I think too many games go on for too long now and it seems to be for commercial reasons. Very often, single-player only games are ruined by way too much copy and paste padding and it’s increasingly rare to be able to say you haven’t seen all the fundamental content of a 70+ hour game within the first 10-20 hours.
Multiplayer games are even worse because they often seem to have no end at all. I’d be interested in playing the likes of Destiny 2 if I didn’t feel like the game would be constantly trying to suck me in for months more than I’d like, to the extent that it’s not just my gaming time it’s consuming but time that should be dedicated to more important things. I see this first hand with some people I know and I feel sorry for their kids.
It’s all part of this games as a service rather than a product business. It takes a degree of thought and effort to just dump a lot of billed services we rely on, whereas we can chip off a traditional game with barely a shrug. And this is what seems to be influencing publishers now.
But I’d rather have a tight, refined and polished shorter game that gives you incentive to play more than once, than an unwarranted 200-hour bloat-fest. Or an online grind that’s been designed by behavioural psychologists and purposefully has no end. If something like Vanquish gave more reason to start over after the credits, I’d prefer that model as a method of ensuring value for money.
It hasn’t become a big problem yet but I think we could hit a wall soon, especially if a hot topic sprouts among the wider public and debates emerge about how vulnerable a lot of people, young and old, now are to games that so desperately fight for too much of their time.
Even disregarding that, though, if every publisher made a game that demanded to be the only game you play, there would either be something akin to a three-game industry or no industry at all. And I think some publishers are irresponsible for pushing ever closer to this outcome, because it’ll to be too late before they’re ever held to account.
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