What makes a game replayable?


#1

What makes a game replayable?

This topic seems to get brought up as a side issue in several other discussions. Some of the ideas that I have seen come up are:

  1. Choices that lead to different chapters (e.g., Choice of Robots)
  2. Too many choices for a single playthrough
  3. A mystery that can only be fully discovered over multiple playthroughs
  4. Challenging achievements or stat goals (e.g., collecting all the phobias possible in Heart of the House, surviving winter in XoR with minimal casualties)
  5. Interesting romantic options
  6. A very strong core story

My question is really two-part. First, what else can be added to this list?

Second, which items on the list (above and added throughout the thread) are most effective in driving you to play again? Which aren’t and why not?


#2

For the first part, I find good writing and enjoyable characters are all it takes for me to like a story and want to read it again. :yum: I’ll often end up making the exact same choices over and over again because I like the dialogue, or the prose, or the character reaction so much.


#3

Multiple Endings and variations on them. Kill the bad guy, forgive them and make peace, become the new bad guy, join the bad guy and share power, save a strange world and then go home, save a strange world and live there triumphant the rest of your life, etc. Variations keep me coming back. Good writing is important too.


#4

Interested subplots and character stories that require multiple playthroughs are a great plus i’d say.
It shows that the author put thought and effort into constructing the story.


#5

Also a great list of collectibles and Achievements. If the game is good enough and they all seem plausible for me to get, I have to collect them all. Mutually exclusive Achievements like endings, ROs, and hidden benefits for losing a battle vs winning are extra spice.


#6

What, on this note, should NOT be done are, well, fake achievements, in the sense that you have a choice, get an achievement for each but the story progresses the very same no matter what, wuth a half-sentence different here and there maybe.

That is cheap and rude.


#7

Well I’ll start with what definitely wont get me replaying, achievements. I like achievements that come with new content I haven’t seen before, like achievements that are simply unlocked by getting different stats or a different ending that require taking a different path, but achievements that would mean doing really specific things such as in Hollywood visionary where you get achievements for creating specific films wont.

But yeah I think good writing is the main thing really. I’ve replayed dilemma god knows how many times, and that is pretty linear tbh, but I love the story. Or for rent haunted house, it’s not as linear but I always repick the same options.

But I think seeing new content throughout multiple playthroughs is a great way to increase replayability. A day off work comes instantly to mind here, still haven’t seen everything that game has to offer.

Finally as for having too many options for one playthrough, I don’t see that as adding to replayability , though it can do depending on the options. As yeah, I’ll probably always pick the same options, but it can help with replayability if in general the game is good for easily head cannoning different characters like Safe Haven.


#8

Honestly I uninstall and reinstall CoG/HG games so often that Achievements themselves aren’t something I care about anymore. I could 100% a title and then forget, only to loose all that achievement the next time my dumbass uninstalls something to make room for like, a dozen more photos of my cat on my phone.

But! The rest of what was listed in OP’s post is pretty accurate. I’ve replayed each of those games plenty of times because of those exact same reasons. (Getting through the winter in Rebels with all… what, 30 of my original rebels was a breeze compared to that runthrough where I had about 600 people in my ‘army’ by the end, holy crap.)


#9

I should also mention multiple ways to approach the same situation. Example- the train full of bad guys in Tin Star. One playthru, I met it with a huge army of allies- Indians, Mormons, deputies, etc. I fought a great battle, won by betrayal of the outlaws on the enemy side, then stormed the train with my party and fought my way to the engine, then stopped it, defeating and capturing bad guys as I went. Another time I bypassed the great battle entirely and derailed the train with explosives. Both were satisfying. I look forward to finding a third variation at some point. Safe Haven and Day Off are now on my to-play list.


