Are AAA games starting to get too long?

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bigsocrates

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Poll Are AAA games starting to get too long? (323 votes)

Most games are too long. I don't have time for all this padding, just get to the point! 22%
If I'm loving a game I don't mind if it's long but lots of games don't justify their length. 42%
Some games are too long, some aren't. It all depends, but I haven't noticed an issue. 27%
I wish most games were longer. 5%
No game is too long! I want to buy one game and play it forever. 1%
This poll is too long! Just show me the answers. 4%

After finishing The Last of Us Part II, a game where I think the true horror comes from how long and repetitive it is at times (there are two separate sequences where you play fetch with a dog! In a game that already feels padded!) I started to think about AAA games and length. In the 7th generation it was kind of cliche that most "AAA" games had an 8-12 hour campaign and then some kind of multiplayer. In the 8th generation that multiplayer aspect became less common (which is a good thing, because not every game needs multiplayer) but the average length of many campaigns started creeping up. Now I feel like the standard length of a AAA game is closer to 20 hours than 10, with some exceptions for franchises that are still multiplayer focused like Call of Duty or whatever.

I feel like a lot of games don't do enough either mechanically or in terms of story to justify this increased length. It's one thing to have a game be 20 hours long with constant new areas, mechanics, and story, and another to have that length stretched out through repetition. We're all familiar with the issues of open world bloat, and how open world games can wear out their welcome through repetition, but I think that's starting to happen in linear games too. Maybe it's just the specific games I'm playing, but I can't think of a AAA game I've played in the last few years that couldn't be improved by cutting out about 25% of it and making it a more focused experience*. We all have limited time for gaming, and having to slog through a bunch of samey encounters and environments just to get to the end of a game does not make for a better time.

The Last of Us Part II felt about 5-10 hours too long to me, and while it didn't ruin the experience it did take away from it. There's a point near the end where there's a pause in the horror and violence before the actual end of the game, and I kept shouting at the TV "Just end already, please don't make me do more of this boring, boring stuff." I don't think that was the intended impact of that sequence.

Obviously we all want to get our money's worth from games, and value is important, but games are cheaper than ever. With things like Xbox Game Pass and Sony/Steam/Epic's insane sales most of us have more games than we could ever hope to play in our lifetimes. Most games depreciate in price incredibly quickly, and can be gotten for half off or more within 6 months of release. And padding doesn't really equal value. I'd much rather have stuff like a good New Game Plus or the old God of War games' costume systems that encourage you to play through a game again rather than long stretches of repetition.

There have always been long video games, of course, but I feel like it's almost an epidemic at this point. Not every game has to be 8 hours long, but if they're going to be 25 then that needs to be justified. I'd rather a game be short and sweet and leave me wanting more than long and drawn our and leave me exhausted and irritated by the end.

What do others think?

*God of War 2018 may be an exception here. It's a 20 hour game but it's constantly throwing new stuff at you and has so much companion dialog that I don't think I ever got bored or fatigued playing it. Still, it's like twice as long as God of War III.

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Brackstone

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It's a bigger problem with openworld games, but yeah, a lot of games are too long. You nailed it, either there's not enough mechanically to make it work, or the narrative gets stretched out too much.

It's what bummed me out about the Witcher 3 so much, it just felt bloated compared to the Witcher 2, and the narrative loses any sort of weight and urgency when it needs to be stretched out that long.

Generally speaking, I find long games can only exist because they keep themselves mechanically interesting. Stuff like the Souls games work by introducing new areas and enemies all the time, but even then, those games aren't actually that long, they just seem long because you die a lot. Nioh, however, for all it's fun character upgrades and abilities, had terrible enemy and environment variety for how stupidly long that game is.

There isn't a story in video games that was improved by lasting longer than 20 hours. I feel similarly about tv shows, the moment a show has more than 2 seasons I start to think they probably didn't actually know where they wanted the story to go. A tight miniseries is always better than some big sprawling narrative. Think about TV in 2019, you had the massive, sprawling GoT that collapsed under it's own weight and people finally turned on it, and the surprise smash hit of Chernobyl with its lean 6 episodes.

