There’s no hiding the fact that developers like to cram some seriously pointless filler content into their work sometimes. It’s almost like second nature, trying to bulk out the journey and, as a result, linger on the possibility of receiving more paying customers. And yet, history has proven that filler content and pointless quests just don’t make up for a good experience. It spoils it awfully, and, effectively tarnishes everything the heart of the game aspires to be. And that’s a shame.
More often than not, 99.9% of a video game can be made up of solid narrative and genuinely compelling character progression. But should the devs decide to fill that minor 0.01% with something completely unnecessary, then suddenly it becomes a debate on whether or not the designers just got lazy. But that’s a poxy 0.01%. It’s minor in comparison to some of the other titles out there, with some essentially building their worlds from filler alone. And as for these missions well — we can all agree that the devs were pushing their luck when constructing them.
5. Recovery Missions (Grand Theft Auto V)
There comes a point in every developer’s career where the creative juices just stop flowing. Story arcs reach a crossroads, character progression practically grinds to a halt, and everything between just sort of falls flat, leaving the creator to basically come up with a way to put the cogs back in motion. And that’s just something we can’t really help. It happens to the best of us. Even Rockstar, who have been known to nest a few questionable missions in their works. Even they resort to pointless filler just to get them through the day every now and then.
Saying all that, with an open world like San Andreas, you’d think the talented team behind the storyboard couldn’t possibly struggle to construct a compelling narrative. And yet, there we were, driving a recovery vehicle around for good ‘ol Tonya Wiggins, wondering where on earth it all went wrong. Not once, not twice — but five separate occasions, all of which featured the same mind-numbing conversations and monotonous gameplay. And as for Tonya, well, let’s just say our developed muscle memory eventually knew how to reject any incoming call that came our way.
4. Flags (Assassin’s Creed)
We all love a collectable, there’s no denying it. We also love a well-deserved achievement or trophy that bolts on to their discovery. But what we don’t love, however, is an unnecessary abundance of collectables, with next to accolade whatsoever. And as far as Assassin’s Creed goes, that’s pretty much their idea of a good time, annoyingly enough. Collect flags and, in turn, receive a slap on the back for our efforts.
We can tolerate a few dozen collectables, providing that the pay-off is worthwhile, of course. But 400 (yes, 400) flags? Now that’s where we draw the line. And, being so drawn out over multiple cities, it’s not as though they formed like breadcrumbs on a trail to success or anything. They just sort of existed, with no actual merit to bolster them whatsoever. So, thanks for that Ubisoft.
3. Riddler Trophies (Batman: Arkham Knight)
Putting yourself in The Dark Knight’s loyal boots, you’d probably do anything in order to capture the bad guy and return peace to the streets of Gotham. But even then, you’d probably have to draw the line somewhere, and essentially throw in the towel as and when the threshold was crossed. Like the Riddler, for example. Now there’s a foe that honestly does not understand personal boundaries.
If you thought collecting 400 flags in Assassins Creed was a nightmare — just wait ’til you get a load of the 243 Riddler trophies. “Only 243,” you say? Well, did I forget to mention that, in order to go toe-to-toe with the sneaky so-and-so, you’ll also have to destroy every breakable object, disband every bomb rioter unit and solve all the scattered puzzles? Do that, of course, and you’ll have the chance to confront the guy. For about three minutes. Then it’s back to Gotham with you, thanks for playing.
2. Korok Seeds (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)
Now then *inhales profusely*, if you thought collecting 400 flags was a tad overwhelming, and unearthing 243 Riddler flags was a massive chore — then wait ’til you get a load of the 900 collectable Korok seeds in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Let me tell you, if collecting bits and bobs is your thing — then you are going to absolutely adore this one. And if you hate it, well, ready yourself for what can only be described as a digital nightmare.
Tucked away all over Hyrule are Korok seeds, which can effectively be used to upgrade your inventory slots. Gain enough of them, and you’ll be laughing, with oceans of space to boot. The only thing is, you can pretty much max out your slots after finding about 441 of them. Locating the rest, however, will land you with a novelty gift. A poo-shaped gift to commemorate your friendship with the maraca-playing Hestu, with next to no value whatsoever. Congratulations, you’ve just wasted two weeks of your life. It has to be a metaphor or something, surely?
1. Saving Albion (Fable 3)
One way to effectively flesh out a story and pile in a few extra hours of gameplay, regrettably, is to have players running amok doing ludicrous amounts of labor. Take Fable 3, for example. In order to save all of Albion and keep your promises to its citizens as the king or queen, you’re basically asked to contribute millions of your own gold to the pittance the kingdom already owns. Failing that, then your region will fall into impending doom, burning in embers for all eternity. Of course, that’s all fine and dandy, proving you’re playing an evil character from the get-go. But sticking to the angelic side, however — now that’s one heck of a chore to overcome.
As a way to extend your game (or double it), Fable 3 has you chipping in money to the treasury beneath your kingdom. With a set amount of days to raise the funds, you’re basically left to run aimlessly, scraping whatever coin you can find, be it through an anvil, a lute or a pile of sourdough. Essentially, this was Lionhead’s way of keeping us ticking over for far longer than necessary. Only, with the amount of work that’s asked of you to save Albion, we’d be lying if we said we ended up saving so much as a single cul-de-sac — let alone a city. And for that reason alone, we’ll just say this: be evil. It’s less hassle.
So, do you have any pointless quests that deserve a place on this list? Let us know over on our socials here.