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Do Gamers Want Slow-Paced Games Like Death Stranding?

cormack12

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Source: https://gamerant.com/death-stranding-slow-paced-games-appeal/

The success of Death Stranding and other slow-paced titles demonstrates that there is a market for games that do not rely on non-stop action.

When Death Stranding was released in 2019, it was polarizing among gamers. For some, it is a unique project that innovates gaming while telling a strange yet emotional science-fiction story. For others, the game is simply too slow-paced and, because of that, it fails to be engaging.

The desire to keep the attention of gamers affects the design philosophy behind many games. This is apparent in The Witcher 3, a game developed by CD Projekt Red. According to Bartosz Von Ochman, who worked on The Witcher 3, worldbuilding for the game followed what his team terms "the rule of 40 seconds." As Bartosz explains, every forty seconds, players “should see something and focus on it, like a pack of deer or some opponents, some NPCs wandering about.”

Death Stranding’s design philosophy seems to run in the complete opposite direction. It is not rare to go for extended periods in the game without coming across NPCs or anything to interact with. The game leaves gamers with a stark feeling of isolation, and it forces players to travel for long stretches before they come across any points of interest.

Death Stranding forces players to slow down and truly take in the world that is being presented to them. Instead of having their attention grabbed by a smorgasbord of activities and NPCs, gamers are instead enthralled by breath-taking vistas and picturesque scenes of nature. Stopping beside a river to play the harmonica as an upside-down rainbow fades away in the sky is an introspective, meditative experience that is produced by carefully crafted, slow-paced gameplay.

A similar experience is created in Red Dead Redemption 2 where there are vast swaths of open countryside to wander. Players can put their guns away and just enjoy some slow-paced gameplay in nature. While the crazy shootouts are certainly fun, some of the most powerful moments in the game are the quiet times spent camping in the wilderness.
 

Nico_D

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I really don't think anything as slow-paced or fast-paced but well- or not so-well-written because I think that's what it is about. If the story, or whatever is happening, doesn't pull me in and keep me interested, then it doesn't make a difference what the pace in. Both can be bad and both can be good, it is more about structure.

Like I have seen very well done forced walking scenes and I've seen some bad ones. If there's no dramatic tension, not any kind of suspense building, then it is just a pretty and empty scene.
 

Chukhopops

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I’m playing the DC version at the moment and to be honest the game is only really slow paced at the beginning, before you get a ton of gadgets and every road takes you into mules with guns and vehicles.

Also the feeling of isolation lasts until you connect the area to the chiral network and get jump ramps, roads, signs and holograms everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I really love the game but I’m not sure it’s the best example of slow paced game. The beginning of it (where everything is mysterious and you have no weapon) is my favorite part so I think there’s a niche for this kind of atmospheric games.
 
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Roni

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I already play Far Cry 6 for nature strolls some times, it's obvious that going forward the only way to expand market share is to make more varied games.
 

kanjobazooie

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I loved Death Stranding, but I personally would have enjoyed it more if the dialogues were a bit shorter. I didn't mind the slow gameplay aspect at all, though. Sometimes I even took the long way because traversal is fun and I wanted to take my time.

I want more games that let me do that. RDR2 would have been one if it didn't have that stamina core system which I didn't like.
 
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Bartski

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yes, absolutely.

I find it so weird many people having such a hard time comprehending one can like ultra fast-paced action games AND slow burners just as much, and try to argue one is better than the other.
It's apples and oranges, nice to have both, they taste differently.

There was a great interview with Rob Nelson from Rockstar north about some design decisions in RDR2 and how being deliberately laborious at times contributes to immersion and the sense of presence via playtest data but that's another story.
 

lh032

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Mar 8, 2021
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A game is a game.
Every gamer prefer a certain type/genre of games.

This is a very weird article.

And yes, I completed the directors cut, its not the best game i played but im satisfied with it.
Its a special kind of game.
 
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Wildebeest

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Myst outsold Doom by something like five to one. Always was a big market for slower paced games.
 

Certinty

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Why not? As long as a game is interesting and/or fun then I'll happily give it a go.

I enjoyed Death Stranding for what it's worth which is a little crazy given how repetitive it is.

But even then my GOTY this year is Guardians of the Galaxy and a lot would argue that game is 'slow' too.
 

nush

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A long haul flight from wherever you are.
I play Train Sim World 2, that's as slow as you can get and a great way to relax while playing a game. 2D platformers also fill that space for me. Sometimes I'm not in the mood to smash buttons or quick react combo dodge.
 

SJRB

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What's the point of discussion here, exactly?

What a weird article.
 

bender

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I want to love Death Stranding but the main loop is a little too monotonous which is a shame as it present a beautiful world, interesting traversal mechanics, and probably the best new online concept since Demon Souls.
 
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Guilty_AI

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Euro Truck Simulator 2 sold close to 10 million copies and is consistently played by 30k - 40k people on steam.

Theres definitely a market for slow-paced and contemplative games, you just need to know how to approach it. One thing that both ETS2 and DS do really right or example (that you don't see in games like flight sims) is presenting an addictive progression system.
 
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STARSBarry

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I mean some people will, some people won't.

I say sure why not, there far more rare than the fast paced generic shooter games you get every other month these days.
 

Guilty_AI

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Being slow paced was DS last problem...
i think the story was its biggest problem, too much exposition and relayed in ways too confusing.

