PCG Article Stop boasting about the length of your game!


Very poor conclusion to draw imo. ANY of the many games where I've continued playing after the story finished were because I was thoroughly enjoying the gameplay and/or the world. Think about it: who's going to play thru 'padding' if they've already played 80 hours of a game that doesn't turn them on? My guess is not many.

Funnily enough I agreed with a lot of the article :D

I think its a bit of misdirection to think about ARPG's or 4x games in relation to this, they are designed to be played through dozens of times.

Reducing it down and correct me if I'm wrong, seems what you're saying is that you enjoy the world and you mostly couldn't care less about the story? Others enjoy the story and tailored content in the context of the world. Most are probably somewhere in between.

I'd rather they reduced the world size by 30% and added 15% more tailored side missions with interesting characters or different mechanics that switch up the gameplay or tell an engaging and affecting story. I realize its not that simple an equation, but pasting another 30 bandit camps or races to the map has to be easier to add in compared to story missions. The problem is sometimes you can't ignore the fluff, level requirements for the next story mission are set so grinding is required before you can progress without enemies being massively overpowered for your character. You can buy XP boosters in Assassins Creed, and pay to play less of the game!

I enjoy a certain amount of filler when its fresh, but at a point doing the same thing repeatedly in slightly different way gets dull, and its usually way before those games comes to an end. Its not a lack of attention span, it's an intolerance for repetition.

Where I disagree with the article is when he says no one is going to grind those filler missions. That's obviously untrue, a huge amount of gamers like clearing maps. If the filler is there but doesn't affect access to the story and tailored side missions, fine. The Witcher 3 was like this mostly, I don't remember being forced to grind in the first Dying Light either, and I'm currently playing Cyberpunk 2077 and I'm able to run through the story without having to grind at all. Hopefully Dying Light 2 is the same, 500 hours might include multiple divergent story paths for example, I can hope.
 
They can stuff games with as many side quests and story as they like as long as its not grindy. Not everyone wants to do 100+ missions that are all copy/paste of themselves to lvl up to continue story. Too much padding is bad.

Games should be measured by the content, and not the length it takes to finish the story.

its same as open world maps, more is good provided it has variety, not the same things copied into different maps. Not Ubisoft way.
 
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They can stuff games with as many side quests and story as they like as long as its not grindy. Not everyone wants to do 100+ missions that are all copy/paste of themselves to lvl up to continue story. Too much padding is bad.

Games should be measured by the content, and not the length it takes to finish the story.

This is an excellent point, there are way too many RPGs that have "100+ hours of content" but the "content" is almost exclusively fetch quests and "go there and kill x of y" quests. That's nothing but lazy writing, and gets stale fast.

I don't mind grinding in certain types of games, I even expect and enjoy the kind of grinding where you have to gain levels before you are, e.g., able to go to certain areas or kill certain enemies, it gives a sense of accomplishment when you are finally able to do it. But even then there needs to be variance in the grinding process, different ways to gain experience, or at the very least a rich variety of monsters and places.
 
An example of a well done game is Sacred 2. It has a main quest that you can complete in a few days on easy but it also has up to 850 side quests that can be completely ignored or you can try to do them all. Its your choice, you don't have to do any of them apart from main quest.
Sure, in 850 quests there are going to be similar tasks, but there was enough variety in the tasks, and creatures you had to kill, that it was something I enjoyed for years.

but as kaamos said
I think its a bit of misdirection to think about ARPG's or 4x games in relation to this, they are designed to be played through dozens of times.
these aren't the games that are being called too long. Its everything else I guess.

I prefer a game to be too long than too short. I can remember playing a snes game long ago, getting to end of map expecting more and game ended.

Its all relative. It took me a year to complete Super Metroid on SNES and now I see videos of people finishing it in less than an hour. I expect speedruns of the games he calls too long within a month of release.
 
Games should be measured by the content, and not the length it takes to finish the story.

This is an excellent point, there are way too many RPGs that have "100+ hours of content" but the "content" is almost exclusively fetch quests and "go there and kill x of y" quests. That's nothing but lazy writing, and gets stale fast.

Agreed, and I think that's one of the main points of the article.

I adore the Assassin's Creed series, but I always run out of steam before the end. I've finished all the beefiest entries, but even my faves like Odyssey and Valhalla became chores long before. I put in the hours because I was invested in Kassandra and Eivor's journey, but I resent the 100+ hours it took to get closure because so much of it involved faffing around with dull one-note activities.