I wish stuff like Hellblade, maybe even stuff like Call of Juarez The Gunslinger, were to be the way forward more often. Not every AAA game needs to be this massive behemoth just to justify the price tag.

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fugoy

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It really depends. Open World games suffer from it most definitely, the new Assassin Creed games being the prime examples of just having a bunch of bullshit on a map. But if the game pulls it off the game pulls it off. Persona 5 was 85 hours with the new edition adding about 30 more, and yet I'm hyped as hell to play it. Witcher 3 expansions could be by themselves let alone stacked on top of a grand rpg, but everyone loved them.

A game is really only too long until you feel it's too long. What "too long" is can vary considerably from person to person.

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BoOzak

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Some are some arent, boring answer I know. I beat Resident Evil 3 in less than 2 hours. (okay 6 in my first playthrough) I wish that game was half the length of TLOU2, it would probably be my GOTY so far. I agree with the comment above about the length being justified if the mechanics remain interesting throughout. It's why some of my favourite games encourage being replayed because theres enough mechanical depth to justify it.

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Arcitee

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#4  Edited By Arcitee

JRPGs have gotten too long also. The greats of decades in the SNES era where around 25-40 hours. During the ps1 era they were around 40-50.

A lot them now are 100+

It comes from a mix of too many filler sidequests, dialogue that is just a little too talky (compared to the snes where everything was more brisk and tightly edited) and dungeons and areas that are just big and long.

Lol GoT suffered from not being long enough though, they rushed the last season and cut corners and that's mostly why people turned on it.

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fugoy

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@arcitee said:

JRPGs have gotten too long also. The greats of decades in the SNES era where around 25-40 hours. During the ps1 era they were around 40-50.

A lot them now are 100+

If by a lot you mean like persona and I think maybe Xenoblade? sure. But honestly there are plenty of jrpgs that are in a nice sweet spot with their length. Hell FF7R is only a little over 30 hours and that's one of the biggest jrpgs that's come out in years. Also I bet a bunch of those playtimes from back then were absolutely due to limitations.

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Deathstriker

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I think TLOU2 is very padded, but I don't think that's an overall problem or trend in gaming. I can't think of another game at the moment from this gen where I thought padding was an issue.

I loved God of War, I was never bored and actually wanted more, such as more gods and realms. With RDR2 I was worried that the epilogue would be padding, but I ended up liking it a lot and thought it was a clever way the deal with the character change.

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bigsocrates

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@deathstriker: If you can't think of another game from this gen where padding was an issue then congratulations on not playing Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, because...wow. That's one of the few games I just could not get to the end of and have no desire to go back to.

I also think that the FF VII Remake, which I really liked, was too long towards the end. There's this whole big dungeon with a split party where you keep having to hit switches to change the routes and it's very long and poorly paced, and followed by probably literally 8 separate boss fights to the point where I was pretty exhausted by the time it was over.

Then there are the open world games, almost all of which have repetitive side content and lots of downtime traveling from place to place. It's not every game, and God of War was an exception for me too, but even games like Spider-Man and Horizon: Zero Dawn, both of which I really liked, wore me out by the time they were finished.

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TheRealTurk

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I would saw sprawl is a more accurate description of my problems with AAA games than actual length. I don't mind having a lot of content as long as the content is good, but so much of it is broken up by these massive open worlds with little to nothing worthwhile in them.

AC: Odyssey is a prime offender in this regard. That's a 100+ hour game, but I'd wager at least 40-50 hours of that is just wandering around in a relatively sparse wilderness area or sailing slowly from island to island. To the extent there are "things" to do, it's almost always the same set of 5-7 military camps and maybe a small cave.

I get that some of that is based on technical limitations. You can only have so many structures and NPCs in one place at a time before the current generation of consoles just can't handle it. That's why my big hope for the next gen is that we get smaller but denser games. Rather than all of Ancient Greece, just give me Athens, but make it really well detailed with tons of stuff to do in a smaller area.

