A Simple Compromise on Save Points

Some people want the ability to save or go back in a game. Some people are against these options being added. As a compromise, I suggest that the ability to save or go back be made available only after a complete playthrough has been made.

Arguments in favor of implementing save states have already been made here. I will proceed to explaining how this compromise addresses objections to these arguments.

Objection 1: A back button or the ability to save cheapens choices.

Response to Objection 1:
The initial playthrough does not have these options, and so the weight of choices in it is not significantly affected. Having these options in subsequent playthroughs does not cheapen choices much more than the ability to replay the game already does.

Objecton 2: Some players will be unable to resist using these options.

Response to Objection 2:
Those players will have their entire initial playthrough free of that temptation. Regarding subsequent playthroughs, even without these options, those players must resist the urge to metagame based on knowledge acquired during their initial playthrough. The implementation of these options in subsequent playthroughs is not so great an additional burden that those players’ concerns should outweigh the concerns of those in favor of these options.

This is a compromise, and thus the objections are not entirely resolved. However, they are sufficiently addressed such that they can not reasonably outweigh the arguments in favor of save states.


Objection 1: A back button or the ability to save cheapens choices.

Response to Objection 1:
The initial playthrough does not have these options, and so the weight of choices in it is not significantly affected. Having these options in subsequent playthroughs does not cheapen choices much more than the ability to replay the game already does.

Not for me it doesn’t. I don’t care how other people play their games, i play by excessively saving at every opportunity. I rather not just click trough the entire book to unlock a standard feature that most modern games have.

Objecton 2: Some players will be unable to resist using these options.

How is that mine or anyone’s problem? If someone chooses to use it then so be it. The whole spiel about cheapening choices is stupid. I would be happy if i could save when playing Fatehaven yesterday, instead of restarting everything because i mistook what stat choice affected.

No to mention you can save right now too, it’s just tedious to back up files after a while.

Why people arguing about basic systems most games have had for DECADES now and why does it even bother anyone. I guess it’s some sort of elitism or superiority feeling people get.


There is an alternative to save points you can offer/show text passwords at different parts of the game and then allow users to enter a password at the start of the game then an if statement can take the user directly to the part they were up to.


A unique save slot for a game (or a character, might be better). You save, you assume posterior choices.

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Oh, I saw something about passwords at the choiceScript wiki but didn’t know if it could be used like this. Does it work well? It would allow players to save their saves locally, which could be suitable for structuring and organising, though probably less efficient.

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All depends on your priors. Necrosian thinks the case against save states was always wildly unreasonable. For others who think save states turn an interactive novel into a no-stakes exercise in button-pushing, the idea that it’s acceptable on a second playthrough will not seem obviously true. That depends on what you think about second playthroughs.

You make a reasonable case – not the only reasonable one. I doubt it will sway CoG’s position on this issue.


I honest to god cannot understand people that patrol how others play IF. Like, for the people that feel it cheapens their choices…dont use the feature?

If each individual author opposed on the basis “I wrote a lot for failed states, this is how is supposed to be played” for their own individual games, i would understand it a bit more, it’s their individual work (still not share it, but at least understand it)

Is the weirdest gatekeeping i’ve seen.

I’m very hard pressed to believe that the enhanced enjoyment people have by not having saved games outweights the amount of frustration (and shit, even anxiety if you’re in a rough spot) not having them creates. Is not like you’re forced to use it if you want a hardcore experience.

For such an open-minded place, the policing of how people play the games is so freaking weird


CoG have an experience they want to create with their games. It involves choices feeling like they have stakes and aren’t easily taken back. That can feel anxious and unpleasant to some readers, and it’s fair enough to complain about it. But it’s not about policing anyone’s enjoyment (certainly not about players policing other players) – just about the company’s game design philosophy.


Yes, it’s merely my opinion, but I expect most people will agree.

With this compromise, the amount of pleasure the former would lose is even less.


There’s definitely a case to be made about this being a question of accessibility, since it might make it impossible for people with bad anxiety to enjoy the games.
Heck, my own personal blend of anxiety and autism has made me unable to complete many of the CS games I have bought, since I will get stuck on a choice and be unable to actually choose an option. :woman_shrugging:t2:

And then there’s the argument of a single mis-click or a poorly worded option ruining a playthrough, and making you have to start over.

That said, the issue has been discussed many times, so I am sure CoG is already fully aware that a majority of players (at least here on the forum) would prefer to have a save option.
So I doubt they’ll change their mind.


While I understand the design philosophy, I still think there is a big jump between “This is our philosophy” (meaningful choices with stakes) to “this is how we implement” (no saves) and (what for me is ) the policing of it: removing the feature altogether

I have a really hard time playing a game without unpacking the code on PC to check if my understanding of the choice is good :upside_down_face:


Werewolves Haven Rising is one of my favorite games. But boy, did I almost review bomb it on my first playthrough. I died at the final battle and I 100% blame the game not communicating the consequence of the choice. Having to play from the beginning almost made me give up the game. But the game is good, so I gave it another chance.

