Spawned from this article from Kotaku and Gamespy, this post by David Jaffe got me thinking… I’ve played through a few single player games that end up taking twenty or more hours to play, some longer. Which since I tend to only play for an hour or two maybe once or twice a week means that these games take ten to fifteen weeks to finish, some longer. Now, while I’m willing to accept that part of that is my fault, another part of it is that one of the reasons I only play for an hour or two once or twice a week is because there are parts of many games that feel like repetition or filler. Many twenty hour games could easily be pared down to ten hours, if not five or less, by streamlining.
If you make a game that consists of three or four hours of genuine “fresh” game play and then seventeen or more hours of “repeating” game play, I think you might be doing it wrong. Multi-player games can more easily get away with repeating content because it is the other players than change. A good example of this is Left 4 Dead. I can play the same campaign with the same three other people and still have a different experience because the weapons are in different locations, the hordes happen at different time, and the other players don’t play the same every single time. But in many single player games, once you learn how to fight monster X with weapon A, repeating that a thousand times gets boring, and this is usually the point I save the game, turn it off and go do something else. I’ll come back later and play some more.
Like David, I think I’d rather see game companies trim down their product, give me a concise, powerful, exciting four or five hour story for about $10. Then sell me downloadable story additions, four to five hours in length for $10 each. If your game works as multi-player, give me a multi-player mode and then sell me new map packs or game modes for $5 or something. But as it is, despite their being a good number of awesome looking games on the shelves, looking is all I’m doing because $60 and all that time is just too much.