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bigsocrates

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@therealturk: I'm not sure if you're talking about sprawl or repetition. I don't think either is going to get better. There are some limitations in current consoles in terms of how many characters and how much...stuff...can appear on screen, but I don't think that's the main thing causing the issues you're talking about. It's the cost of asset generation. Even if you had to spread the camps out in Assassin's Creed because of RAM limitations there's no need for them to be so repetitive, but making new stuff is much more expensive than just stamping the same stuff on 50 different parts of the map so they do the second. This isn't going to change with new consoles and may get worse because better graphics make games even more expensive to produce.

I agree with you that raw length is less of an issue than what is done with that length, but that's sort of what I'm getting at. If you have enough content for a 10 hour game, then give me a 10 hour game. Don't give me a 20 hour game where I have to do everything twice. It's not fun to clear the same camp for the 8th time, it's just annoying. And games that don't do traversal well shouldn't require you to keep crossing the map back and forth.

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I agree with most others here that is depends if the game justifies its length. Uncharted 4 was about 15 hours but I had the same feeling as TC did with Last of us 2, I spent the back half of the game just wanting it to end. Also the % of players completing games seems incredibly low based on Trophies and Achievements(not sure how accurate that is though).

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bigsocrates

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#11  Edited By bigsocrates

@ktaus: Most developer metrics say that the majority of players do not get to the end of most games. It varies, of course, but I believe the trophy/achievement data is roughly accurate.

Obviously a game like The Last of Us Part II takes time to finish so current data is incomplete, but for The Last of Us 1 on both PS3 and PS4 the completion rate was about 40%. That's not too bad for most games, but it's still under half of players. The same is true for Uncharted 4, which is a somewhat shorter and arguably easier game.

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NeverGameOver

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#12  Edited By NeverGameOver

I don't actually have a problem with it in many cases but TLOU2 is a OUTRAGEOUSLY padded. The game length should straight up be cut in half. Story wise, they could have said everything they wanted in 15 hours. And for gameplay, how many fucking times can they re-use the same "ambushed while crawling through a space" and "miss a jump and fall to the ground" mechanics? It's not a surprise when it happens 5 times!

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nophilip

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It totally depends on a variety of factors to me. I've played 4 hour games that feel overly long cause they had about 2 hours of good content in them (Papy y Yo, for example), and I've played 100 hour games where I just wanted to keep going and wished there was more new things to see (Breath of the Wild).

Some examples of games that felt like exactly the right length for me were Spider-Man PS4, Titanfall 2's campaign, and Firewatch.

For me it just depends on how long a game is able to keep what it has to offer fresh, either by continually introducing new content, or by having mechanics that are compelling enough to warrant repeating activities.

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csl316

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#14  Edited By csl316  Online

YES

I wonder if going back to shorter games would help resolve a lot of overwork issues in the industry. Devs are killing themselves to deliver 25 hours when it could've been a great game at half the length. I guess they started getting longer to justify their tech investment and to have people not complain about $60 being too short. But with Game Pass, I would feel justified paying for my subscription if I got a high quality dozen hour experience once a month.

I recently played through Uncharted 3, and the pacing in that game is superb. I was interested in Last of Us 2 but a 30 hour count scared me away. That's the sort of thing reserved for RPG's, not linear action games. Did Skyrim set expectations for one game to last forever? I've seen forum threads before with "I only got 70 hours out of this game" as a negative. Maybe I'm just old and value my time a bit more.

The Last of Us and Uncharted 4 could've been cut down. God of War could've been cut down. I loved Doom: Eternal front to back but saw some people with that complaint. Hell, even back in the Resident Evil 4 and Half Life 2 days, I feel like there was a lot of filler content. Based on solid gameplay, sure, but I'd much rather play a shorter, tighter game twice than an overlong game once.

Granted, this is coming from someone that prefers 20 minute Quick Looks to 2 hour ones.

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Justin258

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#15  Edited By Justin258

Yes, 25 hours seems much too long for a narrative driven shooter.

However, a chief complaint about the AAA industry during the 360 era was that too many games could be finished in 6 hours, so now we've got bloated games that boast dozens of hours of entertainment. I personally think most games should fall between ten and thirty hours. If you're going beyond thirty, I think you really need to start thinking about whether or not the content you're putting in is actually worth anyone's time. Under 10 and it gets hard to justify spending $60 on a game that will last me a weekend.