And that’s not to mention when my finger slide (or I’m sleepy and drop the phone on my face) and a choice is selected by accident. I don’t know why you can select choices by sliding – it should at least be a configuration you can turn off.


I think this may be part of the problem. A majority (from what I’ve seen, THE majority) of people want a save feature and have been saying so for years, and yet here we are STILL having this discussion. It’s starting to look like no amount of people asking for it is going to make it happen. They just don’t want it for whatever reason.


This is why I play on steam when I can. Accessing the code is super easy, and I make a copy of the gamestate so that when I make a mistake, it’s fixed by a simple copy and paste.


I hear you, it’s hard to keep myself from immediately diving into the code of a new game to see what possibilities - good or bad - lie ahead of me. My CoG library would be about a quarter its size if there was no way for me to access the files for saving/tweaking/snooping purposes; with that safety net in place, I’m much more willing to spend my money.


So true. I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the games nearly as much if I wasn’t able to do that.

The reason has been up in the public domain for about a decade now – see the top of this FAQ page and every previous thread where we’ve discussed this. It’s true as you say that a lot of people disagree and have given the reasons they disagree. (Are they a majority? Who knows? People like me who like to sound off on internet forums aren’t a representative sample of anything except noise.)

But the existence of disagreement doesn’t have to change the company’s game design philosophy, even when the disagreement is well-articulated and lasts for years.

Save points aren’t a feature that ever existed in any COG/HG game, so talking about “removing the feature” is I think misleading. Of course I understand that WIP fans may feel like their save system is being removed when a game moves from Dashingdon to publication, but the CJW/Dashingdon save plugin is a third party playtesting tool that was written years after CoG set their design philosophy by testing inital games with a “back button” and (as the FAQ explains) responding to negative player feedback on it. With good reason, CoG doesn’t accept third-party tweaks to Javascript when they publish games, just the txt files that run within their own app code.

This thread makes clear that lots of people who really want to save (and/or peek at the code to see if it’s worth their time) have found ways to do so. That option does exist for people who disagree with CoG’s design philosophy.


First of all, I did not say there was no reason. I said “whatever reason” because I actually saw several, their validity may be questionable but they do exist.

Second of all,

I’m a bit suprised that someone who’s been here for as long as you have doesn’t know this, but there has been a save feature in several CoG and HG games actually. Tin Star and Road to the Colosseum are the only ones off the top of my head, but I’m sure there are more.

This is true. The games that had save features only had them because the authors took the time to add them in, but it is in no way a standard for CoG (or HG).

Let me make an analogy for sake of argument: if a game has a bug in it that ruins most people’s enjoyment of the game, and someone finds a workaround but still complains that the game is buggy, is the problem with the developer or with the player?

Now I just came up with this off the top of my head, so I’m sure there are several issues with it, but my point is this: just because people are able to find a way around a problem, does not mean that there is no longer a problem. This is especially true if the workaround only works for some people.


I think we are arguing semantics to be honest. I could say “not giving a choice” and the meaning would be the same, but if people feel like that i could just edit the post.

This thread makes clear that lots of people who really want to save (and/or peek at the code to see if it’s worth their time) have found ways to do so. That option does exist for people who disagree with CoG’s design philosophy.

Considering that as “the option exists” is a huge mistake imho. You have to be at least somewhat tech savy and the experience of play is greatly deteriorated.Pointing how certain people are able to more or less bypass a limitation and saying “well, the option exists, some people have found ways to do it” is a very Fox News argument. Specially with the “really” want it part

“You’re not savvy enough?” Well, if you really wanted it you would pull yourself byyour bootstraps and learn" is the vibe it gives, if you catch my drift

That’s without pointing that saves are not the save as a “back button” unless you save before every single choice, they can serve for widly different things (eg. Save after character creations, to try different choices with your “typical” MC; save at branching points, because the entire introduction is the same, save every so often, so you don’t get problem as misclick) and the process of making a save and loading gives a completely different feeling.

Nevertheless, I’ll be on the champ that anything that goes with this:

But I think people just can’t help themselves; it’s just too hard to resist pressing the Back button when we’ve made the “wrong” choice

Rubs me in the wrong way.


I think we can have a save feature in the first playthrough.

We can simply ask the players if they want to enable the save feature for their playthrough but also stress, “Enabling the save feature can diminish the experience of the game, we strongly recommend that you do not enable it for your first playthrough” .

This will retain player agency and inform the player of its effects on the first playthrough.

I think it will also be a nice idea to call it a “go back to previous choice” button since calling it a save button implies that progress can be lost which isn’t true (unless you are on a browser). New players may enable it, thinking that the save buttons saves progress.

I believe Delight Games also does something similar as they have a “go back to previous choice” button (I may be wrong, it has been a long time since I read anything from them). However, in Delight games it doesn’t really cheapen the choices as they are kind of meaningless to begin with (but good!) and their games are more of a “calculate a path with your stats” instead of “chose your own adventure”.