The conclusion though I have some issues with.

There's an argument that none of this matters because you can just play through the bits you like, but that's ignoring the work that goes into making these games so huge, which increases their development time and costs. And it encourages a way of thinking about games that seems extremely unhealthy. It has a knock-on effect, inspiring other developers to throw mountains of fluff into their projects because apparently that's what people want. But they don't—not really. They've just been infected by marketing.

In some games you cant just play through, either by design because they want you to grind or because the good content is hidden in a sea of dross somewhere in the back of the massive map.

I also know that some people will put on a podcast or album and just go around doing the grind missions to clear the map. I dont think they've been fooled by marketing, they just want something to focus on while they do something more engaging.
 
its a bit of misdirection to think about ARPG's or 4x games in relation to this
I was thinking mostly of RTS and FPS, but I don't recall Fraser excluding any genres in his article.

seems what you're saying is that you enjoy the world and you mostly couldn't care less about the story?
Gameplay first, then environment—world and characters. If I'm in the mood for story, then I go to a story medium like books, TV or movies. In a game I'm fine with a story as a framework to hang the gameplay on, but the gameplay's the thing—in a game, I write my own story, not follow someone else's.

Take venerable games for which there's long been world championships, such as chess, bridge, and go. Zero story, but try and stop an enthusiast from playing on and on—because of the gameplay.

4X probably makes the point best of all. A major genre with major franchises, and barely a story in sight. I have over 2,000 hours in Civ4 and not one of those hours is following some arbitrary story—every hour is writing my own story, and then another, and then another. Clearly the genre for story lovers—you get to create a different story every playthru, rather than limited to a mere single story, which is not even created by you!

C&C/RA my fav RTS franchise. Story is "You here, bad guy there, go whack 'im".
Again, thousands of hours in its games and the other RTSs I played. Wonderful gameplay, great replayability, every reason to keep playing and playing.

Far Cry FPS franchise—a good example of using a story to hang the gameplay on. Again, thousands of hours across the franchise, at least 90% of which was spent on anything other than story missions. This play session I'll see if I can get to the top of that mountain; that session I'll go hunting rhinos, see how many I can bag—next time I'll try it without guns. Just for fun, for enjoyment—not for following some stranger's script.

There are just way too many and far more interesting—to me—stories I can create within the games I love, to ever settle for one arbitrary script written be a stranger. There are much better media than games for the latter.
 
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Games should be measured by the content
Indeed, but don't discount the enjoyment factor either. There are so many games with story, characters and world which are no fun—according to the player reviews.

Story can of course be important content for those who love a good story in their game, but imo gameplay is a much more long-lasting content attribute for a game to have. Or does replaying the same story—with some variation of character or route or approach—still have significant value if story is your main thing?

not the same things copied into different maps
I'm probably misunderstanding you here. Are you saying that when tens of millions of Ubisoft players enjoy some piece of gameplay, that that piece should not be recreated in another game, or another section of the same game?
 
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I was thinking mostly of RTS and FPS, but I don't recall Fraser excluding any genres in his article....snipsnip

4X probably makes the point best of all. A major genre with major franchises, and barely a story in sight. I have over 2,000 hours in Civ4 and not one of those hours is following some arbitrary story—every hour is writing my own story, and then another, and then another. Clearly the genre for story lovers—you get to create a different story every playthru, rather than limited to a mere single story, which is not even created by you!

C&C/RA my fav RTS franchise. Story is "You here, bad guy there, go whack 'im".
Again, thousands of hours in its games and the other RTSs I played. Wonderful gameplay, great replayability, every reason to keep playing and playing.

As I read it the article is about Dying Light 2, which is an open world action game. He talks specifically about Assassins Creed games stories taking too long because of the need to grind out filler missions. Later he brings up story based games from other genres, but only to illustrate a point that games can be much better when they come to a natural end rather than being extended artificially. You can always replay them, he also states there's nothing wrong with playing a game for 500 or 5000 hours.

I'm not sure how you would successfully artificially extend the length of a 4x game with filler missions, and I dont think RTS campaigns last that long either, although in C&C those commando missions are definitely not needed. :D

Gameplay first, then environment—world and characters. If I'm in the mood for story, then I go to a story medium like books, TV or movies. In a game I'm fine with a story as a framework to hang the gameplay on, but the gameplay's the thing—in a game, I write my own story, not follow someone else's.

