Hello there people.
Let’s start another discussion. This time about unlockables which are also tied with keys and some other feature or more precisely the lack of it.
Let’s get to the beginning. This is the expansion of some of my thoughts in this topic: I need to talk about Chicken Invaders You can read it. It’s not that bad, I think.
This was the part where we got introduced to the unlockables. It was pretty easy, you complete the game and it unlock something. There were unlocks for beating the game on different difficulty levels but it could use some better explaining or even any explaining at all since it’s quite confusing how many times you need to beat the game. It also had 1 troll unlockable, but it was ok. Honestly unlockables in CI3 couldn’t be even described as grinding. Sure. Beating the game 3 times (2 veteran and 1 ssh) isn’t the most exciting thing in the world, but it was manageable. Or at least it would be if not for some weird gamedev design choice
We needed to return to CI2 to see the root of the problem. You see CI2 introduced the concept of editions. Editions were standalone versions of the original game but with changed textures and music. Them being standalone was nothing especially good or especially bad, because you could just install 1 of them and save your space, but unfortunately due to that (and due to some other weird choice) all of them had different saves. In CI2 it wasn’t a problem since the only thing saves had there was the highscores and the settings configuration so it was just a mild inconvenience.
- CI3 again
Let’s come back to CI3 with our new knowledge. Unlocking everything in CI3 would take you 3x1.5 hours so 4.5 hours. And now multiply it by 3 because the save files are still separate for all editions. And you get 13.5 hours for unlocking everything in every CI3 edition.
- Origin story of the darkest addition
We finally arrived to the main reason this topic started - keys. While it was a good idea to let players decide what to unlock, some of them were much too high and you barely got big numbers of keys from plays. If we take a look at a farming guide we can see that it take ~32 hours at average to unlock everything if you play on SSH. The best result was ~25 hours. It is a massive, and I really mean that - a massive increase in the needed hours from CI3. Even counting all editions the best result is nearly 2 times more (~1.8x). But speaking of editions. Since all episodes are following the formula I noticed (Chicken Invaders X - X special editions) it means that CI4 got 4 special editions. And all of them had different save files. Meaning that you need 128 (4x32) hours to unlock everything in all of the editions. Situation looks a little better in CI5, only because IA didn’t make any new editions for quite some time, but it would also follow the editions formula since the Halloween was introduced and eventually it may have more. But let’s be real and take the current state for calculation. Grinding situation is pretty much exactly the same here so you would need 96 (3x32) hours.
Summing it up CI3, CI4 and CI5 with all their editions would need 237.5 hours
If we include the 2 missing editions from CI5 that we may get in the future we would hit 301.5 hours.
- Google Play Ban
I had some thoughts about google play ban of Chicken Invaders games. I remember reading somewhere that it was because of repetitivity or clones. After all the editions were also available as standalones there. It is essentially the same game just with different music and textures. Maybe this was the reason of that ban. I agree that Google has some questionable decisions often and it could have nothing to do with actual reason but I think it’s a good guess
- Steam DLCs
I wanted to begin by saying that it’s a fresh situation but CI games are there from 2015 which was 7 years ago. On Steam CI editions are not standalones. Technically they are, but you can’t install just them without basic game. So the advantage of saving space doesn’t exist there.
- Solving the current editions grind
While I think recreating CI episodes in CIU to let you play with your current equipment is neat it wouldn’t help the fact that episodes are grindfest and with CI6 it would only get worse. That’s why I think creating a main save profile for all episodes would be the least effort solution to cut needed hours greatly. Adding key multiplier would also help but you still need to start from scratch in every edition.
With main profile you would have access to your progress across all editions for 1 episode. It could store all your stats, settings, unlocked unlockables and highscores. In CI5 it could also store your spaceship customization.
- CI6 in the future
It’s a good time to talk about it before IA starts working on it. Honestly it’s time to stop with standalones in the current form. Advantage of saving space is no longer relevant since most PCs have much more storage space now. That’s why in addition to needing 1 profile for all editions I also suggest to look into ways of implementing it better. Editions are just textures and music replacements . You could make texture packs and music packs which the player could download after buying and then unpack it to the game folder.
- CI6 in the future continued (missing edit)
While the editions separate save files would be solved it doesn’t help with the grindy unlockables that we currently have in episodes. We could rewind to the CI3 way of doing it, but I have something which I believe would be more fun than just beating a game few times. Ofc we don’t know how CI6 would look like and if it even is linear (classic 1.5-2 hours campaign), but this system would work nonetheless.
I suggest that the unlockables should be tied to medals. This way it would be an incentive for the players to actually go for the medals. Ofc this would also mean that you would need to beat the game few times since we have 3 different difficulties (and now in CIU even more), but I doubt it would hit the hours needed for completing the older episodes. In CI6 we would have new medals from CIU but also I hope some new challenges like “getting all medals in one play” from my old topic (Ideas from my old email conversation). With harder medals it would be good if the unlockable is something more than a cosmetic change - maybe new spaceship, maybe some permanent regenerative satellites, hidden weapon? Something fun for suffering.
That’s all folks.
Key collectibles are the creation of a devil and never should have been added + editions need to share the progress across them.
Few questions for InterAction Studios.
- Why did you introduce keys to the CI4?
- Why did you raise required hours to unlock everything by so much?
- Why all editions have different save files?
- Why couldn’t you make editions access the same save files?
Thanks to Orandza and Emerald for providing accurate data because I absolutely didn’t want to waste my time playing the episodes again. There is some limit.