Large open-world games make for a fantastic gaming experience. Players get to explore a huge world filled with side quests, random events and lots of secrets to discover. Exploring areas for the first time can be a lot of fun for people. Over time, the journey between two locations become quite boring. You have seen all there is to see and you are sick of it now. This is where the fast travel game mechanic fits into the mix.
Fast travel is a game mechanic that is used in many different game genres but is most common in open-world RPGs. The feature was often considered “teleportation” in older games, but in recent times the mechanic has been dressed up in a way that makes it feel more natural for the game.
Traditional Fast Travel Mechanics
In the past, lots of games would allow the player to select a location on the map and it would trigger a load screen. Once the load was finished, the player would be at the fast travel point for the location they selected. This feature was good, but it often resulted in people missing the full experience of a world.
Fully open fast travel often meant a player would fast travel to the nearest location to the quest marker. You could pick up a quest in the middle of the woods, see the quest marker halfway across the map. Why walk, when you can just teleport 90% of the way and walk the rest. This is useful at times, but modern games tend to discourage gamers to behave this way.
Modern Fast Travel Mechanics
While there are games that still allow fast travel on-demand, there has been a stronger push toward strict fast travel locations. In a Sci-Fi game, you might need to travel to the teleporter in the main city before you could fast travel. A fantasy game may push you to find the nearest horse and carriage service before you can travel to a location.
If you are in city A and need to go to city B, using the horse and cart to get there makes perfect sense and saves you making a trip you have made in the past. If you are out in the woods, a long walk from the nearest fast travel point, you might be better off making the walk to the quest location.
It might seem like this is a bit of a pain, but it is a very clever idea and has done a lot to improve the experience and feeling of exploration for open-world games. The shortcut you take from the woods to the quest marker will be one you have never made before. This gives you room to find lots of secrets and new experiences along the way