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Modern games are too long

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Modern games are too long

Editorial - posted by DarkUnderlord on Sun 18 January 2009, 12:43:02

Tags: Fallout 3

AtomicGamer's Matt Cabral applied his brain cells to the length and breadth of modern games and reached the conclusion:

Games are too damned long. If I wasn’t certain of this before, I am now, as I stare at a stack of holiday titles I’m yet to break from their shrink-wrap prisons. Yet, despite my certainty, titles are still often criticized for being too short. And because this sort of unwarranted sentiment is so widespread, it encourages developers to pack our games with content we don’t need or want. Shouldn’t, with few exceptions, games be judged by what’s there rather than what’s not? Whether a title clocks in at 5 or fifty hours isn’t the issue, but rather how those hours are spent. If a game keeps me engaged from start to finish, I don’t care how short it is. In fact, let me enjoy and savor an 8-10 hour game, rather than slog through a 40 hour one. More often than not these days, I find completing games, even the good ones, can feel like work by the time the end credits roll.
Bioshock offered a similar quality-over-quantity experience. It didn’t even offer a multiplayer component, but its solo campaign was so packed with detail and narrative excellence that its 10-15 hour campaign offered more depth than most games twice its length.
The absolute worst offender in adding filler-feeling content is the tacked-on multiplayer mode. Where was it written that every game must include online competitive play? In many cases, publishers are robbing quality content from the solo experience in order to put time and resources into building a half-baked multiplayer mode that’ll do little more than add a bullet point to the back of the box.
Now, despite my disdain for long games that have no right to be long, I totally appreciate an interactive experience that packs the content like bacon at an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. A good RPG, like Fallout 3, requires more time to develop its characters, flesh out its story, and realize its scope. That’s not to say all RPGs need to be 50+ hours, especially when half that time is spent having uninteresting conversations with NPCs, and doing slightly varied versions of the same quest over and over again. The absolute best RPGs, and I’d place Fallout 3 and Fable 2 into this category, give players a choice: take the shorter, critical path, or explore every nook and cranny till you realize the sun has risen and you need to get to work.​
The Codex is organising a lynching for Matt. If you'd like to attend, just give us your contact details and we'll let you know when and where it's happening.

Spotted @ RPGWatch

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