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ThePanzini

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Name the last AAA game sub 10 hours without mp that sold well, that's the reason everything is 30 hours plus.

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Efesell

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I feel like the general path I see is people talking about how they had so much time as kids and really loved these huge games that took forever and then grew up had less time and find themselves wishing for these more focused experiences.

I got lost on this road entirely. AC Odyssey, Witcher 3, Xenoblade, all of this is exactly my jam. I love a "you can spend a 100 hours in this thing" kind of game.

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csl316

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#18  Edited By csl316  Online

Name the last AAA game sub 10 hours without mp that sold well, that's the reason everything is 30 hours plus.

Resident Evil 2, although it had two campaigns. Your point stands, though.

The expectation demands that games have to be longer. I remember this criticism being lobbed at Metal Gear Solid upon release way back in '98, which didn't matter to me as a kid because it meant I'd just replay the game 20 times to get my money's worth.

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bigsocrates

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@thepanzini: Knack sold well enough to get a sequel and it can be beaten in under 10 hours. That's not fair, though, since Knack is technically an AAAAA game.

Name a more iconic video game character.  I'll wait.
Name a more iconic video game character. I'll wait.

More seriously, Kirby Star Allies sold decently well despite being very short, but Kirby is a long established franchise that's known for being short, and that game had a ton of extra stuff added via DLC.

There are some relatively short games that have done well recently. Control is like 11 hours (so not sub-10 but not much over it) and it at least reviewed well and seems to have sold well enough to get a promised remaster for the next generation of consoles. Until Dawn is an 8 hour game, though you can argue whether it's AAA (it definitely leans into replayability over length.)

Someone else mentioned Resident Evil 3 remake, and RE2 Remake qualifies too, though both have some extra modes and, of course, a lot of nostalgia and franchise power behind them.

I'd say it's not super frequent but it's not unheard of, especially for games that rely on older and well-established IP.

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NameRedacted

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I'm tired of people complaining about video game length simply because of FOMO.

We live in an age of near endless options for entertainment (e.g movies, TV, internet streaming, comics, books, etc. etc.), but a finite amount of time; there's not enough time for everything. But that doesn't stop people from trying to have it all, especially older gamers with more money than time, who still want to play everything... while also having a family, or more demands on their time, or other hobbies.

Something's gotta give; there's simply not enough time to do everything you want to do.

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bigsocrates

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@nameredacted: This post had literally nothing to do with FOMO. For me a lot of games get boring before I get to the end, but I want to wrap up the narrative and see the story through. Pacing is important and repetition can wear on you if there's not new stuff (be it story, aesthetics, or mechanics) to keep things fresh. For me a lot of games end up repeating themselves way too much just to pad out their length. The Last of Us Part II is, in my opinion, a particularly egregious example, but it's far from the only one. Pretty much everyone agreed that Shadow of War had way too much repetition (in that case it was to try and get you to spend money on microtransactions.)

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Efesell

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I dunno you tell me something is 20 hours and my immediate response is probably "Oh..is that it?"

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csl316

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#23 csl316  Online

@efesell said:

I dunno you tell me something is 20 hours and my immediate response is probably "Oh..is that it?"

I'm curious about your perspective. I tend to burn out on games around that point. The mechanics can only go so far for me and I want to try something else. Can you personally be 50 hours into a game and still feel as invigorated as you did in the first dozen? Or are you just more comfortable spending that kind of time? Or is your preference more based on value?

I don't want to come off as mean or something, it's just different from my preference and I'm curious how you feel about a short game vs. a long game.

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finaldasa

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#24 finaldasa  Moderator

Judging a game based only on length isn't enough. Some games are 40+ hours but the story moves along and wraps up nicely, others are 20+ hours and seem to drag. Story and design have a big role to play.

Overall though, yes they're too long. When you hear story after story of huge teams spending weekends and nights away from their families just so the game can be 40 hours with tons of side missions that have little impact on the overall product, it's hard to not want something shorter.

