Weekend Question: How many save files do you keep per game?

PCG Jody

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Dec 9, 2019
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I ask the PCG staff a regular Weekend Question and post the answers on the site. If you'd like to throw in an answer here, I'll squeeze the best into the finished article!

This week's question is: How many save files do you keep per game?

When a game lets you maintain separate save files, how many is enough? Do you keep as many profiles as you're allowed, just in case you ever want to go and undo some mistake you didn't even realize you were making back in act one? Do you save over the same file each time for the sake of simplicity and to heck with the consequences? Do you rely purely on autosave like some kind of maniac?
It depends on the game and whether I'm doing a video walkthrough of it. With walkthroughs I tend to copy and relocate the save points for each Mission or Chapter start. Some games have mission restart of course, but Halo Infinite for instance will only restart you to the spot of the mission restart. It will not however put you back to the same weapons and ammo you had. Once you start shooting and picking up weapons, that's what you're teleported back with.

When playing games I'm not capturing, I tend to overwrite saves a lot, unless it's a game that I might want to resort to the prior save due to an unexpected circumstance. Some games take considerable thought on when and where to save, especially higher difficulty modes in games like Resident Evil 7, where you have only so many save slots and so many cassette tapes you can find, which is what you spend on a save. Oddly enough they went away from that in RE Village.

To answer your last question, I try to be as maniacal as I can with games, to the point of challenging myself to no upgrade runs in games like The Evil Within on Akumu, Ghost Recon Wildlands on Extreme, and Halo Infinite on Legendary. My latest was Days Gone on Survival II with no upgrades. Maniacs are like regular people though, they just start twitching a bit when a game becomes too familiar and easy to get through. Nothing pathological I assure you. :LOL:
When it's a free save system, I typically keep 3 saves, with filenames a, b, c. 'a' is typically the start situation in case I want to start over, while 'b' and 'c' are alternate saves later in game, usually for when I quit that session.

If a game has auto saves and/or quick saves, I leave those on too, since it can't hurt.

If it's a stupid console port with only one hidden save slot—eg Ghost Recon Wildlands—then I play until the devs' arrogance annoys me some other way, and stop playing the game.
It primarily depends on which is faster: overwriting the last save or creating a new one. Some games automatically fill in the name for a new save, while others automatically select your last save to overwrite. In the first case, I probably have a hundred saves until I get around to deleting some, which might only happen when my drive gets too full. In the latter case, I'll probably have 3 of them: one primary one, one secondary one I made before a big decision and a third one when there was another big decision but I didn't feel comfortable overwriting the other save for that yet.
I have to admit that I'm an obsessive-compulsive game saver, save-scummer to some, or maybe I'm just evil like @DXCHASE . But my save strategy varies depending upon the game I'm playing.

In games that I mod heavily, like Skyrim or Fallout 4, I make hard saves at least every hour, before and after important events or combat, and absolutely turn off all the autosave options as I've had more game freezes or CTDs from that feature than anything else. I will use quick saves at times, but I don't really depend on them. I also backup my save files to a separated storage drive by moving the older saves and keeping my current save folder smallish, as save file sizes tend to bloat the further you get in the game, with that folder becoming several Gigs in size if I'm not careful. I also never, ever, overwrite hard saves, as I've read too much about getting corrupted saves from overwriting.

Other games that I don't mod, I'm not quite as picky, and will use all the saving options, though I still do hard saves frequently, and backup those save files to a separate drive as well. But I do appreciate it when a game has multiple save slots. The exception to that are ARPGs like Diablo 2 or Grim Dawn, where you get one "save on exit" save slot. I can live with that for those types of games, but I absolute hate games that use a "check point save" system.


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My approach differed in the past. During the first few years of gaming I usually used one or two save files. I wasn't even a fan of quick saves. Relied mostly on manual ones. This changed in time. At first I increased the number of save files to four or five and finally reached a point in which I am in the present day. Right now I rarely overwrite saves. I just decide to make new files almost every time I save manually and, what more, I'm a quick save maniac.

