Hmm: The End Of Long Games?

By Jim Rossignol on June 18th, 2008 at 11:30 am.


Gamasutra have posted a brief interview with one of our favourite developers-with-beard, Mr Warren Spector. In that interview he talks about the fall of the long game.

“Game costs are going to be $35-40 million, even $100 million, and the expectations are huge. You have to differentiate yourselves. One-hundred hour games are on the way out… How many of you have finished GTA? Two percent, probably. If we’re spending $100 million on a game, we want you to see the last level!”

But do you, the player, care if you don’t see the last level? Aside from the fact that GTA is a really bad example to use in this instance (given that people use it more as a playground than as a story), do we agree with Mr Spector’s statement? Games with huge play-times seem to me to be very much healthy, and staying. Perhaps if anything, as Kieron suggests, it’s actually the middle ground that is being lost. Games are either going to be very short, or endless.

What do you think, interbrain?

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88 Comments »

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  1. Butler` says:

    MMOs are another obvious counter example.

    He makes a fair point, but i don’t think he backed it up very well.

  2. Bananaphone says:

    I’ve got no doubt the cost of development is rising, but I’d tend to agree more with Kieron. If you break something like GTA IV or Oblivion down into just its core missions, how much game is left? 20 hours, give or take? Once you’ve built a huge world – something that, relatively speaking, is not hard with procedural generation – it’s easy to make a game seem massive and never-ending, even if a lot of that is reliant on repeating the same tasks (see: Stalker, any MMO) or asking the player to entertain themselves. Then take a game like Deus Ex, which not only has masses of levels but is also quite complex, and you’re probably looking at a lot more work. How much would DX cost to develop now? A fair amount, I’d imagine.

  3. Feet says:

    I rarely see the end of a game. There comes a moment in a game for me when the mechanics lose their charm, the plot loses, well, the plot or I get distracted by a new shiny thing.

    I’m personally not a completionist. I don’t give a monkeys if I don’t collect all the orbs, complete all the side missions or unlock all the objectives or achievements.

    I’m in it to have fun, when I stop having fun I stop playing. I’m not bothered if I don’t complete it if I stopped having fun. GTA4 is 50% complete. EDF is 60% complete. I didn’t even get close to completing Oblivion.

    My attention span is really quite small. Having said that I don’t enjoy “casual games” all that much either. Short games being defined as just “casual games” is a bit silly (not that anyone here has defined it that way, but just saying).

    Portal was awesome.

  4. Joe says:

    Personally, I don’t care about the length so much as long as the game works well within that space. I like to compare Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and Warrior Within on this point.

    Sands of Time was a short game – maybe 15 hours or so? – but it worked. There was no padding, no filler and the story felt like it was always moving forwards. The characters were always evolving and changing. There were sections where the Prince and Farah were separated and the game felt like it might just be padding things out a bit, but the developer was still using this time to most it could.

    Warrior Within however responded to claims that the first one was too short. It was double the length, with multiple endings. Unfortunately, it also felt a bit fluffed up as the Prince had to spend time going back through previous levels and tackling objectives which were needlessly complex (the two towers, anyone?).

    I like both games, but I prefer SOT purely because the game doesn’t waste my time. A shorter game isn’t always a worse game and as long as developers are using the time in the game to the maximum then I don’t mind if the game is 100+ hours or 12 hours. If the game involves me then I’ll play it to the endand then probably play it again and again. If a game feels loose and full of meaningless sections then it’s lucky if I get halfway through.

  5. Riotpoll says:

    The only recent games I’ve completed are the HL2 episodes (not the 2nd one couldn’t be bothered with the strider bit), Portal, Company of Heroes and its expansion. I think part of the reason I dont finish others is I get bored of the craptastic stories and repetitive gameplay (with no reward) after about 8 or so hours. For a game to be anything over this length it’s going to have to have a really good story/script or rock solid gameplay/very good mp. Not many games achieve this with a short game!

  6. Ian says:

    I’d agree that a game doesn’t have to be about seeing it through.

