How Long Should Games Be?
This question has been asked before, but Skyrim’s release the other week – was it really 11 days ago? – has had people thinking again: how long do you expect games to be these days?
From a personal perspective I’ve pumped around 55 hours into Skyrim – all my own time, nothing work-related – and I’ve barely scratched the surface of the main campaign missions. In fact, I’ve only completed one single questline.
That’s incredible value when you look at the cost:time-put-in ratio.
But is that the only marker of value? Something like Uncharted 3 took me seven hours or so, but I wouldn’t feel jipped by putting my £30-40 (not RRP, naturally) behind that, even ignoring the multiplayer aspect. Which I probably would.
But just a couple of years ago, when it was revealed that Modern Warfare 2’s campaign clocked in at about five or six hours, people were irate. It wasn’t good enough. Wasn’t long enough. ‘We want 12 hours, no less’ they might have cried.
These days games do seem to be shorter in general and there is still outcry every now and then (especially with something like Need For Speed: The ‘Two Hour’ Run), but it’s become more accepted that games clock in at under ten hours, under eight hours, under six hours.
How long is long enough? I don’t know. I don’t want every game to last 55 hours without me actually having done 90 per cent of the game. I want that to be a treat – something once every five years. At the same time, I don’t want every £30-40 (not RRP, of course) I drop on a game to bring me a five or six hour campaign – regardless of how bombastic and Hollywoodish it is.
I don’t know what I want, truth be told. Do you?