#10

Thank you, everyone! And here is the most updated list:

  1. Choices that lead to different chapters (e.g., Choice of Robots)
  2. Too many choices for a single playthrough
  3. A mystery that can only be fully discovered over multiple playthroughs
  4. Challenging achievements, stat goals, and collectibles (e.g., collecting all the phobias possible in Heart of the House, surviving winter in XoR with minimal casualties)
  5. Interesting romantic options
  6. A very strong core story
  7. Engaging characters
  8. Multiple endings and variations on them
  9. Multiple subplots and character stories
  10. Emotional connections to the characters

(ETA: Gower’s post below)


#11

Lots of people seem to replay games making the same choices or taking the same path each time, and that’s another kind of replayable. Like rereading a good book—not usually what we think about when we say “replayable”!

I suspect deep emotional connection to characters will provoke that sort of replay…


#12

Receptiveness to MC’s character traits/good personality tracking system. For example, for some replays I like to make the exact same major action choices, but with a kind grandmotherly type of character, and then a callous arrogant character, etc. just to see how the game responds in terms of flavour text as well as closing/opening new paths. If it does it well replayability increases dramatically because that provides many more permutations on top of the usual “next time I’ll take the left path instead of the right” kind of choices. If that makes sense.


#13

Super different plot lines or early choices that change interactions, probably.


#14

Who doesn’t replay a game when a sequel comes out?


#15

Yeah, I do this. If I replay I normally find the play through that makes me happy and maybe make a few small different changes.

Normally I will replay if I want to try a new RO (but sometimes I fail and just romance the same person again) or see something I didn’t see the first time.

I do recall replaying Choice of Vampires a few times and being surprised the first time I went to the small village and not the city, that was a really neat surprise for me since I had played it a few times before hand.


#16

That’s what it is for me, all the games I replay endlessly are the ones where I really liked the romance. Honestly for me the rest of the story is just something that gets in the way of the romance :stuck_out_tongue:


#17

I have to disagree with a couple of people here, I like achievements and I felt that they’re the mostly the reason why I would want to replay something.

To me, good achievements are clues that help lead to parts of the story I haven’t seen yet and it encourage me to consider making different choices that I would’ve never want to.

For example: In Choice of Robots, the game awards you with Tragic Hero if you failed to get any other achievement by the end. Anyone who’ve played it knew that Robots is an achievement minefield. Aiming for it makes for an unorthodox and fun playthrough where treat the game like a puzzle. I found it interesting that I tried to fail instead of aiming for success.


#18

For me only 1 and 5 ever get me to replay a game and both of them have to be pretty significant content. Examples for me would be CCH1 for 1 and the upcoming Wayhaven game for 5. Also if you have significantly different endings, I may replay the game. Similar to how Zombie Exodus was.


#19

Story and romance, of course. Sometimes the plot involves me in a way that makes me want to test all the options, even if some seem stupid or make me die, like Heroes Rise. And others make me want to explore each character, consequently the romance.

I love games whose focus is on characters and yes, I’m a sucker for romance. Generally, the first thing I look for in a game is RO. So, yeah, that’s it.


#20

I’m probably a little bit of a special case, because I’ve usually played most choicescript games once, and then read the code :sweat_smile:

So I could look at what the exceptions were, and why…

  1. Psy High, but this was mostly because I didn’t yet know that code-reading was possible. I wanted to see the different possible romance routes :grin: and try out some different personalities, too, since the game was pretty responsive to varied MC personalities.
  2. Hollywood Visionary… because my first playthrough was a miserable failure both in moviemaking and in my character’s personal life, so I played again to make a successful film and a successful romance. Nonetheless, I think I got a way better story the first time.
  3. Zombie Exodus (the original), I half-replayed. It’s when it branches for different missions, I replayed it in order to do the other missions. I also wanted to get the cure ending, which I didn’t quite manage the first time.
  4. Zombie Exodus: Safe Haven, I’ve replayed to roleplay a different character :grin: the story was so branchy that it responded well to this.

There may’ve been others, but this is what I’m remembering off the top of my head.

(And yeah, I never pay attention to achievements, other than enjoying when they have humorous names or descriptions :grin:)

Oh, right! Also true! I’ve actually started keeping a log of choices I make in choice games so that I can get the same playthrough again :grin:

(Which reminds me, I quite liked the feature that Choice of Robots had where it’d keep a sort of summary of your story so far… :thinking:)