What aspects of Bound are most helpful for speedrunners?
The speedrun mode has the best built-in timer I’ve ever seen in a game. It pauses on loading times, has individual level splits, and can be hidden at any point. Records are often determined by ‘real time attack’, but this can lead to improper comparisons of runs due to different gaming hardware. Having an accurate in-game timer not only makes comparisons between runners easier, but also takes away from the distraction of using a separate timing program and manually hitting your splits.
Does seeing a game that’s clearly ‘built for speed’ ever take some of the fun, or extra challenge, out of speedrunning it?
Whether a game is built for speed or not, the mechanics are what make or break it. If a speedrunner is dedicated enough to running and trying to break a game, they are bound to find something useful for a run, however small it may seem at first. There can be plenty of things that make a speedrun route more enjoyable than the devs intended. A developer can become too focused on what they see as unintended or harmful exploits to a game’s core experience. It can feel very punishing when an exploit appears to have only been patched out of a game for the sake of a developer appearing more professional with their work.
But Plastic has been surprisingly open. A few skips the community found really broke some of the levels. Plastic not only allowed those skips to remain in-game, but some were actually added to the intended list of shortcuts. This kind of thing is unheard of. This game is honestly a very odd case when it comes to speedrunning, and I’ve grown to appreciate how unique it is.
But no matter the quality of your game, speedrunning isn’t something that can be forced. It’s the little bits of polish that are inobtrusive to movement that keep runners from losing interest over time. There is a mystical fine line in the QA process where a game should have most aspects fully tested, but not be so polished as to prevent any exploits or glitches from ever being found. Either that, or developers could always release more games in barely functioning states. I’m sure that could catch runners’ attention.
What do you personally get out of speedrunning a game?
Fluid movement and controls are the defining factor in my enjoyment of a game: speedrunning felt like a natural evolution of wanting to master a game and challenge myself. It allows you to replay a game in ways you never would have thought of before, and it’s a reminder of everything a game can offer. Everyone has their own motivation, but I would say most runners speedrun with the intention of having fun towards a common goal with their community.