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mikachops

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#25  Edited By mikachops

In general I think games are too long, but I take more issue with the amount of padding or systems stretched thin that can’t support their own weight in AAA games these days, which is probably the main symptom of this.

FF7R felt like I’d been playing for 100+ hours instead of the 28 or whatever I put into it, and yet I’m playing Xenoblade Chronicles DE and I’ve easily put in 80+ hours already but it’s felt like a quarter of that. Turns out a steady variety of interesting, explorable locations can support generic side quest design.

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Arcitee

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#26  Edited By Arcitee

Trophy data to determine completion rate gets messy when a game is given away on PSPlus since an unknown number of people will download it but barely play it. There are 41.5 million Plus members that could download it and then barely play it.

And for JRPGs that are too long I was thinking DQ, Persona, Trails, Xenoblade, all can easily go over 100 hours with just being moderately completionist.

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Efesell

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@csl316: Usually narrative as a driving force but sometimes just a matter of.. liking tasks and finishing lists and all that. I just like tucking into a long game.

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ToughShed

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#28  Edited By ToughShed

Starting??? This has been a giant issue since the beginning of this gen. Its been a bummer.

And on the flip side, indie games are almost all rogue likes, which are becoming more and more grating to me as a concept (i don't want to see the first level of a game a thousand times actually thanks).

Bring back level based games! There needs to be more balance with all this.

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Arcitee

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@toughshed: I dont play many roguelikes but I am starting to feel that way about metroidvania, once my favorite genre in the world, now there are too many indie ones and I just only have so much patience to recheck every inch of forest-castle setting.

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bigsocrates

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@toughshed: Towards the beginning of the generation there were more shorter games. If you look at the launch lineup, games like Ryse and Knack came in at around 8-10 hours. The Order 1886 was like a 5 hour game. It has been happening for a while (especially with open world games) but I think it's definitely accelerated in recent times.

I also have issues with roguelikes but at least they have the excuse that the studios making them often have limited resources and are trying to make longer experiences on the cheap. I think that's what drives a lot of the roguelike phenomenon and I can understand that, even if I'd generally rather have a linear game with carefully designed levels. I've liked some roguelikes but the repetition means I rarely finish them, especially because most of them are hard as nails.

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hermes

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#31  Edited By hermes

I don't think games are getting too long, but I do offer a different hypothesis: you are growing older, so you appreciate games that can be completed in a more reasonable time...

I have the same issue. Nowadays I would rather play a short(er) game I know I can complete and experience in a few days, instead of a 60+ hours game. If I get to play a longer game, I know beforehands that I won't finish it, which can be an acceptable tradeoff for a game like Civilization, Oxygen not Included or FTL, that are mechanical games without a strong narrative that can be played until I am satiated, but it is an investment that games like Final Fantasy XV or Fallout 4 don't warrant.

However, my original point is that games have not grown longer, only that your patience to them has grown thinner. Games like Far Cry, Assassins Creed, GTA or Fuel (many RPG or Open World games) have gloated about their long campaigns or huge maps for generations, expecting less savvy people to hype and not realize that making a game that is huge is rather easy when they mostly copy/paste assets, icons, quests and mission objectives into procedurally generated maps.

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bigsocrates

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@hermes: This is not the case for me. I'm definitely getting older, that's for sure, but games are also getting longer, and you can see that just looking at the lengths of games in the same series. You mentioned Assassin's Creed in your "they're the same length" list, but Assassin's Creed games started out about 15-20 hours and now they're all 40 hours+, and much much longer if you want to be completionist. Far Cry games are still about 15-20 hours so they haven't gotten longer, but God of War 2018 is twice as long as God of War III. Metro Last Light was a 10 hour game and Metro Exodus is like a 35 hour game. There are exceptions (the GTA games are mostly around 30 hours) but very few games go in the opposite direction. If you look at most long running series or franchises you see that there has been some increase in run time. Star Wars The Force Unleashed was like 8 hours long and its sequel was like 6 hours long. Jedi: Fallen Order is like 16 hours. In that case I don't think the run time is excessive (16 hours is reasonable and the game never ran out of steam for me) but these days 12-16 hours seems like a minimum when we used to have a lot of 8 hour games, and 20-30 hours is not uncommon.