    Lego Star Wars I did just about everything, because I loved the levels and just about everything it had to offer. Lego Star Wars 2 I didn’t get close to doing everything simply because some aspects of it grated on me after my first run through, and I don’t care enough about 100%-ing games to grind through for the sake of it.

  7. Janek says:

    Certainly I think it’s a valid point with regards to FPS’ and such, particularly where strongly linear/scripted/whatever. Personally I think that’s no bad thing – such a game has to be very good to actually maintain a high level throughout, rather than just padding. Even HL2 suffered quite badly from repetition, and I think it could’ve been stronger if shaved down a few hours. So yeah, short and focused is good.

    Obviously sandbox/strategy/management/MMO/etcetc games are a different kettle of fish, and I’ll happily devote weeks to the likes of Europa Universalis, Eve, Dwarf Fortress and such. Can’t really compare though, they’re a different animal completely.

  8. Dan (WR) says:

    It’s a difficult one. I am a completionist and there have been many times where I’ve ended up resenting long games. In those cases it’s usually because playtime is being artifically padded out with filler. RPGs are usually the worst culprits – by the end of any JRPG that I’ve ever played I usually end up with Blepharospasm. Most recently GTAIV has plummeted in my estimation because of what I regard as pointless filler material.

    I suppose the obvious answer is not to do things like sidequests… but… they’re there.

    I’m usually happy with anywhere between 7-10 hours of play. Anything less and I feel ripped off. Anything more and the game had better be doing something new and interesting with its time – whether that’s plot and character development, or the introduction of new gameplay elements.

  9. cliffski says:

    I’ve played games since pong, and only ‘finished’ about four. I tend to prefer sandbox and freeform games anyway, so I don’t understand this concept of a games ‘length’.
    COD 4 was about the right length to me. Any longer than that and I just can’t be bothered, it gets repetitive and predictable beyond that.
    No game should ever let the player get ‘stuck’. that’s crap design. If I’m making my 22rd attempt to storm the beaches at normandy, the game needs to learn to ease up on the difficulty a bit, and ALL games should support changing the difficulty level mid game, or at least per mission.

  10. grumpy says:

    In a lot of games, I don’t care about the last level. They used the same justification for making Deus Ex 2 shorter, and I thought it was silly back then as well. If I have fun with a game for 30 hours, then who cares if I missed out on the last 20? I bought the game, I got a lot of fun out of it, I’m happy.
    Would I be better off if the last 20 hours didn’t even *exist*?

    If anything, I think the route taken by Alone in the Dark is much more sensible. Don’t make the game shorter, just split it up into smaller sequences, and let the player play *any* of them. If you want me to see the last level, then why do you force me to play the first 30 levels first?
    Allow me to skip levels 8, 17 and 24, which were boring and difficult, and which I hated. And then give me a summary at the start of the next “episode”, telling me what I missed.

    If you want players to experience your entire game, that’s what you should do. Not just chop off two thirds of the game and pretend you’re doing everyone a favor.

  11. NegativeZero says:

    I regularly play RPGs – my favourite genre – and I have *never* used up 100 hours on a single run through a game.

    Personally I think there’s always going to be a niche for long and involved games just as there’s always going to be a niche for short two-minute diversions.

  12. Frosty840 says:

    I think you pretty much say it yourself, Jim, with “Games are either going to be very short, or endless”.
    If you take endlessness out of the equation, since endlessness is actually something created by the player, not the developers (the devs are rather responsible for the potential for endlessness), then you’re left with the fact that most games with unrepeated content (i.e. games that have levels and a story, but no playground; GTA has story and a playground, but no hard-edged levels) are going to be very short.

    Or something like that.

  13. Lp says:

    Does he really believes people is spending 65 € only to complete 20 missions on a sandbox game? Does he thinks that great or complex storys last 7 hours of game? Does he thinks that shooting soldiers or causing all the destruction you can for 65 bucks are the only possible fun in the industry?
    IS HE REALLY A GAME DEVELOPER? Or lives underneath a rock?

