seeing that the first entry had weak traversal, all the more reason to be hopeful things go well. From the description, it does seem Dragon’s Dogma 2 has better traversal and a very interesting workaround to fast travel, but the fact remains, that the “fast travel is for boring worlds” made things a lot more heated.
Built with the RE Engine, Dragon's Dogma 2 presents a densely packed fantasy world that's roughly four times the size of the first game. Expect plenty to see and do in your adventures!#DD2 #DragonsDogma2 pic.twitter.com/oilstlp30V
— Dragon's Dogma (@DragonsDogma) August 22, 2023
Fast Travel Has Certainly Become A Tool To Mask Hollow Worlds Lately
Do you know why I felt there was indeed some logic behind these words? It’s because, to some extent, I agree that fast travel has become somewhat of a “reliance on” for empty worlds lately. Instead of putting more engaging content throughout the world, games focus on some particular areas to deliver a false sense of enrichment and then encourage fast travel so much that it looks like it did a good job with its world design.
When a game overly relies on fast travel, you start to feel it becomes more and more like a checklist. Becoming an automated and robotic world is the last thing any game should aim for (I’m looking at you, Ubisoft). This becomes even more of a problem in extremely vast games. With a premise of an unbelievably large world to explore, it’s actually just a restricted world in terms of content fueled with fast travel to “gigantify” it.
What’s an example of this? There’s a very recent one. That is Starfield. Back when this game was announced, it was the most hyped thing, but now, it seems the game failed to reach those heights. Don’t get me wrong it’s a good game, but it is also an offender of a massive world masked by fast travel, and lack of the content richness it promised. Because of this, I’m willing to see what Dragon’s Dogma 2 can accomplish with restricted fast travel.
However, Not Every Game Using Fast Travel Is Automatically Boring
Now, for the next part. Which is, I don’t completely agree with it either, as it’s too much of a generalization. Agreeing with this means I consider every game with fast travel to be a boring one, and that can’t be farther from the truth. Even in highly creative and engaging worlds, you need to backtrack to starting locations for side quests or fetching stuff. You’ve experienced this part thoroughly, returning manually adds nothing but a sense of repetition.
For example, take a look at Elden Ring. FromSoftware’s masterpiece and the best game of 2022 uses fast travel as a very important feature. Can you imagine the game without it? I know I don’t want to travel from the Mountaintops, all the way to Limgrave if needed. And is Elden Ring a bland world? Far from it, it’s one of the most engaging worlds out there. I want Dragon’s Dogma 2 to be the same, fast travel or not.
Similarly, let’s look at another example. I’m sure I don’t need to explain why Red Dead Redemption 2 is a brilliant and soothing adventure. However, you can’t traverse that massive map repeatedly and not feel tired. Fast travel helps a lot but doesn’t make it a boring world. Moreover, even in past games full of creativity, fast travel served the games well. Can you imagine Majora’s Mask without fast travel to ease your suffering?
Fast Travel And Creative Worlds Can Co-Exist
All that shows putting in fast travel is not always to mask a lack of content. Besides, you just can’t do away with it entirely. No matter how immersive or engaging a game’s world is, you’re bound to get bored if you have to manually cover huge distances repeatedly. Not everyone has that kind of patience, or even time to spend mostly on travelling instead of progressing. Even Dragon’s Dogma 2 is not completely eliminating it, and that’s a good thing.
Do you know how an open-world game can effectively announce its superiority? Put fast travel in it without any restriction, and then make people forget it exists based on the sheer enjoyment of the traversal. There’s a very good example of this. Take a look at Spider-Man 2. I’ve platinumed the game, and in those 35-40 hours, I’ve never once used the fast travel. The fluid movement and swinging around the city is so much fun you never need to use it.
That’s honestly the best thing and something Dragon’s Dogma 2 wishes to do as well, but do keep in mind Spider-Man 2 is not as large of a world as some other games, and it’s a pretty short adventure. It managed to keep traversal fresh because of this, but the fact remains larger games need it at some point. I hope this statement doesn’t come back to bite Dragon’s Dogma 2, and that it truly manages to keep me and everyone else engaged.
Dragon’s Dogma 2 arrives for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on March 22, 2024.
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