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Pezen

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I'll certainly agree a lot of AAA games lately are longer than they have the narrative juice or mechanical novelty to keep me interested to the end. I just get tired of them. Open world bloat and/or collectibles/audio logs (or similar) doesn't help them either, that just makes everything seem overwhelming. I find myself worrying about missing something, spending too much time finding it that by the time I get back on track I'm done for the day. Eventually the game just runs out of steam because I get so far removed from any cohesive narrative.

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#35  Edited By Kyniro

Too many collectibles, too many consumables to pick up, to many side-mission heavy open-world hubs that amount to the former and often feel like busywork. It's why most AAA games for me (especially primarily story-driven ones where the core gameplay takes a backseat) end up being a one and done.

I've put dozens of hours into Resident Evil 3 Remake even though it's clearly unfinished (the game desperately needs at least one more open-area section in the middle for Jill) because it's still a decent length and overall fun to play. Most runthroughs even on the higher difficulties take 2-3 hours.

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FancySoapsMan

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Definitely depends on the game. Persona 5 took me over 130 hours to beat but it never felt like it overstayed its welcome.

By comparison, trails of cold steel was only 80 hours long but that game felt like it dragged so much.

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I feel like AC Origins vs Odyssey is the perfect example of perfect vs insane overload, Origins felt like a thoughtfully assembled, beautiful world, and 100 percenting that game was a joy. I boot up Odyssey every now and then, look at the map and just sigh, knowing ill never complete a meaningful part of the game or feel like the content I do engage in matters. Having said that, adding things like NG+ or collectibles is a very nice feature to have, one that I've noticed myself using when money is tight more than when im flush, its all dependent on mood too.

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Arcitee

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@fancysoapsman: Trails (especially 1) starts slow then picks up steam as it goes. Persona 5 starts better but I was starting to feel burnt out by the last 2 dungeons. The result is me finishing Persona 5, loving it but being done versus platinuming Cold Steel 2 and 3.

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I think these days very few games justify their length which keep getting longer and longer. @bigsocrates nails it right on the head with God of War. It's one of my favorite games of this generation (I didn't play any of the previous games in the series) because it doesn't overstay its welcome in any one specific area.

I have been a lifelong Assassin's Creed fan but I feel like that series is drifting farther and farther away from me. I thought Origins redesigned the combat well and I enjoyed Bayek's story from beginning to end but Odyssey just did not click with me. I feel like Ubisoft is shifting all of their games to this open world, MMO style, multi year content treadmill and in turn I'm just not as excited with their IP anymore. I want to be excited about Valhalla (It has the actor who played Cnute in the The Last Kingdom voicing the protagonist which is cool) but if it's similar in design/writing as Odyssey, that saps my interest quite a bit. The movement and combat felt less weighty than Origins and the Witcher style dialogue felt tacked on and meaningless.

Another example is Dragon Age: Inquisition, a game whose characters I thought were beautifully written but the content outside of those characters was just bloated and boring. Alien: Isolation was a horror game that I personally did not finish, but heard the campaign was over 20 hours long which seems unnecessary. A well written 8-12 hour horror campaign that trims the fat would have been a far more satisfying Alien experience in my opinion. I've now tried multiple times to finish Red Dead Redemption 2. The game is beautiful, well written, and the voice acting is fantastic. I can't stand how every action in that game takes forever to do, a control scheme that Rockstar loves to put in all of their games now to pad the experience out. It's frustrating because I want to love that game more than I do, but the controls kill my enthusiasm.

I could go on and on with personal examples, but more and more games are getting longer and not necessarily in a good way. I'm currently playing through the Last of Us 2 and am disappointed to hear that the game adds bloat at the end. It doesn't damper my enthusiasm about finishing the game, but once I reach that point I may also be frustrated that it hasn't ended yet. It all goes back to the more game hours=more value which I think is ridiculous. My teenage self would have probably happily agreed with that statement because you have limited income and want a summer game that lasts three months (Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion back then for me). I'm now almost 30 and I don't have the time anymore to sink my teeth into games that have more fat than substance. When you have a career, friends, loved ones, and a thing called life, it makes the hours that you do spend on a game that more meaningful and important.

