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Searching for meaning in open worlds: when does filler stop being filler?

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Lulcielid, Dec 6, 2015.

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  1. Lulcielid

    Lulcielid Turk

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    Original thread from GAF but i found it to be an interesting topic to discuss here.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2015
    Wazi the pa likes this.
  2. Wazi the pa

    Wazi the pa Samurai Legend Moderator Site Staff

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    Now this is a discussion topic.

    Lets start by defining what filler is in terms of video games: specific content with the key and sometimes sole reason to just fill up the empty space & simply add up more content to the video game. By doing this, that specific content is not given the same amount of care and focus compared to other content that took a lot of thought in the design and implementation to make that happen which turn leads to that content having imperative reasons for it to exist in the game be it the game design concept, the level designs, enemies etc.

    When coming across with filler content in the game, most common complaints & problems it has from both the consumers and developers is:
    • It gets repetitive
    • No variation
    • It lacks in balance (may vary)
    • Not interesting, unappealing
    • Too easy or too hard
    • Lacks innovation (Seen it in other games or it's been done before)
    One open world game franchise to justify filler content in a game are the Assassin's Creed games. There are three gameplay pillars to every AC game and it's those pillars we take notice especially:
    • Parkour (climbing & jumping)
    • Stealth
    • Combat
    I'll only talk about parkour and stealth as those two stand out the most

    Starting with the pillar of parkour; the pillar that has only evolved in AC2 but almost kept the same for later titles up to AC Syndicate so far. AC3 tried to introduce tree climbing but that was never used for later titles. Though the architectures look different in every AC game or so (thanks to the historical setting), the mechanic of climbing has been kept the same and climb mapping on the buildings to be around the same as well. In this case, what's motivating the player to parkour is different architecture designs(and other aesthetic factors) but in reality, the parkour gameplay hasn't changed at all. Whatever their reason is, all in all this is one example of filler content.

    Stealth has been kept the same as well and because of that, it leads to the same kind of quests in every AC game, your typical:
    • Follow/Stalk this person
    • Run away and go incognito
    The curse of this is because of the AC game's main three pillars that's been kept the same & consistent throughout the franchise. Many AC games have attempted to add more gameplay mechanics to hide the repetition but in return, players are still treated with filler content AKA the same style of objectives and missions. This is solely because nothing of the main gameplay has actually changed or innovated. Thus, you see why many has complained or straight up abandon Assassin's Creed.

    This is how I see "filler" in games.
  3. yum_face

    yum_face Stiltzkin's Apprentice

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    When does filler become fun would be a good way to put this. I like when a game makes filler feel like mesmorizing.
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