Fair enough, people are different but many of those considered greatest single player video games of all time also have what are considered the best stories in games, its not a coincidence.

Without getting to bogged down in the story thing for now as its aside to this thread, the article as I read it was saying he'd rather have a shorter game with higher quality well thought out tailored missions than a ton of very similar content dotted across a massive map.

I think you can have both things, as long as its possible to get to that more unique tailored content I generally find more interesting in these types of games, without being forced to trawl through the repetitive stuff to level up enough to access it.
 
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many of those considered greatest single player video games of all time also have what are considered the best stories in games
I didn't look thru the entire list in our thread on this topic…
…but what I did scan suggests there are many more games with not-great stories in it.

That said, if a game can do it all—great gameplay, great environment, great replayability, great graphics, beautiful art style, etc etc, and great story—then of course, it's a masterpiece. A great story will never take from a game which is also great without it.

I think you can have both things
I wonder why would you want to do that tho, as a developer? Put out unique tailored content in game A, put out a big open world is your oyster in game B.

I wonder is part of the problem that too many players and commentators think every game within their genre should appeal to them?

Aside again—is there a thread here about the best stories in games? If not, I'd be interested in reading it, especially how many non-RPGs would be in it. Hint, hint :D
 
Hi to Brian .. you ask about a decent story line , well as you know i having been singing the praises of Horizon Zero Dawn in various other threads , although it has been around a while i only got it last year. The day after i finished it i did it again from the start and i have never done that before , i usually go back to something after year or so for old times sake.

In the begining your lead character is a youngster and you think oh no what have i bought , you must listen very hard to what she says or you will vital things. About a couple of hours into the game things suddenly happen ( not giving anything away ). All the way through you MUST listen to all the cut scene dialog to learn about the past and possible future , if you are the type of person who space bars through cut scenes then it will be just another game.

It is probably the best story line i have ever done ..... at the end their is a tear jerker and you cant jump the credits because ...... well i cant let that out can i .
 
I didn't look thru the entire list in our thread on this topic…
…but what I did scan suggests there are many more games with not-great stories in it.

The stories in Space Invaders and Breakout were sadly lacking, I admit. :)

I wonder why would you want to do that tho, as a developer? Put out unique tailored content in game A, put out a big open world is your oyster in game B.

I wonder is part of the problem that too many players and commentators think every game within their genre should appeal to them?

I'm pretty sure they already try to do it, but they sometimes bury the 'good' stuff too deep. Some times the good stuff isn't all that good either.

Aside again—is there a thread here about the best stories in games? If not, I'd be interested in reading it, especially how many non-RPGs would be in it. Hint, hint :D

Well there would be shooters like, Bioshock, Half Life, Immersive sims like System Shock 2 or Prey, of course RPG's like Planescape Torment, Disco Elysium, KOTOR, stealth games like Metal Gear, adventure games like Grim Fandango or What Remains of Edith Finch, Horror games like Soma, 3rd person action games like Nier Automata, open world games like Red Dead Redemption 2. And so on. Not all my choices but all have their fans.
 
Fundamentally, I think the problem surrounding this Dying Light 2 situation is really that they chose game length as a marketing point. I am not interested in discussing the actual content of the game (e.g., whether it is padded or not). I am more confused why they wanted to focus on 500 hours so much. (1) They already have a large existing audience because this is an established IP, so these people are interested in playing it regardless of game length (2) Game length isn't going to create new customers. It may make them stay longer when they actually pick the game up, but the key is getting them in the door in the first place and advertising 500 hours ain't it.
 
Every once in a while, I like a good long game that takes me a couple hundred hours. But I definitely don't want them all to be that way. The perfect game for me would take about 30 hours. And I do like a good story. But the story needs to be driven by gameplay, and not just be an interactive movie, like Quantum Break.

I don't mind grinding here and there, as long as it's not for long periods of time, and it's broken up. But if it's all grinding, all the time, I'd get bored pretty quickly. I like having a worthwhile purpose for what I do in games.
 
Well there would be
I only played 3 of that top-10 list—3 more TBP or wishlist—but if those are the best stories games have to offer, then I'll stick to books etc.

Half Life 2 was a great game, as great in a different way as Far Cry—2004 was a wonderful year for the evolution of FPS. But it's story was nothing special—maybe by game standards at the time, but not by any other story-based standard.

Bioshock's story was pretty good, on par with any run-of-the-mill syfy book—ie excellent in gaming terms at the time, so-so on story-based terms.

