The essence of longevity in a game is something that most gamers strictly ask for, but do we really want a long game? A game that keeps us away from playing others because of its length? Does the fact that you spend sixty bucks on a game justify it having a certain length? Would you rather have a long game plagued with bugs and a disingenuous story or have a tight storyline that keeps you wanting more well after you’ve beaten it several times? These are questions I ask myself before buying a game. I am on the fence about the length being a deciding factor for a few reasons. The developers of many games often put what they want into a game whether or not it is playable for a certain amount of time and if I like the company, I do what I can out of respect and support them.
A prime example of this debate is Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. I beat the main story of the game in under one hour and suffice it to say, the game does justify my money with sufficient side quests and just being a lot of fun. Although for others, the game is a beautiful spectacle running on the gorgeous Fox Engine. The game looks stunning and was designed to be the appetizer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, promised to be two-hundred times larger than its predecessor. and to be creative enough to release Ground Zeroes for his fans is saying a lot of his character, I think. With most game companies, you don’t even get that. Sometimes, you get an arcade game to prelude into the final product; most developers don’t give you a fully realized prequel running on a stunning and amazing looking engine. We should be so lucky.
On the other hand back in two-thousand eleven, I purchased The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and I am still playing that game. So, is longevity a problem? I don’t think so. I don’t think that a short game has any less quality than a longer one or vice-versa. With select franchises comes newer IP’s (intellectual properties) just wanting in on the action and with some franchises you know what to expect as far as where they sit on the debate of quantity over quality. Although, with new IPs comes the fear that you will buy the game from a familiar company you love and not knowing where they are going with the game as far as length, graphics and gameplay. I admit that the Arkham games that have been previously released as new IP’s are the perfect length for something new. Any author or scriptwriter can tell you that quality matters despite the length. The replayability also adds to a short games shelf-life.
My last point is the crucial wildcard: multiplayer. It seems to me that companies think this adds shelf-life to a game, but I beg to differ because most of them are tacked on. A few examples I can think of are Bioshock 2 and the Assassin’s Creed games. I don’t know if many people are a fan of the competitive aspect of the Assassin’s Creed games, but I am not one of them. For other players, it’s the other way around with Call of Duty and Battlefield; while most people thrive on the new multiplayer every year or two, a lot of players don’t even bother touching the single player. I’m guessing that’s what led to the absence of single player in Titanfall. Also, how long should a game like Call of Duty have after their yearly releases and their cut and paste downloadable content before the new entries in the franchise start to feel like just more downloadable content? How long can it really last?
So whether or not the length of a game matters to you when you purchase a game or if you are simply looking to enjoy it and have a good time, remember one thing: always have fun with the time you actually spend playing games. That’s what they’re for, regardless of length.