The internet came under fire again over the weekend for things related to video games.Take a break from legitimately dunking (but possibly unintentionally promoting) NFT crap, it’s your turn Dying Light 2 Feel the flames of anger. The game’s social account issued a statement saying that the open-world sequel to Zombie Survival Parkour will take 500 hours (about 3 weeks) to complete. Prosperity. It’s an outrage.
There’s long been a disconnect between the gaming media genre (that’s me) and the consumer (you, unless you’re the gaming media genre drawn to this via my baity tweets) about how long video games should last. As someone who makes a living playing games, let’s be honest, gaming for more than five hours can be a source of stress. Most gaming media types that require playing a game before writing it will need to find those times somewhere. Where? It’s most likely to happen at night, when the family is asleep, when you should be asleep, and when you’re not getting paid.
Still, this is a video game, right? pleasure. no. Everyone wants to have a job like this. I’m deliberately confrontational to stress this point, but even hobbies and fun activities start to grind when you hit a deadline and need to hit the enemy for another 15 hours, fully aware that there are only 12 hours of possible “working” time to keep.
However, I’m a professional with big, sprawling games because they’re usually my favorite. Frankly, they often translate into player interest, which translates into website traffic, and my own personal success at work. In recent years, I’ve played The Witcher 3 and God of War as a fan rather than a gaming media type. I can understand why consumers care about game length: when you buy something, you want your money. I just thought Dying Light 2 was trying to connect game length with quality, but it wasn’t.
The Witcher 3 is a perfect example of a game that can take a very long time to fully complete, but in isolation this property is not rated highly. It’s loved by many because the side quests and optional content are fantastic — in fact, some of the game’s best moments come from the main story. Back in my childhood, GoldenEye on the N64 was known for its incredible multiplayer, but its excellent tiered difficulty mode allowed players to devote countless more hours to the campaign if they wanted. This is not filler. Completing each level of 00 Agent is a rite of passage into the cool (read: not cool) club.
The problem with Dying Light 2 is that 500 hours is currently just a number. It doesn’t make sense. Do I want to spend 500 hours doing it completely? It is impossible to say at this point. If the game is great and the goals that come with it are varied and interesting, then of course, maybe I will. But selling games by numbers doesn’t make sense to me, and it shouldn’t make sense to you. Quality First.
As a kid, I spent what I now consider a luxury playing Resident Evil games on PS1. These aren’t very long games, at least not by modern standards, but I have to replay them 5 to 10 times each time. As a number on the tweet, the Resident Evil game won’t be impressive, but I get value from saving and saving purchases, that’s for sure. More importantly, I had a great time with some landmark games.
I’ve joined Pitchfork Online, rocking with my own terse tweets, but I’m really not against games that are too long or people wanting games to deliver days’ worth of content. But let’s not judge the value of the game on the basis of arbitrary numbers that might be drawn from ether.