Much has been made of how long games take to complete this week. After Dying Light 2 developers Techland boasted that it would take 500 hours to fully complete the game over the weekend, the internet's collective groan over the revelation was reportedly heard from the far reaches of space. Personally, I think it's a preposterous figure for a single-player game, but as someone who also maintains an active spreadsheet of all my various playtime stats (yes, really), it also got me thinking. Is 500 hours really so nonsensical in the grand scheme of things? I asked the team what their most played game on Steam is to find out.
And as it turns out, Dying Light 2's 500 hour completion time ain't got nothing on some of our favourite time hogs...
My most played games on Steam aren't really a true reflection of my most played game. Top of the list is Skyrim, at 92 hours. I have presumably seen that opening cart cinematic several times. There's a surprise entry from the original Mass Effect from 2007, at 40 hours (Mass Effect 2 is sitting comfortably below it at 32, which is apparently the same amount of time I've spent playing Disco Elysium). My actual most played game is Dragon Age: Inquisition, which I had on PlayStation to start with, and which I know I have played for over 200 hours. Predictable. But the times, they are a-changin'. Those games are all from the time when I was in my late teens and early 20s, when I had nothing to do , and so the most important factor when considering what game to buy was how much of that blank space it would fill. These days I have, like, a job, and other hobbies. My most recently played list is very different. Snatches of indie games during lunchbreaks; 3 hours of WorldBox.
I guessed my most-played game on Steam would be the endlessly delightful roguelikelike weeping of The Binding Of Isaac but nope, it's Destiny 2. Over 2000 hours into Bungie's MMOFPS, apparently. Considering that I've seen and done just about everything in it, repeatedly, over several years, yeah, that checks out. Roguelikelikes and multiplayer games: the things I have played the longest. I'm both thankful and sorry that I don't have stats for old Quake and Half-Life mods; maybe it's best I don't know exactly how much of my teenagehood and early twenties went there.
At university, a housemate and I decided we needed a break from two exhausting years of League Of Legends. So, we switched over to Counter Strike: Global Offensive and got really into aim training and mouse DPI settings and whether we were claw grippers or palm grippers. That translated into 362 hours of concentration I've never managed to replicate since. I suppose it has left me with some transferable skills, like having semi-good aim in FPS games and a nice Zowie mouse. University really does leave a lasting impression, huh.
My time sink game is almost definitely the amorphous blob that is Modern Cold Warzone Vanguard Royale, but that uses Battle.Net and my playtime is all mixed up between the four titles. Warzone alone boasts 214 hours, so let’s not delve further into all that. Over on Steam, things are actually a lot tamer, with Assassin’s Creed Origins taking the crown at 92 hours. There’s just something about those rolling deserts that screamed replayability and I loved every second. It’s strange really because I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating, and it gets everywhere.
I have somehow accumulated 2815 hours in Dota 2. Here's some stats to consider as I slowly turn to stone in my chair: that's 117 days, 14 Apollo 11 missions, and according to Google Maps, enough time to walk from my flat in London to a nice restaurant in Singapore. With a few days to spare.
As I've lamented in the past, my most-played game on Steam (much to my enduring, burning shame) is Shadow Of The Tomb Raider at 130 hours. At least 100 hours of those hours have been spent poring over its benchmark, though, so I'm declaring that as an automatic disqualification (hey, I make the rules around here), leaving my actual most-played game as Death Stranding, coming in at 99 hours. I've never really had an ongoing live service game to while away the hours with, and the 100 hour mark tends to be the time I tap out of most single-player, open world games these days. I also stopped playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey at 99 hours over on Ubisoft Connect, although Valhalla definitely takes the crown at 112 hours.
When asked about the most-played game in my Steam library, for a moment I thought: "Ah, surely it must be Factorio, the king of automation games!" Alas, it still has a good couple hundred hours to go. Turns out, I'd underestimated just how much time I'd put into Rocket League in that first glorious year or two. Within about 700 hours I reached the title of Grand Champion, the highest rank in the game, and then I played a good 400 more hours after that before the advent of the Battle Royale age ripped me away, bringing the total to 1,121 hours. It's quite satisfying to know that the game I put the most hours into is also the game that I got best at relative to the rest of the playerbase. I imagine that won't often be the case, given how many hours various friends of mine sink into the likes of Dota 2 and CS:GO. The best part, though, is that whenever I go back to Rocket League (and I do go back occasionally), it only takes me a match or two for all that skill and muscle memory to come flooding back. In other games, if I come back after a month of not playing, I feel utterly left behind by the playerbase. With Rocket League, well... It's like driving a car.
Taking the #1 spot in my Steam library* is Max Gentlemen Sexy Business! at 63 hours and still counting. MGSB! was released at the end of February 2020, perfectly timed to become my obsession during the UK's first lockdown. It's an addictive mixture of dating sim, business sim, and surreal comedy that frequently found me still in my pyjamas at 1pm on a dull day early in the pandemic, wondering where my morning went but at least having had great fun during an otherwise grim time. I eventually dropped off after the original storyline fizzled around the 48 hour mark, but a chunky 2.0 update last October (including loads of new stories, minigames, and unlockables, plus a real ending) drew me back in. Now, the sheer amount of extra content means I'm expecting to easily break 100 hours before I'm truly done.
* For proper comparison, though, it's worth noting that I've racked up well over 700 hours on The Sims 4 over on Origin.
But you, dear reader, have you ever spent 500 hours+ playing a video game?