Because the story of the game is deep and plays with the players’ emotions, I do not want to break the rhythm of the gameplay. To avoid this, here are some tools:
The Missing Pages
It can be the antique newspapers, war letters or loose notes. The players can find it everywhere and read it at that moment or collect it and read it later. That way is the decision of the players break or not the rhythm. (I use as reference Fallout 76 for this tool).
Gas Mask War has a long and intense story, full of characters with their own stories. But I want an action game, fast and funny. I like the games (like Far Cry) that let the players the freedom to choose if they want to live the story or not. Long cinematics breaks that rhythm. So the flashbacks are a bridge between enjoy the story (without long cinematics) and enjoy the gameplay. (I based in Far Cry 4, Shangri-La Missions).
The players will unlock the Flashback Missions discovering Dove’s Diaries and War Diaries. These have the story of someone and will allow the players to travel into the time to live the story. Instead, to put a long dialog, cinematic or a short story that the players would have to spend the time to read it, I prefer that the players enjoy the story with an intense mission. The players will play the Flashback Missions whenever he wants and how many times he wants.
These missions will not appear on the map. The players will need to find the Diary first and then this will be unlocked one of the characters in the game menu (his Diary). Something like this:
(I based this menu design in the character selection menus of the fighting games like Mortal Kombat)
Skip VS No Skip
The players will have the option to skip the cinematics. I think this is necessary for all the players that do not care about the story, only want the mission to get the reward and continue with the action.
If the players skip the cinematic, they will lose the story but will conserve the important information for the mission in the game menu (his Diary).
NPCs Dialog Skip VS No Skip
When the NPCs talk automatically with the players, those can ignore them and keep walking or shoot them or whatever they think is better for do not hear them.
In the conversations started by the players, like before a mission or to get some information, the players can skip the NPCs dialog keep pressing a button on the controller (for example E in a keyboard). Doing this the players will skip all the conversation. When the conversation was about a mission, the players can see the lost information going to the game menu (his Diary) and searching for the mission. If the conversation was to get more information about the story the players will lose it.
For encourage the players to live the story and do not skip the conversations or the cinematics, I think is a great idea to add rewards. These rewards can be XP points, money, skins for something or charms. (I use as reference the click and point games that have achievements for do not skip the movies or the dialogs and find all the collectibles in the game. In this case, the missing notes).
- Reward to talk with all the NPCs.
- Reward for do not skip any dialog.
- Reward for do not skip any cinematic.
- Reward to find the different types of Missing Pages.