Her Story—I've praised this game a number of times here, but not for its very basic story. It's the gameplay which made this a fine game, plus the fine performance from Viva Seifert. That Her Story is #2 is an indictment of gaming's stories in comparison with true story-based mediums.

Am I right there's only one RPG in the top-10? I would've expected more.
 
Fundamentally, I think the problem surrounding this Dying Light 2 situation is really that they chose game length as a marketing point. I am not interested in discussing the actual content of the game (e.g., whether it is padded or not). I am more confused why they wanted to focus on 500 hours so much. (1) They already have a large existing audience because this is an established IP, so these people are interested in playing it regardless of game length (2) Game length isn't going to create new customers. It may make them stay longer when they actually pick the game up, but the key is getting them in the door in the first place and advertising 500 hours ain't it.

I suspect because marketing got results from surveys and focus groups saying that length is a large factor in what people expect from open world games. I doubt it came out of nowhere, cant be sure of course maybe the social media rep just went rogue and thought it sounded good.

Every once in a while, I like a good long game that takes me a couple hundred hours. But I definitely don't want them all to be that way. The perfect game for me would take about 30 hours. And I do like a good story. But the story needs to be driven by gameplay, and not just be an interactive movie, like Quantum Break.

I don't mind grinding here and there, as long as it's not for long periods of time, and it's broken up. But if it's all grinding, all the time, I'd get bored pretty quickly. I like having a worthwhile purpose for what I do in games.

Depends heavily on the game and genre of course, as long as its fun for however long it takes. I guess one problem for developers is that everyone has different ideas how much grinding is too much in open world games.

Haven played it but I hear Quantum Break just had a half hour TV show between each level, interesting experiment but I'm glad no one else has followed that example.

I only played 3 of that top-10 list—3 more TBP or wishlist—but if those are the best stories games have to offer, then I'll stick to books etc.

Half Life 2 was a great game, as great in a different way as Far Cry—2004 was a wonderful year for the evolution of FPS. But it's story was nothing special—maybe by game standards at the time, but not by any other story-based standard.

Bioshock's story was pretty good, on par with any run-of-the-mill syfy book—ie excellent in gaming terms at the time, so-so on story-based terms.

Her Story—I've praised this game a number of times here, but not for its very basic story. It's the gameplay which made this a fine game, plus the fine performance from Viva Seifert. That Her Story is #2 is an indictment of gaming's stories in comparison with true story-based mediums.

Fair enough, but hopefully you can at least see that stories are important for many people in many games, even if it doesn't mean anything to you.

Am I right there's only one RPG in the top-10? I would've expected more.

Its just the first list I found from a source I recognized when I googled. Its lacking Disco Elysium and Planescape:Torment which should be 1 and 2 IMO, which are both isometric RPG's to be fair. :D
 
The stories in Space Invaders and Breakout were sadly lacking, I admit.
Galaga had best story line.

A lot of Arcade games had no end** so are they too long?
**okay, at some stage some of them do glitch out, pacman for instance. Others just loop forever.
Some did, Gyrus had a ending, you got to earth. but it would also loop. I know, a friend could finish game on 1st turn, I used to watch and/or be player 2 and have to wait my turn
Some have different stages that vary gameplay.
I don't know of many that you could play 500 hours of... in one sitting... without dying lol. I guess you could have a team

The longest videogame marathon on a classic arcade game was played on Q*Bert by George Leutz for 84 hr 48 min from 14–18 February 2013. He was playing at an arcade in New Jersey, USA. It was third time lucky for Leutz, who not only had two previous attempts but has played the game for years to get to this standard.

4 days... ive made it 2 days playing a game a few times, but your mind starts to fade
 
world record
WhoCARRIE SWIDECKI
What138 HR 34 SEC HOUR(S):MINUTE(S):SECOND(S)
WhereUNITED STATES ()
When17 JULY 2015


I am sure that i once saw a later record than this.

The Guinness book of records no longer supports or recognise the world record attempts for games playing and sadly this link shows the reason why and this is not the only incident

.Man dies after 3-day Internet gaming binge - CNN
 
Depends heavily on the game and genre of course, as long as its fun for however long it takes. I guess one problem for developers is that everyone has different ideas how much grinding is too much in open world games.

