I can explain!
As someone that's been playing games since PS1, and that made a few indie games, I can tell when a game has been just padded for length. It's honestly a lot easier to just make templates and copy and paste then have unique things every encounter. That in itself isn't bad for games like horde modes, multiplayer shooters, racing games, ect, but story games really suffer from this.
When Assassins Creed Odyssey was coming out I still wasn't even halfway done with AC Origins, and I heard it was going to take 100 hours to complete. After release I started hearing about all the grinding involved in that game, and even though I eventually want to play it for the world alone, I put it off. I don't have unlimited time. In that time I could play 3 9/10 rated games to completion still on my backlog.
Now take the single player campaign of TitanFall 2. It's only 7 hours. Yet I loved every minute. There was no section or mechanic in that game that I felt was tedious or repetitive. The coolest part in the game (which I wont mention but if you played you know) was a mechanic that was only in one level. That's it. I was left wanting more, but I didn't feel ripped off either. It told a complete story and stopped before it started droning on.
Donut County is an incredibly fun small indie game that took me 2 hours to beat, 3 to platinum. But every level is different. They all have their unique mechanics and ways of solving them. And they all have a theme with each item in that level being unique to it. The developers could of copy and pasted a lot of sections to add more length, but they didn't, and I appreciate that.
The problem I noticed when I read the comments on articles about The Outer Worlds length made me realize something.
The gaming industry has really become a paint by numbers production of games. We just look "Oh this game has 70 hours, more value to my purchase", but we forget about quality. I do it too sometimes.
If The Outer Worlds turns out to be only 15 hours but all that time is enjoyable, I consider that worth it. The Last of Us is about 14hrs long and it's highly regarded as one of the best games ever made! That being said, don't take away what I mean to be 'just because a game is shorter means it's better'. The Order 1886 is about 5 hours long yet with so many cutscenes and repetitive gameplay padding that small time it feels just as bland.
All I'm saying is, don't put so much scrutiny into numbers that you end up forgetting why you're playing in the first place. Have fun, relax, turn off the clock, and enjoy a good story.
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