    I would (or wouldn’t) like to see a sucessful jRPG or cRPG with 10 hours of play please. Or a shorter version of Half-Life, since the speed run takes too much long. Or, since you’re on it, an MMO with fixed and unchangeable content, that wouldn’t take too much long to explore. See, I am gamer, but i don’t have the time or the will of power to play games, so, if you could save all the cutscenes in a game with 2 hours of gameplay, I would apreciate it. Sam & Max just takes me so much time…

    No, really. He may have a point, but, besides being poorly ilustrated, he doesn’t seem to have been thinking on that properly. The wave of casual games is a fact, but also it is a fact that gamers are not satisfied with that at all. Shorter games would mean smaller investments, but with the prices still at the same rate, why simply not giving a choice to the player? Let him decide if he really wishes to complete all that there is to complete, or if he just wants to see the ending (overrated – what is significant for the experience is the path, not the crossline), or even if he does not want to finish the game at all. Now, cutting the power of decision of the player is something that shouldn’t be done. You make the games, we decide how to play them; and that’s how it is, how it has been and how it should ever be.

    Shortening the games just because you THINK we want to see the ending is a poor fascist act.

    Power to the plpz B)

  14. ascagnel says:

    @Riotpoll: Aww you didn’t finish the end sequence of HL2:E2? That was my favorite set-piece in all of Half-Life. For once, the game opened up and let you tackle everything on your own. I’ve played through it ~5 times and I still keep finding better, and more efficient ways, to beat it. Also, it’s not so hard as to stall all progress. I had a GF play that part on easy, and despite never playing a PC FPS before, she got it on the first try.

  15. cliffski says:

    wow. so making shorter games is now fascism?
    i think thats a tad harsh.

  16. Lu-Tze says:

    I’ve started commenting on this about 5 times, and I can’t make anything coherent because Spector has just spoken complete rubbish.

    At the end of the say, suck it up Spector. If people don’t see the wonderful thing you designed TOUGH. If only 2% of people are finishing your game then it’s either because the mechanic became old, the plot jumped the shark or something better came along before your story finished. That’s not to say you can’t have a long game, that’s just you failing at keeping my interest for that long.

    I’d say probably 2% of people ever finished a lot of the retro hard as nails console, but they put in hundreds of hours trying to get there.

  17. Butler` says:

    COD4 and Portal are both very topical.

    COD4 was an absolutely spot on length, but i still don’t think it would have been as well received if it wasn’t for the superb multiplayer component beefing up its longevity.

    Personally, I think Portal’s short length let it down, along with a lack of replayability i.e. I competed it once in a couple of hours and would never go back.

  18. AbyssUK says:

    I like the idea of episodic gaming.. that’ll hold my interest.. i watch one episode of lost then have a whole week to think about the next episode. Nobody has done episodic gaming correctly yet! Half life 2 – ep1 and ep2 would have been great if there were released only a month apart!. How can TV get it so right and then the gaming people just ignore it.

    Episodic gaming also opens the doors for pilot episodes and great franchises can be focused on while others can be retired. So instead of charging 100million for a single 50hr long game make one 5-6 hr long game for 10mil .. if it does well make the other episodes.. then if the series is a hit do another series.. this isn’t rocket science.

  19. Simon says:

    The equation of cost versus playtime comes into play for tight-asses like myself, especially considering games here in Aus have been $110+ for a while now – I like value for money!

    Saying that, as many of you are long-term gamers like myself there must be many games that you’ve never completed (and probably in hindsight you’ve regretted not finishing, but load them up today and you’ll be wiping spew off your monitor – I never finished The Hobbit on the speccy for example, or The Lords of Midnight).

    Anyway, if a game is a cheapy I tend not to bother with it – I like immersion. If I’m forking over the equivalent of half my rent per week then I damn well expect to be entertained. And that means high production values, replayability and longevity. You don’t got it, I don’t buy it.

  20. James G says:

    Its interesting that while the scope of Oblivion is something that garners it a lot of praise, I have a feeling that the sheer size of it is what resulted in my negative feelings for the game. There came a point where I was tired with the mechanic, and felt the game was becomeing repetitive, when I decided to clamp down and finish the main quest. I then completed it, and decided to trade in, pick up whatever it was that I decided to play next, and then return to the game later when it was below my trade in price and the mod scene would be healthier.