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siftypes

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Length doesn't matter, as long as I feel like my time is being valued.

I work 60+ hours a week, I volunteer, I have a family. The time I have set aside for gaming is a handful of hours on the weekend, and maybe an hour or two before I head into the office during the week. The games that have really held my attention this generation are those that I can hop into on a Tuesday morning and know that I'm going to have a full hour of fun before work. I gave up on Witcher 3, AC: Odyssey, God of War, FF7:R, and countless others because I knew that I'd be sitting down and spending 10 minutes running through old areas to get to the new stuff. Then 20 minutes of cutscenes, 10 minutes of tutorial maybe, giving me a solid 10 - 20 minutes of enjoyable gameplay.

Or, I could do a few raids in Pokemon Sword, or run through a dungeon in an MMO, or knock out a quest in Outer Worlds. I could load up The Crew and just listen to a podcast and drive for a while. It doesn't matter if the story is 10 hours long or 100 hours long, what matters is that each of those hours feels like it's worth spending on that game. Weirdly, Fallout 4 is a great example of that. Whether or not the game is good, as a whole, it was always a game that I knew I could boot up and kill and hour or two in before work. No filler, no wandering from place to place, just load in, shoot some ghouls, gather some materials, run through some sidequests. Was it always amazing and fresh and brilliant? No, nowhere close, but it was at least consistently active with minimal fluff.

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Deathstriker

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@bigsocrates: I played Shadow of War, but I didn't make it far. The Batman Arkham style combat hasn't aged well IMO so I didn't play it much. Luckily I rented it and didn't buy it.

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ToughShed

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#43  Edited By ToughShed

@bigsocrates: You are right that it has gotten worse. The CoD campaign formula of a 6-10 hour campaign basically died when CoD even called it quits. Now almost everything is open world it seems like.

And I also totally get the design decision on the roguelike you mention. Theoretically it allows you to really stretch out your content and for some people your game then becomes basically a hobby for them they are constantly coming back so (depending on how successful you are I suppose). But sub par level generation, continually seeing the same tilesets and enemies every single session, and a lack of a feeling of real progression and exploration really grate on me in these games.

There's been a few different games, for example Synthetik, where I love the basics but even after getting like 15 to 20 hours out of it (which seems good on paper) my opinion of the game actually kind of soured a bit over time and I'm not interested in playing the first few levels again and again. In the first few hours I would have talked so glowingly about the game but less so now. If it was a tight 5 to 10-15 hour campaign I would have come away glowing about the gameplay and, assuming they are done well, a sense of exploration and place that the randomly generated levels have none of (I do have to say it's a good game tho, great successor to Crusader: No Remorse and like if ARPGs were actually fun).

Dead Cells is also a game that to me play so well but the level generation is so damn boring and the repetition grates on me.

@arcitee: I feel you on that as well man. I like 2D stage based games.

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mikewhy

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@sahalarious said:

I feel like AC Origins vs Odyssey is the perfect example of perfect vs insane overload, Origins felt like a thoughtfully assembled, beautiful world, and 100 percenting that game was a joy. I boot up Odyssey every now and then, look at the map and just sigh, knowing ill never complete a meaningful part of the game or feel like the content I do engage in matters.

100% agree with this. I've even gone back and finished Origins another time a year or so after completing it the first time. Odyssey, yikes.

It's not dependant on the world size or hour count. While those are great indicators on the amount of bull the game will entail, it's much more about how well the game values your time. Of course, that's also pretty subjective.

So, to me, the question is more "are AAA games justifying their growing time requirements?", which is a more definite no from me dog.

