Fast travel is a contentious issue within open world games. Make it too easy, and you risk trivializing the world; make it too hard, and players may find travel tedious. Weighing in on the debate, Dragon’s Dogma 2 director Hideaki Itsuno explained why he is keen to avoid the former, preferring that players travel normally and experience the world around them.

“Just give it a try. Travel is boring? That’s not true. It’s only an issue because your game is boring. All you have to do is make travel fun,” Itsuno told IGN in a new interview, part of our the exclusive month-long IGN First coverage of Dragon’s Dogma 2. “That’s why you place things in the right location for players to discover, or come up with enemy appearance methods that create different experiences each time, or force players into blind situations where they don’t know whether it’s safe or not ten meters in front of them.”

You never know what you're doing to run into in Dragon's Dogma 2.
You never know what you’re doing to run into in Dragon’s Dogma 2.

“We’ve put a lot of work into designing a game where you can stumble across someone and something will happen, so while it’s fine if it does have fast travel, we decided to design the kind of map where players will make the decision for themselves to travel by bike or on foot in order to enjoy the journey.”

Dragon’s Dogma 2 and its predecessor are unique in that they don’t allow unrestricted fast travel. Both games require expensive and rare Ferrystones to teleport to designated Port Crystals. Dragon’s Dogma 2 also adds Oxcarts that allow travel only along specific paths, with the caveat that you may be ambushed along those routes.

In adding the Oxcarts, Itsuno says the goal wasn’t to make a “simple method of safe transportation.” Instead, he sees it as an additive way to build out Dragon’s Dogma 2’s world.

Travel is boring? That’s not true. It’s only an issue because your game is boring

“While riding one, you might find the path blocked by goblins and have no choice but to get off and join the battle. Then as you do, a Griffin might swoop in and destroy the entire cart with one blow, forcing you to walk the rest of the way while cursing its name,” Itsuno explains. “But none of that has been set up by us in advance. Instead, Griffins naturally have an inclination toward attacking cows they discover as they move, and these pieces all just happen to work together to naturally create the situation. So yes, an oxcart ride in this world may be cheap, but a lot can come as a result of that cheapness. I think that’s the kind of world we’ve managed to create.”

Kento Kinoshita, who was a key developer of the original Dragon’s Dogma, throws out a few more examples designed to reveal how reactive the sequel’s world can be. “Say you were trying to cross a bridge, but some goblin went and destroyed it. So then you decide to walk along a different path, only to run into a peddler who’s on some task who you can buy from, or save, or who has a camp where you can regroup. When I say the game gives players a lot of space to think for themselves, this is what I mean.”

Fast travel has been criticized in other games for essentially turning open worlds into a series of loading screens. As a result, some games have sought to approach the feature differently, or even do away with it entirely only to bring it back for a sequel. Itsuno does say that he ultimately likes fast travel as a feature, saying “it’s convenient and it’s good.” However, he also feels that distance is an important part of Dragon’s Dogma 2, which is why the team ultimately opted to restrict fast travel.

Kinoshita adds, “I guess we wanted there to be a cost to shortening a long distance. In a way, that strongly mirrors the real world too. There are a lot of rules in real life that are needed to make a system possible, and ignoring those rules makes things seem less realistic, or less valuable.”

We’ll see how Dragon’s Dogma 2’s unique approach to fast travel pans out when it releases on March 22 on PS5, PC, and Xbox Series X|S. In the meantime, check out our ongoing IGN First coverage, including our in-depth look at the character creator and more.

Kat Bailey is IGN’s News Director as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.



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