Discussion Mondays: The Value of Price To Game Length

It’s been a while since I brought the “Discussion Mondays” series out and with the recent rumors coming out about The Order 1886, I knew it was time to bring the feature back.

Also, if you’re confused about the title of this post in relation to the day of the week it’s being published on…well…you can blame the US Presidents and their “President’s Day” holiday yesterday here in the States. Anyway, lets get to the meat of the discussion, shall we?

the-order-1886-logo

So over the weekend, rumors began swirling that Sony’s first major title for 2015, The Order 1886, is going to have a campaign that clocks in at three hours in total. Obviously miffed at the rumors, Ready at Dawn’s Andrea Pessino had this to say on Twitter. Not stopping there, a person who obtained a copy early posted the entire game in a playthrough on YouTube and finished the game in around five and a half hours. I won’t post a link to the YouTube series because I think what that user did is kind of crappy, but you all should be able to find it quickly enough if you’re curious. Ready at Dawn isn’t commenting on game length, which can’t help things with certain people’s perspectives, but they’ve remained adamant that they’re all about quality over quantity and some sites are reporting their playthroughs were between 8 and 15 hours. So there’s a lot of ‘he said, she said’ going on it seems.

Another interesting twist here is that The Order: 1886 is strictly a single player game and isn’t open world. The experience is pretty guided in terms of where to go and what to do so it’s not like you could get lost looking for hidden items in the world or spend hours messing around with random characters. The Order 1886 seems pretty specific in what it wants you to do at all times.

Regardless of what you think of The Order, the main point of this article is to see what is the sweet spot for you in terms of price point and game length. There’s a ton of examples that fits this topic with games over the years from The Force Unleashed to the Call of Duty games. Granted, with Call of Duty you can certainly make the point that the campaign isn’t the focus of that franchise. I won’t argue with you there.

For me? Now a days, I’d agree that quality means more to me than quantity. You can definitely tell when a game is padded with meaningless content, filler added to pad a game’s length. My answer would have been different had you asked me a few years ago, but being someone who doesn’t have a lot of time to play games, as long as I feel that game isn’t wasting my time, I’m cool with it. With all the open world “collectathons” being made these days, sometimes all I want is to enjoy a shorter experience. Think of it as a palate cleanser.

That said, there are limits to this rule. If a game like The Order does actually clock in at three hours, that’s not going to make me too happy. With a AAA title like this, a first party studio with a large budget and ample time to work on the game, there’s really no excuse for a single player only game to clock in at three hours. Now, I don’t think it will, but to me a game like this with all the money, time and marketing, only managing to create a three hour campaign is pretty much unacceptable.

What about you? Do you place any association between price and length or does that not matter to you? What’s your sweet spot in terms of game length? Let me know below in the comments.

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9 Responses to Discussion Mondays: The Value of Price To Game Length

  1. Yeah, I used to think that longer games = better value, because I wanted time to really dig into the story and world. That’s why I played long games like Dragon Age Origins, Skyrim, Batman Arkham City, etc. Those were my favorites, partly for their length.

    But nowadays I feel like I have less time to game, so the length doesn’t matter as much as the quality, like you said. I agree we need more than three hours to the game (for a AAA title like this, anyway), but I’m thinking The Order could be a lot longer than even the 5 1/2 hours if you really take your time and explore a little. Whether a game is long or short, I like to linger just a little to enjoy where I am and what I’m doing — I never understand the people who do rush playthroughs without really savoring anything.

    • C. T. Murphy says:

      I’d agree if there was something to really explore. Everything I have read or heard about suggests that it is a fairly on-rails experience.

    • I do hope there’s some sort of things to “find” in the world, kind of like the Uncharted games. Sure, it’s a really minor element but at least it gives you something to do while running to the next combat zone.

      Expectations are low for this one, but I’m hoping for the best.

      • Yeah, I’m not expecting a lot of exploration but definitely something similar to Uncharted would be cool. As long as the world is really cool, I think I’m going to like spending time there no matter how short the game. I’ll probably spend a few hours just staring… kidding. 🙂 But there is definitely something to that.

        I actually have high expectations for this game. Haven’t watched the playthrough at all and don’t want to be spoiled! I’m excited to give it a try.

  2. C. T. Murphy says:

    No one can argue against quality over quantity, but I highly doubt that the 5 hours+ of The Order I will get will be that good. People have also been reporting roughly 10 hour Platinums, so it’s not like this game is jam packed with worthwhile extras.

    I don’t mind shorter games. NES games are all short, but once you factor in difficulty, they take longer because you have to master them. Modern games need to find a way to capture that magic without alienating people. They need to be more replayable outside of just being really long or open ended.

    • Yeah from what I’ve been reading, the news isn’t getting any better. Regardless of if that YouTube person rushed through the game (I’m guessing yes), there’s still a ton of other elements that were left out.

      I’m hearing there’s no New Game + mode, no upgrade options, no skills, nothing added that extends any sort of replayability or play time extension features.

      Part of me figured that Ready at Dawn would add SOMETHING to add to the experience. Seems like it’s strictly on-rails and that’s that.

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