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Sahalarious

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@mikewhy: well said, it's as if there is this expectation of scale that couldn't possibly be met with quality writing or unique content, ultimately cheapening the entire package instead of what I feel used to be dismissed as "throwaway side content". This is a reason I have bounces off Horizon every time I try I as well, map marker fatigue to the max. I do love what the expectation of a longer experience does to games like God of War however, the optional content there still felt authored and significant, and Witcher 3, which, while bloated, has consistently good writing to keep it afloat.

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cornbredx

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#46  Edited By cornbredx

So the second option is kinda what I feel about this.

The problem is not that games are "too long" so much as they are full of filler content that bloats the length but adds no substance so it takes a long time but isn't worth it because it's dull or uninteresting busy work.

So the real problem is that big games are too bloated with meaningless content you don't want to do.

This is not a new problem, though. It's been this way for about 5 years, maybe a little longer. Ubisoft started it and WB games was following suit. It's a disturbing trend caused by the children that whine 20 hour games are "too short". Total nonsense.

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Nodima

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I struggle to play ten total games a year, and most of the games I play wind up being Sony 1st Party AAA titles, so I suppose in general I've appreciate the tasteful ways they've grown a bit this generation. Whether it's clever open-ended combat that encourages constant experimentation like Horizon, intricately coordinated series' of story-item upgrade-player skill based world map progression like God of War, pure video game cotton candy like Spider-Man or dreary character studies like The Last of Us (or Uncharted), I think these games all benefit from spending more time in their world. Additionally, the games that inspire what Sony titles aim for from houses like Rockstar have proven to me I will gladly spend 200 hours in those games whether the story keeps momentum the whole way or no.

When I look outside my little bubble I see a world full of far too ambitious video games, however. Both Watch Dogs games exhausted me, particularly the 2nd, by sheer volume of shit in the game, both good and bad shit. Assassin's Creed looks like a nightmare, and Far Cry 4 felt like living one. Just Cause 2 felt like it should've been 5 hours with a playground mode. Final Fantasy VII Remake was a delicious feast of combat, horrible dialogue and texture mapping as abstract art but I could've done with 15 less hours of it if asked with a gunblade to my head. And it's hard not to look to something like Bloodborne (or Sekiro, or whatever) and appreciate that the length of the product is tied to its difficulty rather than its content - it took me nearly a year to get to The One Reborn the first time I played Bloodborne, but then just about two days when I came back to it a few weeks ago.

I think I tend to lean towards these games becoming a little to a lot too long if you're trying to play them all, but if you're selective about what you play it's all about knowing your limits. I am a Vinny-type - I pulled up the Encounters page on The Last of Us 2's main menu recently and when I noticed that I'd missed over 10 card collectibles in a scenario I felt I'd scoured extremely minutely I almost restarted the game then and there - so I have to really monitor my enjoyment of a game and what I'm looking for from it at a given moment so I don't exhaust myself. Maybe video games could be better about not encouraging that kind of behavior, but I'm also just a sucker for art and constantly mumbling under my breath, "somebody made all this..."

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#48 csl316  Online

I should also mention that when looking at reviews, my second stop is checking How Long To Beat. A giant hour count just scares me away.

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AV_Gamer

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#49  Edited By AV_Gamer

If they didn't make the games long people would complain about how they paid 60 dollars and didn't get their money's worth. One recent example is Resident Evil 3 Remake. People complained that it was a stripped down version of the original game and as result could be completed in 4-6 hours. Many people were upset about this, pointing out how Capcom threw in an online mode to cover the stripped down campaign. Me personally, if I'm going to spend nearly 100 dollars on a videogame, it better give me my money's worth and be a very good length. There are exceptions to everything. I think AC: Odyssey is too long. A great game, but too long and almost endless stuff to do that can seem overwhelming. I ended up just doing the main story stuff and skipping the hunting the cult endgame stuff afterwards. So I can see where some people are coming from, but yeah, AAA have to deliver the goods across the board, that includes being a decent length.

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#50  Edited By ToughShed

@av_gamer: so... what about RE 2 Remake? Only a a little longer but a much better game. Never saw anyone complain about its length.

RE 3 remake is shorter and has pacing issues that exacerbate the problem. It also cut things from the original.

I think you actually picked maybe the only game I saw a too short criticism of in the last few years.