I disagreed when Warren Spector said that one-hundred hour games are on the way out, but when Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford explains his viewpoint, that belief makes more sense. When asked about the upcoming Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway, much of his answer revolved around their efforts to make a game full with feelings, rather than prolonging the experience with a lot of gaming hours.
“The campaign is not too short and not too long,” Pitchford said. “It’s longer than Call of Duty 4. It’s shorter than a Final Fantasy game. It’s different for different players. When the end starts to come, you want it to come. But when you get there, you want more. It’s really well crafted.”
What Pitchford is saying is completely true. An intense war simulator should be about feeling and quality experiences, with focus being laid on details and gameplay instead of an epic story. One isn’t going to rule out the other, but great ideas such as only hearing your heartbeat and a whistle in your ears when a grenade goes off is what made Call of Duty such a kick ass-game.
Pitchford continues, “A game I’m not interested in can be 100,000 hours long and I don’t care. Maybe if it was one hour and all the attention was put on that one hour, the game might be something I could get interested in… Meanwhile, if something is awesome, but too short, I don’t feel value for my investment. The goal is to find the sweet spot.”
Let’s just hope that sweet spot will indeed have been found when the game is released next month.