As for the reasons of change... I don't know! It just happened! I rarely load anything older than two most recent save files, so I really don't need so many saves. It has become my habit to create them however. The problem with it is that there's no room in the cloud for bigger ones. So unfortunately I have to delete the older saves in these cases...
If it's a stupid console port with only one hidden save slot—eg Ghost Recon Wildlands—then I play until the devs' arrogance annoys me some other way, and stop playing the game.
What's worse is the game's Mission Restart has some really bad bugs, which at times will not let you complete the mission. You just have to get used to setting aside mission start checkpoints. I only bothered with the mission start checkpoints though, because once I got to know the game well, I could do missions on average in under 10 minutes. In Halo Infinite a mission can take close to an hour, even if you know the game well.

Overall though I thought Ghost Recon Wildlands was a very well made game, a ton better than Breakpoint, and for having such a vast game world with such rugged terrain, it was also play tested terrain wise reasonably well. I rarely got stuck on the terrain, though once in a while one of my squad would take an oddly long break while I was yelling at him to hurry up (I was insisting on waiting for them to get in the vehicles before taking off, when I could). :LOL:
I do whatever takes the least effort. If the game automatically puts me on a new save, and I have to scroll up to get to a previous save, I'm not going to scroll up. I'll just keep saving new saves. If it automatically puts me on the last save, then I'll save over it and only have one save for the entire game. I've been sorry about that a couple of times, but I've never changed my ways. It's just whatever takes the least effort.

I will say that I do save my game pretty frequently, though.
I generally will keep 3 saves. One is called "Temp", and I scum save to that. The other two saves are for when something important has happened or I'm about to log out. These are called just One and Two. For instance, in Xcom, I might save in either One or Two before a mission. During the mission, if I choose to save, I will do it in Temp. Once the mission is over, I save to either One or Two, just depending on whichever one has the oldest data.
Lately I'm playing Race Driver GRID (the original). It's been so long since I last played it I'd forgotten it often has a tendency to not apply settings when exiting the Team Sponsor tab after changing sponsors, then exiting the game. My teammate lost $10,000 a couple times due to my "Finish the race" objective sponsors not being applied. So I tried letting W10 troubleshoot compatibility, set it to the recommended Vista Service Pack 2 compatibility mode, and also set it to run as Administrator just for good measure.

The game also can experience a freeze screen sometimes when clicking Yes to exit game after changing sponsors. I'm not sure if the compat mode will solve anything, but last night I had my worst crash yet while testing it. I got a crash to desktop just before trying to save the last 10 minutes of play via ShadowPlay Instant Replay, which was the 2nd race and replay of a 2 race event. So I had to try the event all over again,. The weird thing is, the event saved as completed and won, something I didn't expect.

What's worse is if you choose the "Quit to Garage" option, there's no way of knowing whether the game will give you the same starting position, or incrementally move you back in the grid each time you quit to garage. When trying to replay the event last night to recapture it, it even put me on a totally different track layout in that city, with a 4 lap race instead of 3. However I've not yet had the problem of the game freezing momentarily at certain points on some tracks, which happened before and why I stopped playing it.


I don't recall whether you said you'd tried this game or not, but if you can get it to work acceptably well for you, it's definitely worth playing.
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PS3. FF14 I had 99 save files, but it basically asked you after every fight. They were painful to delete. worse is max save number was 99 so you start saving over your previous turns. Kind of overkill, don't need so many saves of 1 character.

Guess most I play only have one save file running but I probably have backups of characters saved elsewhere. Many games I play the only way to get another save is to manually copy the character file at that lvl so i can copy it back in again if I need it. So sacred 2 I have 4 copies of the folder directory saved on Onedrive.

Now I thought question was about how many characters do you play but I guess most games don't give you a lot of choice. Depends what type of rpg it is. I hate being restricted to a certain number of characters, Diablo 2 lets me have as many as I like, Diablo 3 not so much. 2 of each at most. Sigh. I hate boundaries like that. But then they changed skills in that game so anyone can do anything... no re playability really. rush to end game... is this wow?