    So here I am with an overall negative perception of Oblivion. However the last save with my main character is clocked at 66h, and thats not to mention the playing arround with other characters, and the times I forgot to save and the like. So probably 80h, a hell of a lot of time to invest in a game that I claim I didn’t like, is it any wonder than I began to tire of the mechanic.

    Length is only as good for as long as the game continues to be interesting. Stretch something out too long, and even the best games will begin to loose their lustre. Don’t get be wrong, I loved the sheer scale of the Baldur’s Gate series, but even in that there were times when I was playing just to move on.

  21. Mman says:

    I’ve become more tolerating of short games recently because it tends to be the norm, but it seems like the “short is less filler” thing doesn’t hold up a lot of the time; I’ve played many (mostly good) sub-10 hours games with as much relative “filler” as 15-20 hour games (and for that matter, some of the greatest games are at least 15 hours and have almost no filler at all)

    Quite a bit of the time making a game short seems more like a failure of imagination on the part of the designer, or part of a crippling development time-limit, rather than an attempt at a better experience. Although there are of course exceptions, like the HL2 episodes and Portal.

  22. Al3xand3r says:

    Well, when you fail making long games (deus ex: invisible war) it’s obvious you will try to say the problem is with long games instead of yourself. Go back to your cave Warren, we don’t need your kind here.

    I have nothing against short games, Call of Duty 4 and Portal and Lost Winds all were as worthy and epic as any long game of their kind. But I’d still probably play a worthy Deus Ex sequel before I tried a COD5 or a new long 2D Castlevania or 3D Mario game over a new Lost Winds. Random examples of similar styled games here. Also, what adventure fan wouldn’t prefer an epic adventure of the Riven or Syberia or Dracula or The Longest Journey caliber over a single episode of Sam and Max?

    What he’s saying is like, oh no, movies costs many billions of dollars these days, we can only afford making short stuff like

    Game costs are bloated by other factors, not just the actual development, but every idiot only wants to hinder just that and not touch the other factors at all.

    Thank God not everyone thinks like that…

  23. Rook says:

    Portal has loads of extra’s added into to it that if you really enjoyed those 3 hours and wanted more, you can play around with minimum portals, fewest steps, advanced versions etc. There’s also the commentry track which is worth going through.

    I’d much rather have a game I’d like to run through twice, than a game padded to twice the length.

  24. Jon says:

    I think I can list the number of games I’ve actually finished on one hand, let’s see:
    Portal
    Red Alert 2

    And ummmm, yeah, that’s it I think. I never finished Majora’s Mask or either of the first GTAs or Max Payne or Bioshock or Stalker and I’ve not finished Peggle yet.

    Maybe games are too long….

  25. Al3xand3r says:

    Ignore my previous comment’s rant about movies, I tried removing it but didn’t catch all of it and I can’t edit it anymore.

    Rook: Yes, but we’re all talking about good games here, not a crap long game with a few brilliant moments in the mix, versus an expertly crafted short game.

    If we put quality as a factor for the general “short vs long” debate then we’d have to accept that both the short and the long game are great from start to finish, since that’s very well possible.

    If these weren’t the terms we discuss on then I could easily say I’d rather play a good long game than a shitty short game which would obviously be a true statement but a silly one to make for a debate like this…

    Jon: Or maybe your attention span is not up to par so you should stick to shorter games as a personal preference. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t make longer games at all. Also, Max Payne wasn’t a long game.

  26. Lp says:

    @cliffski:
    No, what is fascist is get in the pocket of the gamer without let him know, and not giving any kind of choice on how to play the game. But yeah, I agree that it was a tad harsh.

    @James G:
    In response of what you said, I too have a pessimistic perception of Oblivion, in reality, I hate the game. Hate the very concept and design of the game. But why? Why do I hate the game when I too have many hours spent on it? I hate the game because of that: It was a waste of my time; a wasted of every gamer’s time. The game is not original and is not even entertaining. Somehow, they made a renowed RPG series’ name a complete failed sandbox, and I am not telling this as an hardcore RPG player, but as a person. The game just kept making the same and useless quests/requests just to gain some kind of longevity and experience, when, ironicaly, the game scaled itself around according to the player’s level, which is absurd for a game that supposedly harness the player through exp, but, turning the table around again, if that same exp is useless, why bother, anyway? That is why the game is a complete waste of time and breeths hardwork all over. This is why I hate the game. This and the fact that it sucks in almost every aspect, but okay, that depends on the player, I guess.

