I’m one of those who enjoy games that take a bit of time to finish. This is mainly because of two reasons – Firstly, I like when entertainment lasts a long time, this applies to both movies and games. Secondly, games that go on for a long time often get a larger replay value, as there’s normally more choices that can be made different throughout the game. (This, of course, depends on that it’s in fact a good game we’re talking about).
Warren Spector, creative director at Junction Point Studios, known for his work on the Deus Ex and Thief series, has another opinion. During his Game Education Summit keynote recently, Spector said that game design priorities may change because of the amount of money being spent on development.
“I love working with Disney because I’m so tired of making games about guys in black leather carrying guns. I don’t want to make those any more. Game costs are going to be USD 35-40 million, even USD 100 million, and the expectations are huge. You have to differentiate yourselves. One-hundred hour games are on the way out…how many of you have finished GTA? Two per cent, probably. If we’re spending USD 100 million on a game, we want you to see the last level!”
It’s true that you have to make your game unique to stand out in the game industry jungle today. But I don’t think 100-hour games are on the way out, it all depends on the quality of the story and gameplay. Actually, many games such as Quantic Dream’s Fahrenheit and LucasArt’s Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, have gone from “potentially awesome” to just “sweet” because they end too quickly and abrupt.
Sure, it’s always a thrill when playing a short and intense game, as long as it wraps together nicely. I’m looking forward to see what Junction Point Studio’s upcoming fantasy title (which will use Valve’s Source engine) will deliver in terms of quality and unique gaming. To quote Warren: “When we DO announce what we’re doing, half the world’s going to think we’re crazy and half the world’s going to think it’s the coolest thing since sliced bread – how great is that?!”