What Does Softlock and Hardlock Mean in Video Games?

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What Does Softlock and Hardlock Mean in Video Games?

You’ve undoubtedly heard the words softlock and hardlock if you’ve spent any time playing games or surfing the internet. Both words are plain and simple to comprehend, yet they are unlikely to be found in a dictionary. But don’t worry; here’s all you need to know.

What Is a Softlock?

A Softlock is a condition in video games in which the player becomes trapped at a certain location inside the game. This indicates that the player can’t keep moving ahead or backward and is unable to stop it. However, the game is still playable at its core.

You get softlocked when you are unable to return to a prior safe state in the game and are also unable to make progress. It frequently occurs as a result of a game bug or the old dependable lousy game design.

For example, suppose you save shortly before dying in a game, and every time you come back to life, you inevitably die again, making advancement almost impossible. The game is technically still playable, but you’re pretty much trapped.

What’s a Hardlock?

A hardlock, on the other hand, is more severe than a softlock. This happens when a game gets locked and unresponsive due to a bug. A hardlock might be so severe that it renders it difficult to continue playing a game.

That is, no matter what you do, you will be unable to continue playing on the same saved file and will have to begin a new one.

A Great Softlock and Hardlock Example

Both words have been more prominent in the previous decades, however there have been softlock and hardlock concerns in video games from the retro gaming period.

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Even in more current games, there are innumerable instances of softlocks and hardlocks.

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For instance, there’s the risk of becoming hardlocked at the Gym in Snowpoint City in the Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shinning Pearl games. If you solve the Gym task incorrectly, you might be caught in between the snowballs.

Surprisingly, depending on your scenario, the problem might be classified as a softlock or a hardlock. You might rapidly return to a prior point if you saved before that point. However, if you have autosave enabled and the game is saved while you are stuck, you are effectively hardlocked.

What Are the Main Differences Between Softlock and Hardlock?

As previously stated, a softlock is only an annoyance, however a hardlock might potentially corrupt your save file.

You generally get out of a softlock by going to a previous save state, quitting a level, or entirely resetting your console, depending on the game. The same thing would happen if you played a game in an emulator.

With a hardlock, however, even resetting your console will not ensure that the issue will be resolved. Because the problem may be game-breaking, you may need to erase your save file and restart from the beginning.

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Another significant distinction is that softlocks might occur as a result of a bug, poor game design, or a lack of adequate game testing. A hardlock, on the other hand, is usually caused by a bug. It’s also conceivable that the player discovers and exploits a bug that hardlocks their games when they attempt to utilize it.

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Hardlocks are less frequent than softlocks, but they are more lethal. So, even if you receive a softlock in a game, it’s still preferable than getting hardlocked.

Now You Know What Hardlock and Softlock Means

You must be cautious about both softlocks and hardlocks, whether you are a serious or casual player. Softlocks, although more controllable, may be rather irritating. Just keep your save files available in case anything goes wrong. You should think about backing up your game saves.

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