How long should a typical RPG last?

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BoG

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#1  Edited By BoG

For as long as I can remember, gamers have been unsatisfied with the length of many games. Generally, they want their games to be longer. Maybe I'm crazy (and please tell me, if I am) but I've noticed that RPGs tend to get the most flak. As time has gone on, our RPGs have grown longer and longer. When I was younger, a typical RPG lasted 20-25 hours. Now, a 40 hour RPG is considered short. 
I've been considering this lately. Is longer necessarily better? I think back to games, such as the SNES and PS1 Final Fantasy titles. The most I spent in any of them was 45 hours in FFVIII, and I got EVERYTHING. Chrono Trigger wasn't so long, Valkyrie Profile... and all of these games left me satisfied. More recent iterations to the FF series have been longer, and the length has worn on me. FFXII was great at first, but around the 40 hour mark I was bored of the game. It was a chore to finish. I hear FFXIII was similar (I have yet to play it). 
On the other hand, take games like Persona 3 and 4. I put in 108 hours and 94 hours respectively, and it never felt tedious. Neither game ever became boring, like FFXII, despite being twice as long as that title. 
So, what do you think? Is should the games be longer, or shorter? Or is it really just a matter of pacing the game correctly, so that it stays interesting?
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Badhands

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#2  Edited By Badhands

At least 20 hours.

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Dan_CiTi

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#3  Edited By Dan_CiTi

Final Fantasy 6 is a game that if you are at least somewhat familiar with it it is about 40 hours. And Isn't that the king of traditional RPGs? Hell, Chrono Trigger is even shorter. 

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Rahf

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#4  Edited By Rahf

Here's my question to the general public: How much of that RPG gameplay time do you think is grinding? How much do you think consists of cutscenes nowadays?

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Hizang

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#5  Edited By Hizang

A decent RPG should last 20 + Hours

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BoG

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#6  Edited By BoG
@Dan_CiTi said:
Final Fantasy 6 is a game that if you are at least somewhat familiar with it it is about 40 hours. And Isn't that the king of traditional RPGs? Hell, Chrono Trigger is even shorter. 

I clocked 30 hours in the GBA, and I took my time to get the few new extras in the version.
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Devoid

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#7  Edited By Devoid

If I get more game time in hours then I pay for it in dollars, then that's great. If it isn't tedious and grindy as heck, of course.

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BeachThunder

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#8  Edited By BeachThunder

I think the original Chrono Trigger (including sidequests) was pretty much the ideal length. Some RPGs go overboard with an obnoxiously large amount of bland content, seemingly so they can say things like "2000 HOURS OF GAMEPLAY!!!"

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RandomInternetUser

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Honestly?  Unless it's an extremely good RPG like Dragon Age: Origins, SW:KoTOR, Mass Effect/Mass Effect 2, etc., then I do not want it to last for longer than 20 or 30 hours.  But if KoTOR was a 200 hour game, I wouldn't complain.

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redbliss

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#10  Edited By redbliss

I dont think it really matters. As long as the RPG is good I dont really care how long it is. Mass Effect 1 and 2 are both good examples. They werent long RPGs, but because the combat, choices, characters, and everything else were done so well it didnt really matter.

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Marz

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#11  Edited By Marz

25 hours main storyline, extra content can be however long it wants to be.

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Sooperspy

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#12  Edited By Sooperspy

At least 25 hours or so.

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TheDudeOfGaming

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#13  Edited By TheDudeOfGaming

Depends on the game, i don't mind playing Fallout 3 or New Vegas for 50-60+ hours, and then you have Oblivion that can last up to a 100 hours, but not every RPG should last this long, like i said it really depends on the game. At least 20 hours, in average 30. Dungeon Siege 3 is a disgrace.

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Arabes

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#14  Edited By Arabes

About 40 odd hours for everything - main and side quests. I can't stand rpg's where you have to grind though. The side quests should take care of that.

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Mayu_Zane

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#15  Edited By Mayu_Zane
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Claude

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#16  Edited By Claude

That last two Mass Effects lasted about 37 hours on my first play through. That sounds about right. But some of that shit was some repetitive bullshit. Plenty of replay value though.