  27. Al3xand3r says:

    Oblivion was just a shit game that once you visit a single cavern, a single dungeon and a single oblivion gate you’ve seen everything it has to offer and it’s really not offered anything great or varied in there anyway. It says nothing about a long vs short debate just as naming a shitty short game would mean nothing. It wasn’t the size that was at fault, it was the stupid design choices of Bethesda.

  28. Jaxtrasi says:

    But that’s the thing.

    Someone earlier commented “even if most people only play the first thirty hours, does that mean the last twenty shouldn’t exist?” to which the answer is yes.

    The zots that went into those twenty hours could be re-funnelled into the first thirty, making those thirty better. Obviously you’d have to plan to do that from the start, which is the whole point.

    The LOTR Trilogy is three times (being miserly) as long as a normal film. It cost three times as much to make. If you want the same game quality for X times as long, it’s going to cost X times as much to make and so you’re either going to have to sell X times as many copies, or charge X+Y times as much to make it.

    Spector isn’t saying “this is what I want”. He’s saying “this is going to happen”. If the expectation is that games are going to be 100 hours long, they’re either going to be complete shit, or one a year.

  29. Mman says:

    “If these weren’t the terms we discuss on then I could easily say I’d rather play a good long game than a shitty short game which would obviously be a true statement but a silly one to make for a debate like this…”

    That’s another thing, the length discussion tends to lead to fallacious statements like “I’d rather play a good short game instead of a bad long one”, yes I would too, I’d also rather play a good long game instead of a bad short one, or a good short game for that matter, assuming there isn’t something particularily appealing about its concept in comparison.

  30. Willem says:

    If I don’t finish a game, it’s shit.

    Problem is, most games are too short for me. I finish them in 2-5 days and then they just go on my shelf. Except awesome games like the Total War series.

  31. Radiant says:

    Fuck it.

    They make em we play em.

    If they can’t afford to make what they define as a good game then they should make something else.

    I never understood why people are willing to spend years of their life making a game that will be on shelves for 2 weeks and then disappear.
    Say that game is shit?
    What’s the motivation?

    Also how much is too much?
    If someone gave me a 100 million quid and I didn’t try and build a cancer hospital* I’d feel like a fraud.

  32. Radiant says:

    *And smoke my weight in drugs.

  33. Radiant says:

    A cancer hospital is for people who were injured fighting the other 11 star signs obviously.

  34. The Sombrero Kid says:

    he’s taken slightly out of context here, he was of course talking about the action rpg story telling games he’s made and that deus ex was too long for most people to finish and to open for most people to see all the content and that deus ex 2 and beyond is more like his preferred approach with more restrictive and shorter gameplay and content, and is nothing he’s not said before.

    he’s basically saying don’t expect another masterpiece like deus ex, it’s very clever lowering of the fan bases expectations because he’s aware that he’ll never make a game that’s as well loved as deus ex again (even if he makes a game 1000x better, which would be awesome) and i think he thinks (and i agree) that the fans had unreasonable expectations of deus ex 2 as they don’t want just deus ex again and they don’t want it radically changed, i.e. they don’t know what they want.

    in short he can never put a foot right again in the eyes of the people who idolise him, ironically, unless he manages to get a clean slate

    EDIT: i should put IMO somewhere

  35. Nick says:

    I have finished every game I own unless A: it got too buggy to continue (Call of Cthulu stealth section underwater cave) or B: It was shit (a fair few too many to count). I actually hat short games. I hate them with a passion. Especially when they cost £30.00.

    This makes me sad.

  36. Iain says:

    I think the length of a game is fairly irrelevant as to whether most people complete them or not and the whole debate is a bit of a red herring.

