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Designer: It's Sad That Devs are Forced to Justify Game Length

Many gamers are miffed at the reported length of Ground Zeroes, but one designer defends Kojima and Co.

It's currently one of the most controversial topics in gaming today: Length.

The argument reached a fever pitch when we learned that Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes might only be about two hours long. Additional reports say such a number is an exaggeration, and developer Kojima Productions has defended the short length. Now, another noted designer has stepped up to defend the team.

It's Shadows of the Damned director Massimo Guarini, who issued the following bold statement on Twitter:

 Kojima chimed in to say that he expects players will be "satisfied with the play time," but the cost of the product remains a problem for consumers. You can grab the digital version of Ground Zeroes on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 for $20, but the physical copies for the PS4 and Xbox One will run you $40. This seems steep for what has been described as an "introduction" to MGSV.

The idea of two separate titles wasn't a good one

As much as I respect Kojima, and as much as I adore the MGS franchise, I never liked this two-title approach. The argument that this prelude is designed to ease old-school fans into a new style of gameplay doesn't hold much water. After all, it'll be closer to what we're currently familiar with, anyway.

Published Feb. 10th 2014
  • Pierre Fouquet
    Associate Editor
    The reason developers have to justify length is because their games are usually too short, if he came out and said the story for MGS will be 70 hours long! Everyone would go, oh ok, fair enough, but will it get boring? Actually 70 hours might be on the other end of the scale...people will complain it being too long. So...developers need to make their game the correct length for what it is. Was GTA V too long? Not really, the story didn't get too slow, just slower. If you look at Witcher 3, they said the story is 20 hours, but there is 100 hours of gameplay...
    I'm going off point a bit, but I just think, you only have to justify the length when the length is wrong. It's like saying, this rule is 2cm's but you will pay the same as a 15cm ruler, is that right? No, so why is it in games?
  • Cortalia
    Contributor
    I'm on fence myself on this one.

    On one hand... Most RPG games like Xenogears, Final Fantasy, ect used to take a minimum of 30-40 hours to get through. and you look at newer games that only take 18-20 hours. Then needing 3-4 titles to get the same as you used to get for 1 back in the day.

    That being said, games are alot more cinematographic now, rather than spending 15-20mins going through a long monologue we now get a 5-6min cinematic like scene that essentially does the same thing while looking better.

    If the new Metal Gear plays out very movie like, and is superbly written, its shortness wont matter. One of my all time favorite games only takes about 8 hours to beat the first time and gets faster on subsequent plays, but I personally find it enjoyable and still play the game at least twice a year, even though its over a decade old.

    What gamers, like myself, hate is when you take a game that SHOULD be a one title game and spread it over two or three titles just to suck in some extra cash.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Yes, my problem is with the breaking up of MGSV into two titles. They can say it's designed for veteran fans of the franchise to "get used" to the new style, but it seems too much like a money grab.

    One other thing to remember: Multiplayer is huge right now. Xenogears and all those old RPGs offered plenty of hours, but there was no multiplayer. Multiplayer fans will tell you that $60 is cheap because it offers "countless hours."

    I don't identify with that, though, as I really don't get too involved in multiplayer. ;)
  • Cortalia
    Contributor
    I've sunk Countless hours into Halo:Reach online multiplayer, but it seems with Halo 4 my multiplayer-ness died out since my friends and I started buying houses, ect and I'm the only one to stay in-town with high-speed internet... so thus I don't even have Xbox-Live anymore.

    Keep in mind though its not just 60 bucks... its 60 bucks, then another 10 here and another 10 there as more map-packs come out throw in a couple 5's for some exclusive store purchased gear and bam your over 100 bucks easy. Sometimes it just feels like the industry is trying to grab as much money as it can from us all the time so we as the consumer get upset whenever we hear about shortened length or multi-title games that in fact should just be one.
  • Venisia Gonzalez
    Featured Columnist
    I agree with you completely on that.
  • Fathoms_4209
    Featured Columnist
    Yes, but concerning online, nobody's really trying to grab anything from you. You're paying for a service, which, by the way, is voluntary. It also extends the gameplay experience indefinitely, and that's nigh-on invaluable for the fans.

    Like I said, it's not my thing but the advent of multiplayer has indeed changed everything from developer business models to how we play our games.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    I have little sympathy for AAA devs for this. I don't pay $40-70 for a movie. If a game isn't long enough, it's not worth the money. Plain and simple. If they want $60 of my money, they need to make a good game, or one with huge replayability. Certain games, like Gone Home or the Stanley Parable don't need a twelve hour campaign, but those games also aren't $40 AAA titles. I just can't justify spending so much on such a short, supposedly high-quality game. If it's just a movie, bill it like one.
  • Cosmic Engine
    Featured Contributor
    I'm with you there Brian. The reason they need to justify the length is due to the price point of the product. I find it absurd Massimo Guarini thinks otherwise. He may have more money than god but us everyday folk do not.

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