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grilledcheez

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#17  Edited By grilledcheez

I'm going to say as long as possible

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IBurningStar

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#18  Edited By IBurningStar

I'm going to say that ideal time is somewhere between 40-60 hours. Not factoring in any time spent grinding. Which is something I'd like for there to be almost none of.  The game should be balanced so that I should be able to handle anything the game throws at me as long as I haven't been constantly running away from fights. The exception to this can be the final boss/optional "challenge" encounters. I'm fine with having to go do side quests and whatnot to better prepare for that.

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deactivated-5a1a3d3c6820c

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As long as possible if it's engaging.

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FateOfNever

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#20  Edited By FateOfNever

Part of the problem with RPGs and why people don't particularly want short ones, is because RPGs are so story driven that very few of them have very high replayability, and gamers want to get the most for their dollar.  So, rather than find a way to make a game that is almost entirely story driven have good replay value, it's easier to just have the game be longer.  Therefore, shorter RPGs feel like a bit more of a rip off.  Though, most of the time it really just comes down to whether or not the game felt satisfying for the length that the game was.

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Milkman

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#21  Edited By Milkman

Same with every game. However long it takes to its point across.

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Ghostin

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#22  Edited By Ghostin

20 hours bare minimum.
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iam3green

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#23  Edited By iam3green

i would 30 hours is a great hour of it lasting. it's the main story and then there is also the second hand things that you can do in that game.
 
i played mass effect 2 and i have been meaning to play that game again. i think i spent about 25 hours playing that game.

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Twitchey

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#24  Edited By Twitchey
@xobballox said:
  But if KoTOR was a 200 hour game, I wouldn't complain.
The Holy Grail of RPGs. 
 
If the RPG is like Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, or Two Worlds then it should have at least 100+ hours of gameplay. 
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MEATBALL

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#25  Edited By MEATBALL

I like my RPGs to be meaty, 40-50 hours upon completion (including any/all sidequests) and I'm happy. I look to other genres for fast-paced campaigns that span 6-12 hours.That said I wouldn't complain if a game proved to be shorter as long as I really enjoyed what was there.

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Stitches

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#26  Edited By Stitches
@Badhands said:

At least 20 hours.

This
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#27  Edited By sirdesmond

If it keeps me engaged, entertained, and interested then it could be 4000+ hours. It's when a game stops doing those things though is right when it should end (regardless of how long it has taken to get to that point).

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WickedCestus

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#28  Edited By WickedCestus

I've always wanted to play an RPG that introduces a bunch of concepts and systems in the first 2 hours, but then is only five hours long. I just think it would be funny. As for being serious, I'd say 20 hours is a good minimum length, but if it's interesting I think they should take as long as they need to tell the story.

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Joru

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#29  Edited By Joru

12-20 hours main storyline. I understand the appeal of an extremely long game, but honestly I usually don't have the time to beat games that are that long.

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Red

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#30  Edited By Red

It honestly just depends on how long the journey feels. I think Chrono Trigger was a perfect length at a little over 20 hours, but I also think that Persona 4 was as well, and I spent about 80 hours in Inaba. The only RPG I can think of that I remember feeling was "too short" was the original Mass Effect, as the side stuff is repetitive, and the main story is only about 10-12 hours. But even in Mass Effect, enough stuff happened throughout the game--and I wanted to replay it enough--that I didn't feel gipped. It moved quickly. 
On the other hand, a lot of RPGs move too slowly. Despite spending 5-20 hours on each main Final Fantasy game through 9 (excluding 8), the only games in the series I've beaten are the first two. Even though I really liked some of them, they honestly just moved too slowly for me to grind on past where I was stuck, or even find out where I'm going next.

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#31  Edited By SlasherMan

As long as it's not mostly comprised of a mind-numbing grind, 20-30 hours is good enough for me.
 
