Video games are too long. The industry should switch to the AAA title model lasting 12-15 hours. This position is propagated by Shawn Layden, the former face of PlayStation, and I totally agree with him.
Shawn Layden is a famous person in the world of video games. For years, he was the president of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios, and in Sony himself he worked from 1996 to 2019.
In turn, Sony Interactive Entertainment does not need to be presented to any PlayStation fan. The cult publisher associates such studios as Insomniac Games (Spider-Man), Naughty Dog (The Last of Us, Uncharted), Santa Monica Studio (God of War), Sucker Punch Productions (Ghost of Tsushima), Media Molecule (LittleBigPlanet), or Guerrilla Games (Horizon Zero Dawn). This is the creme de la creme video games.
Former head of Sony Interactive Entertainment says the industry should take a step backwards. Modern games are too long.
Shawn Layden at the Gamelab Live conference said that the industry should stop and ask itself "what are we actually doing?"
Layden’s main postulate is that games are too long. Let’s take the wallpaper of The Last of Us, which is the flagship example of a cinema story for a single player. Players took about 15 hours to complete the first game of the series. The second edition takes about 25 hours.
It is no different with the famous God of War. The first games of the series took only 8-12 hours. In the latest installment of 2018, the story takes 20.5 hours to pass, and it takes more than doing all the other side games of the series to do all the side activities.
But there’s nothing wrong with that, right? The answer is not easy. The average age of players has gone up over the years. Today, the statistical player is thirty-five. Having a job, family and a ton of duties. He has money for games and consoles, but he doesn’t have as much free time as in high school. Perhaps that is why so few people watch credits in video games.
There is also the other side of the coin. Game production consumes more and more resources.
Here we are talking about both the budget of time and money. Shawn Layden cites again the example of The Last of Us. The first part of the game was created 3.5 years, while the sequel needed six years. Layden also recalls the time when the cost of producing AAA games was one million dollars. Today it is in the range of 80-150 million, excluding marketing costs.
There are many consequences of this state of affairs. First of all, players have to wait longer for the sequels of their favorite titles. In addition, studios are less likely to risk new ideas. The mainstream games are similar to each other and have similar mechanics and gameplay and world structure.
If that wasn’t enough, studios are increasingly turning to proven titles, hence the flood of remasters and remakes. Playing nostalgia is a proven solution, much more profitable and at the same time less risky than creating a new franchise. Large studios above all minimize the risk of mishaps, which means less variety than before.
What about the price? This remains unchanged, at least in the United States.
For many years, the cost of a new box game in the United States has been $ 60, although production costs have increased many times. In Poland, prices have risen over the years, but there are many factors, including the exchange rate.
Personally, I agree with Layden. I would like to see games more condensed and simply shorter. I appreciate the artistry and all the amount of work needed to create a thirty-hour-long game about a movie storyline, but my time is not made of rubber. During the year I have the opportunity to go through only a few games, so I am more and more irritated by the repetition and mechanics requiring visiting each region several times.
I say no to the artificial length of the game. I would love to go back to the times when games had 12-15 hours, and I could learn more interesting stories every year.
The former face of PlayStation says: games are too long. And he is absolutely right