The Narrative Fetch Quest Problem

After playing through Yakuza Kiwami 1, and finding it fairly disappointing, I started thinking about why I enjoyed the story of Yakuza 0 so much more than that of its sequel. Among other things, one of the problems with Yiwami was its pacing, an issue brought to the forefront by video game contrivance which I’ll call the narrative fetch quest problem. In short I would describe this phenomenon as when an NPC blocks your progress in the main quest line through forcing you to find some sort of MacGuffin, or holds back information until you help them. More broadly, I would also lump in any mission in which you must help a character do something that doesn’t tangentially relate to completing your overall goal. An unfortunately hefty percentage of video game plot relies on this formula, and while it can be done right at times, it mostly results in a bunch of poorly plotted stories.

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