The Witcher and Mass Effect games felt spot on with their lengths (barring ME2's planet mining activities, ugh). Dragon Age was too long, too grindy and it just wore me out by the 40-50 hour mark at which point all I could think was 'When's this game going to end?' until I finally finished it after another 30-40 hours (yes, I'm a trooper).
I have very mixed feelings about FF13. Sometimes I enjoy it, sometimes I feel it bores me to death. It's all one huge grind, but the combat system can be fun. One thing's for sure, it lacks the magic previous FF titles had, and at the 30 hour mark and a month of on and off play sessions I'm hoping there's not much left until the conclusion (doubtful).
 
So yeah, extremely long games are rarely ever a good thing, and are rarely ever done without artificial lengthening and padding with boring mundane chores. If I want an endless grind with unlimited playtime, I'll play an MMO, thank you.

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#32  Edited By HandsomeDead

I have yet to play a JRPG that wasn't too long. I got to the end of Persona 3 and I was approaching something obscene like 100 hours and I realised how much of that was grind and how the plot machinations probably only added up to maybe 15 of those hours.

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DragonBloodthirsty

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@BoG said:
For as long as I can remember, gamers have been unsatisfied with the length of many games. Generally, they want their games to be longer. Maybe I'm crazy (and please tell me, if I am) but I've noticed that RPGs tend to get the most flak. As time has gone on, our RPGs have grown longer and longer. When I was younger, a typical RPG lasted 20-25 hours. Now, a 40 hour RPG is considered short. I've been considering this lately. Is longer necessarily better? I think back to games, such as the SNES and PS1 Final Fantasy titles. The most I spent in any of them was 45 hours in FFVIII, and I got EVERYTHING. Chrono Trigger wasn't so long, Valkyrie Profile... and all of these games left me satisfied. More recent iterations to the FF series have been longer, and the length has worn on me. FFXII was great at first, but around the 40 hour mark I was bored of the game. It was a chore to finish. I hear FFXIII was similar (I have yet to play it). On the other hand, take games like Persona 3 and 4. I put in 108 hours and 94 hours respectively, and it never felt tedious. Neither game ever became boring, like FFXII, despite being twice as long as that title. So, what do you think? Is should the games be longer, or shorter? Or is it really just a matter of pacing the game correctly, so that it stays interesting?

It's not really about "number of hours" but about getting worthwhile content.  20 hours of gameplay in a 40 hour game is pretty dull.

The real answer is "It should be as long as it should be", as driven by the game mechanics and story.  I want a complete and satisfying experience, and one that I don't feel ripped off after.  Recettear was short, but I thought it was a fun little game and well worth its cost.

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MattyFTM

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#34  Edited By MattyFTM  Moderator

I wish there were more shorter RPG's. Games just can't hold my attention for 40-60 hours, or even more. I mean, I was playing Final Fantasy VI recently and was really enjoying it, but got to a point about 15-20 hours in where I was going to have to do a little bit of grinding. If the end was in sight, if it were 25-30 hours long I would have had no problem doing that, but so far away from the end I just put it down and haven't played it since. I was really enjoying it & I want to see the rest of the story, but I'm just a little burnt out on the actual battles & I certainly don't want to have to grind out more rages for Gau and spells for everyone else. If we were closer to the end I'd plough through that and continue on, but so far from the end it seems futile. Another short while down the road I'm just going to have to do the same again, and again, and again.

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jacdg

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#35  Edited By jacdg

@Joru said:

12-20 hours main storyline. I understand the appeal of an extremely long game, but honestly I usually don't have the time to beat games that are that long.

I agree, also, if the game isn't really really good, I usually won't have the patience to play it for 30-40 hours, I have given up many a RPG because the story or the gameplay just wasn't interesting enough for me to invest that much time into them, even though the game itself was probably worth finishing. Now, if the game is truly amazing, I would want it tom be 30 hours-ish.

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Mr_Skeleton

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#36  Edited By Mr_Skeleton

20 hours or more, with replay value.

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ReyGitano

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#37  Edited By ReyGitano

All RPG's should be as long as Costume Quest.

Seriously, with all that's possible in today's market, I believe the only right answer is "as long as it takes". If you can accomplish what you want in a shorter time frame, that's great; same rules apply if you want to go and make an epic adventure. As long as you make it so I keep wanting to play your game, and don't leave me feeling unsatisfied at the end of it, time doesn't matter to me.