Haven played it but I hear Quantum Break just had a half hour TV show between each level, interesting experiment but I'm glad no one else has followed that example.
Yeah, you can't please everyone. That's why it's good we have a lot of choices of games to play. I don't even mind doing a lot of grinding, as long as it's not all the same thing for a really long time. Like my last playthrough of Breath of the Wild, I decided I was going to get all the armor and upgrade it all to max. That was a ton of grinding. But it wasn't all the same. In order to do that, it led me to visiting every section of the map, and I saw things I never saw when I completed the entire game the first time. It was a ton of grinding, but I got to experience a lot of great things in the process, so it wasn't boring at all.

About Quantum Break, you're right. You play a level, then watch a half hour TV show episode. The thing that sucked was the times when the episode just started, but you didn't have a half hour to invest. I'm not sure if you stop the game if you can get back to the episode or not. The gameplay was great, but that ruined the game. I quit playing pretty quickly. Lucky for me, someone gave me the game, and I didn't waste my money.
 
Yeah, you can't please everyone. That's why it's good we have a lot of choices of games to play. I don't even mind doing a lot of grinding, as long as it's not all the same thing for a really long time. Like my last playthrough of Breath of the Wild, I decided I was going to get all the armor and upgrade it all to max. That was a ton of grinding. But it wasn't all the same. In order to do that, it led me to visiting every section of the map, and I saw things I never saw when I completed the entire game the first time. It was a ton of grinding, but I got to experience a lot of great things in the process, so it wasn't boring at all.

About Quantum Break, you're right. You play a level, then watch a half hour TV show episode. The thing that sucked was the times when the episode just started, but you didn't have a half hour to invest. I'm not sure if you stop the game if you can get back to the episode or not. The gameplay was great, but that ruined the game. I quit playing pretty quickly. Lucky for me, someone gave me the game, and I didn't waste my money.

I really liked BOTW but I never finished the game, think I did 3 of the Guardians. Still on my Switch so it gets booted up occasionally if I'm away from home and I have a minute. It was interesting to have to mark points of interest on the map for yourself, fun world to just move around in and explore.

Alan Wake was good, and Control was amazing so I'd probably like the actual game of Quantum Break if I could play around the cut scenes. Lot of other stuff to do so I probably wont get round to it, unfortunately.
 
I really liked BOTW but I never finished the game, think I did 3 of the Guardians. Still on my Switch so it gets booted up occasionally if I'm away from home and I have a minute. It was interesting to have to mark points of interest on the map for yourself, fun world to just move around in and explore.

Alan Wake was good, and Control was amazing so I'd probably like the actual game of Quantum Break if I could play around the cut scenes. Lot of other stuff to do so I probably wont get round to it, unfortunately.
I don't think I disagree with IGN when they voted BotW the best game of all time. I think I enjoyed Skyrim slightly more, but even so, I think BotW is a slightly better game. They're neck and neck for me.

I think I might have both Alan Wake and Control as Epic freebies, but I haven't taken the time to try either one. But you're right that the gameplay and concept of Quantum Break were great. And it did feature Dominic Monaghan, which I really like him as an actor.
 
I'd rather play BOTW today but I think I was definitely more in awe of Skyrim when I first played it. Not to offend anyone but I dont think Skyrim is a good game as such, especially by todays standards, but it was a stunning world to explore.
Yea, it is an rather unpopular opinion but by modern standards I really don't think Skyrim is a particularly stellar game. The title of The Salt Factory's (YouTube channel) video on it has really stuck with me: "Evaluating Skyrim: an extremely shallow experience". The world is awesome (especially back then) but it is just a really shallow game overall imo.
 
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Yea, it is an rather unpopular opinion but by modern standards I really don't think Skyrim is a particularly stellar game. The title of The Salt Factory's (YouTube channel) video on it has really stuck with me: "Evaluating Skyrim: an extremely shallow experience". The world is awesome (especially back then) but it is just a really shallow game overall imo.

Its hard to do melee in first person it seems. Dying Light did it well, but it was a much different type of game, the movement was a lot more free and zombies dont really parry or dodge. It'll be interesting to see if they have any new ideas for TES6, whenever that come out.
 
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I'd rather play BOTW today but I think I was definitely more in awe of Skyrim when I first played it. Not to offend anyone but I dont think Skyrim is a good game as such, especially by todays standards, but it was a stunning world to explore.
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Yea, it is an rather unpopular opinion but by modern standards I really don't think Skyrim is a particularly stellar game. The title of The Salt Factory's (YouTube channel) video on it has really stuck with me: "Evaluating Skyrim: an extremely shallow experience". The world is awesome (especially back then) but it is just a really shallow game overall imo.
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