Video game Christmas events come in all kinds of flavors. Some are sweet and savory, dripping in fun and Christmas cheer. Others though…others are bland and chalky, putting forth the barest effort and only marginally acknowledging that there’s something to celebrate. While there’s definitely no single recipe for a great Christmas event, I believe there are a few things developers can always do to make their events into something special and memorable.
The first and easiest ingredient on this list, snow is essential for any good Christmas event. Now snow may not necessarily be the norm for everyone during Christmas time, but it’s something that’s attached to the holiday all the same. Give some snow to run around in and admire! Let it cover everything! Better yet, follow Animal Crossing’s example and let us build snowmen and craft decorations /furniture from it!
Give Players Something Special To Do
Decorations are a great start, but video game Christmas event can’t feel special without something special to do. I mean something really special too, not just a one-off, busywork questline. I want something like what Destiny 1 did for The Dawning event, where, in addition to snow, players got Sparrow Racing League! It was an awesome break from the Destiny norm, and a great way to make the The Dawning feel like something truly special. (Bungie hasn’t seen fit to bring it back for even one Dawning since Destiny 2 released, and I’m still low-key salty about that.)
Another gimme needed for any good Christmas event! Let us give presents to our favorite NPC’s. Destiny 2 still lets players do this, but it’s still lacking the charm of its predecessor. There’s barely any reaction at all on the part of the NPCs! Once again, Animal Crossing sets the example here. It gives us a whole day going around and making our villagers shine with happiness and good cheer. Generous villagers also make Jingle the Reindeer super happy too, gaining fun presents for doing so. It’s all just a game, but I have to say that giving presents to my virtual neighbors really makes me feel good all the same. (Wish I could do the same for my real neighbors. 😦 )
Lay on a Thick Layer of Christmas Spirit!
This is sort of a combination of all three things I already mentioned, plus extras like decorations and background music. While a Christmas event is going on, the in-game world needs to feel very different from its everyday state. It needs to feel happier, festive, and a whole lot more cheerful than normal. It needs to leave a distinct impression in the minds of its players, giving them a fun memory to look back on as well as good expectations for future Christmas events. Such things may not always be cost-effective, but they do wonders for showing us players that developers do, in fact, care about us and our experience with their game. It’s the perfect opportunity to show us that, actually.
What do you think makes a great Christmas event? What are some of your favorite events?
Lede image from the Destiny: Rise of Iron – The Dawning trailer.