    For example, I’ve put over 200 hours into GTA: Vice City, but I haven’t completed the game. I lost interest in the main story missions after I took over Diaz’s mansion and now I just muck about in the city and edit the car stats to make them do utterly crazy things (like jumping from the airport on one island clean across the entire city to land on the beach on the opposite island).

    Even Valve’s own stats on HL2:Ep2 show that over 40% of players bailed on the game before they started the last map, and that game is only 4 or 5 hours long, so I’m not sure you can say that making a game shorter immediately means that players are more likely to finish it.

    The debate over a game’s length is a distraction – surely we should be more worried about a game’s quality? There’s no point saying all games should be less than 10 hours long if 80% of them are still going to be crap and you’re going to bail on them inside of four hours, anyway.

    Developers should be more concerned with finding out what their audience wants to play and why people complete (or decide not to complete) the games they buy, so that they can use this knowledge to make better games. Simply spending millions of dollars on the shiniest graphics engine, which makes every title a huge financial risk for publishers and developers alike, and then whinging about the cost of making games is not what I’d call progress.

    Personally, I’m quite happy to play long or short games, but I don’t buy a game and feel compelled to complete it. If developers want me to see the last level, they better give me a sense of immersion that makes me want to play it through to the end.

  37. Tom Camfield says:

    I’m in the same ballpark as Willem; if I like a game it gets finished. Probably only Virtua Tennis has avoided this fate since the ‘end boss’ of the story mode was too hard for me.

    There’s no reason why a short game can’t last 100 hours though, like Goldeneye you can have cheats unlocked for speed runs, and extra levels for completion at higher difficulties. Plus multiplayer etc. (It takes barely, what, three hours to win the world cup on PES, but for some people it’s the only game they’ve ever owned.)

    Although I acknowledge people play at different speeds and that ‘hours’ is probably the best measure of game time, I find that concept hard to follow. Generally I’d say an FPS or platformer takes a weekend to complete, while an RPG only works if it takes weeks and you get to immerse yourself in the world. I think Deus Ex could have been much shorter and still as successful.

    Maybe it’s 100 hours of narrative play he’s talking about, rather than game play time, but even something like the most recent Final Fantasy didn’t have that much going on.

  38. Kommissar Nicko says:

    I think what Bananaphone said early on is significant, that DX would cost a fortune to make nowadays. A lot of the long games of the past that I enjoyed would be staggeringly expensive to develop now, simply because the cost per hour has probably gone up exponentially, given that people expect greater intricacy.

  39. Tomzor! says:

    The length of a game should be dictated by content, in the same manner as a story. Applying arbritrary limits on game-length is like having a pop at chekov for writing stories that are too short, or tolkien for writing stories that are too long. It’s stupid.

    End of discussion.

  40. The Sombrero Kid says:

    @Tomzor

    yeah but this isn’t easy even for story, in films and books most of the content is stripped away by an editor because to much was generated and in games making too much content is a failing because of the cost.

  41. Mman says:

    Oh yeah, why is “100 hours” always used as some hyperbolic figure for stuff like this? 100 hour games are a myth. There ARE games I have over 100 hours on, but it’s either through doing tons of sidequests/extra exploration or through many replays, there are very few, if any, games that take even close to 100 hours to merely complete.

    Something like 50 hours would be far more sane as some stated upper limit of length, and even games that long are extremely rare nowadays (and pretty much always have been).

  42. Tomzor! says:

    @The Sombrero Kid

    The reason scenes get edited out of films and novels is because those scenes are not integral to the plot, and are therefore better left out. They shouldn’t be left out purely to make the media shorter, since then the message of the work gets conflated.

    As I said before, content should dictate length – not the other way around.

  43. Gap Gen says:

    I complete most games, to the point that the ones I don’t I’m a bit vexed about. I gave up on Far Cry when I walked into a small corridor with about 20 men armed with rocket launchers. (Far Cry is interesting because the devs specifically said they didn’t try so hard with the final levels because they expected no-one to get to them).

    I’m very much a story gamer, so I like closure. Then again, as old-school PC gamers I suspect that we expect longer games, whereas I rarely make the time to put in days of play these days.

