How Much Does Game Length Matter to You?

dishonored game length

One of the big “news” topics today is the fact that Bethesda’s upcoming steam-punk game Dishonored can be completed in around 12 hours, according to the developer. This takes into consideration that the player is trying to do the game as quickly as possible, and more considered playstyles will naturally lengthen the hours.

For me, 12 hours is a pretty good length for a single-player campaign. I don’t really have the time to invest in multiple 100+ hour games, and like the Bard says, “brevity is the soul of wit”. Of course, whenever this type of news comes out, people crawl out of the woodwork and complain that the game is too short. Games shouldn’t really have an hour formula that covers all of them; each genre is better suited to its own style. Why else would all current FPS games be under six hours long? There are a lot of reasons, but I imagine one of them is that it’s hard to make that style of play interesting for more than a half-day at best (there are exceptions, of course).

The Mass Effect games have taken me around 40 hours each to complete, which is perfect for those games. You get out as much as you put in, and it sounds like Dishonored will be the same. I don’t get the impression that the game is an entierly linear experience, so it sounds like the ability to put in a fair chunk of time is there. Just because a game can be beaten in 12 hours doesn’t mean that it has to go down that way.

I know a lot of this sentiment comes from a game’s price tag and people want a good investment for $60. I can understand that, but at a certain point this griping gets a little out of hand. So what say you? Is 12 hours too short? Does game length matter that much to you?

Source – VG247

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mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

12 thoughts on “How Much Does Game Length Matter to You?”

  1. For this kind of game, 12 hours sounds about perfect to me. I’ve always hated the game length gripe, I’ll take a better experience over a game stuffed with filler any day.

  2. If I can get my money’s worth then that’s fine. If it’s 12 crappy hours, then yeah I’ll be upset. But if it’s 12 wonderful hours? I’m all for it. I’ve got enough long games to play as it is. I still haven’t even completed Skyrim at 82 hours in. Not to mention that I’ve got a Co-op campaign in Shogun 2 to complete! If there are more fantastic, short games out there and a few great time-sinks, then I’m content.

  3. I’m starting to feel like there isn’t actually a game that has “100+ hours of gameplay” without filler of some kind.

    Maybe it’s really enjoyable, addictive filler, so you get distracted for a long time and don’t mind it, but I think even that comes hand-in-hand with filler that we all just put up with because that’s what we’ve been trained to expect. “Oh, this is an open-world RPG, so I have to spend 30 minutes walking across the map to get to my next quest. OK!”

    Basically my tolerance for filler has gotten really low over the past year or so. It has reached the point where the Mass Effect games are just about the longest games I want to play, and I’d really much rather play something that takes 12 hours (or less) to knock out.

  4. I think that the content matters more than the time spent playing it. Honestly, time isnt a factor for me. Most of the things I care about will be the games replay ability more so than its original length.

  5. game length means everything to me. but for me if a game starts to stretch and feel repetitive or has a lot of filler, its too long. likewise a game ends before or just after it piques my interest and leaves everything hanging or never realizes its goal/potential. then its too short.

    every game is different limbo was just the right length, but so was mass effect. one took me about an hour the other took over 40. So yes length is everything, but time is relative.

  6. It’s a matter of quality vs. quantity. If you give me a 50+ hour game with tons of things to do or a long main quest, but none of those are fun (Zelda SS), then that’s a lost cause. I don’t mind Skyrim or GTA because the things to do and see in those games are so good that the length is justified.

    On the flip side, having a really good game that’s over in less than five hours is pretty bad as well. I just beat Limbo, which was fucking amazing, and while I felt the length was justified from an artistic point of view, I still wanted to do more in the game before it was over, especially for how hyped that game is. Then again, I think that may actually be an issue with the pacing rather than the length.

    I can’t say that I have a preference in game length. I don’t think it affects how good the game is either, or how good it is compared to something else. What matters is how those hours are used. Are the things you do fun? Is the pacing good? A great, compact game can be just as good as, if not better than, a vast time-suck if everything else is done just right.

  7. When a game’s length is satisfying, you know it, and the game’s length is a reflection of how satisfying the content was. I want a high-quality experience, not just a time-dump.
    Whether it’s a masterful 8-hour Campaign or an expansive 100-hour world, I want a story with good narrative progression (exposition, rising action, climax, conclusion can work well no matter what length) and enough varied content to make those hours fun and not tedious or lacking.
    I think 12 hours for Dishonored is a good length. It’s probably going to last me more since I tend to take my time. I’m looking forward to Dishonored, and I’m sure I’m going to get lots of hours replaying it at least one more time because of how variable the gameplay looks like it’s going to be.
    The 10-40 hour range is probably the best length for a game whether it’s an open-world RPG or a linear action adventure. 8 hours or less demands perfection and strong replayability. If a game is 100+ hours long, there better be an expansive world with rich lore that’s fun and interesting to explore. It’s hard to make a good game, but if it’s done well, it really doesn’t matter what length it is.

  8. I like to think of it as movies vs seasons of a show. Not every movie needs to be a 13 episode hour long series and vice versa. But, there are great examples of both where more time developing characters and story would have been better, and where the whole 13 hours could have been summed up in 2 and we could all get it over with.

    In general I prefer shorter games so I can get on with the next thing. I don’t like knowing before I play a game how long it’s going to be, I just like going in there and experiencing it. It’s like knowing a comedy movie is going to be 3 hours long, the whole time you’re thinking “Why the hell is this going to be 3 hours? Oh my god, there’s a whole hour left.. let’s rap this up…” Just gives a certain expectation (good or bad) of the whole package.

  9. Haha, I agree. I was more thinking “Funny People”. Seth Rogan and Adam Sandler for 2 and a half hours…? Judd Apatow’s films get all serious and depressing and long towards the end.

  10. It’s not about time or “volume” of a game. What matters is for how long can a game keep you interested in itself. If I am no longer interested in the game after 20h of play, then I’d be more upset if I still had to play through another 20 hours rather than finishing it right there.

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