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altairre

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#38  Edited By altairre
@Milkman said:

Same with every game. However long it takes to its point across.

I agree and for the most good RPGs that takes at least 20 hours which is due to the fact that you should become attached to the world and the characters and this process takes time.
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Sayishere

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#39  Edited By Sayishere

As long as one decides to play it. Content shouldnt limit the player in a RPG, there should be things that act as distractions from the main game if the player chooses to indulge in it.

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deactivated-5f9398c1300c7

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40+ hours.

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xpgamer7

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#41  Edited By xpgamer7

I don't think it matters as long as it's made well. A fast paced game that leaves you thrilled yet takes 20 hours is great, but a RPG with horrible combat or other problems is bad regardless of length. I appreciate quality more than time sucking in these types of games.

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Jimbo

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#42  Edited By Jimbo

I'll take a shorter RPG where your choices actually matter over a longer one where they don't. That said, for me, less than ~15 hours or so in an RPG doesn't really give you enough time to settle into your role and do anything that feels like it has any weight.

I say around 20 - 45 hours is the sweet spot. I put about 80 into my first Dragon Age run and that would have benefitted from being about 30 hours shorter - so much padding in that game.

The Elder Scrolls games are slightly different, because they're more about getting immersed in a world than getting immeresed in a story. The narrative isn't really the focus, so the pacing getting screwed up by the 200 hours of random quests you can go and do isn't too much of an issue.

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FLStyle

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#43  Edited By FLStyle

100 hours please.

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citizenkane

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#44  Edited By citizenkane

30 hours give or take 5 hours.

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Karl_Boss

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#45  Edited By Karl_Boss

40 hours seems pretty basic to me since I like to explore around a lot.

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penguindust

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#46  Edited By penguindust

For me?  40 hours, but I tend to dawdle around a lot so 30 hours for the average gamer.  A lot of the length depends on the pacing.  KOTOR is a great game, but the first mission world takes so damned long.  If a game drags like that then editing needs to be done even if it reduces the overall length by a significant percentage.
 
Of course, this does not mean a game can't last longer.  I've sunk 80+ hours into DQ9, 90+ into the Personas and untold numbers into DA:O and Oblivion and enjoyed (practically) every moment.

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Nux

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#47  Edited By Nux

30 hours

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Spoonman671

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#48  Edited By Spoonman671

They should last until I'm satisfied with what I've payed for them.

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Video_Game_King

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#49  Edited By Video_Game_King

20-40 hours is usually as long as it gets. If somebody tells you that a game has 80-100 hours of gameplay and it isn't an MMORPG, they're full of shit (or they just leave their console on at night and don't care about accurate completion times).

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#50  Edited By Tsoglani

First thought was an RPG should last 40 hours or more, but as I think about it (and in my older age!) I sometimes wish that an RPG could be shorter, mainly due to not having enough time to finish them.
 
Case in point, Oblivion; I bought it 3 years ago, and still haven't finished it. Mind you, I have put over 200 hours into it, and barely halfway through the story. I love Oblivion, but the thought sometimes crosses my mind it would be shorter, but truth is I can't help completing sidequests... that's it, blame the sidequests.
 
On the other hand, Dungeon Siege 3: many of my fellow gamers (read: fanboys of the series) complained that it was too short. Ok, this is where i believe for an RPG to be a bit shorter due to its pick-up and play appeal, and being the sort of game you could play with your girl, or a friend, and not have to devote your life to it. Note I said 'a bit'. People played it on Normal and Easy and then complained it was too short, at maybe 12 or 14 hours. I took the advice of a friend and started on Hardcore mode, and again, halfway through I have clocked in 25 or so hours, and with the sidequests, it is a decently long game. 
 
In the end it is down to people's tastes, whether they have the time (some of us gotta work and study), or just straight-up if they like the game. If you like the game then you more likely to take your time and soak in the atmosphere, etc. In Dungeon Siege 3, I read the lore and soak up the atmosphere.
 
At the end of the day, I think the gaming world needs long games: I can't stand full-priced games that clock in for 4 hours, but that is only my view. I would much rather 100 hours of slaying goblins and demons, than 4 hours of Michael Bay style explosions and set-pieces.