Please bring back the save system on release day

In the past, you could make an online save of your game as soon as the game was out. In recent years, this was changed to only allow save for new titles once the next title is in pre-release. While it is still possible to do something close to that on steam using an external tool : Save manager and editor for Steam (open-source), the option is sorely missing on web and mobile.

Lacking the ability to save your game discourages players from engaging with the story as much as they could on release. Every playthrough they enjoy is one that they’ll be frustrated that they can’t keep a save of, and that they are unlikely to be able to replicate exactly when the next title comes out. Furthermore players aren’t notified when the next title enters pre-release and the save system is added to the current one, meaning they’re likely to be unable to play the new title as soon as it comes out because they’ll need to replay the previous one first.

The best fix for that problem would be to reactivate the save system for all titles of a series at release day. If CoG is unwilling to do that, even partial solutions like only activating the save system starting from the second title of the series (because it shows commitment from the author to keep the series going) or for series where previous books have sold well enough (because it compensate the cost of having to keep the saves around) could go a long way towards mitigating the problem. Failing that, even just sending a notification when saves are activated for a game could at least help a little players to enjoy the new game on release day.

EDIT : Firefox now also has a plugin to allow you to save your games for future titles of a series that you can find here : CSGT: Back button, save syncing, variable notifications extension for Firefox

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I posted this response on Reddit about two years ago, but it’s still the best I’ve been able to say it…

"I made an edit to my previous point, but based on the nature of how code works… you end up with a file with a lot of tracked variables. Authors may not even know that they want a certain character to be reoccuring until the book comes out and there is positive critical reception to that character. They may have originally wrote the code to update the saved variables, and not included that character’s fate at all in it. But, positive feedback means they go back, see that there was a choice to spare or kill the character they didn’t know they were even going to be bringing back, and update the code to now report to the list of variables what choice you made.

The delay in save systems means that you, as the consumer, don’t end up with a save that is outdated and doesn’t work in the upcoming title. By making it wait until the sequel is submitted for review, the save you make after that point is the correct save with all of the correct variables to track in the next title."

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It is an issue that can be sidestepped by asking the player at the start of the second title what happened in the first title for this specific character or event, it is not a perfect fix but I still find it is better than to replay the entire first title.

The reason for the quirky save systems is because saves are all stored on CoG’s server, so they don’t want to clutter it up with saves for games that don’t need them.

The solution is a new save system user-side, which incidentally has the benefit of letting me delete all of my old The Lost Heir saves.

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I wouldn’t be opposed to a new user-side save system, but that would be a new development on CoG side which could end up being an harder and costlier fix for them than just activating the current one.

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This is definitely a useful way of doing it, but it’s something authors can choose to do if they want - it isn’t something controlled by CoG. I think Fallen Hero has options to do it either way depending whether players want to import a save or choose at the beginning. Cakes and Ale has a quiz at the start.

For me the ideal setup is having both for flexibility. But @BourbonDingo is right that if there’s only an import option, making a save file when Game 1 in a series has just been released will likely result in bugs when importing into Game 2. I discovered this on a small scale when I was investigating this when making my upcoming game Royal Affairs: I hadn’t created a variable controlling a particular character’s fate at the end of Crème de la Crème because it wasn’t necessary. In the end I went for the Cakes and Ale approach, for release at least, but a save made immediately after Crème was released would have had a major continuity bug when importing into Royal Affairs. And this wasn’t even a sequel with the same MC or leading straight from the previous game - I imagine a pure sequel with the same protagonist would run into all kinds of issues. It would be equally annoying to go into the sequel expecting to be able to import your previous game but realising you needed to replay, or having immersion break when expecting a character to show up who then didn’t and having to stop and replay the first game anyway (or just play the rest of the sequel feeling disgruntled).

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While I don’t think they’ll go back to turning on saves for all games given the number of them that think they’ll have sequels but don’t, I do agree that sending out notification when saves are turned on for a title would be a good idea. Probably not as an email, that’s too narrow an audience and they don’t want to overuse the email system for every little thing or people will start blocking/unsubscribing. But maybe a forum post by either the author or a staff member as a general advisement that this had happened. I’d be glad to post the same thing onto the subreddits as well.

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If you’re using Steam and don’t want to install the save manager and editor, I suggest you to take a look at this post. It helps you to find the savefile of your game, so that if you make a copy of it and store it when you’re near the epilogue (or the final chapter, so that you may be able to save new variables if they add them) you can resume from there when they’ll implement the save system on the game, thus saving your favorite playthrough in quite a simple way!

It’s true that it’s feasible only if you’re playing on Steam but I think it’s a good and direct way to save your game or to create checkpoints.

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I’m glad you found it useful :grin:. I’m willing to make a part 2 going more in depth into editing variables if there is a demand for it. :person_shrugging:

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I will never stop begging for a save system for Fallen Hero: Retribution…

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Question: How come checkpoints were added for Retribution but not the 1st book?

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intense suspicion

I think I wasn’t clear enough in my previous post, what I meant is that the author can ask the reader after the save has been imported what happened in the previous title for this specific event that the author didn’t track with a variable in the previous title.

For example, if in Title 1, character Alpha can die or survive but the author didn’t track it with a variable, then at the start of Title 2, when the reader has imported his save, the game ask the reader whether or not character Alpha survived at the end of Title 1.

@HannahPS I do think there is a misunderstanding, I am just unsure of what exactly you think I’m saying so I don’t really know how to solve it.

Ah, I see. This would be a lot of effort though for both players and authors, and I’d be very nervous about releasing a game in a state that risks so many bugs. (Unless I’ve misunderstood and you’re talking about making saves importable into WIP sequels?)

Will be in the update!

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I think your idea is good though I would say once a game has already two books I would say they should do this from the start if they know book will not end with it.
I can understand why authers of first book do not want to do this because depending on the success their may be a sequel or not. But when Book 2 already comes, from my opinion the auther should already know if they only want or can a sequel but not a sequel of the sequel.

Not automatically saving first book would actually be a blessing because from my opinion the difference in time between first and second book can be long enough that some can not even remember what happened and maybe some do not even expect that this will become a series so they do not await what will happen next but think of it as a concluded story. So having to replay the first part will not be so negative but getting to hear that the progress of the second game will not be taken over is something that from my opinion would be a disfavor. Because on the second game, unless it is stated that it is only a two part game like some extended after story, playing the game on release with all the hype for getting more of an already beloved franchise and then getting the ending someone likes but getting told all they did have to be redone in the future is from my experience killing the hype.
Because then people get told between the lines that while what they want is already here they should not play right now because it will be meaningles and this is something CoG should avoid as it encourage people just like Netflix to not interest in things but rather wait till they are finished.

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Updated the first post to point out that there is now a plugin in Firefox to save your games CSGT: Back button, save syncing, variable notifications extension for Firefox

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