Fancy skipping straight to the last level of Black Ops 3’s campaign? That’s not going to be a problem.
The game’s director of campaign and Zombies mode Jason Blundell has told Eurogamer that the title’s entire campaign will be accessible from the start.
"It gives them the flexibility to consume the content how they want," Blundell said. "The unlocking level system is an archaic mentality we’ve had since we did bedroom development back in the day – you do this, then go on to the next one.
"Consumers and game players in general are far more mature these days. There are so many things vying for our interests today. It’s about, how do they want to consume it? Maybe they put it down on level two, and then they’re in work the next day, and some guy says, ‘dude, you’ve got to check out level four!’ And he’s like, ‘okay, I’ll have a quick look.’ That’s totally fine. I think it’s their choice."
Of course, this more or less guarantees social media spoilers for those who wish to play the campaign in a more traditional way, but Blundell points out that this is rarely a problem for other media.
When Netflix release House of Cards and do all the episodes, does everyone just jump to the end and go and play the last episode? Sure you can. But it’s about the journey, though, right?” he added. "Sure, people will jump on and play the last level. Okay. Cool. That’s up to them.”
This is far from a new concept. Discussions about accessible content have been around for as long as consoles have. Games are relatively unique in locking away content. After all, what other mediums command such a high price point, only to – traditionally at least – prevent owners from accessing much of it until they’ve successfully proved their skill by passing a level and progressing through the game?
How many people paid full price for Dark Souls but only experienced the tiniest fraction of the content because they couldn’t defeat the Asylum Demon? Or failed to even access the main mode in Driver because they couldn’t pass the opening driving test? On the other hand, plenty would argue that this is precisely the appeal of games. Perhaps, however, the time has come for games to make more effort to appeal to both sides of this divide.