  44. Jaxtrasi says:

    “That’s another thing, the length discussion tends to lead to fallacious statements like “I’d rather play a good short game instead of a bad long one”, yes I would too, I’d also rather play a good long game instead of a bad short one, or a good short game for that matter, assuming there isn’t something particularily appealing about its concept in comparison.”

    But clearly that’s not true of everyone. A great part of the market would (apparently) prefer a game to be bulked out with what an RPSer might consider “crap filler” in preference to a short, perfect game. Warrior Within > Sands of Time, to use an earlier example.

    That’s where the debate exists. A game developer can’t afford to talk to some hip Edge elite who want to play perfectly formed pieces of forty five minute interactive artwork. He has to balance that against the global market who are prepared to pay for *mission packs*.

    I think that’s why the sandbox model is succeeding. To me, sandbox means “cheap filler content which I have to invent myself”. To everyone else it seems to mean “maximum interactivity!!” whilst simultaneously (coincidentally?) bulking out the size of the game to cater to people who thought Halo would have been better if it was twice as long with no additional content (again…).

  45. The Sombrero Kid says:

    @Mman
    aye but I’ve defiantly clocked up 100 on deus ex, which was arguably targeting that market (kind of making it a 100 hour game but not really) and it’s not a big market, the majority of people will think it’s shit and you have to sink a lot of doe into 100 hours.

    i say yeah still make 100 hour games but find ways to make them cheaper to develop and rake in more cash.

    make it easier to develop with smaller less experienced teams and last years technology, like rpgs of old, for example you could get a team of 12 juniors on £18k working for six months for under half a million pounds and sell your game at £40 with dynamic in game ads that necessitate an intermittent internet connection and you’d only need to sell 10,000 copies to make a profit.

    rake in more cash with in game ads (ad space in a 100 hour game is prime real estate) more expensive for the demographic (because they’re a minority it’s a niche product and they should pay more) and more intelligent design making it more accessible for people to get into this kind of genre/making it less niche.

    @Tomzor!
    wow slow down I was just saying it’s difficult to get that balance I agree with you :D

  46. gen-s says:

    Lp:

    Oblivion “…is not even entertaining.”

    Well, that’s subjective. My experience differed.

  47. Jaxtrasi says:

    “The length of a game should be dictated by content, in the same manner as a story. Applying arbritrary limits on game-length is like having a pop at chekov for writing stories that are too short, or tolkien for writing stories that are too long. It’s stupid.

    End of discussion.”

    I don’t know how it works in films, but in games content is written to length rather than the other way around. It’s not like someone says “hold the press!! we need to make the game six hours longer so we can fit in another shitty filler level set in a warehouse where nothing happens!”.

    Strongly story-based games can take that attitude, to some extent, but for the average shooter it’s meaningless. Sure, there’s going to be a sewer level and an ice level and a warehouse level and you need a long enough game to include all of those sections but what part of that “content” determines how many hours of sewer level there should be?

    By your logic, FEAR would be about twenty minutes long. Half-Life 2 would be about thirty. HL2 Episode 1 would be about five minutes long.

    Pacing is as essential a component of storytelling as content. Sometimes you have to add more content in order to adjust the pacing or the structure, and sometimes you have to remove some for the same reason. It’s not just about whether this piece of content in isolation is a good thing.

  48. Kieron Gillen says:

    It’s also worth noting that Devs may have more content planned, and just cut levels for matter of quality. I believe the CoD guys do that.

    KG

  49. Dracko says:

    I’d imagine most people don’t have the spare time required to play 80+ hour games. Unless you don’t work, or something, or don’t like reading. Though I’m partial to Tomzor!’s position. Modern Warfare is indeed an example of this done nigh perfectly.

  50. Dan Milburn says:

    Jaxtrasi: I think there’s a difference between parts of a game that are there to deliberately provide pacing and those that are there just to make the game longer for no good reason. I see no reason why the former can’t be considered ‘content’ in the way Tomzor means.

    However, the notion that length should be or is always dictated by content may be a nice fantasy but doesn’t really work in the real world. There are time and budgetary constraints. There are restrictions inherent in the medium (not so much the case with PC games these days but a rather big deal when it comes to creating TV episodes). There are considerations of what the audience wants. Etc.