Red Dead Redemption, Alpha Protocol, two recently released video games. Countless others too. What do they all have in common?
The lack of a quick save feature, and only being able to save the game on various checkpoints and/or special locations.
Now, especially for such sandbox style games where your decisions matter (be they shooting people in Red Dead, or choices in the dialog system of Alpha Protocol), I can understand not having a quick save feature. I remember the times when shooters on PC still had a quick save and load feature that was always active. I also remember killing an enemy, quicksaving, killing the next enemy, quicksaving, getting spotted by a camera when I was supposed to be sneaky, quickloading, not getting spotted by the same camera, killing the next enemy, and quicksaving again.
I can understand why developers don’t want that to happen. And as a player too. It takes the challenge out of the game.
Shenmue didn’t have a quick save feature for that matter either. While you could only save your regular game in your house, at the same time it did allow players to save all the time when they really needed to save right now. The only catch? It was a “save and exit” feature. As soon as you used the save-anytime-anywhere feature, the game would exit after saving without being able to play further.
Perfect when you look at the clock and it’s 1 a.m. again and you need to get up in the morning. And all the other times when you just want to exit (and of course save your current progress, not the one from the last checkpoint) the game right now and not play the 15-30 minutes till the next checkpoint / chance to get to the saving location.
I can’t understand why there isn’t a single game since Shenmue - that didn’t have a quick save feature - that included this save and exit functionality. It would be such a simple and elegant solution for the “when do I let the player save” question.