Poll Question 325 – How do you feel about locked chapters?

15th October 2015

Yesterday morning, I read a piece of news on the BBC website entitled Call of Duty unlocks final mission of Black Ops 3 and it made me realize that since HL2 all the chapters have been locked.

To be honest, I think it’s a good thing because I might not resist the temptation to jump to the end, especially with HL3. But then I thought about most other mediums and it seems that users have complete control. Books, magazine, movies (if watched at home) etc. That doesn’t mean just because they do, games should too, but at least I have the choice.

I know I can change a line in a text file but many, if not most, users might not know that.

It got me wondering whether game designers should include a button somewhere to activate GOD mode, so that users can player through the game to get the story but “cheat” on parts that they find hard.

Unlike books which don’t require skill to progress, games combine skill and story, so a compromise seems fair. Again, yes, I know I can do it via the console but how many ordinary players do that?

With books we can jump sections we don’t like (I never do that, but my mum does – a lot) and it only seems right that games give us that choice too.

What do you think?



  1. Zekiran

    I certainly don’t mind it, as when I’m playing a NEW game for the first time I don’t want spoilers.

    This is a problem when movies release their soundtracks before the actual movie hits theaters, and in ways similar for games that do that too. “Oh, this one track is named EVERYONE FREAKING DIES IT IS OVER BWAH HAH HAH” and another “oh you thought that guy died, lolz”.

    Progression in a game which is linear I do think that unlocking chapters is a good choice, I do want the option to play BY chapter, once I’ve unlocked them though. If I started a new game that I’ve played before, I would be angry if I *had* to unlock them again.

  2. Actually, AFAIK, you can’t do chapter locking in a HL2 mod unless you edit code. Which is why for the vast majority of multi-level mods, everything is unlocked from the outset.

    I also disagree with the developer’s statement about “maturity.” It has nothing to do with maturity. Let’s be brutally honest and call it what it is: it’s bowing to modern gaming culture – which congregates around games like COD – and has no shortage of incredibly impatient, angry douchebags who expect everything to be spoon-fed to them on a silver platter whenever they demand it. Or else.

    In other words: they know their audience. 🙂

    I think Nintendo struck a nice balance in their recent games by allowing levels to be skipped after so many deaths, or dispersing special items – not quite God Mode, but definitely handicaps – if a player dies so many times. It actually liberates their level design to be more difficult to cater to the retro crowd, without fear of alienating newcomers. Course, out of pride, a lot of gamers will refuse the gift. It’s difficult to not make it feel patronizing. But the fact of the matter is that you’ll never get the point where it’s impossible to finish the game and I think that, especially for larger games like open worlds or JRPGs, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I like to know that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. If you’re going to invest 50 hours in something, you want to see it through to the end. If you reach “that mission,” the one you can’t defeat for the life of you, then you’re going to feel pretty bad about it. That’s not what we want. We want people to have fun. So I think it’s fine to cut them a break if they’ve “earned it,” so to speak.

    1. Zekiran

      I’ve had trouble with locked ‘chapters’ in Ville sets, actually – the config file is where they can be locked or unlocked, I don’t think it’s that hard but I don’t do code. I’ve had to modify my config (…. I can’t think whether it was successful or not, the issue was that my config kept getting overwritten and removed my changes) to see the further chapters.

      1. You can lock chapters. The problem is the unlocking. Valve ties unlocking to defeating levels with specific file names. So, unless your maps use the same naming as Valve, you can’t do it without changing the code. It’s a rather wonky system. 🙂

        Course, I say that, but there’s apparently a hacky little way around it. https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Unlocking_chapters_in_your_mod#Map_Hack_Approach

  3. It doesn’t matter much to me, I like to play the game at the dev’s intended pace. But if people feel the need to have a chapter skip option, whatever, fine by me. As long as it doesn’t interfere with my style of play.

    On the subject of Half-Life 3, I can’t imagine skipping through chapters, I would have waited so long for this, I’m gonna take my sweet time.

  4. I think for a first playthrough, locked chapters make sense. Why would you want to ruin the game by skipping chunks of the story?

    It’s not often that games even let you select a chapter anyway. I would never skip content on a first run through the game. Certainly I like to have the option later, to fire up the game during a memorable chapter.

    Take HL2 for example. I usually like to blast through the later City17 chapters with the rebels, and at all costs I avoid any chapters with Antlions. Sandtraps, man. Urgh.

    Likewise with Episode 2, I would sooner fire up that game just to play from the point where you get the muscle car that go through those frigging mines again… I guess I just hate Antlions.

  5. Mega Sean 45

    It would actually make HL3 alot better if the player had a choice! Throughout the series, Gordon is just following orders and instructions. More like that happened in HL2 more than 1, but still, Gordon needs a voice. Not an actual voice, I mean, the chance to choose. That would make Gordon less of just a playable character following instructions, and more of a realistic approach when he gets to choose what would happen, and then depending on what he chooses will depend on the ending. I love games like that!

  6. marnamai

    @ Maki: sv_unlockedchapters 1

    This will lock everything except for the first chapter

  7. I prefer playing singleplayer from the start to the end with no jumps. If I can’t pass a level after few tries (very rare), I just stop playing …

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