The Must-Have Feature List for All Games

I figure, there are just certain things about games that are universal. I have a few features in mind that I think all games should support, but I figured it might be interested to see what other people think.

I’ll start it off:

-Pausable cutscenes
-Skippable cutscenes
-Subtitles, with options to turn them on/off.
-In game help, in either the form of a thorough tutorial, context sensitivity, or accessible documentation.

(This thread brought to you by pizza showing up in the middle of the intro cutscene to The Witcher, which I missed, and now have to rewatch in order to figure out what the fuck is going on.)

-Save anyplace anytime

Yeah, pausable cutscenes is big and almost never done. Usually you can skip them, but you don’t always want to do that. I think every game should have pausable everything. Yes, it can mess up your great cutscene to have someone pause it, but life happens.


Some games depend on that mechanic to set such things as pacing and challenges. Making sure that save points are no more than 15 minutes of gameplay apart might be more reasonable.

Oh, boy.

All of the stuff Halo 3 does with multiplayer matching and lobbies as well as the replays, map/game type editing, stat tracking and integration of the game with the website is great. I know those features probably take as long to code the first time around as some games do so probably not practical, but I’d love to see all of them show up in, well, everything. Now that I think about it, the game part of Halo 3 was probably my least favorite part, but man all that other stuff was cool.

Oh, and maps you can write on. I loved that in Phantom Hourglass and it would have been great to have in the old Resident Evil games (“OK, now I just need to recheck every room because I can’t remember which one had the statue of a dog and a clown. Good thing there are only 28 rooms and each one has a loading screen attached to it.”)

I’m ok with not having save anywhere as long as the checkpoint/respawn/whatever system is reasonable. I really liked Bioshock’s respawn chambers mostly because there was no loading time. I hate dying, reloading and waiting for the area to load over and over again. I’d even be ok with something like Bioshock but where enemies could respawn when you do, if that makes it feel less “cheap” for people. Just do whatever you have to do so I’m not looking at the loading screen any more than I have to.

-Rock solid Alt-Tab recovery
-Ability to change graphics settings without requiring a restart
-All key/mouse/stick functions can be remapped
-Mouse invert
-Automatic checkpoint saves (independent of whatever manual save system there is)
-Ability to disable the Corporate Sponsers Parade videos at game start

These are mostly for the PC:

  1. Support alt-tab
  2. Allow complete remapping of all controls
  3. Support manual as well as auto patching
  4. Cutscenes, if any, should be done with the game’s engine
  5. Support ironman mode!
  6. Have a mode where save anywhere is enabled and one where it isn’t
  7. Allow for robust modding.
  8. If multiplayer, have coop mode
  9. Keep the system requirements reasonable
  10. Be able to run directly from the CD/DVD (should still support standard installs)
  11. Should auto detect optimum settings for things like graphics and such (player can override)
  12. Allow player to put save game files anywhere they choose
  13. Run fullscreen and in window
  14. Allow recording of gameplay (for movies and such)
  15. If multiplayer, have a spectate mode

-Option to disable boot screens, especially ones that include the letters EA.
-Quit option to return to title screen
-Quit option to return to windows
-Developer designed checkpoints/auto-saves paired with user controlled quicksave option, and manual anywhere save - all neatly organized with their own distinct labels
-Pre-boot display/audio/update/system test/config panel
-No disc check

Oh please let’s not have the save anywhere argument again. Funny I predicted that as soon as I read the threads title. I would like to have at least the option of save anywhere but people seem to insist both systems cannot coexist.
Is ther a technical reason we can’t have pausable cutscenes? Man I would love to have that and can’t think of a game that does. My wife has an amazing habit of starting a conversation right as a meaningful cutscene starts.

Amen. I need a mini-checkpoint before every cutscene, because I never know which key (if any) pauses and which key skips, and so I’m afraid to try and pause a cutscene and then accidentally skip it. I feel like a stupid asshole when my girlfriend starts talking to me and I have to say “Hold up a second! I have to see what this dwarf has to say”.

Hi. :)

Mount&Blade does it.

Or at least it should be disabled after the game’s age exceeds some reasonable threshold.

I’m reasonably confident that both Final Fantasy X and Final Fantasy XII allowed you to pause cutscenes. Since most people point at Final Fantasy games as being the worst offenders in cutscenes, having you be able to pause them is a nice touch.

In other words, “Cutscenes, if any, shouldn’t be allowed to depict anything the game engine isn’t capable of rendering”.

Sounds like a pretty bad idea to me. All the cutscenes that stand out in my memory would have been dreadful if they’d tried to do them in-engine.


-Playable characters should not be any more or less powerful in cut-scenes than they are during actual gameplay.
-If you absolutely must have a fight where you’re meant to lose, depict it in a cutscene and not an actual battle where the player can waste time and items.

No disc check even from the start for multiplayer would be a reasonable request as well, and some games already allow that (CoD4 and Hellgate are the ones I’ve noticed so far).

Okay, now you’re just delving into the Grand List of RPG Cliches.

For older games, I agree with you to some degree, but I think most modern games are up to the challenge.