I have a game that consists of players making moves in turn, on a single console (Xbox 360).

Up to 16 players can play in one game. The xbox can have up to 4 controllers associated/connected to one console, so the idea is that players choose the controller to use, and then swap them around.

e.g. If I wanted to play a 4 player game on a console and only had 2 controllers then players 1 and 3 could use controller 1, and players 2 and 4 could use controller 2.

Note that the game is turn based and so "pausing" doesn't do anything game-related, it just brings up a menu to restart or quit. Nothing bad would happen to the player if they instead just didn't make a move for a while, rather than paused and unpaused. SO the currently active player doesn't necessarily need access to the pause menu.

So, my question is, which controller should be able to bring up this pause menu to restart / quit the game?

My options:

  1. Only the controller of the currently active player.
  2. Only the controller of the player who started the game.
  3. Only the controller of the currently active player if that player is the one who started the game.
  4. Any controller assigned to a player at the start of the game.
  5. Any controller assigned to a player still alive in the game.
  6. Any controller.

TL;DR: In a local multiplayer game where one controller is active at a time and another (possibly different) controller started the game, who gets to control restarting / quitting the game in progress?

3 Answers 3


Only the currently active player should be able to pause the game, to prevent any other people interfering with their turn.

If quitting brings up a menu that can interrupt the player whose turn it is, then only the currently active player should be able to quit the game. If that isn't the case, then any player should be able to quit the game.

What is important here is that when a player quits the game, they don't quit the game for everyone. They only get to quit the game for themselves. So to really quit the game, all the players have to quit. Especially in longer games, it's common for someone to want to leave before the game is finished, and so the game mechanics should allow this.


I would say the controller of the currently active player - all of the other players are 'paused' anyway.

Also, when Bob is about to cream Joe, Jane and John, it means that Joe, Jane and John can't rage quit as easily - or make it a pain for Bob to win by constantly bringing up the pause menu.


Pausing should be in the hand of the active player.

Depending on the type of game you might or might not want to allow the player to quit during someone else's turn.

  • It helps in notifying the current person if he needs to change his strategy based on that decision, rather than taking all the measures only to find out that his target quit.

  • However, if you are designing something which has the mechanic of you forcing others to quit, like poker, it makes sense to allow the player to quit only during their turn.

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