I didn't mind all the exposition or discussions surrounding the pseudo-politics we'd see in MGSs, it was done well enough. For discussions on fictional science to work, it needs to be grounded enough in reality that we may think "yeah, that might actually happen in the future", which definitely didn't apply for a large scale space time catastrophical event involving... dead bodies and souls?
 
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GymWolf

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i think the story was its biggest problem, too much exposition and relayed in ways too confusing.

I didn't mind all the exposition or discussions surrounding the pseudo-politics we'd see in MGSs, it was done well enough. For discussions on fictional science to work, it needs to be grounded enough in reality that we may think "yeah, that might actually happen in the future", which definitely didn't apply for a large scale space time catastrophical event involving... dead bodies and souls?
Yep, story was utter shit and cringe, and characters pails in comparison with kojima past best characters.

Also the game was a cakewalk, combat was shit tier and it has a multitude of half baked mechanics.

Also driving vehicles was probably designed for people destinated to hell.

Best thing was the sense of progression by unlocking all the gadgets and i guess building stuff with people online for who is into that stuff.
 
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Shubh_C63

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A grindy game for me is among the best games if they nail the setting/atmosphere, which is without a doubt one of most important thing for me.

Even though I come down hard on DS, I can't help but miss my time with it. I remember when I got addicted to Clicker Heroes. Bad memories.
 

Matt_Fox

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As others above have wisely said pace is not the issue.

I've just played Call Of Duty: Vanguard's campaign and sections of it are ADHD and throw the kitchen sink at you... and yet they're rather boring because you're enforced to follow a linear path behind an NPC.

Player agency and incentives to progress are what counts. Not pace.
 
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WitchHunter

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rpgs are dead slow too, some even force you to read a shitton of text about nothing, like what the king has eaten before he went to take a dump. Where he realized that it was a mistake not to dump some hot water in the hole first, since an assassin - up to his neck in shit - was waiting for him to thrust his spear right where it hurts the most.
 

Deerock71

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My gaming tastes have changed immensely over the years. I used to think fast was the way to go; I still have my retro t-shirt I won as a top-8 finisher in Unreal Tornament (DAMN YOU, GEZ AHHH!!!) on the Dreamcast. But now I'm gravitating towards visual novels and JRPGs, because they DON'T rely on lizard-brain twitchiness.
 

ToTTenTranz

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Loved Death Stranding.
It's only slow-paced if you're not pulling out all the stops on your golden Truck Long Range v3 and obsessively trying to get it where it's not supposed to go.
 
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Once you get all the tools, death stranding becomes a different game. It was really memorable building all those roads and ziplines to make travel as effective and quick as possible. I would love more unique different games like this.
 

Men_in_Boxes

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The pace doesn't matter. People like good games. DS had unique gameplay, an interesting world and resonated with many people, that's all there is to it.

Pace definitely matters.

Doom and Doom Eternal are probably good games. They're also games I would have loved when I was 14.

Today, I have no interest in them because my brain no longer cares if I can place my cursor on enemies really fast. It used to.

Slower paced games likely appeal to an older and less mechanically skilled demographic.
 
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All I know is that I never want to play a game like Death Stranding again. Easily the worst game I ever finished. Worst quests I've ever seen, incredibly drawn out story, nonstop cutscenes, and a 6 hour long ending of having the ENTIRE story rehashed at you by an NPC. It's pretentious Kojima garbage, with a very simplistic message, except people try to act like there's some deep meaning that "you don't understand". Lol
 

TheCockatrice

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I doubt most ppl want more games like Death Standing. That game only sold as much as it did only due to the name behind it. As for other types of slow-paced games, again doubt it. It's a genre suited for indies and once in a while it does not hurt to relax in some of these type of games but more often? That would stupid af. I need more Doom-like, Souls-like games, not less.
 
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k_trout

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i love slow paced less shooty bang bang and I want all my games as good as death stranding, but death stranding for me is like "songs in the key of life" its a unique shining star
don't want any immitators even if its by hideo
 

RoboFu

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I liked that DS wasn’t a shoot a thing. But it didn’t have any substance for me to really get into it.
 

Drizzlehell

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I like a good balance in my selection of games.

I loved Death Stranding specifically because it was slow, atmospheric, and very layered both in terms of gameplay, as well as in its storytelling and lore. But then if the mood strikes, I also like to fire up Doom and fuck some shit up.
 

llOswaldll

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Yes we need a lot more games like this. Big open areas, dynamic biomes for different parts, smaller interactive detials along the path, people and communities you can meet and interact with. Something that really feels like a real, lived in world you're exploring.

The game shoulndt even make you think about fast travel, because the travveling is the game. Its hard to make that work though.
 
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Topher

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Once you get all the tools, death stranding becomes a different game. It was really memorable building all those roads and ziplines to make travel as effective and quick as possible. I would love more unique different games like this.

The first time I played DS I gave up too early. Second time I finally realized that the point of the game wasn't to climb mountains on foot with stacks of cargo on my back. Kind of changed everything.....
 

Majukun

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if you are saying that it's ok to stay more than 40 second without action per se, i agree but i think there are plentyy of other exaamples of this outside of death stranding

if you are talking about staying more than 40 seconds without needing player input or decisions by the player, than it's just plain bad design.