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Topic of the Week: Does it matter to you if you don’t finish a big RPG?

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

Fallout 4’s Far Habor DLC releases tomorrow. Its Maine island is the largest landmass Bethesda have ever produced for an add-on, and in another time, it would have been called an expansion. In a couple of weeks we’ll have The Witcher 3’s Blood and Wine too. Its green new land, Toussaint, rivals Novigrad, Skellige and Velen for size and tops 30 hours. CD Projekt RED planned for less but reportedly got carried away.

We’ve been trying to work out what the best RPG ever made is, but can’t seem to settle on just one.

It’s during months like these that you’re reminded of the jobs you haggled over but didn’t finish; the monsters you didn’t kill, the lost sons you didn’t save. Here’s the question we’re putting to you: how many big RPGs do you actually finish? And if you never did quite see the end of Pillars of Eternity or Divinity: Original Sin, how does that make you feel?

I’ll go first. After 130 hours with Fallout 4, I’ve thoroughly explored 213 locations of 300+. Will I visit them all? Perhaps, but not out of any misguided sense of obligation. I already understand it better than most other games I’ve ever played. Fallout 4 is about violent archeology, like its predecessor – but for once doesn’t leave you with a dead world filled with ‘cleared’ spaces. It’s also a game about rebuilding, and those themes are reflected in its settlements and supply lines.

If I can really know a game, shouldn’t that be the endgame? Rather than completing every last quest Bethesda made to justify the assets and animations they spent years putting together? It’s not about finishing content, surely, but feeling content.

It’s easy to believe otherwise. RPGs are always keen to tell you how much you haven’t done, and that can gnaw at you, make you feel as if you haven’t achieved. Does that bother you?